Aug 302010

How’s that for a dramatic title? Okay, that is definitely over speak.   But WOW, it’s been an interesting couple of months.   And, yes, by interesting I mean sucky. I think it started around my birthday in June.   Sure the age thing is always a kick in the ass.   “How am I this old?!”   The television season ended without me booking anything.   Summer was on us and I had no firm plans to produce my one-woman show.   And, I was still unemployed.   So, what did I do?   Well, like all smart people I slowly stopped exercising.   I had been very regimented about walking miles daily.   But with the despair came the “fuck its.”   So, why would I continue to do the one thing that was making me feel better? It was probably the worst thing I could have done.   I think the exercise over the past months had really been keeping the doldrums at bay.   I had started walking before I lost my accounting “day job” at the end of last September.   Now it was the middle of June and I couldn’t get out bed in the morning.   I had been popping out of bed around 7ish and walking but from June until, well last week,   if I got out of bed by 8:30 it was a good day.   I forced myself to not sleep past 9a during the week and I kept my promise, mostly, about watching television during the day.

Unfortunately, what crept in with the lack of exercise was bad food choices.   I am not a dieter by nature.   I gave that up with self-loathing in the early 90’s.   (That doesn’t mean I won’t go on my version of Atkins from time to time.   Lots of good veggies and protein.   More on that another time.) I would eat well in the morning and usually well in the afternoon.   Sometimes I would skip breakfast and have a big lunch.   Then I would eat a late dinner.   I was eating fast food (not McDonald’s), which I don’t even like. But it would be an easy dinner.   Eggplant pizza.   Cookies from Trader Joe’s.   In retrospect, it wasn’t a lot of bad food.   (Except for this one Mexican place…) There is nothing like falling into a vat of Mexican food because you feel bad.   It’s the perfect vicious circle of feeling bad.   You fall in because you feel bad and then you feel bad because you fell into the crispy, cheesy, guacamole covered vat of tasty goodness. It was occasional bad food and too much good food and way, way too many carbs.   I was carb stoned most of the time.   I felt tired even after many hours of sleep.   And, I found I was hating myself a bit.   It wasn’t like it was in my past.   I am much more informed.   More than anything I was sad.

As I have said in many of blog posts, I keep looking at what’s next in my life. For the past few months, it all kind of felt like my life was at a stand still.   I feel like I need to say, that even in the depths of despair, I was feeling, I was and am incredibly grateful for my life.   I have good friends, an amazing husband, and a great family.   My health is really good.   Which for many is surprising.   I find their shock annoying.   That should be an entry in itself.

I was down visiting my folks last month.   Yes, visiting my mom in the middle of this could have been a recipe for disaster.   It wasn’t.   Mostly it was really nice being with them.   There was, of course, an incident.   We were going to go to dinner.   My mother insisted we take her car.   Yes, it’s a lovely car.   I just don’t fit comfortably in it.   Which makes no freakin’ sense!   How am I bigger than some Germans?!   Anyway, we ended up taking her car.   Why?   Because even at my age, with my Mom, it’s the Golden Rule.   She wanted to take her car, so, we took her car. On the way to dinner I sat in the front and Pop sat in the back.   I told him we would switch on the way back.   I packed myself into the front seat.   Then snapped the seat belt around my body and sat motionless…kind of stuck.   After dinner, I went to get into the back seat and, well, there wasn’t a chance I was going to get into the back seat of that car! I put the seat back forward and tried to climb into the back.   I put one foot in the back and then nothing.   No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t squeeze into the back of this car.   WTF!!!   I tried moving the seat forward but it wouldn’t move.   This was it.   I stood in the parking lot imagining all the people walking to their cars watching my giant rear end hanging out of the side of this car as I tried desperately to force myself into the back seat.   All the while my mother is in the driver’s seat and Pop, well, he had the best view.   He graciously got in the back seat and I got back into the sardine can front seat and off we went.   To say that I was unhappy in that moment would be a great understatement.   It’s possible I was doing something wrong with the seat and I might actually be able to get back there.   Of course, I wonder how it will be to get out of the back seat of that car.   I suppose my mother wouldn’t be too pleased if we had to use the jaws of life to get me out.   Then again, it would be a lesson learned.

I have been thinking a lot about fitting in.   Where do I fit in?   Both literally and figuratively and here I was with my ass sticking out of the side of this Mercedes in a public parking lot.   It wasn’t my happiest moment.   Where do I fit?   Where don’t I fit?   Neither of these questions are necessarily bad things.   It’s okay if I don’t fit in the back of my mother’s car.   Now, I know.   But I would have liked to have known without having to learn the hard way.   I know I barely fit in airplane bathrooms.   Lesson learned.   I know I fit on all the rides at Disneyland but the ET ride at Universal; forget it!   Those are literal questions.   Where do I fit in life?   Do I fit in with my friends?   Do I fit in in public places?   How do people feel about me?   I had that person write derogatory comments to me after one of my entries here.   I have had mean things said to me in public.   People are fascinating.   Why do people think it’s okay to say something mean to a person of size or to anyone?   I have had strangers approach me and tell me about diets or exercise programs that could “help” me as if I need to be helped.   I have gone to the doctor for birth control only to have her “diagnose” me with obesity.   As if she were the first person to notice I was fat.   She actually wrote it on my insurance form.

The best was a couple of weeks ago.   I was in the middle of this state I have been in.   Kind of a funk.   Kind of a pity party. You know, I don’t have a job.   I don’t have money to buy things I want…a new computer, an iPad, etc. It isn’t like I need anything.   Anyway, I did a good deed and zipped to the valley for a friend.   On the way back I   stopped at Pavilion’s aka. Von’s to get some bread and sliced turkey and some of the amazing nectarines they had on sale.

IMAG0184It was 12:45 so people were trying to get sandwiches made for lunch.   The woman who helped me didn’t know what she was doing.   It was simple…one pound of Primo Taglio mesquite turkey and a half pound of havarti.   Another customer who had been there earlier in the day to buy meatloaf got the attention of the woman who was ostensibly helping me, after I had waited in line, and began helping her with her meatloaf.   The employee then told me it was going to be a while that I should go shop.   Essentially, she stopped helping me to help someone else.   Meanwhile, all the people who were in line after me were helped by other Von’s employees.

So, I decided to walk around the store even though I didn’t need much.   I grabbed a couple of small artisan flutes and a cluster of tomatoes on the vine.   Then I passed an employee who was giving samples of some kind of “brownie bites.”   She was talking to a male customer who had a backpack and a small suitcase in his basket.   (I saw him wandering the aisles later.) I hesitated to take a brownie bite at first.   Did I want a gooey bite of sweet before lunch.   Why not?!   The employee coaxed me to take one as well.   So, I did.   I jokingly said, “Well, that was enough.   Now, I don’t need to buy them.”   Then the other “customer” (and I use the term loosely) says, “People just don’t know how to lose weight properly.   They go about it all wrong…you should read this book…” I interrupted him and told him I wasn’t interested.   As I turned back to my basket, the employee was poking my artisan bread and she said to me, “That’s no good.   That’s what makes you fat.   That’s no good!”   I shook my head and walked away completely dumbfounded.

Am I so big that I am invisible?   Are people embarrassed by me?   What do you think when you see fat people?   What do you think when you see me?   I wonder.   Where do I fit?   I would love to travel the country and travel the world and find out exactly where do I fit in?

  3 Responses to “Pulling 300 Plus Pounds Out Of The Depths Of Despair”

  1. Seems like the last group of people it is okay to be mean to are the “overweight.” Kind of like mothering, everyone has an opinion about what you should do about it, and no one knows it is their opinion – they think it is fact. Or they think, ‘Hey! She is fat. I can see her weakness. Must mean she needs my help.’

    I have a large chest. Always have, always will. I stayed with this very lovely woman on Friday night while visiting Austin, I met her through another friend. She is very thin. I borrowed a night shirt from her, and she said she used to be big chested until she lost weight. I felt like everything said after that implied that if I lost weight, my chest would be smaller. I don’t know that that is true, but I felt so frustrated. I am certain that the conversation brought up all my past experiences were people have tried to tell me how to lose weight but no one considered what my body type is. Kind of like, one diet fits all. But it doesn’t. Most diets don’t fit anybody, really.

    Seems like you need a line of defense, something to say to nosey people who think it is their business to tell you how to eat, what to eat. “I don’t remember asking you your opinion” is a standard. “Now that you’ve told me how to live my life, what area of your life do I get to comment on? How about that horrible dye job?” is much more in-your-face. And you always have “Fuck off!”

  2. beautifully written, you made me laugh and at the end I teared up..I have felt that same way…surrounded by the do-gooders who are going to save us from our fat. I have issues with Herbalife ….they have that stupid button that says “ask me how”…which I refuse to do…but then the proceed to tell me and I point at their button and remind then I did not ask them. People are so amazing….it is not considered a hate crime if you kill a fat person because they were fat? But gay people, black people, disabled people…I accept everybody because I view myself in the same category of “different” ..anyway I can go on about this…but I am the lucky one that can call you friend, you are a beautiful asset to my life. And keep writing…

  3. lisa,

    nicely written – funny at times and at other times, not so much. i can safely say there is a large mixed group of stupid, ignorant and mean people. i’m sorry you’re having to experience the effects of their blunders. well, since you asked for our opinion in your blog, i’ll go ahead and give mine. first off, this is coming from somone who happens to be thin. i think our culture has a very restrictive definition of what is “good weight”. yes, there are different body types and many are never going to fit into our society’s notion of “good”. well, at least the culture of los angeles and southern california! secondly, people are often prejudice and harder on people who are truly overweight. EVERYBODY has issues but with weight, you can’t hide it. So, for me, I think there is a natural range of body types I wish would all be included in attractive, and then there is another category of overweight. But, it’s not any worse than any other issue that someone has except it can’t be hidden. I used to be heavier and struggled for many years with my weight. As a mental health therapist, I’ve worked with a lot of women who are heavier than is healthy or who have body images. Excluding genetic issues, I really think weight is function of the relationship someone has with their body and food. It’s a 3 way relationship that is usually fragmented and isolated. Instead of an “I – thou” relationship between the 3, the person takes an “I – it” attitude towards it. So, I “view” my body as “other”, and I view by food as “other”, and no harmony or peace can ever be created. And, this is why for me I think diets are doomed at the start. It’s just another test of will power standing on the platform of “I – it” and it can have no lasting results and bring on no peace or health for an individual. The point is not to lose weight, but to come to a loving relationship with food and body. The weight then takes care of itself and the body finds its natural healthy place and state. and, the mind is then relieved! Our culture’s food system, I also believe, is also a barrier to healthy relationship between self, body and food. We are so far removed from our food, how it is raised and where it comes from, that it naturally becomes a mere commodity and a huge “IT”. Things grabbed off the shelf in cans or boxes, pale flesh in styrofoam wrapped in plastic wrap… we’re so alienated from it. Plus, the ingredients in commercial foods don’t nourish us… high fructose corn syrup is in everything, nutrients are gone, everything is over processed, killed, irridated, and genetically modified crap. How can a person possibly have a relationship with food when it’s in this form? so, of course people are going to be overweight – the food packs on pounds, the sense of self is lost and people go to the same source that is weakening them for healing. I strongly believe that to create a good relationship with self, body and food, one has to step way back and do things way differently. forget diets. forget counting calories. I think one has to start looking at food as “I -thou” – as living, as something that is to be respected and that will feed, nourish and care for them. So, it involves educating one’s self about how our food is created, the disrespect that goes into most commercial food venues. I think it involves cooking your own meals slowly and with intention with fresh, whole foods and ingredients and looking at the food as something that is feeding you, not as a plate with X-number of calories on it. I think the person needs to start accepting their body AS IT IT from day one and not looking at is as an instrument of aestetics, but as an instrument of motion and strength. Viewing the body as our friend and partner. Then, a person will want to give it what will nourish and strengthen it, not give it some food because it might not make it get bigger. For, me that change occurred several years ago when I really started looking into the meat industry and how animals were raised and how crops were grown. It fundamentally changed the way I viewed my body, food and myself. the 3 are all part of a system now and are interconnected. If something is effected on one, it effects all 3. I can’t even hardly go into a commercial grocery store any more. I do all my shopping at peoples’ co op in ocean beach and farmer’s markets. when i made these changes and stopped getting on the scale and focusing on the “outside”, the weight just naturally came off. my food choices just changed. i no longer want to get the pizza out any more. because i just can’t do that to myself and it doesnt’ FEEL good any more. i get what i call “food hangovers” if i make poor choices for dinner the next morning. my body has become so much more sensitive because it’s “cleaned out” and my energy is high. weight is a non issue any more and something i never have to think about. i’m not saying all this to make it about me, but i honestly think this is the answer for anyone. i’m also not saying one has to be vegetarian. i’m proposing a fundamental shift in relationship. so, this is my two cents. sorry it took me a couple of days. sorry you had such a crappy experience with those crappy people in the supermarket also. one word for them. lame.

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