Doing Unto

I would like to be bathed in kindness today. I want everyone to treat me with love and tenderness.

So, I must first be kind, loving and gentle with all those around me.

I might be too tired and cranky for this today. 🙂

Body Con with Men

My friend Jen has gained 35 pounds, and she’s miserable. She hates the way her body looks and is embarrassed by her extra weight.

I asked her if her husband Joe cares that she’s gained weight and she said, “Yes, I think he does.”

Two thoughts immmediately ran through my head. The first was, “what a jerk Joe is. Jen is a fantastic woman, and he’s friggin’ lucky to have her. How dare he care what she weighs.” I was also a little surprised because Joe adores Jen and has since the day they met in junior high school. He waited patiently for her to date a lot of other guys until she finally realized that he, the nice guy, was the right guy.

My second thought said, “See, see, see! Even the best guys, like Joe, want their women thin. No guy will want you, Melissa, if you’ve gained weight. Just like you always thought, you have to be thin to get a man.”

(This second thought ignored the fact that my last three boyfriends preferred me with more weight and expressed the most passion when I looked curvier. Once, when I got down to MY ideal weight, my then boyfriend looked at me with a grimace, and said, “what have you done to yourself? Why would you want to look like this. Please gain some weight.” That being said, i never believed a one of them. Men want skinny women – THAT’S what i believed. And here’s Joe, validating that very fact.)

“So”, I said to Jen, “Joe told you that he’s unhappy with your weight?”

“Oh no,” she replied. “But when I’m this heavy, I don’t want him to see me naked, and he really misses that.”

“Wait, Jen. You’re saying that the only reason Joe wishes you lost weight is so that YOU felt sexier. He doesn’t care what you weigh; he just wants you to be comfortable running around naked?”

“Right”.

Oh.

Body Confidence

Now that I’m feeling comfortable in my new plumpier body, I still need to learn to like how I look at this weight.

The comfort I just mentioned comes from feeling at home with this size, clearly it’s a more natural version of me and where I’m supposed to be. Ten pounds less, and I felt like an imposter. I knew deep down within that I was never meant to be sylphlike.

But that doesn’t mean I like how I look yet. When I stand in front of the mirror, I see frumpy and dumpy. Matronly breasts, thickening waist, bulgy tummy and popping thighs. Yet, I’m happy with my eating and unwilling to eat less, AND I am determined to learn to accept and like this new frame.

What can I do? First, I need to get new bras!!!! I have always hated my big saggy breasts, and my favorite part of being really thin was that they were a lot smaller. Bras didn’t dig into me and leave huge mean red marks on my shoulders. Oh well. Now they’re popping out top, bottom, center and side. I am going on a mission to find bras that have good fit and coverage. If they have to be a DD, so be it.

And I can, for the first time EVER, introduce exercise into my life. Not to lose weight, but to tone and strengthen what’s currently here. If I get strong and healthy, I sense I will feel better about my body. I can’t know for sure, of course, because I’ve never tried this avenue before. I am lazy and uncoordinated and ashamed of both, but off I go……it’s time to show up for my body and to take better care of it.

I have to learn to honor this body that has taken so much abuse from me — shoveling food compulsively for decades, then starving until it was too weak to move, vomiting violently, abusing laxatives until it can longer function properly…

How can I not honor this body? How can I yell at it for growing and changing when it’s just trying to be itself? I won’t accept that for my body or from myself.

This is who I am, and it’s just fine.

Journey up the Scale, Part 2

I continue to gain weight. Oh well.

I am really happy with how I’m eating. It floats through my mind, “should I cut back”?, and the answer is a very clear “no”.

It’s actually no surprise that, evidently, I’m not meant to be particularly thin. Deep down inside, I always knew my body wanted bigger. I have spent a lifetime staring at larger women who looked happy and comfortable. I would check to see if they were married (I was under the impression that men only like thin women. Huh?) If someone paid a compliment to a heavier woman, my ears would perk right up – could I be plump AND attractive? Could I be big AND happy?

The shocking (to me) truth is that I like this new body, all lumps and bump and jiggling and jostling. I feel like a grown up. I feel free.

WAIT. DID I WRITE THAT? I have to go back and re-read that last paragraph. Did I, Melissa Jane Statmore, really write it? Yes, yes I did!!!!!

Let freedom ring.

“You Look Younger”

When I cut my hair off in a whacky spontaneous moment, everyone told me I looked younger. Personally, I hated the haircut – my hair tends toward frizzy and weirdly wavy when it’s short. Now, on a bad hair day, I can’t do a ponytail, a bun, a braid…Instead, I’m stuck walking around with weird hair.

The thing is -why does anyone think I want to look younger? I don’t. I’m surprised that I don’t, but I don’t. I’ve lived every minute of these 52.5 years, and there’s no denying it.

For the first time in 42 years, I didn’t get my period this month. I’d assumed this would sadden me– the end of an era, a true sign that youth had faded. Nope. I’m delighted! From the day I first got it at 10, I’ve said in all seriousness, “I’m waiting for menopause”. My periods were worse than anyone I’ve ever met – horrible cramps, diarrhea, sometimes vomiting and wild and crazy mood swings. During my period, I’ve quit my job, broken up with boyfriends, and worse, all while under the influence of hormones. Miss this? NO.

Now that I’m in my 50s, I don’t get treated like a piece of meat on the street. No one wolf whistles or stares. Yay. And so what if I don’t get hit on when I’m out – well, none of those “hits’ every worked out anyway.

I am finally comfortable in my skin and after years and years of eating disorder, am actually okay with my weight, even though I weigh more than I have in decades.

Yes, I suppose getting older means growing closer to death, which I suppose is the appeal of youth. But if it’s fake, and you’re not actually young, what’s the difference? I’ll be 53 in June and no amount of filler or hair dye will change that. Doesn’t mean I won’t use filler (I won’t) or hair dye (I do), it just means I’m not fooling anyone, particularly not myself.

It’s sad that we’re so afraid of aging, that we’re so “anti-aging”, because, God-willing, we’re all going to age. I refuse to buy anything that says “anti-aging”. THAT sounds like death to me. If I’m not getting older, I’m going into the grave. Sure, I moisturize my skin so it’s not dry, itchy and flaky, but I’m not looking for a product to turn back the clock. I’ve not yet found the clock that works backwards anyway!

So, you can tell me I look nice, but no need to say I look young. And by the way, I’m growing my hair back. 🙂

Food and Body Questions

Food and body have been an issue for me literally since birth. In the hospital, I finished more bottles than any baby before me, and was so fat at six months, the doctor put me on skim milk.

Prior to the last ten years, I don’t remember ever not being on a diet, obsessing about food and worrying constantly about my weight. Weight and food defined me – I 100% believed I was my eating disorder. It defined my existence.

I don’t know another way to grow up really and am, therefore, so interested in the way others think about food and their bodies. I wonder how often other women weigh themselves and how much does that number mean? For many years, an unwanted number RUINED my day – nothing else mattered.

How many women want to lose weight? How many don’t care? How much time is spent thinking about weight? about food?

One thing I’ve never done is exercise. I hate it and would always rather have starved than moved. But I know plenty of people who feel driven to exercise to stave off weight gain. Who exercises solely so they can eat more? Who’s scared of not exercising because of potential weight gain?

Who eats when she’s sad or lonely or bored or tired? Or happy? Who eats to avoid feeling?

Do you feel guilty after a big meal? Do you try to starve for days after? Do you like yourself better when you’re eating less?

I have many more questions. Do you have any of your own? I’d love to know what other people wonder about.

And if you feel comfortable sharing some answers, please do. I truly believe ever one of us has a story. I also believe there’s much comfort to be found in knowing we are not alone.

Come join in.

The Temptation of Thin

I’m just back from a little shopping excursion at Marshall’s. With ten extra pounds, many of my own clothes don’t fit.

I have to say, it’s a little different shopping with the new ten. It took a moment, but I AM comfortable picking mediums instead of smalls for the first time in many, many years. However, ten pounds ago, I never tried clothes on. I’d pull something I liked off the rack and knew it would look fine. There were no lumps or bumps to cover. Nothing pulled or gaped or gapped or looked even vaguely obscene.

Standing in the dressing room, with the mediums, staring at the new belly, little muffin top and boobs popping over my bra, I thought, “Hmm, maybe I do need to lose weight”.

That idea sat well for a few minutes. I pictured myself with my old body, fitting into my jeans and bras and underwear. Ahhh, didn’t that look nice?

Then I remembered the food part. The part where I’d have to eat less. For one thing, I don’t eat all that much more than I used to – I think some of my new weight is age and (lack of) hormones. So, even if I ate like i always used to, I’d still carry more pounds.

But, being perfectly honest, I am eating a bit more than before. I realize now that I used to always feel just short of satisfied. I’d eat just a little less than I needed or wanted, in order to maintain ‘thin’. Now, I NEVER feel shortchanged or restrictive. I realize I used to think about food more because, I guess, I wanted “more”. These days, that’s no longer true. I love the way I”m eating – not overeating but eating to satisfied.

While standing in the dressing room, contemplating my hips, my phone rang. It was a dear friend who recently lost a loved one, calling to say she was feeling sad and wanted some company. Rather quickly I lost interest in my hips, belly and bra. In the scheme of real things, it doesn’t matter if they’re a small, medium, or large. And I know that when I’m eating properly and enough, I’m much less focused on food and much more focused on things that truly count.

Decision made. It’s time for lunch with my friend, a meal I used to skip.