Keep from Getting Hurt

My dad’s sister thinks that my dad’s brother is a pain to deal with because his overriding instinct is to keep from getting hurt, so he just lashes out and pushes away before you have a chance to get him.

I think this is a pretty good insight.

The talk of the family, apparently, is how the fat ones among us cannot lose weight and how mysterious this is. My cousin, who ever has a personal trainer (!!!), is still fat. (My uncle, who they dare not talk to about fatness has lost a lot of weight on a gluten free diet but is still fat.)

On the one hand, after years and years of hearing how no one will love me if I don’t lose weight, I am, shall we say, keenly aware of the shift in the discussion. And I’ll die happy in my dotage if I never have to hear about how my weight makes me unworthy of love again.

On the other hand, when I first got diagnosed with PCOS, I told the women in my family, “Hey, I have this endocrine disorder and it usually runs in families and you might want to get it checked out.” That was years ago. And I am not a scientist, obviously, but it’s pretty apparent to me that PCOS is called that because the most easily recognizable symptom of the endocrine disorder is cysts on your ovaries, but the cysts don’t cause the syndrome. If I had my ovaries removed, I would still have the syndrome because my endocrine system is fucked up, and the cysts are just a symptom. The syndrome should just have a name like “whew, doggie, your endocrine system is fucked the fuck up and causing some weird shit throughout your body syndrome.”

And, again, I am not a scientist, but if the more proper name for PCOS is instead WDYESIFTFUACSWSTYBS, it seems quite possible to me that men could have some iteration of WDYESIFTFUACSWSTYBS themselves.

So, I’m finding it very hard to respond to this change in direction of the discussion of our bodies with the kind of grace and generosity that I am striving to interact with my family this Christmas with (that may be too many ‘with’s but I’m not sure), because I feel like nothing that happens to me is ever real until it is replicated by other family members. So, I can say, “Hey, I have this endocrine disorder my doctor says runs in families” and la la la, whatever. Poor broken Betsy. But now that the aunt on the starvation diet and the cousin with the personal trainer are not able to lose weight and it’s just baffling them and their doctors, by god, something is wrong!

Yes, fuckers, an endocrine disorder runs in our family.

Anyway, I got to spend a fun twenty minute telling my parents that the most important thing any of us can do is to eat as well as we can, and make vegetables a big part of our meals, move around a lot, and do that because it’s good for us whether or not we lose weight from it and try to let go of the idea that our weight tells us anything about our worth or whether we’re trying hard enough to be good people.

I suspect that will remain unheard until someone else in the family also says it.

I am often very frustrated with my uncle and his approach to life, but my god, I get it. It’s just at odds with my efforts to be the kind of person I want to be in this world.

Which, ha ha, probably wouldn’t bitch about her family behind their backs on the internet, but baby steps.

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3 thoughts on “Keep from Getting Hurt

  1. It isn’t just your family. My parents (mom esp.) believe things I say if and only if one of their friends, or a doctor, reports the same information. Like, oh, move around more, sitting still makes your bad hip worse, or yoga stretches are really useful, or no, really, the football team here is predatory and dangerous and that’s why I won’t go to games, etc, so on, ad nauseam.

  2. My workplace is the same way. I haven’t figured out why (I don’t make things up) but, I swear, if I told them the building was on fire they’d have to go check before evacuating.

  3. It is odd how some people in groups are believed right off the bat and others get the, “That’s nice but we’ll wait for someone with more validity to confirm,” treatment.

    I agree with you that PCOS puts the focus on the easiest symptoms to spot. I had an old school reproductive endocrinologist tell me it used to be called metabolic syndrome or syndrome x with men and women diagnosed but then the cystastic ovaries connection was noticed so now it is a separate and/or related condition. It is interesting to think about are they really, totally separate things or are we just freaking out because ovaries. I do not know enough science to speak about this with any authority and I was more focused on the reproductive mysteries of my body at that time. Take it with a grain of salt because some of his other medicine and science was pretty outdated. Your post made me think of that.

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