Self-creation

I drank too many pints of cider the other night. And we got to talking about my surgery and one of my friends said that she didn’t want me to not be Connor any more after I become skinny and gorgeous.

I mean, I kind of hope I’m not Connor any more after the op. I want to be like Jesus after his transfiguration. I want to be like Jade Goody after she learned not to be a racist bully. I want a complete rebranding.

I’ve read a lot about identity and I remember being depressed to realise that we probably are just products of our time and place in culture and history, that we’re not unique, free-thinking individuals who can choose our own paths. At one stage, I got really interested in the idea of changing sex as a means of self-creation. And I kind of look at this operation as an act of self-creation. It’s maybe not as radical as gender reassignment, but it makes me feel like the author of my own destiny. I’m building a new generation of Connor. Shinier and better than the first.

I think my friend was worried that thin Connor wouldn’t be as fun, wouldn’t be as larger-than-life. I won’t be as large. And I won’t drink as much cider. But anyone who knew me when I was losing all that weight in 2007 will know I was less reserved, less likely to just stay at home and avoid the world. Even in recent times, I’ve been in London for two years – in the first year, I lost a lot of weight and I had a lot of sexual adventures and did things I never thought I’d do before. This year, I’ve gained a lot of weight and started withdrawing into myself again, avoiding social occasions and flirting with men online but not actually meeting them. I think thin Connor is demonstrably more fun than fat Connor. But I’ve never been as dramatically thin as I’m likely to be over the next year, so who knows how it will actually turn out.

This is a ridiculous word, but I am “blessed”. I get a chance at reinvention. A chance at reincarnation before I even die. Not everyone gets that.

The surgery is booked for 4th October. So my pre-surgery diet starts on Tuesday. For two weeks I have to eat 800 calories a day. This is to shrink my liver so that it can safely be moved during the surgery so the doctor can access my stomach easily. If I don’t follow the diet, the surgeon warned me that he’d just sew me back up without changing anything and I’d get no money back.

800 calories is not a lot. I’ve bought a lot of Slimfast shakes and bars and I’ll basically be eating one small meal a day plus Slimfast stuff. And then the operation will come and I’ll be eating nothing solid for weeks.

I’ve spent the last few weeks doing a goodbye tour of food. I’ve ordered so many takeaway pizzas and takeaway Indians. I’ve gained weight with abandon. I feel like I’m getting divorced from food but I haven’t told him yet, so I’m using his credit card as much as possible in the run up to the final showdown on Tuesday.

Saying goodbye to food is something I’ve dreamed of. I hate food so profoundly for the shame and discomfort it’s made me feel all my life. One of the reasons I think I’ll never have children is I can imagine starving them because I’d be so afraid I’d inflict my fatness on them.

But a new dawn beckons. I don’t have to be afraid of food any more. It doesn’t know that, but on Tuesday, I’m serving it divorce papers. And I’m going to be free.

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