Wednesday, November 14, 2007

American Girls

I got an email today from my cousin Michelle, who shares similar attitudes and experiences with me regarding weight. This is the response I sent her regarding how pressure from family can lead to direct defiance.

I know exactly what you're talking about. My big weight loss started with I lived in BFE Montana for 3 months and got a 60 lb leg up on the school year, then it was easy to lose 40 more. I didn't have to worry about others, just myself, and that helped a lot. Now, I just fall prey to all the good food available in Chicago. Growing up, eating out was always a treat and a rarity. Now it's not so rare for me to make it a treat on a daily basis. The same thing happened to me when I started driving. Mom never let sweets or sugar cereal in the house, let alone let me have a birthday cake for all of my teen years, so what did I do when I could get out on my own? I bought boxes of Cookie Crisp, Fruit Rollups and stowed some Werther's Originals in my car ashtray.

You know how the American Girl brand is really popular with little girls these days? There's a store near my office, and all these families walk in and out of it constantly; it's the place everyone wants to be when they travel to the city. When I was a kid, I used to read all the American Girl books. I sent away for a catalog when they started making the doll sets, and I would daydream about getting a Samantha or a Kirsten doll. I would lie across my bed and calculate just how much it would cost to get what I wanted from the magazine, and I hoped that I would have enough money for it. I would show Mom some of my dogeared pages, and she would say how pretty they were, and would relate with Samantha, the girl from the Victorian Era, because she admired that time period the most. I guess I wanted her to want the dolls, too, so that she would cave in and get them for me. But she always promised that if I lost weight, she would get me just what I wanted out of the catalog, within reason. I never did lose the weight when I was a kid, so I never got a doll. Now every time I look at that stuff, I think about that deal. Some days, I think that I'd probably still get one of those dolls just to finally have one - because I can afford it, not because I need it. But it would be undoubtedly difficult to explain to a gentleman caller why I have a Samantha doll on display in my apartment.

Same thing goes with clothes. She always promised that if I lost weight, she would take me on a $1000 shopping spree. This often manifested itself in my having to wear ragged clothes to school; though I was promised a shopping spree, I would still have to wait to get new clothes until I lost weight. She didn't want to invest in something that wouldn't fit me after my metamorphosis. My dread of PE class pretty much centered on having to hide the holes in the crotches & thighs of my jeans and leggings. Now what I don't spend on food I spend on clothes. Or as I say, when I'm not eating, I'm shopping. This year, I've gone to Lane Bryant once, if not twice or three times each month to get new clothes. I work in defiance of what I was always denied.

And I know about the doctor thing. I went to a doctor when I first moved here, who suggested I spend more time in the sun to enhance my mood. Good gravy. My new doctor is really cool. I cried every time I would visit him and talk about weight, and he only talks about it when I bring it up. He readily prescribed anti-depressants because I was clearly a basketcase in general. I used to not believe in them, but man, Michelle, I haven't cried since last December. And that includes during breakups, sappy TV and TLC miracle shows. I stopped biting my nails, too.

So there's that,


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