I remember the first time that I met someone in my surgeons office and they said to me “Oh are you joining the losers bench?” In that moment I had a few thoughts. 1. I guess it is a natural thing to assume that a very very morbidly obese woman sitting in the waiting room of a surgeon that is known for weight loss surgery is probably there for that purpose? 2. Rude cow – what the hell is wrong with you that you would ask a stranger something like that! 3. Is that what the waiting room is known as – The Losers Bench?! ….. In that unguarded moment I think my face probably indicated what I was thinking, “Love, you are a bit of an idiot, get out of my face!” her eyes grew really really wide and she said “Ohhhhhhhhhhh, I’m sorry, I meant are you going to be having weight loss surgery, I had it 6 months ago…” And with that she was off, I heard her very exuberant life story, her passionate adoration for the surgeon I was about to meet and the fact that joining the “losers bench” was the best thing she had ever done. I am usually really excited and happy to meet new people. I love to listen to real life stories and who doesn’t love a happy ending?! But I felt seriously a bit put off by the term “losers bench.” It was well and truly stuck in my head. WTF did I want to be on the Losers Bench for?
I never did adopt that particular vernacular, however, what I have realised is that, for so many people, there is FINALLY a sense of belonging that comes from being part of a group of people that share many similar types of stories and are united by the fact that they have undergone a type of surgery to help them achieve a level of weight, health or wellness that was not going to be otherwise possible or maintainable. Joining the losers bench was not a negative thing for them, it was a positive thing. In one of my very first, and long since deleted Facebook posts about my story, I commented on losing weight and was corrected by a number of different people. One person told me “You aren’t losing weight, you are releasing weight and gaining health” another asked “why does it matter if you lose weight or not, it is your health that matters” and someone else was offended that I called it weight and didn’t say I was losing fat. I nearly gave up the internet that day because I thought “what the actual fuck is okay to say” And then I realised – it is not up to me to define the way that other people want to discuss their journey and likewise, I do not have to use phrases that make me uncomfortable.
I will staunchly defend your right to call your “Journey” whatever you wanna call it! If you wanna say that you joined the losers bench then so be it, if you wanna say you joined the winners circle then so be it, if you wanna say I am now part of the teeny tiny tummy club then, yep, soooooo be that too. My personal favourite is “I had weight loss surgery” but hey thats just a me thing. I’ll keep being me and please don’t ever stop being you because the world would be far too boring if we were all the same. You keep being you and I’ll keep being me and let’s not force our beliefs onto others!! We could even go a step further and be kind to one another and understand that we do not all have to see eye to eye and we do not have to agree! But we can all be supportive of other people’s rights to their own story AND to tell it any way that they see fit! Love Tash