The Other Side of the Coin

by , under personal, Pirate

I started to write this blog post last night, and got so far as an outline before I found myself in the middle of a panic attack. There were some lovely lovely people from Tumblr who talked me out of my panic so that I could talk to TheBoy about it.

I tried to vlog this- but it turned into a sea of inappropriate laughs and tears. But I said it, which meant I could write it.

All I ask is that you try to see this from my POV.

I’ve written a lot about my health issues. The Crohn’s, and the fact that I was wasting away. I think I’ve written about the 20 years of crap I’ve put up with about being thin.

Here’s the long and short of the 20 years of crap- I have an overactive metabolism, one of the things I inherited from my mom that is both a blessing and a curse. I burn through food like there’s no tomorrow and for most of my life I’ve weighed 98 lbs. (BTW, that’s my “I’m not in great shape, but I’m not too skinny” weight.) The only time I’ve consistently been over 100 lbs was when I was pregnant. Which I’ll be honest, it was hard for me to put on weight and keep it on for that. I lived on In-n-Out. My OB just stopped asking what I ate so long as I wasn’t losing weight.

But because I eat a lot, I’ve been accused of having eating disorders by jerks who thought they meant well. The only reason I call them jerks is because they demanded to know how much I weigh, watched me go into the bathroom, and pestered me about my eating habits even after I thanked them for their concern, but assured them I’m fine and this is just the way I’m built. I’ve been accused of drug habits to stay thin… It just gets frustrating. (If you do the math, I’ve put up with this since I was 13- in fact most of the abuse from others was before I turned 18.)

And I’ve had a lot of people not understand the issues that come with my metabolism and build. While it can be pretty easy for me to stay looking as I am, when I get sick and lose a couple pounds… it takes forever to put the weight back on. If I’d talk about it with someone who I knew I could trust and anyone overheard, I’d get dirty looks from the nosy party. Like my problem wasn’t valid because I was talking about gaining weight.

When I started losing weight because of the Crohns, I lost the fat in my breasts, my ass, and every bit of protective fat before it started eating away at my muscle. Things have gotten better, and I now weigh 104 lbs. Which I’ll be honest, threw me for a bit. I do have to remind myself that other than my abs, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in awhile. (And that gaining weight means I’m absorbing nutrients- whoo!)

But none of that is what I was going to originally blog about. When I was underweight, I had to buy a new pair of jeans because my old jeans actually fell apart. So I bought a pair that fit and thought nothing of it. Sure they’d been getting tight as I gained weight, but I didn’t think anything of it.

Right up until I tried to put it on this week and I couldn’t zip them up. And suddenly, I forgot that they were jeans that weren’t meant to fit me at a healthy weight. I just felt fat.

So I looked down at the curve of my stomach and couldn’t see that it’s literally just the lack of toned abs. And I panicked.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to get my abs back into shape, or if this is the shape of me I’ll be seeing for the rest of my life. I worry because I’m not sure if my weight gain is just from muscle or absorbing nutrients again- or if my metabolism has started slowing because I’m in my 30s and all things magical come to an end at some point in time. (I watched as the metabolism slowed for my mom, who saw it slow with my grandma- neither of them are heavy, but they do both have to exercise and pay attention to diet)

And here I am, confessing all this while knowing that someone out there won’t evaluate this story as my own. They’ll look at it from their point of view and think that I’m still lucky. That I’m overreacting (even though I’ve admitted as much). My worry about my weight is mostly from the uncertainty- my weight and the problems related to it have always been pretty straightforward.

I’ve actually heard people tell me that they wished they had my Crohn’s if it meant losing that much weight. Trust me, fitting in smaller clothing size isn’t worth it to put up with the stomach cramps and digestive issues. Or the mysterious fevers.

So I’m trying. I know I’m healthier than I have been in awhile. I ran a 5k in January, and I can still run a mile and a half without wanting to curse the gods. (Though I should work harder on running- I have another 5k coming up that I haven’t trained much for) I have breasts again, and my butt has filled out again (partially due to all the muscle I’ve gained, but there is some squish factor there). My hips are no longer lethal weapons. I just have to become acquainted with this body again. And not try to compare it to the unhealthy one that I’d be accustomed to.

Body issues suck. We all have them. Mine just happens to be the flipside of what most people deal with, I guess.

  • Kevin Manion

    Thanks for sharing, I know it wasn’t easy. As for Facebook, maybe it’s just some people you need to block or unfriend and not get rid of altogether.

  • It’s a thought- but I’m pretty sure it’s a really really extensive list of people I’d have to unfriend. I’ve collected a lot of people who I’ve had ties to, but just aren’t as awesome as my Twitter/Tumblr/G+ friends.

    And this weirdly is one of the scarier posts I’ve put up. No issues broaching politics or sexuality- but this one totally threw me for a loop.

  • Tigger

    I heard it said once that fertility is hard on either end – either you get pregnant at the drop of a hat or you need medical assistance (and even then it’s not always guaranteed). I think the same goes for weight and body issues. The heavier girls think the thin girls need to eat sandwiches and the thin girls think the fat girls need to lay off of them. In reality? The eating is less the issue than something medical related more often than people think, I think. It’s hard to see the other side but if you at least know that it’s there, it makes it easier.

    I graduated high school at 5’4″ and 116#. I didn’t realize how I looked then, I just *was*. Over the past 18 years I’ve gained over 100# and I would KILL to get back to my previous weight. Except…I don’t think I could wear that again. Everything about me has changed. Trying to imagine myself at 116# makes me think I would look skeletal. Would I be? Probably not, but I’ve come as far as I have and I can’t imagine going back. Whereas you? You would probably do THINGS to be 116# (healthily). It’s just a matter of perspective, me thinks, and people don’t usually have it.

    Bravo to you for writing this, for putting it out there. It takes guts (HA!) to write something so very personal, and you did it, and I will give you massive kudos for it!

  • Thanks. 🙂 And I do think you’re right- people tend not to see both sides of the scenario.

    If I had a nickel for everytime someone told me to eat a sandwich, I’d be rich. Okay, maybe not rich, but I’d probably have a hundred dollars. :p

  • It would be so great if people would stop thinking they can assess anything about someone’s health from their physical appearance. I may make exceptions for things like a cast on a limb, I think it’s safe to assume they broke a bone, but aside from that everyone just needs to mind their own business.