The weight of the matter

Lisa, 1989
Me, at 17, in 1989

Dear Internet,
The image to your left is of me in 1989, when I was all of 17. I stood the height at what I am now, 5’10, and weighed nearly (sans 20lbs) half my current body weight. The later is hard to admit publicly without the immediate feelings of shame and the questioning and statements that swirls around that shame: “How did I get so fat?” “Why did I think I was so fat then?” “I wouldn’t shag me now so I can’t expect anyone else to shag me — hell, even want to be with me.” “I am just as unhappy now as I was then regardless of my size.”
I always have answers on the ready. “I have had no problems getting lovers so it doesn’t matter how much I weigh.” “I’m okay as long as my belly doesn’t outdistance my tits.” “My metabolic health (blood pressure, cholesterol, and so on) levels are perfect and I’m not pre-diabetic, so there is no need for me to lose weight.” “I’m predispositioned in being bigger and I have poly-cystic ovarian disease (PCOD) so it’s not my fault.” “I’m fairly active so I’m okay.” “I’m working on things A, B, C and it’s hard to work on all the things without something having to give.” “I’ll deal with this another time.” “I have an hourglass figure and my weight is proportionate.” “Everyone thinks I’m 50-75lbs less than what I really weigh so I’m okay.” “It’s the cut of the item” or “The manufacture short sizes everything.”
And you ignore the constant realities: The bottoms (pants, skirts, shorts, and underwear) that fold over at the waist (like my shorts are doing right now) because of the extra rolls. The inability to buckle up in plane seats and needing to ask for an extender. (But the counter argument is the seats are too small for just about anyone.) The sometimes difficulty of masturbating or having a lover masturbate you because your belly is in the way. (Sex as a whole is easy for me to do since I have some flexibility but certain positions, such as doggy, when I want to masturbate while my partner inside me is nearly impossible. (The interesting about me and sex is that I’m confident as hell in the bedroom despite aforementioned statements.)) The constant hiding in pictures and the quickly bypassing mirrors so I don’t see how much of a fat cow I am. Clothes don’t really fit but you’ve been wearing them for so long they have stretched out. The worry that no matter what you eat, be it a salad or a burger, people are staring and judging (I thought this even when I was 17). The worry that if you buy something with a weight limit, an office chair as an example, it will break when you sit on it.
This is why we are here today.

Silly week 2 - February 9, 2016
Lisa, at 43, 2016

This post has been languishing in drafts since 2014. Its original goal is blurred but I know the overall thought was to track my weight as it fell off, replete with images starting with my heaviest. I would then publish the post with those images of the Lisa melt-away with a TADA! How fabulous is my body?
But I will not post those images, at least for now, because I’m too ashamed to show the world what the world already knows: I am fat. Not abundant, not chubby, not rubenesque, but fat.
And please don’t tell me I’m not fat or I am beautiful just the way I am because while my face may be beautiful, my body is not and at this point in the conversation there is nothing you can tell me to convince me otherwise

Friend A, whom I met a few years ago, nanny’s for Friend B. Friend A and B were weighing themselves one day and Friend B.’s daughter, the Empress, jumped on the scale after them. Friend A noted the Empress was thrilled with her weight — it meant she was growing up to be big and strong. Friend A said she wished she had that same kind of attitude as the Empress and silently I thought that about me too.
(I’m paraphrasing A and B here as this was months ago and I didn’t save a link to the post to reference later. Sorry dudes if I got the situation not quite right but I know the ending to be true.)

I reference days lately when I find my body to be beautiful and all the amazing things it can do and those days are growing closer together but what I really mean is my face and nothing from the neck down. I can think of only two instances in the last year when I looked at my body without revulsion.

I know the drill psychologically about the origin of why I carry this weight: The bullying from my family I was too tall and too big. To illustrate: I was 5’4-5’6 when I was 11 or 12 and weighed around 120lbs but was always put on diets by my family. I’ve been dieting on and off since I was nine. (Cottage cheese was always involved which is probably the reason why I hate cottage cheese.) The case of the boy in my third grade class, Roger, who threw me down on the ground in the playground area and dry humped me while my classmates stood around and laughed; the near gang rape from the high school swim team when I was 14; the multiple date rapes over the years from various lovers.
The fat protected me and it isolated me from the attention, just like my growing tattoo collection. But in reality, that is wholly untrue. I’ve been single since October 2015 and this is the first time, in at least 15 years, I’ve gone this long without having a lover. While it’s by choice, the point is I have clearly found men who found me attractive while I always privately thought their affections were horribly misplaced. No matter what I believe, there really is love at any size.

The irony is in my early 20s I lamented I wanted someone to like me for me and not as a fuck doll. Now in my early 40s, men like me for me AND also find me attractive so I think they must be some kind of desperation in their acts.
I just can’t win.

Me, at 32, 2005

You’ll be hard pressed to find a full head to toe image of me, regardless of time or weight, either in physical or digital media. As the need to connect with others on the internet has grown, so too it has come the sharing of personal images and videos. Almost every image of me is from tits up and carefully posed so you don’t see the sagging jaw line and the bigness of my belly.

There is not a day that hasn’t gone by in the last 2 years that either TheBassist or TheExHusband haven’t plied me with compliments on how gorgeous is my face, body, or personality. That I’m a kind person. That I have a big heart.
It has been allegedly confirmed via science the constant private affirmations from either yourself or someone close to you helps build up your destroyed self-esteem because if you continue to hear it, you may eventually believe it. Two years on and all I can do is continue not to believe it and say “Thank you” because to deny these “truths” ends up bringing on a fight on my reluctance to take compliments.

I’ve been staring at this post for about a week now, writing and rewriting it and today I decided to be brave and finish. What prompted this push was this morning I was horrified putting on my shorts and while I’ve stayed the same weight for the last couple of years, I could barely do up the snaps, the waistband immediately folded over, and I had a muffin top like woah. (I do not remember it being this bad last year, which probably added to the alarm.) It’s currently 82F here in L-ville and I was not going to wear jeans taking Thursday on a jaunt along a park that buttresses up against the Ohio river. Naturally, as the shorts have some stretch, the ass and thigh areas stretched to comfort while I walked but the waist remained tight. I have de-shorted and I am now wearing a stretch waistband terrycloth shorts as is my fat girl right.

Something needs to change and that something starts today.

I’ve been doing beyond awesome with the small changes I’ve been making in my life (the exercise, quitting smoking, journaling, meditation, etc) since November and keeping at them too. Deciding I needed to do something about my weight in November, I started chronicling my weight every week at the same time and the same day with notes on what was happening that week that could throw my weight off (period, holidays, etc) and to track patterns. Adding in cardio, I started slowly losing weight, about .5lb a week. When the cardio gave over to only yoga, and I stopped paying attention to what I was eating, the weight slowly creeped back up.
47 days ago, according to MyFitnessPal, I started keeping track of everything that goes into my mouth. I set a sensible goal of 1.5lbs weight loss a week and watched as my weight has stubbornly stayed the same. I assumed, incorrectly, I was not going over, that much, my allotted daily calories or that the lack of cardio was bringing me down. If I was over a bit, I was not going to beat myself up because it was only a few calories.
I was going over. Not by 50 or 75 calories but by 200 – 400 calories putting me close to the daily amount I needed to maintain my current weight. Out of the last 47 days, over half had overages. On days when I was under the caloric amount, my daily intake was processed food and sugar. Mainly lots and lots of Coke. My daily sugar levels were almost always double or triple the recommended daily max amount. There was barely any protein or fresh fruit/veg in my diet.
It wasn’t the attempt to eat better wasn’t working, it was that I was self-sabotaging myself with these ideas I was keeping to my healthy eating plan when I was so obviously not. A Coke maybe be drunk under my calorie allotment for the day but the sugar was fucking me up.
if I had learned anything from the reports I’m generating from MyFitnessPal, the eating better part is false. I need to track exactly what I’m putting in my mouth and doing exercise more than yoga. I’m starting the couch to 5k program this week, with an intent of speed walking over running because I hate running. I’ll still do yoga everyday to stretch the body. I’m allergic to dairy but I cheat as a motherfucker. Who can turn down pizza? It also doesn’t help whey/lactose/milk products come under a variety of different names and are found in everything from breads to fancy waters. I bloat up and get rosacea on my face when I eat diary in any form, so that’s a good reason to completely cut it out. I’m also going to be more diligent on ditching processed sugars and adding more protein and fresh fruit and veg.

Step in the King Dancer sequence
Step in the King Dancer sequence

For the few month or so I’ve been doing yoga five times a week and at least once weekly since November. I know between 20 – 30 poses from memory and my routine every day is different. As far as I know, I have never been able to do the first stance in the King Dancer sequence (see image to the right). Never ever even when I was thinner. In between movies I was watching this morning, I walked to the kitchen to make coffee and for some reason thought about attempting that pose.
I did it. Both sides. Without any kind of help. I may shake for the few seconds I am standing in that position, but the fact I can do it is a victory. A small victory, but nevertheless a victory.
(I hopped around punching the air when I was done.)

Even with the fits and starts, I have five months worth of data and patterns to analyze.  I do, however, have a couple of reasons why I need to make this a top priority:

  • If I don’t start shedding off some weight soon, I’m going to not be able to buy clothes in stores. It will be online only and by a tent maker. I am not joking. I’m straddling between a size 22 and a 24 and most stores stop carrying clothes in at a size 26/28.
  • My mother checked out of her life when she was in her early 60s and now spends most of her days chowing down on sugar laced (she’s a diabetic) and high sodium foods while watching Turner Broadcast Network or Fox News. She has no energy, no will to change, and claims she is happy. I don’t want to be 74 and like my mother. Ever. I want to run a 5K when I’m in my 70s and climb mountains — I want to be super active in my advanced age..
  • I am exhausted of feeling miserable about my body. It takes a lot of energy to hate yourself and it’s not getting me anywhere.
  • I am not concerned with numbers or clothing sizes but with general health and activity. Okay, I am fibbing a bit — I do need to drop a few sizes or else the tent maker is going to become my best friend but that isn’t the main point.
  • I don’t want to end up on my 600lb life. (I’m no where even close to that but you catch my drift.)

I want to be one of those women who are, “Fuck you beauty standards!” But I can’t. I just can’t. This is the part where it’s not so much self-loathing but as I stated above the realities of living in a normal sized world and there is a lot of activity I want to do that requires a healthier diet and fit. It really is just that simple.

I’m aware I may be giving off a confusing message in this piece. The more mentally healthy I get, the more of my confidence and sassiness shine through. I am confident and satiated with my face, my brain, and the paths I have chosen in life. I like me. I think I’m pretty fabulous not in a egotistical way but in I’ve done a lot to contribute to the world way.
You know, all of this is true except how I feel about my body.

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2016, 2011, 2004, 2004, 2000

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Dear Internet,
For the last couple of days I’ve been on a big digital cleaning kick, partially because I needed something fairly mindless to do as to not think about a few future Kalendae Januariae posts I had started writing. One is on attaining a healthy body and the other on obtaining a healthy soul. I struggle with how much I want to discuss, how much I want to reveal, and how much even just thinking these things is giving me false fear and shame for things I have yet to publish. While I shouldn’t give any fucks about what the world cares about weight or body image, it does and therefore I end up feeling cagey about discussing it. The same goes for anything spiritual, for if you talk openly about how you truly feel, a lot of dynamics shift in relationships because of the splintering of beliefs.
Also, people tend to be assholes.
In a couple of small digital communities I’ve helped build in the last year, one of the main themes I strongly advocated was for safe space. This had to be a place you can dump out your soul and you will not be judged, blamed, or threatened for how you feel. Trying to maintain that kind of safety in an open space, such this blog, is much, much harder. And it’s funny for I have no problems discussing ANYTHING except when it comes to body image and spirit. Sometimes the wounds of abuse are much shallower than I lead you to believe for it takes but the wrong slight word to bruise me these days.
So instead I wander aimlessly around the internwebs, reading about my Scottish forefathers and mothers.
A problem with this mindlessness it doesn’t really push the fear away to a safer distance, it instead bottles it in another place to be accessed at another time when I’m least suspecting it. Fear and shame are so integral to our lives, on so many levels, I sometimes want to punch the bubble that seems to be keeping me trapped here in this place. Write everything, write nothing, look like this, don’t look like this, be this kind of professional, don’t be this kind of professional: the conflicting messages are driving me insane!  Sometimes even the Zen minimalists piss me off for they are like here, have a few easy steps to let everything go, and then you will be free. And oh, have a cookie (if it’s whole food, gluten, dairy, sugar, and egg free).
Friday I call Dr. H. to give him my update on how lithium and Concerta have been working and see if he needs to adjust my meds. Tonight, over dinner, I grilled TheHusband on how I was with this new combination. “Insufferable as always,” he says. On further reflection, he said I was significantly less moody. I have also seen that in myself as well, I’m not getting all riled up as easily anymore when people irritate the fuck out of me. Rather, I remove myself from the situation in some fashion, whether it is unfollowing, unfriending, or just choosing to not respond when a comment is directed at me.
Lithium has a tendency to make people feel warm. Lucky me: I’m still freezing all the time. My hands are so cold, I’m knitting a pair of fingerless mittens in the next few days. I layer like the dickens, and started wearing long pants and socks to bed. My right hand feels like ice is flowing through it even though when TheHusband touches me he feels warmth.
The Concerta/lithium is supposed to do two things: Stabilize my mood and then get me focused. As I’ve been off caffeine for nearly three weeks now (?!?!), in theory since lithium acts as a downer, I should be falling asleep earlier. This is not happening. One day last week, I made the mistake of  Concerta after 11AM, did not go to bed until nearly 5AM and woke up at nearly noon the next day. I skipped that day’s dose and righted my body, somewhat, but I still cannot seem to get to sleep before midnight. Even now, TheHusband and I have been getting up at 6AM and working out, and I’ve been taking my Concerta when I wake up so in theory, I still shouldn’t feel like I’m on fire and yet I do.
My sexual libido is also still lacking.
Sometimes I feel like this huge disconnect in my life is because I see the world as it is being perceived and when I hold it up to my own, as it doesn’t match that image, my life than is not enough. Or it’s a sham. Or it’s falling apart. If my husband and I are not out hob nobbing it every night, does that mean we’re not living life? If I’m not out donating everything I own to every worthy cause, does that mean I’m incredibly selfish? If I’m not consoling everyone who comes to me with a sob story, or is in pain, or hurt, does that mean I’m a terrible person? Where and when does it end?
The question I then need to ask is: Is it me or is it the drugs?

size does matter

in the whole spirit of this whole spring cleaning ideal, i decided to wear the new Victoria Secret bra/pantie/tshirt combo that i had purchased yesterday to work. And along with this, i decided to wear the new velvet maryjanes i had bought (with paul and derrick glaring at me and jen at the shoe store when i had ran my credit card through with a sly grin). i was thinking about this today as i schelpped around in my new shoes, which were 1/2 a size too big and making my feet hurt. i kept getting these funny looks from people as i walked because due to the humidity, my feet were making squishy sounds in the shoes with every step i took. after a few trips up and down to the smoking area and making general pit stops to the bathroom, my feet literally began to feel like small boats.
for some reason this reminded me of my aunt jackie — who loved to initialize everything she owned. i remember when i was about 6 or 7 (and of course being the favorite niece), that for some occasion she had taken me down to People’s Jewelers (high falutin in Port Huron Michigan, right across the street from the chic Winklemans) to get me a gold initial ring. The ring was a size 7 1/4, and I remember that we made it such a special day to go get this stupid ring. I don’t remember how much it cost, but I do remember it being 14kt gold and that she had it made for my ring finger. in a small oval had my simple initials “lmr”.
i was thinking about this today as i shuffled around work. My shoes were a size 11 and I’m more like a true 10.5 (which you can never find — so i opt for one larger size). I’ve been “tall” as long as I can remember. I remember being measured at 5’10” in the 8th grade and wearing size 10 shoes in the fourth. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t tall, didn’t have big feet and fat fingers.
And I found it just odd, that here I am, barreling down towards 30, and I still wear the same size shoes and my ring finger is now an 8, when I was 7 it was 7 1/4. That while I’ve held down my own image of still being young, in many ways, i’m still 7 looking at the pretty ring on my finger.


as it would figure, time is my enemy. i’ve spent the last 20-25 minutes trying to get things situated so that i could write a quickie chronicle. but then i wasn’t able to route, my web pages were coming up slower than molasses in January and i had to fix the font face on the cam page. i’ve been up for almost an hour and the only thing i’ve been able to accomplish is getting Justin off to BART.
but hey, i found my cell phone in my car. and here i thought i had lost it.
i’m in a strange mood. a shelled up mood, if you will. the night before last, christine showed up from Texas and her and her daughter are staying with us. add in Charlie’s friends coming over and the house is too damn full. there are already four of us that live here, and while i generally don’t mind people being over (look at the people i’ve had come over) for the last couple days i’ve felt like Greta Garbo “I vont to be alone”. i don’t have privacy and it’s driving me mad.
mike says it’s because i can’t get naked on the cam for him.
ha, yeah right. the way i’ve been feeling about my body lately, ain’t no one seeing me naked — let alone cartoon boy.
this past saturday, i had made two great accomplishments for lisa.

  • I went to the movies alone.
  • I went to a party alone.

i had, never ever, done those things before and taking myself out on a date (if you will) seemingly seared my independence even more so.
i’m also into chapter two of my book. but i won’t talk about that. bad ju ju.
the other thing i have never done alone before was go to a bar. i remember mike and i talking about this way back when we first met on-line and i remember him quipping that if we should ever meet, he was going to throw me out of the car door and into the nearest pub. alone.
every single time i’ve gone somewhere publicly, i’ve always gone with someone. however, i have gone to dinner by myself and that isn’t a big deal. Someone i used to be friends with said he admired me for going out alone — that by default people are social creatures and i had the chutzpah to do it solo.
i’m not feeling anything other than BLAH with a capital b (woooo pretty).
i’ve also begun to obsess about my body worse then usual lately. mix in with justin telling me how freaking beautiful i am is driving me mad. that whole “christ, i’m fat” routine that i thought i had kicked my ass out of a long time ago. but i’ve become obsessed with my body and have increased working out and eating better. the fucked up thing (wouldn’t you know) is that the damn scale isn’t showing any improvements at all! no weight gain and hence no weight loss.
and i really hate my hair.
i don’t know why i’m in such a funk as of late — i was doing fine earlier this week and now it’s just plummeted.
i really hate feeling insecure.
i’ll be back later, i have to go do 60 crunches before i jump in the shower.

smart, sexy, fabulous

every time i’m in a store that sells magazines, i always look at justin and say “one day i will look like that” as i point to the latest issue of vogueglamour, mademoiselle (which are all ironically owned by the same company).
i always see this breathtaking beauty with boobs out to here and legs so long even that drives me insane with my 34 inch inseam. i look at what i’m holding in my hand, whether it would be a can of diet coke or a bag of something fat free, and suddenly start chastising myself for not being the chick on the rag.
okay, i know that something like 8% of the population is that model-icious, however, whenever someone hears that i’m 6′ tall, the impression i always feel is that they expect me to be -that- small. and i’m not. and there is no way on this earth that i could weigh that little and not be in the hospital.
it angers me, on many levels that i feel this way. it angers me that i, after 26 years, can’t feel comfortable in my own skin. it angers me that i can’t accept myself as i am, and it also angers me that i can’t be the chick on the mag.
living in a world, at least in my mind, that feels so image driven, my personalities are always at war with each other. i could go out with friends and have guilt trips about eating pasta. on the other hand, i attempt to try and find solace in something and eat my fat free ice cream drowned in hershey’s syrup (which is ironically, a fat free food). diets, pills, self-hypnosis, i feel like i’ve tried them all.
to me, i feel like a freak. justin says i’m beautiful (and i quip he’s only saying that because he is sleeping with me), and every man i’ve met thinks i’m beautiful (again, because i feel that they are saying that because they are with me). getting a man has never been a problem (“lisa,” justin says, “you have a big ego.”), but feeling good about myself has been.
i’ve always felt that i’ve been at war with myself because of that. i have always feel that i either do one of two things:

  • lose weight
  • gain weight to wear lane bryant clothes

my body is in this in between stage: too big to buy ‘regular’ clothes and too small for the ‘fat stores’.
this past summer, justin and i found several stores that catered to the ‘plus’ size woman. i found the funky clothes that i liked without feeling awful about the size. so i thought. one time, i grabbed this really cute long blue patterned skirt, and it said it was a size 3x. i tried it on. a tad too small. the skirt was on sale, and i figured i was just bloating so i bought it anyway. i took it home and showed my roommate who put it on. now, my roommate wears a size 9/11, and the skirt fit perfectly. she and i started laughing about the irony of a size 3x skirt that was made for ‘my size’, and fits my roommate instead.
t’s a joke.several months ago, i made plans to meet sonya and group of friends for a night of bar hopping. justin and i had been driving with michael all over scenic highway 1, from sf to santa cruz. we had gotten home really late, and i was planning on just jumping in the shower and getting dressed. after picking out my clothes and laying them out, i started drying myself off, and started getting dressed. my shirt felt tight, my skirt even tighter. when i did my hair, my face looked bloated and unreal. i felt totally disgusted with myself and started crying about how fat i was and how miserable i felt. i quickly got undressed and put my clothes away. i put my fav sweats on and sat in front of the computer, doing nothing but moping about my lack of self-esteem.
justin keeps telling me how much of a beautiful body i had. what wonderful skin, and how curvy i am. he keeps telling me, over and over, about how great i look in certain outfits and how men react to me. he’s just saying that cos he’s fucking me.
i recall this one time, alan and i had gone bra shopping. we were wandering around this store looking at all the pretty bras, when alan said to me: “with your face and cindy crawford’s body, you could make a lot of money (modelling).” i grew so angry at that, and to this day, i can still us in my hindsight, in the store and how i felt. and how his words haunt me to this day, six years later.
i guess the stigma of being the ‘fat girl’ in my younger years have never really left me. of all the times i’ve been set up on blind dates to be dumped later on because i was ‘too big’ (or too tall or too this or too that). or that when i was involved with someone, that i could never really feel comfortable being naked with them because i was always conscious about my size. it never mattered to me what they thought (honestly), it was what i thought they thought about me that made the difference (in my mind).
i’ve always tried to be honest with myself and my body image. the days of wanting to be a size 6 is long gone, and i’m comfortable with that. i just want to feel and look good, to my own design. but when i see magazines, that cater to my generation, showing 6′ models, with size 2 body, it piss’s me off. and i still don’t get why, after 20 years of feminism, that those magazines are still talking about ‘how to get the man you want!’ (which ironically still applies to those ditz’s who are too insecure with themselves.) or some other crap about this that or them some. it always has pictures of these super-skinny models with their model bf’s. real life isn’t like that.
nearly a year ago, i lamented about the same thing, and i had started a section on my web pages called ‘life’ that was in tuned with the more current issues at hand then my usual blathering. i had included an image from the body shop (which promotes beautiful women in all ages and sizes and has a great skin care products to boot) and a rant similar to this one. the image showed a ‘big woman’ and the face looked like barbie. the makers of barbie were pretty indigent about how having that ‘similarity’ on the body shop’s page, and the body shop was forced to put an x in the middle of the doll’s face. the doll was called ruby btw.
i got a lot of email from strangers telling me how great it was to find something so positive about being a ‘bbw’ (i hate that acronym, and what it stands for. i always feel like i should be weighing 300lbs and be called bertha). and it’s not that i was feeling positive about the whole, it just piss’s me the right off that we can’t just accept each other for who we are and not what we are.
i won’t kid myself and think that everyone thinks i’m beautiful, because it’s not true: i mean, this is what makes us all induhviduals is the fact that what we like is all different. it just pisses me off that magazines, retailers, clothiers, and everyone in the fashion industry keeps trying to push down our throats that we need to all not be larger than a size 6. it’s fucking ridiculous and no one should have to stand it.
but we do stand it, and it’s sickening.
recently, a new magazine is in town, touting to the plus sized women (starting at size 12 and above). so far, from what i’ve seen, the magazine has been a success and people are clamoring that it’s been a long time coming. thinking along those lines, i subscribed to the mag, and i’m going to see what it’s all about. will it actually cater to fashion that i like (the high falutin crap/trendy crap) or is it going to be the retread of the now defunct mag BBW that pretty much showed big ass women wearing clothing from omar the tent maker?
i guess we will wait and see.