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":
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!
i am here.
So there's that,