Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Heavy Heart

Just when I was feeling pretty good about myself, and what I'm doing, this happens. Chickadee #1 had a friend over for a play date and early dinner. As the children were eating, the friend said, "Chickadee #1, I think you are going to look like your mom when you grow up." Chickadee #1 leaned over and whispered something into her friend's ear, and wouldn't tell me what she had said. I let the matter drop, but at bath time (which just started), I asked again what she had said. She hesitated to tell me until I said, "I won't be upset no matter what it was." Then my beloved daughter, my whipcracker smart, funny, talented little girl, my five year old said, "I said 'Except I won't be fat." I just replied, "Oh." and left the room. Now I'm recording the shame and sadness into the permanent (well, digital) record as I sit at my keyboard crying. How pathetic.

I guess I just have to look at this as an impetus for further, permanent change. But oh how it hurts.

And it's sad to know that while, in my imagination, I look like the person in the WHFS T-shirt, I really look the like person in the blue sleeveless number. What the heck was I thinking? Sigh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thin Is the New Happy

In my profile, I describe myself as a weight-loss book aficionado. In fact, if one could lose weight by reading about it, I'd be Twiggy. I've always tended to mediate reality through the printed word and there is something incredibly comforting to read a memoir such as Valerie Frankel's Thin Is The New Happy and to find a fellow-traveler, someone who articulates the struggle of those who have tried, succeeded, failed, and tried again to lose weight -- whether we need to lose a significant or a negligible amount.

As I read Frankel's excellent book, I cringed where appropriate, sighed ruefully where appropriate, and even cried where appropriate. Like Frankel, I suffered under the tyranny of middle-school bullies who hated and tormented me for no decent reason at all (you know who you are). Like Frankel, I occasionally have fantasies of telling those nasty people how much they had to do with transforming a relatively happy kid into a miserable teenager whose only thought was to do as well as possible in school so that I could get a scholarship to a college FAR FAR FAR away from anyone who might know me and might remember that a particularly "endearing" sobriquet I was known by in middle school was MonagHAM. Ha ha ha ha. And, to make it all worse -- I was no chubbier than many other girls in my class and turned out to be fairly well-proportioned in high school and college.

That scarring experience resonates for me today in ways that I hardly notice any more -- but reading this book brought them into focus for me. For example, Frankel relates buying a clicker so that she can count all the instances in which she thinks badly of herself or talks unkindly to herself. She counted instances of "negative self-talking" numbering in the hundreds EACH DAY -- in fact, she calculated that she had a negative thought about her body or looks every three and a half minutes. That sounds familiar -- I can't recall the last time I looked at myself in the mirror and liked what I saw -- that's a lie -- it was the day I met my future husband. Ten years ago. Even on my wedding day I was either counting flaws or not thinking about what I looked like, just hoping that everything would go well.

Frankel also talks about the personal consultation she had with her friend, Stacy London, the style guru from What Not to Wear. Everything in Frankel's closet was chosen to hide some perceived flaw. Most of it was trashed and, armed with explicit instructions from London, Frankel bought a new wardrobe which suited her life, looks, and style. It's a secret fantasy of mine to be whisked away by the What Not to Wear team and transformed, except that I would only want to do it after losing weight and I'm too shy to go on TV. But anyone who knows me in person can see that my clothes follow a pattern -- the things I choose are mostly black, green, or brown. I like to fade into the background -- I don't want people to look at me too much. And that shows. But I am working on changing that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm Back

This'll be short, but I PROMISE to start writing again. I've been really depressed lately because of the repercussions of my knee injury in NOVEMBER. It's just been this last week where I have not been in constant pain. I guess a week of enforced immobility because of 2 massive snowstorms in a week was what I needed -- neither the chickadees nor my husband nor I had anywhere to go at all for a whole week. It was a bit... ahem... confining. But I think it really helped in my healing process.

I have news to report also -- I've lost 7 pounds, which is not a lot but, after months of stasis, seems like a mountain. I joined a gym and actually went to work out for the first time today. Previous visits were only to visit the jacuzzi. While it was humiliating to discover that I couldn't figure out how to work one of the stair step machines and evidently don't have the strength in my right leg (which is odd) to make it work properly, I did ride the recumbent bike for 15 minutes and walk on the treadmill for half an hour.

And I'm not in pain. And I feel good about myself. It helped that there was a mirror in front of me -- watching myself walking was a somewhat humiliating experience, but in the mirror, I could see the shadow of the woman I want to be -- someone who sets a goal and achieves it, no matter how flipping long it takes. Over the past several years, I've been knocked down multiple times by various issues. But, by heaven, I was back on that darned treadmill today. And I'm going swimming tomorrow. Go me.