Not a Headless Fatty

 Life in Los Angeles  Comments Off on Not a Headless Fatty
Jul 012015
 

not_headless

Why is it still okay to make fun of fat people?  And, why am I shocked that it is still so prevalent?

A father of a friend of mine, who happens to be a Facebook friend, posted a scathing article about flying next to a fat person.  He then commented about the horror of sitting in your seat watching a fat person approach and that feeling of pleading that they don’t sit next to him.  It was a terrible article and an even nastier comment.  Rather than call him out publicly, I sent him a private message.  In that message, I explained that I am that person.  I am the fat woman squeezing down the aisle of the plane.  I am the person who is nervous that I am not going to have enough room and more importantly, I am the person who is concerned about disturbing someone else.  I wanted to let him know that the person walking towards him has feelings and underneath their size has a heart that’s breaking.  I wanted to give the headless fat person a face.

The other day, I was figuratively punched in the gut when, I was poking around Facebook.  Someone had posted a video of a fat woman wriggling into a pair of jeans.  She was, of course, headless and faceless (as most fat people are when they are being “exposed” like they are on the news or in the “don’t” section of fashion magazines.)  As I watched the video a couple of things came to mind.  First, I thought it was amazing how she was able to maneuver herself into pants that were clearly too small.  Second, I thought, “that could almost be me…but I think I may be larger…”  Then, mistakenly, I read the comments.  Why was I shocked at how heartless and cruel the comments were? me_pool

The comments section, on most posts, is for people who don’t have the courage to say things in life.  The comment section tends to bring out the absolute worst in people.

So, here I am sitting in my house reading that my “friend” finds this woman disgusting and is laughing about it and saying, “Ewwww.”   I am left with two questions, “Is she disgusted by me? “ and “Why am I friends with this person?!”

I personally have been oinked at while walking in a mall.  I have had people yell pejoratives to me out of car windows.  Often times, in stores and in restaurants I will find people staring at me and giving me the up and down look as if I can’t see them.

Statistics show that of overweight teens (and I loathe the term overweight as it implies a correct weight and someone is over that weight…) 24% of boys and 30% of girls are subject to some sort of bullying because of their size.  I have seen some statistics that show upwards of 60% of elementary school kids are more likely to be teased because of their size.  There have also been an alarming number of childhood suicides because of this horrible practice.  How many fat kids have to kill themselves before we stop?

Why do we continue to tell fat people that they need to change when we don’t tell the bullies to?

Maybe instead of the War on Obesity we should have a War on Hate.  Maybe we should just stop waging war altogether.

Unlike what the news portrays, people of size do have heads and faces and hearts.  So, stop making fun of us.  Stop judging us.  Just stop it!!

Jul 252011
 

I have tried to write a blog about this a couple of times over the past couple of months.  What I ended up with was a bunch of half finished ramblings that I just couldn’t complete.  (Honestly, this one has been sitting in my drafts for weeks…)

I have been having a bit of an identity crisis.  It started at the end of last summer.  My husband and I both came to the same conclusion at the same time that we needed to overhaul how we were eating.  For me, it wasn’t about weight loss.  As you know, or most of you know, or those who have read my blog or have seen me on TV etc. etc. know, I am perfectly happy being a big woman.  However, how we were eating wasn’t nurturing or providing good fuel for our bodies.  It was, “yummy, this tastes great…why do I feel so crappy food…”  We had done low-carb in the past and had felt great.  Like my doctor has said to me about low-carb eating,  and I’m paraphrasing, “It’s a great way to eat but it’s hard to sustain as a lifestyle.”  And, he’s right!

I have written about the litany of diets I had been on in my life…all stemming from the disdain I had for my body.  The difficulty I had growing up feeling like I didn’t fit in.  The pain and anguish I felt from being different and teased etc.  And, believe me, I am so fortunate!  I didn’t have it nearly as bad as so many people have and do.  There was always this feeling that there was something wrong with me that I needed to fix. I was reminded all the time by family and society that I needed to lose weight in order  to: buy clothes, have a man, have friends, be happy, get a job, etc. etc.

When I was on Oprah years ago discussing being fat the producers had asked me to gather some pictures of me from my childhood and to also go through my journals for pertinent entries (read, high rating nuggets) from growing up.  Here’s what I discovered.  First, I wasn’t that fat.  I really wasn’t.  Certainly, I was plump but I wasn’t FAT.  Secondly, from my journals, I was ALWAYS on a diet – I would talk about the diet being hard and that it was going to “work” this time or I would be beating myself up for “cheating.”  So, so sad!!  I was miserable and lonely and sad.  Oh, and I was totally in love with Scott Baio!

Not to tell the same stories over and over again.  But you know about the epiphany I had before moving to LA.  When I realized it was time to stop hating my body and punishing my body for not being how I thought it should be or rather, how society thought it should be, and start loving it.  I have talked about it in my one-woman show. I have talked about it in magazines.  It’s a story I tell.  Suffice it to say, it was like, ENOUGH!!  No more yo-yo dieting for the sake of dieting.  No more making myself wrong for being who and what I am.

Since that time there have been ups and downs in my weight.  Certainly, I lied on Oprah.  Funny, I think we all did.  There were 4 women on the show and I don’t believe any of us told the truth about our weight.  Which is funny.  At least for me it is, I can’t speak for them.  But I will happily tell you how much I weigh but please don’t ask me my age.  I hate lying 🙂

me_aug_2010

August 2010

Jump to last summer.  I had been in the dumps all summer.  It started around my birthday, June 1, 2010 and it rapidly spread throughout the summer.  So, by August I was miserable.  My husband had some family visiting from the UK and we snapped some pics the day they were leaving.  We had gone to breakfast where I had eaten every buttermilk biscuit the restaurant had slathered with butter and homemade jam and then gone outside to snap some photos before they headed to the airport.  As soon as I downloaded the pictures I was shocked.  I looked ill.  I looked like someone had inflated me and then rubbed my face until it was all shiny.  It wasn’t my size that made me look bad…it was that I clearly hadn’t been taking care of myself.  Honestly, at that point I weighed 30 pounds less than I had on Oprah years earlier and I looked awful.  Clearly it wasn’t the weight…

With that, my husband and I decided to start taking care of ourselves.  We decided to eat what was nurturing and what provided fuel.  Now, I am not going to lie.  It has been very rough for me eating low-carb.  I am not a fan of meat.  I always joke that I am one bad piece of bacon away from being a vegetarian again (I was one for 17 years…).  The joke being there is no such thing as a bad piece of bacon.  I believed that until I got really sick from a bad piece of bacon a couple of weeks ago.  I still eat meat…not thrilled about it…but I haven’t eaten bacon since.

It has been 10 months of eating low-carb.  Lots of chicken.  Lots of vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, salads.  Eggs – boiled, scrambled, poached, crustless quiche etc.  We have gone off a couple of times for a planned amount of time.  We were in San Francisco for a week where there was no limit to what we could eat.  I savored a sour dough asiago twist from Acme Bread Company like it was turkish delight.  My husband was in Florida and ate whatever he pleased.  We were in Vegas and the same was true.  But overall we have chosen to eat low-carb like a lifestyle and eating the other way, “the regular way,” as an occasion.

me_july

July 2011

The results have been astounding.  My cholesterol is SUPER good.  My blood sugar is awesome!  My blood pressure was 100/56 at the doctor a month ago.  All crazy good results.  Really!!  I have also lost, as of this morning, 70 pounds on my scale.  I keep reminding myself it isn’t about weight loss.  That is a slippery slope that can only lead to no good.  I know what it’s like to get on and off the scale looking for some kind of affirmation that I am good and have done the right thing.  But if the scale doesn’t move – which it won’t everyday.  And, if the scale moves up that’s okay because it isn’t about that.  It’s about living a healthy life.

Funny though, I have been reminded of the book Thinner by Richard Bachman aka. Stephen King.  As my clothes are getting bigger and bigger and my body is changing I keep wondering when will the weight loss end.  At some point, I would think I would stop losing.  I have no designs on being a thin person.  I know genetically I will never be thin-thin.  I will always have what my mother called “the Brounstein Curse” – Big-Ass Small-Breasts.

I know there will be people who will read this and who will congratulate me on my weight loss.  And, while that will make me crazy (yes, crazier than I already am…) I know they don’t really mean that there was something wrong with me that needed to be fixed. Right?  Gah. We’re programmed funny.

In some places in Africa I would be revered as a Goddess and people would bring me slaughtered goats and milk as offerings to sustain my amazingly beautiful and large body.  I am not heading to Africa any time soon.  So, I will stick with eating well and ignoring all the “you shoulds” and “you shouldn’ts” and the “you look so good…” with the inference being it was a shame about how I used to look but now I look better…  And, when my driver’s license comes due next year I will have to change my weight since for the first time since I got my license I actually weigh less than it says.

Jun 292011
 

Okay, how many blog posts am I going to start and then “Save Draft” only to never finish them?  Yeah, it’s a rhetorical question that has no answer.  I guess there is an answer – MANY. I feel like the word “interesting” is overused when describing life.  And, yet, my life has been filled with interesting events over the past couple of months since I actually posted a blog.

more_than_3I produced my one-woman show, More Than 300 Pounds, in May.  I did a staged reading.  I rented a fabulous theatre space, The Little Victory at The Victory Theatre in Burbank.  I sent out nearly 2,000 postcards to industry people.  I made a real go of it.  This was going to be it!  This was going to be the moment when someone like Judd Apatow or Kevin Smith was going to “discover” me and these last 15 years of trying to bust through were going to be a blip when Jay Leno asks me about my “overnight success.”  It sounds great doesn’t it?!  When I went to the bank and sucked out a HUGE amount of money out of my dwindling savings to produce this show I just knew I was making an investment in my future.  So, when my mom and sister showed up and a friend, who has been my friend since the second grade, and a handful of other friends it ended up being a really expensive exercise in showing my friends and family how great I am.  Out of the nearly 2,000 postcards I sent I received one RSVP from an industry guy who knows my dad.  And, that was that.  My husband has reminded me that it is and was a great thing I did.  I can tell people I did this.  I wrote this.  I produced this.  I…well, you know.  I did it.  Yay ME!  (That and $2.15 will buy me a Vente drip at Starbucks…)

more_than (1)

People say that when life is uncertain that that is the best place to be.  That when you don’t know what’s next you can create new things.  And, being in the midst of it…blah, blah, blah…it can be difficult to kick up your heels and say, “Yippeee, life is uncertain.”

It stands to reason, kind of, that if you know what’s coming then you can’t have it any different.  Of course, that doesn’t really make sense since life really is chaos and  anything can happen at any moment that can derail what you know.  But I like to think at this point in my life, with all the uncertainty and ups and downs, that something exciting and wonderful is coming.  I suppose it really is, “what you make of it.”  So, if it includes asking people if they want their non-fat latte with or without foam, then life is pretty sweet because it’s better than the alternative.

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?

Fat Girl Travels

 Trip to Amsterdam  Comments Off on Fat Girl Travels
Oct 182009
 

When reading other people’s blogs I have often thought of them as self indulgent and arrogant.   I don’t know that mine will be different.   I started thinking what do I have to offer people that would be of any interest.   Besides my upcoming travels to Amsterdam what is it that would make people be interested in what I have to say?   What is it about me that is different?   Uhh, the obvious thing is, as Bob Goen said over and over   again on Entertainment Tonight about me, “…and she weighs over 300 pounds!!”   Yes, I do. It isn’t that miraculous actually.   Honestly, I have lived a pretty charmed life.   Sure I am big but it really hasn’t stopped me…except when it has.   There are things that smaller people never consider and if they do they don’t consider the magnitude of how it would affect someone larger.   For example, airplane bathrooms are very small.   Most people find them to be uncomfortable and cramped.   For me, it is like I am the last sardine in the can, so-to-speak.   Other common considerations in life are restaurant booths, armed chairs, the dentist chair, movie theatre seats, life jackets, roller coasters and my favorite – seat belts.   (Remind me and I will tell the story of the Torrance police officer who pulled me over for not wearing my seat belt years ago…)

While I am excited about this trip to Amsterdam, to see my sister and my BIL, there is for me a level of apprehension and fear (more than the plane falling out of the sky but I have drugs for that.)   You know that feeling when you are all settled in your seat on the airplane and you see the fat girl squeezing down the aisle trying not to hip check any of the passengers she is walking by and you cringe knowing she is going to try and climb over you and squeeze into the seat next to you undoubtedly ooozing some of her copious flesh onto your seat, or leg, or arm?   Well, I’m her.   Believe me, I certainly don’t want to disturb your travels or make your flight any more uncomfortable than it is.   I have in the past bought two seats so as to not disturb anyone.   When I fly with my husband, he doesn’t care that I need a bit of his seat.   But for a stranger it is uncomfortable.   Believe me, I know.

With the airplane seat issue it raises the question of whether or not I am buying a seat to my destination or am I purchasing passage.   There have been a lot of ugly fights in the media about this issue.   People have found themselves at a midway point in their trip when suddenly a gate agent decides they must purchase an additional seat to finish the last leg of their trip.   The rules are rather discretionary.   So, a big guy flying from LAX to JFK with a stop in Chicago may have no problem getting on the first leg of his flights.   He asks for a seatbelt extender and luckily there is an empty middle seat next to him so no one says a word to him.   He flies in comfort to Chicago.   He gets off the plane in Chicago and races to his next gate.   When he arrives and attempts to check in for the 2nd leg of his trip to JFK, the gate agent informs him he must buy a second seat on the plane because the flight is full.   If he doesn’t he can’t carry on to his destination.   But you see, this is an error in logic.   If the flight is full there shouldn’t be an additional seat to purchase.   Ostensibly, he should be stuck in Chicago until there is a flight that has empty seats.   Should he then be forced to purchase an additional seat on a flight with empty seats?   I know when I have purchased two tickets to a destination I was told that if the flight had empty seats they would refund my money for the additional seat purchased.   I don’t know the answer to these questions.   Bigger seats all around?   Bigger seats for larger people?   What about seats with legroom for taller people?   What about a sound proof area for those flying with small children? Obviously, the airline is a business.   They have the right to run their business as they choose.   I also understand an average sized person who already feels cramped in their seat doesn’t want to feel infringed upon by someone else using up what little personal space they have.   It’s a conundrum.   One that I am going to face over the next couple of days and then again in two weeks.     While I doubt I will come up with a solution for this situation that affects all travellers in one way or another it will definitely be an interesting time.   I will keep you all posted.