Perhaps it may just be me and the particular people I follow via Twitter, but my obsessive tweeting has unearthed far too many misogynistic postings lately, stuff that we were supposed to have left behind us in this country but clearly haven’t yet. I’m having some trouble dating this particular spate of insanity over men’s […]
Category Archives: Society
I don’t type those words as some declaration of self-empowerment like “I’m fat, dammit, and get used to it because I love me, faults and all!”
I type those words with quite a lot of sadness.
Those two words are two of the hardest words to come to terms with when dealing with oneself, at least for me, and it is an issue I like to dance around, hoping that a verbal slight of hand will distract from that fact that I am, indeed, an overweight gal.
When I was younger, I didn’t have these struggles with my weight. In fact, I was quite athletic and pretty fit. (My 20-year-old self doesn’t know this, however, and I would really like to travel back in time and kick her insecure ass.) I look at photos from that time and I don’t notice the appearance, but I notice the smile.
Very few photos of me from this time in my life exist, the most notable being the ones from Emily Gras, documented forever on the internet. In the photos that do exist, I see an inflated version of me, like suddenly I woke up one morning and was living my life walking around in a Sumo suit. The smiles? They aren’t the same, if they are there at all.
What happened to that girl? That one that was so full of life? The one that went to gigs, rocked out to bands, and hammed it up for the camera? The girl that would run every morning, would go out with her friends in the evenings for a couple of cocktails, and knew that she could take on the damn world? What happened to the girl that was secure with the person she was and had no fear?
What happened? The weight gain happened, creating a bubble of unhappiness that I lived in: unhappy with myself, unhappy about the way I physically felt, unhappy about everything I was missing out on, unhappy about the way I looked, unhappy that life seemed to be going on without me, and unhappy with the person I had become.
My weight gain came after a series of events – the life altering kind that often lead to things like depression – happened rapid fire, one right after another, in a very short time, leaving me to concentrate on taking care of everyone else and forgetting about myself or in a lot of physical pain where doing anything besides getting up, getting dressed, and homeschooling my daughter was pretty much out of the question.
Medication for health problems helped accelerate the weight gain, causing a small flame to become a raging inferno. Before I knew it, 180 pounds turned into 212 pounds, 212 pounds turned into 230 pounds, and 230 pounds turned into 265 pounds.
After I reached 265 pounds, I stopped weighing myself at all.
How in the hell did this happen?
I could try to excuse it by saying that fault belonged to the medication I was on, the health issues I was facing, or blame life in general. And, while those are things that may have contributed to certain aspects, using them as some sort of form of justification is no different than an alcoholic using a bad day at work to justify drinking a case of beer at home. The answer is really much simpler than that. I let it. It was the way I chose to deal with life.
A few weeks ago, I had one of those moment when you realize you can sink or swim. Me, I had been sinking for a while. I was tired of drowning. It was time to learn the breaststroke.
We left New Orleans for the Northshore four years ago as an extra measure of protection in a custody battle where there were whispers that the violent streets, bad schools, and instability of New Orleans would be used as grounds to file for a change in child custody and placement of my daughter. Whether or not it would have happened, I don’t know. The dust from an emotional and painful custody battle had just settled and I wasn’t willing to take any chances.
I hated leaving New Orleans and saying good-bye to the things here that brought me happiness: walking to Blue Cypress Books and chatting with Miss Elizabeth, spending the day riding the streetcar, getting snoballs at Miss Norma’s, having Mister Mike ask me how my mister and daughter were when I went in for a soda or bag of ice, and seeing my neighbors have a second line for their young baby boy’s baptism. Since the day I left New Orleans, I resented it, and that resentment followed me out to the isolated rural wasteland we were now supposed to call home.
While our time there was a healing time for us, individually and as a family, it was also a death sentence, squeezing out the last bit of fighting chance left in me after life had already run me over several times and drove away.
In January, the skies parted, the stars danced, and the gods began to sing. Opportunity presented itself at the right moment, at the right time, in the right place. We were going home, finally going back to New Orleans.
Our return to New Orleans resuscitated me. Instead of escaping into a book, I walked about our new neighborhood. I didn’t always stay at home on Friday night with Netflix, but hit up Rock N Bowl to see some live music. My mister and I even had a couple of date nights. I began laughing more and smiling often. My friends have said that even talking to me was different, like there was some weird shift in my life. And while I felt like I was being brought back to life, I also felt that there was still something missing, something preventing me from enjoying this city for all of the amazing off-the-beaten-path misadventure it has to offer.
And I realized that thing that was missing was me.
Some people can look at themselves and no matter where they are at in their lives, they are happy with themselves. They are able to accept themselves just as they are and they are able to enjoy everyone and everything around them without worry or care.
I’m not one of those people. Quite frankly, I wish I could be, but to be truly happy, I need to be at my best. Right now, I am not at my best. Not physically and because I’m not physically at my best, I’m not emotionally at my best either.
I’m not speaking vanity, I’m speaking about balance and health.
Instead of allowing myself to feel bad about it, I decided that this time, I was going to take back the control that I needed and that outside static wasn’t going to throw me off course, but would become background noise to further motivate me. I did some research and found a personal trainer. Tonight is my fitness assessment where my weight and measurements will be taken, a functional movement test will be done, and I will set my goals. I’m nervous – I picture me, the fat girl, walking into the gym and people turning their back and smirking. I’m excited – knowing that I am finally calling foul with my family and saying it is time for me to be selfish and focus a little bit more time on myself. I’m full of hope – knowing that this first step is the hardest step to take.
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For the past year my partner Micah and I have been working on creating a new conceptual magazine called Momma Tried. Both long term New Orleanians (he was born in Opelousas LA, I moved here in 1998), our vision is to bring together a print-only publication that is equal parts literary journal, art magazine, and […]
There are two links in this post I urge you to contribute to, one being the fund for the recovery of the Garden District robbery and rape victim, the other for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. Read on to see why. More and more, I’m finding it cannot be avoided, no matter how […]
Granted, I write on my personal blog less frequently these days due to a number of circumstances, but I’m both proud and saddened to say that I haven’t linked to an online Times-Picayune article from my site since 2009. Why is that? Let’s take a look… Every so often, Alex Rawls of the local music […]
Sorry y’all for the delayed post – but here it is *~*~*~*~*~*~SPOILER ALERT ~*~*~*~*~*~* stop right now if you haven’t seen the second episode. I must say I did not see that coming. My jaw dropped, and I almost fell off the sofa – poor Lady Edith was stood up at the altar by Sir […]
I can’t get Sandy and it’s victims out of my mind. I live my life as does everyone else, day after day doing the best I can but always, always in the back of my mind are the people who’ve lost everything to this storm, as many here in New Orleans did to Katrina and […]
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We’ll be blogging about the third season of Downton Abbey over the next several weeks. Please assume that the rest of this post contains spoilers and don’t read further unless you’re prepared to encounter plot details. First, the American premiere of Downton Abbey is always near my birthday, so it kind of feels like a […]
Over an eighth night of Chanukah dinner, I got into a discussion about the horrible event in Newtown, CT, with a friend of mine who taught for many decades.
“Where are the emergency drills in local schools for this kind of thing? Why is the security at the schools here so lax?” she worried.
It was deemed a sad thing that lockdown procedures were even necessary at schools today, but some basic measures like keeping school gates and doors locked from the outside during school hours seem like afterthoughts here. I remarked that just after I learned about Newtown, I went to pick up my son from school and observed a school staff member head for her car just outside a school side gate, get what she needed from her vehicle, then head back onto school grounds without closing the gate behind her. It’s not like it couldn’t happen in New Orleans – it did nearly ten years ago.
“They do keep the main building closed from the outside, with the only access being via a buzzer and an intercom system,” Dan said, “but if you’re a kid or teacher in one of the portable classrooms, you’re on your own,” he finished half-jokingly.
The only drills anyone runs in the schools here are fire drills, and those not very frequently. I suppose, and hope, a lockdown drill or two will be a part of the school year. The trick is trying to give the kids a sense of safety without it feeling like a police state.
At the same time, schools across the country are being so defunded that to jump up and throw loads of money at security for impoverished schools seems cruel and ridiculous. I’d prefer that the long-term solution be more money to education and the proper treatment of mental illness, and better gun control laws…
…but chances are, we’ll be debating this stuff until someone comes into an infant daycare and opens fire.
Today it happened – a burst of clarity came to me as I was reading the paper this morning. I don’t want to necessarily call it an epiphany, but instead more of a definite decision has been reached. This lucidity was then worked through as I worked out – while walking several miles this morning at the park, the details began to emerge. I got home and quickly wrote down the “road map” – the place, the time, how to traverse the journey, the contingencies on other events and taking those factors into consideration, how long it will take, and then I tacked it onto the cork board above my desk.
I am a methodical planner – I do give in to spontaneous joys, like catching a band and deciding to go ten minutes before the event, or heading out to dinner on an hour’s notice. But this, the life changing event that will eventually manifest, this takes time. Whether or not it works out remains to be seen, but I am steadfast in the decision.
This path has been a long time coming. I’ve been lost, so to speak over the past several years, accomplishing goals yet losing much, too much in the process. Its been an empty time, being stuck in limbo, not knowing what lies ahead and too emotionally broken to attempt to begin forging a new direction. I cannot tell you how hard its been, like being on a rudderless ship, going around and around in circles with the shoreline lost in the fog. Putting on a brave face to mask the internal struggles has helped getting through the day to day, that until now was like living a lie in public.
But no matter, its all going to be OK. For those of you who have gone through the same struggle, I know you can relate – it is so profoundly crushing that once the direction becomes clear, all else falls away and makes getting to that new destination that much more tolerable. I was able to find comfort in “just being” over the past few years, I knew that the future destination would eventually become evident. I can now be comforted in the fact that the compass is working and the ship is sailing. I now feel calm, daresay happier? And for those of you still stumbling in the fog, I hope it clears for you sooner than later, as it just did for me.