humor

A Weighty Issue

In my last blog post, I talked about my “mane” issue, and -not one to shy from barf-worthy wordplay- today I wanted to expand on the topic with a “weighty” issue.

You could say this topic weighs heavily on me. …OKAY I’M DONE NOW.

In trying to free up space on my laptop last week, I discovered a video clip from January 2014.

Hells bells. Don’t ever try to upgrade your laptop operating system when you’re looking for a video clip from 2014. Please accept this photo from the same timeframe.

I watched this platinum blonde bombshell in a tight red sweater dress with a mix of awe and regret. I was in love with her. This girl can have anything she wants. Is she even real?

At the time, I was 31 and my 10+ year marriage had just ended. I’d been laid off from my steady corporate job in New Jersey, was planning to move to Maine, and flirting with a Navy pilot who lived 3,000 miles away. I was also pretending I wasn’t in love with someone who didn’t love me back.

What the ACTUAL top guns was I thinking?!

I(t) was a mess. Except not really. I felt more alive than I’d ever felt. Anything was possible. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t struggling with food. I had something far more appetizing: hope.

I wouldn’t experience that feeling again until five years later when, after many remarkable synchronicities, I quit my [next] corporate job, packed my car, and drove across the country to live in a town I’d never laid eyes on.

Home sweet Oregon home.

I also didn’t know then that, in just a few months time, Navy Pilot would erode my newfound self-esteem, followed by a series of events that would effectively seal the deal, and I’d settle back into a far more familiar place.

That is to say, carefully angled photos from the waist up.

I’ve always been chubby. I went on my first diet when I was 9 years old. By then, I would have given anything to look as cute as my best friends, The Twins, in their swimsuits. By 12, I heard loud and clear, “Boys don’t like fat girls.” By 16, I was anorexic.

I got a lot of compliments that year.

When I was 33, I cold called a therapist and, trying not to cry, said, “My binge eating is out of control.” I saw her for three years.

If you made a list of all of the reasons people struggle with weight, I have 99.8% of them.

I really liked making lists until this very moment.

And yet.

It’s still this giant mystery to me. I still feel like I haven’t cracked the code. The closest I’ve come is in realizing that I need to make friends with this so-called demon because she isn’t going anywhere. As news of the COVID vaccine circulation hit the airwaves, I actually thought to myself, “Better binge now while you still can.”

I recently watched a video clip (thanks, Flynn) about our ‘silent To Do lists.’ The bottom line: every bit of stuff we keep in our homes speaks to us. The dishes say, “Wash me.” The books say, “Read me.” And the clothes that no longer fit say, “You aren’t good enough for me.”

“Just try and run a 10-minute mile marathon now!” this photo screams.

When we surround ourselves by things that don’t serve us -or people who don’t- we’re subjecting ourselves to silent, but very clear, messages that don’t serve us either.

I watched the girl in the 2014 red dress video and wanted to be her again. But would I really want to go back in time to that tumultuous place? Back to thinking some misogynistic creep was all I deserved? Back to going to sleep hungry every night? Sometimes it’s impossible to know which thoughts are serving us and which thoughts just bring us more anxiety.

I still haven’t figured it out.

Have you?

~*~*~*~*~*~

36 thoughts on “A Weighty Issue”

  1. You sound like you’re in a much better place and it feels like you’ve found an equation that works for you! As long as you feel good then I think what youre doing is working for you! 🙂

  2. Growing up can take a long time… I only just feel it now, & I’m about to turn 55!
    Keep going to therapy; keep doing the exercise that brings you joy; keep eating well & for health. Life is truly a journey, & yours has been a very interesting one so far: just keep imagining what else you can get up to!? Age as disgracefully as possible 😎

  3. My weight remained steady (an enviable and never to be seen again size 8) until I hit 35, where I found 10lbs. At 40 I found another 10 and I think you can guess where this is going. At 57 I am literally twice the woman I once was. I gain, I diet, I lose then gain it all back again. I’d lost 25 lbs in 2019 and was feeling good…. enter Covid lockdown and a knee injury that made exercise painful and I’m back to beached whale status. At times I’m disgusted and other times I just say to hell with it, all the women in my family are short and heavy… I’m doomed. You’ve made amazing changes in your life and your glowing mental health is much more important than the extra pounds. Shine on Jules!

    1. You said it!! Sometimes I do think struggling with this from the jump might be easier than having to battle it later. Only with 30 years of dieting under your belt (pun of course intended) can one say to herself, “40 lbs to lose? Psh. That’s nothin’. Let’s go.”

  4. Thanks for another great post, Jules. Why wouldn’t we be hooked on sugar and salt rewards in this environment? It’s a battle to stay away from it. My demon is ice cream. And some other sweet things, but mostly ice cream. Stay strong! You inspire others to keep going.

  5. Oh baby cakes, I hate hearing when one of my favorite people talks about their tormented soul (though I praise you for talking about it). You are loved, regardless of a number on a scale or size of leggings (let’s face it, that’s all anyone wears anymore, right?). I love your brilliance, especially your sense of humor and level of empathy. Can’t wait ’til we can hug it out over sweet potatoes.

    1. Ha! “Hug it out over sweet potatoes” should be some sort of viral something. And since I’m 99.999999% sure I know who this is, I can say with utmost confidence: LIKEWISE.

  6. The way my dishes speak to me is more like “can you please, please wash me? I beg you, please! You have a dishwasher, just put me in, please, it will only take five seconds! and you can watch Netflix while you do it! Oh no, please don’t leave! please, I feel so dirty, don’t just leave me like that! Please come back! Tomorrow? You promise? Okaaay, I’ll wait.. I’ll see you tomorrow…”

    1. I have a very similar dialogue going with the corners of my floors. And my tub. And underneath the couch cushions. (Though their voice is usually muffled.)

  7. What an awesome post. And it’s got nothing to do with the fact I got my 16-year old addicted to the Dawson Creek (thank you Netflix) which we guiltily watch once a week together. Am I still in love with Pacey? Probably but that’s not the issue, here!
    So on a scale from 1 to 10, how high is your contentment and general happiness with yourself (body & soul) right now?

    1. That’s such a good question! And I’m heartened by the fact that if I really think about it, my anxiety and lows around gaining weight AREN’T as dire as they once were… But it definitely fluctuates day to day, sometimes moment to moment!

      You have no idea how happy I am to hear that the Dawson’s Creek fandom lives on! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the last episode (of the final season) just to see the way Pacey talks to Joey! Annnd this is why I’m single.

      1. Well look at me… 48 and still enjoying Dawson’s Creek!!!! Although I’m not single, I still get all emotional when great romantic dialogues make me all mellow!

      2. Also, keep in mind we girls have been fed with idealistic tv/cinematographic love stories where our souls would be embodied by Katie Holmes , Clare Danes, Winona Ryder … etc, (or in your case Kelly McGillis – I mean how big can a Top Gun transfer be?!), when boys were, at the same age, feasting on Street Fighter & Mortal Kombat video games, fast cars and muscular heroes movies, and probably porn! No wonder you ended up with a misogynistic creep and thought you deserved it! Humans suffer from a huge sentimental education-lag.
        You wonder if you’d like to go back to 2014 knowing what you know now? I tell you what, I’d go back to 2000! And I’ve never worn a red dress in my life!

        1. Ha! (Re: Kelly McGillis.) It’s so true. It was hard not to just keep going with this post, and talk about the validation (or lack thereof) from men related to weight, and how certain messages (like you’re referring to) become almost like an abusive, brain-washy relationship where you’re so entrenched in it you start feeling like YOU’RE the problem. Kind of why I left the ending, “I still haven’t figured out which thoughts are serving me and which just bring more anxiety.” Am I supposed to “get fit and crush it” or “love my body just as it is”?? I’d argue that those two notions ARE mutually exclusive…

          1. Re-reading your post about your hair styling reminded me of how I see my own (https://lesfrenchchronicles.wordpress.com/2020/04/09/the-magic-is-in-the-locks/).
            Then your comment made me think of two of my close friends. My Friend Deb, and my cousin Esther. Both of them are the perfect girl! They ooze charm! One of them is a little “Amelie” figure, all cute and fragile, and graceful. The other is a French Jessica Rabbit, glamorous and magnetic. When I was younger I often thought how much I’d love to have the same charisma, the same hair, the same boobs!… Now years later, I realise that sadly, all this perfection didn’t lead them to a perfect happy life.
            Before focusing on loving your body as it is or getting it fitter, I guess we all need to work on validating what makes us happy in the present moment. Yeh I know… Fucking tough!!! When you think about it, if only it was just a question of extra pounds to loose or hair colour to choose, it would be too easy!!!
            Grab a mirror, check that luminous smile of yours and go! The world is yours!

  8. First off, I so love this post. Bravo to you for working with a therapist for 3 years. You’ve come a long way! I look back at pictures of myself when I had a great body (I think my bod was rocking around 16 and 17) and wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world.

    And to answer your question, I’ve figured out a lot and still working on it. As you may be aware I stumbled into using hypnosis as a kick ass therapy tool. Not necessarily to put different programming into my subconscious thoughts (it tends to fade when there are competing, stronger entrenched thought patterns), but to ferret out and heal my crap. Being regressed, I went back and saw the first time in my young life when food dulled what I call the pain of life enough that little sensitive me could stay here and tolerate life. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is many people’s story. The thing is, I was so young I had no conscious memory, so trying to work through this in talk therapy never would have happened. The techniques that have been most beneficial for me address my inner child (the parts of us who carry our less-than beliefs) and help her shift perspective so she can dump these beliefs. The way in was through every feeling that sent me running for food or feeling out of control in any way in my life.

    1. Thank you for this beautiful comment! During that first past life regression/hypnosis, the weight issue definitely came up in the context of “carrying” other people’s emotions and feeling that I needed to keep everything together and peaceful. I said, “She doesn’t have to take it all on.” I think that’s been happening since as far back as I can remember! So, THIS: “…food dulled what I call the pain of life enough that little sensitive me could stay here and tolerate life.”

  9. What a great post! Thank you for consistently sharing your life ❤ I love you, and it’s weird, but I’m here for it. There, I said it. I’m so glad you were strong enough to call for help.

    1. You have no idea how much comments like this mean to me! Sometimes it feels unforgivably selfish to write about myself each week(ish), but I really believe there’s power in sharing our stories. THANK YOU.

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