Sanity vs. Vanity

I’m going to say something that may shock some of you.

Healthy does not mean thin.

And thin is not something that someone with my number of chronic illnesses can hope to attain. I am on a medication that, even at a baby dose, causes a lot of weight gain whether I fight it or not. It caused 60 pounds of weight gain in two months the first time I was on it.

But you know what? I am sleeping. And not waxing delusional.

And these are good things, right? Wrong, but only if I decide to base my worth on the numbers on a scale and not, say, my IQ. Am I good to my body? Not really. I try to be, but with the whirlwind that has been the last year, self-care has not been high on the priority list. Could I modify some behaviors and become healthier? Absolutely. And I think I will do so, now that I have time to breathe and think.

But I am so tired of fat-shaming, overt or otherwise. that I could scream. You want to be “healthier?” Bully for you. Respectfully, I could try my hardest to lose weight and still get hit by a bus tomorrow. Worse, since I am high-risk and still working on site, I could contract COVID and die a horrible death, or accrue far more debt than I already have, because I am woefully underinsured.

My dad was on three softball teams the year that he suddenly passed away. The man walked for a living. Genetics are a b****. And terrible things happen. I’m not saying it’s not a good idea to try to better yourself. I’m saying let’s not bring guilt and the prospect of our mortality into this.

The fact is, NO ONE KNOWS when they are going to die. And if I cope in different ways than you do, it does not make me less of a person. It does not mean that I am selfish and that I must not care for those who love me because I do not take better care of myself.

Healthy, in fact, is not really something I can attain. Too many of my illnesses have no cure. So let’s stop idealizing this phantom notion of health. Do I want to be around for my wonderful boyfriend and child? Absolutely. But I am also cognizant of the fact that in reality, I have very little control over when or how I will die.

So stop trying to make me feel bad about it. I have spent so much of my life feeling bad, based quite a bit on the weight of other people telling me that I am not enough, somehow. And I am really, really, tired of people who tell me I can get off my medications, if only I were more active. Exercise and diet can help control a few of my conditions. But (say it with me now)–THEY. ARE. NOT. A. CURE.

Maybe I’m being overly bitter. When my ex visited me in the hospital after my nervous breakdown, his first comment to me was not “I’m glad you’re ok.” His first comment was, “Wow, you’re as skinny as you were when I first met you.” Let’s rewind. Less than a month after I gave birth to our child, we were putting creamer in our coffee. I told him I liked a little more creamer in mine. He responded, “That’s why your a** is fat.” My response? “I just had a baby. What’s your excuse?” You see, I was valued inversely, per pound, for too many years. So are my feelings about other people trying to get me to lose weight part of a trauma response? Absolutely.

It’s good to have goals. It is. I am going to formulate some health goals as soon as I stop being so angry. Talking about all this has been bad for my health, as it has undoubtedly raised my blood pressure.

My before and after? Before medication. Skinny as a rail, but absolutely miserable. Now? A bit more rotund. Happy not to be suffering in personal purgatory. Everyone’s healthy is different.

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