Friday, January 23, 2009

That gratitude thing AGAIN - with a twist.

So I was talking to my sister tonight, and finally pried out of her that she's got herself a boyfriend. It was always one of those things that everybody figured, but nobody wanted to confirm - not because the guy's a shitheel or anything, but my family tends to operate on a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. We're not the most open of people because we were raised with a philosophy that if you're having issues, shut up and deal with it. Of course, I'm pleased for my sister. She deserves to be happy and this guy's a decent fellow. But of course, I went to bed in a foul mood and couldn't sleep for all the, you know, crying.

At the close of last year, I made a decision to remove all of my dating profiles from various sites. I spent far too much time sending out messages to various menfolk and receiving no responses in return, which only served to make me feel humiliated and idiotic. As I chewed on it and thought about it, I think if there's anything I've figured out, any kind of grand revelation I've had, it's that I simply do not have the mental energy to try and suss out what in the fuck men are looking for and why I seem to completely lack it. My grand plan for 2009 is coming to terms, once and for fucking all, that the universe has sent a very loud message, loud like an air raid siren, that I'm not meant for a relationship. It will never matter how much I may have in common with someone, it will never matter how well we get on, I lack whatever...SHAZAM or SHECLACKY or SHEBANG that seems to be key in turning over that particular engine. You either got it or you don't, and I'm someone who clearly don't, for whatever reason that I will go to the grave not understanding. It's a blessing that I don't have a screaming need to have children and haven't spent years daydreaming about a perfect wedding to the perfect guy, and I'm certainly able to take care of myself and I've never not done something because I'd be doing it alone. I'm more than capable of contending with the next however many years I'm left with on a perpetual solo mission. I know this, in my heart and in my brain and every other corner of my being.

So it's rather vexing to find myself sitting up at 11:30 p.m. ugly-crying about it...YET AGAIN. Because I'm supposed to be in a good mood. I'm on vacation, for Christ's sake. I'm going out of town Monday to Vegas to celebrate (well, cope with) my birthday, and it will be so nice to be someplace where it's 60 degrees instead of 10 below, and have the chance to kick back and relax and oh yes, do some--okay, a LOT of gambling. I'm going alone, by choice. And I know the second I land at McCarron, I will be delighted to be someplace I really dig, staying at a hotel I've never stayed at but have always wanted to, with plenty of books to read and plans to stretch my shit out and lounge. But I also know that corner of me, that corner of me that I would do absolutely anything to vanquish, to silence, to shut up once and for all, that corner of me that wants to be with someone and will not/cannot process why I'm not worthy of being loved, that corner that I want so much to STOP CARING because it is CHILDISH TO EXPEND ALL THIS ENERGY ON IT (and write about omg), will be scratching at me...gnawing. Knocking at the door like the fucking Land Shark, determined to remind me at every turn that I am not the girl that gets a happy ending, I am not the girl the fellows fall over, I am not going to be someone's have to have. To remind me that every single guy that has been tragically unlucky enough to fall on my radar, every single one that I've held my heart out to and said, "it's yours, fucking TAKE IT"--it doesn't matter. That's probably the most...maybe "galling" isn't the right word, but mercy, it's medicine that doesn't go down easy. That notion, that truth that it doesn't matter how much I loved, what I did, it meant nothing. In the big scheme of things, if I'm remembered at all, it's as a joke. An awkward moment they'd prefer to forget.

Now it's midnight, and I seem to be all ugly-cried-out (sing about that Lisa Lisa). The temperature in and around Chicago is plunging into Oh Hell No proportions, and I've realized that I've penned yet another blog entry that is not particularly Fat Acceptancey and more...brain-vomity. I do want to touch on gratitude, though - not being ordered by people to be grateful for all that I have, which I've bitched about before. No, I want to throw down an order to all the folks out there who are in healthy relationships with people who dig the absolute shit out of them - be grateful. Be so very grateful. Give them hugs and big old smooches (virtual or otherwise), let them know how brilliant they are, how much they rock. And if you're in a relationship that you know damn well needs to come to an end A.S.A.P. but you're terrified of being alone - living alone is heaps better than living a lie. You had the SHAZAM to get into the one you're in now, you'll have that SHECLACKY to get into another one, a healthier one, a happier one.

I wish I could summon up a really good, Go Team! message for those who are in positions similar to mine, some sort of "'sawright, we'll get froo it" like I'm some jolly old bat in a very British musical. It'd probably be disingenuous at best. I guess if I were to say anything, it's that it's okay to be pissed off and baffled if you've given it the good old college try and then some and still come up with naught. We just need to stumble and grasp our way to contentment at all costs.

For now, I hope to stumble my way into some sleep.

Read more on this article...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it really "living"?

Weight Watchers says they're going to help you stop dieting and start living. After seeing their ridiculous commercial 900 trillion times, where they insinuate that being hungry equals an inability to eat anything except junk food, my teeny brain started turning over and over about what their (or any other weight loss industry program) version of living entails.

Is it living when you weigh yourself three times a day?

It is living when your entire day is ruined because you gained .00005 of a pound?

Is it living when your entire self-worth is based on the number on the scale?

Is it living when the only topic of conversation you're capable of having relates to what you've eaten or haven't eaten, how many reps you've done or haven't done, and what size pants you can wedge yourself into?

Is it living when you injure yourself working out but are terrified at dialing back on it in order to heal because you might gain weight?

Is it living when you think you can't live because of the size you wear?

Read more on this article...

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Infernal Optimist.

“Starting Monday, I’ll be perfect.” – from ‘Starting Monday’, a play by Anne Commire

Happy New Year, to those of you who celebrate it. It’s a dreadful time of year if you’re a Fat Acceptance Funperson, since it’s difficult to escape the advertising pile-on courtesy of the weight loss industry – did you KNOW that if you eat “right” and exercise, YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT (results may vary)??? If you never, ever, pinky-swear EVER eat another cheeseburger, donut, or anything involving fat, carbohydrates, sugar, or flavor, YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT (results may vary)??? If you pay a company a large amount of money, YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT (results not typical)! So whip out those checkbooks, chubsters, because 2009 is YOUR YEAR…TO COMPLETELY SUCK THE JOY OUT OF EATING! AGAIN!

That violently sarcastic aside out of the way, it’s also a dreadful time of year if you’re a cynic. So you can imagine the kind of brain-injuring facedesking I’ve been doing for the last few days. The approach of the New Year always brings out the “holy fucking SHIT, the second the time clicks over to 12:00:01 January 1, 2009, I am going to sprout wings, pixie dust is going to fall out of my ass, and I AM TURNING INTO A UNICORN!!!!” in people, and while I *did* turn into a unicorn, I remain extraordinarily cynical. I’m not one to see January 1 as a tabula rasa. And I tend to react poorly, if silently, to the optimists who are bound and determined to let the world know that January 1 IS a magical date and it’s a time for renewal and it’s a clean slate and you’re starting again so shut up and don’t raise that eyebrow at me, Cynical Susie, because you’ll see! I’m never 100 percent sure when an optimist throws variations of “you’ll see!!!” at me if it’s playful…or if it’s kind of threatening. It’s very easy to mentally substitute an optimist trilling “You’ll see!” all Glinda the Good Witch-style with the Wicked Witch of the West, shaking her fist and cackling, “You’ll see…how about a little fire, Scarecrow?!?!??!!”

I think part of my inability to join the Pixie Dust Club comes from being a part of a group of people who aren’t exactly legendary for getting a fair shake. Hell, go Googling for stories about fat and you’re going to see borderline vitriolic diatribes from the U.S., the U.K., and many points in between about how you, you obese beast you (or “obeast”, if you will), is responsible for a remarkable number of ills in the world and how you deserve to be shat upon from a great height to teach you lessons about “control” and living “right”. It’s rather hard for me (and keep in mind, I do only speak for myself on this here blog) to run out into Daley Plaza, joyfully twirl around in circles, and declare my love for life, the world and all of its inhabitants. (Imagine Ron Burgundy in “Anchorman” when he screams, “Veronica Corningstone and I had SEX and we are in LOVE!” and you’ll catch my vibe of just how I would do that twirling and declaring.) When you’re fat and you’re visible, the likelihood of you seeing the very worst in people is, unfortunately, high. I’ve been remarkably lucky compared to others, and when I read stories of how others have been treated in a society that loves to pride itself on being super-tolerant and so goshdurned welcoming (except when they’re not), it chews away at my soul and dials up the rage something fierce and I can’t play the Glad Game.

I’m a grownup, staring down the barrel at 37, I’ve got some coping tools to withstand the kind of nastiness other grownups are capable of throwing. If I was a fat kid or fat teen in today’s world, I don’t know that I’d be able to survive the sheer amount of “YOU ARE BAD” messages being sent each and every day. You’ve got five-year-old kids sweating over the sizes of their asses. As grownups, we know the crazy-making that dieting is, the ridiculous microscope we put on every single thing that goes into our mouths and how much exercising we do and whether that’s “good enough” and determining our worth simply through the number on the scale. Do you think saddling a child with that nonsense is “healthy”? Is it worth setting up more children for years upon years of self-hatred and torture in the name of “health” that is less about actual health and more about thinness?

I’d love it if the mainstream media and all their assorted screenworthy doctors would simply admit that so much of the demand for “health” among the world’s citizens was less about actual health and more about aesthetics. Let’s stop bullshitting ourselves. How many posts on any given message board, be it about dieting or something completely related, has anything to do with “health” and everything to do with “I want to fit into a size __”? Much like 12:00:01 on January 1 turns us into beautiful unicorns with pixie dust flittering out of our bungs, being a size ___ is the benchmark for so many of us where our lives will truly begin, where the true us will finally emerge, and our lives will be truly worth living.

It all causes me recall tales from my fat youth (no, my youth was not electric, it was fat): one of my friends smoked up to me and informed me that her mother had spotted me at some sort of school function (perhaps the school talent show, maybe me playing in orchestra as I was a first chair violist, THANK YOU VERY MUCH). The mother asked my friend, “does she (meaning me) have any friends?” My friend, bless her heart, said in that inimitable kid way, “MO-THER!!! Of COURSE she has friends!! I’M her friend!” Things like that were benchmarks for me. Whenever someone took a shot at me because I was fat, I refused to retreat to the corner and shut down because the fat kid should shut up and disappear. When I was singing a solo in the variety show in high school and had to haul ass out of the theater and boogie down the hallway in order to get backstage and two lunkheaded teen boys yelled “FREAK!” at me as I passed, I only sang louder, I only made myself more visible. Perhaps my innate defiance, despite so many really shitty times (many in the past year alone, go fuck yourself 2008), could pass as optimism. But my brand of “optimism” requires one to see the world as a place that is great for some people and crap for others, and no amount of life is a cabaret-ing can alter the inequities of the world and this society we’re in without a radical attitude change from pretty much everybody. Empty words peeled off a poster hanging in a third grade classroom or in an office (you know the ones – like the orange tabby hanging off a branch and the caption, “Hang on! Friday’s coming!”) are as empty as the dreaded calories in something that isn’t on your “good” foods list. Chances are that cynical person you know that rolls his/her eyes whenever you bust out singing "Don't Rain on My Parade" has got plenty good reason for that eye-roll. If you're going to demand we turn our frowns upside down, we demand you take a pause from chipper cause to try and understand why our eyeballs are stuck in the sarcastic position.

Read more on this article...