Monday, March 3, 2014

In which I write about how fat and sad and broken I am. Again.

I saw the prettiest girl this weekend.

I guess I was rude. I was sort of staring at her. I didn't really mean to. I just saw this girl and I thought, "Oh, her hair is pretty. I like her shirt. I wonder where she got that scarf?" and while I was thinking all the these things she turned around and our eyes locked.

She gave me that look. I know that look, and you probably do too.

"Please don't judge me."

She didn't have to say a word. Her eyes pleaded with me.

I noticed then she was sitting with a lady who looked like her. Probably her mom. They both had bigger bottoms that ladies sometimes like to have. No thigh gap. Bigger hips. Smaller boobs. I hadn't even noticed before. Not until she gave me that look.

I smiled at her. She smiled back and then looked away. I wanted to go to her and tell her I wasn't staring at her because of her hips or her butt or any other body part she might find fault with. That I just thought she was lovely and I was a little jealous of how perfectly her hair curled and maybe I wanted to know where she got her scarf (and that I promise I'm not a weirdo). I didn't though. I didn't say anything at all.

This makes me sad. I'm sad because so many women hate their bodies and fear that other people are always judging them.  I'm sad because this is exactly the way I feel. All. The. Time. I compare myself constantly to other women. Constantly. I just met a lady this morning in my neighborhood and she was so nice and friendly and the whole time I kept going through this mental checklist I have. "Okay, I have better hair. She has nicer teeth. I think I'm probably a size smaller than her, but she had perkier boobs." Endless. Forever. On and on and on in my head. She was just a nice lady who was talking to me about my dog and her dog and I was running through this ridiculous list of perceived failures. For what? To make myself even sadder, I guess.

I'm sad that my gorgeous, perfect, brilliant, fantastic daughter said to me the other day, "I shouldn't eat that. It has too many carbs." I'm sad because she heard that out of my very own mouth. My daughter. If I had my daughter's figure I would walk around naked all the time. And she's worried about eating a piece of bread.

I'm sad that the girl I saw, the pretty girl with the beautiful scarf, was worried I was judging her. Maybe she's busted her tail for months or years to no avail. Maybe she's lost more than 100lbs and she can't even enjoy it because she still has so far to go. By looking at her mom I can see she did not have the type of genetics that would generate a flat belly without some serious, hardcore effort. Yet, her mom was a pretty lady with an easy smile. Happy and confident. Maybe her mom has gotten it by now.

I don't know.

What I do know? I'm sick of it.

I am sick of all of it. I'm sick of hating myself. I'm sick of thinking I'm a failure all the time. I'm sick of working so hard and never being okay with where I am. I'm sick of thinking about the flab on my upper arms. I'm sick of comparing myself to other people and always feeling like I fall short.

I'm not saying losing weight or being healthy or fit is easy for anyone. Maybe there are some people for whom this is effortless. I don't know those people. If they exist, I am jealous of them.

I look at Instagram every day, at pictures of people who lift, who eat clean, who have never had a carb in their lives. I guess they are supposed to inspire me, and in some ways they do. It seems like it would just be easier to be that person. That person who just is. Who doesn't have to think about it or try. Who doesn't just want to sit on the couch watching Judge Judy after a long day and instead wants to go run six miles or lift two hundred pounds. I've been trying to force myself to be this person and it's not good.

I look at body acceptance blogs, and writings by beautiful, positive, women of all sizes. Those are supposed to motivate me too, but they usually don't. I usually think, "Why can't I feel that way about myself? I feel that way about her...why am I different?" That's also not good.

It's not good to sit on the couch either, and February and the snow and my job and my life didn't help get me motivated.  It's not good to just eat whatever you want, especially if what you want is Cheetos. It's not good to give up. I never give up, even when I probably should. I'm stubborn tenacious.

People say, "Oh you should try this!" or "This is the only thing that works!" and you know, that's okay. I have tried things that make me feel better and I do, sincerely, appreciate when people give me advice when it comes from the right place. But nothing is perfect. Nothing is right for everyone at every time. And nothing so far has made me feel like I'm okay.

That's the thing I guess. Self-care is important and I'm not really doing much of it. You insult my child or her body and I'd rip your freaking throat out. Say anything about my precious little arthritic Ginger and her walking and I'll haunt your freaking dreams. I cannot stand when people insult each other, and vehemently defend against body-shaming when I see it online or in person. I very quickly and easily recognized things in the young lady this weekend that she maybe didn't even see in herself. Yet, I call myself fat all the time, hate looking in the mirror, and recently told my dad a long story about how the people at the local plus size shop hate me because I was at the moment I was in there the thinnest one in the room and so I just don't fit in anywhere because the skinny people don't like me because I'm not skinny enough and the fat people don't like me because I'm not fat enough either. (On a related note: sorry about my stories dad. I'm working on being more interesting)

This morning after my walk I sat down at my computer, opened up my water bottle and thought to myself, "Maybe I don't need to lose more weight. Maybe I just need to stop hating myself."

Then, I opened Facebook and I saw this cartoon:


Maybe just that would help.


Jana Holdeman Frerichs said...

AMEN. And as usual, you wrote exactly the way I feel. And I want you to know, this did make me feel better. I hope it made you feel better too.

meredith said...

Next time, go up to that girl and tell her. Say "I'm sorry for staying, but i was admiring your..... I hate feeling like I'm being judged when i catch people looking at me, and i don't want you to feel the same way." Perhaps if we all did more of that, it would be easier to see that, inside, we're all the same insecure little girls who want to desperately to fit in.

CPA Mom said...

As usual, I feel like you walked inside my head and wrote down my own feelings. Tomorrow, (or in 10 minutes really), I'll be 43 years old and I still hate myself. Do you think we'll ever love ourselves? I like to think so. I do hope so.

Jill said...

Meredith makes a good point.

Now, lets see.. I've been reading your blog for I dont' know how long. Seems like your kids were not even in jr high yet? Can it be that long? Well anyway...I hear you. You are being heard and you are not alone. <--seriously sometimes I wish someone would say that to me.

Every 5 minutes or so, I let a cuss word slip in front of my preschool-baby aged kids. I think, jeez I'm a horrible parent. God is going to strike me down for that... and it's not all the years that I have gone to church, but a few blog posts of yours that help me knock some sense into myself. God MADE me. Like he made you. Sometimes, we do bad things, but he forgives us. The sarcasm, the cussing, the judging of ourselves and others. He's right there with us when we fight those internal fights. When we see the injustice rampant in this world and the need to lash out consumes us. You made me see that I can still be a good parent, and even a good Christian. 30+ years of church didn't do that.

So I'm here to tell you that YOU are a child of God. That you are loved. Every snarky, sarcastic, good-hearted, best momma on the block pound of you. That you make a difference. That you count. That something you do or say means something to someone else. Because it does. Your AHA moments (thanks Oprah for that catch phrase) that you take the time to write and put out there for the rest of us really do make a difference.

They would make a difference if you weighed 600 lbs or 100 lbs. Because it's you and not the weight that counts. It's your message, your thoughts, your soul that really matters. The rest is just packaging. What good is a pretty package if what's inside is dull and boring?

so be a package wrapped with kraft paper and string. a little beaten up and abused. with some dirt marks from falling. because it might sound cliche as heck, but it IS what is inside that really counts. I know you pass that onto your kids. So look in the mirror and think: I might not be bright and shiny, but I'm changing the world. It matters to other people, and they don't care what I look like. Then flip the mirror off and go watch Teen Mom and hug your dog. We readers? We love you just the way you are.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

I think we're all a bit broken. I had lunch with three of my sorority sisters this weekend and I love all of them. Such strong, capable, amazing women. I sat there and thought, "Wow. They all three have great jobs. They work hard. They're beautiful. Very capable moms/step-moms. I wish as I was as strong and as beautiful as them." And, at some point, the weight issue came up. And the kid talk came up. And turns out they have insecurities, too. So, yeah, we're all a bit screwed up.

I love you, hon. Whenever I see you post on Facebook, or I'm here on your blog and I see that header picture of you and your family, I think, "Wow. Such a beautiful, strong woman WHO WRITES!!!!! I'm so proud to be her friend." :)

Anonymous said...

While I agree you should not hate still need to lose weight. Being overweight is terrible for your health.

dawnabon said...

Anonymous, kudos to you for being an asshole on the internet. And using the name "anonymous" to do it. Wow, brave. Are you proud of yourself?

Anonymous said...

I hear about that a lot! People lose a ton of weight and are still miserable (like the cartoon)... Thankfully I don't hate myself, I just need to lose weight.

Carherine said...

I just read Glennon Doyle Melton's book, Carry on Warrior. I think you would enjoy it and give you new ideas. I have been following your blog and have wanted to tell you that I love the picture of your family and that you are so pretty. Thanks for your post.