This is me in Honolulu, about five years ago or six or seven … With my good soul mate and friend Junko and her son. I put it here, because I was probably 25 pounds thinner and I thought at that time I was fat. Just goes to show….
I just found myself writing on Facebook: “I am feeling dissatisfied and out of sorts.” I know this is true — it has been so for days. It put me in such a funk last week I thought I was coming down with the Black Dog (you know, depression.)
But I wonder why. Examining ourselves is hard. And I get the feeling that I do it a lot. But I can easily not engage with things emotionally and stay on the surface of life.
On the level of superficial, surface things, I know why I’m grumpy:
- There are piles of laundry that are never “done.”
- The stuff, everywhere! And I can’t keep up. My kids are clueless, and useless! No matter how many reminders, of the stuff they leave around the house and yard — practically dropping it anywhere they finish with it — it is everywhere.
- There is no open surface in my life – except the kitchen – after I clean it – daily, sometimes twice depending on things in the evening.
- my garage is driving me nuts. my basement is driving me nuts. my bedroom is driving me nuts.
- I can never keep food in the house. My preteens are eating everything that isn’t nailed down. and what we have is never what they want. Now I’m not one to really care about that, them getting what they “like” but it starts to rub me wrong, after a while.
That’s the surface and it’s bad, but then if I go below the surface:
I never see my friends. Rarely have deep conversations with people. Just living on the surface of my friend’s lives and I feel lonely. Did I just write that. I think I’m not sure. Do I feel lonely? I mean, I could choose to pick up the phone. I like isolation I think. But then, internally, I know accountability in friendship is good and deep connections are so life-giving. Yes, connection is important to me and I don’t have it. There is no where in my life, not church, not my kids schools, where else do I go – not the grocery store, that I connect with people. Okay, at Trader Joe’s they are really nice and I always leave there feeling good, because they are quite happy to be talking to you. That is so pathetic.
Another thing. I decided last year, to not buy clothes for myself, for a year. Mostly, cause I’m fairly stupid about spending money and I was wasting away the fortune we did not have on this and that. I mean how many hats does a girl need? And to be honest, since early October I haven’t spent a dime, on myself. I did find myself buying a lot more clothing for Emma. That had to stop cause it definitely defeats the purpose and she’s swimming in clothes. Really though, I haven’t missed shopping.
I worried about what ideas I was giving my daughter about looks. (I blogged about all this in October of last year.)
The other reason that I stopped was because I was tired of thinking and caring so much about image. But that bit hasn’t changed (much) and frankly I’ve let myself go over the last six months. I feel shabby, and dumpy and what was that word that my friend in college used to call me? Frumpy. What a word. I’ve lived up to that of late and I hate myself. And we won’t even go into the weight thing. No, not today. When I say hate I’m talking about the suicide kind of self-hatred, or harming yourself, or anything tragic like an eating disorder. I’m just referring to simple self-esteem. Body image. Naked in the mirror stuff. Can’t find an outfit that feels good to me kind of days.
And then this trip to the Bahamas comes (two and a half weeks and counting) and I start freaking out. For some reason, I have this crazy need to impress and seem cultured and look urban and eclectic and interesting. It matters to me (and that’s a long story from being an MK that I think I’ve written about here before.) So I wasn’t going to buy anything. And then I started obsessing about this awards night banquet that everyone gets all spiffy for and I couldn’t let -it -go.
I looked at my clothes, of which I have an abundance, in sizes 10, 12 and 14 and I don’t have anything for an evening dinner in the Bahamas, not fancy but not too casual. So, I “don’t have anything” and yet I know that if I was saving money for my kid’s transplant or something I could find something to wear in my closet. So it wouldn’t be Tommy Bahama or nicely starched from newness. But it would be just fine. One night. One outfit. Perhaps three total hours of my life. But there’s no transplant needed, and Tom doesn’t care if I buy a dress, he’s getting a new shirt.
So dammit I bought one, online, it probably won’t even look good. Which is okay cause I can return it but every time I think about that stupid trip I get all anxious. Like what’s on the outside is what matters. Tho I don’t believe that, already I’ve fallen back into that kind of thinking. …. If I have a new dress, I will also need new shoes, a necklace, earrings,and a decent bag. Oh, and can’t forget the very important cover up for the cool nights and to cover the flabby size 14 arms….. so I spend the evening last night (while watching Idol among other things) tooling the internet looking for the perfect dress. And even this morning ….
No wonder I feel dissatisfied and grumpy. As a friend just said, (on Facebook not in person, I told you I have no face-to-face friendships any more.) I need to check this more closely.
Identity. Self-esteem. Body image. Eureka! I have ignored the root of my problems with shopping. Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been able to stick my head in the proverbial sand about this!
We all do it. I know we do. Except for those few say 20% of exercising folk, most of us ignore our bodies a good part of the time. Just living with regret, or wishing it were different, or saying when I lose those ten pounds, I will …
Absolutely what I’ve done!
“I will like myself when I’m thin. I know I’m thin inside there somewhere. I was thin(ner) for most of my life and that person is still in there. When I’m thin, I’ll … pursue showing my photography. And take more risks like searching for a publisher for my poetry. And ….blah, blah frikin’ blah…”
Well, isn’t that interesting.
P.S. If you’re one of those actually thin people or in your early thirties (or younger) and you don’t know what I’m talking about — related to your body, just wait. Call me when it hits. I will so be there for you to cry on my shoulder. By then, I’ll be thin. Surely.
This Strange Desire: On Materialism and Image: How it all started, the year without new clothes.
2 thoughts on “When I’m thin, I’ll …”
I don’t want to be like the new Christian who thumps you over the head with his Bible every 5 minutes, but since support groups have worked about your alcoholism, is there a reason you are fighting something like WW for weight?
WW meetings are about identifying WHY we overeat, helping us not eat our feelings, basic nutrition–high fiber, lower fat/healthy fat, etc., basic exercise–starting small, getting more intense, shaking things up, etc. It’s, IMNSHO, a well-balanced, empowering, healthy on all sorts of levels, reasonable way to go. Nothing that isn’t sustainable if you work a bit at it, no pre-packaged on-plan meals that once they stop you gain it all back, etc. It’s not a 20 day quick fix type of thing (sorry, I know you did that). It’s like AA–you have to stay in the chair. Maybe forever. But a.) once you reach “goal” meetings are free and b.) it’s $40/month until then for meetings, reading materials, and great e-tools like trackers, recipes, etc.
I find it to be extremely helpful and I’m “in the chair” for the long haul.
Oddly, unlike you, I was always “a big girl” from puberty on. At Madison, my feminist RA and her lesbian best friend and others were both “big girls”, and they helped me to learn to love myself in all my feminist, fleshy glory. And, I have a heavy husband who has always loved me at any size. I was REALLY fine being nearly 190. Really. And 14 is MY “small” size. Or was. Except my family runs toward diabetes. And my blood sugars were high. And my pre-adolescent was getting man-boobs and chubby.
So, I took the bull by the horns in Sept and joined WW. I walk 6+ miles/week WITH A GIRLFRIEND!! (building the relationships you crave), yoga and pilates 1/week each and go to WW and do my best to stay in my “points” range. Am I perfect? Heck, no. But do I feel better? Heck, yes. More energetic, more sharp, less moody, less migraine-y.
I’m down to 170, 15 pounds less than I was on my very happy wedding day. I’m wearing size 12 pants off the rack without even bothering to try them on (unheard of in my adult life). And I’ll be my goal weight sometime this summer.
And then I’ll stay in the chair, because I am not doing all this work again for ANYTHING.
So, at the risk of sounding preachy, I’m sharing that you don’t have to stay here. Emotionally or physically. You are right. It’s not about the clothes. It’s about what you are trying to fill up with the clothes. Or the food. Or whatever.
And you are not alone.
And I love you.
And I wish we lived closer so we could yogalates together and walk the beautiful paths of Madison and let the houses be damned. (Did I mention I have a cleaning lady who helps keep me sane?)
Thin Hmmmm. When was I thin? I think I was always curvy, hippy, mostly plump, but never thin. My sister was the thin one until she went to college and got stressed. Some days I feel pretty, turning heads as they say. But I wonder if I’ll every like my body? I’ve gotten beyond that magic year where I’ll be my prettiest. And the outfit is never perfect anymore. Men just don’t understand how “not having anything to wear” can get you down.
But we do look good together now don’t we. ;)