Shame and Humiliation

As we were on our way to the doctors office, I couldn't help but smile.  I had checked my test results online, done lots of research on the results and knew that they were off.  I was confident this appointment would end with me being prescribed a medication that would make me feel better.  I was so excited, and felt this appointment was the first step I needed to take to feel myself again.

I walked into the office, checked myself in and settled into a chair in the waiting room.  I glanced around the waiting room, wondering if anyone else was having a life-changing appointment like I was about to experience.

My dreaming was interrupted by my name being called.

On the agenda first was an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound the doctor told me the abnormality that would cause my numbers to be askew, and cause my symptoms, was indeed there.  I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing my research had been on point.  I gathered my things and went to the room, waiting for the doctor.

She walked in, shook my hand and began looking at my chart and my test results.  She turned to speak to me and I was ready for this discussion.

What are you doing about your weight?

My mind began to spin.  I was seeing her about something completely unrelated to my body weight and I hadn't even raised the subject.  I wasn't even sure of what to say.  She continued on, without awaiting my answer.

You are much too beautiful of a woman to walk around in a body like that daily.

My mind was spinning so quickly, I couldn't even grasp a single thought.  I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.  I tried to gather some type of composure and I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind.

I just...I don't think I should have to look a certain way to love myself.

I could feel my breath quickening and my heart was pounding out of my chest.

I could recommend you for gastric bypass.  I could write the script out today if you'd like.

I felt as if I was dreaming.  How did this appointment get so out of control?

No.  I...I don't think I want that.

Honestly, the remainder of the appointment was a blur.  I held it together enough to get to my car.

Once I was inside, I couldn't hold it in any longer. Being fat shamed by my doctor cut so deeply that I sat in my car and cried for half an hour. I didn't just cry, I ugly cried. I had never felt so shamed and humiliated in my life.

Why did that happen? Why did she say that? Why did she feel that was appropriate? Why was she so blatant? Why didn't she care? Was that her attempt at motivation?  Question after question replayed in my mind.

And with those questions, came the all-too-familiar feelings I had been working so hard to push out of my mind. Not enough. Nothing special. Ordinary. Fat. Not pretty. Worthless.

Thankfully, my husband was waiting in the car for me. As I cried inconsolably, I slipped my hand inside his. His strength far outweighs mine. No matter what news we're given, he always resounds with a hand squeeze and it will all be okay babe. This visit was no different,he still found the right words to comfort me.

I've experienced fat-shaming before, but never at the hands of a medical professional. Why doesn't their oath included kindness and compassion?

And before you say 'Your doctor was just doing her job promoting good health', think again.

She made her unsolicited and day-ruining diagnosis on the basis of looks alone. When she saw my weight, she had only one thing on her mind.  The initial reason for my visit was instantly dismissed and not discussed again.

This happened three months ago.

The appointment was so hurtful, so humiliating and so shaming that it's been very difficult to even talk about. Only a handful of people closest to my heart know about it.

But today, it was time to share it.

If you know me, you know what comes after my sadness.  Anger.  I licked my wounds for a few days, and then I made a decision.  Someone who doesn't know me, know what my journey has included, know what pain and sadness I've endured and know my body like I do is not going to dictate my happiness.  And that anger motivated and drove me more than anything.  

Since that appointment, I've lost 34 pounds and 12 inches.  When she recommended gastric bypass, she instantly assumed I couldn't do it on my own.  And she assumed wrong.  If I am anything, it's a fighter.  And when my fight is fueled by anger, watch out world.    

One of the most crucial decisions I ever made in my weight loss journey was learning to love myself regardless of my size. Thankfully, I had made this decision before this appointment.

If you have never been overweight, you don't know. If you have not sat in a doctors office and listened to their diagnosis, you don't know. If you have never been fat shamed (which, by the way, IS a real thing), you don't know. If you have never had that daily battle in your own mind, you don't know. If you have never been made fun of, you don't know.

We are all women struggling with some type of body image in this media-forced mean girl world. And it's time we start building each other up rather than tearing each other down for our differences. All bodies are good bodies. All bodies are real bodies. All bodies are worthy of love and respect.

Honestly y'all, just love on others. Remember that every single person you run into is fighting some type of battle that you can't see. We are told in Mark 12: 30-31 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”