What happens when your love for something becomes almost fatal? And what if the thing you love is also the same thing that sustains you? In her ‘zine Diamond in the Rough Caroline Tigress takes her readers through the journey that she undertook last year when she decided to have a gastric bypass surgery.
In an excerpt from her ‘zine, Caroline explains her relationship with food and how the dividing line between a healthy relationship with it and an unhealthy relationship with it can be thin.
I remember using food as comfort and pleasure more than once. But what is food, if not comfort? Seriously, food can warm, or cool the body, can provide sensation, can augment existing sensation, is used to comfort at a wake, and celebrate at a birthday party. Life and death, food is a part of our life.
Now, a year later after her surgery, has her experience changed her view on food, and how has she managed to cope with the changes?
You state that food has been your addiction because you’ve seen it as a means to bring comfort or joy and not merely as a way to nourish yourself. Has your view on food changed ever since you’ve gotten a gastric bypass?
“Considerably. You have to understand the biological mechanism of the gastric bypass. It takes the stomach, and radically alters the size. A normal stomach can hold as much as a two liter bottle when stretched out, and in certain individuals’ cases, cases of the morbidly obese, the stomach has been forced to expand even farther. A common concept of this is the consuming of carbonated beverages which have a tendency to increase the size of the stomach well beyond its’ normal means. Food, while still a source of pleasure, is not quite once as powerful as it once was – because I’ve been forced to not have as much food, and in fact, spent the first 3-4 months puking about 75% of what went down, up, I have realized that food isn’t a device of pleasure.”
Why did you decide to start a ‘zine that would record your experience in having a gastric bypass?
“Initially, I did not. Initially I took my laptop with me in order to record an event in my life, that may or may not have implications in my writing. Yet, as I was going through the process, the concept of a Diamond in the Rough came up – that we are all beautiful people, sometimes we get covered in the day to day muck of life, and sometimes we have to take some time and polish ourselves. That’s why it became a perzine; a zine of my own experiences – because compulsive eating had taken over my life to such extremes, and it’s a demon I must face in order to show myself for the person I am. Every person has their own burdens, mine is food. And men.”
Many people who have problems with their weight decide to have a gastric bypass only after they’ve attempted numerous diets and failed, can you relate to that?
“My father took me to Weight Watchers when I was ate. After a meeting, and if I was good, we’d go to Baskin & Robbins. King of the mixed messages, my father is.”
Has writing about your experience helped you in any way?
“This is a bit gruesome, but the initial process of writing is a process I call ‘puking’ which is hilarious when you consider that’s what I spent a lot of my time doing during the early months of the bypass. As I’m writing this for a zine, I can be much, much more informal about it; by using first-person and other concepts, I can bring it to a closer concept to my reader. I’ve also started to add characters to my writing that deal with compulsive eating issues.”
Almost a year later of your operation, was going through all that pain, worth it?
“Yes. I’m wearing a sport bra and a skirt. I can see the muscles in my feet, and I no longer suffer from bilateral chrondomalacia. My back is in a lot of pain still, and I get nausea easily, however. I’ve lost over a hundred pounds and can use a,‘normal’ scale now.”
Has having undergone the operation made you feel better about yourself?
“Sort of. It was a very interesting experience, and I’ve learned a lot about who I am by being forced to deal with my eating issues. It’s a critical life experience that I don’t wish on anyone. I liken it to a ‘born-again’ Christian, I suppose.”
Has your relationship with food changed for you today?
“I still eat for comfort, I’m just far pickier about the volume and the food itself.”
Apart from creating this ‘zine, you’re a writer, what kind of genres do you cover in your novels?
“I write Erotica, I also have started a marathon science-fiction series, Mutant Life the first book of which has been accepted by a publisher, and we’re all very excited here. Mutant Life:Cometh Uber will probably be available in Fall of this year. Several chapters of my novel-in-progress, In the Stacks have won an editor’s choice award from literotica.com.”