On the verge of something…

Where I live, the crocuses (croci?) are blooming, pushing themselves out of the ground. But we are in for a week of rain, and I feel like crawling back into bed. I’m just very tired.

Iphoto of a crocus from wikipedia

Photo by R├ęginald Hulhoven

I’m also aware of a desire to do many things. And I have many things to do. But mostly, I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up. Not out of depression, just plain tiredness.

I’m at a point of busyness that is making me tired, and yet, there seems to be an endless stream of things that both demand and capture my attention.

I’m looking at these things with a bit of detachment, in a good way, aware that life won’t always be this way.

Where things are with me, health-wise, feels a bit in flux. But it feels as though I’m able to slowly adjust to where I am in a gentle way, without leaping into shame or guilt, but making adjustments along the way.

I have to go get ready for another busy day, but I wish you well. May you see life emerging around you, but not feel compelled to dive into life full steam ahead if you are getting messages from your body to rest. Be gentle with yourself. That’s what I’m trying to say to myself, anyhow.


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Loving myself harder

A little over a week ago, when talking about my feelings around having gained weight recently, I said to my wonderful therapist that what I’m trying to do is “love myself even harder” as I go through this familiar cycle. The idea, and the intensity with which I said it, made us both laugh.

Life is a Moment, a Picture is Forever by LiaQaI’ve talked about it before, and for me, there’s this range of sizes I’ve been in my adult life, from 16-26, to put it in a concrete way, and mostly for the past 10 or so years, I’ve been hovering between 18-24, and even more of the time, between 20-22. I’m short, and for me, smallish changes in fatness translate into relatively large changes in clothing size. So, I’m now at the higher end of sizes in my closet, and again finding myself grateful that I’ve functioned like my own thrift shop, hanging onto clothes that were too big or too small, not because those smaller sizes “might fit someday” and not ridding myself of the larger sizes because “I don’t want to be that size again” but because I realize that for me, “normal” consists of these fluctuations, depending on what I have happening in my life.

In an odd way — “doing better” for me often seems to correspond to being on that larger end, at least temporarily. What the cycle seems to be for me is that depression causes me to lose interest in things and energy for things I love to do. Usually, over time, this means I grow smaller, and while that is sort of nice, it’s also not at all nice to be in that depressed place. Grief, too, tends to cause me to abandon good eating habits, which leads to growing smaller.

As I come out of depression and low energy (regardless of the reason) — I almost always grow fatter. Food tastes good again. I find myself feeling hungrier and doing more, in terms of physical activity. I am busy and want to take on more and more — I sometimes find the surge of energy makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning, sometimes before I’ve really had enough sleep — and I find myself worn out by the end of the day, in good and not so good ways.

Reading that, it sounds like I must be bipolar. But I know bipolar, and, at worst, this might be a mild, sub-clinical bipolar, I guess. But mostly I think it’s just my own particular rhythm. The kind of mania I tend to have is relatively benign, and I’ve learned how to not drive the others in my life crazy by adding more and more to my plate when I’m “up” and then letting things go when I’m “down” — more I try not to take on more when I’m energized than I think I can handle when I’m not.

But it’s interesting to me that the “up” part of the cycle — the smile rather than the frown, so to speak — is associated initially with weight gain. And in the past, this weight gain would bring me back down, sometimes to a middle place, and sometimes down into depression. And, with growing older, and deliberate work, I have noticed that the added fatness isn’t “bringing me down” so much as I’m curious about it, and wondering what’s driving it*, and wondering if for me in particular, the behaviors that lead me to eat more are connected to this cycle in ways I might want to change.

For me, being in that “middle place” when it comes to weight/size/fatness feels best, but I don’t feel as though I can control whether I’m there or not, or not entirely. I know that being on the lowest end of my fatness range is sometimes sort of fun, like being on vacation, but I don’t stay there for long, and most of the time, it’s the result of a prolonged grieving process. So, getting back to the middle is a healthy thing for me, and that means getting a bit fatter. But the top end of my fatness range isn’t a place I’m so comfortable in for long, either.

This is where “loving myself harder” comes in. I don’t know if it’s really possible to do, to consciously “love harder,” in the sense of self-love,** but I suppose what I can do is to appreciate myself while I’m here in this present spot. I do love that I’ve held onto clothes that I love and not had them “taken in” when I was less fat, so that I get to wear them and feel good in them now. I do love that I do feel pretty, and while I might overall prefer how I look when I’m in the middle place, I do still look pretty damn good. I love that I’ve gotten to this place where I feel safe, loved, appreciated and even admired where I am, size-wise. Compliments on how I dress haven’t stopped.

But, there are some downsides to me of being in this bigger home of my range. And those things are real. Are they a reason to try to lose weight? I don’t think so. Are those downsides a reason to look at what I’m doing in my life and see if there’s anything I can do to sleep better, get the amount of physical activity that leaves me feeling relaxed, strong and good, eat better, stress less? Sure, with the idea that even in doing all of those things, my weight might not change. My size might not change. But hopefully, I’ll sleep better, feel better and keep loving myself through it all.

It has been interesting to notice how much fatness and attractiveness have been disentangled for me at this point. Again, it is likely a combination of growing older and also deliberate work***, but it’s a nice place to be, for now. Having these things disentangled, and no longer reinforcing internalized fat hatred****, makes it easier for me to pinpoint what I might want to change, and to identify why I want to change it. Changing what, when or how much I eat, when, where and how much I move, reducing stress, whether I meditate or not — all of these things are not being done to lose weight, but rather because they are good things to do in and of themselves, if I want to and find they help in the short- or long-term. They come from loving myself more, not less.

* I try not to focus too much on the “what’s causing it” other than to do so from a place of kindness and compassion.

** Why is it so hard for me to write about this without it sounding like I’m talking about a different kind of “self-love” and giggling to myself?

*** and this blog, and the Fatosphere, and avoiding fashion magazines and television commercials, and living where I do…

**** To the greatest degree possible, meaning, doing this the best I can.


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Once I’m

I think this is a song more than a poem, but I need an Elton to my Bernie.

Happy Valentine’s Day


Love is there for the taking

but you can’t control the source

Love is here for the taking

it’s a powerful force


I used to think that I didn’t deserve it

Once upon a time

I used to think that I would earn it

Once I’m…


Thin enough

Not so queer

Drop dead gorgeous

Someone’s dear


Truth be told, love was always there

but it was blind to me

The “Once I’m” got in the way

But I can finally see


That love is all around me

It’s glowing, it’s growing

Love is all around us

Love for reaping, love for sowing


I used to think that I didn’t deserve it

Once upon a time

I used to think that I would earn it

Once I’m…


Thin enough

Not so queer

Drop dead gorgeous

Someone’s dear


Truth be told, love was always there

but it was blind to me

The “Once I’m” got in the way

But I can finally see


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Ah, the narrow bridge of life

I feel like I’ve just crossed over a bridge, as I’ve made a transition from one job to another, from one way of managing my diabetes to another, and I’ve noticed several changes, but one of them is a reluctance to blog.

I don’t know if it will always be this way, but life has felt like it’s been a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, with intense concentration and constant forward motion or necessary, intense rest, with little time for anything other than these essentials, since I last blogged.

I have many thoughts, but find myself with less of an immediate need to share them. Not because I’m not curious what other people might thing, or if they hold up in the light of day, but thinking has had to take a back seat to doing for a while.

Overall, life is good. I am stepping around my new terrain with some confidence these days. I actually felt happy (rather than overwhelmed, exhausted, just tired, stressed or downright anxious) today for the first time in a while, in one calm, contented moment. As I’ve made these transitions of the past few months, it seems like there’s been color commentary going on in my brain that sounds something like this:

Sportscaster 1: “Well, she’s not out of bed yet, and her heart is racing. Will she make it through another workday?”

Sportscaster 2: “It’s too soon to tell. If yesterday was any guide, today looks to be grueling. Her record shows she’s able to pull through, but for how long?”

The sportscasters are pretty quiet this weekend. The cringing and Monday Morning Quaterbacking were at an all-time high during one incident when I sent an email “reply all” instead of “reply” – but thankfully, my new supervisor took it in stride.

So, what do I want to talk about?

I made something tasty for dinner. Baked pasta with roasted vegetables, spinach and cheese, with a little marinara sauce. It came out great, but we have a ton of leftovers. I have been so busy with work that I haven’t been cooking much, and even though it was an easy dinner to make, it felt good to be in the kitchen.

I’ll probably be blogging less, commenting less, lurking more. I don’t like the way that sounds, because just because I’m in more of an observer than playing an active role in the Fatosphere, doesn’t mean I’m being creepy. I’m just at a phase of taking in information, more than sharing it out. It feels right, for right now.

I hope the world is treating you okay, that you are crossing the bridges in front of you with the greatest ease possible, and not second-guessing yourself too much. And that, in the words of the Irish blessing, that the road on the other side of the bridge rises up to meet you.


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How to promoting health without reinforcing stigma

This video from The Prevention Institute doesn’t even mention obesity or weight — it talks about health, about nutrition, about supporting parents.

For me, marketing food to kids (or anything to kids) messes with the Division of Responsibility. My daughter consumes plenty of media from the computer and DVDs, but she hasn’t seen many commercials in her life. Most of her peers, though, watch commercial TV, at least some of the time.

Whether or not one agrees with the campaign, I think The Prevention Institute deserves credit for NOT centering their campaign around “childhood obesity” or even mentioning it once in this video.

h/t Yoni Freedhoff


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Today’s poem 10-12-2011

My fat

feels good

I am dressing up today

I’m busting out

My tummy sticks out

My freak flag is flying high

I am a feast

for the eyes

for the ears

for the body

for the mouth

My sensuality doesn’t end where your squeamishness begins

I am squishy soft motherhood that snuggles close

My fat is a re-Source

A hug from me is worth a million dollars

and I am not backing down.

(inspired by Virgie Tovar)


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Let it rain, or a brief rant from someone who is usually relentlessly positive

When I heard India.Arie say that she was criticized by some in the music industry for being “too positive,” I nodded in recognition. Not for being told that from the music industry, but there are people in my life who, if asked, would tell you that I am also “too positive.”

Usually, I think they are wrong and I am right for always trying to find the silver lining. But not today.

It’s 4:34 a.m. I’m awake. The rain is pouring down in sheets outside. While rain isn’t unusual for where I live, which is practically a rainforest 8 months out of the year, it’s raining awfully hard right now, which is somewhat unusual. So, I’m thinking it’s not a good day for me to bike to work. I don’t have the head-to-toe rain gear, or one of those flashlight beam headlamps, I just haven’t progressed to that level of obsession with bike commuting (yet).

I made a tactical error at work yesterday. I’m not sure why. I spoke up in a meeting where I should have kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t so much what I said, which in another setting would have been fine, it was the timing. I wish I had a rewind button. I feel like I suck.

After that meeting, where I had to leave early (after foolishly speaking up) I headed to my daughter’s first-grade parent-child-teacher conference. Which went okay, but the teacher and my daughter are not exactly the most compatible duo in the world. I saw my little girl the way an objective bystander might see her, and I winced a little. Not at who she is, but the way I’ve been raising her. I think she could sense my disapproval, which was worse than the feeling of judgement I had toward myself. Not good.

Thankfully, my husband, her loving father, took it all in stride. And I sat down with her and after some bargaining, coached her on her first-grade homework. She is having a hard time focusing (which is entirely normal for her, and for a 6-year-old) but she accomplished quite a bit (with me reading books to her in between her work). I told her I liked sitting with her while she did her homework. The trick will be how to do that after I get home on a usual workday at 6 p.m. or so, while fitting in a home-cooked meal (usually not me doing the cooking, but still) and our many activities we have going on (the Jewish High Holidays make for a very busy time of year — things will likely slow down once we’re past Simchat Torah next week). And getting ready for bed, etc.

My little first grader, who I usually see through a mother’s loving eyes, was driving me absolutely insane yesterday. I hardly ever yell at her, and I must have yelled her name, or some other command along the lines of “Stop” or “Cut it Out” 10 times last night. I was in a bad mood. Which is somewhat rare for me. My family members sensed this and generally responded well, and helped me calm down. A massage from my husband helped. My daughter finally calming down enough to fall asleep helped. And now, hearing the rain is helping, too. A great workout would probably be in order, but I’m not sure what I can do that will be quiet enough to keep from waking up the rest of the family at 4:44 a.m.

Writing this, here’s what I’m coming to:

  • It’s normal to be in a bad mood from time to time
  • Yesterday was a stressful day
  • I’m sorry for some of the ways I responded to what was going on yesterday
  • I don’t suck, overall
  • My family loves me
  • My little girl is both amazing and ordinary
  • We have too much going on right now but it’s going to get better
  • Eating in response to stress leads to insomnia for me
  • I really need some exercise

It sounds like the rain has stopped, or at least, slowed back to the normal drizzle from the sky that I expect.

One other thing. We were driving in the car the other day, and we were listening to the “Free to Be You and Me” CD. Little girl asks me, while we’re listening to “It’s Alright to Cry,” if I ever cry. She has seen me cry, but not since she was about 4 years old, and I haven’t cried much in front of her. I cried so much when I had a miscarriage (when she was 4) and when her dad wasn’t doing well (when she was 4-5), but I usually found ways and times to cry when she wasn’t around. I did cry in front of her a few times then, but usually silent tears streaming down my face more than the full-blown crying that I did in private (or during therapy sessions). I say, “Yes, I do cry. I have cried lots of times. But I cry when I’m sad, and I haven’t been sad lately.” So, the next time I feel like crying, I’m going to try to remember that she needs to see me cry, so she knows that this grown-up does cry from time to time and it’s perfectly okay to do so.

I love my little girl so much.

This parenting thing is turning out to be worth it for me. (I will probably regret saying this sometime in the next 10 years weeks days hours minutes.)


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