All this and a bag of chips.

As I pulled from Spear to Main street headed past UVM “downtown” for breakfast the brown sugar snow caused the mini van to jitter. It wasn’t a full fledged fish tail, but don’t tell my stomach which dropped floors worth as I quickly catalogued the traffic around me and the odds of crashing into the commuters.

Safely on Main I realized how much the not near crash mirrored my thoughts.

After reading for days about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s drug overdose he was on my mind as I drove. I didn’t know him, or his struggles, but it is hard to imagine that heroin addiction can be much other than an attempt at escape.

It is less legal than prescription medications,  and more deadly. But more effective in the instant. It is not quite the same as alcoholism, or food addiction, or cutting, or purging, but all of these things are related. Each of these things are either a numbing of pain, or attempting to feel something other than numbness. They offer us a sense of control, or a break from control, and they release chemicals into our bodies that temporarily take us away.

We are all cars on a snowy road. Some well equipped with AWD and snow tires, but no matter the preparation sometimes the world is going to send in a shit storm, and you have to drive through it.

If you keep yourself away from urban centers you are less likely to take anyone down with you as you fall, but also less likely to receive help from a benevolent bystander.

PSH lived in a large city, but traveled his bumpy road in semi secret. No matter his talents, his esteem, his ability to afford intervention he was just exposed and raw to this shit storm world. He knew that he was risking his life. But at that moment it didn’t seem like there was another option.

For almost two months I have been well medicated and equinimicable. I have few black or blue periods and less escapism through bed, or food, or picking fights. Whatever I do to numb or distract myself has faded into the background replaced by loads of laundry and arriving a week early at school to take my kids to the book fair so eager am I to be a functional mom.

I read that he had good times too. Twenty seven years of sobriety, interrupted by habit forming medication that tipped him off the edge back into the well of addiction. For years he was not a user, but he was always an addict. Every day he had to choose, hundreds of times a day perhaps, not to drink, or use pills, or shoot up. So many times he made the sage choice.

I  know, like PSH surely did, that my choices about food, exercise,  and medication don’t maximize my chance at a long life, or a quality life. I already have high blood pressure, don’t dance or run or swim. Things that brought me pleasure are off the list for the dual pain of lack of conditioning and unfavorable comparison to times past.

I remember the first time I didn’t put on a bathing suit because of embarassment about my body. Looking back at those extra five pounds now, I find it both comical and sad how I let them impact my activities. They were a mental barrier. That I let become a physical one.

There are plenty of addicts who function at a high level, hold onto jobs, create great art, raise families. The consequences of addiction are often more subtle then a literal broken heart. We may not be great artists like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and our struggles may not incite debate over whether an OD death is tragic, or brought on by your own choices, but every one of us has something to take from this story.

I read that 90% of the world does not struggle with addiction. So their shit storm days must be rare, and a cleanup crew on standby. I think those stats might be off. I haven’t used drugs in a decade, and drink once a week, but consider myself an addict. I am not in those stats, just like I don’t show up in the unemployment numbers, and I imagine if food addiction were tracked those numbers would be different.

I crave food all of the time. Right now as I am typing I am full. Comfortably full from a garlicky kale quesidilla. I still want to be eating. If I were not full I would not be able to form words. Food will be the only thing on my mind. If there is food in my sight and reach I have to use 100% of my effort not to eat it. I might be carrying on a conversation with you at the counter, but I will not know what I am saying.

Last night Steve brought a small bowl of tortilla chips to bed. I don’t particularly like tortilla chips. From the time they entered the room until the time I had the first chip in my mouth it was all I could think about. Nothing else mattered. It would have taken a fire to distract me from those chips. Steve chatted with me about something. I chatted back. I have no idea what we talked about. He settled in to bed. Then didn’t hand the chips over. WHY? I screamed inside. WHY IS HE TORTURING ME? GIVE. ME. THE. CHIPS.

This is addiction.

I believe that not just my physical health but my mental health would completely change if I controlled my eating. So 16 times a day I will make a “healthy” eating choice. Each time I say no to carbs, or whatever is on the shit list my willpower wanes. Finally I have my 17th opportunity and it is all over. The salted caramel gelato has been in our house since Saturday. When I finally gave in to it on Wednesday I was powerless and ate the entire pint. I know, I know, many of you have eaten a pint of ice cream. The sensation of succumbing is what makes this feel like addiction. Not the act of eating.

Knowing the science behind hormonal changes with weight gain, the chemistry of the brain’s reaction to chocolate, and the best practices for maintaining weight loss haven’t helped.  What would it take? I don’t know. I can do it for 3 weeks and then I rebound, each time worse than the time before.Tight structure, a clear plan, and tons of support. Plus the desire.

Russell Brand writes in the Guardian about his 10 years of sobriety, and shows a way to sympathy for people who struggle with substance abuse. The help is there, the structure, the path. As he says, it is simple, but not easy. He watches tape of himself smoking heroin and this is what he says:

When I saw the tape a month or so ago, what is surprising is that my reaction is not one of gratitude for the positive changes I’ve experienced but envy at witnessing an earlier version of myself unencumbered by the burden of abstinence.

We are all hopeless.  But not necessarily helpless. He writes to drug and alcohol addicts and tells them not to pick up. The bottle, the pill, the syringe. Somehow it is less compelling when it is the fork, the chip bag. This addiction is just as deadly just in a slow, less dramatic way. What is the same is the feeling of impotence and powerlessness, and probably, the short term thrill of the fix.

For me it is all intertwined, the depression, the way food will temporarily jolt me out of it, and has probably sunk me into it. I see depression everywhere. I watch comedians in cars drinking coffee, Jerry Seinfeld’s web series. It is great. Short and funny. Except Jerry. Maybe it is the old “when you have a hammer everything is a nail” thing, but he strikes me as being actively depressed. Speaking with David Lettermen he talks about mortality and fatherhood, summing up…’kids, they give you something to look at.’ I over-relate. The undercutting sentiment that even in a life where everything is in reach, nothing is of interest. And that that lack of interest acts as an invisible fence between you and the people closest to you. Instead of connecting with them you observe them. And despite picking up the comedians for coffee you always drop them off and hit the road alone.

But maybe with a bag of chips.

 

Itchy

Everything itches. And before you start…no its not lice, or anything else lice-like. I’m assuming its not the sometimes fatal rash side effects of my new mood stabilizer. That really would be the ultimate mood stabilizer though…I mean she was feeling pretty bad but look at her now…I can do anything and she doesn’t get upset. (Imagine picture of dead body being poked by vintage yard stick.)

The night of gratitude has come and gone. Family and friends and food. Lara and I created an amazing new cocktail- the ginger snap. Just ask her whats in it because I am lost already at the main ingredient (snap- some sort of grain alcohol that tastes good) plus ginger, plus lemon, plus seltzer. I guess I do remember. So if you know what snap is, and have it on hand mix those things in equal parts and add a ginger candy.

I’ve found the best ginger candy is the one with the cartoon ginger guy who is giggling as he breaks off bits of himself to eat.  Perhaps he needs a mood stabilizer. That sounds like an unlikely response to self-canibilization. Even if you are a sugar coated candy version of a root.

Our thanksgiving party ranged from 8 months to 87 years and we all had iPhones. Except the 8 month old. I mean, I gave him an iPhone but he only cared about the box. That last part was absolutely true if you substitute “set of wooden cars” for iPhone.

But from age 7- 87 (like an invisible ink book) we all had iPhones.

So we had something to talk about. I introduced the 13 year old to pet rescue. As far as I can tell she is stylish, practices violin even on holiday, and writes critical essays for fun. If she can’t peel off some time to calm the nerves of shaking turtles and fish I don’t know who can. Not me obviously. I am inventing cocktails.

It was a lovely holiday. So much food. The only real disappointment was that one of the guest dogs came really really close to killing my peeing cat. I know that would have been a downer for many of the guests but it would have solved a pretty big dilemna for Steve and I.  So right after the close call of caticide we took to the table. There were even good vegetables. Have I mentioned how good the food was. Two turkeys (deep fried and roasted) two stuffings (bagged and hand cut from Vergennes laundry baguette) squash and sweet potato and regular potato and cauliflower with cheese sauce (in a good way) and kale salad and three kinds of cranberry brightener. The only casualty other than the almost cat was the gluten free quiche which I (whoops) left in the warming drawer. The hazards of the well equipped kitchen. Some of the dishes were warmed on the fire. We remembered those.

Any time the event is an eating event I feel remarkably well prepared. I remember last year, before I gave up facebook, (that is only like one hour old that news so don’t feel bad if you are reading it here first.) I posted a picture of my beautifully set Thanksgiving table with the caption. “My whole life has been training for this moment.” Most comments interpreted that as a nod to my table setting prowess. In fact it was not. It was in reference to my eating ability.

Here I am pausing wondering if going into facebook to get a screen shot of that picture from my timeline counts as giving up facebook. What kind of break am I taking? What is my motivation for this break?

Dunno. On average I feel a lot more annoyance with the links and status updates and images that I see there than I do affection. Affection may be an unreasonably high bar until I remember that facebook is supposed to be communication between friends. I have been pretty slutty on facebook. So I don’t care what 2/3 of my friends are up to. (Of course I don’t mean YOU.) Thinking about the path in to get that picture I realize I don’t want to go there. Facebook and I are having a break. I’m sure we will get back together soon.

Goodbye links of unlikely animal friends

Goodbye pictures of your cat

Goodbye questions about getting a baby to sleep

Goodbye airport check ins pushed from foursquare.

I will miss you.

In the meantime I will have more time to scratch my itch (es.)  And if one of you wants to dig through my timeline to grab that Thanksgiving photo and email it to me that would be great.

But then again none of you will know that I have even written this, because I am not going to promote it on facebook.

Isn’t life an itch?

 

 

Textstrings…all about food, diet, exercise.

 

Diet, Die-t:

This is a real life text string between me (me) another person (op) and another other person (oop)

me: Easy way to fail at diet hour 1. (buy these delicious tempting morsels here)

Sweet sweet cereal
Sweet sweet cereal

OP: That’s the benefit of never having food in the house. No temptation.

Me: And this:

Note knife in box as if a full donut was ever too much for anyone to handle.
Note knife in box as if a full donut was ever too much for anyone to handle.

OP: I fucking love donuts.

Me: And this:

Don't know what those pretzels are doing in there. Waste of space really.
Don’t know what those pretzels are doing in there. Waste of space really.

Me: All within two feet of each other.

OP: And candy? Shit!

Me: Steve told me he would purge the house (which is totally not his responsibility) but this is sort of a fail. He doesn’t help when he cooks steak, and fried potatoes, and roasted chicken with crispy skin, and homemade bread with butter.

OP: Its too delicious

Me: And I am actually beginning to cry as I text this.

Its as if my beloved has died.
Its as if my beloved has died.

Op: Oh honey, shit times. That’s the saddest face I have ever seen.

Me: Its my no butter face,

OP: I hate that:

Me: The accountant just emailed me, that face is worse than the no butter face.

Tools of the trade:

OP: We got a vitamix. My first smoothie was a fail. Way too many beets.

Other other person: Beets make a lot of trouble in a smoothie world.

OP: Seriously

OOP: I stick to greens and yogurt. Though not together.

Me: I bought the electromagnetic ab exerciser. How can’t that lose? It’s better than a diet.

Me: Here is just ONE way it can lose. By not fitting around my waist.

Born at the wrong time:

Me: Being married to abstemious fit people sucks.

OP: Yes, such incredible self control.

Me: Its not though. It ISNT THE SAME It would be like complimenting my mother on not getting a new car. Their pleasure comes from the discipline and the denial.

OP: No.  We have many discussions about how I say he doesn’t understand what feeling out of control around food feels like.  He really doesn.t.

Me: If somehow the world were reversed and being plump and enjoying throw pillows were the “virtues” then they would fail. Its the time we live in.

OP: Our better parallel universe.

Me: We would have been kick ass in the 1700s. Round and happy, eating grapes on pillows.

OP: The hottest babes around.
Me: They would have been scrawny bitter people
Unable to feather their nests
OP: Made to eat gruel in the courtyard while we feasted on mutton and ale.
Me: Exactly, but the gruel would be all they wanted.
OP: Lets start a commune and not let skinny people in.
Me: Except to schlep us our wares.
OP: And tie our shoes for us because we can’t do it ourselves.
Me: Who needs shoes? We aren’t walking anywhere.
OP: Screw walking, running and spinning.
What are you texting? Perhaps things other than diet tips? Give me a chain.

 

 

Running: What the Fuck?

running...WTFI’ve always been a run when I’m chased sort of person. But I wasn’t chased so much so I decided to run with my one other fat friend. We have started week four, and we are alive. That is about all I can say. I need you to tell me some things. Those of you who run.

Runners high. Is it just the feeling that you get when you stop running? Is there really some sort of endorphin thing? Does the motion that I make have to be easily identifiable as a run to any onlooker for me to get this purported high?

Shin splints. I feel like I am wearing metal braces. And like they are bolted directly to my leg bone that isn’t a femur. They make me scream out “fuck fuck fuck” and not in a good way. Do I need to do something different? Other than stop running which seems like the obvious solution to each and every one of these problems, and in time I’m sure I will, but I have at least 2 months left of running before the Santa 5k. Every Jewish couch potato’s dream.

Breathing. Can the rest of you do this? Even when you are running? Can you, like, talk, breathe and run? At the same time?

Hunger. I am always hungry. Always. I am hungry before eating, while eating, and after eating. Before I started running I would often make healthy food choices. Now I am eating fried chicken and donuts. I used up my willpower making myself run. There is none left for food planning. Oliver is reading over my shoulder (including the fuck fuck fuck part) and asks me. Do you think the running is helping you more than it is hurting you? And that really is the question. If only I could check my heart…and I mean that literally, not like, what does my truest self want, but like, are my arteries more or less clogged. Running > donuts?

Which them makes me wonder about calorie consumption while running. It seems too low. I mean, running up a hill (which I do) is actually the hardest amount of work I can do. At least the messages from my body are that this is the worst worst worst idea ever. So how can I do that and burn, like 120 calories or 1/3 of the donut?

Are you just the shit? Do you feel better than the rest of us? Do you sometimes say to yourself…well, it doesn’t matter if I am cut that person off on the highway, I’m a runner.

Does running make you not want to kill your pissing cat? Because that seems to be the one other positive statement I can make. Before the run he was yowling at me, telling me that something wasn’t exactly right, perhaps in fact telling me that I had shut my bedroom door so he couldn’t soil my bedding, and I screamed at him at the top of my lungs. Now, post run, I watch him curl up between my pillows with a sort of neutral noticing. I attribute that to the run. Or the new meds. Or the sex. But I’ll give this one to the run if you want.

Onlookers. When you see a fat person running do you feel judgemental or rah rah you go? I always feel proud of them, like they are representing my clan well. But the people we pass seem a bit put off by us. One old man in particular stood in his open garage and half cackled half choked. Look! Look! They are running/ Look at them run. He may have been talking to his dead wife, but she wasn’t visible to us, so it sort of seemed like the 90 year old was mocking us. Which was fair, because neither of us expect to be alive at 90 if we don’t make some big changes. I would have clarified, but that would have meant either stopping or speaking, and neither of those things are possible.

Which I guess gets me to the bottom line point.

Does running ever not feel like dying? Is there a level of fitness that you can achieve…actually this isn’t about you. Is there a level of fitness that I can achieve that will make running feel less like dying. Or is that just how running feels?

OK. Pile it on. I’ll be panting on the couch waiting for your answers.

 

 

Thoughtless

I look like the thinker. Except I am not thinking. I mean, we don’t know if the thinker was thinking or not, but he sure looked like I was. I can tell you I am not.

I have thoughts, but they are untethered, lacking any sort of connection to one another, and also lacking context…which is what thoughts need to go from descriptive to prescriptive. Or at least from passing to sticky. Or minimally viable as a blog topic.

I have my laptop open with optimism, but the act of holding up my own head, let alone mining anything from it is too much.

I went out Friday night. I worked (nurturing my nascent willpower) all week for the benefit of french fries at the truck stop, only to find that the truck that sold french fries was no longer selling them. This was not good.

Continue reading Thoughtless

Overheard at the gym

This is not what I see at the gym
This is not what I see at the gym

It took not one, not two, but three friends pressuring inviting me to work out this morning for me to make it to the gym. Because I was planning an 8:40 departure I had 2 full hours to sit in my pee bed and ring myself with various devices in order to play plenty of candy crush. Some people pay for new lives, some people cheat and set the clock on their phone a month ahead. In the true spirit of excess I just use my six iPads to rotate from one to the other as get stuck on a level. If you don’t know what I am talking about consider yourself very lucky.

As I drive to the gym I see the gas light. I remember seeing it yesterday, and (is this right?) the day before. I switch the display to miles to empty and it reads 2, and as I wrap my brain around that it switches to 0.

My first thought is one of elation. NO WORK OUT! I could be literally out of gas.

But it is pouring . So the walk to the gas station would be as bad as the exercise class. Maybe.

During the class I barely make it through the 30 seconds exercise 30 seconds rest, and get to the stretch portion where the ladies loll around on foam rollers. Most twisting into different positions to stretch out glutes, hammys, and other adorably nicknamed large muscles. I sit in proximity to the roller.

To my right a friend and friendly acquaintance are chatting about parenting. First of all I have tuned in late and don’t know the context of their conversation, second of all I have been working out, so my internal monologue is crowding out most of my ability to hear. It sounds like this. PHEW thats done. Now we don’t EVER HAVE TO WORK OUT AGAIN. Wow, I smell bad. Why are all exercise bottoms black?

Back in the stretching circle I hear a bit about her daughter crying. Then she says. “I just can’t let her fail.”

Despite making eye contact with a friend across the way and miming the universal sign for zipped lip I chime in. “But if we are all guaranteed to have a set amount of failure in the world, wouldn’t you rather her go through it now, when it teaches resilience, then later when the stakes are higher?” Or thats what I would have said if I had been sorted out. Instead I said “Isn’t it better to fail now than later?” “no.” She answers me emphatically. No. I can’t let her fail.

So I turn away, back to my mimed stretching and think about it for a minute. I wonder why I believe in some sort of conservation of failure. Its not like we have this predestined amount of trial and tabulation, and we can just move through it early in life and coast later. But we all fail some time. Really lots of times, and it takes practice.

Limiting the scope creep of failure, knowing that we are still lovable even if a friend ditches us, or that we can still become experts at something if we struggle with foreign language, or there is a point to running even if we don’t win the race. (Well I actually don’t believe the last one, but you get the idea.) Its better to do that when the stakes are low. That is why we emphasize process and effort and things within our control, not outcomes to children. And still there are winners to races, and one kid picked for the lead in the play. And that is OK. It is OK not to be invited to a party.

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]That is why we emphasize process and effort and things within our control, not outcomes to children. @annawritesstuff[/Tweet]

Just yesterday Leo told me that Oliver spent all of recess alone because his one closest friend wasn’t in school. I asked Oliver how he felt about it. He said fine, he just walked around. I remember eating lunch in the band room, hiding in bathroom stalls. Despite some vicious and lonely times I have more friends than I can effectively spend time with now. It is all temporary this life of ours.

So it is time to stop stretching. Or stop pretending to stretch, and three of us decide to go get $8 smoothies. Mine turns out to be an $11 juice and it is almost comical. It takes 25 minutes for the little juice dude to prep our three juices and we could have fed a family of four on what we paid. A first world snack stop.

We catch up, talking about philanthropy and social ventures, and then my blog. Which people read and talk about even if they DONT COMMENT. I tell them about my private emails numbering almost 100 after the money post. Seriously people. Start talking about money. You all want to. I joke about putting standard disclaimers at the bottom of each post. “I think about Syria [insert current important global issue], I just don’t write about it” and “I don’t edit, its part of what you love about me. Ignore grammatical errors or stop reading.”

We check in about our afternoons and I tell them I am going back to bed to play candy crush. They know me well enough to no I am not joking, but they only get disturbed when I reveal that my bed has been peed on. (Not by me) We talk about pet problems and how I think putting down the obese, snoring, bed wetting, lumbering one eared cat would send the wrong message to my kid who still does a bit of bed wetting himself. You pee you die.

And thats it. Workout and juice is over. A perfect morning in Shelburbia. Off to crush some candy. We leave with a wave, and she calls out to me. “Don’t get in the pee bed. Don’t do it.”

Sorry.

 

 I think about Syria [insert current important global issue], I just don’t write about it.

 I don’t edit, its part of what you love about me. Ignore grammatical errors or stop reading.

Oh, and if you want to tell me something I pretty much always want to hear it but I suck at secrets. So maybe use a pseudonym. Or something.

 

 

A something- why socks are just socks and loathing is lacking

A wake. A live. A ware.

I have been cleaning out my life to make room to step away from it.

Before you start the private messages, texts and calls I don’t mean step away from it in any frightening way. I mean to observe rather than react.

This seeing myself, in my fatness, in my will powerlessness, in my entrepreneurship, in my parenting. It has lifted. Today. Today I am none of those things.  I am working to untangle my ego from it all.

Selecting socks this morning. I reached into the drawer. Instead of grabbing I felt each sock. I spent 10 minutes with the socks. I listened to my sock judgement. You are too tight. You collect pet hair. I realized that for all these years of my adult life I had allowed my socks to tell a story about me. The person whose feet grew with pregnancy, the person who doesn’t vacuum up pet hair and thus takes care of little, the person who doesn’t do laundry frequently. Without noticing it this 10 second sock selection has been an act of self damnation. You know what? They are socks. Some soft. Some mismatched, Some too tight. Now there are fewer socks, it was clear this morning that some of these socks would just never be chosen. So they are out. Which is neither bad nor good. Imagine that, that the act of getting rid of socks has the potential for me to attach some sort of positive or negative. The kind of person who has just the right number of socks is the kind of person I want to be. It seems humorous and absurd.

For three years I have been reading in my kids’ classroom (s.) What motivated me to do this? The chance to spy. I want to be on the inside and see how things work and have the teacher like me. Plus I want to be thanked for being helpful. Right now, today. I don’t care about that. In any case my selfish volunteering has gone on for a while but I noticed that this year I dreaded it. Really, every Tuesday I began to dread Wednesday morning. This week before I went in I asked myself why I dreaded it so much. And I admitted something that I had been repressing. I LOATHE one of the kindergarteners that I read with. Hmmm. It is so unexpected to have strong negative feelings for a 5 year old. But I do. Thinking about it with less emotion I realized that loathe (particularly in CAPS) is too strong. But I dislike him and I dislike reading with him. I noticed that before I went in yesterday. I chose to read with him first. My feelings didn’t change. I don’t like him. But my response to those feelings did. It was such a small dislike. So powerless. Really insignificant. Shine the light on it and the fungus doesn’t grow. Or something.

In any case I really enjoyed reading this week.

In high school I used to have friends that were “project” friends. And I’m sure the answer is no, it is not you I am writing about. He or she was a diamond in the rough (these perfectly complete boys and girls) that I would polish up with my verve, social capital, and particular psychological insight. I saw their beauty, but as potential. I was invested in the change and the outcome, they were a problem to solve.

The drive to connect, control, boss comes out with friends still. I see it now.

Having expectations, feeling that the other person owes you. This has been all over my work and social life. Inserting myself into the work life, decor, love life of friends. Feeling vital. I, just 2 weeks ago had business cards printed up with the phrase “do that”. Anna Rosenblum Palmer- opinions. Then the flip sides said things like: Yes! Or even: let me tell you…

It seemed so simple. People asked for my opinion. I gave my opinion. I had enough opinions to share. The cards were a wink and nod to what was already going on. Do That.

My feelings aren’t as strong today. I have them…dirty snow, cat pee, bill piles. I see those. I feel something about them. Somehow the power of the feeling is gone. Texting with a friend…one who started as a project and I now recognize as complete and completely without need of my intervention…I asked him a question about someone else’s business. (Literal business) He redirected me to that person. My first feeling was of offense. Why wouldn’t he tell me, I want to be central, in the know, I want him to feel like he can and will tell me anything I ask. I felt all of that. And then it just lifted. I felt it, I noticed it, it left. I’m glad I did, because the absence of the feeling 3 seconds later was made more sweet for it presence.

I was able to let go because my ego wasn’t in this business the way it might have been a few months ago. The way it WAS a few months ago. This is someone else’s triumph, as it would have been some else’s failure. It is hard to have your ego in someone else. So the practice is to set back from yourself. I am tangentially involved, and that is a great place for me. Shedding my central role. It is really about the tangents.

I have been practicing this with my kids for three years and with myself for 6 months. In just the past week I went to the zen center for the first time and began reading Anthony De Mello’s “Awareness.” I was prompted to read it when both the Sensei and Vicki from parenting class quoted from it two days apart from one another. Vicki’s quote I remember. Taking down the self help bible De Mello says it should have been “I’m an ass, you’re an ass.”

A something indeed.

 

 

Fatshots

Raised in a black and white household I have spent most of my life seeing shades of grey. Like, even more than 50. So when I bump smack into one of my own prejudices it is alarming. Terrifying really.

Flipping through the paper I come across an obituary for a fat, dumpy woman. Skip that one I think. She was clearly stupid…and her death her own fault. Holy shit. I pause and look more closely at the picture. She was BEAMING, her cheeks rosy and smooth, and younger than most of the other people who shared her page. This is what I learned about her. She is a grandmother and mother of a large family. She was valedictorian of her class, went to an ivy league school and received two graduate degrees in science and math. She won awards and even managed to make a joke in her own obituary. She was accomplished, intelligent, and funny. And I glossed right over her obituary. Worse…I judged and blamed this beaming, beloved dead woman.

Coming back from Istanbul after 20 hours in travel my family stands in line at customs in Newark. Despite the jet lag and long travel the boys are lovely. We have set up a suitcase obstacle course in the huge empty are and they are running, (somehow quietly) and ducking back into line to report on their triumphs. All around us tired people are grinning at my joyous boys. Here we are, world travelers, returning home. Steve reaches out for my hand. In my tired state my heart swells. And I look up. There is some huge strange reflective ceiling and I see a disgusting woman wearing my sweater. Holding my husbands hand. How distorted that ceiling must be. I go to nudge Steve to show him the circus mirror and then I process how normal he looks in the ceiling. Steve. Up above. Holding the hand of someone who is gross. Me.

Standing in the front of a room of friends and friends of friends I welcome them to parenting on track. It is a class I have sponsored. My hope is that the families in this room will support each other to change their parenting, Vicki will get a broader base, and that attendees will donate money to King Street Center. It is a different kind of philanthropy…where I write one check and hope to have a multiplier of impact. Standing up there I am excited to introduce Vicki. I see new and old friends in the room, I feel happy to live in Shelburne with this gorgeous old town hall that anyone can use for $40. I take my seat, excited for what is next. And fail to cross my legs. Just won’t stay. My thighs won’t allow it. Bad bad bad. BAD.

What is worse is not the judgement. It is the pervasiveness of the judgement. This fact of fat wipes out any accomplishment. It trumps everything.I don’t just do this for myself I guess. This is absurd. We are all so many things.  I try Vicki’s technique. I need a new story. Right now the story is lazy, ugly, undeserving, gluttonous. Its not a book I want to read, let alone a life I want to live. It is also unfair to all of the people out there who I diminish because of their large size. If I can’t change this pattern for myself, I have to change it for the way I think about other people. Happy happy full life. Happy happy full me.

So this is what I want from you…my friends. Has there been something, one thing, that trumps the rest? Have you pushed that judgement to the back? I want to hear your struggles. And your successes.

Oh…and remember the diet? I lost 32 pounds. And gained 32 pounds.

And so it goes. Round and round. And round.