Less Than

This is one of those days when I feel like maybe I’ve written all I can write — but then, the intention of this blog was never to do it for you, the Reader. It’s more of a selfish effort; me, working out publicly (more or less) how I manage to get through each phase of my health journey. Today, I’m indulging that selfish effort.

And right now, I’m in a quiet phase, or at least it seems like it. The most exciting thing I’ve faced, lately, is working through some minor plantar fasciitis; I bought an exercise bike to see me through the cold months of not being able to walk outdoors, and it has helped me stay active when the best course has been to keep weight off that foot.

Honestly, though, boring is very much the goal. Yes, I’m going through the process of re-losing weight I’ve already lost and examining why I allowed that to happen, as well as the physiology behind it. But I’ll take boredom any day over the hell I used to go through and had grown used to. I spent a lot of energy on things most of us would consider minor and inconsequential, and I’m frankly quite glad to be freed from those bonds. They’re far enough back in my past that it’s easy to imagine them never existing, but I hope I never lose that sense of desperation that pushed me forward.

Don’t make assumptions. You’re a small person if you think this.

A typical day for me, even after I started losing weight, was spent analyzing every move, or it seemed like it. I rarely left the house because of the energy it took. My knees were in horrendous shape, I wasn’t stable on my own feet. When I felt like I could walk, I walked with a cane, and on the rare occasions I ventured into Walmart, I knew where the benches were inside the store so I could rest. A mobility cart? I rarely used them, especially since I’d seen so many images of morbidly obese people on the carts, shown online along with the snide comments people made about them. I didn’t want to be one of them, even though I was certain someone, somewhere, had likely made fun of my weight. Just not to my face, perhaps.

We once opted out of buying a particular vehicle, because I would need to drive it and I couldn’t easily fit in the driver’s seat. I broke a chair in a diner, once, simply by sitting on it, and I wasn’t at my highest weight at the time. Others with me worried that I had hurt myself; the only thing truly wounded was my pride. Entering any restaurant — especially crowded ones — was a game of rules; please don’t seat us on barstools, because I couldn’t get up on one. Please don’t make me weave between too many close tables and force me to ask people to scoot in so I could get by.

These nonstop calculations went on at home, too, but at least I was at peace and knew my surroundings. One horrid morning, I woke up to a knee that had locked during the night; when this happened, I couldn’t put any weight on it at all. The solution was to put on a rigid brace and then work the brace enough that my knee would unlock. The problem, that morning, was that I had taken the brace off in the living room, and at well over 300 pounds, I couldn’t get there to retrieve the brace. I was home alone. I managed to balance on one leg enough to get into a side bedroom, where my travel wheelchair was stored, open it, get in, and scoot myself down the hallway into the living room, where I finally retrieved the brace. That took well over an hour, in my own small home — and the tears I shed that day helped fuel the desire to get past these personal torments and live a more normal life.

Those days of feeling very much less than were the incentives for change. And even though I am not done, being on the other side of such changes and dealing with something as common as plantar fasciitis seems like a simple shrug in the grand scheme of things. Yes, it’s a pain, but unlike those days years ago, I know I’ll see the other side, and I know what to do to get rid of it. It’s just another temporary factor in my day, rather than a process that consumes my energy and bruises my self-worth.

I am not less than, and I never was.

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