Ever get annoyed? Ever feel like someone needs to be told where the dog died? Or handed a crowbar and a tub of Elbow Grease to help them pry their head out of their arse? Congratulations--you've come to the right place.

And when I'm not commenting on the latest thing to piss me off, I'm trying to figure out my own twisted life. Because, hey, I'm like that.

On a gentler note: for anyone dealing with depression, anxiety, and other assorted bullshit: You are NOT alone.

And if you're looking for a laugh, search on the key word "fuckery." It's just my little thing (as the bishop said to the actress).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Few Words On Being a Fat Chick (At Least for Now)

Note: Written around 3:00 a.m. on 29 Dec 2010; later on, I DID go to Planet Fitness and join; I have a training appointment next Wednesday morning once I'm back in Boston. GO ME! *wiggles bum*

Wow, the past three days have been weird. I’ve been in Writer Land which means writing until five or six a.m., sleeping all day, waking up, checking FB & Twitter, eating, putting on the headphones, playing a few games on the lappie, and then writing and editing, repeat… The blizzard that dropped a foot and a half plus of snow on the area gave me a good excuse, too, not to venture out, but the snow’s cleared, I have many, many chores to accomplish, and a trip to take on Thursday, so back to normal. Well, what passes for normal with me.

I’ve been playing with this blog post for a while; I’m coming up on the second anniversary of my surgery at the end of January, and being me, I’m evaluating my progress. I’m considering the idea of eventually turning this blog into a memoir thingie… possibly using bits of it for the one-woman show, as the old script is good, but dated, at least in its political content. Who knows? I have to get the querying done on Broom Closet first, once the agents reopen in January. FIRST PRIORITY (artistic, at least).

One of the themes that comes up in Broom Closet (because, honestly, Becca is just another aspect of me—she’s me if I had chosen to go the academic route all those years ago, and the acerbic voice you hear in this blog is pretty much the voice the Kinsale novels are written in) is her size. Now, Rebecca is not as large as I am, but because she’s in theatre and is NOT Vogue-tiny, she has definite body image issues. She’s about the same size as Kate Winslet in Titanic—think full-bloom English rose plus about 25 to 30 pounds—Victorian ideal, not quite Rubenesque, but definitely not American False Standard.

So the whole fat thing has been on my mind. Because while I am all about accepting and loving myself for who I am, I am also about being brutally honest and not falling into the Fat Acceptance trap. Because it is a trap and a load of horseshit.

I finally caught up with Jim and Eddie’s podcasts; with the holidaze, I’d downloaded but not had a chance to listen to episodes 4 and 5. So wrong… those two are just so FUCKING WRONG. Beautifully, horribly, piss-y’self-funny WRONG. Who knew Jim Jefferies is a comic book geek? And a Marvel boy, at that.

I am utterly amused.

One of the constant themes of the podcast is the weight issues of their hapless couch squatter, Jason. Jason’s around 260; no clue how tall he is; not the healthiest weight, and considering that Eddie is in fabulous shape, and Jim is definitely height/weight proportionate, Jason takes a lot of shit about his size. (It’s sad, actually—feel for the guy, but at the same time, totally understand why the guys fuck with him. The kid has talent and needs to get it together.)

Now, I am NOT small. Almost two years post-surgery, over 100 pounds have come off, and I’m shooting for at least another 100 before the end of this year (and after shoveling out the car from under a foot and a half of wet, heavy, post-blizzard snow, I’m happy to see the upper body strength has not diminished as much as I thought; ditto on the endurance. Huzzah!). I’m not a big fan of fat jokes—never have been, never will be. I find most of them incredibly, horribly mean and ugly, and I don’t like them. Partly because I see myself in them (whether it’s true or not), partly because I fear the other person sees me in them, and partly… yeah, they’re just mean.

I’ve mentioned (I think) that the one fat joke I’ve ever laughed at is from Jim Jefferies’s I Swear to God DVD—the bit about his mother. The joke is cruel—abso-fucking-lutely cruel—but hysterical because of the set-up: the chair. The Throne of Misery. (I have a story I’ll share with y’all later about my grandfather [actually have outlined a few Jack stories]; the inaugural one is going to be about the Day We Destroyed the Throne of Power. Picture three adults, a crowbar, an axe, a handsaw, and a Craftmatic recliner.)

Fat isn’t an easy issue. It’s really easy to pass judgment—the Fat = Lazy stereotype. I wish it was that simple. I know my story; I know all of the factors—some of them beyond my control, some of them completely within my control. What it boils down to for a lot of people is a combination of factors: medical, emotional, personal, physical, and environmental. The medical encompasses everything from prejudiced doctors (and if you think I’m kidding…), to inadequately tested drugs, to missed diagnoses, to improperly treated conditions. Emotional… abuse is the common factor in weight issues, whether you’re dealing with obesity or the other side. Rape is a major factor for women. Physical… again, undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed conditions, bad food (the FDA needs to be dismantled; ditto for the American food industry; READ YOUR LABELS, people, and if you can’t pronounce, DON’T EAT IT; the rise of the “obesity epidemic” can be directly connected to the rise of the pre-processed food industry); lack of exercise. Environmental… pollution, tainted food, tainted water, improper education, lack of access to good food (whether because of location or economic factors). Christ, it’s ridiculous. There’s a reason why I dream of owning a self-sustaining B&B/artists colony in Nova Scotia—I want to know where the hell my food is coming from. Sheesh.

All that being said, I am NOT making excuses for obesity. The bottom line is that every one of us is responsible for educating ourselves and taking care of our bodies. And taking responsibility for our lives.

This is also why I’m not a fan of the Fat Acceptance movement because honestly, it’s bullshit.
NOT because it’s a bad thing to accept yourself and your flaws—that’s a necessity. I hate our superficial, media-driven culture; I would love to see the women’s magazine industry get pulped—it does far more harm than good between pushing the crap nutrition, fake sex information, garbage fashion, and every #@$%^&*() fad diet known to man because hey, they’re in the pocket of their advertisers: the food industry (and check the labels on most of the shit they advertise and you’ll see why there’s an obesity epidemic in this country; ditto on ADD & ADHD, and probably most of the depression-related illnesses; one of these days, I will blog about food and healthy eating because it’s an obsession of mine), the drug industry (because, hey, we all need drugs! The legal ones, at least), the collectibles industry (because who doesn’t need the latest piece of Thomas Kincaide merchandise!), and feminine hygiene products. Oh, and make-up. Don’t forget the make-up.

*slams head on the desk*

I came of age in the 80’s, the most superficial decade of the 20th century. From the time I hit high school in 1981 up until I got into acting school in 1991, I wouldn’t go outside the door without makeup. And we won’t discuss clothes. Gaining weight had one positive influence on me: I got over the whole obsession with designer names and got more into quality. Legs had to be shaved at least twice a week; ditto on the pits. EVERYTHING had to be PERFECT. PERFECT. FLAWLESS. Because, dear Gods, I was so flawed.

These days… well, I don’t always remember the makeup, I will sometimes wear my glasses to work, and remember to shave about twice a month (more in the summer, obviously, and if there’s regular sex in the offing, because hey, there are some things that are just important). I’m always clean, always smell good (yummy, usually, thank you Lush), and dress if not for the runway, at least appropriately for the library. When I go out, I doll up. But not for work.

I grew up being told how pretty I’d be “if you would just lose weight.” This is not good for the self esteem. What really pissed me off was seeing a pic of myself at age 7 in my Brownie uniform (yeah, I was a Girl Scout; yes, I sold cookies; LEAVE IT ALONE): I was almost a foot taller than the younger cousin standing next to me (who was only 2 years younger) and there wasn’t an ounce of fat on me. I was big, yeah—tall, big frame, wide shoulders, etc., but so not fat. The fat didn’t come until I broke my leg at age 11, and that was going when I got into high school. Things took a turn for the worse (I’ve told my tragic story—excuse me, need to wipe up the sarcasm I’ve dripped all over the keyboard—before), the weight came back, dealt with a doctor on the take trying to force me on to a liquid diet that in part contributed to the kidney disease my mother is fighting right now and who refused to treat the thyroid disorder, went another 8 years, lost a baby, nearly died from the asthma, multiple lung infections treated with steroids—oh, prednisone, how I hate you—body systems out of control, yeah. In short, I gained more than double my body weight over the course of twenty years, woke the fuck up and said, hey, I’m gonna die if I don’t do something about this! got into a gastric bypass program (note, I said PROGRAM), did the homework and the groundwork, changed my eating habits, changed some of my thinking habits (some of them… it’s like being an alcoholic or a drug addict, there are addictive behaviors and ways of thinking that are a lifetime struggle to keep under control; sometimes you stay clean, sometimes you fall), and the weight has come off.

One of the things that I realized during this process is how some of my issues weren’t really my issues to begin with—they were my mother’s and the other women’s around me, but because I was a Nice Fat Girl suffering from severe Fat Girl Syndrome, I’d internalized their issues and made them mine. Which meant I had change my way of thinking about myself and my life. (See comment about addictive behavior.)

It’s not easy. Nothing worth having ever is, honestly. I’m pissed about some things—the fact that I currently live in a house with someone so completely unself-aware that she has no clue about the damage she’s doing to herself and attempting to do to me. I cannot tell you how many times I have talked her out of takeout—deep fried crap that leaves her sick every time (and me, vomiting. I have realized that the only Chinese place I can eat these days is Changsho or Asiana Fusion, and even then, I’m going to have to be careful). I can’t go near Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFried, Taco Bell, or any of those places (couldn’t do them before surgery, either, but it’s worse now). I can’t touch anything with high fructose corn syrup, high fat, high sugar—forget it. I even have to be careful with steak. Trying to explain this to my mother is like talking to a small child. And she keeps buying crap food and complains about the prices at places like Trader Joe’s. And yet… she loves my cooking. And doesn’t get sick from it. *shakes head* Whatever. I can’t understand how someone could go from being over 300 pounds down to 150, drop from a size 28/30 to a 10/12, and still act and think like she’s big as a house.

It brings me down, but I’m fighting it.

Now, I’m going into what I consider the “final” phase—the serious toning and conditioning, the weight lifting stuff I love so much and have missed. I know I’m beautiful; I know I’m hot. Gimme another year, and I’m going to have a body that shows it.

Why? Because a) I am sooooooooooooo vain. I really am. I LOVE being checked out. Nothing makes me feel better than a man checking out my tits. Seriously. One of the biggest ego lifts I’ve had recently happened a couple of months ago when a friend I hadn’t seen in years could NOT STOP checking me out, and this guy—who is so NOT a pig—could not stop looking at the Girls, cradled in a very sexy bra under a flattering shirt, all natural and still lovely. One of the best memories I have of Brit Boy #5 happened in Sbux last January; I made a comment about being hot (meaning temperature wise), and he looked me up and down, grinned, and said, “Yes, you are.” I do miss that man… every inch of him. And, no matter that I’ve let the performing slide, the bottom line is that I AM AN ACTOR. Worse, I’m a SHAKESPEAREAN actor—ham, thy name is Hamlet! And no one, no one, no one is going to cast a fat, 43-year-old neurotic except as a sidekick, and FUCK THAT. I am NO ONE’s sidekick, Batman. (Did I mention I’m an egomaniac?) I like being front and center, and while I am never going to be a size 4 (and never want to be; *shudder* with my frame, I’d look like I belong in a concentration camp photo), I know I can carry a size 16 with utter grace and dignity and will need to beat the men away. Even at this size, I still get hit on when I turn on The Shine.

I also like pretty clothes—HOT clothes. Pegged jeans. Low-cut blouses. Sexy, push-up bras. Leather boots with a nice little heel to them. Hey, I said I came of age in the 80’s; my tastes are a cross between 80’s hair metal, punk and goth with a heavy dash of the New Romantics in there; add the fact that I’ve been designing costumes for Shakespeare productions, Ren faire garb, and living history, I have a pretty eclectic sense of fashion that is so seriously stylish and sexy. And people, let’s be honest here—there are just some things a fat woman SHOULD NOT wear. Tube tops. *shudder* Belly shirts. *gak* SHORT skirts. *puke* Tight leather dresses. *choke* A little jiggle is one thing; however, if your body resembles a stack of Jello, DON’T EXPOSE MORE FLESH THAN NECESSARY! At least in public. It’s just not dignified.

Funny story (well, I think it’s funny)—I was driving one summer afternoon and coming through Union Square. I had someone else in the car (don’t remember who, but it was another chick). Now, Somerville Ave in Union Square in Somerville, for anyone who hasn’t driven through it, goes from two lanes at the lights by SCAT to three and then to four, all in the space of about 20 yards. If you’re coming around the corner, taking a left into this mess, it goes from four lanes going one way to four lanes going two ways, and then widens and narrows. In heavy afternoon traffic, you’re dealing with stupid pedestrians, buses, cop cars, fire trucks, 18-wheelers, taxis, and a lot of other drivers. Getting over into the right lane is not the easiest proposition, but I managed to do it.

And got honked at and heard the asshole honking yell, “Get in the right fucking lane, YA FAT BITCH!”

WRONG thing to say to me. I turn (it was summer and my windows were down) to yell something appropriately nasty to the bastard (because I HAD used my turn signal) and promptly laughed and said, “Who you callin’ fat, you tubby-assed ugly mother fucker!” because in the car next to me is sitting this FAT bastard—and I mean FAT, FAT, FAT tubby schlub with tits as big as mine wearing a TANK TOP—not a nice tank top, either, but a fucking white ribbed Hanes out-of-a-pack-of-three tank top, his rolls of fat spilling over the tops of whatever was covering his ass, and—the piece de resistance—A FUCKING BURGER KING WHOPPER DRIPPING SAUCE AND SHREDS OF LETTUCE IN HIS OTHER HAND.

AND HE LOOKED AT ME LIKE I WAS NUTS! I mean, this sonofacunt was EASILY as heavy as I was, and HE was calling ME fat? I BEG YOUR FUCKING PARDON, SHITHEAD? I mean, c’mon, even at my heaviest, I could find my cunt; you can’t tell me he could stand up to piss because there was no way, even if he was packing long, he could find his dick in all that.

And he was calling me fat.

“You better put down that sammich and get yourself a salad, FAT BOY,” I said. “And think before you open your mouth.”

The friend sitting next to me (like I said, don’t remember who it was except that it was one of my skinny, pretty friends) was staring at him and laughing.

I think that made him cry.

Cruel? Yeah. It was. But the fucker asked for it. I really have never understood that double standard—the fat guys who think they are smooth, hot and irresistible as-is, and yet feel they have every right to criticize women who aren’t even half their size. I love it when one of them tries to pull that shit on me. Love it. Because yes, I have made more than one of them cry. Or at least impotent for several weeks. Hypocrites… I so love to fuck with them.

But I digress.

The other reason—the IMPORTANT reason—I want to drop the weight is for my health. I was out shoveling for a good hour. I needed my asthma inhaler when I got in. OK, granted, it was 9th Circle cold out there, and I’d shoveled out a fucking Buick from under at least 18” of snow. The driver’s side, I might add—the side with the frozen, plowed-in snow. PLUS I cleared part of the driveway so St. Teresa can actually get from the house to the car. (Because I am NOT picking her ass up off the sidewalk. It’s great that I can deadlift 150 pounds; I just don’t NEED to deadlift 150 pounds of parent.) My back is NOT hurting right now. My arms aren’t hurting. I’m actually feeling pretty damn good after that little workout. Let me take a nice, long, hot shower and I’ll feel like a million fucking bucks. THAT is an ego boost; the knees have been giving me major gyp of late, and to be able to shovel and only be a little wheezy is AWESOME.

HOWEVER… I’m not out of the heart attack zone yet. I’m not fully out of the diabetes zone yet. I’m getting towards the age when they’re going to do mammograms every year, and breast cancer runs in my family. It’s hard enough to find a lump in a DD tit; I don’t need to make it any harder for them. I LIKE my tits—I don’t want to lose one to cancer, thanks. I don’t want to deal with the asthma again; I am hoping to have a child, and considering how I lost the last one—I caught a cold which turned into a lung infection; because my asthma wasn’t being correctly treated, my lungs started to shut down, and I ended up in the hospital for four days and lost the baby 11 days later. What I didn’t know at the time is that, during pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is compromised because so much of her body’s energy is going towards feeding and protecting the growing baby. I want my body in ultimate shape not only to have a healthy pregnancy (because at my age, it’s chancy enough), but also because any child issuing from these loins is going to be a demon.

I know this. I was a demon as a child (yeah, yeah, still am, I know); I am not attracted to boring men, either, so you know that the two highest qualifications for a potential partner are going to be intelligence and humor. If he doesn’t make me laugh and think, I don’t care how pretty he is. Combined with my intelligence, etc., this will mean there’s a good chance the resulting offspring will be genius-level intelligent. Evil genius level intelligent. (Or thoroughly retarded; who knows? It’s such a crapshoot.) I will need to be in tiptop shape to be able to keep up with the little bastard (and the way I’m going and the way I’m feeling about relationships… yeah, nuff said). I was walking before I was a year old. Running, I should say. I guess I didn’t even bother with creeping/crawling—I wanted to MOVE. When we lived in Missouri when I was two, I brought home animals—not sweet things like bunnies and kittens, but BIG things like killer German Shepherds and runaway horses. With ZERO fear. And considering that I refuse to be a helicopter parent—my little demon will do things like play in the dirt, build forts, and do things that I won’t find out about until much later because she/he will be intelligent enough to know that if she/he wants to continue to enjoy childhood, they better NOT tell me what exactly they’re getting up to. I was a bit of a ringleader, too—always thought up really cool games to play. Not safe, but cool. Yeah.

What does all this have to do with the Fat Acceptance movement? Well, like I said, the important reason I want to continue to lose/tone/shape up is for my health. I know that my thighs are never going to be perfect and slim. I know this. My ass… even if I go down to my “optimum” weight/BMI, my ass is going to be like my tits—a double handful. Or, as one of my muscle boy friends like to put it, a “cushion for the pushin’.” Which is FINE. I’m good with that—I like my sex to end rough. My nose is a bit too long, I have a little gap in my front teeth, and I’m missing the right index finger tip. I’m good with it. My white hair I cover up with Lush henna—glop it on, let it sit for a couple of hours, soak in the tub, wash it out… Lovely, soft, fairly natural looking auburn glow restored. My skin is in fairly good shape, thanks to Lush. My face… it’s my face. I like it. I’ll keep it. I like my eyes, too, despite the fact I’m blind as a bat. Feet are too big, but I can wear hi tops again, so I’m cool. And with the exception of Edwad, NO MAN has ever complained about my skills in bed—those with the balls to get beyond the tough bitch exterior have discovered a ready, eager and happy wench. And on the occasions I’ve gotten it wrong, I’ve been sweet enough to ask how to make it right. Because I am intelligent and genuinely enjoy getting my partner off.

I accept my flaws; I’m good with them. What I dislike about the current state of my body is about what it’s preventing me from doing—fucking hot, younger men; being able to chase a small child around; acting, performing and directing; and generally getting into very active trouble. I’ve never been “sporty,” but I do enjoy playing. Being too heavy prevents this. My knees can’t take running right now which really pisses me off because I LIKE to run. I like to do stupid things like play Frisbee. I’d like to try snowboarding. Not rollerskating. One broken leg is enough. And not bicycling—not here, at least. Trail riding, maybe. But not city cycling. I wouldn’t mind giving rock climbing a go; used to love that as a kid. If my lungs can handle the ocean again, I’d even like to try surfing.

In short, I want live life to the fullest. My birth certificate may say I’m 43, but my soul knows I’m still 16. I want my body back so I can live like that.

All of these people I see in reports on Fat Acceptance are NOT healthy—they are NOT able to live life to the fullest. They have serious health issues; they are in pain. Their lives are in danger because of their size.

And the people who “love” them… *shudder* Please. I have no issue with a man who likes a “real woman” or a woman with curves, or whatever euphemism you want to put in here. I do have an issue with chubby chasers—y’know, the guys who like really fat women. As you can imagine, I’ve known a fair few of ‘em, and honestly, I don’t like ‘em. Why? Because they’re either looking for a victim or a mother (or both). They’re looking for a woman with zero self esteem to take their shit out on her. I was married to an avowed chubby chaser; I’ve been involved with a few others. I’ll pass.

The women who go after fat men aren’t any better, either. I knew someone who specifically went for heavy men because they made her look so much prettier—because they had a man with zero self esteem who thought he was the luckiest guy in the world to have a pretty girl as his own, and he’d do anything to keep her, including give up his dignity, self respect, and his (metaphorical) sac.


Used to have friends like that, too—skinny chicks with zero self esteem who liked having a fat friend around because she looked so much better by comparison. Until, of course, the men realized I was the smarter, funnier, and more talented person, but I still didn’t get the guy because hey, they’d rather bang the skinny chick even though she treated him like shit and couldn’t give a blow job worth a damn.

So, I’m going to the gym this morning. Because, while I do love my gorgeous fabulous self and am perfectly capable of shoveling all that snow, I’d rather snare me a hot, younger babe to do it for me, and no way is that going to happen at this size. Besides, the gym… muscles… lots of sweet, sweaty muscles…

What do you expect from me? ALTRUISM?

A final note about the gastric bypass: a lot of magazine time was given to some famous folks who had this surgery. Some of them have been successful, some of them haven’t. This is how it goes with weight loss surgery. I was lucky—I considered it back in 2001 and didn’t go through with it (had a baaaad feeling about it; turned out that the first hospital I considered had a lot of unreported deaths from complications). I reconsidered in 2008 and this time, went to my mother’s surgeon. The program I went through took about a year from the first phone call to the surgery. I had to go through not only the hospital’s program—which involved visits to a nutritionist, a psychiatric evaluation, physical, multiple tests on my heart, liver, and everything else, attending the monthly support group, and visits to the surgeon to monitor my weight loss progress (damn little—my weight yo-yo’ed the entire time I was in the pre-surgery program)—but my insurance company also required enrollment in their program that involved biweekly phone calls with a life coach. Yeah. Overkill, but at the same time, not because not all hospitals have a program. The program is the key to success; the support group, the commitment, knowing that there is someplace to go for information and help if you’re feeling overwhelmed and alone. I don’t make it to a lot of the post-surgery meetings; my bad on that one. I get frustrated with repetition of information and the cliques, and honestly, I have really had enough of hospitals over the past six months. (Yep, there are cliques. Put more than ten people in a room, a clique will form.) Again, I was lucky—I went to the surgeon who is one of the pioneers of this surgery. He’s bloody amazing—a tough sonofabitch and quite possibly the most compassionate, committed, decent human being I’ve ever met. Thanks, Dr. Randall. You saved my life.

And if anyone reading this wants information or a recommendation, ping me. If you’re in the Boston area, go to Lawrence Memorial in Medford—their team is the BEST—all of your information is coordinated and shared so that none of the team is in the dark about your treatment and where you are in the process (surgeon, nutritionist, psychiatrist, office staff, hospital staff—finest care ANYWHERE). I was treated with consistent respect and compassion, a rare thing in the medical world.

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