Friday, December 08, 2006

The one where I hide my tears with laughter. Much like I try to hide my Buddha belly with A-line shirts, until someone asks me when my baby is due.

So, if you’ve been following this journal for very long, you’ve no doubt picked up on the fact, that like many women, I’m not real happy with my body. In fact, I hate it. I hate pretty much all of it. I hate the way my thighs swish together in track pants when I walk. I hate it so much I don’t buy track pants. I hate the shelf of fat on the top of my butt. I hate the kangaroo pouch that masquerades as my stomach. I hate the saddle bags on the top of my thighs. I hate the flab on the top of my arms, and I hate that my boobs have permanently migrated south. I do think I have nice hair, and my eyes are a pretty shade of green, but those two things aren’t weight-related, so when adding up all the ways I hate my body, they don’t exactly tip the scales.

More than how much I hate my body, though, is how much I hate that I even care. WHO CARES???? Nobody cares. I know that. Blaine doesn’t even care, and he sees me naked on a semi-regular basis. I hate that I waste one minute of even one single day fretting over my appearance. I hate that I’m too lazy to exercise (although I *am* actually exercising lately, which is more than I normally do) and I hate that I don’t have the willpower to avoid junk food. And even more I hate that I care because I know in the long run, it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. It’s not like I’m going to be lying in my coffin, worried that the pants the funeral director picked out make my butt look big. In fact, I’m not even sure people *wear* pants in coffins. But that’s a question for another day. (See? Feeling anxious about the size of your butt? Make a fat joke!)

So, while I do hate my body, I try to joke about it and not dwell on it too much (at least not out loud --- but on the inside? STILL OBSESSING) because most of all, I don’t want to pass my weight-hate on to my kids. Brayden has already come to me and told me some of the girls in her class talk about how fat they are (they are NINE, people!) and she’s made comments about her own “big” legs .. which for the record, are totally not big. I hate that she’s already picking up on that. To that end, a few years back I canceled my subscription to People magazine. Blaine always put a subscription renewal in my Christmas stocking each year and Brayden started asking for the magazines when I was done. Then I noticed she was cutting out the pictures of all the super-skinny, super-sleazily-dressed models and actresses and gluing them in a notebook. Hmmmm. Magazine subscription canceled. Those are not healthy body images and I don’t want her perspective warped at such a young age. Society will do enough to warp it when she’s older.

Anyway, what was my point? Oh, yeah. Although I hate my body, I don’t want her to hate hers, and I don’t want her to fret over hers like I fret over mine. So when I’m “dieting” at home, I don’t say the word out loud, just try to serve healthier choices around the house, without making a big production about it. I try very, very, very hard not to say the word “diet” in front of her, even if I’m on one. Or let her catch me moping over the way I look in front of my full-length mirror. I never tell the kids that I’m going to the gym to lose weight or get smaller, I always say I’m going to exercise, because that makes you healthy and stronger. It’s exhausting, all this positive-attitude crap, don’t you think?

Which leads me to the other afternoon when she and I were in Target. I take each of the kids out shopping before Christmas, one at a time, so they can buy their gifts for their siblings. Sunday was Brayden’s day. She and I had run several errands and it was getting on in the afternoon. When we finished checking out at Target, Brayden asked if we could stop at the food café and get a snack. Sure, that was fine, I was hungry, too.

Well, here’s the deal. I’ve been doing the Atkins diet (or *attempting* to do the Atkins diet, which is difficult for me since I basically worship at the Shrine of the Asiago Cheese Bagel) since returning from Seattle. Atkins isn’t a long-term solution for me, but if I’ve picked up five or six extra pounds (Hello, *seven* in Seattle thanks to my new boyfriend, Mr. Russell Stover) then it’s a quick way for me to drop a few pounds. I glanced at the menu and realized there is next to nothing at the Target food café that isn’t loaded with carbs.

I decided to order a hot dog, but of course not eat the bun. Apparently you will burn in Hell forever if you eat a bun on Atkins. But because I like the bun, because in fact THE BUN is the best part of the hot dog, as far as I’m concerned, I knew the bun would be a big temptation to me. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, because I didn’t want to admit to Brayden what I was doing …. But, I had to “fix” the bun so I wouldn’t eat it. So I did what I always do in restaurants, when I’m on Atkins, and some masochistic-waiter brings me bread --- I took the straw from my cup, poked holes in the bun, then filled the holes with diet soda. That way the bun becomes a sodden, soggy mess and I’m no longer tempted to shovel the entire thing in my mouth. Which I have been known to do with dry buns, on occasion. Really, have you ever heard of anything more pathetic??

Brayden looked over at me, a bewildered look on her face, and asked, “What on earth are you doing?” And although it went against my better nature to confess to her I am on a D-I-E-T, I thought I would try to be honest, in a positive-attitude way. So I told her I had eaten too much junk food in the hotel last month, and was now trying to lose a little weight, and that eating too much bread can be fattening, so I was making the bread soggy so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it.

And she looked at me, just looked at me with the clarity and wisdom of her nine-year-old mind, and said, “So, why don’t you just get up and throw the bread away? There’s a trash can right over there. Do you want me to just throw it away for you?”

And I realized --- oh my gosh. My nine year old daughter is smarter than I am. *She* gets that if something is bad for you, just throw it away. If you don’t like the way eating something makes you look, or feel, get rid of it. Why couldn’t I have learned that lesson twenty-five years ago? It certainly would have saved me a lot of grief, and dollars spent on control top panty hose over the years.

I hope she stays that smart for a very long time, and never stands in front of a full-length mirror, feeling cranky about her saddlebugs.

PS. Ironically, I lost the seven pounds doing Atkins. But, I came home from Seattle with a screaming case of …….................……… eczema. (HA! You TOTALLY thought I was going to say a screaming case of something else, didn’t you?) After trying to treat myself over-the-counter for four weeks, I caved and went to see my doctor earlier this week. In at attempt to help clear up these bloody stumps I call legs, he put me on a seven-day course of steroids. So now I’m itchy, bloated, grumpy, and hungry. No doubt I’ll put those seven pounds back on, and THEN some. (sigh)

You guys, I love your comments in the guestbook so much …. You’re like my daily fix. I’m pulling out a few where people have asked specific questions or made specific comments, but even if I don’t mention you by name, know that I’ve read your note and most definitely smiled or laughed about it!

Chris from MN -- HA! Maybe that’s *my* problem, too, all-over squishiness!

Mesha in NC -- No, no creative ideas for scrambled eggs, although I did just buy this really cool omelet maker from Target. It’s like a hard plastic, two-sided dish that folds in half, only costs two dollars, and you put the eggs in and microwave for a minute or two, then stir and put in the “fixings”, then microwave for another minute or two. Take it out, fold it closed, and Viola, omelet! Best of all, no messy pans to clean up, which is the part of scrambled eggs I hate the most.

Amy in FL -- Hey, that’s great! Congratulations on the refund! My furniture is also in need of replacement, although not because of factory defect. Because my children think the sofa is their own personal jungle gym, and my dog thinks the ottoman is his own personal Kleenex. Nasty. Think anyone would refund me for THAT???

Missy in FL -- I don’t know what it is about the holidays that turn some people into total wankers. Your neighbors are being ridiculous. Six dozen cookies, for an EXCHANGE, no less, should not be complained about. Rather than tell you to drop tactful hints about the cost of the Santa you have rented, I’m going to suggest you pack up your household immediately and move to middle Georgia. I would love to have a neighbor who throws such fun Christmas parties.

And to all of you who have been so kind as to ask about Blaine …………… well, he’s Blaine, isn’t he? And life with Blaine wouldn’t be complete without some sort of complication or hurdle to overcome.

He went to Ft. Gordon yesterday for his surgical follow-up, where the doctor took one look at the harvest site on his arm, and sent him immediately to orthopedics for a consultation, who wanted to put him in the hospital yesterday for surgery. Apparently the skin graft came apart and one of the tendons in his arm is exposed. We’ve noticed it for the past week or so, but thought it was just a particularly juicy looking part of the wound, slower to heal. It’s actually quite exotic and bionic-looking, as he can flex his fingers and wrist and we can see the tendon contracting. My children are alternately entertained and horrified.

Turns out, this is a fairly common complication, happening to about a third of the patients who have this type of forearm tissue harvest. Blaine asked if he couldn’t have a local doctor handle things and they agreed. So we’re waiting on a referral to a local orthopedic surgeon, who might want to do another skin graft, or take a wait-and-see approach. In the meantime, it’s not hurting, and Blaine says as long as there’s no repeat MRSA infection like he got with his leg last year, he doesn’t care if little monkeys jump out of his arm playing the cymbals. So all’s good, I’m sure.

Except the size of my ass. And I’m off to ponder that, with a bowl of Cocoa Krispies.

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