Thursday, June 15, 2006

Boo

My ghost, Mr. G, wakes me up because he wants to help me. He is a Ghost Whisperer in reverse. I told him it would be a great help if I could sleep through the night undisturbed and he told me to quit whining.

He intends to help me with my weight problem, of all things. It is his plan to be my Invisible Friend, my Guardian Angel and the Keeper of My Kitchen. I can use all of the help I can get, regardless of how wacky it may seem.

The first thing he said I must do is “Man UP.” I posted the following two entries last December and promptly took them down before anyone but one person saw them. (You were very nice about it, too.)

Posted on December 12, 2005

I’ve been putting it off for a while now and I’m not sure I have the courage to do it, but what the hell. Today, I feel like jumping in. My original idea for this space was to talk about a problem I have not been able to solve.

Long pause before I begin typing again.

See, here’s the thing: I am fat, really fat. What is definitely defined as obese. I am 5’6” and I weigh 350 pounds. That’s like two linebackers. That’s three normal size people. That’s really big.

Why am I fat? Well, obviously, it’s because I eat too much. Simple, right? Just stop eating too much. Problem solved. It should be that simple.

I’m smart. I have above average intelligence. I’ve done all of the research. I know about vitamins and minerals, drink 8 glasses of water a day, exercise regularly, portion control, calories in, calories out. Simple.

I’m strong. I’ve survived this far, better than a lot of other people I know. I’ve made it through many situations that others have been crushed by and yet I keep going.

I’m blessed. I have both of my parents. I am married to a man who loves me. I have a healthy, happy daughter who made it to 19, without drugs, alcohol and pregnancy. I have a house, car, cell phone, laptop, yadda, yadda, yadda. I have my health, nothing really wrong with me that others my age don’t have worse.

So, I need to figure out why I continue to anesthetize myself with food. And that is what I am doing. I eat so much that I have no feelings at all. Happy, sad, mad, glad, they’re all the same to me. I try to get rid of them all.

OK, enough for now, before I explode out of my skin.

Posted on December 13, 2005
"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth." – Benjamin Disraeli
I think showing feelings or not are at the root of most addictions. I know for me growing up we were not to show excessive feelings. (Here’s my PC disclaimer: I’m sure my situation wasn’t much different than most peoples’. I’m just trying to figure out why the problem manifested the way it did in me and how to break the cycle. I know everyone did his or her best. I am not blaming anyone. I’m already apologizing for how I feel and I haven’t even said anything yet.}

My father was distant both physically and emotionally. He worked two and three jobs most of the time. We were close, once. I was his favorite as a small child. You can see it in the home movies and pictures and everyone said so. I remember at some point that he moved away from me. At a young age, I was jealous when he played with other children and he told me not to hang on him. While I was still small, I feel I disappointed him in some way and I disappointed him ever since. The situation that sums up my relationship with my father is illustrated by this story: The family was sitting around the table one Thanksgiving, when my brother was married to his first wife. She had done something to amuse my father and he said, “You always were my number one daughter.” No one else missed a beat. But I died a little.

Today’s edition, just to keep the parental blame even.

My mother gifted me with the pursuit of unattainable perfection. Regardless of the situation or accomplishment, the “but” reared its ugly head. As in, “Wow, you graduated in the top thirteen out of a thousand students, but even now you can’t keep you hair out of your face.” Her only physical sign of affection was the wooden spoon that made contact with my thigh when I annoyed her (which I really perfected.)

Me, Myself and I were a trio from early on, since we moved about every year and a half. I spent a lot of time with adults, quietly watching and listening, many times to things I should not have been privy to. I learned things the hard way. So around the age of ten, I began to insulate.

I’m going to go now, since I feel slightly disassociative and Mr. G says I should sooth myself with song. I don’t know what I’m saying. Bye.


J.K. Rowling at her website www.jkrowling.com in the Extra Stuff section (hair brush) under Miscellaneous and then, For Girls Only, Probably… wrote a rant on our obsession with women’s appearance, thinness. As a woman who has always felt the pressure of looking for the perfect weight and as a mother of a daughter, I whole-heartedly agree with her. I applaud the use of her celebrity and influence over young people to address this issue and give her opinion.

17 comments:

  1. i remember reading both the posts, but i can't remember is i commented or not...

    im sure i would have said that youre still a good person, and if you really want to cahnge, you will :)


    do you still feel this way?

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  2. Gwen: You are kind. Things have loosened up a bit for me. You are right in that I can do it if I want. That's always the hardest part, getting to the want to. The only major inducement I have is my age. I am 47 and I don't want this to be a problem anymore. And the reasons for my weight just aren't valid anymore. In the past few weeks I have started walking everyday for a total of 40 minutes and I'm controlling my calories. I have lost 14 pounds so far. There's more to do and I'll try to be more coherent about what's going on. I know many people have this problem.

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  3. You know Nessa, you insulating was totally understandable. I mean, considering the stuff that happened to you as a kid, it's a wonder that you are as warm, vital and loving as you are.

    I think your blog, reaching out to others, was a sort of step along this journey. It was about opening up the hurt, and letting it out to breathe.

    You ask why you didn't do it before? You only do things when you are ready. And you are already perfect.

    I think I wrote once...(it was a blog entry I was looking at yesterday...you need do nothing.

    On the deepest level, you could say that perfectionism is a futile search for self-worth. "If I do this one thing better," perfectionists say to themselves, "then I’ll be worthy. Then I’ll be a good person, and people will like me. I just have be better than I am."

    So what’s the alternative to perfectionism? Some people say, "I’d rather be perfectionistic than lazy and apathetic." But those aren’t the only choices. In fact, the true answer to perfectionism lies at the heart of many spiritual teachings.

    "You are a child of God. Nothing can change this. And because you are a child of God, you are perfectly loved, perfectly forgiven, and spiritually perfect forever. Accept that truth about yourself and others."

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  4. No I am not saying do nothing about your weight. What I am saying is that the more you learn to love and accept yourself, the more loving your choices to yourself will be.

    The weight will come off naturally when you lose the self loathing.

    You know, as in doing without doing? Effortless effort?

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  5. Jenn has an excellent point. And while you and I obviously don't share the same father, I think our mothers are related. The wooden spoon thing is very familiar to me. And my mom would have said, "You could have graduated twelfth. Your brother will graduate twelfth."

    And, shockingly, I am overweight as well. I'm a guy, so it seems a little more acceptable, but I don't like it. But working through some of this parental shit as I've been doing of late has opened a desire in me to get past other problems.

    You'll get there.

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  6. hey nessa,

    you are a brave girl.

    even on an anonymous blog opening up like that could not have been easy. and reading your entry today has really really touched me.

    its great to read that you're on the path to where you want to be. i just want you to know that there's one girl in india who's feeling extremely connected to you and rooting for you and cheering you on. i don't know if that helps but i just wanted you to know...

    sorry for rambling on so stupidly. i'm just not good with emotions.

    p.s. say hi to Mr G for me. I stil can't get over how casually you talk about having a ghost in your home!

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  7. I agree with Jenn. Don't waste any more time obsessing about your appearance; you are allowed to enjoy your life no matter how much you weigh. If you lose weight, fine. If you don't, fine. It's ridiculous how we women feel we have to put our lives on hold until we are thin. Like we aren't allowed to go out in public, or wear a bathing suit on the beach, or go to our high school reunion until we are "acceptable". Such fucking bullshit. I hate how, whenever people are complimenting a woman, their looks are always first, as in "You are a beautiful, intelligent woman..." It's sneaky, and it's everywhere.

    We are not "flawed"; we are all just different. And we should be comfortable enough in our own skin to actually enjoy our lives, not spend every other thought fretting about our weight & appearance.

    But easier said than done, right? It would be so much easier if the rest of society would lay the fuck off the subject for a second. What a tiring, pointless battle. It saps my energy daily and I resent how it makes me feel both ugly and shallow all at the same time.

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  8. ok, here I go again.
    I wish I had an incantation or benedition that would allow you to see the truth of the words of those who have loved and encouraged you. May I suggest, if you do not now, that you start telling youself the truth. When you see a mirror, look yourself in the eye and speak the truth.
    You are beautiful,
    you are loved,
    you are good enough,
    you are smart enough,
    and darn it, people like you!!
    It sounds like the man you love has good taste, trust him.
    Love yourself, right now, you are worth it.
    You can do it, you can lose weight, but even if you never did, all that is still completely true.

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  9. The weight issue is a sensitive one. I've recently lost forty pounds and it has made a world of difference. My problem was my lifestyle and not so much emotional. The emotional obstacle is tougher to overcome. I feel for you because my brother and two of my sisters are going through this and are really struggling. We love our father, but he really had major problems that created, unintentionally, some serious emotional and psychological collateral damage with us kids. I really worry about my brother.

    I want you to know that I've been to that place where you feel like it is no use, have had "rope flashes", and pretty much had given up on everything. I got my life back, somehow. I wish I could say what did it, but right now I'm not trying to overthink it all, just trying to enjoy it. I can say that it is possible and that I will be here to support you however I can.

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  10. I pretty much echo everything that people have already said to you here. I have similar issues with food... I yo-yo dieted so much when I was younger, losing ungodly amounts of weight (and unhealthy, too), and then gaining it all back very quickly. It really screwed up my health.

    It sounds to me like you've got a good start going! Emotional health really is stronger than physical... when you're feeling better emotionally, you'll feel better physically, too. Don't do it because society says you have to. Do what you want for you... and your daughter will see that in you, too.

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  11. To Everyone Above: Your words mean the world to me. You all made me cry from the sweetness of your encouragement. I will be reading these comments many times.Thank-you.

    Jenn: Beautiful.Insulating is the keyword and it isn’t valid anymore. The perfectionism never worked. Since I eventually figured out I didn’t have perfection in me, so to speak, I didn’t try many things. I have a constant battle with the editor in my head who I met in the fouth grade (when I was about nine.) I wrote a paper for school. It was three handwritten pages long. Without reading it, my mother made me re-write it four times until the writing its self was perfect. To this day, I can’t even leave a shopping list alone if it has any sort of error in it. Computers are a good thing for me. And I love Zen.

    PTB: I think our fathers may have more in common than might first appear. Mine never talked about any thing and let things ride in such a way that he’d have the least amount of resistance. And he hid alot too (He always drank a 30 pack of beer a day, everyday. My mother thinks he only drinks a few cans on the weekends.) Up until I married my husband ten years ago (so for almost forty years) I would have sworn that my father never cursed; he never used even Hell or shit around us. But he went camping with my husband one weekend and my husband told me he used the “F” word constantly.

    Pink: Thanks so much. Your support means a lot. And Mr. G says hi to you, too. I’ll let you know if anything exciting happens.

    Jege: “it makes me feel both ugly and shallow all at the same time.” So true. Ever since you said this, I notice how often looks play a part in my judgement of people I don’t even know. And I hate it.

    Logo: I remember that character, but I can’t remember his name. He was great. Al Franken did him. My husband does have good taste and I do trust him, which has helped tremendously. Positive talk is also usefull. Thanks.

    The Grunt: While my parents have done a lot of damage, I do realize it wasn’t intentional and they did the best they could. Plus, I’m a big girl (pun intended), so it’s on me to fix what I want fixed. I think few people can actually outline a program of repair for other people. I think the support is what is important, but the path is personal.

    DCMM: My daughter has been a big reason for my wanting to change. While I know everyone has their own stuff to deal with, I’d like her to see that it can be done.

    The Juice: Welcome. And so far, he has been useful.

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  12. I don't care how useful ghosts are. I don't want one.

    And Vanessa... -hug-

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  13. About three or four years ago, I was reading an issue of GQ, and for some reason, they tapped a panel of male writers to each write a column about "the best advice they ever received." Don't ask me why. I thought it was a strange idea.

    But in the midst of that strange story idea came a nugget of truth: "It doesn't matter" was the best advice one writer ever received and chose to share. And he's right.

    Your assignment, Vanessa, should you choose to accept it, is to meditate on "It doesn't matter" and why it's good advice.

    Because, really, it doesn't.

    P.S. Love your writing. You get better and better and better...damn you! ;-)

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  14. I can totally relate to the mother-perfectionist issue. My mom set up the bar of expectations really high for me, and I (still) think that I can reach it. I know it's unrealistic, but deep inside I think if I really made the effort, I could. My justification for not reaching -it- is that I'm not really trying. That way, anything I do reach was completely effortless, and I can just go "oh well, I wasn't even trying, awesome".

    In elementary school, I always had excellent grades in spelling (which in Spanish is graded by written tests, because we have all kinds of funky diacritics). I'd run home all proud and she'd say "Well, yes, but you're good at spelling. How'd you do in history, though?". History was always my worst subject. The same thing happened in high school, by which time I'd gotten really good at math. I was hand-picked by the 11th grade math teacher (I was in 10th, and it had been only my first week at that school) to represent the school along with only 1 other student in my grade (a guy) in a math competition in Ensenada (Mex). I, again, ran home all proud, and she replied "Well, of course you were picked, you're good at math. How about applying that to your Economics class, though" *groan*

    Problem is, I still want to reach that. And I rebel against myself by constantly underperforming. My mom doesn't have unrealistic expectations of me now; she actually has some very attainable ones. Now the one I'm trying to please constantly, without success, is myself. I rebel against myself. I allowed myself to gain weight (even if others say I look "fine". I'm 40 lbs overweight, but people think I'm maybe 10 over? =\ That just makes me feel like it's ok to not do much about it...) I allow my apt to get messy, because it'll never be good enough for me. Why break my back cleaning it when it's not going to be perfect? Why lose weight if I'm just gonna look Ok. Why can't I be perfect, though??

    Sigh, ok, I've gotten off-track here.

    I agree with everyone else, so I won't be completely redundant. Also, your writing is excellent. I truly enjoy reading your stories.

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  15. Jay: Based on your last post, I'd say your place is crowded enough, so I don't blame you. And thanks, you softy you.

    Andy: Glad to see you back - everyone's doing the happy dance. "it doesn't matter" is very true. I will meditate, Sensei. PS. Thanks, that means alot.

    Jadzia: You didn't go off track. My mom wanted me to get married, have 2.5 kids, dust everyday and be President of the USA. I kid you not. So, it was definitely easier not to try than to fail at that lofty goal; ) And thank you for the compliment.

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  16. I agree with Andy, "it doesn't matter." What a concept! I too will heed that advice. This is quite a personal post and I applaud your courage. Keep on keepin' on.

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