The truth hurts.
Today has been filled with many wonderful things. A great article written about my journey in the National Dog Examiner and my very dear friend Michele Hays’s very personal account in her own amazing blog of our time in college together.
Her words have made me ask myself the question “what if” someone would have said something to me about me weight? If my weight was addressed for the reality of what it was instead of people looking past the physical to only see what lay beyond my oversized body. I have never had a problem making friends, connecting with people or feeling like I was part of a group. I feel very blessed at the support system I have had throughout my life. When was my fat “too fat”? Was it when I couldn’t fit in the desk in 6th grade? Was it when I had to have my band uniform specially made because they did not come that large? Was it when I could no longer squeeze behind a steering wheel of a car, or perhaps when chairs collapsed under my weight? The truth hurts.
Much of my life the weight was simply ignored. We did not acknowledge it or talk about it in a way which would facilitate any change. It simply was the way it was. In the same way my fathers dementia was not really acknowledged for so long. Nothing more, nothing less. No one ever really challenged me, questioned me, held my feet to the fire regarding what the potential outcome was for my health. I was young, I was stupid, I was already in a long term abusive relationship with food…and I did not want to break up!
I am not sure what the answer to the “what if” question would be. I have to say, I am not sure there is one. I don’t know that there was anything anyone could say to me that would penetrate the walls of denial I had carefully crafted through the years. I was very very obese when my 78 year old father had to undergo heart by-pass surgery. I remember the cardiologist saying to my Dad… “Mr. Hiltenbeitel your heart is just wearing out, it has worked well for you for many years (turning to look at me) now you, you are another story…get ready to go through this yourself soon”…. It didn’t hit me until I stepped into the recovery room to see him after the operation. Tubes, wires, breathing machines, beeps and pings, oxygen and holy mother of god…giant staples from his belly button to his adam’s apple….his legs sliced open from where they took the veins out to use in his heart. I remember leaving the room and running straight to the bathroom to throw up. I then experienced my first full blown anxiety attack. I swore to myself that was it, it was going to be different. That day would be the beginning of a 250lb+ weight loss for me.
It was the cold hard truth that I needed to hear, needed to see, and needed to fear. I did not want to die. That is really the simplicity of it all. The fear of death is a powerful thing. Yet, again I find myself motivated by fear, this time however it’s for the innocent animals that have no voice, no choice and no hope as they are killed needlessly, violently and inhumanly all to often at “shelters” all throughout the world. The truth hurts.