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Monday, July 24, 2006

Label Exchange?

On my drive to work this morning I was thinking; imagine that?

I thought back to when I first found the Internet. I think it was by way of AOL chat rooms in 1996. My first screen name was RackEmUp, because I used to shoot 9-ball in an amateur league. I had no idea what the acronyms LOL, ASL, ROFLMAO, etc. meant, nor did I know what an "emoticon" was either -- I just thought it was poor typing! It was like visiting a foreign land. Soon after, I also found the worlds of mIRC and ICQ.

I can remember, upon my introduction to the Internet, stumbling across a chat room on AOL called "Big Beautiful Woman BBW and Admirers." I thought, "Truly there is no way this was real... BBW and ADMIRERS?" For the next 4 years, the acronym BBW changed my life. I finally thought I knew who I was; I took the label. I was a "BBW." A big beautiful woman.

I found an escape from my current life, acceptance by others, as well as a fiance' who actually found fat beautiful.

For the record, despite my relocation to Texas (from NJ) after his proposal. The Fiance' and I never made it down the aisle. Go figure, but I was never large enough for his fetish.

I don't regret having been part of this Internet venue, nor do I have anything negative to say about those involved in the BBW circle, or the circle itself. I found this venue during a time in my life when I needed to feel accepted and learn how to be confident. Some of my closest friends were made during this time. For someone who was as painfully shy as me, this circle was my freedom. And trust me when I say, I let freedom ring in many different ways. LOL

While I never quite bought into the ideal that obesity doesn't matter as long as you're confident and sexy, I still felt better about myself because I felt I belonged, and that in its self was somewhat empowering.

The downside was, I only felt confident and sexy in that circle. Outside of the group, I had no clue who I was. Before that I was my Mother's daughter, my first husband's wife, my BBW Admirer's fiance'. I never took the time to just be me, love me, or heck, even like me.

Something happened though. The empowerment I experienced through acceptance gave me the courage enough to move outside of my comfort zone and my circle of protection.

Despite having my closest friends active in the BBW community, I made the conscious decision to breakaway; ffriends understood my need to find out who I was. I felt like I had got to a point where I was doing things I wouldn't ordinarily do, and if I continued in that fashion, I'd probably sprial downward and life would just get, for lack of a better word, "yucky". :)

So there I was... Just me, myself, and I. No more scene to hide within.

I found I actually liked myself, and became more concerned with treating myself better, which included my health -- that was when I thought it might be a good idea, though I wasn't overly consumed with it, to get healthier and lose weight.

After almost a year of my own effort, a friend of mine was going to join Weight Watchers. Since I had hit a standstill in my weight loss, I decided, "What the heck? Why not?" She needed support, and I needed some help. So I became a WW'r (another label). I guess this is where the natural progression of leaving the BBW circle ocurred, because as I started getting healtier and losing weight, I felt less accepted in the BBW circle.

The good thing was, the more weight I lost, the better I felt. And it just wasn't about being successful with losing weight, it was about treating myself right, respecting myself, and living my life in the way I wanted... Hiking, camping, fishing, biking, even tap dancing! These were things I could only explore in a limited fashion before losing weight.

So my question is, after I have this surgery, will I forever be known as an "RNY'r"? I'm not really looking for any answers. It's just something to contemplate.

I mean, nobody wants to be "labeled" but ironically we do go through life exchanging one label for another.

Will I ever be comfortable with people not knowing the previous me?

Will I feel like I have to give someone the low-down, even though they might not have known otherwise?

I guess as time goes by and I become more accepting of my new body, health, and quality of life, how I got there won't matter anymore.

I will still be me, as I am right now... just a smaller, less fluffy, version.

I do wonder, just how much will I change, and what kinds of changes will this surgery ignite? I know change is inevitable, but I hope and pray for positive change.

5 comments:

Jenn said...

I don't feel I have a label anymore. Maybe that's just because I didn't tell everyone I had WLS, and those that I did tell I don't feel would label me in anyway. And, maybe it's just about me finally feeling "normal"; I finally fit in w/ the normal people (although, the majority of the people I'm around on a daily basis are now larger than me ;). You're right that your life is going to change, though. Be as prepared for it all, good and bad, that you can be, and you'll be fine. I wish you only the best!

And, thanks for commenting on my blog!

SusanInCali said...

I started on AOL in 1995. I had crazy, sleezy screen names and met a lot of people in person. I moved to San Diego where there were a large group of AOL San Diego regulars that met several times a week at various places.
I met my now husband in the SD Chat Room. He asked me out for dinner and we have been together ever since October 95. I weighed less than I do now, but since I just had surgery I am going to eventually weigh A LOT less.
We now live north of Fresno on the way to Yosemite.
Thanks for commenting on my Blog. I know you want to get the diet program over and have surgery. The months will fly by.
Susan

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Pam said...

I just discovered your blog today and have been reading some of your recent posts. This one really spoke to me. Actually it felt like you were talking about me personally. I did the whole AOL, IRC, BBW thing too and somehow lost my identity in the labels. I too stepped back to find myself and am much happier now that I am comfortable with who I am.

I'm just in the beginning stages of my pre-op journey. I hope you don't mind if I visit again to see how you're doing.

~Pam

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