Liz’s Weight Gain

My friend, Liz, posted this on Facebook:

Do u ever look back on old photos when u thought u were fat but u really weren’t & now u actually are fat & wishing u were fat like back then?

Liz lived next door to me 10 years ago, when she was in her early 20s. Even tho she was pretty much half my age, we became great friends and hung out a lot. Liz was really mature, great company, super nice and yes, extraordinarily pretty.

Every single male we met (including kids, great grandfathers and even dogs!) fell in love with her. Quite understandable – she totally had something very special going on, inside and out.

I hadn’t been in contact with Liz for a long time, until she ‘friended’ me on Facebook not too long ago. She’s doing great. She’s running her own very successful business; she’s having a great time living near her beloved family; she has a lovely boyfriend; and the cutest puppy on earth.

And yes, Liz has gained weight. At first, I didn’t quite recognize her. She’s not fat, but the pounds have changed her features.

And yes, just like 10 years ago, Liz is beautiful. I am not saying “still” beautiful, even tho she’s not sylphlike these days. I refuse to equate beauty with slimness.

Liz’s Facebook post upset me for her and for all of us who now or ever believed it’s okay to hate our bodies because they’re not thin.

Life Changes

So, we know I quit my job 3 weeks ago. A healthy decision.

But what the heck’s next? Well, so far, I have turned down 2 good-paying jobs with excellent benefits and nice people.

Pretty acary, BUT, I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing – why do it again. I think it’s time to find something I like.

Pretty scary.

Until I figure it out (perhaps by the time I’m ready for the nursing home?), I’m going to be working at a restaurant.

I’ve been hostessing, which I love and adore, for the last few weeks, but somehow $10 an hour isn’t going to cover my car payment, et. al. So, I’m going to learn to serve.

54 year old waitress, an uncoordinated one at that. Pretty scary, right? BUT, not as scary as taking a job in an office that I REALLY don’t want.

My gut tells me it’s the right thing to do for now. My 12 Step process tells me that truly listening to my gut is like listening to God.

We’ll see 🙂

This is all very distracting – I put dry cat food in the refrigerator, made coffee without grinds and ran a load of laundry without clothes.

Time to focus!!!!

My Insides; Her Outsides

I just took a two day computer class. Computing – NOT my best (by a long shot!) or favorite subject.

The teacher, however, was terrific – so smart and funny and interesting AND accomplished. In my unemployed, unsure state, I found her kind of intimidating.

Not only does she train, but she also runs three highly successfully businesses, has a terrific marriage and the cutest one-year old baby (her screen saver.) I felt very tiny in her presence.

While giving funny examples to help us, we learned how much and how often she loves to eat and drink. In fact, she was entertaining clients after our session, that very night. Now, she’s pretty small especially for someone who eats a lot and very, very together and accomplished for someone who drinks as much as she says she does.

Yikes. I don’t have any businesses, no man, no babies and for God’s sake, if I ate like that, I’d be a mountain, and if I drank like she does, I’d be back in rehab.

“Harrumph”, I said to myself, while slouching out of Day 1

Day 2, today, our trainer isn’t there at 9. She shows, looking frantic and completely exhausted, 15 minutes late. And there’s a gigantic black and blue mark covering the entire right side of her face.

She begins her apology.

She’s newly pregnant and had been sick all morning. She’d hadn’t had time to cover the black and blue, which was caused by a horrible accident, when an 18-wheeler rear-ended her the week before. Still, this morning she was suffering from a terrible concussion, but thank God, the baby was fine, even though it had been touch and go for a while.

As for the drinking, she liked to joke about it, but her clients had laughed with her for having ‘mocktinis’ and she couldn’t actually eat anything, because she’d had so much trouble keeping food down.

Also, she was exhausted from traveling and just missed her son. And then she started to cry.

After she wiped her tears away, she proceeded to teach an outstanding class.

Lesson learned, Melissa. I can’t judge my interior against someone else’s exterior. We all struggle. And nothing is quite as it seems.

Take My Estrogen, Please

Grrr. Forgive me if this is TMI, but i have my period, and I’m quadrupled over with cramps. In an hour, I’m off to hostess at the restaurant where I’m working while job-hunting. Hope I’m able to stand up!!! AND, I couldn’t be crankier. Watch out patrons – better sit where I tell you! 🙂

I’ll be 54 in June. It’s a little embarrassing that I’m still menstruating, frankly. I should be complaining of hot flashes, not whining about cramps! I’m sorry, but when all your pubic hair is gray, you’re out of your child-bearing years!

I love my age – I sometimes get confused and say I’m 55 (see, I’m already very forgetful!) Dear Lord, take my estrogen please.

(FYI, I love hostessing and the restaurant I work at. I may be 54, but I’ve always preferred the job of a teenager!)

I’m Bloated – Who Cares?

Today, I went to visit a dear friend who just had back surgery. She’s in a fair amount of pain and seemed pretty uncomfortable.

Great friend that she is, she asked how I was doing now that I’m out of work.

“Well,” I told her “I’m really worried I’m gaining weight”.

I explained that mostly it’s because I’m just not stressed anymore. High anxiety took my appetite, and I had no time to eat anyway. Now, I’m relaxed with a lot of free time and I’m a lot closer to the refrigerator.

Also, I shared, everyone’s being so nice and making me dinner or buying me lunch. My neighbor invites me over for coffee and pastries every morning..

“Oh no!”, I exclaimed, “I’m going to get fat!!”

At that moment, my friend winced.

I looked over and saw the pain covering her face. I reached for her hand, and she squeezed.

“Shut up, Melissa’, I said to myself. Or, as my 12 Step hero says, “Get over yourself and go help someone else.”

And so I did.

Why I Respect Melanie Trump

The following is purely my opinion – obviously, I don’t know what someone else is actually thinking. Here goes;

In recent years some truly great, strong women stood by their husbands and threw themselves into their roles as First Lady – Barbara Bush, Hilary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michele Obama. Each was whip-smart, highly educated and quite accomplished before they tirelessly devoted themselves to their husband’s campaigns and presidencies. Many put aside their own careers and agendas and took on the official ladylike responsibilities of the president’s wife. Some of the women didn’t look too pleased about it (again, only my opinion.) I think Barbara Bush didn’t want her husband to run a second time, and if you ask me, Mrs. Obama’s bags were packed shortly after arrival. However, no matter their own personal choices and preferences, they showed up and did as exactly as expected, whether they were happy or not.

For example Hillary Clinton. Hard-driving super-attorney Hillary Clinton had to play ‘ the girl’ and tolerate endless comments about her hair and clothing and make-up and figure. I remember her hostessing some official state dinner in a trendy, kind of sexy Donna Karan open shoulder gown. Reporters peppered her with questions about food choices and the silverware and candlesticks and the flowers. It was 25 years ago, but I still remember thinking she looked horrible out of place and out of her element. Why, just because she’s a woman, should she care about flower arranging?

I can only imagine that Mrs. Clinton was bored out of her mind, but she hostessed the heck out of those parties, with a big smile plastered across her face.

Mrs. Clinton also only took her husband’s last name once he began his presidential campaign. She’d been Hillary Rodham up until then, but was ocmpletely willing to change everything, including her identity, for her husband, the president-to-be.

Not Melania Trump. To me, it looks like she does what she wants. She stayed in New York for five or so months after her husband moved to Washington. She made the decision, she choose to allow her son to finish the school year in NYC. I can’t think of another First Lady who would even have considered having that option (again, my opinion.)

Mrs. Trump doesn’t seem to be doing anything she doesn’t want to do. She’s not gardening with children, or visiting sick folks in the hospital or reading to kids or anything. Who knows if her predecessors felt like doing all the charitable deeds that kept those very busy and smiling away? Maybe not.

Mrs. Trump doesn’t even pretend to like her husband – they look like strangers from different eras when they walk to an airplane, many steps apart. And you didn’t see Melania sitting next her husband on 60 Minutes denying his infidelities, while looking absolutely miserably uncomfortable.

I say, good for you Melanie Trump. You’re not twisting or turning or changing yourself to be a ‘lady’.

Perhaps Mrs. Trump is the true feminist!

Stevie Nicks’ Weight

I just finished an interesting biography of Fleetwood Mac frontwoman, Stevie Nicks. It talked a lot about her poetry, her music, her relationships, her illnesses and serious drug addictions.

I also learned a lot about her weight. At each stage of her career. Of course, I found this annoying.

I always appreciated the music of Fleetwood Mac. And their songs were EVERYWHERE when I was growing up. (They still are – I hear at least one song every day, on the radio and in commercials.) I truly respect their musicianship and longevity and the fact that they made hit after hit after hit in one of the world’s toughest industries. But they wouldn’t have gotten nearly that far without the inimitable Stevie Nicks, a true legend.

As I was reading about her weight gain, corsets, heaving cleavage, ‘bloating’,et. al, I felt really sad for Stevie. Particularly since, as Stevie got heavier, reviewers started making nasty comments. Rolling Stone, The New York Timesand local papers all continually noted her weight.

Why? What does her weight have to do with her musical ability? Yes, her voice got rough and damaged, but that was from massive amounts of cocaine and alcohol. Not cheesecake.

Of course, I wondered if men get the same demeaning treatment. I didn’t read anything about Lindsey Buckingham’s bloating (and he did bloat). But I suppose sometimes they do – think Elvis.

Still, I’d say most people put on weight as they age – it’s normal. By the time the Stevie Nicks biography closed, she was 70.

(The biography also constantly references Stevie’s age, and makes a big deal each time she dates a guy a bit younger than she. The men in Fleetwood Mac, on the other hand, all end up in their 60s with wives half their age and new babies. Perfectly acceptable.)

I guess I don’t care what my rock star weighs, what she eats, which diets she tries – I do care that she can still sing Rhiannon and give me the chills.

A New Reaction to Stress

The last time I was out of work was 14 years ago, and I stayed unemployed for almost a year. I’d quit my job because I couldn’t function in the world. I did hard drugs instead. I also drank heavily and binged on junk food most days and all through the night.

What a horrible, terrified existence. My biggest fear was that I could never find or hold a job again and would never be able to support myself. I told myself I was nothing, useless, incompetent, stupid and lazy.

Once I put down substance and went through the 12 Steps, I got my life back – well, actually, I got a whole new life (hallelujah). And have been gainfully employed for the last 13 years.

Today, I find myself unemployed again, having quit my job. But it’s a whole new world. I am confident, excited and ready for a new opportunity.

Yes, there is some trepidation, but does that mean I have to drug or drink or eat ’til I can’ breathe? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Instead, I have to get to work!


I went to my brother’s house tonight – it’s a little haven where MSNBC runs 24/7, my brother is ALWAYS cooking something delicious, and the sweet dog, Bo, sits on my feet.

So there I am, Chris Matthew interrupting his guests; Cajun brisket stewing on the stove and Bo nuzzling my boot…, when I get a Facebook message from Michael, my crack dealer from 15 years ago. What? Yuck? and He’s Still Alive?

That man introduced me to drugs, stole ALL my money – over and over, destroyed my apartment and my life AND I was so madly in love with him I would have AND did do anything for him. Crazy madness. Terrible times. I can’t even believe I’m alive!!!!

Fifteen years and here he is on Facebook, wanting to make an amend. What do I do? My instincts tell me to stay away, don’t trust him, he’s nothing but trouble.

And yet, I was nothing but trouble and everyone accepted my amend. How can I not afford him the same opportunity that was so generously given to me?

Still, no. Just way too much damage done. Can and will never trust him.

Can’t Eat

I got some sad news early this morning about a dear, dear friend and am heartbroken. I spent most of the day on the phone with her, listening to her, letting her cry and, simply, being her friend. I refused to let her hear me cry (not easy!) – she hates that!. She’s been pretty sick for a while, and everyone is always crying around her. (But every time we got off the phone, I wept and wept. )

At about 6 pm, I noticed an odd churning in my belly. Hmmm, why was my stomach growling? It hit me – I had eaten nothing all day and had not thought about food once!!!! Not once. (What, ME, the compulsive eater, anorexic and bulimic?!)

My body was telling me it was really hungry, and I went to the refrigerator. Staring at the shelves of food, it felt like everything would taste like cardboard. It kind of made me sick. I walked away.

A little later, my belly rumbled louder. And I thought – I guess I should put something in there. But what? Nothing looked or seemed appealing.

I spotted a package of saltines sitting on the counter – maybe I could swallow those? I forced myself. Yuck. Cardboard.

I gave up on the eating idea. I’ll live. I have more important, real things to do. Like actually experiencing pain and sadness, being in the moment, and most of all, being a friend to a wonderful woman with far greater problems than my own.

For most of my life, I would have eaten and eaten and eaten and eaten – gorging myself until I could barely breathe or move. Then, I would have felt MISERABLE and disgusting and terrified and so sorry for myself </and I would have started binging again.

Today, I am here, experiencing life. AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL – I AM HERE FOR MY FRIEND.