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Archive for the ‘Fat’ Category

A couple of months ago I downloaded a silly little app for my iPod Touch called Period Tracker and it does just what the title implies. My cycles were never regular before I went on The Pill and they haven’t been regular since I went off it three years ago.  The irregularity has made for some unpleasant surprises over the years, the most memorable of which was walking up and down the Vegas strip and returning to our room at the Tropicana, expecting to take advantage of the mirror over the bed and instead heading back down the strip to Walgreens for some tampons.

As surprises go, that one served a very important purpose in the months to come because I was able to tell my OB with absolute certainty the start date of the last period before I got pregnant.

Since I was going to be traveling again, I decided to be proactive and download P Tracker (as it is so discretely displayed on my Touch) to help me get a handle on what my body does and when.  And according to that little program, I was due to start my most recent cycle the day we returned from our trip to Oklahoma.

The thing about the app is that even though its purpose is to track your cycles, you already should have a good idea how far apart they are in order to project your start date as accurately as possible.  Since I did not, I used the default setting of 28 days.

So my projected start date came and went. No big deal since I thought it was pretty early in the month for things to commence anyway. Even though I didn’t have the actual number of days between cycles nailed down, I did know it usually happened closer to the middle of the month and not the beginning.

But then a week passed and Nathan started asking questions.  He is, perhaps, more vigilant about tracking my cycles than I am and paid close attention to what P Tracker was telling us.  He asked if I was worried, which I was not.

Then ten days went by. Then twelve.

And then I started thinking about babies and how Marla’s sister has a friend whose husband had a vasectomy and still managed to knock her up. It happens.  It’s rare, but it does happen.

And I actually told Nathan it wouldn’t be bad if we have another child now, especially since Autumn might be starting kindergarten in the fall leaving us able to pay for daycare for a second child.  And sure, we’ve sold every bit of baby gear we ever owned, but we could be more conservative this time and not buy half the crap we bought for Autumn.

I had it all sorted out in my head, but as I was entertaining fantasies of a surprise pregnancy, my body had its own plans and I could feel it was only a matter of time before the floodgates opened. And sure enough, on day 13 I was back to being just another cranky woman on the rag.

I was relieved. I didn’t really want to be pregnant again.  Not right now. I’ve been doing very well on Weight Watchers, but I’m still heavier than I was the day I gave birth to Autumn.

But if the weight wasn’t an issue, I don’t think I would have minded being pregnant at all.

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Recently the internet had a coming out day or delurking day or something like that. I was alerted to the fact via Twitter and decided to do nothing about it because apathy was so much easier than sitting in a cold basement trying to think of a clever post that would elicit comments.  I like comments, but I don’t live for them and if you feel safer on the other side of your browser or feed reader who am I to say you have to make yourself known? Do you know how many blogs I read but never comment on?  Yeah, either do I, but it’s a lot.

In spite of my non-participation during National Delurking Day, I did realize, after it had passed, that it provided an excellent way for me to broach a subject I’ve been wanting to write about for weeks but have avoided because:

a)     I’m lazy.
b)    I’m a busy person (like you’re not, right?).
c)     Believe it or not there are some things I don’t like to share.
d)    It has the potential to change the direction of this blog.

We’re talking about my weight here.  Wait, you all know I’m fat, right?  I just wanted to put that out there so we’re on the same page because there’s only so much you can see in that smokin’ head shot in the sidebar.  I am fat and I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life.  It’s not a subject I write about much because this space started out as a parenting blog and there never seemed to be much room for discussion about obesity.  Or rather, I didn’t want to make room for it.

So no, I didn’t like to write about obesity here, but I figured at some point I might want to start writing about it somewhere and set up a blog last summer for that purpose. Remember when I said I was going to quit this blog?  Well the new blog was where I was going to go until I decided I didn’t want to take the time to figure out a brand new blog design and cultivate a brand new blog audience.

Did I mention I’m lazy?  And busy?

But what does this have to do with delurking, you say?  Well let me introduce you to someone who’s been hiding for many, many years:

Pose-1992

This is Heather circa 1992.  This 20 year-old is a bright, cheery young woman who knows nothing about mortgage payments, unfulfilled dreams or feeling like a shitty mother. She thinks she knows what it’s like to be trapped in an unsatisfying job, but she’s a fool.  This Heather is an optimist and is certain something FABULOUS is waiting for her right around the corner.  This Heather, in spite of her unfortunate perm and early ‘90s fashion sense, is beautiful and happy.  And she has only one chin.

I miss this Heather, mostly because I know I’ll never see her again.  This photo was taken the year she lost 50 pounds, quit school and caught the eye of a certain alcoholic co-worker (you go, girl!).  The person she was back then saw potential and possibilities everywhere, but she was also insecure and horribly lost.  She’d also been known to crush on gay men obsessed with Madonna.

I also miss her because she’s half the size of this Heather:

DSC_0001_au

This is Heather circa 2009 and she’s only slightly more put together than her 1992 counterpart.  She’s not unhappy, but she still doesn’t know where she’s going and is certainly not the optimist she was when Clinton took office. She’s been hurt, both physically and emotionally, and has labored in an unrewarding job for eight years.  She’s known depression, unrelenting stress and insecurity when it comes to her parenting skills.  But time has given her as much as it’s taken away and she has developed an honest, outspoken nature that serves her well as much as it gets her into trouble.  This Heather does not care so much about looking good as she does about feeling good.   Makeup be damned, she’ll go to the grocery store wearing purple velour stretch pants with a hole in the butt if that’s the more comfortable option.  And it usually is.

I know for a fact 1992 Heather would have been horrified to meet her 2009 self.  Everything about 2009 Heather would have repulsed her; that she was still living in the same town, that she was working in some clerical job instead of being a writer and that she had gained so much weight she didn’t even look like the same person anymore.  She would have run away as fast as possible screaming, “That’s not me! That can’t be me!”

The thing 1992 Heather wouldn’t know is that 2009 Heather is pretty awesome. She’s funny and has a quick wit.  She graduated from college in 2001 while married and working full-time at a factory.  A few years after that she had a beautiful, perfect little baby.  She’s a wife, a mother and an aunt and has found friends in unexpected places.  But like so many other people, 1992 Heather wouldn’t take the time to know any of these things about 2009 Heather because she wouldn’t be able to see past the fat.

And you know what?  I’m really tired of the fat being my defining characteristic.

So in a move that’s ironic considering the above statement, I’m going to start writing about the fat.  I’m going to start writing about what it was like growing up as a large child, what it was like being an overweight teenager and what it’s now like as an obese parent.  I’m going to discuss all of this while I try to take off the weight.  As fabulous as I am, I’d still like to be able to buy clothes off the rack.

I hope those of you who read this blog will continue to do so. I’ll still write about what I’ve always written about, but I’m tired of pretending the weight doesn’t matter. It has always mattered and it will always matter.

It’s 2010. I turn 40 in less than two years and I’d really like to see if there’s any part of that 20 year-old left in me.

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Size and prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a fat woman does not enjoy shopping for clothes.  If she does enjoy shopping for clothes, you can bet she’s buying the kind of clothes you really don’t want to see on a fat woman anyway.  Tube tops, spaghetti-strap camis, short skirts and halter dresses.  They all exist in plus sizes and it’s only the very brave or the very stupid who buy them.

My style is pretty casual and I’ll be the first to admit a few items in my closet are so worn out they’re downright dumpy.  I keep things.  I keep things forever.  Long after they’ve shrunk or I’ve grown, long after holes and rips and stains have forced me to designate a piece as part of a “home only” ensemble, I keep them.  I don’t get rid of things willy nilly because it’s so damn hard to find clothes that fit in the first place.

This year, however, I find myself at my highest weight ever and this also happens to be the year I decided to haul my butt to Chicago for BlogHer.  I’ve already written about my wardrobe freakout so we don’t need to go there again, but finding things that will flatter my shape without having the advantage of trying them on has been a challenge.  It has always been challenging because there are very few brick and mortar stores that cater to the big ladies.

If you are a large woman, you will never feel as marginalized as you will when shopping for a wedding dress or a maternity wardrobe.  Fat women get married and they go on to have babies and yet no one seems to realize this.  Just try to find an acceptable dress to try on at a chi chi bridal boutique or maternity wear in sizes above an XL at the mall.  They don’t exist.

I found wedding dress shopping to be a nightmarish experience.  Like every other bride-to-be, I invested in the magazines and paged through them until I found the dress I knew I wanted.  It had to be that dress or something like it because it was simple.  It had the right shape and the right neckline and I knew it would look great on me, but finding that dress or anything remotely similar in the local boutiques was impossible.  All they had for me to try on were horribly stiff creations made of yards and yards of lace.  I hated them all.

Then, about five months before the wedding, I found it.  I had stopped off at a local JC Penney on a whim and picked up their bridal catalog.  There, on one of the very first pages, was my dress.  It was an exact replica of the designer dress I had ripped out of the bridal magazine months ago and there it was in my size.  The best part of all was that JC Penney’s liberal return policy made it possible for me to feel safe buying the dress without trying it on.

Right now my BlogHer wardrobe shopping is feeling very similar to buying my maternity wardrobe four years ago.  I’m shopping online, looking at pictures and trying to imagine what will cling and what will pinch.  I’m buying things I’m not entirely sure will fit and will be opening boxes with some hesitation once they are delivered.  Thankfully I finally found Old Navy’s plus-size store online and was able to buy several things for a reasonable price.  If they fit, I think I’ll finally have the BlogHer wardrobe nailed down.

If they don’t’ fit, I will be meeting you all in Chicago sans pants.

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Big lady

Seriously, is anyone else still recovering from the DST switch? I know I complain about it EVERY YEAR, but it’s amazing how much an hour can throw you off. For example when I just typed the word “throw” I first typed “through” as if that made any kind of sense. English major, indeed.

Autumn is handling the time change well, but my God she is such a dawdler in the morning. I did not know procrastination was a trait one could pass down to her offspring, but it seems the mornings we’re most rushed are the mornings she is most interested in her Lincoln Logs. Drives us crazy.

This morning as I was dressing, Autumn looked at me and asked, “Is daddy taller?” We’ve been talking about different body types and she’s starting to recognize differences in different people. I nodded and said, “Yes, daddy is tall.” She processed that for a nanosecond and then said, “And mommy’s a big lady?” I nodded again. “Yes, mommy is a big lady.”

I will most likely be hearing the “big lady” riff for awhile because that’s how toddlers are. They fixate on a certain idea and repeat it over and over until you think you may go mad. But that’s how they learn, and I’m not going to ask her to stop calling me a big lady if that’s exactly what I am. I am, in fact, the one who taught her to call me a big lady.

At some point I will have to intervene and explain that not all big ladies appreciate being called big ladies. Heaven forbid she very loudly observes some random big lady in the grocery store. Still, I’m not about to teach her that one’s physical appearance should be a source of shame, so I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I’m doing my best to insulate Autumn from the self-flagellating reality of being a woman. She doesn’t know how much I dislike my large body, my bum knees and the recurring acne that flares just before my period. She doesn’t know that big ladies aren’t the ideal because I’m her mom and I’m a big lady and she loves me regardless of what I look like. That kind of innocence doesn’t last forever, but wouldn’t it be nice if it did?

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Irritation on the rocks

This morning I had an appointment with my doctor and was prepared to give him a piece of my mind.  At the end of our appointment a month ago he mentioned to me how I weigh the same as he does.  In his defense that appointment was to address my weight, but this was the second time he had made the comparison between us and I didn’t like it.

I’m normally not sensitive about my weight.  I used to be back in the days when I wasn’t that big at all, but now I have a more pragmatic attitude about my size and don’t really care what people say or what they may think of me.  But this doctor really got my goat, and as I stood in the shower this morning I rehearsed what I was going to say to him and how I was going to say it.  I have to admit the phrase “M.D. doesn’t have to stand for Major Dick” was inserted into my monologue more than once.

I pumped myself up for the confrontation as I drove to the office and was so distracted as I stepped out of the car that I didn’t realize I was standing on a huge patch of ice.  At the exact moment the ice caught my eye, my left leg, the bad leg, slipped out from under me and I went down.  I lay there for a few seconds trying to register any pain before rolling over onto my hands and knees.  I was okay.  I was wet and dirty, but my knees were fine.  I can thank my orthopedist for that.

In spite of being preturbed and completely freaked out, the appointment went well.  I did politely ask the doctor to stop making the comparisons between us and he obliged.  He apologized for doing so and admitted to simply wanting to express empathy for my situation.  “If it makes you feel any better, I can say you now weigh less than me,” he said.

That’s quite an accomplishment considering I haven’t been eating well since the funeral luncheon on Wednesday.  Just try being confronted with two trays of green bean casserole and three kinds of cheesy potatoes and tell me that doesn’t throw you off your game.

Seriously, haven’t those Lutherans ever heard of fresh veggies?

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  1. It’s one thing to reveal your weight on national television.  It’s another thing entirely to reveal that it all resides within your sports bra.
  2. Alison Sweeney.  Someone needs to bitch slap that woman.
  3. Having to explain to my employer that I’d like to take a leave of absence from work to attend “fat camp.”
  4. No one should ever have to die wearing spandex shorts.
  5. Four to six hours a day of workouts and challenges leave very little time for surfing the net.
  6. Missing several weeks of reading bedtime stories.
  7. No one is going to make me feel bad for losing “only” two pounds in a week, especially not some woman whose day job is wreaking havoc on “Days of Our Lives.”
  8. Displaying all my trigger foods in a lighted curio will only make them look more appealing.
  9. Jillian would totally make me cry.
  10. Recreating pig-out scenarios for the camera.  Folks, we all know I eat too much.  Do we really need photographic evidence of how I got this way?

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Super spy

I’ve been setting my alarm for 5:30 am in an attempt at getting to work on time.  What has actually been happening is that I hit the snooze button for an hour and still wind up plopping my butt down at my desk the usual 2-3 minutes past 8:00.

What amazes me about the snooze time is that so much can happen in those magical nine minutes before the alarm goes off again.  I can actually get back into a deep sleep and let my imagination run amok.  In just nine minutes, I somehow manage to insert myself into a number of wacky scenarios in which I would never find myself during waking hours.

Just this morning I had a short dream in which I was a spy.  I had a rendezvous with Sydney Bristow from “Alias” and she was a bit miffed with me for being late (obviously a little real life inserting itself here).  She asked me to follow her into a building and of course we didn’t use doors or stairs because no one on “Alias” enters a building in a conventional way.  Sydney leaped through an open window and I stared in horror as she fell several stories before a harness, which I didn’t even realize she was wearing, caught her fall.

She somehow managed to return the harness to me, and as I looked at it I realized what she was asking me to do.  “Um, yeah.  You wouldn’t happen to know the tensile strength of this thing, would you?” I asked.

It would seem that I can’t even have a fun dream without bringing my baggage along for the ride.  Or maybe being fat is such a part of my identity now that it’s impossible for me to imagine myself in any other way.  Whatever the case, you won’t see me donning a leather catsuit and red wig anytime soon.

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