Thursday, November 29, 2007
I hate clothes shopping. I hate the thought of spending outrageous amounts of money on clothes made overseas by people making pennies a day. I hate that the clothes fall apart withing months. I also hate not being able to go into secondhand stores with the hopes of finding anything that might fit me. Not an option.
Because, as I discovered yesterday in the Plus side of Fashion Bug, I'm now a 28W. I have never been a 28. The highest I've been was a 26. The lowest, at least in adulthood, was an 18. I miss 18. But 28? There's just no higher to go. Yes, there's the elusive 30/32, whatever that is. I hardly ever glance at that size, thinking, "Oh, that's not me."
But it could be. It's just the next size up. Another twenty pounds or so. Three more candy bars and four cokes a day. That's nothing. Easy.
I also spent a while looking longingly at 14/16's on the clearance rack. It's always those left at the end. Because, really, why would you be in a Plus size store if you're a 14? You'd shop in a regular store. Or, at least, I would, if I could. But I haven't been in a regular clothing store since I was a teenager. Even then, nothing in TJ Maxx fit me anyway.
I remember my ex husband's mother once saying, on the occasion of her friend seeing her Lane Bryant charge card in her wallet, "Oh I don't shop there for myself. I use it to buy clothes for my daughter-in-law." She didn't want anything to think she shopped at a fat person's store - god forbid!
I don't even think about the "other side" of the store anymore, honestly. When I was younger, I spent the whole time wishing I could shop on that side, where all the cute clothes were. The fashionable, trendy little dresses, the tiny panties. Who fits in those? Barbie? I can't even imagine being that girl, the one who could fit into a 10, an 8... a 6? Feh! Are you kidding?
I remember being in a mall when I was a kid, shopping with a girlfriend who went into the 5, 7, 9 store. It was the first time I had ever seen a size "0." It was like baby clothes to me. Bizarre, strange, completely out of reach.
I don't know if there's a thin person in me trying to get out. I really don't know.
Well, that's not completely true. There IS a thin person in there who wants to wear a size six and be able to fit in airplane seats without the seatbelt extension and movie theater seats without wedging myself in. Sure. I just don't know if I can find her under all the candy bar wrappers and cheesecake boxes. It seems like an overwhelming task, when you look at it from a distance, like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Is she in there? I think so.
My secret truth is... I hope so.
And most importantly... I really do hope I get to meet her some day.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
This may be a little unorthodox. Just a warning, not an apology.
I'm an addict, but I'm also a lot more than an addict. I deeply feel that each one of us is truly a particularly formed and miraculous manifestation of god, of the source from which we came, to which we will ultimately return, and which we are a unique expression of in this present moment.
I wish I treated myself as if that were true.
I'm very smart, yet I don't fully grasp how it is that I treat myself as less of a person than I treat others most of the time. My calling in life, and my current occupation, is to help others really feel the truth of who they are, their divine source and nature, their unity as part of all that was, is and will ever be. I do this with other addicts whose substances of "choice" are drugs and alcohol, and with people dealing with various forms of mental illness, from the severe to the amusingly neurotic. I feel hypocritical about this sometimes, but, the thing is, I'm very good at it, I help people on a deep level to make change in their lives.
I'm also quite cocky in some ways (if you didn't notice) despite my shortcomings...as a matter of fact, I have a secret part of myself that feels I'm so special that I'm both worse and better than other people. I've got both ends of the spectrum covered! That part of me isn't in charge as often as it used to be, but one minute with that arrogant prick at the helm can wreak enough havok for 100 years. I've hurt a lot of people that I love, including myslef. That part of me is actually the little boy part I will speak of in a moment or two pretending to be a mature man.
I'm resentful about having this particular problem in life....obesity, compulsive overeating, an unconscious alcoholic, sexually and physically abused, sadistic and passively abusive mother who raised me and shoved food down my throat so she would feel she existed, was loved, in control of everything and wouldn't have to deal with her own feelings.
I realize that, even if my Hansel-and-Gretel Witch of a mother was to blame for making me morbidly obese, I am 100% fully responsible for my mind, body, soul, spirit and heart in this and every moment. No one can attend to me but me. I also realize I am not that little boy anymore, and that my mother is a whole person and the Devouring Witch is only part of who she is, the part she needed to pretend she was in order to make herself feel safe and in control. I also realize that the people-pleasing, love-seeking, spoiled and stubborn boy was what I became in order to survive the emotional and physical abuse that my mother unconsciously passed onto me.
My father is a dependent and physically small man (5'3" and only slightly overweight when he ran the ice cream parlor on the aircraft carrier on which he served in the navy, just at the end of the Korean war) and wasn't willing to challenge my mother's over-feeding of me for fear she would be angry at him. My father's father died when my father was very young, and my father was raised by a stepfather. His stepfather was a good man, but I know that men who didn't know their fathers are left with a hole inside that is hard to heal and they feel as if they are lost, incompetent and don't have what it takes to live their best lives. That's my dad...he is a good man, but didn't psychologically leave his mother and grow up, so now my mother is his mother.
I think every ounce of unnecessary fat is an ounce of sadness, anger, hurt and unlived life.
I think I'm using more resources in the world than I'm giving.
My life is ruled by the message that I have to choose between myself and others, and only one of us gets to exist. I have to manipulate, steal, cheat and lie in order to get any love for myself, which I have done ad nauseum. I know that my obesity and compulsive overeating in large part (pun intended) is an unconscious assertion of my right to exist and take up space in the world.
That's right, in my heart, there is a part of me behind the curtain that feels like I have no right to exist, so I keep getting and staying large as a way to say Fuck You! to a world that rejects and doesn't want me for anything but a garbage can.
Here's some history:
I'm an almost-40-yr-old caucasian male, married, with children. I'm 390 pounds and 5'11". I've been diagnosed as an insulin dependent Type 1 diabetic since age 20 (I have poor blood sugar control).
I was born fat and have just kept getting fatter since then. Although, I seem to have plateaued at about 390.
Maybe I'll insert more of my childhood history in the future.
I played sports my entire childhood and was very good at them, despite being 215 pounds by the end of high school. Being exceptionally good at everything I did...hockey, wrestling, baseball, academics, art, socializing...blah blah blah...helped me stay in denial of my addiction and health problems until pretty recently, when my life began to unravel and fall apart in many ways (perhaps to be discussed in more detail later). Don't let anyone ever tell you that hitting bottom is about losing things in life...it's about waking up from denial.
I consider my addiction a battle in which the only way of winning is to surrender, and the only enemy is denial, not food, eating, or my body. As long as I live with the belief that I have one iota of control in life I am at risk of allowing my addiction to run my life.
My mother was morbidly obese by the time she was a teenager, and then she lost wieght through diet and exercise, achieved a "normalish" weight, and hasn't really been obese since then. My maternal grandmother, Nanna, was morbidly obese, diabetic, and died of a heart attack due to diabetes. My mother's side of the family has serious obesity, as well as alcoholism, various and sundry kinds of abuse, and paranoid schizophrenia.
My father's side has diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, a little bit of cancer, and a massive heaping helping of downright evil codependency.
That's enough for now. I have this strange paradox of working very hard and yet not doing enough. I'm tired and Queenie is nudging me from our bed.
That's another thing...life really is beautiful and amazing, and I have an amazing wife and children. I'm deeply grateful for what the universe has given me...yet, I'm also deeply unsatisfied with the resevoir of unlived life I've hoarded.
What do you call two MD's standing next to each other?
A paradox...get it...a pair-a-docs!
If I can only learn to use my powers for good instead of e-ville!
Monday was the one year anniversary of my best friend's death. She died of metastasized breast cancer. I miss her very much.
I've been really, really sick.
But it doesn't change the fact that I haven't been eating like I want to. Well, I take that back. Clearly some part of me wants a Big Boy and fries and a hot fudge ice cream cake, because that's what I had for lunch. And that was AFTER I went to the allergist (and found out I'm allergic to both dogs and cats and we're going to have to give up ours) where I weighed in at a whopping 280 pounds.
Um... wrong direction, scale!
Now, granted, my period is due any minute now and I always gain five pounds before. Always. Like clockwork. So perhaps this is that five... which means I'm really down two?
Hey, it's the new math!
But instead of getting all down on myself and stopping on the way home to buy a load of junk food to binge on tonight, and a pizza to throw in the oven for everyone else... I came home and made a real dinner. Stuffed green peppers. Pretty healthy, as dinners go. With brown rice, no cheese.
Okay, so Harley was almost an hour late for dinner. Grrr. But that gave me time to fold laundry and watch the Oprah I TiVo-ed. Today's show was about obesity. Guests included people who had lost weight through diet and exercise alone. No surgery, no magic shakes or pills. Just common sense eating and getting off the couch. Seems simple enough, right?
It was a rather inspiring episode, I must say. Now Oprah and Bob are having a Million Viewer Challenge. So instead of six people to go on his diet (the six who were on today telling their success stories) Bob Greene wants a million. And apparently, you only have to pay *less than $5 a week to get in on the deal! Feh.
Talk about the new math! Yet another gimmick. *sigh*
Okay, so I'm not doing so well on my own. I can see that. But should I pay Bob Greene and Harpo Industries so I can fail and be broke? I don't think so.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Ironic that I was at the doctor's just yesterday. But I didn't feel this bad. Just had a little congestion. That's not usual for me. I'm ALWAYS congested! But today my throat's on fire, I have a fever of 102 and I'm shaking like a blind lesbian at a weenie roast...
Thursday, November 22, 2007
"An hour later..."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Current Weight: 390 lbs
Goal Weight: 180 lbs
BMI: 54.39 (according to skinnyr who says I'm super obese)
BMI Goal: 25
Current Weight: 277 lbs
Goal Weight: 120 lbs
BMI: 46.09 (according to skinnyr who says I'm morbidly obese)
BMI Goal: 22
Sunday, November 18, 2007
When I was very young, maybe four or five, I remember my parents arguing one night, I remember him hitting her, and I remember feeling very scared. I crawled to the back of my closet and I fell asleep, and when I woke up, it was morning. No one had come to look for me. No one even noticed that I was “missing.” And I got the message: no one wants me… there is something wrong with me.
When I was seven, my father checked into an inpatient mental health facility and was diagnosed as bi-polar. He was and still is a very active compulsive overeater, and there were many rules in my house about food. For example, we were never allowed to eat the first or last of anything. However, since my father was bi-polar, the rules were never consistent. One day, I could be spanked for eating a banana, because he was “saving” it… and a few days later, be yelled at for eating candy instead of one of the bananas sitting there going brown on the counter. I was always walking on eggshells, always trying to figure out what to say or do or not say or do, what the right thing was… because clearly whatever I was doing wasn’t the right thing, no matter what it was. And I got the message: there is something wrong with me.
I have always used food to numb my feelings, ever since I can remember. I would eat my Halloween candy in 2-3 days. My parents would hide it, but I would always find it. I remember stealing out of a piggy bank, where my parents were saving silver and half-dollars for me (I wasn’t supposed to touch them) so that I could go up to the corner store with a girlfriend and buy goodies to eat. This was a HUGE piggy bank. And it was half full with half and silver dollars. By the time I was done spending them, there was an inch left. I don’t have a clue how much I spent, but it was probably hundreds and hundreds of dollars over time. I never had the same relationship with food that I saw other people have. I could never stop at just “one” and I was always thinking about something “yummy.” Again, I got the message: I was different, there was something wrong with me.
I could never get enough of anything, whether it was food, love, attention, either positive or negative, it didn’t matter. I once gave a friend's mom a little birthday gift. I must have been eight or none. This was a woman who was the night and day opposite of my mother, tall, blonde, beautiful, she radiated light. I so wanted to be her, to be enfolded into light like that. I had such a longing in my heart. And when I gave her that gift, she praised me and petted me and I was so hungry... my appetite was beyond words, I was like a hungry little ghost. I came back to her door with another gift, and she smiled, and patted me, and then I brought another, this time she just smiled, a little strained… and still I was hungry!
I didn’t really start gaining weight until I hit puberty, but when I did, it didn’t seem to stop. I had an eating buddy, and she and I would go buy bagloads of junk food, take them to our “fort” in the woods, and binge. Her sister once made a huge batch of bakery goodies for her entire marching band, and my friend and I stole them out of the kitchen, and together, we ate them all. It was she and I against the world. I seemed genetically predispositioned to gain more than her. Or maybe it was the fact that I could eat her under the table! :x She was chubby, but I was getting FAT. Once, walking through a store together, someone put tags on us, “Large” and “Extra Large.” I was the extra.
I don’t know how many times I've tried to diet or lose weight. Every summer before bathing suit season. Every special occasion. Every time the girl at the concession stand rolled her eyes because I was coming out of the movie theater AGAIN to get more fluffy white stuff. Every birthday. Every Christmas. Every Monday. I remember doing the “grapefruit diet” in 6th grade. ½ a grapefruit in the morning. ½ a can of DRY tuna for lunch and a small salad with no-fat dressing for dinner. I did that one for three whole days. I tried my first diet pills at the age of nine. I starved myself completely for a week at the age of 11. But I couldn’t do any of this for long, because there was nothing else in my life that did for me what food did. Food never let me down. Especially junk food. It always tasted the same.
Since I couldn’t control the fact that I was fat, I started covering it up. I had a lightweight jacket that I started wearing tied around my waist to hide my body. I wore that jacket every day, with every outfit, everywhere. I wore it to school, I wore it whenever I went outside, I wore it to family functions, even at Christmas. The only time I took it off was to sleep or shower. My friend even wrote in my high school yearbook, “I want to know the secret of the black jacket.”
I had a boyfriend in high school, my friend’s brother, actually. He and I were “going together” but it was a secret. I once asked him why he wouldn’t tell his friends about me. I asked him, sure I already knew the answer: “Is it my body? Because I’m fat?” His answer surprised me: “No, actually… it’s your face. You’re just not very pretty.” There went my last vestige of hope, that maybe I was a fat girl with a “pretty face.” That’s when I decided: There was nothing about me that was acceptable.
It was years before I connected my binges with that numbed, sleepy, buzzing feeling I got afterward, that’s how incredibly disconnected I remained from my body. Miserable doesn’t even begin to come close to what I’ve felt, and the food never made it better, it actually usually made it worse. Not at first, of course, but over the years, I felt like a slave to the food, to “feeding the beast.”
Feeding the beast became a full time job, and that’s all I did. The bottom had completely dropped out of my life by this time, my family was torn apart, my marriage was shaky, my children were traumatized, we were on the brink of losing everything financially… and all I could think about was food. How I could get it, when I was going to eat it, how I was going to hide that I was eating it, and how I could get more. Nothing else mattered. And the irony was that the food wasn’t really even working anymore, because the more I fed the beast, the more it demanded. It was never enough. A war was being raged in me, and the beast was winning. It was relentless. It was never satisfied. It wanted complete surrender.
I don’t know if my hopes will come true for me. I can only hope. I look around now and feel connected and part of something greater that I never have before. Maybe, maybe, there’s really nothing wrong with me, either.
When a baby is born, it is completely amazed with life. They are in love with themselves and everyone around them. We all arrive as a miracle. Babies aren’t self-conscious, they don’t compare themselves with other babies, they don’t doubt their worth or their greatness…
I know that I had to be taught otherwise. I had to learn to dislike myself, criticize myself, abuse myself. With each painful circumstance, harsh word, and incomprehensible wound, that natural state of grace that I came into the world with was covered by self-protective mechanisms. The beast came with the face of a friend and told me that food would fill that emptiness. It hurt too much, and to stop the pain, I simply shut down my natural state, I buried it. I knew it was worth it. I knew I would need it. And now… now is the time… now is the process of recovering that part of me...