Wednesday, June 4, 2008


This happened last night. I've been hesitant to blog about it because I'm still trying to sort out my feelings. But I figure fuck it; I started this thing so I could relieve some stress and just put my voice out there, since I don't really have much opportunity any more to say what I fell. Hopefully as I write this out, I can start to deal with it.

I forgot to leave a message at my parents' house on Monday night letting them know that the flight went okay and that I made it home safely. I got home long past bedtime, and I just wanted to unpack, air out my clothes, take a Benadryl to counteract all that cigarette smoke I'd been exposed to, and hit the sack.

So I wasn't surprised to get a call from Mom last night to confirm my safe arrival, while gently chiding me for not calling when I came home. But the next bit was unexpected.

"So have you given up every diet you've ever started?"

What? "No, I'm just trying to find the right thing."

"Well you better find it fast because I can't deal with you like this. I don't want to bury you at 27."

Slightly pissed now, "I should have no problem with that, I've gotten pretty experienced at this since I was 8."

"Laura, you will get off your ASS and stop complaining, and do something NOW because I will not bury you at 27."

"Mom, I'll make my own choices and I will not answer to you about it."

Not listening, talking over me, "You WILL do something about this because you're killing yourself --"

Cutting her off, "Why don't you stop smoking? Why don't you stop drinking? We can do it together --"

" -- BECAUSE I will not bury you at 27. That's the end of discussion. If you disagree with me, and you can't do this, then I will never talk to you again."

GUH? Bitch just said that to me?

Then sweetly, "Now you want to talk to your dad? He's on the porch. Dad, it's your daughter!"

And I almost can't finish writing this because I'm bawling. Right now, as I write, big fat tears are rolling down my hot face and I am choking out sobs. It hurts so much! It hurts so much to even remember hearing her say these things. For as long as I can remember I've been trying to do everything to satisfy her, to win the prizes for myself. I couldn't have new clothes for school until I lost weight, I could get a doll when I lost weight, shopping sprees, I could name my price! All I have to do is lose weight!

And now I'm still making plans for when I lose weight. I'll start dating again when I lose more weight. I'll plan a real vacation when I lose more weight. I'll buy a bike when I lose weight. I'll go to parties when I lose weight. I'll go to grad school when I lose weight. I will allow myself to feel human in public when I lose weight.

But now, I'm still at START, where I've lived and left and come back for 18 years. It's been a whole voting age since I lived normal life. I'm old enough to vote for change, but I don't even know how to start choosing the right candidate anymore.

Then I get on the phone with Dad, and I tell him about my flight, how it was extra good because the plane was just about empty and I had a whole row of seats for myself (and my big ole two-ticket-needing ass). The conversation is pretty benign, until he mentions how he worries about my weight, and my knees going out on me eventually. "You're a young kid, you should be able to run up the stairs."

"I know you're trying, you eat healthy, and you excercise and have to walk everywhere in that town..."

And then I start to cry, because even though Mom's comments always make me mad, Dad's comments somehow have a way of making me feel even worse - because he never makes them. Sure, he comments on how we "shouldn't eat so much" at family gatherings and how he needs to lose some weight. The only times I remember him ever commenting on my weight before was when I was losing close to a hundred pounds and he said, "If you lose any more weight, you're going to shrivel up like a leaf and get blown away." Which I thought was very sweet and never made me feel prouder.

But now he says something, and I just lose it.

"I've done it before and I don't know why it's so hard this time. I just get discouraged that I even let that weight come back in the first place. I feel worthless. I don't even want to go outside. I'm so embarrassed to let people see me, and I wonder what people who saw me at my lowest weight just a few years ago think of me, of how shameful I am! And what's worse is that it's clear you and Mom have talked about it since I left yesterday. That's what hurts the most!"

"Oh now, I didn't mean all that. I know you've done it before; you can do it now. I know you can. I just worry about your body giving out on you."

"Do you know how discouraging it is to see Mom, and how she can smoke and drink regular soda and whiskey like it's water, and eat steak and potatoes, and 4-whole-egg omelettes, and still weight 95 lbs soaking wet? And here I am eating fruits, veggies, high-fiber carbs and lean meats, and I can't beat the fucking game?"

"I know you eat right."

"And then when I come home, she makes fun of the healthy food I cook for everyone and refuses to touch it? And when I try to make broccoli, she puts a half a cup of margarine on there - even though I protest to the point of screaming and/or crying - because, 'that's the way she always makes it' and 'it won't kill' me? How do you think that makes me feel?"

"I didn't mean to make you cry. I thought I was being inspirational, by saying that I needed to lose weight, too. I know you can do it; you have my support."

I calmed down and then the conversation ended not long after because - as is custom - both of us confessed to needing take a shit.

I cried for probably half an hour after that.

I feel like I'm breaking down here, like I'm all alone in this little bubble in Chicago, and everyone I care about is far away, expecting great changes the next time they see me. I'm halfway between wanting to live up to that and wanting to die.

My friend Shana said that after her bicycle accident, she was freaking out in the ER - her blood pressure was skyrocketing as all these people were moving around her. All she really wanted and needed to calm her down was "human touch":

"Finally my Mom, Aunt and Friend Amanda showed up and I ordered them to put their hands on me immediately. They chuckled, not quite understanding the truth behind my request, but immediately obliged and with much love. I stopped crying and shaking, my Aunt said my BP dropped like 40 points in a few minutes."

Oddly enough, I feel the same way now. I feel like, and I think I've always felt like I'm in need of human touch. I've lived two-thirds of my life, it seems, on the periphery of real human relationships, and I've committed to staying there "until I lose the weight." I fear I will always be there, even if I do. Because how can I trust that people actually like me for who I am, in absence of my fat, when they when can't really see who I am in the presence of this fat?


i am here.

So there's that,



Amanda said...

Hi Laura,
Not sure if encouragement from random blog-reading strangers helps, but I can definitely relate to the feeling of putting your life on hold while waiting to lose weight - I had that attitude for so many years, and have been learning in the last six months how to let go of that feeling and live the life I want to live, regardless of my weight. I'm sorry that the conversation with your parents was so hard - I hope that they're coming from a place of love for you and that they can start to accept you as healthy, happy, and successful, and I hope that you can get to a place where you feel that you are those things! I find that's what's most important for me - hiking, running, and cooking yummy meals for myself are the things that make me feel happy and confident, and I rely on those feelings to help me through the tough body-image times. Remember, you are worthy of being loved and living a full life no matter what your weight is at any given time!

Aunt Beav said...


When are relatives and friends going to realize that their "well-meaning" comments are much more hurtful than helpful. Health, Schmealth! That's bullshit when they say you ought to be on a diet and then turn right around and push food at you. I know exactly what you mean with every word you wrote. I'VE BEEN THERE -- sometimes to the point where I felt so worthless I thought about putting myself in a car in a garage and turn on the gas! And it was usually after some clown thought they were "helping me" by making some stupid comment like, "You'd be so pretty if you lost weight" or make a stupid-ass comment about something I was picking up in a foodline for somebody else. GOD! (and Him, by the way, I asked where He was when I needed Him, or when I needed SOMEBODY for human touch!--I did find out that He is there, though, because something always seemed to happen to keep me from doing myself in. I don't think it was coincidence. Now that's about as religious as you're going to get out of me, so there's that!

But anyway,I really really know how you feel. I think the only thing that kept me on Nutri-system's teeny weeny meals was that I read that's about all you get to eat if you have the stomach banding surgery. I figured I could do the same thing for $30,000 to $40,000 less. So the weight loss can be done, but weight GAIN is more likely going to happen when people make dumbass remarks thinking they're helping.

I'm thinking about you.

Aunt Beav

manda said...

Oh Laura--close your eyes and pretend I'm there giving you a big hug!! People that truly know you love you tremendously, and you just have to remember that. As hurtful as they are, you should try to put mom's comments out of your head. She probably made that call after many drinks and convinced dad that he needed to say something as well. You've been on the receiving end of these needless comments before; I have about other issues, and I just blow her off anymore.

I hope your appointment went well the other day and gave you some guidance about where to go from here. Trust in yourself that you are taking measures in weight loss and don't let her bring you down. The rest of us will pick you up!!

I love you soooo much! I wish I could be up there with you. :o(

manda said...

by the way, you know mom pukes her food back up; who wants to do that?


Karen said...

Laura, I've only recently started reading your blog. However, I felt I could have written today's entry. I absolutely feel your pain. Frankly, growing up I learned from my parents that if you looked a certain way, you'd be loved. To this day, (I'm older than you), I'm still that little girl...wanting to look a certain way so my parents approve and love me. My mother was in town this week for my son's graduation from middle school. When she looked at me, I knew what she was thinking. I've been every size between 0 and 16....

I don't know you, but I can tell you're a wonderful, worthy human being with integrity and character. That, my friend has nothing to do with your dress size or the number on the scale. Those qualities are priceless. Your parents are lucky to have you for a daughter.

Anonymous said...

I have never looked at you and thought anything about your weight. You are such a truly inspirational person to so many people. I may be old enough to be your mother but I look up to you for all that you have done with your life. What is important is truly what you are in the inside, not the shell. I have always felt if teens respect you then you must be doing something right. Cassie thinks the world of you and I know you are one of her heros. Your "mom" has alientated so many people with her STUPID comments. Ask me sometime what she said to Gram as she lay in the hospital trying to breathe. It upset her so much. I know your dad is so big hearted he didn't mean to hurt you. Hang in there, if you need someone else to talk to, I am a good listener, I never thought I measured up to your worth. Love you so much Laura, Toot

mkieper said...

Hey Laura,

You know from past conversations, my Dad has treated me the same way as your Mom, so I know how you feel. I think the world of you and along with everyone else respect, and admire what you have done with your life...Jealous might be better word for it. You are "it" in my book.

As for your mom, she is one of those "toxic" people. It might do you good to distance yourself from her. Surround your self with people who give a shit, and fuck the rest. I just don't see how she helps you in any way. I agree, your dad was in no way trying to hurt you, and probably is struggling with the fact that he did.

I love you and will be sending my "Human touch" your way. If you hear the Rick Springfield song..."We all need, a human touch, I need, a human touch" Think of me, because I'll be thinking of you!

Libralabrat said...

Illegitimus noncarborundum est.

Dont let the bastards wear you down.
There comes a time when you just have to tell your parents in a loud, clear voice: You have screwed me up enough, it is my turn to have a go at it.

There are those of us who love people no matter what. People often look at me funny when I tell them that I prefer "big women" over skinny women any day of the week. Then I go on to explain to them how much of what they think is healthy is so much BS...I am a medical lab tech and have logged enough hours in a hospital to know

If you want to change, do it for you, not for anyone else.
My advice? Dont change. You are who you are. Love that person.

ShanaRose said...

Beyond agreeing with libralabrat in the advice to love you as you are. (a gem.)
And beyond agreeing with mkieper that you are "it".
And beyond agreeing with Rick Springfield that touching is good.
I don't know how to express to you how much I think you are.

I haven't known you long and I haven't known you biblically, but you've taught me years' worth about acceptance, humor, and keeping it real.

You are The Shit my friend. I am elated that work and dirty jokes have brought us together and determined to stay friends with you for a long time.
We're going places. Wherever we're going, we're glowing.

And we're bringing our Biloxi Scrambles with us.