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Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people .

8 Jun

I stand in front of myself.

The mirror is no friend. It never has been. A scrawny child turned too tall and broad teenager turned adult with more bumps than roads, I’ve spent a lifetime staring away from myself. No matter how healthy I have been, how in shape, how active, I scorn my reflection. It has never been good enough.

Too tall.

Too broad.

Too fat.

Too curvy.

Too unattractive.

Too nervy.

Always something.

***

I have never been a little girl.

Around other women I feel awkward and oversized, my height, the sheer heft of my shoulders, the calves that never fit into those sleek black boots, the boobs which double as bird feeders and get in the way when I talk with my hands. I watch other women, they of tiny hands, thin bones, in some cases, the blessings of genetics, and I feel envy, as well as shame. Womanhood, is it not in delicacy? Is it not in the lovely flutters of fine boned hands, soft and pointed? Have they not the trappings of will, or at the very least, a slot in a lottery I lost out on, my own blood full of the tall, the thick hipped, those who will survive famine. Hearty stock. Peasants maybe.

My unease with women may stretch back to the fact that I always feel like a giant among the munchkins, and I am the problem. Rooms full of svelte and tanned, bellies that lie flat, arms that rarely jiggle. Pants that stay put.

When the world, or at least the one presented to you, is a consumptive tea party of flounce and vanity, of slimness and restraint, how does a girl look around her if it’s her ass that doesn’t fit in the party chair?

***

I haven’t worn a swimsuit in public for years, not openly without something over it. Does it matter if crazy gained me weight? If medications did? If stress, lack of time, the natural progression of my body? I haven’t worn one without covering since I was 14 or so, when, relatively skinny, someone still called me “lard-ass”.

Of course, I’ve also heard this in varying combinations while walking down the street minding my own business, flung from a car window like so much trash. Sure, sticks and stones. But the 10th time. Then 50th. How long until you believe it, random words from adolescent idiots? How long before the world reinforces that regardless of your actual strength and health, it’s how someone else sees your ass in those pants that matters as you walk home late at night.

If you’re lucky, someone only throws something once.

***

I am pleasantly surprised at the ease push ups start to come, at the smooth feel of my body as it relies on itself. I smile as muscle replaces slack in places. I make conscious decisions to eat better, to eat less.

I am however, still fat. Judging by the biological members of my family alive, I will always be fat. But does my fat dictate my health? Can the people who drive everywhere, who rarely take the stairs, but who perhaps don’t eat, or who are lucky to be blessed genetically, are they more healthy? The fat women doing biathalons-are they unhealthy? I will always be a size above, unlikely to ever slip under an 18. (I haven’t been a 14 since the summer I spent high without eating, having maybe 200 calories a day while I cycled everywhere. I still had a stomach, even then.)

But how does that determine judgement? If I recoil from a skinny woman, who to me, is far too slim, I see judgement cast at me. Yet recoil from me, and people will join you. I’m fat. I’m not welcome at the tea party. I’m disgusting and unhealthy.

I am, essentially, invisible, and yet, visibly judged. Even though you may know nothing about me, and how I live. I am your perfect whipping boy for your own vanity.

***

I love to run. I always have. And yet, I’ve never been able to without my lungs seizing up, and rendering me breathless, culminating once in passing out during a basketball game, legions of 13 year old girls newly trained in CPR wondering if they would get to try it out on the fat girl.

(Ironically, just writing about this makes my chest seize up in anxiety.)

I try to run. I try to run away from the body I have, because it is, quite simply, not the body the world condones, and is one it barely tolerates, no matter how fit it might be, no matter how healthy each doctor deems it against their own judgement. But I cannot run. And I am faced with raising two daughters in a world which makes weight and either or proposition, which it may not necessarily be.

I can’t run my way out of my body. But I can’t seem to run my way out of expectation or judgement either.

***

30 years in, 33 this year somehow, I can stand in front of a mirror, and face myself. I am imperfect. I am lumpy in places I’ve been lumpy since 14. But I am also strong.

I’m tired of letting you keep me from myself.  And it stops now.

2 More Sleeps!

14 May

2 more sleeps til Blog’er-Atlantic Canada’s answer to Blog’her, but with more talk and less ad revenue.

I’m excited. I get to meet Mad (who is nice enough to cart my ass there and back) and Kate and Hannah and Bon, and a few others I don’t believe I know. Very excited for an entire weekend of no kids, aside from small babies who I won’t mind holding and can be given back. An entire weekend of sleeping in. Oh I need this-mania has been trying it’s damndest to bleed through lately, and I need a mental break. The detrius is filling up, and it basically needs to fart.

Ah, the attractive way with words I have. Lovely isn’t it.

I’m not really nervous-not too nervous, not really. My only wrinkle is the fact that I’m bigger than everyone else, a situation which puts me ill at ease constantly. I can feel my bulk taking up space compared to smaller, more compact people. Even if I’m skinny, I fill up a room. I’ve never liked that. Despite my acceptance and often mute devotion to my own body, I cannot stand to be held up against “normal” women-it makes me feel like I’m not a woman, which is the most asinine thing a person who has all the undangly bits can say. I am a woman.

I just often feel like I take up too much space.

And yet at the same time, I love the fact that I rarely, if ever have felt threatened, truly threatened in strange situations. Other mother’s would let their daughters out if I was with them. (Of course, I’ve had the opposite affect on mother’s as well) I have never known fear the same way my smaller friends have. Mostly because men don’t look at me the same way-I am not attractive, yet I am not “easy” prey. So I am segregated into the netherworld of “it”.

And I’m fine with that. It’s safer that way. I hardly think I’m the only bigger girl who feels this way, sexless and safe. It’s an awful dichotomy really-that safety is only asserted when sexuality is neutralized. But in a way, it’s true. A few belly rolls, and you are no longer worthy, no longer worth risk. Some extra tush, and you cease to be a woman in the traditional eye. You cease to be female.

I do not expect that anyone will make me feel any of this over the course of the next few weeks-this is my shit, internalized crap, frustrated crap, “how many miles before I lose even a pound!?!? crap. I’ve always felt this way, springing up to about 5’6 at 12, and hitting puberty in a very apparent way, without my mother, I was the grade school equivalent of a sore thumb. I stuck out. I was tall, long legs, “child-bearing hips”-I constantly needed to be careful around the more “delicate” girls who couldn’t bear to break a nail playing basketball or get dirty playing rugby with the boys. Crap-crap that made me think a woman couldn’t be all things-delicate when she wanted, strong when she needed, dirty when it made sense. It’s all crap-it’s crap that I feel these things, that I worry about pictures that might be taken. Not because of my weight-but because of my size, and my frequent urge to blend in to the background, and just be.

It’s all crap.

I’m a big girl. I will never be the size of most the women I’ll meet this weekend. I have a genetic inheritance that seems to be a cross between Churchill and Monique, but with legs. I take drugs that keep weight on, I fight what is likely some sort of disordered eating, and have the metabolism of a slug. I live with the hands dealt to me, and I’m ok with that. I have never been a size 4, or 8-shit, I was a size 14 AT 14, and that was with virtually zero fat on me. I am not a small girl. I am a big woman. And it’s ok.

So this weekend, I’m going to smile. I’m going to laugh, and crack bad idiotic jokes (but not the one about the buffer) and I’m going to enjoy myself without once worrying that I’m this huge elephant in the room. Sometimes, elephants are fucking kick ass too.

Bipolar and PMS-My personal Axis of Evil

11 May

The last few months have been unpleasant. 26 days of the month are normal, copacetic, happy, sometimes sorta down, tired days.

3-5 days of the month are not.

My natural state is one of fairly rapid cycling. I can, literally, go from giggling uncontrollably to crying in a minute. I’ve done this. I hate it. Mixed states are my favorite either-being agitated and manic, really not a great combination.

So lately, with my menstrual cycle being it’s usual insane clusterfuck, I haven’t been enjoying the accompanying swings. Vast swings. Yesterday I was peaceful getting a manicure, then panicked getting a pedicure, then wistful, the manic and happy dancing with the girls then sad and weepy, turning into full blown suicidal urges by 10pm. I kept hearing things and seeing things, flashes out the side of my eyes. I spent the day repeating “This isn’t real.”

My doctor claims it’s normal, and I believe she’s right. For years I’d have what we called “freakouts’, and they always coincided with that time of the month. I, in my paranoid state, always assumed it was Mogo’s way to not taking any blame. Now I know that isn’t the case.

It’s disorienting, because you think you’re ok. You feel ok, until you don’t, and suddenly the persecuted thoughts start, you start staring at yourself thinking you’re too fucking fat to live, you’re useless and it hurts to much and then suddenly you’re ok, like a tornado came and went and you’re laughing and you can’t believe you felt that way! except for the lingers delusion that something is going to go terribly terribly wrong.

The delusions I can handle. I have a grip on them, even though my doctor didn’t seem to care much when I mentioned them-maybe I didn’t make them clear to her. But these intermittent spurts of DIE DIE DIE I want to DIE! are a but much to handle, and they worry me. What if they linger long enough? What if the lithium stops working? What if the illness overcomes me and wins?

I shouldn’t fear as I do, but I can’t help it. Once you’re out of the storm, you cannot imagine going back in and surviving. Maybe if my manic periods were more satisfying, or longer, maybe then I’d not mind the thought. But they aren’t long enough to make anything feel good. They are short, and angry and brutal, and the depression always feels like it lasts for months anyway.

I want this to be easy. I want it to stay shut behind the lithium door and leave me be. But it won’t.

The ongoing why the hell can’t I breathe right saga….

29 Apr

I’m getting tired of hearing my doctor try and pin everything on anxiety.

I’ve been having trouble breathing, on and off, since mid February. It came on without any cause so far as I can tell, and lasted well over 3 weeks. It went away. It came back. It went away and is now coming back again.

We did chest X-Rays, I’ve tried inhalers and acid reflux medication and ulcer medication. Nothing. We did blood work an EKG and Ativan, nothing.

Nothing helps. This irritating issue goes away on it’s own, comes back when it pleases. It seems to be vaguely connected to what I eat-I eat too much or too crappy, I bloat and the sick cycle starts again.

Now he’s talking about anxiety again, and how he thought trying an antidepressant might help.

HELL NO.

I would feel anxious, wouldn’t I? I would feel like I used to, terrified and secretly worked up about everything? I would know, right?

He also mentioned possible IBS, maybe Celiac disease, and his own bafflement. Hence his falling back on anxiety, the good ole catch all. Can’t find something actually wrong with you? Must be teh crazy.

I am usually more than willing to accept that, but not this time. I feel no anxiety over anything in my life, aside from occasional work stress, I’m not stressed out.

He wants me to do a stress test anyway.

I didn’t even get around to mentioning the fact that my periods have gone insane. So I’m hoping my PAP comes back clear.

I’m just tired of not knowing, of worrying when this will come back and stay for however long it stays. Feeling like you’re suffocating for weeks on end just ain’t cool.

“can pregnant woman eat pizza hut wings”

17 Feb

HELLS yes. I lived on Pizza Hut my second pregnancy (as my ass and 50 lb weight gain can attest)

You can eat what you want, with the exception of the usual suspects-beer a 40 of vodka, crack cocaine, sushi  fish from Lake Erie, six pack of Jolt.

More than likely, everyone and their Mother has been telling you “You can’t eat that!!!” in the same tones that one would warn small children from open flame. Ignore them. Frankly, anyone who dares tell a pregnant woman what they can or cannot eat deserves to be kicked, repeatedly in the vicinity of where a baby might come out. Welcome to motherhood-a land where everyone else knows better than you.

Don’t overdo the eating of crap (trust me-50lbs….but I quit smoking, so I figure it works out) but don’t listen to people with their stupid unfounded prejudices about food either. OR, levy some advice of your own-something like “Hey, that purse makes your ass look big” or “that chest hair makes you look like a wookie.”

And then, go have a big honkin’ pile of wings. And hot sauce.

Reasons 6 and 6.5 that I know the drugs are ok

3 Dec

Aside from the pudgy weight gain. It’s annoying-my appetite is down, WAY down, yet I still seem to be putting on a bit of weight. I looked in the mirror the other day and saw an honest to goodness FAT girl there. I’ve never totally internalized that-my chub always spread itself evenly over me, so while I was a big girl, I never felt fat-you know, LAZY fat, or “eats too much” fat.

But somehow, it didn’t bother me that much. Sure, clothes don’t fit that well, but I’m happy, Mogo loves me the way I am, and I’m no unhealthy. So who cares? I could be slimmer, and I’m gonna start doing more yoga to help with that, but really, do I care? Not that much. A little, but it’s not the end of the world.

The bigger reason I know the Lithium is working on my bipolar is that I don’t feel anxious when presented with social events anymore. There’s still a little, but it’s normal, the way I used to feel about going out. A slight bit of trepidation, but nothing more. I actually signed on for our company Xmas party this year, which caused more than 1 person to hover at my desk asking WTF? (In my defence, it’s at a theme park this year instead of some stuffy hotel) And I’m excited-I’m doubly excited because we’re going to get a hotel room and have a night to ourselves for the first time in, well, ever since having the kids.

We’ve never had a date night like this. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my husband for a night, maybe getting drunk and sleeping until we wake up the next morning. Eating breakfast without fingers in it. Having some adult conversation. (Playing mini-putt while half tanked!) It’s been so long since going out wasn’t filled with fear and anxiety-for the past 10 years or so, I’ve mostly just not gone out. It was safer, and easier to stay home. Less variables. Less people to try and talk to or interact with.

You know how hard it is as an adult to admit that you’re too scared to go out and mingle with people? To have friends get very angry with you because you can’t move past the fear and go with them somewhere, meet them in a busy bar? To not even have a name for the anxiety that eats you alive when you do something as simple as go out to a new restaurant to eat?

I’ve been doing these things lately, and with glee. It’s so freeing, and in some ways, depressing. It shows me exactly what I missed for most of my twenties, frozen and stagnant, unable to move.

Now my fears are more exotic-what if the lithium stops working?

Weighty

14 Nov

Anyone else read CNN on a daily basis?

Lost among the stories of murder, rape, pillage, amputated limbs and burning buildings have lately been some rather odd stories.

What exactly is newsworthy about people losing weight?

All around the world people starve. In our own countries, people are malnourished because they can’t afford the proper food, or they don’t know what they should be eating. We’re at war. Our economies may slip into recession in the near future.

And yet some guy loses weight and that’s worth tacking on a major news site. He didn’t save a child, or a platoon. He didn’t rescue a dog, cure cancer or fly around the world in a balloon. Yet he’s front page news.

Is fat really so repulsive, such a scandal, that someone who loses a ton of weight is a hero? Will they write a story about him in a few years when he’s likely to have gained the weight back? Will he be as special and delightful when he’s chubby? Will we write odes to his name?

I’m fat. I may stay this way forever. I may find a way to lose it after all this time. I don’t know. Most of the time I don’t much care. What I do know is that it’s bloody insulting and infuriating to see these little articles devoted to weight loss on a news site, articles telling me that I’m not special unless I shrink down in size, that I don’t matter unless I’m little.

I don’t want to be little. I’m perfectly happy being a giant, thank you very much. I don’t want to hear about their caloric restriction. I want to hear about people doing things, real things, writing novels, solving murders, fixing wars. Meaningful things. How is losing weight meaningful? You’re still gonna die! What you weigh will have no bearing on how meaningful your life was-not if you truly live your life.

I’m tired of it-I’m tired of the celebrity of skinny, of anorexia, of denial. My body wants food like a car wants gas. It shall have it’s gas. My tongue wants taste like the sea wants water. It shall have it’s taste. My life will be defined by more than my waist size or by the amount of chub that hangs over my belt. I am more than the sum of my ass.

Now why isn’t THAT newsworthy?

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