Monday, January 7, 2013

Surgery Blog Post #1

This is a post I never intended to write. I have mentioned my obesity in several of my posts. I have described the pain, the social stigma, the despair I felt. I don't know that I have mentioned that I went on Jenny Craig at age 11, Phen-Phen at age 15, popped ephedrine pills like they were skittles and freely took any substance that I believed could make me thin... all before age 18. I gave up the substances to get married, at which point I gained 80+ lbs that I couldn't get rid of. After a short time of weight loss It found me again. Pregnancies came and babies were born, and weight was gained during the post partum time, every time. I was judged by others, I had a man at the zoo once say that they may have moved the Hippo Exibit out of the Salt Lake City zoo, but that he still got to see a hippo, and he nodded his head my direction. My cute brother wanted to snap the man's head off, but the words had already resonated through my ears, my soul. Here is a picture of me around the time of the zoo
Relocation to two states and I brought the weight with me +- 30 lbs. I really began gaining weight November 2010. In April 2011 my mother suggested I get a gastric bypass because the weight was interfering with my every thought, my every movement. I was offended, but curious what a doctor could do for me. Three months of diet pills, or a new fat absorbing presription pill, or gastric band, bypass, or whatever else were the options he had for me. I went with the pills. But after just a short time of the pills and self loathing, I picked up smoking...I truly believed that the smoking was helping me lose weight and I found myself no longer addicted to food, but completely obsessive about the smoking. When I could sneak away from the the kids, how I smelled, I was always fiending for a cigarette. I had switched to a different oral addiction, but one that easier to hide than being obese. Below is a picture of how I looked when I cosulted with the doctor about the Gastric Bypass that I didn't get.
I ultimately lost 100 lbs by busting my ass and avoiding foods I know I cant eat in moderation because I love them. After the first 30lbs, exercising became much easier, but I still had that disgusting smoking habit. I had tried quitting, but with each failure I knew I was setting myself up for future failures, so in my head I worked out a plan and began crunching numbers. The weight loss had left a wad of doughy skin on my abdomen that I wanted cut off. If I could quit smoking and keep the weight off it would take two smoke free years to pay for the abdominoplasty. It seemed like a cost effective incentive, and I succeeded. I quit the tobacco first, and then the Nicotine after two smoke free months. I was berated, insulted and patronized by surgeons as I shopped around for one, I don't think they are accustomed to patients who are honest... As I have become more active and confident I have become more aware of the people around me who are struggling with their weight and though they try to be excited for me, I feel bad. I sound stupid complaining about skin from losing so much weight when it seems like such a challenge to most people to lose that pesky 10 lbs from the winter holidays.I remember how that feels. I remember two entire decades of obesity, of drowning, and of hating what I saw every time I looked in the mirror or got dressed in the morning. I was going to only tell 5 or so people locally because I don't want to be judged for getting cosmetic surgery, just like I didn't want to be judged for being over weight or being a smoker.I don't want to open myself up to their criticizm, or having to justify spending money we don't have for a procedure that in my clothed body seems superfluous. But I wear binders everywhere I go around my midsection, and no amount of ab workouts can reconnect my detatched abdominal muscles or get rid of the skin.

My plastic surgery will serve two purposes. The first, is that it is literally removing hanging skin which at present is a painful reminder of my lifetime of self loathing, and two...I deserve it dammitt! I have quit more substances in my life than most people could, (Though clearly I was dumb enough to begin them in the first place.)and it is worth weeks of severe pain, and years of debt to have those horrible memories removed from my body which will dilute them in my mind. I am going to need help with my children after my surgery. I am not too proud to ask for help, but I am still embarassed and unprepared for the verbal judgement from others, so I was going to just hide until I was physically and emotionally strong enough to face people, but fact is, I am going to need help with my children, and most husbands take a week off to take care of women having this procedure done. Mine...Is dropping me off at the hospital and I'm having a friend pick me up from the hospital when I am out of the OR. Not by choice, but because he has no choice. Haters on youtube call women (or men) who get abdominoplastys lazy because we are too weak to diet and exercise so we choose to go under the knife to lose a couple pounds, that is false, and it is insulting. Below is a picture that shows somewhat how overweight I am now. Which, I know for a fact is not overweight at all. I need to gain some muscle and plan to work on
Feel free to judge my decision..privately. I merely posted this because I hope there are people besides Teresa, Annette, Estelle, and all my dance friends will not judge me, and will help me during recovery

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Roundhouse to Rumba

I had a bizarre feeling of deja vu today. I had arrived late to Zumba, as usual. I threw off my black jacket and half full water bottle that had been on the passenger seat of my car. I glanced quickly at the well attended, but not crowded fitness room. All women aged anywhere from 18 to 70. I was the only person wearing neon yellow, but I wasn't embarrassed. If I were embarrassed about my obnoxious wardrobe I would still be wearing black and grey. Black, the color that dominated my wardrobe for 15 years, my attempt to camouflage my body. It helped...atleast in my head. I took my place in the second row right smack dab in the center. It's easier to predict the moves that the teacher will do if she is right in front of me. I can anticipate her next move generally. The 16 years of dance have given me a slight edge, not that I need it in this room. This is a very inclusive group and my neon yellow has already flagged me as an atypical participant. I felt right at home swinging my hips (which I don't do well btw) among the eclectic class. The music fills my body with energy, with joy. I have no idea what the hell the lyrics are, but they don't matter. The beat, the instruments, the freedom take over. I watch one person the entire class (aside from an occasional obnoxious wink or gesture to my friend Teresa in the row behind me, Mary the Latin Zumba Instructor. She is mesmerizing. In a moment I look out the doors across the hall and feel a pang of sadness, and guilt. Mostly guilt. I should be in the other room. I started in the other room. I feel like a traitor. The room across the hall has no room for neon yellow. It is an environment where structure is vital. Uniform, strict, disciplined...but beautiful nevertheless. I see a handful of white gi's, and bo staffs. Jen, Paul, Sensei, and Tony, the man who assumed at first glance that I could never be a martial artist. I remember our first conversation. He was doing my favorite tournament kata in the hallway outside of the karate room. I came out of the fitness room wearing jeans and a hoodie and told him that the kata looked great and that it was my favorite kata. His eyes narrowed and he asked me a question, smirking, expecting me to be tripped up, "And exactly WHICH kata would that be?" "That would be Saifa Kata...and I'd appreciate if you didn't patronize me". I can see why he would patronize me. I was 230 lbs. I was in street clothes, and I had a really trashy glittery buttercup shadow on my eyes and a really deep wine colored lipstick. I looked like a tacky obese bystander talking out my ass to try and sound cool to a man with a black belt and faded black gi. Sorry Dude, I don't impress easily, and cockiness isn't becoming of a black belt. Especially an old one who, just a few weeks later refused to spar me. I think he knew that 230 lbs of angry female martial artist wouldn't be afraid to risk safety in an effort to prove a point. I guess he profiled me correctly on that one, because while I know I would have lost that fight, it would have been more painful for him than for me. I had more cushion. I had trained, fought, and had my ass kicked by 20 year old male black belts in the City weekly. We had done pain tolerance exercises. Between the rage (which would work against me in the mental part of the fight) and my mass I would be able to take more blows which means that any roundhouse he didn't block would leave a mark. I don't wear foot gear. I'd rather jack up my shin and have my opponent feel my tibia slam into their ribs than have the kicks dulled. Angry. I was almost always angry. Eventually, the anger faded, but my size didn't. I loved the ladies in my class and I would never try and hurt them. When I was first training I was dangerous, not on purpose though, I was just untrained. While I was, in fact very overweight, my body was disproportionate and I was middle heavy. My legs, long and fairly toned. I think its because they were packing around my heavy body, but regardless, my legs were strong. I danced from the time I was three until I gained 90lbs after getting married and gave up on all things physical. But my body remembered the movement, and the flexibility had stayed with me. I kicked naturally to the height of an average mans head and being tall I had a significant advantage against any other female in my dojo. After some time I could pull a kick inches before it would have connected with a face, and without rage propelling it, the precision was exhilarating. In the dojo though, there were always new students coming in, men and women. I fought the men like a man would have, and I fought the women one step above where I thought their ability was. I would pull the punch or kick, making them aware of where their stance, or blocking was vulnerable, but never to injure. Still, my size, my flexibility and my overall aura was off-putting and I was the bad guy. Some men refused to spar me, and the women would quit class sooner than later. If I didn't throw a punch or kick I became a human punching bag, and frankly, sparring half-assed is dangerous in that the kicks aren't clean and injuries were more likely going to occur than If I had thrown a legit kick. I didn't knee, or elbow, or fight dirty, but I was nevertheless...the villain. There were two women who knew me, not just the me when I had gloves on, but the real me. They knew the me without the sparkly makeup and other gimmicks. They tried to help people see that I wasn't bad, but I guess my "actions" spoke louder, because I was a hiss and a byword. I couldn't win in this situation and I am too codependent to "not care" what was being said about me. I was the fat bad guy. In order to be liked, I would have to lose. Losing would be painful, deceptive, and weak. I was too proud. I would look across the hall at the happy dancing weirdos. They were not ALL fit, they could wear whatever obnoxious garb they wanted to. Tacky glittery makeup wouldn't make a difference and I wouldn't have to hurt anyone or get hurt... It seemed too good to be true. I'm sure I'd be made fun of silently by some of the people who know me, or who don't know me. What would they say..."Look at her, she thinks she can dance, muahaha, yeah, she's shakin a tub full of gelatin", Or "Who does she think she is? She is taking this so seriously! Poor thing thinks she's a dancer". The phrase "She was probably ACTUALLY a decent dancer...150 pounds ago (INSERT CACKLING)" The music filled room of sweaty ladies scared me more than any male black belt looking to preserve his pride by laying my ass out. So I did what I do best. I walked away. I stopped going to karate, and I walked toward the zumba room, saw a familiar face, caught my reflection in the glass windows. Too fat, I was just too fat. I had gone to a Zumba class in Albuquerque, really excited to have some form of dance in my life again. I stood in the front so I could see the teacher from behind them as well as their reflection. About five minutes into the dance class a girl behind me said loudly to her friend "You know, this would be a lot easier if we could see around THAT". I was directly between them and the teacher. I don't doubt that they could have found a way to see the teacher inspite of my location, but the words poisoned the experience. I walked out of the room immediately, crying. Time has passed, the weight has been lifted and I look back and feel silly for believing that all women in zumba would mock me. There could possibly be a couple who do. It won't be for my weight anymore, but surely there is something. There may have been 50 people in the class in Albuquerque and I happened to stand in front of the only bitchy lasses. Or maybe I needed that moment in my life so that I can show empathy when someone walks timidly, insecurely into any studio. Today I made a 61 year old friend named Gale at Zumba. It was her first time there. She is short and stocky and wore ear plugs because the music was too loud for her. I gave her a high five after class and told her she did great and she thanked me and asked me an interesting question. "How is it you smiled during that entire class?" I didn't realize I had been smiling the entire time. I grinned and explained how I had allowed my obesity and insecurity to govern me and that I had missed dancing for 13 or so years and how dancing was liberating and that I do love every second I get to dance. She is great and is an inspiration to me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to glance into the karate room and see where I started. Angry, obese, aggressive, then sad, dependent, and defensive. Without karate to transition from, I wouldn't have met Gale, a timid but friendly woman who did not judge me for my neon garb, or trashy glittery makeup, but who noticed the smile. This Thanksgiving season, I'm thankful for music, and for the ability to use dance to express myself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not Posting

This is my quick trial run bc blogger has not let me post anything in a long friggin time.

Friday, January 21, 2011


DEFINITION: "Mean Girls" by my definition are "Girls, or Women who insult, bully, or otherwise torment strangers, friends or acquaintances without the use of physical violence." I have lived among these fearsome beasts and watched them in action. I have studied their ways as an undercover "Mean Girl" researcher. The first thing I learned in my expedition is how to spot a mean girl. These terrifying creatures look like most other women. They can be beautiful, wealthy, charming, and may often appear kind and friendly. These women travel in gaggles. It is rare to cross paths with a lone Mean Girl in that their powers are useless without their comrades. Look for groups of 2-4 women who seem to be amused with no obvious amusing things around, they will be sharing sideways glances with each other, and yes...probably making fun of you without you knowing.
MEANGLISH: "Mean Girls" use normal sentences to seem friendly while attempting to mock you. The following are some examples of what mean girls say, and what they mean.
1. "You cut your hair...Do you like it?" What she means is, "You cut your hair and you look horrible, but I'm curious if you think it actually looks good"
2. "Wow, you really want another kid?" What she means is, "You are doing a really crappy job with the kids you already have and have no business procreating EVER again.
3. "I was just talking to (Insert name here) about how we need to get together sometime". What she means is "I was just talking to (Insert name here) about you.
4. "Your house is cozy" What she means is, "Your house is tiny".
5. Pointing at your child says "Is Jeremy feeling okay today?" What she means is..."Jeremy's gooey green nose is making me want to hurl and either you need to take care of that, or go elsewhere"
6. "That's swell". What she means is, "That pisses me off, but I'm too chickenshit to say how I really feel because my gaggle isn't here to protect me".

Technically most compliments given by a mean girl are backhanded compliments or sarcastic in nature. To a nice girl, the insult is invisible, but to a fellow Mean Girl, they know what you really meant, (hence the sideways glances)and they will probably be talking about it the second you walk away. In fact your response could potentially be an inside joke they have to make fun of you for years to come. Now, you may be thinking, "That is so mean", my response is...Mean Girls are called Mean Girls for a reason.

So once you have identified a mean girl what do you do? You can confront them, ignore them, or try and convince yourself that they really aren't that bad. If you identify with any of the aforementioned statements and intentions then you are a Mean Girl and it is time to change. There is nothing wrong with joking about things. Jabbing and mocking can also be used in real friendships providing they are mutual.

CONCLUSION: "Mean Girls" are everywhere. They are at church, they are at school, and they may be excluding you, insulting you, and making your life a living hell. If at all possible avoid such girls. If you feel the need to confront a Mean Girl isolate them from their gaggle and express your feelings. Even mean girls have hearts, they just shrink when their posse is nearby.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"The Hard Way"

"Ma'm, be careful the plate's hot"...."I will not touch the plate, I will not touch the plate, I will not....There's no way that plate is hot enough to warrant a verbal warning, it's not even steaming...I will not touch the plate, I will not touch the plate...I bet it isn't really THAT hot...I will not touch the plate...I will not touch the...I'm totally gonna prove this hillbilly waitress wrong...Son of a bitch!! That plate is Hot!"
There are many ways to learn things in life. You can read about things in books, you can study them on the internet, you can ask people questions, you can observe other people's choices and ponder where they have succeeded or failed, or you can just make all the mistakes for yourself and learn things the hard way. I am that last one. When I was growing up my mother would call me "Create a Crisis" (that's right mom, I remember that!)because there was always some crisis surrounding me that needed fixing. She was right, I created a bunch of drama for myself and those around me often. The bad thing about learning things the hard way is that it generally hurts. It either hurts emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, or spiritually. The good news is, you really learn the lesson. There is no thinking you are the exception to the rule, you are the rule, and the rule hurts like a bitch. I have decided to write a list of a few things I have learned the hard way. Each thing is literal and I will do my best not to exaggerate anything. The list will begin from when I was about 8 and end as of today. Remember...these first few are from when I was a kid.

1. Shaving the hair off your belly will not keep it from coming back, despite what your sister says, in fact the few scraggily hairs you had in the first place will be replaced by blanket of course wolf-like fur.

2. When cutting a sucker stick off a sucker with craft scissors, first remove sucker from mouth, otherwise you when the stick finally snaps, the scissors won't stop but will continue through the lips. Oh, and mouth wounds bleed alot.

3. You may think you are being clever and crafty by manipulating people to do your chores for you as a kid, but it's not nearly as funny when you are an adult who is incompetent.

4. Don't smoke cedar bark in a tree-house.

5. Don't clean your ears with the eraser of a pencil while you are at school. Erasers are inclined to snap off in your ear, and your mother will be called to retrieve the eraser from your ear. (I'm not gonna lie, it took me three visits from my mom at the school before I learned this one. That woman is handy with a paper clip like Nobody's business, she really should have been an ENT)

6. Playing the pass-out game at school is lame, but it is even lamer if you are the fat kid who noone is strong enough to catch after you pass out.

7. Eating bowls of melted cheese makes you gain weight.

8. Slathering baby oil on your body and then falling asleep in the sun may cause second degree burns, and probably skin cancer 20 years later.

9. Turning the jets on in a bath tub is dangerous if you have really long hair. Your hair can get sucked into the jets and pull your head under water...atleast it can in France.

10. An old man traveling Europe with six fifteen-year-old female students is most likely creepy.

11. Smoking is addictive.

12. Drinking impairs your judgement, making stupid teenagers even more stupid.

13. There are such things as a two way stop, even if it looks like a four way stop. Just because you have a stop sign, the people going perpendicular to you don't have to stop...and they will T-Bone and total your badass Chrystler New Yorker.

14. You have to close the "Flue" when lighting a fire in your fireplace, otherwise your dwelling will have extensive smoke damage.

15. Stationary objects will not move to accommodate you in a public parking lot. They will stay put and allow you to crash into them.

16. Anytime someone says the words, "I swear this is the last time", they are lying.

17. Cockroaches are stealthy suckers.

18. Bed bugs turn a bright red color after they have eaten. Having them show up in a hospital room where you work, causes all sorts of paranoia and further itching.

19. If you have been exposed to scabies you have to put a nasty pesticide cream on your entire body for 8 hours, whether you contracted it or not. It's even less fun when you are allergic to almost all things topical.

20. Working at a children's psych ward exposes you to lots of freaky germs and bugs. Business Administration is totally the way to go!

19. Casinos are pretty and shiny, but they will rob you and make you feel stupid.

20. There is a difference between being shown a template of a job offer at an interview, and actually being offered a job. Graciously declining a job you were never actually offered is...humiliating.

21. Don't jump a four foot fence at a coed softball game in cheap jeans when you are 200lbs. You may clear the fence, but your jeans may not be as fortunate and my split from zipper to knee, causing your predominantly male team to mock you profusely.

22. If you leave your car door unlocked with your purse sitting on the passengers seat, it will get stolen.

23. Honda Civics are prone to break-ins (I think we are up to six on hubby's car)

24. Throwing a carton of eggs on the floor to emphasize frustration takes hours to properly clean. Damn Salmonella!

25. Don't laugh at a Defendant in traffic court before it's your turn to stand in front of the judge.

I'm pretty sure there are millions more lessons I have learned the hard way, but that's a pretty good sampling. I keep touching the plate to see how hot is really hot, but nine times out of ten, that sucker is hot enough to make you wish you didn't touch it. It's that one out of ten times it's not hot that keeps me going back for more.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa is just self-conscious

I realized this year I am too dumb to be Santa. My children are inquisitive and observant and I'm starting to think....smarter than I am. It all began at the mall with Luke. "Mom, who is that guy in a Santa Suit?" I replied, "Well buddy, who do you think he is? Do you think he is one of Santa's Helpers, or just some creepy dude who doesn't have a job?" He answered, "A creepy dude who doesn't have a job?" Since he wasn't completely convinced I had a small chance to explain why there is a grown ass man having children he doesn't know sit on his lap in a costume. Sounds like a pedophile's dream job personally and I hate Mall Santa's. I had a moral dilemma. Do I express my distain for creepy mall santa's, or do I use some quick thinking and diffuse the situation? Since I think I maybe have one or two years left for Luke to believe in Santa I threw out the first lie of the season. "Well Luke, it's true, that's not santa, but he is actually a man who takes the information the kids give him and sends off an email to Santa about what everyone asked for." I am such a genius baby! Woot Woot. Luke eyes me suspiciously and says "cant you email just as easily as that guy can?" SHIT!! "Uh, yeah, but santa is super busy and only wants to have to read the emails from his helpers, wow look how awesome that plastic dog in Old Navy is, lets go look at it." That was my first mistake this Christmas. The most recent mistake is even worse. This one came from Claire. "Mom, I want to sleep under the tree so I can see Santa when he comes." Luke adds, "Yeah, he'd just go back up the chimney if he saw us right?" I have only a couple seconds to think of my response, Luke went back to playing his video game and only Claire waited for my response..."Claire, he doesn't want anyone to see him. If you are near the fireplace then he won't even come in". "But mom, why doesn't he want to be seen?" If I could have a redo of my response I would take it in an instant. It is to this day one of the stupidest things I have ever said to my children. "Well Claire, he doesn't want anyone to see him because he is so fat. He doesn't want people to make fun of him" "She responded with a slew of comments about all the fat people she loves (myself included) and how she would never make fun of him. The reason my daughter thinks Santa doesn't let you see him is because he is self conscious about his weight. DAMNIT. It couldn't be because it makes him lose his magical powers, or because he loves children so much that he would be tempted to play with their new toys with them and the other kids wouldn't get their toys in time. She thinks it is because he is fat. I really wish there would be a book that parents could read to prepare us for all the secrets we need to keep from our kids. I am a HORRIBLE liar. And If I were Santa I'd feel a little self conscious, and lets face it, how does he get that huge body up an itty bitty chimney. Why cant we make up characters whose super powers are slightly more believable. I gotta start reading up on St. Patricks day so I don't say something stupid about how leprechauns don't like to be seen because they are self conscious about their height!