Tuesday, May 14, 2019

She's Going the Distance

Weight: 350 lbs. (yeah, yeah, I went to Jason's Deli for Mother's Day and did the salad bar and didn't cheat but I got jumped by Mr. Scale anyway. Don't care, it's coming back off.

So I'm going to show a before photo that is not flattering, to say the least. Now, however, I'm glad I have it because it captured on film pretty much what I felt like at my heaviest. I felt like I was dying and this photo makes it look like I was sick. I look like I was sick because I was sick.

I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, crippling asthma, type II diabetes that was getting increasingly worse, and I was almost always battling some sort of stomach ailment. A good portion of my life was (TMI) spent in the bathroom. Additionally I was suffering from, I now believe, major depression as well as a host of anxiety disorders, some of which are still with me and may always be. Anxiety no longer rules my life though, I am the master of this ship now. Life was a misery and this photo shows that. Would I have shown this photo anywhere online at the time it was taken? Oh HELL no, I didn't even know it existed until I found it recently.



So do I hate the woman I was? No.

I feel for her. I remember her pain. Most of all, I remember what it was like to have almost no life at all, trapped in the house by my weight and by my inability to breathe when I moved.

I remember her crushing guilt at having to ask for help with things most people take for granted, like tying shoes or putting on socks.

I remember sitting on the side of the tub to bathe and sometimes sitting and crying for 10 or more minutes after I was done because I was so scared that this time was going to be the time that when I tried to get up I would fall and break a hip. I would sit on the side of that tub and rock back and forth and cry until I could get the courage to stand.

To. Stand. Up.

I was too ashamed to ask for help with bathing and I felt too much guilt. My husband had taken on the lion's share of the household (oh, who am I kidding, what got done he did). I felt lost and trapped. The only thing, the ONLY thing, that kept me going was thinking about what I was going to eat next.

Looking back now it makes me cry because it was so unnecessary, that torture, or so it seems now. I think though that I had to be where I was to finally work through all the mental walls, some that I've shared in this blog, to get to the other side and finally find my way out.

I swim 3 days a week now and I have an IRL friend for the first time in decades(?) and just having another woman to talk to has helped me more than she could ever know. I love you Carolyn, you're a lifesaver, you should know that. <3

I still have memories that pop up out of nowhere, I still have to deal with darkness and I think that will always be a part of my journey. I don't try to avoid the pain now though, I just feel it and move on. When I need to cry, I do it. When I need to talk or write, I do it. What I don't do is use food, or alcohol, or drugs, or sex, or any of the many bad coping mechanisms I used over the years to avoid feeling the pain.

Emotional pain isn't as bad as sitting naked on the side of the tub crying because you're afraid you'll injure yourself somehow getting up and be crippled and bed-bound for life.

I was a nurse aide before I was a nurse and for years took care of geriatrics in a slew of nursing homes in Texas in the '70s and early '80s I would equate to punishment worse than Hell for the residents. One of my biggest fears since that time has always been being bed-bound.

And yet, and yet...............and yet I was going down the path to doing just that to myself.

What is it about the human condition for some of us that causes us to seek out a way to do to ourselves the exact thing we fear the most? Had a parent that was an alcoholic and hated them for that, hated everything about it? Why then find yourself sitting on a stove-in couch in some rat trap apartment that belongs to someone you don't know shit-faced and staring at an almost empty bottle of Wild Turkey? Had a parent that was a drug addict? Why find yourself holding that spoon over the flame waiting for shit to cook?

On it goes.

We punish ourselves without due course. We are convicted in the court of our own mind and the defense attorney is worse than Ted Bundy on a bender.

I don't think anyone in adulthood has been capable of misusing me as badly as I've misused myself.

So I made the choice to do the same thing my gyn told me at my last visit when I tried to apologize to her for all the excuses I made over the years: "No looking back. Just look forward."

I'm a different person now. I have goals, I set goals, and I achieve them. I don't dream about doing things, I do things. Sometimes it takes me awhile working at something to get to the point where I can do a thing but I get there. This was my thing today:







I will confess (confess *ring ring* confess *ring ring*) that I cried like a little bitch when I went to get on that bike today. Our neighbor's kids were visiting and their children came outside. I freaked out on Chris (this poor man, the things he has had to put up with over the years) and we loaded up the bike and drove to a parking lot where I could practice for the first time. In the truck on the way over I was crying and apologizing for crying and shaking and the entire time my brain was SCREAMING:

"DO NOT get on that bike! Bad things will happen if you get on that bike! You'll break a hip! You'll fuck up your knee! Those tires can't support your fat ass, you'll blow them out! The seat will crumple! Are you fucking crazy? Do you want to die?"

I got on the bike. I rode around that parking lot. Then we drove to the park you see in the photo and I rode some more with wind blowing in my face and I was happier than I've been in a long time and I was proud of myself. Let's say that again:

I was proud of myself.

It's not a feeling I'm really used to yet, pride in self. It's taking some getting used to. It's a long way from, "You're a worthless POS!" And yet, and yet.........and yet I am happy, and proud.

It's been a quarter of a century since I've been on a bike, specifically this bike that I've had since around 1990, but more broadly any bike. When I started losing weight one of my goals (and actually a dream for the last 10 or so years) has been to do distance biking. I have a lot of work ahead but again, it's a goal. I've set it. I will get there. I know this because I have proven to myself over and over again these last few months that I am still capable of setting goals and achieving them. The girl I was that fought her way past being told she was too fat to be a nurse knew that but somewhere in life she lost her way, lost her drive, fell down the sugar well, or a combination of all of the above.

I have other goals that I've set and I'll achieve those too because I no longer block myself, I no longer self-sabotage, and I don't convict myself in the court of the Crimson King.

The rusted chains of prison moons
Are shattered by the sun
I walk a road, horizons change
The tournament's begun

The Court of the Crimson King - copyright Universal Music Publishing Group
 Songwriters: Greg Lake / Ian Mcdonald / Michael Rex Giles / Peter John Sinfield / Robert Fripp

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Change My Mind

Wt: 351

I've learned that I need to stay away from Wink.

Image result for wink frozen dairy dessert

It's a frozen dairy dessert that for all the world tastes to me like the ice milk my Maw-maw used to make when I was a kid. I have no clue how she made it, probably frozen milk with vanilla or other flavorings, but I loved it then and obviously love it now.

What could it hurt, right? Only 100 calories and 20 carbs (eeek!) for the whole pint and I'm not going to eat the whole pint, oh no. Unless you remember that I'm a binge eater that got to over 400 lbs. by eating sweet foods. Yeah. I was going through pints like a machine.  Weight loss completely stopped. In just a couple of weeks I was having a hard time walking away from it. It's sweetened with monk fruit and *natural flavorings. Wait, what's the asterisk referring to? I know I never read that. Let's see.

*May contain trace amounts of sugar

'Trace amounts' being the operative phrase here. Trace amounts can be whatever tf Wink wants it to be. Again, buyer beware. Things that are marketed for keto and diet and a healthy lifestyle are not always what they seem.

So that's out of my life *sob*. It was a nice hiatus and I'm happy to report that my ice cream cravings have gone away so maybe that was just something I needed to get out of my system.

I'm telling you guys this to show you that you can go off the rails, a little or a lot, and then get back on track WITHOUT calling yourself a fucking failure and why do I even try and oh fuck this I ate that and now it's all over so where are the Oreos?

No.

I changed my mind.

That's how you accomplish personal change, any personal change. You change your mind. Is it easy? FUCK no it's not. Can it be done? Yes. Ya have to wanna. Ya have to wanna really hard.

So let's talk about a harder change. Let's talk about how I learned to accept and am working on loving my arms.


Before we get to the accept part let's address how I reached the phobic rejection of my arms to the point that I even kept my upper arms completely covered in my own home and even when I slept. I never looked at them in the mirror, I assiduously avoided that. It's like living with a close roommate that you never talk to or even acknowledge the existence of. You know they're there, you can see them in the periphery of your vision, and yet you refuse to admit them into your life.

I've had allergies all my life. My mother, a life-long hypochondriac and fan of hospital stays, would take me to, over my childhood, a wide range of quacks. One quack in particular she took me to for around 4 years. Every week I would get shots. Every week my arm, on whichever side the shot was on, would swell up to huge proportions. I had to wear sleeveless tops and dresses, even in the dead of winter, because my arms wouldn't fit in the clothes that fit me elsewhere. About two years into this my Maw-maw started sewing all my school clothes. She wasn't the best at garment construction so I would have infamous clothing fails like the time my dress fell off entirely while we were forced to dance to "go you chicken fat go away" because our teacher was a psychotic wanna-be PE teacher that had somehow ended up just teaching 4rth grade instead. You know that dream you have that you are standing in class in your underwear? Yeah. I've actually done that.

Later in life as I began to gain a significant amount of weight large amounts of that went straight to, you guessed it, my arms. My ever helpful mother bought me ugly double-knit suits with jackets from a place called Stockton's that was in a basement in Dallas. You know, wide lapel pimp coats with the slacks that have a crease permanently sewn down the middle of the front leg. I actually saw some of those for sale on some website and I'm like, "What tf are you thinking?" Sewn front leg creases, for the record, were not a good look then and they're not a good look now. Under these jacket atrocities I wore vulgar floral sleeveless button front slick polyester blouses any gramma would turn her nose up at as "too dowdy".

Which explains why my book bag never had books but rather jeans and a tee shirt every. single. day. I had to leave the house and get on the school bus wearing pimp attire (to, again, everyone's amused ridicule) and then switch clothes when I got to school. Then I rode the bus home and ran inside and changed into the pimp suit again before my mother got home from work, something she did for a total of 10 years because she was a lazy bitch and spent most of her life as a perpetual student.

My tees were always super baggy because that way I could get the arms long enough. My mother always insisted the pimp suits were necessary because, "No one wants to see your arms, honestly! They're gross!" Never mind that she was the one that initially made them that way.

Pockets!

So I've always hated them, always. Finally, as I've done this journey of changing my body while I change my mind, I've decided I need to stop hating them. They've been good arms. They've held my babies and the man I've loved. They've created quilts and glass and embroidery and crochet and macrame' and many other things, some of which I'm sure I've forgotten. They've driven hell bent for leather down country roads, cooked countless meals, and baked oceans of cookies.

It wasn't their fault they were abused just like it wasn't my fault that I was. 

Everyone has a reason that they hate their body, or some part of their body. Some people have worse stories than mine. Some people don't know why they hate what they hate, they just do.

So I would ask you, if you hate your legs, or your arms, or your big toe, the same thing that I asked myself:
 
what if they weren't there anymore? That happens to people all the time, people have to have amputations, or they lose limbs in war protecting our country, or they have an accident of some type and seen in that light I think my hatred of my arms is pretty fucking petty. 

So I'm closing the chapters of my life that contain all that bitterness, Ima let that shit go.

Don't ask me to wear pants with pleats sewn down the front of the legs though, I have my limits.







Saturday, April 20, 2019

Obesity Panic

Weight: 353

ETA: There are discussions regarding anxiety in this blog post. As most who read me know I have ongoing struggles with mental health as do others that I love. You are not alone, there is help.
Cori, if  you read this, thank you for the link. 💗

You are not alone.

I watch 'The Fasting Fatman' on YouTube.

First I want to say that when you hear things like "Each person's journey to health is a personal one" or something along those lines I'm hear to tell you that's not bullshit. I can't tell you how to lose weight just like no one could tell me how to lose weight. You have to find it/figure it out for yourself. I did research. I really paid attention to how my body was reacting to what I was doing. When the weight loss would stop or plateau, when it still does plateau, I look at what I've done or am doing and adjust my diet until the scale starts moving down again.

So The Fasting Fatman has a different approach to weight loss than I do but some things/experiences/feelings as you go through rapid change are universal and one of those things is, apparently, something The Fasting Fatman referred to as "obesity panic".

I had never heard that term and yet it was the perfect description of what I went through today and why I am up writing a blog entry at 3:40am on a Saturday because post-anxiety insomnia, in case you weren't aware, is also a thing. So if you could, please watch his video 'Day 108 of My Now 120 Day Water Fast' because his descriptions of what he is going through so mimic my experiences this morning:

The Fasting Fat Man

Now, I was at the hospital today because I have a procedure next week, an endometrial biopsy which is not dangerous but Ima be a whiny baby because my blog, my experiences. When I started dropping weight I had one instance of vaginal bleeding (if this is TMI my apologies but I went through this and maybe some other woman will have to go through this so I feel it might help that person to know what I did). That was back in November. I did *not* ignore it and go on with my life. If my husband having prostate cancer at age 51 taught me anything it's that when something is unusual you get it checked out. Vaginal bleeding at 58 is unusual, it just is.

So my amazing gynecologist whom I have seen for years and I have the utmost respect for, did an in office biopsy. There was a problem though, when she did this back in November. She was only able to get a scanty sample because of:
a) the way that I'm structured internally, and
b) the fact that I was over 40 lbs heavier back in November
In addition we had no insurance at the time because of changes we were going through.

Fast forward to now.
Insurance problems were resolved  and my gyn wants to do the biopsy in the hospital where she can put me to sleep and get a good sample. *I* haven't had anesthesia since they removed an MRSA positive mass in 2000 after a botched hernia repair in 1995. That hospital was closed down by the time I found the mass due to high nosocomial (hospital acquired) infection rates. It was a dark time in my life that resulted in almost a year with home health care, IVs, groshongs, and a cake-sized wedge they cut out of my abdomen on my right side near my belly button that I had to pack with betadine gauze for months until it finally healed from the inside.

It was effectively the end of my hands-on nursing career. I did underwriting after that but I was never able to return to working the floor and for a long time after I was sort of broken because nursing wasn't just a job for me, it was how I identified and was the one place in my life where I had control and felt that I was good at what I did. Suddenly I just didn't have that anymore.

So, you can imagine if you've made it this far that going into a hospital for anything, no matter how minor or how much I trust my fantastic Dr. has me in whole new realms of some of the most severe anxiety I've had in a long time.

Underlying all this, of course, is the fear that the biopsy will come back positive for cancer, which, if that happens, I am having the works pulled. None of this 'let's leave an ovary and see' bullshit. Fuck that. I worked in oncology. If you can cut that shit out you cut it ALL out, or as much as you possibly can - my personal opinion, understand. I am completely in the yes camp when it comes to aggressive surgery to treat cancer. Radiation and chemo, OTOH, I have strong reservations about and that leads one into the territory of 'quality vs quantity'. I don't think that time always trumps quality if that time is spent in a hospital bed puking your guts out from chemo. Maybe it's better now than it was back in the day, I don't know. I'll deal with that aspect if/when it becomes necessary.

Everyone has to make choices in life. Choices about what to eat, choices about when to go to the Dr, and choices about how they spend the rest of the time that they have. I have strong opinions on quality of life after years working in healthcare. I've seen people on feeding tubes that have been in a nursing home non-responsive for 10 years with no family or with families that are wracked with grief that can't let go even to the brink of financial ruin. I don't believe in feeding tubes, again, personal choice. I've always told my family if I can't feed myself it's time to let me go. It's not really so much a fear of death for me as a fear of lingering. That fear of being the comatose patient that seems out of it yet on the inside is screaming and no one can hear them. Some things, to me, are worse than death.

Today (or rather, yesterday) I had to go to the hospital to get all my pre-op testing done and, of course, take care of registration/finances because 'Merica.

It was an entire day of obesity panic, when I heard that term I knew exactly what The Fasting Fatman was talking about.

First, I went to Dr. Z for a pre-op consult. There are benches in her office, 3 of them. That is where I always sit, I've used the benches for years. The rest of the office is filled with chairs that I never fit into. I tried once, when I first started going to this office, and my hips were too wide.

Today the office was kind of a madhouse and all 3 benches were full, mostly with women who could have fit into the abundance of what I called in my head 'skinny' chairs. I was standing there trying to decide what to do because I'm not in my current body in my head. In my head I'm still 442 lbs. On my heels another super morbidly obese woman walked in. She was young, in her 20s, and had that deer in headlights looks I probably also had when she saw the benches were full. Right then one of those women on the bench was called back to see the Dr. so a space on a bench opened up. This young woman and I both looked at that spot and looked at each other and I could see in her face the simultaneous panic and resignation: panic that there was nowhere for her to sit because of her resignation that since I was older I should have the spot on the bench. I told her, "Oh, you go, I want to sit in a chair....." She smiled and immediately went to the bench.

I walked to a chair. I sat down. I fit in it.

I had this sort of out of body disconnect. I kept looking at the lap I'm starting to have trying to understand how I fit in chairs I've never fit in before. I mean, of course, logically you would assume that if you lose weight you'd start to fit in places you couldn't before it's just that mentally getting a mind mired in super morbid obesity panic and and anxiety for decades to understand that, hey, it's ok, we fit now, isn't the easiest thing to do.

And it is a 'we fit now' kind of feeling, like there are two of me: the person I am now at the weight I am now and that person that I've been since my kids were toddlers (my oldest turns 30 in July).

When my Dr. saw me I think she was kind of shocked that I'd dropped another 43 pounds since November and in my head I'm like, "It's ok, it shocks the shit out of me too....."

Then I went to the hospital for pre-op testing.

I realized that I was going to be 'escorted' from department to department because they needed an EKG, labwork, and X-rays. Immediate panic set in. I can't follow people around in here! I'm slow! I'll get short of breath! I'll be standing in the middle of the hall panting and everyone will stare at me!

None of which is true for me anymore.

It was an amazing discovery and of course I'm happy about all of these positive changes but OTOH the anxiety levels surrounding all the changes are just exhausting. It's like I walk around in a state of high alert all the fucking time.

The cherry on all of this was that I needed/wanted to get some shopping done for the weekend at a newer sort of high-end market down the street from the hospital (called Market Street, I'd say it's most similar to Whole Foods in pricing). I don't buy a lot there but their produce is off the hook and I have a hard time staying away from it, lol.

It's Good Friday and the place is abso-fucking-lutely packed with people.

No problem, I can do this. I need to push myself. I waded in with my shopping cart and my 'I deserve to take up space' attitude while I shook on the inside.

By the time I got home last night I was a fucking mental wreck. I have to say if the anxiety and whatever this is, body dysmorphia or whatever, goes on for too much longer I'm going to talk to someone about it because as hard as I push it pushes back just as hard.

The take-away is this: don't let things slide medically. If something doesn't seem right to you don't ignore it, get checked out even if you're like me and you fucking hate hospitals. Yes, I was a nurse. Yes, I worked in hospitals. In some respects, that makes the anxiety worse. Doesn't matter. You've got a better chance living through whatever it is with medical care than you do without it and I say this from a place of having been fucked up by a surgeon before. You can't judge all medical professionals by the mistakes of one. Medical professionals are people and as people there are good ones, not so good ones, and shitty ones. Do your due diligence, do your research (which I did NOT do on the shitty surgeon, just took a friend's word that he was good - that was idiocy. Like, this is Astrid - Astrid is a nurse who knows how to research surgeons - Astrid's friend told her this guy was good so she went to him because she was lazy - don't be Astrid).

Also, change is hard. Change is a mother. fucker. For every happy photo I post there are hours of anxiety, joy at new activities, and struggles to define myself in this new body.



Friday, April 5, 2019

Evolution

Weight: 357 lbs.

OK, I came across this and it really spoke to me because my organization lately is, well, non-existent. Getting better took most everything I had in the last 8 months and now diving back in seems overwhelming, you know? I've always been, which one is it, type A? In my brain. Except now that I can move some I'm type A ev-er-y-where. 

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/stop-doing-low-value-work 

I don't want to sit down and work. I do that housecleaning thing where I'm like a fucking moth with brain damage: pick this up, put it in that room, get distracted in that room, 30 minutes later leaving that room, see something on the floor, get the vacuum........ect. I had forgotten I used to do that! I had it well under control to the point I'd forgotten I was ever like that.

Boy, am I like that. 

I was like that as a kid, I was super super active. Roller skating, bike riding, swimming, horseback riding and now I'm like, "What the hell happened?" Well I know what happened but the thing is I've never really been a still person physically, not until about 3 years ago when the build-up of fat and pain combined to render me near immobile.

I want to say this here: if you are happy where you are with your weight then you have all my love. I was at peace with mine for years. It does catch up with you though, and change this late in life is a bitch. You can do it, just like I'm doing it, but there are more hurdles to jump.

I believe now I became depressed during and after my son had his psychotic break. It was just so hard to accept that I could not somehow beat the autism back and make life normal for him. Whatever normal is, my parameters on that are changing, thankfully, now that I am healing. He was in college, I was winning, right? Then he had a psychotic break and my world fell apart. I should have seen it. I should have done something. I'm a nurse, I should have realized what was wrong. I was negligent. I was......a shitty mom.

I think I became depressed and just never came out of it. It became my daily functional existence. I've always said, "Oh, I'll know when I'm depressed and then I'll go to the Dr. and get back on my meds."

Never happened, I honestly think I didn't realize it. You know what finally made me understand that something was wrong? When I kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and didn't care. I think some part of me had decided that I was a failure and I couldn't do it anymore and I was done. I don't think it was conscious, I certainly would never have called a suicide hotline. I was intentionally killing myself over something I couldn't control.

At the bottom of all that was a self-hatred so profound that it's hard to describe and I'm not going to try. If you have it, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't, I envy you. All it needed was an excuse, anything would do really but failing your child? Oh girl.

Sam and I talked tonight. It was a good talk. He's struggling. I'm going to call his psych in a week if things don't improve for him, we agreed on that and shook on it. He comes to me when he's struggling which is what you should do and what you need a support system for. We actually hashed out a couple of things that happened while he was institutionalized for 3 weeks for his psych break which, while there was no other way through at the time, left him with PTSD from the experience. He takes his meds as prescribed but his disorders can mutate over time and render the current medication less effective. I'm grateful that I was a nurse and that I took additional psych classes in college so I have some concrete knowledge along with the extensive research I did when he was a child. I don't know if he's just having a down cycle which is common and I go through those too or if it's time to readjust his meds in some way. I'm vigilant, I always have been. One of the things recently that made me realize that I was not a failure as a mother was going through (and recycling) old school papers of Sam's I'd saved and coming across this:




I had literal boxes of every paper from pre-school through like second grade for both my kids. Shitty moms don't do that. The top paper is just one sheet of notes and notes of research I did when I was trying to help my child. Shitty moms don't do that either.

So I'm asking you, as an old woman on the internet who doesn't know you, to look at yourself. Look at your body of work. I'm not talking about your employed body of work or your artistic body of work, I'm talking about your real body of work. What have you done for other people? How many people have you raised? How many people have you helped? How many people have you fed? How many freakin' animals have you taken care of over a lifetime? How many authors and artists and creatives and friends have you shared with and supported and cheered on?

How many people have you loved?

Then I would ask you why. the fuck. you can't extend yourself the same courtesy?

I'll tell you what I told my son tonight:

You are unique.

You are loved.

You have worth.

If you weren't here, the world would be a poorer place without you.

I love you.

I knew what was important when they took this photo when I was 9 years old. I knew it when I used to bike down to the park and would talk to the hippies that hung out there playing guitar and seeking their own version of happiness. They could tell you then, if you asked, what was important.

"Love, man. Just love."







My children are my world. They have always been my world. In a life that's hard and unpredictable and sometimes cruel Chris and my children are the rocks that hold me fast in the storm.



Find that thing you love about yourself and feed it, nourish it, and watch it grow. Self love is, I truly believe now, the foundation to all happiness. It has enabled me to change and grow in ways that at times shock me. I am not who I was. I love that person too, I always will, but I am not who I was, and that's because I love myself and those around me.

It's all I need.




Sunday, March 24, 2019

Outed

Weight: 359 (I cracked into the 350s, SQUEE! Sure, I'm just slivered in there but it counts, it does!)

This was a good week but let me start at the end:

Tonight I may have been outed by this guy:






My husband is in the door of my office and we're talking. Mr. nosy pants here wanders into the room and starts actively pawing at the bag (with a book, more on that in a minute) where I dropped it on the floor in my haste to get to the bathroom because GIRL, you know, sometimes you're not about that going in the public restroom life if you can get home in time, right? Except sometimes I cut it a little tight. Let's just say if I had buttons on my jeans where the zipper is it'd be a lost cause.

And then, of course, I forgot to go back and hide the book better.

Don't play, you've done it before, I see you, lol. It's the secret sisterhood of the way too many fat quarters, shoes, earrings, copper wire, jump rings, and beads.......and books.

ANYway, I sold an entire bag of old quilt magazines and books that I was still emotionally attached to even though I hadn't read the damn things in 20+ years because wasn't this the magazine that had that baby quilt you want to make whenever you get to be a Nana......gah....exhausting. I joke that I'm a hoarder but it's no joke that I have a lot of shit that most people, including, apparently, Half-Price Books, would and do consider trash.

I never realized that about myself until recently, I really didn't. It's a revelation to listen to that voice in your head that wants you to keep ev-er-y-thing and then tell it no.

The inherent danger in selling a bag of books is you are waiting in a large used bookstore. Honey. That's like putting grapes in front of a raccoon and expecting him to just browse them. I'm weak, help me, I. am. weak.

They gave me $3 for the bag of magazines (again, reality check, your book and magazine collection will not, much like Beanie Babies, supply you with your retirement fund). I donated the rest. Yes, I had a moment where I wanted to scoop them back up and take them home where they were loved but then I realized that's a pretty fucked up thing to think and why am I anthropomorphizing books?

So I left them to their fate. I have hopes there's a lady at an assisted living that likes to read Quiltmaker from the 1990s. Leave me my dreams.

While waiting for my retirement money/ $3 I'm in the bookstore. I did NOT, for a wonder, head immediately to the craft section. This time I was gonna be good. I'll stay in the nostalgia books that are much too expensive for me so I won't buy them and oh look, there's a section on Home Arts and.....this happened:




I remember this book. I remember helping to draft patterns out of this book when I was a kid. I remember getting in trouble in home ec because I used knives like my maw-maw to weight down the patterns to cut them out instead of meticulously pinning every inch down (I also remember laughing to myself when Fons and Porter started selling "pattern weights", no need to pin anymore! Really. However did they think of that? *throws another butter knife on the tissue*).

I love vintage clothes, I do, but real talk here my arms are a mess and that's not going to significantly improve. I carried, still carry, a lot of weight in my upper arms and I'm 58. I also like circle skirts and white button down blouses and shirts. Honestly, what fat girl hasn't had, at some point in her life, whether it's for some sort of school uniform or because she just wants one, to fight the struggle and occasional humiliation and never-ending chest gap-osis that is trying to find a button-down shirt? It's a fucking nightmare, I know I'm not alone in this.

I'm havin' that white shirt and no fast fashion retail this is all we've got no one has arms like yours clothing challenges are gonna stop me. Ima draft me a white button-down blouse WITH ARMS THAT FIT, and then a shirt, and some circle skirts and palazzo pants and Ima wear what I want.

For those of you that don't sew basically pattern drafting is just geometry, as is quilting. Think of it like one of those paper-dolls some of us had, what were they? Colorforms. You have the body of the shirt where the trunk of your body goes and you can have a puff sleeve, or a bell sleeve, or this collar, or that collar. It's Eshakti, except you do it yourself.

But now, of course, the cat sticks his head in the bag with the book and we can all guess that the former owner had some type of pet because Azrael is going at this like it's high-grade catnip, like, the good stuff. Purring loudly and rubbing and carrying on. And Chris picks up and the book and asks, "What's this?"

Now, you have to understand the dynamic here: he's going to ask me why and I'm going to explain why I bought it. He's going to ask me how I'm going to find the time and I assure him that I will while at the same time frantically scratching through the day-planner in my head asking myself that same question. Then he'll hug me and I'll hug back and we'll start talking about something else. He gets me. I do the same thing to him when he comes home with an autograph from some football player I've never heard of on a big triangular banner that I think is ugly AF but will, after asking him why, help him figure out a way to store it so it won't get damaged.

So yeah, my cat outed me, but I probably would have outed myself in a couple of days. Probably. Maybe.

One of my friends pointed out that my stuff, much like the wall I built with food, with my fat, was yet another layer of protection which I had never really considered but which is, now that she pointed it out (thank you Debbie, love you girl!) blatantly obvious. I mean, it's on all the hoarder shows, like duh. They all have damage of some sort or some specific event that triggers the onslaught of the hoarding.

Do I still have issues? Of course I do. Did I need that book today? No. But I have good intentions and it's a book on sewing and not a double meat double cheese and I'll consider that a win.

You don't become perfect overnight. I don't expect that of myself (anymore) and neither should you. There's nothing wrong with a work-in-progress. Sometimes the things that take the longest are what you are the proudest of.

I was telling my son tonight as he has decided to work on paring down his collection, it doesn't happen overnight. You do one shelf one day. The next day you do a drawer, or part of the closet, or whatever. You don't try to rush at it all at once and clean the entire room and go through all the drawers and shelves and review every bit of the whatever it is you have too much of all at once. You can't. Well you can but that's misery and when you push too far past your comfort level you'll rebound and go acquire a bunch more shit because too much is gone and now you feel miserable and bereft. You do bits. When you're comfortable with that bit you've done, you add more bits. You start liking having space and a sort of snowball effect happens.

Weight is the same, you know. You try to go at it all in an instant and you'll faceplant in the next box of Krispy Kremes you can get your paws on.

Ask me how I know.

You do bits. When you're comfortable with that bit you do more bits. Hello snowball.

Which leads to positive things this week:

I was vacuuming out my truck and trying to do a really good job. I looked at my phone right before I started. I kind of lost track of time while I was working. I looked at my phone when I was almost done and realized that I had been standing for 30 minutes with a vacuum cleaner slung over my shoulder in my driveway cleaning my truck. Last summer I did good to stand 5 minutes without sitting down somewhere because the back pain was insane. I still get sore but I have lots of these episodes now where I notice all the energy and that I spend less time at the computer and more time actually physically moving and doing things.

I bought panty hose from Catherine's. I did NOT buy the largest size they had, I bought the next to largest which was based on my weight and height the size I should buy. They fit perfectly. It's been at least 19 years since I had on panty hose, at least. I had switched to long dumpy skirts with knee-hi hose ages ago, that's what I wore to my daughter's wedding. I'm not a huge fan of hose in general but I was wearing a houndstooth circle skirt in black and white from Dia and Co and a black top and black almond toe flats and I wanted white hose. I also wore those giant red tassel earrings I have that hang past my shoulder. We went to Blue Sushi for my kid's birthdays. I was WAY overdressed and didn't care.

The black top I wore was also from Catherine's. When the woman asked if she could help me I actually opened my mouth and told her what I needed. She had several options. She asked what size I was. I told her I wasn't sure but was a 3 at Torrid. She looked me up and down in a knowledgeable, appraising way I didn't mind at all and said, "I think you could do a 2x but I'll give you the 3x too." She was right, I was stunned. I walked out with a shirt that had a tag that said 2x. I'd tell you how long that's been but at a guess my daughter was a toddler? She's in her late 20s now. And yes all places size wildly differently and yes the size on the tag doesn't really matter but it still felt like a win so I'll take it.

I went to the movies. I haven't been since the early summer when sitting in the seats (the big ones that recline, mind) was uncomfortable for me, hurt my back, and had no space to wiggle because my hips were against that armrest. Girl, we were intimate.

I walked in and I was actually dreading it. What if it's all bullshit? What if I didn't lose anything? What if the seats are still misery?

I sat down. I did not touch the armrest on either side and, in fact, there was actual space between me and the armrest. I have broken up with you, armrest. You no longer thrill me.

I didn't have really any bad days all week. I had moments. The mirror is hard. My body is changing in ways I'm struggling to be OK with. I know that (have read about) other fat people who can't get past this. The body changes are too much, wrinkles that were never on your face start to appear everywhere because, well, you're deflating. I read someone who said those were like her tattoos, the story of her life, her battle scars and I like that. I've def fought a few battles, maybe I don't mind so much that they're written in my skin.

I'm the tortoise, baby. I ain't doin' the rabbit no more.

Friday, March 15, 2019

How Am I Toxic? I Wanna Know.

Weight: 360 lbs.

I was a huge fan of Tess Holliday. I'm not going to post her pic here and if you are plus size or pay attention to plus size fashion you already know who she is. If not, just google her name and 'cosmo' and her magazine cover will pop up. She's a beautiful woman. She started a hashtag, #effyourbeautystandards, that I've removed from all my Instagram photos now and I'll tell you why.
Tess said, recently (paraphrasing here):

"...[Weight loss] progress photos are so toxic."




This is me.

How, again, am I toxic?

Because I want to change?

Because I want to walk?

Because I want to live?

I don't judge you, please don't judge me. I was a fan until I began to read some of the things you write and came to understand that you, Tess, are not a very nice person IMO.

How is hating on someone who wants to change any different than hating on someone who is fat? Explain that to me please because I'm not seeing it.

You know, I topped out at 460 lbs., now I'm 360 lbs. and still working hard to get to a normal weight. I never had any delusions about how big I was. I researched where I went. My poor family had to limit where they went to eat because I was too fat for some places. I lived a life of misery and apology (I'm sorry when squeezing past someone, I'm sorry when someone squeezed past me).

 I never saw myself as handicapped. I didn't use handicapped chairs, or scooters, or go places I couldn't fit into because I wasn't, IMO, handicapped. I WAS FAT. I've lost some friends during my journey down because they're mad that I'm losing weight and that's OK because I'm making new ones. The one thing that caused me the most fear/sadness/anxiety was that I had to use the bigger handicapped bathroom stalls in places because I literally could not sit down in the regular stalls. I would try to go as fast as possible because I worried that someone that was really handicapped, like, in a chair or with a walker with MS or ALS or an amputee would come in and need that stall and there my fat ass would be because I didn't have enough respect for myself or anyone else to lose the weight.

The other day I went out with my kids to the farmers market and had to go and I walked into a normal stall, pulled down my pants, sat down, and started crying because that's how much of a relief it was to me not to have to take up space in a place where I didn't belong. I was not a happy fat person, ever. Not about that aspect of my life, not about the fat. I was also never a healthy fat person, I started having health issues when I was in my 20s.

So now I'm changing, and I'm happy. Eff your beauty standards? Eff your nasty comment about progress photos being toxic. I've worked damn hard. I post lots of photos now including progress photos, probably too much. Don't care, it helps me to stay motivated and no model in the public eye or some FB friend is going to tell me what is and isn't toxic.

You know what's toxic? Hate.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Blood Relations

Weight: 361

Hello blood relations - Ima just leave this here.

So then it happens that I share a weight loss progress chart on my Instagram and a member of what I think of as my former family decides to follow me. First thing? I just learned how to block someone on Instagram. Next thing (of course)? Memories.

Let's see. I think the last time I saw you was at my grandmother's funeral. You were working for some auto dealership and offered to let me drive the fancy car you had with you around and I declined. Then I heard, later, that you went to the house to help daddy get on the internet and all caught up on technology. I, thankfully, was gone by then. How kind.

Did you guys swap stories?

Did you tell him about the time you were going off to school or maybe to be with your mother in California? Not sure exactly which it was but anyway, you were leaving. We were spending the last night in the same room together and you said, let me see if I can get this right because I'm pretty sure I remember it with crystal clarity. You said,

"You know, this is the last night we are ever going to spend together. Why don't you come over here and get in bed with me...."

Now, because of all the shit I've been through my timelines are pretty fucked up but I'm thinking I was around, maybe, 8? That would have made you, what? 10 or 11, or maybe even 12?

Old enough to know better.

I didn't get in the bed with you. You left. I closed the book on it. I didn't forget it, but I closed the book on it. You see, when you are systematically tortured by a crazy fucked up German nut case the one thing it does to you is it turns your head into an immense filing cabinet and things that other people would forget the next day stay with you for life.

I will say this, I loved your dog. Gypsy was one of the most amazingly magnificent animals I've ever had the pleasure to know and I miss her to this day. I hope there is a doggie heaven and that she's running free with all the other pets I've loved this half a century I've lived.

I wasn't sure it was you, you know? I mean, how tf would you even know my married name? So I clicked on your profile and then I knew how. There she was, standing in her TCU sweatshirt and I have just one question for her:


Y'all need to move on, ya feel me? 

I don't have any more clothes for you to come and try on and stretch out with your huge chest and make them unwearable, bearing in mind at the time that I was in 7th grade and you were what? 23 or 24? An adult anyway, I know you're 11 years older than me, I heard that enough times.

So then you complained to your brother, my daddy, that I had sealed my closet closed with duct tape when you came over the next time. Mother helped me do that. She was a bitch but we could bond over a few things and one of those was our mutual fuming hatred of you.

There won't be any family gatherings around the scales anymore to see what Lisa weighs and then sit and talk about me and how fat I am like I'm not there. You'll notice I don't use that name, Lisa, on any of my social media. I can't imagine why that is.

I'm not at Girl Scout camp anymore for you to send me your poisonous letters about how fat I am and how I should be a "good girl" and not overeat.

Bitch, you STILL worrying about my weight. Just stop. Trust me when I say I got this.

To anyone else who reads this and is scratching their heads, know this:

I left my family, ALL of my family, in my past years ago. I left the toxicity and the pain behind. My grandparents (my father's parents) were the only people I ever truly loved out of the whole sad pack and when they passed I was gone like a whirlwind.

I have never bothered any of my family, when I left they became dead to me. I have never accused anyone publicly of anything. My parents were dead before I began to write about them on the 'net. They were free to live their lives free of me and I would assume, fat burden that I was, that they would be grateful for that fact. 

 Some motherfuckers though, they can't take a hint.

Or is this some of that, "Well, I may be fat/have problems/be older but at least I'm not THAT fat..."? Is that it? Because trust me when I say you've got about, oh, another year of that and then, well, then you'll have to find someone else to be better than.


You know, it wasn't my fault that the brother you loved married a German girl and had a baby with her. I didn't ask to be here and damn sure didn't ask for this family. You couldn't punish them, but me? Oh, you were all over that shit. Planting spoons in my bedroom chest of drawers and then calling my dad in to show it to him. Did you enjoy watching him beat me with the belt? Is that how you got your rocks off?

Why. the. fuck. would I have anything to do with you now? Your husband died and you're lonely? Bitch, please. You don't know what lonely is. Your parents loved you. No one raped you. No one beat you. No one told you what a piece of shit you were on the daily. Your loneliness means nothing to me, less than nothing, because when I was small and hurting and you could have been my friend and my hero and the girl I wanted to be you, instead, were petty, jealous, and mean. I remember seeing you in your twirling uniform, all spangles and beauty, and in that time I loved you, I wanted to be you. I tried, you know. I did try. I spent an entire summer trying to learn how to twirl so I could be like you. I listened to Paul Revere and the Raiders and Janis Joplin and danced and tried to be like you. I wanted so much for you to like me but you never did. You never did.

Kenton, was that his name? Kenton had no idea how big a bullet he dodged.

Is that enough truth for you, enough pain? Because I have more, I mean, there's a lot more.

So here it is with a bit more clarity for those in the back. Fuck Off.

I don't need you and I don't want anything to do with you. You're toxic.

To anyone else who deals with toxic family members I'm here to tell you it's fine to leave those motherfuckers in the dust where they belong. You don't have to suffer someone's degrading comments and behaviors towards you because you share the same bloodline.

This is for you:





Be free.