Carry on Tuesday: Once Upon A Time

Out of fog Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge a...

Out of fog Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco in fog and crepuscular rays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a time once, not so long ago, when I was chubby, fat, or just pleasantly plump. In Italy I would have been a goddess. Men would have followed me down the cobble stoned streets, whistling and begging to touch my beautiful breasts and my bountiful behind. Unfortunately, I wasn’t living in Italy, I was here in the United States, where all I really wanted was to be slender. I thought if I was thin, all my problems would dissipate like the mysterious fog in San Francisco. I imagined the fog lifting while I watched, wearing a heavy knit red sweater and sitting peacefully on a huge rock.

A couple of months ago I was very sick, (on top of my chronic illnesses” Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, IBS) I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t leave my house or the bathroom for an entire four weeks. I was pale, gaunt and looked ill. People on the street would ask me guardedly “If I was okay?” Part of me, if I had a sense of humor back then wanted to say “Of course, I’m in the middle-aged super model competition” but I had no sense of humor at the time. The other part of me was scared to speak so I just said “I’m fine” which people accept with relief and don’t follow-up with questions.

All my life there was always something about me that I wanted to change and after I changed it, I thought I would be happy: my weight, my hair, my glasses, wearing make-up, dressing better, nice shoes, tinting my hair to cover the tiny amount of gray that swirled in front of my face. The gray hair that I had been so proud to have, to acknowledge my real place in the world, as someone who had already experienced a great deal of life and had earned them with pride.

Having been married for 24 years with two young adults doing well in college was proof enough and even though I did go through a time feeling sorry for myself that the kids ” didn’t need me anymore” I realized my husband and I had done a very good job of parenting. I admit, I needed to remind myself that loving and needing were two very different things, they would love me as their mom but their lives and our lives would be constantly changing. Yes, sometimes it changes so quickly it was hard to keep up, that’s when I found myself alone, crying into an old, soft, handkerchief and feeling sorry for myself. I learned to accept that too. You have no choice.

Six weeks ago I went from eating and being lively to not eating and not feeling well, I lost over 30 pounds and before you coo and ooh and ahhh and wish it was you I can tell you, you better take that back. I did not enjoy clothes falling from my body, or food flowing through me, and not being able to go outside of my house for four weeks. The doctor scheduled me for every “cancer” test known to humanity and that was not fun. The doctor, not known for his bedside matter, actually told me WHAT he was testing for when we first met him in his office. Thanks, Doc, nice touch.

I will be getting the results later this week, I’m hoping that everything will be fine, I’m ( fairly) certain that they will be. The symptoms stopped a few days after my office visit and while I haven’t gained a lot of weight back, I do get hungry and I feel better. My newest ( little ) problem is this: I went to shop for new jeans and found that there are no jeans for women of my age. They have skinny jeans, under the waist jeans and jeans for teenagers with lithe bodies. Basically, the clothes that I have are four sizes too big for me and the style out there now are for teenagers only. I have nothing to wear, I miss my “Mom jeans.” It is impossible to find them, anywhere. Suggestions?

All that I have accomplished in this quest are the lack of clothes to wear and the acquisition of numerous wrinkles. I sat outside in the sun for a few moments, noticing all the wrinkles on my knees and thighs that were not there before. As I sat, warming my face, was I thinking about the good things in my life in a delighted way? No. I was thinking about the barium test (drinking chalk) that I have to drink tomorrow morning at eight am and where to aim my projectile vomiting. That, at least, is amusing me.

Be happy with what you have and who you are. As my dad used to say “Health is the most important thing.”  It’s the only thing, be grateful.

Advertisements

Living in Other Countries

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

Image by Piano Piano! via Flickr

I had the proud distinction when I was little of being the “only born American” and I wore that honor with pride. My parents and my older sister were all born in different countries and even though my parents and sister came to the United States when my sister was 9 months old, I still felt special.

At this point in my life, with my husband and our two almost grown children, I would love to live in another country for a few years. Italy, Spain, England, Holland? Greece, Israel, Japan? I love to visit different countries when we can afford it. The only place I wouldn’t want to live? Paris. I would be such an American outcast, wearing my blue jeans and long-sleeved gray GAP shirt, sneakers and clogs. There’s no way I’m wearing high-heeled stilettos and expensive outfits for any city. However, the French countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and I wouldn’t mind learning how to make cheese. For now, I think I’ll stay right here in the USA where I can wear what I want and still drink strong coffee and pastries. If, however, the opportunity came up…..I can pack quickly.

Powered by Plinky

To Reach A Hidden Heart

heart

I’m a mom, a fifty-four year old, plump (not so pleasantly),  kind, giving person but I laugh too loud. Sometimes because I have only fifty percent hearing in my left ear, I also don’t always hear things perfectly. I wear old mom jeans, sneakers instead of  gold strappy sandals, or even unlaced Keds, because my feet hurt and ache constantly. I have plantar fasciatis and just walking in any shoes is uncomfortable.  I have Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroididtis and numerous other ailments. I’m old.

I don’t wear flirty skirts because (see above) it would just look plain silly. I can’t wear tight shirts (well, I could) but the stomach bulges would hang over my jeans. I used to have pierced ears but I think they closed so I don’t wear much jewelry anymore. Most importantly, I don’t wear make up from Sephora or MAC or Bobbi Brown. When I wear lipstick, which I do almost every day, I consider that enough. Should I be ashamed of these things, proud or just accept them? I’m okay with it but I have an almost seventeen year old daughter who most probably wishes, I was a cooler mom. A much cooler mom.

It’s not as if I stay in the kitchen and make home-made oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies because I don’t. I spend money at the supermarket and look at every single product, especially new ones.I bake brownies from a box (Ghiradelli) and the only thing I bake from scratch is an amazingly moist banana-raisin -chip loaf. My son adores it and appreciates it, my daughter won’t even try it because she hates any type of raisin and anything resembling a mushy banana. The only banana flavor she eats is mixed with strawberry in a pink container that has artificial  flavorings called yogurt. Sometimes, if my husband makes a smoothie (with ice and ice cream) she will drink it; when I make a smoothie it isn’t cold enough.

More importantly I wear my emotions like I would a soft new white scarf. Actually, you can see how I feel miles away. The worst offense, I’m mushy. My daughter is not. She keeps her feelings inside of her so even when I attempt to tone down my mushiness and delicately try to give her a compliment, she turns inwards. I wear my heart on my sleeve, you can see my emotions a mile or two away, my daughter keeps her feelings way deep inside her. I’m trying to connect with that but I’m not having much success. I know she loves me, I do know that and of course, I love her more than anything (read this kids: I love you both equally.)

When my daughter was very young, I was her world. She needed a lot of comforting and she could find that only in my arms, her tear-streaked face blanketing my neck like a worn-out washcloth. Now, she’s an amazing young woman, sure of herself, has a lot of friends, talks to me about them but her feelings are buried down deep. She is like my husband before my constant influence on him for the last 24 years. I want my daughter to know how much I love her, how proud I am of her, how I know she is incredibly intelligent and kind but I’m not sure I’m getting through. Yesterday, we spent the day together and I delicately told her how happy I was to spend time with her each week. I got this as a response: “ok.”

I feel frustrated but I guess my job as a mom is to make sure she knows I love her and that I will always be here to listen if she wants to talk. If I turn down my emotions any more I will be mute. The only thing I can do is wait and see what happens and accept her for who she is. I am happy that she talks to me about her friends, I am thrilled she is affectionate with her friends; I hope they can reach inside her wall and feel her beauty, her heart and her strength. I hope someday I will have the same privilege too.

My Freckles Are Spreading, No Really

Ashton Kutcher at Time 100 Gala

Image via Wikipedia

I was in a small shopping mall last week and I passed a mirror and I thought, for a quick second, that I saw my reflection. No, that couldn’t be me. I must have seen someone else. Whoever it was, looked bloated, tired, pale and cranky. She was wearing a green shirt, and mom jeans with protruding stomach rolls, and she was frowning furiously that showed deep wrinkle lines.  That’s NOT me! Um, but I am wearing the same outfit and my eyes are green…..

Maybe the mirror I looked in was one of those funny mirrors that they use in amusement parks, or pranks!  I looked around for Ashton Kutcher because I thought I was being  “Punked”or at the very least, pranked. Ashton, however  was no where in sight and the only camera looking at me was a security camera following my every, suspicious move.

That old, sad, mad, fat person warily looking back at me made me want to weep and hide in some stranger’s musty attic or move to Canada or better yet, Italy. I can give good advice to others about positive body image but it wasn’t working for me today.  Today, I flunked the course.  I  ordered a chopped salad for lunch (appetizer size) and I had that lovely tiny slice of Italian cheesecake with the essence of orange, but don’t those things cancel each other out?

If big, cranky, frowning lady wasn’t enough I also saw that there is now something quite wrong with my skin. I’ve always had that pale, cream-cheese complexion but things are changing.  My freckles are joining together; I’m sure that’s what it must be.  It couldn’t be the dreaded old age spots, could it? This day just keeps getting better and better.

Just one more thing: I remembered the cashier at A & P  who asked me my age. I was so confused…..until she told me that Seniors, 55 and older get 5% off their bill on Tuesdays. It was Tuesday and while I am not 55, I’m really damn close. So, thanks for the discount but your people skills stink.

I know all the reasons why women gain weight in their, (cough, cough) mid to later years and I lend these pearls of wisdom to friends as easily as I would a  button-down blue sweater. My own body crashed with Menopause, followed closely by an Underactive Thyroid condition and an Auto-immune Disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. After that, I was diagnosed with  Fibromyalgia. But, today I’m just not buying it. I don’t care, I just know how awful I feel. Today, I am allowing myself to sulk.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to put things in perspective. I will remember that good health is more important than weight, that I have a wonderful family and I am grateful for so many things. As for the cheesecake? It was worth every bite. The mirror? That, was pure evil.