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Old Band Gal

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Who I am and how I got here.



I am an older woman. I love that euphemistic phrase. How old is an older woman? Not young, not old, but closer to old than young. That describes me alright. I won't say how old right now, though I will give clues as I go along... if you follow me on this blog adventure long enough you will figure it out. For the time being I don't want only women of a limited age range to be able to identify with my story. I would like to be able to appeal to men as well, but I think it is uniquely a woman's story.

The focus of this story is weight and ultimately my ongoing experience with gastric banding. Many of the entries on these forums and blogs are from people who say they were always overweight

(another euphemism - this one not a descriptive as the first. Is there just one certain, finite weight & a buzzer that sounds when we go over it?). There is a lesser, but significant, number of others who, like myself, were actually not "overweight" (no buzz) their whole life, but thought they were or knew with a certainty they soon would be. I come from a family of half thin, half fat people. On my mother's side nobody was fat except Aunt Mackie. She wasn't really fat, just a bit pudgy, but in a family of naturally thin people, she stuck out like a sore thumb. Grandma had done what she could to prevent it, allowing the rest of the family the rich blackberry cobbler she had made while Mackie munched on apple. It didn't work. Mackie's stubbornly thick body type persisted. She would have been queen of the thin in Daddy's family though. There was only one or two in his family who escaped without the family fat gene, and many were downright obese. For them it was the norm, & they embraced it, eating freely, & with gusto. This was the Hudson side of the family, Daddy's mother's side of the family. His father was not heavy, but he was the only one on that side by the time I could remember. Daddy's brother, Uncle Cecil, took after his father, tall and lanky, but Daddy was Hudson through & through - stocky from the beginning & seriously "overweight" (buzz, buzz) by 30. Mother had four sisters, a lively & colorful bunch of pretty fun loving ladies, but they were very judgement about weight. My perception was that, though they pitied Mackie and my father, they could understand why they didn't do something about it. It was also clear that it was repulsive. "I just don't understand why Mackie doesn't reduce.".

I never thought about myself in relationship to any of this until I was about 7 or 8. I had two first cousins only, one on my father's side & one on my mother's side. The one on my mother's side was named Barbara and she was thin & beautiful, and I worshiped her. She was 12 years older than I was and good at everything. She was an artist and Aunt Mackie, a remarkable seamstress, had taught her how to sew. I remember like yesterday that summer. Barbara was making me a dress for school. They were visiting us in Memphis from Jackson, MS, where they lived. Barbara was fitting the dress. I was standing with my left arm up so she could get to my waist more easily to measure it, and she said, "Oh, Pam, you just don't look ". A funny way to put it, but I knew exactly what she meant. I had never had an awareness of my body before, but I couldn't lose that first awareness of it after that. I felt such shame at being on the Hudson side of fat and realized I must be disgusting.

More later.


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