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We love you Howard


I read this blog post today and had one of those life-changing, epiphany moments. This is in combination to the press gleefully reporting the study that suggests obesity is contagious. It is nice to know that scientists will say about anything to get media coverage.

So, as much as I enjoy blaming fat people for things and as enticing as this all is as a sound bite, I have to part ways with how it was reported out. Fat isn't contagious, but behaviors are and if you are surrounded by people who are choosing certain behaviors and justifying those behaviors, you will fall in line. That is what we do when we want to align ourselves with someone. (But my way won't get covered by GMA because it sounds boring and sensible and there is no easy, one-step action to take.)

As a woman who has been told most of my life that any pain or illness I'm feeling is due to my weight, I totally understand the decision to stop seeing medical professionals as I "already know" what is wrong with me. I also, painfully, know sabotage. Now, I'm not trying to blame my weight on anyone else but myself. I have made all the choices that brought me to where I am today.

I think the key is breaking my deeply programmed responses of automatically putting on the happy face and being obliging and accommodating. Of holding onto the white-hot rage so that I can support choices I'm trying to make that will result in a healthier me. And when needed, having the slap-down ready. And I need to "be OK" with demonstrating different behaviors than people I'm around and "be OK" if they are uncomfortable with this.

Why haven't I held onto my health like it was precious and valuable? Why did I sacrifice it to peer pressure? When did I make the decision that it was less important? I took it for granted.

Not. Anymore.

Scenario 1: Long roadtrip in front of me. I make a special effort to get to the store at lunch time in the days before the trip to stock up on healthy snacks and food so that I could save some money (the trip was expensive for me) and I would have some option for healthy eating and could avoid fast food. The roadtrip companion, a beloved family member, bitched and moaned for most of the trip about the food. Food she likes but didn't want on this trip. This is the same family member who tries to have conversations with me about how worried she is about my weight and thinks I'm over sensitive because I don't want to have these conversations with her. In truth, I don't want to have these conversations with her because I'm pissed off about stuff like this scenario.

From now on, I will have these uncomfortable conversations with her and let her know...I'm pissed off. When she looks in my cupboards and complains I don't have any cookies for her...I'll tell her to suck it up. When she wants me to come visit...I'll just tell her it can't be for long because it is exhausting dodging the land mines she throws at me...ice cream, chowders, my favorite barbecue place, etc.

Scenario 2: I finally set up a meeting with a personal trainer and I'm going to keep it. I've tried in the past and something always comes up and I cancel like this is an expendable appointment. This morning I almost cancelled again because I got a last-minute invite from family who is visiting in the area and I would like to take off early to see them as much as possible. But leaving early on top of a long lunch (the appointment with the trainer) seems like slacking. And to top it off, one of my projects is threatening to blow up in my face because someone else has dropped the ball.

I don't know why I think an extra 2 hours will give me time to pull this project out of the crapper and I don't know why I would feel guilty about taking 2 freakin' hours out of my day when I tend to always put in extra time. This project's failure is not my fault so I'm not sure why I think I always have to be the savior. Again, I'll just have to tell them to suck it up. It isn't done because they didn't bother with it two weeks ago when I was trying to get momentum. I've documented this and I'm off an hour early today and you can't reach me at lunch. For once I'm not hunched over my keyboard at lunch. Deal with it. And next time...respond to my first email.

And to relatives who don't bother inviting me until the day before, a little notice would be nice because I do, actually, have a life. I need to shuffle things to come see you and run that errand you requested of me before I come see you. And I suspect I was only invited so I would run that errand. I won't say it was no trouble. I'll, nicely, respond with, I'm happy to do it because I love you, but, yeah, it was a challenge today to make it all happen.

And I'm keeping the appointment with the trainer.

Scenario 3: Clothing. How can something pound the self esteem so completely in the blink of an eye? I went into a national big and tall women store the other day. My jeans are looking disreputable so I needed to pick up a couple pair and thought I could run this errand at lunch. I knew exactly what I wanted as I have done some "research" and tried several different kinds. I like the boot-cut rigid jeans in tall. I don't like the stretch because they look hideous on me. They look like denim tights. Regardless of the size. Hid. E. Ous.

I zip to the wall with the jeans and I'm brought up short. I cannot find what I need. They are launching some fan-tabulous campaign with their jeans. It is supposed to be easy. Colors now designate whether something is boot-cut or flare, etc. Apparently, none of us can read "boot cut," we need the color blue to help us out. "I'm too confused! I'm too confused! If only it was a color so I didn't have to try to read!"

But that isn't what chapped my hide. It just made me roll my eyes.

What chapped my hide is that there are no more rigid jeans. They are all stretch now. And in some misguided attempt to, I guess, bolster our self esteem, the sizes are changed so that they don't follow standard sizes, they are now 1-6. You have to ask one of the sales people come over with their "special" tape measures that is marked off to find out if you are a size 1 or 2 or whatever. I did my best not to chew up and spit out the sales woman who was gushing at how much everyone loved the new jeans. Even after I told her, quite plainly, that I hated the stretch jeans, they look terrible on me. Gush gush gush.

I do deserve some praise for not picking her up and tossing her away from me like the Incredible Hulk.

I almost just grabbed a pair of jeans anyway to complete the errand. I often do that. I settle for clothing that is not flattering because it is hard to find things that fit me. I'm tall, I have long legs and no matter what weight I've been, getting jeans/pants that fit has been darn near impossible.

I'm sick of knowing I don't look great and feeling like I kind of deserve it because I'm heavy. I'm done with letting the fashion industry shame me into looking frumpy. I'm going to learn how to sew and I'm going to figure out how to properly size things up (if that is possible) and that isn't just out, that is up too because as a tall person, they seem to always put the extra length in the body so the crotch on my pants are always much lower than is comfortable (or attractive). I'm going to just have to learn how to do alterations myself.

So y'all, basically, today is all about "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"


I feel your pain.

Come shopping with me!!!

Seriously. It is a world of easier to go clothes shopping with another fat girl, who will be honest with you about how that outfit looks. Since I don't have anyone, I post outfits on the LJ Fatshionista community. It helps.

You are an inspiration.

I've always admired your honesty and directness. And I admire you all the more for wrestling with the issues honestly in your forum.

You go girl! (In more ways than one.)