The Annual Walk of Shame

by Carol Hess on August 8, 2011

It’s that time of year again – my annual physical.  In a few minutes, I will be hopping in the car and driving over to the medical center.  I hate this time of year. 

It’s not that I hate the physical exam so much, although I can certainly think of a hundred other ways I would rather spend an hour.  But I understand the necessity of it.  After all, it’s for my own good.  God, how I hate that phrase!  Why do I dislike so many of the things that are for my own good?  Well, that’s a question for another day and another blog post. 

I know why I dislike this for-my-own-good annual physical so much.  It’s because I will be doing the walk of shame.  You know.  The one where you have to walk up to the scale, take your shoes off (and anything else you can get away with that might add even an ounce), step up, and then wait for the scale to tell you what a fuck-up you are. 

In the bad old days, the torture was prolonged as the nurse kept pushing the little slidey thingie (I’m sure it has a technical term) a little to the right, a little to the right, a little to the right until you wanted to scream, “Oh, for God’s sake, I’ve gained 15 pounds.  Just push it the hell up there and get it over with!” 

These days, the torture is shorter.  But the number is so much more uncompromising.  The old-fashioned scale had those little grooves in the metal with the occasional number to orient you.  It was easy to misread a few pounds the right way.  But there’s no mistaking what the blabbermouth digital display is saying.  Thank God it doesn’t talk out loud . . . yet. 

The nurse never tut tuts or shakes her head or screams, “You are so fucking fat, Carol!  Get a grip!” 

She just matter of factly writes the number down, waits while you climb off the scale and retrieve your shoes, and then leads you to the exam room.  Where you have plenty of time to contemplate how this year’s conversation about your weight will go. 

“Let’s talk about your weight, Carol.”

Really, do we have to? 

“It’s up a bit.” 

No!  Really?  Tell me something I don’t know. 

“Why do you think that is?” 

Because I eat too damned much.  That’s why. 

I love my doctor.  Scott saved my life the day he decided not to dismiss a lump that didn’t concern either of us and ordered a mammogram anyway.  “I don’t like to fool around when it comes to breasts,” he said.  (I’m sure his wife is glad to hear that. :-)) 

Seriously though, I felt really bad for him when he had to be the one to give me the bad news about the test results.  I thought it would be someone else – the radiologist, the breast surgeon, the oncologist.  Not my friend, Scott.  I wouldn’t do that to a friend. 

It didn’t make his job easier that I had already figured out I was screwed.  He still had to think about and then make the call.  That’s tough, especially if you are a doctor who hasn’t shut down your feelings.  

Once Scott had delivered the message, he didn’t just jump off the phone and heave a sigh of relief.  He hung in there, offered personal and professional support, and was human instead of medical.  

Like I said.  I love Scott.  He’s a really, really good guy and a good doctor.  And he has never once shamed me about my weight.  

But he doesn’t have to.  I am very good at doing that all by myself, thank you very much.  My middle name is Shame.  I’m the Queen of Shame.  Shame, thy name is Carol. 

And that’s why I’m dreading my annual physical.  It is one prolonged experience in shame.  Is there a more uncomfortable feeling in the world?  I don’t think so.  I really don’t. 

Every year, I’m reminded that, once again, I have failed to do something significant about my weight.  Every year, Scott and I have the same discussion about the same test results that indicate the same thing.  My body is paying a price for carrying the excess weight, a price that goes up a little bit every year. 

Does Scott get as bored, frustrated, disgusted, and angry as I do?  If he does, he doesn’t show it.  I, on the other hand, don’t do as good a job disguising my feelings.  The shame is wearing me down.

Every year, my disgust and anger with myself show more.  Every year I get closer to tears.  This just might be the year I break down and start crying.

And maybe that would be a good thing.  If I let myself really feel my feelings about my weight and let them show, maybe that would be a good thing.  I’ve “worded” this damned weight problem to death and back – talking, writing, thinking, reading about it.  Maybe it’s time to start crying about it. 

Well, I do cry about it.  But not really.  Every once in a while, I’m caught off guard or my feelings get so strong that a few tears leak out and maybe even a boo hoo or two.  But letting myself really go?  Really feeling the pain and sadness and grief and fear I have about my weight?  Oh my God, I might never stop crying.  

Oh my God, maybe that’s what You want me to do.  Feel.  Cry.  And then turn it all over to You.  

Let go of my weight and let God handle it?  Do I have the courage to do that?  Do I have the courage not to?

by Carol Hess

2 comments

Categories The Mind Game, Weight Loss

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Abs Workout From a Pro June 28, 2012 at 12:10 am

An enormous thank you to your article.Actually thank you! Awesome.

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avatar Carol Hess June 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

You’re welcome. I’m glad it was helpful. :)

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