Monday, February 6, 2012

Aging Gracefully...or not!

Okay, for all the ranting and raving I do on having a positive self image around one's body, I do not have one. Do many women? It's ridiculous when you think of it really, that so many of us do not see the good qualities about ourselves, and I am the Queen of the Ridiculous, except where it concerns my hair, my hair is amazing.

My body on the other hand, well me and my body have had issues since the arrival of first child. Mainly, that post pregnancy pouch that so many of us get after our offspring has twisted and warped our abdomens into something NONE of the pregnancy books warn you about. Now since last year, I've been working hard on taking better care of myself, I lost close to 70 pounds, began drinking more water, eating my vitamins, saying my prayers (sorry, stupid pop culture reference, I'm curious to see who gets it) but all in all, it's been a work in progress.All except that damn pouch. After doing 50 sit ups a day for close to 6 months and not a sign of any change, I started thinking of that option the crazy raging "I am woman, hear me roar" Joy is not supposed to ever consider.

In November, I made an appointment to see a plastic surgeon.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself lying on a surgery table, my arms spread out like Christ (not very comforting) terrified, but also wildly excited. I also had the rude awakening that my surgeon was my age. See, I've lived in this fantasy world, where surgeons are all people older than me because it take so much time to get that level of expertise...that world was shattered about 3 minutes before the anesthetic kicked in. When I first woke up, I was thrilled that I was alive, then I was thrilled that I had gone through with it. Then I begged for some more morphine and a drink of water. Morphine came, water did not, they were afraid of me throwing up, and despite my assurances that anesthetic does not have that affect on me, they erred on the side of being diligent, but shutting me up and gave me some ice chips.

Somehow I managed to get dressed with the help of my mom and got home, thankfully the hospital is less than 5 minutes away. I lay in bed for a few days, being well taken care of by my loved ones. It was an effort to get to the washroom, which is an ensuite, but by Sunday, I was feeling pretty freaking good. By Monday, I had taken myself off the really heavy painkillers and by Wednesday I was down to a couple of Advil as needed. So, by this I conclude I have mutant healing powers. Anyhow, I'm back up and running largely. I'm not allowed to lift heavy objects, have a bath or have sex, so I've been taking cold showers and eating copious amounts of chocolate.

So why? That's the million dollar question. Because I hated my body. I didn't hate the curves, I didn't hate the stretch marks or the flappy arms or even the two new lines in my forehead (though I'm not overly fond of them either). I hated that damn pouch. It felt like it wasn't a part of me. When I went into the plastic surgeon, I told her that the goal wasn't to lose weight, I was fine with the 186lbs of Joy that I was, I just needed to stop looking like a kangaroo. It's a drastic measure and for someone who is always railing about how the media pushes forward an unrealistic image of women, I sure drank the Kool Aid. That said, I've so far lost a grand total of 3lbs. I took a look at myself in pants today, which has been the first time I've been able to wear anything other than oversized PJs or stretchy tights and I smiled, I was thrilled. I fit an image that I wanted, which I have to say is still far off from that size 2, perky tits and perfect ass. I still sag, I still flap, I still have my lines and greys, but all those signs of aging I can live with, I accept them. The one part of my body that felt insanely out of place was gone and I had (as a friend who is handling far more significant body issues like a woman with ovaries of steel, once told me) "my body on my terms". So while I did fall into that trap, I like to keep a shred of "I am woman hear me roar Joy" in thinking that I did it to become a 180lb woman who is still fat, but pouchless, and I'm completely fine with that.


Stacey said...

I love this post. I think it's great that you did something that you wanted to do for you. And I'm here to say that pouchy flap thing is AWFUL. I know we're supposed to embrace ourselves as women have given birth but my tummy hangs weirdly over the edge of my pants. It sucks. I wish I could do something about it too. Glad you were able to. And congrats on the weight loss!!!

Bluefunk said...

I completely agree about the pouch. I have been overweight for as long as I can remember and had finally come to terms with my body as is (except for the extra large boobs!). I didn't notice the pouch until after my breast reduction. Yowsers! Why doesn't anyone warn us about this? If I didn't have the damn pouch, I'd feel so much better about myself. So, good for you. And if I haven't said it before a big congrats on the weight loss. You look amazing! Yes, your hair is spectacular!

Danielle White said...

I never considered the operating table in that way before, but it works well with some other imagery text I have (reference to an alter.)

IMHO, saying something is/isn't the Kool Aid, or criticising someone for those actions, is far easier when it isn't their body being debated and their existence in the world being challenged. There are endless ontological debates surrounding that, but I understand what it is to have a body issue that is always present in your mind.

I have always valued your advice, and I particularly value this. You are one of the woman who really helped me understand what it is to be a woman.

Her Inner Voice said...

We're not fat fat, we're Hollywood fat. Big difference!

Joy said...

Its funny, every woman I've talked to since who has given birth has been very interested in getting rid of the pouch. It's almost in hushed tones that they do so too, like its some dirty secret that we're interested in plastic surgery. I think even though we're supposed to embrace our bodies, many of us are not happy with the way they are left after kids.

It's been a month post surgery and absolutely no regrets. It was worth every penny, every ounce of effort, the pain (which wasn't terrible) and even the drains, which were the parts I hated most. I love my new tummy. Now to get cracking on these arms.