I REFUSE TO EMBRACE MY FATNESS

Photo by isfullofcrap

Okay, in all fairness, I’m not fat, as in “The Biggest Loser” fat. But I’m fatter than I care to be. I hate to exercise. I have always hated to exercise. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. There were no grassy fields to play soccer or baseball. The closest park was paved entirely in cement, and had monkey bars without any protective padding underneath in case you fell. No child frolicked through this park; teenagers went there to smoke pot and spit.

I can’t tell you how many notes I forged from my mother to get out of gym class. In my senior year of high school, at our graduation luncheon, every classmate was presented with a certificate of where they’d be in ten years.  Mine said I’d be promoting my book called 1 in 365—How to stay in shape while only exercising one day a year.

My way of staying thin throughout my twenties was to just not eat. I wasn’t anorexic by any means, because I was hypoglycemic and would pass out if I didn’t consume protein. I just didn’t eat that much. Food never really excited me. Eating is one big time-consuming drag, as is the preparation and clean-up of it, so if I could just pop a pill to get all my nutrition instead, that would suit me fine.

I’m not a stress eater, either. Stress drives me to drink coffee, drink alcohol, or yell. If I’m really emotionally unhinged, I’ll actually lose my appetite. This has served me well regarding weight management. Don’t get me wrong—I was NEVER bone thin. I was born with fleshy hips, thighs, and an ass, all made larger over the years by the fake estrogen in the Pill.

My best friend from high school, who was obsessed with her weight and super-skinny, would always lament over how fat she was because she couldn’t get down to a size two. I wasn’t even a size two when I was two. Her, and women like her, I want to smack. Seriously. Because if they’re unable to squeeze any flab, and yet are still complaining about how fat they are, what does that make me? Clinically obese?

Speaking of…that’s what my dear dad called me when I got up to an unfathomable 160 pounds five years ago. He had the gall to pull out his medical encyclopedia and tell me my BMI was so over the limit, that I was…yes, OBESE. Boy, with a father like that, who needs an abusive spouse? I’ll mention the fact that I put on weight after my son’s father left me suddenly after my son turned one. Enter Prozac, then Zoloft, then Effexor to keep me from driving off a cliff into the ocean, and you have a prescription for fatness.

I’m not sure why antidepressants make people gain weight. Is it because they’re not depressed anymore, so they regain their appetite? Is it a cruel joke played by the pharmaceutical companies that make them? (Ha! You cannot be both happy AND thin!) Are they so zonked out, they don’t care how fat they’re getting? (Whoa, I’m becoming as large as a whale. Eh, it’s all good.) Retention of water, in the amount of Lake Michigan?

What I do know is the older I get, the more my not eating solution from my younger days doesn’t work. In my twenties and thirties, I used to be able to watch what I ate for a few days and feel somewhat svelte again, but when I hit age 41, I finally bit the bullet and realized I needed to exercise. It was tortuous, but I penciled it in like a doctor’s appointment every other day. I lost the weight, tightened up the flab, and was able to go swimming without wearing a muumuu.

I kept this up for two years until this winter reared its ugly head, and I became depressed, tired, and unmotivated. “I’ll work out the next day” or “the next day,” and pretty soon almost twenty pounds came sprinting back, suctioning themselves to various parts of my body. I stared at myself in the mirror the other day and felt like crying. “Dammit, now I have to start all over again!” I whined.

My mother and I would have wicked arguments while I was growing up when she would try and tell me that the first step toward weight loss was Acceptance: Looking in the mirror and loving what you see, regardless of what you feel you need to change. And I’d look at her like she had two heads, squeeze a big chunk of inner thigh blubber and scream, “How can I love myself when I look like a fat cow?!”

Plus-size models may embrace their heftiness, because well, they’re getting paid to. But when I sit down and two rolls of stomach fat accompany me, I feel like moving to Hawaii so I never have to wear another waistband again.

I can’t afford to move to Hawaii, and I can’t afford a new wardrobe. I’ve tried eliminating food, except for the 3000 calories of heavy whipping cream I use daily in my coffee. I refuse to embrace my unwelcome fatness (unless it’s in my breasts, which, of course it never is). So that leaves me with only one thing left to do…

Sigh. Does typing count as exercise?

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MY HALF-CRACKED GLASS

As a writer, I find myself insatiably curious about human
nature and what makes people tick. As a person, I’m socially adventurous, and a
bit of a deviant. People think I’m a glass is half-empty kind of girl. On the contrary, my glass is overflowing with a
hard dose of ass-kicking reality. And I expect the same when it comes to my
friends.

“You’re fine? Your marriage is fine? Your kids are all fine?” Ho-hum.
Yawn
. I really couldn’t care less. But tell me you’re secretly lusting
after the neighbor’s teenage son; you suspect your husband may be a
cross-dresser because every pair of pumps you own are stretched out; and your
nine-year-old daughter has taken to drawing penises on every piece of scrap
paper she finds around the house, and I will take notice. Then I’ll be interested in what you have to say.

Life is rarely warm peach cobbler with real vanilla ice-cream
melting on top. And the people who portray it as such? I don’t trust them. I
think they’re either severely medicated or completely delusional. You know who
I’m talking about. They’re the ones who don’t want to air their dirty laundry
in public. “Gasp! What would people think?” They’re the overachievers, the
type-As, the repressed, the eternally optimistic.

Yeah, I get the whole New Age concept of believing that your
thoughts create your reality. But if that were true, I’d have Barry Zito, the
pitcher for the SF Giants in my bed every night. I’ve seen people with the
purest of hearts have the crappiest things happen to them. Good deeds being
reciprocated with, oh, I don’t know, a drug-addicted ex who steals all your
jewelry, your rent money and threatens to kill you. Ahem.
Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I’ve lost a few good friends over the years due to my
negative attitude. I tried to explain to them that I wasn’t a doom-and-gloom
Sally; I’m just REALISTIC. And pardon me if I come across as slightly
pessimistic. I attribute it to my New York upbringing. I was raised in
Brooklyn. I didn’t grow up with a grassy front yard – hell, a cement stoop was
my front yard. I didn’t ride a quaint yellow school bus. I took the rat- and
bum-infested, urine-smelling subway. Back when subways were graffiti-covered
works of art, rather than the metallic, sleek-looking, vibrator-resembling
machines of today. There were no protective pads underneath the monkey bars. It
was hard pavement and broken glass. Nobody picked up after their dogs back
then, stray cats were everywhere, and if you were hot on a swelteringly muggy
summer day, you found someone with a wrench to open up a fire hydrant for you
so you could cool off.

Life can be gritty and awful, and majestically beautiful.
Amazing things happen, but so do shitty things. Denying the shit and only
embracing the diamonds makes you an inauthentic human being, in my opinion; a
rose-colored glasses-wearing fake, who refuses to acknowledge that they have
problems just like the rest of us.

So don’t tell me how great your husband is, unless you’re
trying to convince me to have a threesome; I only want to hear how good your
son is at basketball if he’s playing for the Lakers and can get me courtside
seats; and if you’re a Supermom, who goes to the gym every day, has an
immaculate home, with dinner on the table at six and the kids in bed by nine –
well, we won’t have a damn thing in common.

The bumper sticker on the back of my car reads: MY SON ISN’T
AN HONOR STUDENT AT HIS SCHOOL AND I’M PROUD OF HIM ANYWAY.