Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Apologize For Not Apologizing:

One of my yoga teachers recently published a nice piece about body and self-image. In it she attempts to address the kinds of random questions and unhelpful statements one encounters during the average extended relations holiday get-together where food and eating habits typically become a conversation piece, as well as unintentional verbal kindling for all manner of family judgement bonfires. In it she declares that this year she will not apologize for being thin, even though it makes others in her family feel uncomfortable about themselves.

I get it.

Except that now I'm on the other side of that argument. W-A-Y on the other side, to my way of thinking. Call me Ishmael Pudding Face.

I was extremely thin for all of my childhood, adolescence and most of my young adult life and I don't mean relatively thin when propped up next to Biggie Smalls or Snookie from Jersey Shore. I mean truly skinny. A stick figure youth who wore pantyhose under jeans in the hopes of filling them out and a college freshman with a bad Twinkie habit who never gained an ounce. That was then and this is now (Thank you, S.E. Hinton). I get where she's coming from and I sympathize why she feels the need to say what she's saying.

Somewhere along the way after three pregnancies, peri-menopause, a busted thyroid and a life-saving surgery to fix my palm-sized stomach ulcer, I lost my clavicle bones...or what my grandmother used to call "salt cellars", which are those triangular hollows between your neck and shoulder bones. Everything else followed. I can't decide if I have failed my body or my body has failed me. I take vitamins. I do some form of exercise almost every single day including at least three weekly installments of hot yoga and I try really hard to avoid my weekly nightly haj of wine and movie popcorn. However, my size in the last three years remains stubbornly unmoved. I have --according to many people whose sympathies I fail to earn--a normal sized body, but I'm unsure if that means normal in a "what's the big deal" kind of way or in the way that suggests I've gone the way of "Supersize Me" America. 

Either way, I hate me it and so do my pants.

True, I do not run long distances anymore. My hopes to complete a second marathon faded after I celebrated the 10th anniversary of having run the first one--and besides--it's too damn dark when I get home from work. The idea of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred would only work if she drove her skinny ass to my house every day to scream at me. I have the LOSE IT app on my phone and it restricts me to 1100 calories a day which is only successful when I approach its use with religious zeal while bookending each day between two separate workout sessions and drinking several liters of water. Sure, I get results, but 1) I must be close to a bathroom at all times, 2) My day devolves into little more than working and then working out and 3) I miss chewing.

So how desperate am I these days? I called an acupuncturist yesterday in the hope that having a thousand tiny needles inserted directly into my face will somehow tease my metabolism out of its present coma and I can pass by a mirror without grimacing. Of course, there is probably no way to be this honest about my negative self-image without inviting the assumption that I feel this way about everyone else in my situation. I don't.  I am the supreme ruler of my own body image planet and the restrictions I make for myself should in no way be mistaken for how I think anyone else should live. It's all about me. 

My biggest issue here is with the kind of change--unlike getting older-- that I should be able to fix and can't. It's about wanting to regain the one another part of my past life that I always took for granted. And--okay, I'll admit it. It's about walking into a party or a staff meeting or even the grocery store and feeling like nothing worse than a gently used version of my old self rather than one french fry away from a being a cautionary tale. Is that too much to ask? Please say "no".


  1. "No". You can ask for anything. But getting? Ah, there's the rub. I'm on a quest to lose about 20 pounds, and I've been on track, even through the Holiday Season. My deadline is February 15, when I step out on stage in a role in "Calendar Girls". But here's the thing: I'm losing this weight to be more true to the character, BECAUSE HE IS WASTING AWAY FROM CANCER. Think about that. I am trying to lose perfectly good (and well-earned) weight SO I CAN LOOK LIKE I AM DYING. Ah, the goals we embrace ...

  2. Just followed your link back from the comment you left on my blog. The whole discussion of weight and losing it - *sigh*. Unfortunately, I have no advice for you: otherwise I'd write a book. I just keep slogging along day after day, hoping to find that 'balance' I keep reading about but repeatedly coming to the conclusion that the only way I'm going to get where I want to be is to become some sort of a diet/fitness zealot - and I don't think I have it in me. On a completely unrelated topic, though: I am so glad to have found your blog again! Have spent the last hour or so sifting through all the posts I've missed and reading parts of them aloud to DH (trying to telecommute today, the poor man.) I was reading your other blog back when you went through the whole 'internet principal' situation and then went to a different private blog, and then somewhere in all of that, I moved to Korea and thought that I would never find you in cyberspace again. Glad you're back. And when do you find out about that high school job? Or is it a done deal and I missed it? Have taught at both ends of the spectrum and they both have their drawbacks, although I have to say at the top of the SES heap I at least never ran into any 'pirate teeth.' Happy New Year!

  3. It kind of hit me today when I was bombarded with weight loss ads during the Law and Order: SVU marathon, that Weight Watchers, and Nutrisystem and Sensa and Alli and all the other weight loss companies out there, feed on our fears of being overweight, feed on our insecurities by telling us we would be better women if only we were thin. Is it important to be healthy? Absolutely, but need to accept that part of being healthy is having a healthy mindset and accepting ourselves as we are NOW. It's really easy to type this, but boy, living it is tough. I wish I had the right advice, too. (Love your comments at Mrs. G's blog, and thanks for visiting mine!)

  4. Thank you, Kelley. You are very attractive and not feeling that because you're not as thin as you once were is really a shame. You are not at an unhealthy weight, you are in an unhealthy state of mind. This is true of far too many women.

  5. So much truth here. I'm in the same boat and can't decide if I should chuck it all and just accept myself as I am or diet and obsess about food for the rest of my life.
    Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I'll definitely be revisiting here. :)

  6. The weight battle is never easy. Just remember that YOU are beautiful, wonderful and perfect just as you are.

  7. Oh, hell. Having been on both sides of the spectrum--having to worry both about gaining weight and losing it--I have to tell you, it's all about getting your head right. Because once you damage your thinking, no matter what you look like or what size you are, it's never optimal. You'll never be happy and you'll never stop perseverating. Clean up your headspace first. Trust me; I know.


Be nice. It's not as hard as it sounds.