#10…Me -vs- the Scale…February 2008

Immediately after I wrote last month that I wasn’t going to weigh myself, I weighed myself. (As if you didn’t know I’d do that.) I waited about thirty minutes…but only because that was how long it took me to drive to the nearest scale which was at my best friend’s house. 168 pounds. I chuckle slightly. The thing about household scales is they are so inaccurate. I will just sit tight until my next Weight Watcher meeting. The thin lady behind the counter hands me my weight tracker card. 168 pounds. I gasp silently. I have the overwhelming urge to throw my purse on the floor, stomp my foot, and call the skinny lady a liar. I want to point, disgusted, at the scale, and yell, “YOU! try to sabotage Me!” But, experience has taught me to be graceful in the most distressful situations. I pat my hair, putting in place any stray curls, smile, and walk into the meeting. I take the saved seat between two of my best friends and quickly begin to over-analyze the situation. They remark how great it is that i didn’t gain that much over the holidays. I decide they are right. Secretly, I was terrified that I had gained back all the weight. Secretly, I thought I was back up to 202. By the end of February I am at 159.8 pounds. I have finally broken out of the 160s that held me captive for so long, (the way a Law and Order marathon does). I can see the light at the end of my tunnel. I feel fabulous with a capital FAB. I do something I’ve always wanted to do. I get an expensive haircut…I chop all of my hair off into a neat curly afro with auburn highlights. (I had always wanted short hair, but would put if off for “when I lose weight”) I make myself a huge breakfast to celebrate and eat it on my porch…I close my eyes and take in a deep breath of joy…my spirit is full. My belly is full…I wonder if I ate too much…I smile as I say aloud, “hey, a skinny girl’s got to eat…”

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#9…Happy Endings…January 2008

I have taken to sitting in the smallest of my two bedroom closets. I pull my vanity chair in and sit back as the chain hanging from the single light bulb rests unobtrusively upon my head. I turn on the light, close the door of my small office and reflect, taking up residency between an overcrowded neighborhood of t-shirts and a parade of various hanging clothes. As I start fingering through my clothes absent mindedly, a friend, pregnant in her eighth month, calls to reminisce about our early twenties and to revel over the fact that she is a wife and soon to be mother. We laugh hysterically as she tells me of an attempt of hers to help her husband to a “happy ending” but, being extremely pregnant, she started to cough and passed gas out loud. Tears followed and were topped off by a trickle of pee. Long gone are our days of spontaneous trips to Mexico, or dropping acid at noon on a Tuesday. We marvel at how our hearts race upon finding a great deal on huge sets of Tupperware when we used to get excited over well constructed beer bongs. We run through a montage of memories accompanied by short renditions of rock music. In my final year of my twenties I find my social circle has separated into different groups. There are the singles…hitting up happy hour, stumbling home after two, stained with Whataburger picante sauce and looking for the after party. They name their drinking days, like, Wednesday Hump Day Extravaganza or Drunk Bitch Monday. There are the marrieds; terribly in love, and perhaps as a group requirement, they always make-out in front of everyone. Then there are the new mothers. Happy…exhausted. But I focus on my own group…I started going to Weight Watcher meetings again mid January but decided not to weigh myself just yet so as not to induce a heart attack from the results of my holiday indulging. I hang up the phone feeling fabulous. The old fire of inspiration refuels my soul. I am half way through my weight loss goal. Time to bust out the Rocky soundtrack.

#8…When Time Flies…Eat Ice Cream…December 2007

I’ve decided that Father Time has evolved from an old crippled man into a young Olympic sprinter.  And as he hoists the year upon his back and passes me by he smiles slyly as he notices the frantic look upon my face as I scurry to keep up.  I have become one of those people that makes cliche one liners like, “Where does the time go?” and “Time flies when you are having fun.” I am one isle away from Depends and Preparation H.  And this year has gone by so quickly.  I have taken a mini vacation from weighing myself for the holidays.  Last time I weighed myself I was at 164 pounds.  I wish I could take a break from my ever racing mind though. Since I haven’t been weighing myself my mind is up to its old tricks again.  My mind, either works with me, or like a bitchy menopausal in-law, works hard to piss on my parade.  Then the mind calls in the fear.  The fear is the clean up guy in the mob…works swiftly and accurately and uses sneaky techniques. I seldom have defeated the fear. So this time I came up with a new plan of attack to defend myself against…well, my…self. I am taking an inventory of every goal I made in January of last year and have actually accomplished and keeping it as ammunition. Move out of parents house…check. Cute reasonably priced rent house near Ocean Drive…check. Quit smoking…check. 4.0 GPA, start writing again, join Weight Watchers…check, check, check. And furthermore, I do have much to be thankful for. So what if I don’t have a play list or an I-Phone? I have a great pair of boots and a powerful red lipstick. And this January I am going to make a vow to love myself all over again. I am going to send out a new to-do list to the universe and God. I am going to continue toward my Weight Watcher goal. I am going to get an expensive haircut. I am going to call my close friends instead of texting. And right now I am going for a hot fudge sundae…because it ain’t January yet…

#7…Mulligrumps…November 2007

I had been throwing around ideas of ways to effectively let you in on a bit of me. I wanted to make it great for you, elaborate and witty, with just the right amount of comedic tragedy to avoid sounding whiny and self-indulgent.  That’s when it hit me, I would just throw it all out on the table.  I was about nine or ten when I began staying up at night with an overwhelming concern for the problems of the world and I would be smothered by a great sadness.  It was then I really began to fear the night, the darkness, the quiet of it all.  I was about 25 when I  realized that not everyone has a good cry everyday on the way to work, or school, or wherever…not normal people at least.  I was 26 when I began a desperate quest to become normal, 28 when I realized there is no normal, and it was about an hour ago when I finally made peace with this.  Sometimes I feel sad, incredibly, hopelessly sad.  Most times I cry…because of commercials, or the homeless, or a really good piece of chocolate.  This past month was rough.  I lost a few in the beginning (161.4) then gained…(164.2).  (I hadn’t seen the inside of the gym in weeks.)…Panic… “What if I gain all the weight back?” Just when i finally have it all together…the package bursts open once again and the “mulligrumps” (as a friend likes to call this mood) attack and begin to pull me down like cement shoes in the middle of the Hudson. My head fills with the thought to quit and settle…settle with my weight and my career and my life.  As I speed to the nearest pale ale and shot of Patron, I swerve into a swift left, and end up in a familiar place…the darkest seat in the largest church in town.  And the message is meant just for me.  My mind slows down, and I remember my  strength. I take a deep breath, and as I walk back out I throw on my shades, toss my hair, and force myself back to the gym…

#6…The Ex-Files…October 2007

I had been trying to save for a laptop. I’ve always felt that this would legitimize me as a writer. However, financially, my boyfriend and I are in a slump. With my 29th birthday lurking in the shadows I’d been filled with anxiety. Then on a seemingly innocent trip to one of my old haunts an old friend volunteers a bit of gossip about my ex…he and his wife are expecting their third kid. Thus, opening the ragged Pandora’s shoebox in my brain labeled “ex” files. It wasn’t just any ex though. You know the one. The one that, even though you broke it off, still left you exhausted, wasting the days away floating between sobbing on the living room floor, downing liters of whiskey, and resorting to one night stands to avoid spending the night alone. Our relationship should have been over in the first two weeks when he cheated on me with a hot, young “friend” of mine with long hair and big boobs. But I stayed. And four tedious years later, when it was finally over, without blinking, within a matter of days, he moved in with an ex stripper and her kid and within months they were having their own kid. And three long soul searching years later, I feel the hurt rising up. I remember his drunken nights spent spitting in my face and I can hear him calling me a fat whore. He never believed in me and I never believed in myself. Just when I begin to feel overwhelmed with hurt, anger, and regret my current boyfriend, happy and beautiful, hands me a slightly worn black case, (my birthday present), inside is a used lap top (he had secretly been saving up), and said, “I am giving you this because I believe in you and your writing.” I smile as I secretly forgive the ex…and I say a quick prayer for his new family. Sometimes the only way to reach your peak is to claw your way through the valley…165 pounds…my weight is still the same, but I am different…and now I have a laptop…(cue: Bad Mamma Jamma)…

#5…One Bad Mamma Jamma…September 2007

I’ve decided that one of the theme songs of my life should be “Bad Mamma Jamma”…And I should hire someone to follow me with a huge boom box playing it as I run errands or take my ocean drive walks. It only makes sense. I decided this the other night as I was having a deep thought, caught an unsuspected glimpse of myself in the mirror, and discovered that I, indeed, had a neck. Also, for once in my life, I have only one chin. I was nervous at first, but a friend informed me that this is the norm…Excellent. My calendar had been crammed with friends’ birthdays, weddings, and baby showers. Usually when my social schedule stays full so does my belly. This obviously means no Weight Watchers. I skip 3 meetings but finally show my face to the final meeting of the month. As I step on the scale memories of cakes from Janet’s Bakery and finger food float through my head as a symphony plays in my mind. So what if I gained a pound or two? I have had a great month and I feel great…dammit. I step off the scale and try to read the thin lady’s face as she checks my weight on the computer screen. No clues. She hands me my tracking card. 165 pounds. I haven’t lost, I haven’t gained. I am overjoyed; especially since we all know I was definitely lying when I said I’d be okay if I gained weight. Time to focus. I have to get back on track before I get used to the sweet life again. Like most of my past relationships, my one with food is love-hate. What am I saying…It is ALL love! (UNLIKE most of my past relationships.) And I want to be all love all the time but I suffer from skinny girl envy. I just get irritated with the ones that can eat whatever they want and never gain weight. I became depressed when I pictured my future of never being able to eat whatever I wanted. That is when I discovered my neck…Now I am interviewing boom box carriers…Maybe I’ll get some skates too…

#4…Empire Waist Dress…August 2007

It was one of those spectacular days that occur every once in a great while. I awoke before the alarm but wasn’t pissed or tired. My hair fell just right and my breasts didn’t seem to fall too much. I felt thin and fabulous. 165 pounds. The theme music in my head was upbeat…(“Walking on sunshine…whoa oh!”) I stood laughing and chatting at the home of one of my closest friends. Tossing my hair and flaunting my margarita, I am on top of the world. In a brief distracted moment I catch my friend’s 12-year-old niece staring at my dress, then my margarita judgingly. “Going out?” She asks. ” I thought you were pregnant.” Record scratch…theme music in my head…over…crickets…shortness of breath…My best friend secretly reassures me that it must have just been my empire waist dress. I ponder for a bit whether it is the dress and whether I would get much jail time if I strangled the 12 year old. I conclude neither matter. I need to kick up my weight loss anyway. I must hit the gym… immediately …starting … tomorrow. The first morning that my workout regime is to start I lay in bed silently trying to motivate myself to get up. “Go to the gym. Go to the gym.” I keep repeating this because I find I cannot be trusted to work out until I am actually on the elliptical. I walk in shy and self-conscious. To my relief I am not the biggest person in the gym. I settle myself on the closest elliptical. It feels like centuries since I’ve worked out. I begin. It immediately sucks. I could just work out tomorrow, when I’m having a better hair day, I reason. 12 year old’s words ring through my head. I begin to haul ass on the elliptical. Rocky soundtrack begins in my head. The blood starts pumping through my body, energizing it. (“Get..ting Strong…er”) I wipe the sweat with the back of my hand and I think of 12 year old and of how innocent and honest children are. And I smile as I think of how 12 year old won’t have that fast metabolism forever…