I’m still having a war with Facebook

Nothing grand, like battling Mark Zuckerberg, or even Facebook as a cooporation.

Just Facebook, and use of, in my personal life.

The fact is, I like it, because it makes me feel like people know I exist.

Which, as someone who’s pretty much ‘only’ been a mum for most of the last decade, can feel pretty special.

I like feeling like I state something about life, or about my experience as a whole, and feel like someone will see it, like someone cares.

Isn’t that why Facebook is so freakishly popular, after all?

But I’m not always a nice person – although I try not to be overtly mean as much as possible, it’s often a grey area.  I am very far from perfect.

The same, of course, applies to other people.

This is where it all goes wrong.  I say something, which can be interpreted so many ways, someone takes offense, says something back, which I take offense to.

Or sometimes someone comments on a photo – and I think “a comment!  cool!” except it’s advice telling me how to make it better.  Which smacks of it ‘not being good enough’ and I take offense.

I have mega-issues about not being good enough.  So I’m sensitive to that, y’know?  And someone trying to give advice is usually just trying to help me be better rather than say I’m not good enough.  But that’s not how my brain hears it.

Facebook also highlights for me, that while I have some hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook, it’s not the same as ‘real life’ friends.  Truth is, when it comes to wanting to spend an evening with someone, just for the company, I have very few people I can go to.  When it comes to me having a crisis and needing some practical, hands-on help, I have even less.

I find it so easy to feel loneliest whilst in a crowded room.

Facebook is my crowded room.

And I’m thinking that maybe it’s time for me to spend some time actually alone in a room – virtually, and possibly really as well.  At least when you’re truly alone, you can only get mad at / take offense at / blame yourself.


Remembering my Values, and Empowering the Child

The other day on the way to ballet lessons, we stopped outside a block of shops.  I gave Zamara $9 (a $5 note and 2x $2 coins).  After I asked, and she correctly answered, how much she had, I sent her on a mission to go into the dairy and get a drink (of her choosing) for her, and a Mountain Dew for myself.

I thought she’d be thrilled.  She loves getting drinks (juice, or fizzy – they’re all a treat for her) and she craves independence.

Instead, she balked.  “Where do I go?  What do I do?”

I pointed out which shop was the dairy (surprised she even needed that much assistance) and popped into the neighboring pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  The prescription took about five minutes.  I checked back in the car, she wasn’t there.  I wandered into the dairy, where I saw a confused looking seven year old being assisted by the shop clerk, helping her pick out and get the drink she was after as well as mine.

I was shocked. I’ve never had her purchase anything herself before (I frequently let her choose, but do the transaction myself).  For some reason, I just assumed that a) she’d jump at the chance and b) she’d succeed easily.  Neither ended up being true – she didn’t know where to start with the task.  In the end, she managed it, but primarily because the shop clerk noticed her walking in and out of the shop looking befuzzled and asked if she needed help.  She explained she was getting a drink for mum and herself, and he gradually pulled the information out that I wanted a Mt. Dew and she wanted – well, she wasn’t sure – but actually, that Fresh Up looks nice.  When I came in at that point, she expected me to take over, but I didn’t.  I did follow her to the counter, but let her put the money up herself (and she did – she hadn’t noted the price at all, but merely put everything I’d given her up at once, for the shop clerk to sort out).

The experience was an eye opener for me.  It reminded me exactly how much we take for granted – i.e., I purchase something most days, and no longer think about it.  She’s never done it before.  She’s only just taller than the standard size shop counter.  But she’s also come to accept that it’s just frankly not her role – and that’s the part that bothers me.  I was raised very independent, in part by necessity and in part deliberately on my mother’s part.  In many ways, I was always treated as a mini-sized adult.  I don’t remember when I did my first shop transaction, but I’m sure I was doing it by seven and a half.  I regularly had pocket money – something none of my kids do.  (Even with their tooth-fairy money, they treat it like a toy, and misplace it more often than not).  There were some aspects of my uber-independent upbringing I didn’t like, but in general, it’s one I was hoping to emulate with my children.  The experience in the dairy was a wake-up call that I’ve slacked in my goals of empowering my children, at least in this area.  I don’t think it’s unreasonable that a seven year old be able to buy a few items at a small store. (Wasn’t Kevin eight years old in the original Home Alone – and he managed fine at the store!)

I am, as Dr. Phil puts it, not just “raising kids”, but raising tomorrow’s adults.  As such, I see it as my duty to ensure – in age appropriate steps – that they are fully capable and confident when interacting with the world.  I think I’ve fallen into the trap – and convenience – of still seeing my seven and a half year old as the fully dependent baby she was, and not as the Year 3 school student she is, or the adult I hope that she grows up to be. I’m busy, it’s easier in the moment to just grab items myself, often having her stay in the car for the whole trip.  This week, I’ve been reminded of the enormous value there is in both bringing her in with me, but also, nudging her to do things herself.

Sitting with my back to the sun

Funny how certain things trigger memories.

Between 9am and 11am the sun streams through the windows in the living room, and hits my recliner – and me, when I’m in it – just so.  It’s easy to get quite hot just from the direct sunlight at this time, in this place, especially with the windows closed so no breeze takes the edge off.

A year ago, I had developed a pattern.  William would go to sleep for one of his many newborn naps, often in the swing directly in front of my recliner, sometime during this time.  And I would stretch out in my recliner and soak in the sun, trying to take from it the same life-giving energy that plants soak up, merely by being in it’s presence.

Sometimes I managed to doze off in the warm glow.

Sometimes I merely wished to sleep whilst all the while anxiously waiting for the boy to wake up and start the cycle over, and simultaneously wishing he would just stay asleep, just a little bit longer.

Always, the time was too short.

Always, I felt like I was taking a single gasping breath whilst drowning in the ocean, before being barreled back under the waves.

Now, though, it’s just sunlight streaming in through the window… and highlighting the echoes of memories.

What a difference a year makes.

What I hate about gyms

Actually, I probably shouldn’t use that title, because frankly there’s more I dislike, than like, about gyms and fitness centers. 

But I was up another 800g in weight this week.  Although I’m also at a time of the month I’m prone to a gain, that’s not much of an excuse, seeing as I’ve gained every week since the last time this time of the month rolled around.  Actually I’ve gained every week for two months now… but who’s counting? 

Other than me.  Clearly I am.  Watching the numbers tick up with frustration.  

Also I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser.  Which, frankly, is a very dangerous combination for me.  I know the show is, in so many ways, fake and unrealistic.  I know that’s not the ideal way to train.  I know that the competitors have nothing else to do but eat right and exercise all day.  I know that the show propagates so many stereotypes and taboos about fat people, all in the name of being “motivational” and “inspiring”.  I also know it’s one of my favorite shows to binge eat to – maybe I’m just perverse like that. 

Apparently knowing that isn’t enough.  Nor is my long-standing dislike of gyms, because I found myself back there today. 

It’s not strictly fair to say that I hate gyms.  They have their place, and different places, and meanings, for different people.  I really hate the shaming atmosphere that you get at the start, in almost every gym or fitness centre I’ve signed up at. (Come to think of it, the only time I haven’t had to go through the procedure was paying a one-month, non-recurring, membership up front in cash.  In that case, I was free to use the gym how I liked…. though I did get a stern talking to about how that was a really dumb membership to use.) 

I’d guess anyone who’s ever joined a gym probably has done the procedure at least once.  “Great! You want to sign up! Now, let’s go through all the things we need to change about you…. ” 

Okay.  I accept that I’m obese.  I accept that I’m also not as fit as I could be (though I hate the assumption that big = terrible fitness, because it doesn’t always). I even accept, that for me, that’s usually one of the reasons I’ve come to the fitness centre in the first place – in the hopes of losing weight. 

The hour long weighing, measuring, testing, procedure is still not really necessary.  Even when you “just want to provide a baseline, so we can look back and see how far you’ve come!” Really, it’s in the way it’s handled, of course.  The assumption definitely seems to be, shame that fat person into coming in for his/her workouts.  (As an aside, that also seems to be the standard on The Biggest Loser.  Still don’t like or approve of it.)

Today I joined another gym.  This makes the fifth different gym – and sixth membership – that I’ve signed up for (barring the one month thing mentioned above).  Also the sixth “fitness profile” I’ve done. 

Today’s included a questionnaire – orally done by the trainer – with overall lifestyle satisfaction, including how you’d rank your life, how well you sleep, how high you’d rank your energy levels, etc. 

“On a scale of 1-10 (10 being high) how would you rank your self image and self esteem?”

I said 3. 

It was probably an overestimation. 

Only to be met with “awww… why would you think that?  What’s so awful?” 

Um, really, I just want to use the machines, thanks.  This isn’t The Biggest Loser – and you are not a counsellor – so I will not be having a sob-out-my-self-hate story here.  

Society constantly tells people that fat people are worthless simply on the basis of being fat people. 

Why the hell do I have to get a guilt trip from someone (muscled and fit at that) because after 31 one years, I’ve bought into the message? 

Why I don’t like “There are always people worse off”

I’m prone to depression (no surprise, if you’ve read a handful of the posts here). There are lots of ways to ‘handle’ a depressed person – both good, and bad. These have been discussed, at length, with various degrees of levity and research, by many parties smarter and more talented than me.  One of my current favorites is Hyperbole and a Half’s two-part take on depression which is well-worth the read, if you haven’t seen it.

One of the phrases that most bugs me however, is being counseled that “there are always people worse off”.  I’ve been told this any number of times about nearly any subject, including telling it to myself.  (I hate pregnancy – and tend to complain my way through it – whilst all the while knowing that as I rarely have major complications, and get only fairly minor motion sickess, that there are truly many people worse off… just for an example.)  I’ve decided that there is no benefit to being reminded of this however.  It’s exactly the same use as telling a child to eat everything on their plate “because children are starving in Africa”.  Whether that particular dinner gets eaten or not doesn’t change the terrible fact that there are children starving in Africa – and just about everywhere else.  What it does is make children feel guilty.  (And possibly lead to food hang-ups that lead to obesity, but that’s another post.) The same is true for “people worse off”.  Sure, there’s countless numbers of people worse off than me, in any given situation.  They don’t impact on my suffering though.  What it does is make me feel guilty about feeling bad, adding a negative emotion to existing negative emotions.  For someone already prone to going down the self-hate cycle, it’s only another gram of ‘proof’ that the self-hate feelings are, therefore, correct.

However, I heard a slightly different take on things, from an interview with Elizabeth Smart, kidnapping victim who’s released a book on her experience, My Story. Her take on things – even at the worst of the worst of her experience – was that “it could always get worse”. This statement, in contrast to the one above, doesn’t inspire guilt.  Maybe pessimism or anxiety (if you’re prone to reading “could” as “will”).  Mostly, though, it can inspire gratitude, which it did for her. Be thankful for what you have now, even when it seems impossibly hard – because it can always get worse. Instead of focusing on what you should (theoretically) be feeling, it instead shifts one’s focus of their feelings.  Gretchen Rubin mentions a similar way of thinking in her book The Happiness Project, where she focuses on turning a complaint into gratitude. (My step-grandfather was a master at this.  He genuinely loved paying bills, a task that many hate.  His love came from the gratitude that he was able to pay them, and gratitude for the things the bills represented.)

So, do me a favor.  If you know a person going through a hard time, please don’t remind them that millions of people are worse off than they are. Do feel free, however, to remind them that things can always get worse… and hopefully, to be grateful for at least some part of their current experience.

Sugar Free Gaming

Once upon a time – or, really, about two and a half years ago – I went sugar free.  It was inspired by the true knowledge I’ve had for awhile that I am completely addicted to sugar.  It was further fueled – or given that last, critical, push – by David Gillespie‘s book Sweet Poison.  I started avoiding sugar – specifically fructose – in all its forms, other than packaged as nature intended, in pure, whole, fruit.

I stopped whilst pregnant with William.  Contrary to all anecdotal advise, incorporating sugar into my diet helped my morning sickness.  From everything I read on the topic, it shouldn’t have helped.  Regardless, I felt markedly better once I started on the sugar again.

In any case, what’s done is done.  I’ve been trying to get back off the sugar for months now.  Usually it doesn’t last more than a day before I give up and try again the next day.  This past week I made it four and a half days.  It was a personal record for me since restarting sugar.  But it was ended by momentarily forgetting, and having a Sprite with lunch whilst out.  (Soft drink with cafe meals is just something I’ve always done.  Clearly I’m not back in the habit yet of ordering diet, or just water).

It could have ended there.

But then I started gaming again.

I love computer gaming.  Admittedly, I play “like a girl”, meaning I don’t much fancy first person shooters, but I love strategy games, and The Sims, and even World of Warcraft.  I’m a binge gamer though.  When I get involved in a game, I can play it for hours a day, for days on end.  But when I move away from it – usually just by getting busy with life – I can stay away for months, even years.

The problem is, I have a terrible time reconciling the two versions of myself – the sugar free version and the gaming version.  Logically, there’s no conflict. There’s no rule that says one needs to be amped on high amounts of sugar and caffiene in order to spend time gaming, even if that’s the (largely true) stereotype.

Personally though, it creates a clash in my mind.  I’ve realised I have visions of myself, and of labels.  If I’m identifying as a gamer – and I do, sporadically, when I’m in a gaming mode – then I’m eager to take on all the aspects of ‘a gamer’, including staying up all night and consuming all or mostly junk food.  My idea of a ‘sugar free person’ however, conjures up images of granola-munching hippies (despite the fact granola is frequently quite high in sugar, actually), and healthy people eating good, whole foods, and living a well-balanced and natural lifestyle.  It doesn’t mean any of the above is actually true of sugar free people.  In fact, it’s perfectly possible to be fructose-free and still subsist largely on what society views as junk food (trust me, my husband does it, so I know!). In my mind, however, if I’m trying to be sugar free, then I should be like the ideal I have pictured – whether the ideal is flawed or not, whether I had any role in even creating the picture of the ideal or not.  Same with gaming.  My mind – and self-image – rejects calling myself a gamer if I’m not striving for all aspects of the ideal I have pictured – junk food and all.

My brain does not compute being both sugar free and a gamer – even though it clearly can be done (so much so that there’s a blog called just that, SugarFreeGamer).

The true issue, is of course, thinking I have to fit into the arbitrary and frequently false labels, instead of just being me.  Surprise!  It’s the same demons I’ve been battling since middle school, in yet another guise.

I am truly the master of self-sabotage.

Sometimes it’s not meant to be

I didn’t get into the course I’d applied for, the one that would have me primarily based in Wellington for 9 months.

Though to be honest, I’ve been suspecting as much for the past week.  Just doing the actual application process – with C.V., cover letter outlining both my ambitions and experience, and official transcript – was eye opening to me, looking at myself how a stranger would see me, when looking to judge me or rank me amongst my peers.

I’m 31 years old.  I’ve had, in my life, two full time jobs – for a grand, combined total of 2 years. I’ve had a handful of part-time jobs, each at entry-level, slightly-above-minimum-wage office assistant / office junior rolls.  This, primarily because I can type, and when required, I can use my brain and edit or proof what I’m typing rather than being completely mindless data-entry.

I guess I should be thankful.

Really though, this sums it up pretty perfectly for me.


I’ve worked a full time job for two years – and the most recent one ended in 2006.  I have a BA, but no industry experience, in much of any industry.  The career I most want has limited prospects, is hard to get into, has a course designed to ease entry, but to get into the course, it’s recommended to have industry experience.  I have four children, and had to quit my last job simply because my childcare costs significantly outstripped my income – making both me, and my children, a liability.  Even my University transcript doesn’t read great, as I burned out (and flunked out) in my third year.  I did end up taking a break, then finishing on a much better note, and with two kids under three at the time – but extenuating circumstances don’t show on transcripts.  I have no real references.

Women like me are meant to be mothers.  Truly, I know lots of women relish motherhood, and the full time job of being a full-time, hands on mother.

Myself, it’s more of a default, accidental occupation.

Children – at least the first – weren’t accidental, or unwanted.  But things happened, more children came (with varying degrees of surprise) and this is the ‘occupation’ I have made for myself.   Even now, even being fairly certain I’m quite happy with our family size, happy to stop now, not feeling particularly clucky (though I still think newborns are beyond cute, but better when you can hand them back).  Even now, when faced with no real prospects, and no exciting or forseeable career future, the default seems to be ‘have another baby’.  Not that I want to, or that I’m planning to… but right now it seems the only thing I’m able to do.  I think I’m a pretty lousy mother, but I seem to have real talent for conceiving.  I don’t enjoy pregnancy, but in the scheme of things, mine are fairly uneventful, so you could say I’m good at that too.

In the past year here in New Zealand, there’s been a strong push against beneficiaries, and specifically solo mums.  Solo mums who, instead of being seen as a mum stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to support her child(ren) whilst also dealing with the break up of a relationship, or unexpected events, are seen instead as people deliberately working the system, carefully plotting to get pregnant and pop out another baby every year or two, simply to live the lush life on the taxpayers’ dime. I’m not a solo mum (and am thankful for that!) but I can see the trap as plain as day.  When your CV reads more like a liability list than a way of adding value, when any income you could earn wouldn’t total the cost of childcare, let alone rent, power, or food, when you have no skills to speak of, no referees, and no experience…. what can you do?  Motherhood becomes the default choice, even if she – even if we – don’t want it to be.  It becomes the only choice society will let us do, and will then moan about how we shouldn’t be allowed to just be mothers.

Perhaps, then, more needs to be done to help empower women to have actual skills, experience, and professional support – and possibly a helping of self-esteem as well. Perhaps we can encourage employers to see mothers re-entering the workforce as (life) experienced, hard working, do-what-it-takes employees that will be grateful for a chance, rather than an inexperience liability.  Perhaps then women would feel – and be- capable of working and contributing both to society and their lives, and the rest of society can stop the hand-wringing over what to do about the beneficiary problem and instead focus on something more important.

Perhaps, if we want mothers to act like hard-working, taxpaying, contributing members of society, we should start treating them as such.

I watch the Super Bowl

I watch the Super Bowl.

I don’t really follow football, though I have enough Californians on my Facebook feed that I do take notice if the 49’ers are doing anything of note, and when they were in the Super Bowl I was definitely eager to watch them play. Even so, I don’t watch any games during the regular season, even the 49’ers ones. I understand the rules enough to be able to follow the game (just) but I just don’t attach the same meaning to it as so many people do. At the end of the day, it’s grown men in ridiculous amounts of padding playing a game for people to watch, and paid obscene amounts of money to do so. Maybe I’ve been in New Zealand too long, but I’ve come to have far more respect for rugby as an actual game of skill / toughness than American Football.

I watch the Super Bowl, though.

I grew up with football in my life. My father was an avid fan, a die-hard 49’er fan through thick and thin, but a fan of football overall as well. I went to Super Bowl parties, always at the same house, every year, from as young as I can remember. Whilst there I didn’t actually watch the game – not once. I played with the other kids of football-mad parents, and of course, I ate the food. I relished the food. Even so, the Super Bowl has never really been about the food for me.

I watch the Super Bowl.

While watching, I hear the noise of the Super Bowl party around me, even whilst sitting in the humid summer air, watching it live and by myself in the middle of the day in New Zealand. Every touchdown that’s made, I hear roar of the small crowd watching in the living room of Mary and Chris Cunningham, half of them standing up and cheering with full-bodied gusto for any given touchdown, even whilst the other half stayed seated on the edge of their seats, rapt with faith and hope in their chosen team. Most of all though, I hear my father’s voice, how every touchdown (and specifically for the 49ers), he used to yell, “TOUCHDOWN 49ERS!” as if those not watching still needed the update, or on the off-chance those that were watching missed it by some unlikely chance. I can’t, in fact, watch a touchdown, without hearing my father’s booming voice in my head yell “TOUCHDOWN!” I watch the Super Bowl, and I remember my father.

I watch the Super Bowl.

For the first several years I lived in New Zealand, I didn’t. I didn’t have any access to Sky Sport channels (the only ones that air the Super Bowl here in NZ) and I didn’t care enough to go to a sport’s bar that aired it, as several around the city do, catering specifically to homesick Americans and the strange breed of Kiwi that is fascinated by all things American. I’d still catch the highlights on the nightly news, as major things in America, including in American-specific sports, still make the news here, at least as a few passing highlights.

I watch the Super Bowl, though, if I can.

By the strange accident (otherwise known as procrastination and laziness) of us still subscribing to Sky Sport, even though I only ever watch an odd handful of things on those channels (like the Super Bowl – or Rugby World Cup – or the Olympics), I watch the Super Bowl if I can. I will even go to the extent of recording it, specifically to watch the game. As I’m in New Zealand, I can’t claim that I watch the Super Bowl simply for the ads, as by necessity the ads here are all local ones, and due to being a paid-TV channel, the ads are exclusively for other shows on the sports channels, all of which I could care less about. The ads here – at least, the ones that air on said paid TV during the Super Bowl – have very little pure entertainment value, either. I do actively miss the American ads, and most years will search out the supposed best ones on YouTube.

Thank God for YouTube and it’s ability to enable me to watch paid advertisements by choice.

I watch the Super Bowl on the odd occasion I’m in the USA for it. Which, since I moved to New Zealand, has been all of once. On that particular day, my mother was very near death, and spent the day in the hospital having the excess fluid from her lungs drained. But I remember that she always watched the Super Bowl, even after she and my father separated. She also followed football in general in a closer way than I ever have, and for a reason I could never understand (or remember). I watch the Super Bowl. And now, memories of my mother will always be a part of me watching the Super Bowl.

I watch the Super Bowl.

Last year I watched the Super Bowl whilst rocking on a swiss ball, with intermittent labour pains that would neither go away or progress to anything real. I used the stop-start clock of the game to time the stop-start niggles that I was having, and wondered if my little guy inside would choose to make his appearance on the day of the Super Bowl – a date that’s as much of an accident of chance as having a birthday on Easter, changing date every year but always in the vincinity. In the end, William decided the Super Bowl was not his thing, and he waited til several days later to make his appearance. Now, though, when I watch the Super Bowl I think of my son William, named for his grandfather, who always watched the Super Bowl, and his impending birthday.

I watch the Super Bowl.

I watch it with the same memories and eagerness that many watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve. It is just as much a marker of time gone by, and heralding the year to come. It holds markers of my culture, and memories of my past. It keeps me, in some strange disembodied way, still grounded in my American culture even whilst living in my chosen country of New Zealand. I watch the Super Bowl, whether I care about the outcome or the teams playing. I watch the Super Bowl because it is ingrained in who I am.

An Open Letter to You

I don’t know you as well as I’d like to. Still, I feel like I do know you, quite intimately. Because you remind me of myself, so strongly.

I can see, and more importantly, feel your struggle with self confidence deep into my core. I can feel it, because I do feel it. Because we are different, but we are the same in this regard.

Truth be told, there is no magic answer. Oh, for a fairy godmother that would wave her wand, and instantly we’d be the beautiful, self-confident and self-assured, calm, poised, funny and fun to be around princesses that we imagined we would grow up to be as children. Here’s the thing though. Even if we were exactly that – would we believe it? I suggest that we wouldn’t. We’d look in the mirror, and see that actually, this dress would suit Snow White better than ourselves. As lovely as those slippers looked on Cinderella, on our feet they just look clompy and pretentious. Our hair doesn’t fall as gracefully as Aurora’s, and doesn’t have that long and healthy glow that Rapunzel’s does.

In truth, of course, we’re not princesses. And we never will be. Frankly, I’ve decided I’m quite happy not to be a Royal, real or fairy-tale. Too much castle to clean, too many people honestly scrutinising our lives for the slightest blip. And don’t even get me started on the pressure for an heir – which, when put a different way, is really just the greater public wanting to know the details of your sex life.

The beauty in all of this, is that we don’t have all and sundry desperate for a candid shot of us. It’s a cliché, but it’s true – people really don’t think about you as much as you fear they do. That’s the beauty of being average, rather than a celebrity. Better still, that doesn’t mean you’re unloved. It means you are loved for exactly who you are. There is truly no one else who can be a better you, than you.

Every mum has her less than optimal days, but no one else could be your children’s mum.

Every woman has her bloated days, her bad hair days, and her days when she should have just stayed in bed. But no other woman can be you.

Every woman has ideas she thinks is great, but most of these women will be too scared to implement them, and let self-doubt talk her out of it.

Every woman will know someone she thinks is more beautiful than her. This means that someone is envious of you just as you are envious of someone else.

There will always be someone smarter, richer, more successful, more graceful, more beautiful, better able to handle stress than you. There will always be someone better than you, in just about every aspect.

Except no one else can be a better you.

Those days you wake up, and decide there’s no point trying out the new idea, because it wouldn’t work anyway? Those days are the days negativity wins – and when you’re not being your best you.

Those days you do something really well, but won’t let yourself feel proud of it, because someone else could have done it better – those days, the negativity wins – no one else could have done it exactly that same way.

You’re never going to wake up as a fairy-tale princess. You’re never going to wake up and find that someone has waved a wand, and now your life is perfect.

No one else is you. And that’s pretty perfect itself.

My Body is a Prison

Today is not a good day.

Today I weighed in, like I do every week, and saw that I’d gained another two kilos. This from only a week ago.

I hate that gaining anything – let alone two kilos – sets the whole tone of my day, sometimes even my week.

I hate that I feel the need to weigh in every week, but find that I’m compelled to do so. Heck, I’m actually quite proud of myself that I’ve always managed to keep it to weekly weigh ins, and not more frequent. But I can’t weigh myself less frequently, and I certainly can’t not weigh myself.

More than that, today’s two kilo gain not only tops my updated-every-week “highest weight I’ve ever been” record, it also means that I now have a full forty kilos that I need to lose. For those of you that ‘don’t do metrics’, that’s 89 pounds. I suppose I should be happy that it’s not “half of me”… but at the rate I’m going, it won’t be long until it is.

It also places me 0.8 of a BMI unit away from the threshold needed to be considered for publicly-funded weight loss surgery.

Not that that’s a goal for me. Or, for that matter, that I’d be likely to be chosen, as the publicly funded surgeries here are still relatively rare, and I doubt I’d be a likely candidate either as I haven’t got any other corresponding disease. Rather, it just shows me how bad it’s gotten.

As if I couldn’t tell from looking in the mirror.

As if I couldn’t tell from seeing photos of me.

As if I couldn’t tell by the fact that my clothes seem to be shrinking a touch each week.

As if I couldn’t tell by the fact that none of the clothes I want to buy are available in my size.

As if I couldn’t tell by the way I’ve become invisible in society.

The part that really pisses me off about the whole situation is that I’m not allowed to bitch about it. In part, because it’s of course it’s all my fault anyway. But also because nowadays everyone’s an expert, even if they’re in the same boat.

“Oh, I know how you feel. I’ve just started (fill in the blank) program and lost (insert impressive sounding number here) kilos.”

“It’s the carbs.”

“It’s the sugar.”

“It’s the processed foods.”

“It’s the meat.”

“It’s simple, after all, it’s just calories in vs. calories out.”

Honestly, I’ve been fat my whole life. And since before I was in highschool, I’ve been on a diet of some sort, or guiltly planning to be. Frankly, I don’t really buy any of it anymore.

More than that though, I’m sick and tired of it being open season on obesity. Yes, I know it’s a problem. And, this may surprise you, but I also know I’m fat. I know this raises my risk factor of dozens of diseases.

I know it’s bad.

Frankly, I also know of all kinds of programs I can go on, officially or unofficially, to work at changing the way I am.

To work at being different than myself.

Be a better you!

Obviously, the me I am – the fat me – isn’t good enough. And should I say it is, virtually everyone will jump up to remind me otherwise.

My body is a prison made of self-hate.