I have been invited to things in my life, I have been uninvited and I have been not invited – I think most of us can relate to at least two of those things and if you are like me, like to speak your mind, have no hesitation about calling things as you see it, then you may have been uninvited too! 🤣 If you have been, “high five” you are in good company here.
So this is my invitation to you. I would love to know what you would like to know about me. I am happy to discuss all things weight loss surgery and skin removal surgery. My family is off limits but I will do my best to answer anything else xx
We have some very interesting conversations in lockdown and one of the kids recently asked me what happened in my heart to cause me to change. (he was referring to my weight loss, new career, business etc) And I had to think about it for a while but you know what – I think it was the fact that I spent so many years of my life ignoring things that had happened to me and I gave away pieces of me until I lost the sense of who I actually was. I spent years of my life entombing myself in my very own prison! I spent years hoping that someone would see me, would help me, would rescue me but the truth was I didn’t need some other saviour, I needed to get up and realise that no one else could save me from myself except me! I had to find value in myself, I had to get up and do it myself! I didn’t get to be the weight that I was because of neglect, I got there through systematically abusing my body and treating myself so poorly because the truth of it is that that is all I felt that I deserved. I cannot even begin to explain how many times I withdrew from situations and from people, even from some of you because I was afraid of rejection, or afraid that I would be seen the way that I saw myself. Then one day in 2017, as I tried to walk across a stage in a graduation robe that wouldn’t fit me, I realised that no one else was coming to save me. I was going to have to do something different if I wanted things in my life to change. It has been the hardest, most confronting thing in the world to look myself in the eye and see myself how I was and then start to imagine myself how I could be. I now believe that process will be life long and I also believe that I am not where I used to be and I am so profoundly thankful for that but I also have a whole lot more mountains to climb!! I am so thankful for hope and for the fact that the knight in shining armour that I was waiting for was actually a brave brave big lady who could see in her mind what she wanted for her life and for her health so she got up and did something about it for herself! #beyourownhero
Sucking the marrow out of life has never been more enjoyable, or more fun than it has been over these past few days. I am exhausted but time has been well spent. Any investment into family is time that has been invested in the very best way. We have eaten out, laughed, played, been to an escape room, spent a day at the beach, licked ice creams, caffeinated ourselves, shopped and enjoyed each others company. Summer 2020/2021 has truly had some wonderful moments.
We have loved on family, we have celebrated, the boys have discovered their nordic heritage, they have procured drinking horns and were gifted life size, replica viking swords. If you ever get the chance to ask my son Dazz “do you want to battle” you will unleash his inner viking – because he is, after all, of the Faroe Islands. So much fun has been had but we all know that blue skies are more precious because they come with rain too.
So this past summer has also had some heartbreaking things – some of these things have changed me forever. I won’t be the same person that I once was, and thats okay. Actually it is to be expected because change is part of life. I am so much better at letting go of things now. Some bridges have been burned and I am grieved, yet resigned to it. The people who were at the other end of the burned bridges, I truly wish nothing but love as they live their lives in their way. If people and their situations take from our peace then I have learned I cannot hold on to this type of situation. My health cannot do it and I finally value myself enough to be comforted in the knowledge that our paths will not cross again. Thankfully we get to chose the kind of person that we want to be and how we will chose to treat others.
Today was filled with choices. I got to decide if I was going to hide away or if I would engage with people that I had not spoken with in years. When you are literally 100 kilos lighter than the last time that they saw you – it is EXTREMELY easy to hide. People that have known me and not seen me for a few years do not recognise me. And hey – Lets be real here for a minute – I can admit that I have enjoyed hiding in plain sight. I have done it for a few years now, but those days are over and I am, once again willing to get back to living life. It takes time to find yourself when your body morphs. It would be a lie to say that I haven’t changed because I really have. It takes time to find out who you are again. It is not always easy and it has been a process but I am finally at peace with it all.
Let’s talk for a minute about the Cost of Bariatric Surgery. Many of us pay quite a sum just to have our surgery in the first place. But the costs that are ongoing are something that we don’t really talk about a lot. That’s not to say that WLS isn’t one of the best descisions I have ever made because it is!! But these are things I didn’t think of beforehand. Some of the things that I have replaced because of weight loss surgery include the following.
My mattress – I was in pain from lying in my “big me” sized mattress hole.
All my shoes – I am now 2 sizes smaller
All of my underwear 4 times over as I found out the hard way one can’t wear undies that are too big and not risk them falling off in public – yep it really happened 🤦🏻♀️
My car seat – this is a weird one and I upgraded my car because it needed an upgrade anyway BUT the drivers seat was broken because of my bum and my weight.
My lounge suite because I broke it 😔
My dining chair – I am going to have to replace the set but am making do for now.
My entire wardrobe because going from a size 24/26 to a size 4/6 means that nothing from bigger me fits me anymore.
My supplements and vitamins ongoing but for me the cost of my weekly food and vitamins and supplements is still less than what I used to spend per week on my food (I ate a lot).
Skin removal surgery – this shot of me there with the excess skin is current. That is after my radical tummy tuck – obviously I require revision surgery because my surgeon thought that a radical tummy tuck would be enough but it wasn’t. When you have as much excess skin as me it is unpredictable how it will respond.
New glasses coz the old ones fall off my face 😳
As for the plastics, I don’t disclose how much my surgery cost, but the following is a rough guide per area of the body and what you might expect to pay (after private health insurance and Medicare covers the hospital costs and a small payment to the surgeon and the gas doctor) THESE ARE AUSTRALIAN PRICES $1k-$7k is considered low cost. $7k-$11k is mid range. $12k and over is high range. That is the gap payment as plastic surgeons will charge you a gap fee even if skin removal is deemed medically necessary. The gaps vary from surgeon to surgeon. My recommendation is ONLY USE a PLASTIC SURGEON. If you have private health insurance are in NSW or don’t mind traveling, google ‘The Access Program’ if you want a lower cost option.
Would I do it again? Heck yes! Over and over!! I have a life now and I am so grateful for it.
Sitting on the main oval of her conservative Christian high school, she could feel the prickle of the browning turf under her thighs, It’s spikey texture poked uncomfortably into her arse, as the sun tried it’s best to beat down on her from above. Streaks of blistering light were fighting a continual battle with the foliage lining the perimeter of the oval. The goal of said blistering light was for the right to blaze down upon and burn anyone, or anything that wasn’t shaded. Through the dappled light of her vantage point she could keep an eye on everyone, and was unfortunate enough to see all the goings on in the zoo. It was always the same, the popular girls and the popular boys, jostling for position and deciding who liked who this week.
She was under no illusions of any kind about who she was, and also, who she was not and where she fitted in! She wasn’t like the “cool” girls, trying to tan their legs in the hot Queensland sun. She secretly rolled her eyes at them and tore her gaze away before they saw her looking, but not before she saw what they were doing. All sitting in a row looking down at the way that their knees touched and then their legs just seemed to gently curve out and up and they didn’t touch at all anywhere in the middle. Glancing down at her own, she felt the familiar stab of comparison and envy as she surveyed her own pasty white, pork sausage legs. There was no sugar coating it, she knew full well that there was no graceful arc between them. Her BMI was over the normal range and she knew it was! She also knew that her legs touched all the way up, with no gaps in between. What was worse was that they rubbed badly at the top and she often felt sweat trickle down the back of her thighs on hot summer days, especially when they were hot summer, sports days. It didn’t have a “name” except “the gap” and the fact that she didn’t have one put her at odds with the beautiful people.
God, how she hated sport days! She hated them nearly as much as she loathed the the sport lord (AKA the PE teacher – there may have even been a song penned in his honour) It felt like sport day was yet another opportunity for those athletically inclined, and, by virtue of that inclination, superior individuals, to assert their dominance, as if they needed a special day for that! Obviously it also served a duel purpose as it was also an opportunity for the beautiful to wear smaller clothes. In short, it was depressing.
The aforementioned sport lord was her least favourite person and to be perfectly frank, he seemed to loathe her also, not that she could blame him. She did have an attitude when it came to this particular subject, and she used the term “subject” loosely! The sport lord made his grand entrance, jogging down the dirt track towards her prime location. Jogging, why was he jogging? Was this an attempt to inspire? Was this because he liked running so much or was it just to prove that he could? All she knew was that he ran in such an upright fashion that she smirked to herself and wondered how he could be that stiff. She hated the fact that even his hair seemed to just understand how to go straight up and down, flying up and around his face. His shorts were just that little bit too short and his whistle, she was sure, belonged up his arse, instead of in his mouth. “Just run a few laps to warm up” she groaned and thought to herself “what is his problem, can he not tell that it is currently a stifling 33 degrees out here – we ARE warm” and hated him all the more.
She set off around the oval, her boobs bounced painfully and her thighs slapped together with each step she took as she tried to comply with his request. Within minutes the burning began and it wasn’t long after that she could feel the chaffing start. Her thighs felt like they were on fire and she knew that by the end of the day, her thighs would be red raw and bleeding again. This was a weekly ritual – they would heal from the week before, only to be torn to pieces again – but she fought her way through the warm up and pretended that she was fine. It wasn’t until she got home from school in the afternoon and she was able to survey the damage to her torn skin that she decided that she wasn’t going to put herself through his exercises in pain and humiliation anymore. From then on she always skipped PE and she didn’t care what anyone thought about it.
Last night my usual nocturnal meanderings through various news and social sites brought me to a rather tragic place! I wasted 10 minutes of my life reading and then re-reading a really disturbing article that prompted much reminiscing, and consequently, my little trip down memory lane. The article was penned by a self proclaimed dating expert 🤦🏼♀️. Said “expert” touts the wonders of the feminine Thigh Gap and the Pussy Gap. These two things are, according to Pig Man, the pinnacle of feminine beauty and attractiveness. Please forgive me while I pause to vomit and also while I try to reassure myself, once again, that the voice of reason and balance will be louder in the ears of my sons than trash like Pig Man wrote.
As I read that article I was taken back to being my teen self, staring at my pork sausages on the oval that day and I felt a sense of rage at the the information that I was processing. I am so thankful that I married a respectful man. I am so thankful that my sons are respectful young men. However, I am so angered that anyone thinks it is okay write an essay defining feminine beauty and include absolutely not ONE word about her heart, her soul, her passions, her interests and the innate things about her that are so intrinsically “her” that you would know them anywhere. That Pig Man felt compelled to justify his dangerous obsession with a thigh gap and tried to normalise that type of thinking …… well, it just makes me furious.
Women, you gorgeous, amazing humans, do not buy into any kind of bullshit that would try to tell you that you must be a certain way to be beautiful. I raise my middle finger to arsewipes everywhere that would seek to put beauty into a tiny box and say that is the only type of beautiful! Thick thighs, thin thighs, and everything in between, perhaps especially the in-between (see what I did there 🤣) we are all beautiful!
I am 43 years old and in my 43rd year I attained a thigh gap. It’s actually a full leg gap and I seriously don’t care about it!! It really wasn’t worth getting excited over and I hate that it has such an influence over generations of women. What I am more excited over is the broken road that I have walked along and what I have learned on this shadowy path. We never really know strong we are until we have to be and I have had to be. The most valuable lesson that I wish I could magically bestow upon every person that I meet is that you do not have to be a certain anything, size, shape, weight, be able to list certain qualifications, or achievements to be seen as valuable. You are valuable just as you are! If no one else is cheering for you, please know that I am and honestly, learn to clap for yourself!
If you have never played this little gem of a game, you are missing out. We now have a change to the Covid-19 restrictions that we are living with and we are allowed to have 5 people visit our homes. Last night we played this with two close friends – the game is essentially this “guess whose camera roll a picture comes from” and you have a limited time to make your choice. Would you do it? Expose your camera roll to the rest of the room? My camera roll is full of my kids, my family, myself in various stages of transformation, my dog and work related photos. As we were sitting there playing, a photo popped up that I didn’t recognise at all but it was a picture of a large person and photos like that are regularly sent to me by folks asking for advice, so I assumed it was my picture, as did everyone else playing. When that round finished, everyone had that picture wrong – it was from Steve’s phone and it was me! I was totally shaken. How is it possible to not recognise myself??
I sat looking at that picture and it really got to me. If I had known all of the things would happen over the next three years I would have so wanted to find a way to pause or stop time. I would have chosen different outcomes for my family but I wouldn’t have chosen a different outcome for myself. Can you see it in my eyes? The absolute anxiety at being in front of people, feeling horrible about myself and wishing that I didn’t take up so much space in the world? I can see it, it is written all over my face.
This was me – Three years ago to the day. It was two years ago that I had weight loss surgery. That night WAS my defining moment. Not so much because of the double diplomas, but because of the decision I made. I hated how I felt that night. It should have been a celebration but instead I wanted to run and hide. It was the very next day that we increased our health insurance to cover weight loss surgery. I made a life altering decision that night, as I looked out on the hundreds of people assembled, that I never wanted to feel like that again.
I had worked sooooooo hard to stand there, full time mother, working full time, studying as best as I could and fighting through some really crippling anxiety to complete my double diploma. However on the night that I should have felt like I could celebrate my achievements, all I felt was self conscious. My graduation gown wasn’t big enough. It was the largest size that they had. I remember my total embarrassment as tears burned in my eyes. While the gown wouldn’t fit, my humiliation was all encompassing and it wrapped itself around me, cloaking me in feelings of shame and inferiority. I was so conflicted that night. So proud of myself on the one hand and so embarrassed and ashamed in the other. I decided while I was standing in that fitting room, surrounded by strangers, that I NEVER wanted to feel like that again.
Those feelings were the tipping point, the shove that I needed to make the decision to have weight loss surgery.
If one is going to sign up for therapy, I truly believe that it should be the embodiment of the word! Therapy should heal or treat a disorder. So to heal my tragically chubby wardrobe and to treat my now thinner body to some clothes that actually fit it, I have gone on a little bit of a spender bender over the past few weeks. I needed some warm clothes and some nice boots.
My retail therapy began by trolling the inter webs, looking for what is appropriate for a 40’something, mum of 5 with a passion for plants, Harry Potter fan fiction and baking, with a slight potty mouth, great legs and scary arm flaps to wear. Shock of shocks, I found nothing 🤣 !! I make Pterodactyls jealous with my arm flaps! How do you hide that shit. At first you do hide it but now I am at the point where I don’t even care, except it’s nearly winter, I live in the arse end of Australia and it gets COLD here. So I have to find things to fit the arm flaps into and hopefully also find things that will look good on the rest of me. That is hard when you have been large for a long time.
I know how to dress a slimmer body. I really do know how to do it, but I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to look. The bigger version of me pops up in my head from time to time and she is like “WHAT ARE YOU WEARING!” and then I remember, actually I can wear that now. People have suggested that I should hire a wardrobe consultant and that is probably a wonderful idea for other people, but it is not a good idea for me. I like weird and quirky a little bit too much to have someone telling me what to wear. Perhaps it is the rebel in me 🤷🏼♀️ but I really feel like it is part of my own job to find my new style. Talk about a first world problem – I mean come on! How hard can it be to chuck some clothes on your now size 6 self . . . well it has proven to be harder than I was expecting it to be. I will update as things arrive and I have a chance to talk pictures of them.
My boots arrived today. I am in shoelove. Yes that is a thing! I was so excited to lift them from their gorgeous box, to fold back the tissue paper and to see that they were EXACTLY the right colour. It was hard for me to purchase boots. I no longer have calves that are too wide to be able to fit into boots. Actually, I now need a slim fit. Not only that, I am particular about the shape of the toe and I am even more particular about the height and shape of the heel. I am not interested in teetering around, looking like I could fall and break myself at any moment, so high heels were out. I am pretty much hobbit height so I really need something to give me a little boost but the heel needs to be comfortable without looking clunky. I found those magical, unicorn like boots and they made their way from the USA to me in just under three weeks. Now to wait for the other lovely things I have ordered to arrive and then to wait for an occasion so that I can leave this damn house and wear them!! Oh this is also a fair warning those well meaning souls who think it’s okay to tell me to “eat a few burgers” now …. grow up and stop with the skinny shaming – I too have things I can suggest that you should eat and it is NOT a burger!!
I know what it is like to be judged based on my size. I also know exactly how it feels to be shamed because of it. I have, at times, been contemplating certain items in the supermarket when people have pushed me aside and said “look at you, you won’t eat this anyway!” and pushed their way past me, elbowing me out of the way to reach for the ice cream and one other instance, the chocolate that I was standing in front of. Both times I was confused by the interaction, one time I was a smart arse back because I don’t particularly take kindly to being elbowed aside by a stranger. I am not sure what it is about me that makes people think that it is okay to push me around? Perhaps it is because I am small. My sons call me “little one” but they also say that I am “tiny but mighty”. The one time that I was a smart arse back to the rude ice cream thief, one of my sons said “You can’t do that, you are tiny! She could have throttled you!” to which one of my other sons replied “She wasn’t catching mum if mum took off running!” 🏃♀️ It’s a strange thought to me, the thought of me beating a hasty retreat over ice cream and the fact that someone would even be that worked up over it that they would think it’s okay to elbow the skinny chick out of the away.
What is even stranger is that I AM THE SKINNY CHICK! I have to remind myself of those things because I am just me – same Tasha that I have always been except, if I am honest I suppose I am different in how I think these days. I am regularly told that I am now “too thin” I have been told to “eat a burger” I have been told that I look like I have a terminal illness, my kids have been asked “Is Mum sick?” and I have also been told that I should try to be a good example and not model unrealistic body ideals to young women. Yeah because everyone wants to look like they are a melted human without their clothes on but clothed up – I am small so I suppose I get it – sort of. The strange thing about the position that I am in is that I know what it feels like to be on the other end of these comments – as in the larger end.
I know what it is like to be called a “fat c*&^” that actually DID happened at work one day. I was shocked and absolutely mortified that someone would think it is okay to call anyone that. I sucked it up and didn’t just walk out. The justification was “I didn’t realise you were still here!” “Yup, so it’s okay to call me that behind my back?” Obviously it’s not okay to do that but in that persons mind it was. Back then I didn’t call people out on it because I was fat and I felt like that disqualified me. I don’t think I have ever felt so embarrassed or ashamed but I refused to cry in front of him. There is an element of passionate, righteous rage that simmers inside me over that kind of injustice! Sooooooo much has changed in the last two and a bit years since those words were spoken to me. I recently saw the person that called me that and he didn’t even recognise me 🤣 I did, however, make sure that he remembered the incident.
Honestly making comments about others because of how they look is a dog act. Sharing meme’s that involve shaming someone else’s appearance isn’t funny. It says so much about who people are if they are doing that stuff. I hate it and I do call people out on it. There are worse things than being fat or thin – if you are mean on the inside then that is an ugly that everyone will eventually notice.
I feel like I spent years and years of my life going around with a blindfold tied firmly around my head. I put it on myself and I kept it there willingly mind you. I allowed myself to wallow in my own self loathing. I was totally convinced that life for me, was to a large extent, as good as it was going to get. That I had, because of my many short comings and failings, been overlooked and in my mind I deserved it. My sense of self loathing began as a little girl. I remember the day that it started and the trigger has haunted me for years. I remember what I was wearing that day and I remember coming home and throwing my favourite dress in the bin. It would be years and years and years before I told anyone what had happened but by then it was too late. I had brought into a destructive lie that would go on to shape so much of my thinking around who I was.
I remember not understanding so many things and wondering what was wrong with me and why I was different to other kids. My happiness and the care free feeling of childhood died that day. Within a few short years I would embark on a pathway that would lead towards an eating disorder and a few years after that it led to alcohol abuse and drugs. All the while my loving family continued to love and pray for me while many a sanctimonious relative looked down their judgemental noses at me, my choices and my life.
They swore that their kids would never end up as mucked up as I was (just quietly, how did that work out for you?) My mum was encouraged to kick me out of home to make me come to my sense. Honestly would have probably been easier on them some days! But my gosh, the love of my mother is a force. It can be felt across states, it still wraps around me now just like it did back then and there was no way that she would let me go. No way that my Dad would let me go either! Thankfully my Mum and Dad both flipped off the naysayers and refused to put me out of their home. However, all it took was one little blonde haired girl with ringlets and a disposition as sweet and pure as sunshine itself to do me in. I didn’t want her to be hurt or disappointed in me so I did my best to sort my shit out. I am my mother’s daughter, I love my family passionately and even if I didn’t love me at that time, I loved my little sister with all of my heart. I didn’t want my little brother to find me passed out in my own vomit anymore and I didn’t want to wake up and not remember what or who I had done. It sounds as bad as it was – It is probably worse than that actually. There were moments of sobriety but they were few and far between.
I really was just a messed up kid trying my very best to cope with some truly shitty things that we just don’t like to talk about and I still don’t like to talk about. The first guy I ever really loved copped the worst of me – the vile mood swings, the temper, the destructive self loathing and the hormones – oh my god – lets not forget those! Add into that an eating disorder, and a terrible need to feel like I had some kind of control over my life. I often cringe inwardly when I think back to the mess that I was in those years. Of course I was good at putting on faces and did a brilliant job of that most of the time but at that point in my life I wasn’t able to admit to the brokenness or even see it as that.
My personal train wreck continued on a really private level for a long, long time. I battled with the shame of my very public break down and as a result, I battled with feeling less than worthy. I struggled with self loathing and battled an eating disorder well into my 30ies. However, so many incredible, milestone moments have taken place on the very tricky path I have walked and those moments have shaped the turns that my story would take. There is no one in life that I love more than my children. When I became a mother for the first time everything changed. I wanted to be the best I could possibly be for this incredible little person that I got to love. I still have the same want and it motivates my choices each day. I did not get it right all the time or even most of the time. I have buckets of regrets and have cried rivers of tears over my short comings and failures. I have also learned that there is little point in living life filled with regret. I hope that my failings have caused me to grow and made me into a better, more authentic and kinder person – finding the good, or the golden in myself is a lesson in self discovery.