Recently, I read a blog post by someone I truly like as a member of the WLS community about the high school labels we fit into here in this community. I also read a response to that post by another dear friend, and responded to her post online. I respect both of these women dearly, their voices are valuable and their personalities are bold enough to influence many. However, I've seen what goes on between groups and cliques and I am appalled that so many people with similar goals can not get along and accept each other and their differences with loving kindness.
I believe part of this confusion is the name, or rather, "Label" attached to one of these groups and the misconception that what it stands for is "Bad." While one could misconstrue that the group of women (and men) are trying to defy the norms of weight loss surgery, that's not it. The philosophy behind the group is that we are not the "norm", we do not want to be the norm, and we do not fit into a pigeon-holed category of post-ops. It's that we are each an individual, first and foremost, and secondly, we stand for finding who you are before and after surgery.
Life changes, always. But life changes a lot after weight loss surgery. Relationships end. Friendships end. New beginnings and new relationships come and go, but bonds with new family, brothers and sisters, per se, in the weight loss surgery community are established. The comradeship established in a group that embraces being different holds steady for those who join, and the Mothership is a powerhouse of experience and support. The group is a powerhouse of EXPERIENCE and SUPPORT.
The group does not stand for condoning bad behavior. If you believe that, your bubble will never burst, you will live in it and think that perfectionism is possible. It's not. I hate to burst the bubble, but no one is perfect. When we learn that we must accept ourselves and out imperfections we can move toward a happier, less stressful life without depression and anxiety. When we can accept everyone, even those who think differently, act differently, and speak differently and who are comfortable with themselves, we show we are accepting ourselves, our faults, and our own issues. We all have issues.
We all will struggle with obesity for the rest of our lives. "Fuel" the Ani DiFranco song keeps coming to my mind about all of this...
"and they say that alcoholics are always alcoholics
even when they're as dry as my lips for years
even when they're stranded on a small desert island
with no place within 2,000 miles to buy beer
and i wonder
is he different?
is he different?
has he changed? what's he about?...
or is he just a liar with nothing to lie about?"
So, have you changed who you are and accepted people for who they are in your journey? Where are you with your journey? Do you still judge others negatively because you don't feel good about yourself? It's hard not to in this world. I admitted recently to my mother that I get sad when I see someone who is obese, not because they are obese, but because I always want to help them. However, I know from my obese self, if someone like me, at my size now, were to approach me, a complete stranger, to try to talk to me about my weight problem.... tears would flow like a river. This is why I am a counselor. My clients come to me for help. I don't approach them. I don't recruit. I just am here when they decide they are ready for change and want support, therapy and loving kindness. That's all I can do, and I continue to be all I can be. I specialize in trying to remain neutral. It's tough sometimes, and it makes me sad to see people who have the same goals to support and help this community pick at petty issues that divide and separate, rather than join and conquer.