Thursday, March 31, 2016

Abortion Controversy

I admit I have a new little crush on Chris Matthews for getting Donald Trump to say that women who have abortions should be punished. Oops, Mr. Trump.

Of course, those of us who are pro-choice found the idea appalling. (And by the way, why just punish the mother?)  Shouldn’t the father take his punishment too? What was it Chris Matthews suggested – 10 days in jail?

There’s also backlash from the Anti-Choice movement (I can’t say, “Pro-life”. We’re all in favor of life.  Besides, so many of these people favor the death penalty – not exactly pro-life.)

The Anti-choice folks are all over Trump too, because they believe it is the doctor who should be punished, not the mother because she is the “victim.”

This infuriates me – it’s infantilizing to women. If I decide to have an abortion, you bet I’m making my own, very thought-through adult decision. I’m not a victim.

Therefore, if abortion is illegal and a punishable crime, than I, the mother should – by this thinking, indeed be punished. Perhaps the jails will be full of post-procedure women and, hopefully, their sperm donors too.

And by the way, don’t forget not to cover birth control on insurance plans!

Crazy stuff. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Weight Prejudice

I admit I wonder what other people eat and how they relate to food.  At Dunkin Donuts this morning, the woman ahead of me ordered hot chocolate and a bagel with butter. Were they both for her, does she exercise, what will she eat for lunch, does she eat lunch?

All these years removed from compulsive eating, anorexia and bulimia, I’m still curious how “normal” people eat and  wonder who is a normal eater and who isn’t and how that is defined, anyway.

In my last post, I talked about supermodel Tess Holliday, a plus-sized woman with seemingly fantastic self-confidence. I love her attitude and her message – love yourself at very size.

Holliday has gotten backlash for her weight and her message – some feel she’s a bad role model for women, particularly young women. They say she’s saying it’s fine to be fat, and that’s bad.

Most naysayers point to health-related issues that may occur with excess weight. I suppose that could be part of it, but woman’s intuition tells me that many people just don’t like fatness.

When I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now, I was in fine health. I wasn’t physically comfortable, but all my vitals were good and there was nothing wrong with me. But I can’t tell you how many people insisted I needed to lose weight. Near strangers raised eyebrows when I ordered dessert, asking if I “really need that”?  

When I weighed my current weight, but suffered from severe bulimia, puking frequently through the day and over-dosing on laxatives, the compliments flew because I was thin.  No one made any comments about how or what I ate. In fact, many sought my advice on how to lose and maintain a slim weight. But I was so sick and did permanent damage to my health.

So, you can’t really gauge someone’s health by her weight.

I am curious about someone like Ms. Holliday’s approach to eating. I don’t judge her – it’s her body (!), but just wonder if it is possible to have a healthy diet and healthy relationship with food and still weigh 280 pounds at 5’5? It seems it would take a lot of food and a lot of eating to maintain that weight.

My curiosity stems from my own lifetime of food and body issues. I always wonder…

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Keeping the Weight

I have a friend, Morgan, who is all by charts considered morbidly obese. She’s written about it successfully and continues to write and blog.

I met Morgan years ago after she had lost 190 pounds (half her weight) and had written a book about the weight loss. She was speaking at a workshop I attended, and we’ve been pen pals ever since. Morgan received some acclaim for her significant weight loss and book – she made television appearances and was interviewed by Oprah Magazine, etc.

Fast forward 10 years and Morgan has gained back all the weight. And she’s decided to live with it – this is who she is, and she’s not going to put off living just because she’s fat. For years, her life has been about trying to lose weight. She hasn’t lost weight, and she’s done fighting.

I respect that decision - She feels, though, that she has to mourn some things she may never know again – breathing easily up and down the stairs, male attention, easy, attractive, comfortable clothes, comfortable seating on busses and airplanes………..and so many other aspects of life which are simply more difficult to navigate with extra weight.

I also respect plus-size super model, Tess Holliday, who is 5’5 and weighs 280 pounds.  In fact, she probably weighs more now, as she’s pregnant. Holliday is everywhere, even gracing the cover of People magazine,  and is extraordinarily popular. If you follow her social media postings, she seems truly happy and comfortable and confident.

This is what she posted on social media today, “I would have only been so lucky being a teenage girl seeing women embrace their bodies of all shapes, of all sizes, and realizing I didn’t have to be ashamed of mine. It’s this message of saying, ‘This is our body and we’re not ashamed and it’s okay for you to love your body.’”

I agree a million percent and I love her message, yet I still wonder if she can truly be that comfortable and thrilled at her current weight.  I hope it doesn’t sound judgmental. I just know that when I, at 5’6, weighed 180 pounds, I was physically miserable. My stomach rolls hurt when I sat. My thighs chafed together and left deep red marks on my legs. Perhaps the worst were bras – I have big and very pendulous breasts even when thin. At 180, my huge saggy boobs dragged down every bra, which left deep deep deep and painful marks on my shoulders. Every time I start to gain weight these days my first thought, “nooooo, I can go back to excruciating bras”.

My period cramps, bad to begin with, were worse.  I couldn’t find comfortable clothes and basically wore mummus. I got purple stretch marks all over.

Being overweight just hurt physically. If I had weighed 100 pounds more than I did, as Tess Holiday does, I think it would be truly uncomfortable. God bless her for loving her body where it is.

I know this post wanders through different idea, but they were both on my mind and have been for a while.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Body Image

I never would have thought we’d see a plus-size model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Much has been made of body size and body image lately.

Wish it were going on when I was a kid. For me, being fat brought shame and misery.  I was the only one in my family with a weight problem.

My pretty sister was a popular cheerleader with great friends and devoted boyfriends. My mother was newly single, pretty, smart and dating happily. I was fat with braces, acne and frizzy hair.  Suffice it to say, I did not date. Not for many, many years.

School meant teasing and loneliness. To comfort myself, I just ate more and continued to gain weight, outgrowing clothes on a regular basis.

Mom was a single mother who supported the family as a piano teacher. Often, she begged me to stop eating so much – she couldn’t afford to keep re-stocking the refrigerator or all the new clothes I’d need with each new size.

Being fat felt like the worst, most horrible thing to be. I hated myself and my body.

In my 20s, I starved myself down to skinny and that brought more misery. The severe deprivation brought weakness, anger and desperation. At 30, I found alcohol, which I’d never drunk before because I had food to fill my emptiness. I decided to drink instead of eat. Soon, I was doing both – binge drinking and binge eating.  Bulimia set in.

After several horrible years of getting drunk, binging and purging all night, I was introduced to crack cocaine, which seemed the answers to all my problems. I wasn’t interested in anything else – so I felt crack cured my alcoholism. I lost all interest in eating, so weight wasn’t interesting, nor was binging, purging nor starving. I was thrilled.

But, of course, crack, as it does, took me down very very badly, almost irreparably.

I was one of the lucky ones and 12 miraculous Steps resolved all for me and now at nearly 52, I walk free of all my addictions.

But, imagine what my life would have looked like if my weight and my looks hadn’t meant so damn much. Bring on the plus size models.