Saturday, June 30, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Fellow Sagitarians might enjoy today's iGoogle horrorscope [sic]:
"Although you might be stressed from a variety of relationship situations, they are showing you a path back to your own issues. It could appear that someone is trying to push you around or maybe you are playing the role of the tough guy. Either way, go the extra mile to define your boundaries -- and then stick to them."
Do relationships ever lead anywhere except back to our own "issues"? I mean, once the heroin-aspect of a new best friend or lover has waned. Still, I've been thinking about this boundary-thing & how it gets messed up so easily. I told the Good Doctor Miller that I have no sense of self in relationships. If someone likes me, I'm likeable. If someone doesn't like me, I'm unlikeable. If one person likes me & another person doesn't like me, I'll side with unlikeable.
Lately these "issues" have made me positively hermitic. No one in my little world to like or dislike me. Which is where food can so easily come in -- it both likes & dislikes me.
I'm about to leave for five days with the Aged P's in lovely suburban Phoenix, 110 degrees & they essentially don't leave home these days. For 48 summers, my parents meant Flathead Lake, the 90-minute drive through farmlands with the Mission Mountains peeping beyond, then the big climb that crests with the Missions above St. Ignatius blue as blue & always There. Past Nine Pipe Resevoir, which the painting I've skeletonized reminds me of & the last shot to the moment the family still plays "I See the Lake!" Ask anyone in my family what is the quintessential moment that says Montana to them & it's that first sight of Flathead in the crotch of the dry hills above Polson.
No more, alas, but my mind & heart turn to Montana this time of year & just as quickly I have to turn them the other way. It's gone for me. No home to return to. The Lake would betray me by being an unreliable destination.
I've also been thinking about self-esteem & how that IS these "boundaries" everyone likes to bandy about on Oprah & Dr. Phil & wherever else we turn to watch people worse off but essentially a lot like us. It comes mostly from the everyday obligations -- I walk my dogs well: check. I eat correctly: check. I write -- especially that: check. I do the dishes & pay bills & take a shower: check. Try to do a good turn: check.
Basics. Good places to lean on in hard times. Next week I'll be unpacking dusty boxes from Montana & furtively throwing out photos & books & whatnot. I want very much to do this without going apeshit with food or frustration with my parents. Self-esteem from esteemable actions.
It's also occuring to me that I'm going to have to challenge myself & soon. I don't know how but I need to do a New Thing, a Hard Thing. Out of the comfort zone. Into the pixilated marshes of uncertainty & the quicksand-shore of the first steps of mastering lessons. What I'd MOST like to do is canoe the Yellowstone River around Pompey's Pillar. I want to push HARD against the prison bars that are not boundaries, push harder than the dating thing or the going to the movies thing.
Something that's mine alone.
Or maybe mine & Daisy's.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I like to talk about my feelings when they're well in the past tense & don't threaten to blow up on me in their freshness.
No, let's take a few steps back in light of today's discussion of Frances's anger about men & their Cheshire Cat behavior.
It takes me a couple of days of something balling up inside of me before I recognize I'm having an emotional reaction. It may then take more days to put a name on it. When it's anger, I'm so freaked out by it -- this volatile, counter-anger-inducing can of kerosine -- that I turn it back on myself.
It's beyond the what-did-I-say syndrome I wrote about yesterday, more along the lines of I'm so fucking mad at myself for caring/getting sucked in/not getting over it.
So now I'm mad at any number of people, always doubled because I'm angery at myself for being angry at X, Y &/or Z.
& that's where I get stuck. I don't, the Good Doctor Miller informed me, let go of my anger, which more & more turns against myself. "You're adopted. You weren't allowed to feel anger because these people took you in."
Yeah -- partly. I began to think about anger in my childhood & saw a very scared little girl whenever there was fighting going on. My parents would argue occasionally & it terrified me -- so much so that my family has a saying I started when I was very young & the discourse around me was displeasing (scolding, arguing, fighting) -- "Don't talk". My father still says it, with his brows all rumpled & each word kind of canon balled in its wholeness of intent, when my mother nags about scrubbing a pan or disagrees with a charity donation he's making or discovers he's appropriated a set of towels for cleaning the garage. It doesn't have an exclamation point. It's not sullen or pouty or pleading. It's a command, but understated, & scrunchy things must occur with the eyes.
If my father was angry all of us kids quaked in fear. As the oldest of three brothers, growing up in the Depression, he was raised by parents with third & fifth-grade educations, still speaking with Polish accents. When my grandfather got work on the railroad out-of-town, he took Grandma with him, leaving my father in charge of his brothers for weeks at a time. Part of being the oldest was that he would get the beating & then was expected to dole it out to the boys -- who could run squealing to Grandma who might then beat Dad for abusing them. Very complicated Old World stuff that came down to the fact that my father could dish out some brutal punishments. These were rare. They were never repeated because they didn't have to be. We were always given fair warning that a piece of behavior had to stop before he raised a hand. But when he did --
Another famous family story. My brother Jim got in trouble for something. Dad took Jim aside a belted him once across his bare butt with his tennis shoe. Jim went snivelling to Dick about how much it hurt only to be met by Dick's laughter. The snivelling now included being laughed at -- until Dick turned around, dropped his pants & showed off the treads of his Converse on his ass.
Or a scene no one else remembers & I will never bring it up because it was so savage, of my father beating Jim up with his American history book. I don't know why. I was seven & scared witless.
Jim once complained to Dad that because Dick was bigger & heavier, he always won when they fought. Dad's answer was to get an equalizer. A two-day car trip back from seeing cousins (the last car trip the five of us ever made). I had the chicken pox & was placed in between my brothers who were bickering and badgering each other mercilessly for two days. By the time we pulled into the driveway, Dick's taunts had turned so pointed that they jumped out of the car & Jim began chasing Dick, picking up an equalizer -- the garage broom -- on their way into the house. Dick laughed all the way, his laughter another part of how he taunted us, all the way through the den, the hall, the kitchen, the dinette, two halls & into the bathroom where he slammed & locked the door.
Only to have the broom stick come slamming through the door right up to the broom.
That's what anger was like in our house. Either painful & terrifying (we all worshipped our father), or sadistic (Jim & I tried not to piss Dick off). I became so sensitive to anger, in fact, that in first grade Sister M. Marcillia would send me to the bathroom whenever there was a punishment coming. I'd go & sit on the pot. Nothing. I'd go back to class, the scolding would be going on & I'd pee all over the floor.
The last time Dick hit me, I was, I think, in high school or college. We were arguing over something as we set the table together. He got mad & slammed a dinner plate down on my head. For once, with great coolness, I picked up a fork & stabbed him in the arm so hard it stood up.
So yeah, I have a problem with anger: I have a problem feeling it, admitting it, expressing it, letting it go. "When do you let go?" I asked the GDM. "When it starts to hurt you," she said.
I guess part of that means before I get angry at myself for being angry.
She did not, however, tell me how to let it go.
I've only ever discovered one option & it doesn't work for more than a few hours. No, that's not true. Sleep, drinking, drugs & reading can also push anger aside. For a while.
I think I will make an Anger Box. I'm not sure how I'll work it, but I think I have an Art Project in my future.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
I love your responses to my list of internet dating rules: thank you & keep contributing. Maybe we can prevent a whole lotta misery out there in Loveland.
It was a nice night, my friends. We had dinner -- I had a chef's salad for everyone who might be worried -- & sat on the Promenade for a bit. I emailed to thank him for dinner, he responded that he had a great time & would call soon. That was -- h'mmm -- 31 hours ago? I am emphatically not waiting for the phone to ring & I pretty much trust that it will & beyond that pretty much trust that it will when it's supposed to.
That could be in two years for all I know.
Ms. Turnblad, among others, have suggested that I have enough going on these days without men: a book, an abstinence, mood swings, 350 lbs of Labrador retriever. You're right, & you're wrong.
One of the reasons my blogging has turned to men of late is that I'm cleaning out leftovers. That accounts for several sentences in recent blogs. I began to think more about those Rules in order to avoid unnecessary hurt in the future. Beyond that, one of the reasons for posting my profile is for the Book. I need to know about some of the Myths of Fat that I've held on to. If in the course of posting I meet someone I'd like to know more & I feel safe in terms of my food & my work doing that, I'd be nuts not to take the chance.
I don't have a lot of real-world friends who are available at night or on weekends. That is to say, they are married or have commitments of which I'm not a part. I also have a boatload of anxiety that keeps me close to home. Case in point: I need new underwear. Target is 15 minutes away by train. Have I gone? No. Why? Because...I'm anxious about being out & being without someone to say "I'm anxious about being out" to. Because it's such a treat that I a) don't think I deserve it, & b) have no encore for. It will cost money.
If a friend called me up & said, "Wanna go to Target?" I'd jump. I'd be with somebody. That somebody has already decided I deserve the treat. The treat would be bigger because I could turn to that somebody & say not only that I was anxious but that I might want to get Spiderman sheets. The experience would be more real.
Let's face it: if you're of a certain age & single, you kinda need to find a boyfriend. I could find a gay friend, of course, but the urge to brunch would the fuel of that friendship.
This is not to say that I'm not looking for a pal. It's just that pals are in short order.
We kissed goodnight. It was nice. I hope I do hear from him & that we go to the movies or to the beach (not at sunset) or to the Frick. I even hope we sleep together after not too many such dates. I'm lonely in a general sort of way.
Also: I'm not a dog. I hang out with dogs, am filthy with dirt, wood chips & fur from dogs. I smell of & for dogs & I dress for dogs. I love dogs. But I'm a woman. It's fun to dress up.
One of the reasons that we have boyfriends is to show off. Put on our good duds, shave more carefully, flaunt what we are & know. Another reason is that it's an investment. Dating, having a boyfriend, is an investment in the faith that next weekend will happen, that maybe even, if you're inclined & he's inclined, someone to change your Depends will be around.
However, Ms. Turnblad, et al are correct in questioning how right it is for me to be sparring with boyz. I have to handle the activity with supreme care. I talked about my food with my sponsor before hand. I was in touch with long distance friends before & immediately after. I was meeting someone I already liked but have enough wisdom by now to know that he has a life of his own.
I went out after writing two-and-a-quarter pages of chapter four.
Where trouble came was not during the date or for the rest of the night. The date had about 1/7 of a role in the trouble -- a Saturday night of food choice I wish I'd done differently even though they were abstinent.
The most important thing I'm doing now is writing. My abstinence hinges on it (& vice versa), my serenity, my sense of self-worth. & I didn't write yesterday.
I didn't write yesterday because every time I sat down at the computer I was over come by weariness, a sense that any word I chose to put down would weigh a hundred pounds, or that each finger weighed a hundred pounds.
What did I do? I pretended I'd "get around" to it, which sometimes happens. I spent some quality time with Daisy -- played ball, brushed her out, gave her an hour-long belly rub while I watched Margaret Cho's I'm the One I Want, which I wanted to do for this chapter. I played Bejewelled. I didn't think about the night before & I didn't think to myself, Frances: you had a long week with dogs & a late night last night & a two terrible nights' sleep. Take a nap.
So I went to the store & didn't eat what I'd set aside in my mind for dinner because, well, I needed something different....
& I wish I hadn't.
On the other hand, I took a Klonopin & slept in till 8 a.m. I've revised those pages & am ready to eat lunch & then start the next scene. I'm over it & I've learned a new rule:
Dating is tiring. Be sure to plan a nap the next day.
In the meantime, I've been tagged by Jen as an interesting blog to read. My job now is to turn you guys on to blogs I like. So here's the deal:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
Read on, Macduff!
Friday, June 08, 2007
Friday, June 01, 2007
My sponsor & I are talking about whether, on advance-notice occasions, I can eat "civillian" food. She's afraid I'm playing with fire & so am I. I also know that to be abstinent at a party at which I have no idea when dinner is being served, or what the dinner is, is not only hard but makes me shitty company, even if I keep a smile plastered to my face & it's the company of my own resentful, high horse thoughts.
I went to a Memeorial Day barbecue that started at 4. Dinner was served around 7.30. I ate tortilla chips & a small amount of ice cream & had 3 glasses of wine. When my sponsor & I discussed it, I conceded that, yes, I could have skipped the wine & dessert without turning into someone I didn't want to be with, let alone risk unleashing on friends.
That's what I want, these days: to have the space to be honest, to talk about what I can do differently & better next time, & to have the space & honesty to talk about it ahead of time & afterwards to keep a check on the exceptions to the rule.
The victory of Memorial Day for me was that, despite having money with me when Daisy & I walked home, I did not go to the deli. I had to turn around & go take care of two Italian greyhounds & I did not go to the deli. I did not come home & make a big bowl of yogurt or eat rice cakes & peanut butter. I went to bed. I haven't touched illegal stuff since Monday.
I want my abstinence to be one of aspiration. I aspire to stick to it vigorously. I aspire to get thin. I aspire to some other things that have less to do with food than with my life.
The pain of ending my..."friendship" with Jeff lingers. I got a political cartoon in email yesterday & couldn't forward it to him. There are moments I turn around in astonishment at myself that I gave up an important person in my life. I don't like being the occasion of what I know causes him a certain amount of pain as well. But it was the right thing to do for me. I'm not going to be free until the original feelings I had for him die completely.
I also emailed the man I've talked/emailed a lot to & said that, after consideration, I am worth meeting & he now has to consider that. Having said all that, I'm not sure I want to now.
I aspire to having a free, clean heart.
I aspire to having a free, clean brain. Fewer computer games is a start.
I aspire to feeling less overwhelming anxiety. Making some friends is a start, & practicing friendship is the next step.
I aspire to be creative. I've fallen in love with photography & the idea of topsy-turvy art. I have a book to write & a couple of novels in me if only I can stop being afraid of my own shadow.
I aspire to be better, & right now better is freer, more confident, clean & honest relations.
But I think, as well, that this morning I will commit to you that I'll eat three weighed, measured abstinent meals.
It's Friday. I find that my mood sinks toward the The Dark Place by the end of the week. I think it's partly because I'm tired but that it's also the way I feel in the evening when I want to eat to smother the feelings of failure that I didn't do enough -- or anything -- during the day & it's too late & I'm too weary to do much as the sun is sinking. So I'm fighting today to keep my head, to safeguard whatever good I did for myself earlier in the week -- the freedom I invested in, the self-regard I granted myself, the honesty I opened up with my sponsor.
I just wish I'd done more writing, lost 80 pounds, cleaned my apartment & won the Nobel Prize for Self-Indulgent Memoirs.
All About Me
- Frances Kuffel
- Brooklyn, New York, United States
- I'm the author of PASSING FOR THIN: LOSING HALF MY WEIGHT AND FINDING MY SELF. My new book, ANGRY FAT GIRLS: 5 WOMEN, 500 POUNDS, AND A YEAR OF LOSING IT...AGAIN published by Berkley in 2010 and a must read for anyone contemplating what s/he needs to know in order to lose weight and keep it off. I'm committing fiction as I work on a new book, SEX AND THE PITY, which will cover a year of dating as I lose weight and navigate the dudes, dorks and dumbasses of the world.
- eShakti is THE most important online shopping site for plus-sized women. You can customize clothing for neckline, sleeves and length, or you can send your measurements and have clothing tailored to your body. If it's been a while since you've had a truly form-fitting piece of clothing, or if you don't understand how clothes should fit, this is an essential resource. The prices are reasonable and the workmanship impeccable.
- Simply Be is an English-owned company although they ship from the U.S. If I was only able to wear Joe Brown clothes, I'd die a happy camper.
- Mod Cloth has, simply, gorgeous clothes. If you're hesitating over something, buy it then -- items sell out quickly.
- Torrid -- REAL bargain in clearance that have become my favorite clothes
- Marisota -- their clothes can also be found at www.simplybe.com/marisota for American shipping, but the line is extended at the UK site.
- J. Jill -- a little funky, always comfortable
- Spiegel -- often overlooked but some tender beauties
- Cold Water Creek -- classics all the way
- Alloy -- plus junior sizes that will work beautifully witha sweater or actually have SLEEVES!
- Victorian Trading Company -- the name pretty much says it all but if you really need to dress up, this is the place. Buy large.
- Alight -- fab clothes to make you feel 16 years old. The best & most inexpensive black shruggie around this summer.
- Monroe and Main -- these are young - middle-age professional and casual clothes that run to size 24
- Southwest Indian Foundation -- some gorgeous clothes, over-the-moon jewelry & a really worthy cause
- Making It Big (MiB Collection) to size 48W - & models who ARE the parts they play
- Ashro -- calls itself "Afro-centric," but has some lovely fancy clothes and one or two Midtown lunch outfits
- Blouse House -- blouses & more
- Serengeti - a healthy mix of casual, business & dress-up clothes
- Real Women Want - an eBay store that gathers plu-sizes frmo all over & has some stunners
- Soft Surroundings has some delicious, slightly tipped clothes to 3 X
- Casual Living -- some pleasant, casual surpises
- FairyFairyLand -- GREAT funky tops! Imported from Asia so be sure to buy large
- Territory Ahead -- some good finds in among the clothes that top out at size 16 -- especially shirts
- The Pyramid Collection -- gothic & fantasy clothes that can be worn in Reality & large sizes at no extra cost
- Catalog Favorites -- not my favorite but there's a swingjacket there I want
- Complete Outfits -- extended sizes; I've bought Power Clothes here
- Midnight Velvet -- not always but often enought that I consult it when looking for something great, whether it's formal, business or good casual
- Brownstone Studio -- when I need a Power Suit
- NorthStyle -- like Monterey Bay, lovely casuals with a touch of the West
- Montery Bay -- nice casuals with a touch of camp
- K. Jordan -- some great finds, especially in suits
More reading assignments
- ► 2012 (16)
- ► 2011 (19)
- ► 2010 (26)
- ► 2009 (52)
- ► 2008 (33)
- ▼ June (8)
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