One month from my abdominoplasty and 4 days from going back to work I’m thinking “What have I learned?”
More than anything I learned to deal with loss. Loss of inhibition (contrary to the picture above and most of my selfies I did have inhibitions). Loss of self loathing. Loss of a loved one. Loss of who I thought I was.
Turns out I’m finding myself pulling down my shirts less and less. I’m totally comfortable wearing cute gym stuff (uh…not that I can go to a gym for another 2 weeks, but a girl gets curious). I stopped over-thinking how I look, now it’s just a matter of comfort and wrangling my binder and boobs to stay in the right place. Stuff I didn’t expect to look different does. Mostly good, but I swear it’s going to take me years to accept this belly button as my own. Never have I been so obsessed with that thing and infuriatingly enough I don’t have a picture of it before I got pregnant with Jadon and neither Joe or I remember what it looked like 21 years ago. It’s on my body now, better get used to it.
The self loathing is still there, probably always will be, but I’ve let quite a lot of that go. I’m still picking things apart about my body, again that will take more mental work on my part. Something so deeply rooted in your psyche doesn’t just go away because some skin and fat are gone. Unfortunately I’ve taken a step backward and allowed myself to absorb some very negative and hurtful things that were said by someone I deeply respect.
That brings me to loss of a loved one, in a metaphorical sense. I never quite knew what it would be like to have a parent walk away from a relationship with me. I expected it to happen one day. I expected anger, bitterness, and frustration to eventually boil over just as I expected my parent’s divorce and my brother’s suicide. All my life I’ve seen relationships careening toward disaster and have done whatever I could to repair, fix, save, or borrow time to keep them alive. I have a 0% success rate, but I also understand that I can’t and don’t make decisions for people. The pain of that loss can be unbearable, especially when it involves your dearest loves. It haunts me, but has brought me closer to my Mom who loves me without limitations, without conditions, without judgement. I’ve learned that my husband and I have raised a son who’s endlessly resilient even when deeply bruised. I learned that I married a man who’s ferociously, yet appropriately, protective. While I mourn this loss, I’m not giving up and will try to mend hearts again. Time is needed.
Lastly, I lost this perception of who I thought I was. I thought I was stronger than I am, that I was impervious to dependence simply because I’m mindful of it. Nope. Pain killers are good for a few days, but not 3 weeks. Turns out when you stop taking them life sucks and seems completely surreal. Floating around on a cloud of pharmaceuticals feels fantastic, not to mention all the energy I had to clean and organize. Coming back down to reality is horribly unpleasant. Now my energy is sapped and I’m coming off of a 2 day chest cold, but I haven’t taken any pain meds today. I’m done with them and my pain is minimal! Starting to feel normal again and the tightening around my lower abdomen is much better and less painful.
Speaking of tightening, turns out you do have to continue to eat a reasonable diet (ugh so much bread…) I can’t drink milk anymore and my body rebels against a lot of sugar- not something you notice when you’re on pain meds. However, NOTHING WILL KEEP ME FROM EATING CHEESE.
Yeah, still a work in progress. Still worried about meeting the expectations of myself and others. Still worried about perception. I think a lot less about how I look and a lot more about how I feel.
I think I’ve gained a lot in 4 weeks.