And a series of conversations - some overheard, some intentionally held between myself and a BFF - have convinced me that this is something that needs to be said. And even as I type those words, I fear rejection, of sorts, even though I don't know most of you.
When I first began this blog, way way back when, it was to purge my anguish at losing my beloved man-dog, Nikita. It was intended to last a day, a month tops. But on & on it went, as I discovered the world through new eyes and had experiences that I wanted to share, both good and bad. There were rants and funny things and Things That Only Happen To Me. There were videos and links to other blogs and websites. I shared the ups and downs of being an artist, a stepmom, a dog mom, a daughter, a wife, an event planner, a radio personality, etc. My blog banner used to read "my life is a rickety zen circus," and that was the truth. And i rolled with it. and enjoyed a lot of it, and rolled my eyes at the rest. or barfed it out here.
so here goes.
I am 5'2" tall and weighed in at 175 pounds yesterday at the doctor. I am very unhappy about that. My recent weigh gain has overshadowed any other thing in my life, except my grief over losing Diva dog.
So I guess this was not what you expected from an artist who blogs...shouldn't this be about spending endless happy hours in the studio, or promoting my workshop or book? But today I need to get a little messy with y'all.
Here in my faceless blog, I could be anyone - tall blonde, short brunette, thin, heavy...anyone. And I have been all those things, thanks to the magic of Clairol and spike heels and cheesecake, as the case may be.
So now, here's the part. the part about being honest. and having a whispered conversation.
Last year, a perfect storm hit me. I quit smoking, I hit menopause, and my Diva dog began to fail. and I began to sink into myself and I began to gain weight. lots of weight. And my life began being measured in dress sizes, rather than moments of savoring perfection and the gleaming mist of morning walks through the woods, much to my incredible chagrin and horror at what I perceived to be a shallowness turned on myself - no, I never noticed weight on others. no, i never picked friends or made judgements about others based on their size. just myself. Just before I married, I was a size 0-2. yes. unhealthy, but that was the truth. soon after the wedding, it was a 4, then a 6. Then I got scared. Anything over a 6 was scary to me - it was the St. Johns Bay and White Stag department, wasn't it? I hit size 8 and the preoccupation began, but i still was able to say "just a few pounds over." (This all sounds so ridiculous as I write it, but I will continue in hopes of touching someone, or making myself look at this with fresh eyes). Then the 8's went to the thrift shop, as the 10's and 12's replaced them in the closet, and another round of closet cleanouts. I am now a 14, teetering on a 16. I wear a lot of sundresses, which this morning suddenly reminded me of mumu's, and all that connotation brings. I am not in a good place in my head, and since I am home most of the day alone in my studio, have plenty of time to think.
When I've whispered to a friend or two how i feel, the first words are congratulations for quitting smoking, and how much healthier I must be. But i'll be honest - I don't feel it. My doc says that smoking changes your metabolism, and that it isn't necessarily eating more that cause the weight gain. I wish it was just eating more, because then I'd simply eat less. but i do eat less now. but since i quit smoking a year ago June 15th, my cholesterol has doubled, my tri-g's are unprintable, and i fear i am headed for a heart attack if i don't do something. the problem is, there is always something to stop that "something." an injury, an ear infection, a heat wave, a continuous monsoon. all very good excuses.
I try to apply the same "love the inside" rule I have for others, to myself. but as I struggle in the dressing room to get out of a dress i'm stuck in, i do not love anything. at that moment, I want my hips back, and my flat stomach back, and my non-flappy arms back. and my diva back. and it all jumbles into one sweaty mess that culminates with a slight ripping sound as i get free of the clothing and just.go.home. and i scream at God the whole ride back that if this is a lesson, it should be f-ing over, because i have learned some things and why does EVERYthing have to be a lesson?
So these are the messy parts of me. The parts that I shouldn't share. the parts that the trendy art circle du jour would shun, because it seems as though everything should be glitterdust and birdsong. and it isn't always. but the fact that all you read is WonDeRfuL makes you feel even worse about not feeling 100% zippity do dah. and my life is not horrible by any count...it's just that i have gained enough weight to really concern myself, and it is difficult for me to do the things i want to do, and sometimes to even move about. I look in the mirror and i don't see myself. and that is the most frustrating. and if i'm being honest, which i always am here, i am relieved that my husband also gained weight when he quit smoking or else i'd be afraid he'd be grossed out by me.
All this being said, I do feel like a spoiled, shallow child...complaining about too much weight when people in many parts of the world would love a grab at too much weight as their main concern day-to-day. But it is still my reality.
Now, you're looking for the happy ending? well, how about a start at one? I sent an email to a friend this morning which I'll paste here, since it's way past time to get the laundry started. I have overcome many addictions in my life, on my own - from comic books to cocaine to nicotine. and i should know best that One Day At A Time is more than just a good tv show from the past. And my day started yesterday.
I swam 4 laps in a real pool with real people in a real bathing suit.
Next week, I will swim 6. And I will stop buying clothes, hoping to find 1 cute outfit that will be a shield of invisibility. It does not exist, and I am spending hundreds of dollars that we don't have for that nonsense, and I am hiding the bills from my husband. The guilt stops here. The lying stops here. The self-disrespect stops here. It will be a new journey - One day at a time, with no goal other than to get out and move a bit.
So there it all is. I lay my heart at your feet in hopes that you will exhale loudly and say Thank God Someone Said It First. and we'll all go put on some flouncy bathing caps and swim a few laps.