So it's just past 8am on a Sunday, and I should be sleeping in. The Beast, however (my extremely tiny-but-loud cat) has used her little one-track-mind to ensure that I don't sleep past 7am--weekends be damned--so here I am. And it's just too early to be feeling this real.
I'm at the point of my post-bypass life that everything starts to catch up with me. I didn't really believe people when they told me this would happen. The first year is a gift, and you almost cannot NOT lose weight every time you step on the scale. Then your pouch gets bigger (it IS supposed to, by the way), and there is no automatic weight loss, no taking things for granted. And weight loss becomes work, like it does for the rest of the population. And at year two, all the ugliness in your head is resurfacing.
My personal experience really mirrors a lot of the other people I've talked too. You don't reach morbid obesity status without some serious issues (and yes, I know that a lot of people are obese due to health issues or genetics--I'm talking about the people like me who are 150+ pounds beyond just good-old-fashioned "overweight").
The common theme I'm finding is that we are people pleasers; we're givers; we're polite and conscientious of others; we're the peacemakers and the relationship-builders. This doesn't mean that everyone who is MO is nice or a good person, by the way, it simply means that we have a face that we present to the world that is all about who we "should" be (or who we wish we were). Lots of times that nice face is very genuine, but when you feel like you have to be that way all the time it doesn't allow you the full range of human emotions. So all the juicy stuff that makes us a complete human--anger, sadness, jealousy, disappointment, etc.--never gets to come out and play. And instead of disappearing into the ether, we would rather turn this stuff against ourselves than upset others or be seen as bitchy. None of us want to acknowledge that there is a dark side (or, at the very least, less "pretty" side) of being a complete human.
For me, it means that I've cared for so long what other people think and how I come across that I don't even know who I actually am. Here's a great example of what I mean. I clean my house for other people, and it's a wreck unless I know I'm having visitors. It never even occurs to me that I personally like it when my house is clean and that maybe I should clean because I like the way it looks, or because it makes my life easier. For me, a clean house is all about making it the "right" way for someone else for two reasons: 1. Because it makes the guest more comfortable for them, and 2. Because I want them to think I'm a good person. The first reason is just about hospitality as far as I'm concerned. The second reason is where we meet the crazy--it's messed up that I even worry about how another person may pass judgement on me based on whether I have laundry on my bedroom floor or not.
The more I look at all of this, the more that I find I'm a much better mirror than I am an actual 3-dimensional person. I'm so busy reflecting what other people want (or what I think they want) that I forget to ask what I want. For me, this syndrome isn't the "I do everything for everyone else and I'm my own last priority" thing. For me this is about being a certain way so that I'll be liked. It's the terror that people will see past the humor and the over-accommodation into the person who isn't as pretty, who is just human. It's a very lonely way to live, frankly, and it turns you into a sad person who's angry that life is just passing by.
So I'm working on it. I'm practicing being angry and feeling sad. I'm trying to find out what I really like to do and who I really want to be.
Like I said, exceptionally heavy stuff for an early Sunday morning to think about. So, to contemplate your own experience with "the dark side," I leave you with this: