Relationship Tests

Turns out, when you’re recovering from major ankle surgery (my second, on the same ankle, thankyouverymuch), you aren’t really in the mood to write or blog. Or sit up. Or talk to people. Or pretty much anything else. Well, for the first few days at least.

After that, there isn’t as much of an excuse, since the pain was managed 1000 percent better this time around, and I wasn’t nearly as high on painkillers. Which in some ways is disappointing, because there were some GEMS that came out of my mouth last time when I was all hopped up. Two quick examples just for giggles: 1. I told my mom I was growing out my bush, and 2. I growled repeatedly on the phone to the person I was dating at the time, and then laughed hysterically as if it was the best joke I’d ever told.

None of that this time around. Which I guess I should be grateful for, since I live with my boyfriend now and I’m not sure I trust my Percocet-addled brain not to instruct my mouth to say something potentially detrimental or wildly embarrassing. So on that front, we’re good.

It’s been about 2 weeks since surgery, and I’m doing really well – but my aspirations of writing some of my most hysterical and pithy blog posts while on painkillers turned out to just be a fantasy. Oh well. I have something new to write about now anyway. Relationship tests.

Scantron TEST blocks and pencil.

No, not pen and paper or fill-in-the-bubble tests. Although side-note, remember Scantron forms?? And the stress of making sure you had the right kind of pencil? #2? How many numbers of pencils are there? Is my sparkly mechanical pencil a #2?? No, not those kind of tests.

And not those stupid “tests” men and women sometimes like to throw out early on in the relationship either; because no you CANNOT judge me based on what I order on the first date, whether it’s a salad or a burger so rare that it’s still mooing. Or if I’ll sit through a Sunday of football without complaining or just walking away (I won’t). Or if he remembers that obscure flower you love that you happened to mention in passing on the first date (he won’t).

No, I’m talking about real tests of a relationship – moments in time when you face an obstacle you weren’t expecting, and how you cope/communicate/handle it together speaks volumes about the relationship. Depending on the magnitude of these tests and obstacles, some relationships are still standing on the other side – some aren’t.

Well, when I scheduled this surgery, I inadvertently scheduled a relationship test on the side. SWELL. I don’t think I can use my doctor’s note to get out of this one. Nope, not when the surgery in question basically renders me useless for a full 6 weeks. 6 weeks of being completely non weight-bearing and rolling around on a little scooter/walker. I can’t really carry things. Or do stairs. Or get in and out of a car easily. Or run back into the bedroom to grab my phone. Or get comfortable to sleep. Or get comfortable at all, really. I’m on my back most of the time with my legs up, and not in the fun way I prefer to be. Speaking of which, I almost forgot. I also can’t really have sex easily either, at least until the stitches come out.

Now, I know it will get better. We’re only in week 2, and the first couple weeks are the worst, with instructions to basically lay around and have my foot up and iced pretty much constantly. Lay and ice. Pee. Lay and ice. Pee. Lay and ice. I’ll get the stitches out soon, and that will make a big difference. But for another month, I still won’t be able to put any weight on it for fear of snapping the giant metal screw that is holding everything precariously together right now. So that means another month of still needing to ask for help with the most basic things and I can tell you right now it gets old. On both sides, I imagine. It sucks.

But I am choosing to look at this little relationship test as a growth experience. A way for us to grow and learn more about each other. I sound so zen, don’t I? Well, I wasn’t a week ago when we were ready to tear each other’s heads off, and seemed to find something to fight about every single night. 750 square feet starts to feel pretty small then, especially when one of you physically CAN’T leave, and the other one can’t leave without being a jerk who abandoned the crippled girl just days after surgery (sorry dude).

So if you’re not ready to talk, you stew. You stew in 750 square feet, and you feel trapped. Which is what we both did, for awhile. Until we couldn’t take it anymore. And then we talked. And really tried to listen to each other.

Which is really the key to every successful relationship. That and sex. But at that point in time, only one of those things was physically an option, so we opted to talk. And I’m so glad we did. We talked for a long time that night. And the night after that. There was some real truth being served, from both sides and I think we both needed to hear it.

We learned a lot about each other, and how the other deals with different situations. How we each react to stress and what we need from each other in those moments. I mean after all, we’ve only known each other a little more than a year. Long enough to know we want to be together, but not long enough to unearth every nuance of each other’s personality. Especially under atypical circumstances. So this really did turn out to be a great learning experience for us, and I’m actually grateful for that.

I’m not saying we aren’t ever going to fight again – we will. But we can walk (or roll…. or hobble) away from this experience knowing we have the right freaking pencil to pass the test – we know how to talk through these hurdles and really try to see things from each other’s perspective. We’ll have to remind each other of these things at different points for the rest of our lives because we’re human, but that’s what interpersonal communication is all about.

Oh, and when you’re all talked out, I’m happy to report that a little creative positioning on the edge of the bed and a concerted effort not to bust your stitches can get you the other half of that equation we all need to get through a rough couple days with your honey. <sighs happily>

My Love/Hate Relationship With The Word “FAT”

I am fat. Objectively, this is true. I don’t live in some strange delusion where I don’t know this to be the case. I know it is, and I am taking steps to change it. Some days more than others, but it’s a process, and if you’ve never struggled with your weight, you don’t understand it’s about more than just “eating healthier” and “exercising more,” although those elements are both necessary.

There is a reason I gained the weight in the first place, and it’s more complicated than “I ate too much.” I mean, I totally did. I ate way too much and didn’t exercise nearly enough, but I have to really take a step back to understand all the reasons why and work on them.

Anyway, I accept the fact that I am fat. For now. So in a way, I embrace the word “fat” and love that there is a voice on the internet that is getting louder and louder every day; an army of women stepping up and owning who they are, no matter what size. Proudly rocking bikinis and crop tops and demanding a better selection of clothing for plus-size women. Women who refuse to let their size define them and who accept themselves for the people they are. These are women who have reclaimed the word “fat” and said “eff off” to those who would use it to try to make them feel “less than.”

To them, I tip my hat. I am wildly impressed with their confidence. And part of me embraces the adjective “fat.” It’s just a word, and words only mean what we allow them to. Case in point, my boyfriend tells me all the time how much he loves my “fat butt” and I know it’s a compliment because he can’t keep his hands off me. And I know my butt is “fat” and not “phat.” At first, it ruffled me a little – “fat” has always felt like a dirty word to me, and I was terrified of it in high school and college. So to have someone I love use it to describe me was initially a shock to my system. But now I really embrace it. He really does love my big ol’ butt, cellulite and all. He wouldn’t change a thing about it. He loves my body more than I do, and I’m trying to take a page from his book and embrace me, as I am, right now. So in a sense the word “fat” is helping me to accept myself, which is pretty awesome.

But on the flip side, I freaking hate it. It’s a word that has traditionally been used to put people down, belittle them, and act as a ridiculous excuse to pass judgement on someone’s worth as a person based on their size. And to those people, I say “go to hell.” Being fat does not define who I am as a person – it is a state of being that I happen to exist in right now.

I’m fat, sure. But I’m also funny, successful, happy, beautiful, kind, loving, clumsy, loud, opinionated and strong. If you ask anyone who knows me to describe me, I’m certain they would choose one of those adjectives before “fat.” And fat doesn’t trump any of the things on that list.

No matter who we are, we shouldn’t have to be defined by physical appearance. Unfortunately, that’s not the case – we ARE defined by physical appearance in so many ways, and not just regarding our weight. Our appearance is the first thing people notice when they look at us, and people DO form opinions. And some people will be unkind based on certain physical attributes. So we have to find ways to take ownership of those things, and find self-worth from within. To be kind to ourselves, even if people around us aren’t doing the same. Easier said than done.

I’m not stupid or delusional – I understand the health risks associated with obesity and the fact that no matter how hard we fight, there WILL be judgement passed on those who are overweight. I live in the real world – I understand these things. But as I’ve been reading more and more articles and fashion blogs from plus-size women practicing self-love and body acceptance (whether you’re a size 2 or size 22), I am inspired by them. By their confidence, their bravery, their style, their swagger, and their sexiness. But what I can’t understand is why so many people seem to have such a strong negative reaction to these women who are simply on a quest to love themselves even if they happen to be fat.

Fat is not an obstacle to happiness.


I can only speak for myself when I say that yes, I know I will feel better, more energetic and healthier when I lose some of the weight I’ve gained over the last couple years. But just losing that weight is not what is going to make me a happy and fulfilled human being. Accepting myself and those around me for who they are, travelling the world, saying “yes” to things that scare me, and spending time with friends and family are things that will contribute to my happiness. Loving my “fat butt” as much as my boyfriend does is a personal goal of mine. I’m gonna love my fat butt so hard.

Because you know what? I deserve unconditional love from myself. I am happy to love others unconditionally, and I understand what it means to do so. And I accept unconditional love from others. But unconditional love from myself?? That is a newer concept for me. And it means I need to love myself now, with extra weight, as much as I would if I were a size 6.

A very wise friend of mine said to me years ago, as I was having a meltdown over my weight before a night out in Vegas, “Court, we will never be here again. In this moment, right now. Be happy and enjoy the experiences in front of us. Weight is a temporary thing – you can always work to change that. But we can never get this moment or experience back.” He was right. I want a happy and amazing life RIGHT NOW. Not 75 pounds from now. I deserve happiness, at any weight.

So by any standard definition of the word, I am fat. But I do not solely identify myself that way, or even primarily identify myself that way. It’s just part of me right now, a person who is constantly evolving. And one of the elements of my evolution is my body. At the end of the day, this is the body I’m living in right now, so I have to accept it. I can work to improve it, but my worth cannot be tied to a number on the scale. My worth is determined by me, dammit.