Inspiring vs infuriating

Back in the aftermath of the K breakup, it had been suggested by my therapist to get cable tv for a while… mainly to be an intentional source of distraction from rumination and deep pits of thought.

So, for the first time in more than a decade, we got cable.

And, normally, it does fairly decent at being a mindless distraction when needed. It’s still a bit of a toss up on if that’s really worth the expense of it.. but for now, its there.

The box includes a dvr… so a lot of times we have just random movies or entire seasons of shows piled up on it that haven’t been watched.. which generally means I’m watching a couple of episodes of a show back to back rather than in a normal weekly cycle.

There is one show in particular though… that I’ve noticed keeps getting my anger tweaked.

Which, ironically, I’d actually started recording it because I’d found it to be inspirational.

It’s a reality show… that documents a year in the life of someone who is massively obese and has become a patient of a doctor in Houston who specializes in gastric bypass on extreme cases.

In spite of being a skeptic in many cases about the procedure… it’s actually pretty interesting to watch.

There are some days that I feel like a fat blob with a bum leg that’s never going to get anywhere and will always be the weird one off alone…

But then, watching these people…

Almost all of these people weigh more than twice what I do, and a good number weight more than three times my size.

About half of them are completely unable to get out of their beds.

So, it’s one of those cases where it’s hard to be throwing my blob pity party while watching these people dealing with more than I could ever imagine.

And mostly, overcoming it.

But sometimes not so much.

It’s a bit more interesting to watch the show in groups of episodes though than I think if I watched it weekly, because each episode follows just one specific person for the year…. so its interesting to see the differences in how people deal with the some of the same challenges.

It makes it really glaringly easy to tell when someone is just playing the victim and doesn’t really want to do the hard work.

You get some episodes where you really just want to ask the person if they’d ever watched any of the other seasons before they agreed to be on this, to see what they were signing up for in going through this process.

More than once, I’ve been sick enough of watching someone just whine and tell the dr he’s wrong… that I’ve just hit the stop and deleted button.

You’d be shocked at just how many people get used to the camera and so you literally see them eating big plates of fast food with their families on camera, and then directly telling the doctor that they’ve completely stuck to the diet and haven’t had anything they shouldn’t have.

And, as you might actually expect… most of the episodes do start with a story of how the person was abused or otherwise grew up in dysfunctional settings.

So, in spite of the ones who spend the whole show making excuses and not taking it seriously, there are still a good number of people on the show who do.

Yes, they have some massive challenges, and major setbacks, and sometimes just spells where they can’t quite get it together… but, overall, eventually most of them get it. They pull it together, and they get well down the road to where they want to be.

So, it’s a show I’ve generally found to be inspiring.

But more and more, it just makes me mad.

For example..

There was a guy in his late 20’s… who hadn’t seen his 2 year old daughter in a year and a half because his ex decided "he was too fat to be a dad".

Now, there are some cases on the show where people can’t even get out of bed where maybe that might be somewhat justified to only have supervised visitation or whatever, but this was not one of those cases.

This was a guy who was mobile, no wheelchair or walker or cane. He had a job. He did live with family, but was otherwise a capable adult.

But since he was fat… and so used to being shamed for being fat… he accepted this from his ex.

He was willing to go through major surgery… to be able to see his daughter… when really the only reason he couldn’t was for lack of a good lawyer and the confidence to fight.

After the surgery, this guy was so pressured into how much he had to succeed as the only chance of being in her life, that he ended up majorly overdoing it, and in the hospital for 6 weeks with issues as a result.

The guy was literally nearly killing himself… basically because his ex wife was a jerk who didn’t care enough about their daughter’s well being to not be using her as a pawn.

Which of course is anger tweaking enough.

But, that the poor guy was in enough of a mental state and beaten down so much that he believed it rather than fight…

How much torment had this guy been through that he would really think that he couldn’t be a parent just because he was fat?

Yes, I’m not saying he wouldn’t have had extra challenges.. it’s harder to keep up, and harder to get down on the floor and back up, etc…

But, if his physical challenges had been different, say, paraplegic, he might have had worse challenges, and would anyone have actually been so cruel as to tell a paraplegic that they weren’t capable of being a parent and not letting them even see their kid over those same sorts of challenges?

Sometimes… the anger comes from closer to home…

The mother who has been all into telling their adult daughter that they are killing themselves and have to change…. then, just a month or so after the daughter goes through the surgery… in a place where the daughter is struggling with the changes she has to make and is still craving the foods she used to eat…. the mother has the daughter drive her home from work, but on the way home, has her stop and get the mother bacon cheeseburgers and fries, and then goes on about how she’s just too tired at the end of the day to worry about cooking, and then throwing a big baby fit about the fact that they didn’t give her curly fries.

You just want to go "do you even care about your daughter at all?"

You nag and nag at her to change… and then when she does… you basically wave it in her face.

Which, isn’t to say that the cases that stir my emotions up are always the person who is the fat one.

There are also a good number of times when I wonder why in the world partners are staying with the people… not so much because they are having to do everything for the person (in some cases, even bathing and cleaning up after they go to the bathroom)… but, because there are some of these people who then give them nothing but entitled attitude and treat them like dirt even as they are going so over the top for the person.

Do they seriously not realize how completely lucky and fortunate they are to have someone who is willing to do that for them? Or even to be with them through the journey period even if they weren’t waiting on the person hand and foot?

You kind of want to take them and introduce them to the girl in the last episode, who was convinced that having surgery was the only way that she’d ever find anyone willing to overlook the fact that she was fat enough to get to know her and love her. (Who I wonder if had ever seen some of the other episodes… surprisingly enough, the majority of the people on the show are in a committed relationship.. as much as I really seriously wonder how sometimes with as much as I feel like its a challenge even at 1/3 of their size)

Again, there’s probably a good part of it that’s just my "sometimes people really suck" spell…

But, man… you’d think when there’s a camera on you and you know that it’s going to be on national tv on one of the larger cable networks… that you would at least be somewhat inspired to be halfway decent to each other.

It’s still great watching these people pull it together, dig in, and make It through some huge challenges in their lives.

But it seems like it sucks extra when a lot of the challenges didn’t need to be there except for the fact that people in their life act like jerks.


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