it’s coming up on my 17th blogging anniversary.  next thursday will mark the first time i ever logged into, typed some shit and posted it on the internet. (that’s not the first time i ever put anything on the internet, but it was the beginning of this 17-year string of websites tied together with a continued theme:  me me me me me!)  i usually forget about it until sometime in mid-august, so it’s kind of nice to be early this year.

i’ve been thinking about plunking down a bunch of words about my life lately and the things i’ve done in the last couple of years.  i know i haven’t kept y’all as informed as the good old days when my blog was really the only place for me to get my shit out.  now, i have a tight group of friends and an amazing boyfriend i can be really real with, so i don’t seem to need a safe space to unload anymore.  and, when i do, i’m more likely to crypto-post on facebook or, if it’s particularly dark, tumblr.  which is good!  i’m actually really glad of that!  but, it does mean that when i stare at this text box with the intention of sharing with the group, i feel like i’m just rehashing stuff which has already been said.  and i’ve always been super sensitive about repeating myself to people.  i feel like i’m just annoying them if i’ve forgotten i’ve already told them that story and keep going about something. anyhoo, here we go.

on march 26, 2015, i had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy.  that means, i had 80% of my stomach removed via surgery.  at the end of the year following, i weighed 125 pounds less than i did at my highest weight.  today, i maintain a ~110-lb loss, with which i am totally satisfied.  most days.  just because i’m more average-sized now doesn’t mean my head isn’t still a jerk and i don’t have “holy shit, i’m huge and ugly days”.  as the weight loss surgery community keeps saying:  they perform surgery on your stomach, not your brain.  i am totally thankful and glad i made the decision to ask for this and that i had such great medical professionals to guide me through it all.   it hasn’t been easy and so many things about my life are so dramatically different now than two years ago, but i’d do it again in a heartbeat.

while i’m not shy about telling people about how i lost the weight if they directly ask, i haven’t exactly lead with disclosing my surgery.  that sometimes makes me feel like i’m deceiving people. so, i kind of consider this my coming out.  i had a lot of shame and fear about asking my doctor for this surgery.  i thought it meant i was a failure because i couldn’t lose the weight — ahem, keep the weight off — on my own.  i’ve since learned that it is nearly impossible for anyone to lose the amount of weight i needed to lose and keep it off for the long term.  there are exceptions, of course, but the majority of people will always gain the weight back.  i was not a failure.  biology fought me every step of the way.  if i wanted to live a long and healthy life, this was the only thing i could have done.

this past may, i had a bi-lateral brachioplasty.  that means, a plastic surgeon removed about seven inches of skin and 850cc of fat from each of my upper arms.  see, when you’ve been overweight your entire life, you’re over 40 years old and you’ve lost over a hundred pounds, you’re left with saggy skin which no amount of exercise, lotions, massages or laser treatments can improve.  and, in some ways, those empty, flappy bits are even harder to deal with, mentally and physically, than when they’re filled with adipose.  i’d been covering up my arms since i was a pre-teen.  first, because they were huge and i thought they were gross.  then, because they were saggy and wrinkly, and i thought they were gross.  so, when i started this journey, i knew that the end of it would include an arm lift to finally afford me the confidence to go sleeveless for the first time in my adult life.

surgery went well, and now that i’m almost three months out, i can confidently say that it was totally worth it!  i am so excited to be able to wear sleeveless tops… OUTSIDE MY HOUSE. the first time i went outside without sleeves, i felt so self-conscious; but, then i realized that no one knew i hadn’t gone sleeveless in public in 30 years.  i just look like everyone else to them.  no one was paying any special attention to my naked upper arms and shoulders.  dammit.  part of me really wanted to say to them “hey!  this is a big fucking deal!  my arms!  they’re out and proud!”  it’s been a huge boost to my well-being and, even though i now have scars which run from below to elbows to beside my breasts, i am entirely thrilled with how it all turned out.

and, in october, i’ll be going back to my plastic surgeon to have a circumferential trunk lift (or lower body lift).  again, because of my history being overweight, my age and my weight loss, i have a lot of excess skin and tissue around my midsection which impedes me both physically and mentally from living my best life.  this surgery will be the final step in my bariatic journey (until i win the lottery and i can get some new boobs, that is).  i’m looking forward it and getting my new-to-me body and seeing what it can do.

and, of course, no life update could be complete without talking about Brad.  *shmoopy smile*

so, yeah.  we met on tinder of all places.  i’d been dating online for two years, he’d been on tinder for two days.   he took me away for the weekend three weeks after we met.  we went travelling internationally after eight months together.   we moved in together after a year and a couple months.   and i wouldn’t change a single thing.

he is quite possibly the best person i’ve ever known and i doubt i will ever understand why he thinks i’m as amazing and worthy of his love as he does.  i’m just so grateful he does.

i haven’t really done much improv this year, mostly because of the two big surgeries — the timing was just off.  i was in three different programs at one time back in february and i got a lot overwhelmed and basically quit everything in order to save my mental health.  i felt terrible about having to, but as soon as i did, the amount of relief i felt assured me it was the right thing to do.  once i’m healed from the body lift, i look forward to rejoining the community and trying to figure out where i want to go from where i’m at.   i don’t know if i need to find a troupe to grow with or keep taking random classes with strangers.  i feel like i want to find a group of like-minded performers to tackle more meaty character and story development, as opposed to just finding the buttons for the audience.  the acting class i started (but had to quit) showed me that there’s a lot more under the surface i feel like i want to try my hand at.

improv has been so good to me, i don’t want to just drop it entirely.  i just don’t know where i want it to take me next.  or if i’m even up to the challenge.  while i may love it, it might not be the right creative outlet for me.  i’m still willing to keep trying, though.

the longer this post gets, the more i realize there is to say; but, i think this is enough for now.  thanks for reading and (for some of you) sticking around for the last 17 years.  blogging as a personal journal might not be the coolest thing on the internet anymore, but some of us have to keep the flame alive, dammit.  and i’m just old and cranky enough to do it out of spite, if i have to.   *smooch*

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