Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Fear of Self-Loathing

Designer Vera Wang at Ralph Lauren's 40th Anni...Image via Wikipedia

Self-Loathing is not fashionable. It's never in style no matter what era.

After my oldest daughter Holly was born, I went on Zoloft and gained a lot of weight. One of my friends said that Zoloft had numbed her fears so much that she just didn't care anymore, about anything.

I told the doc what happened after Holly was born (GI problems, single kidney, hole in her heart) and he said, "Geez, no wonder you're on Zoloft. I made the same gesture the delivery guy in Christmas Story did when Ralphie's dad says, "What's in the box? Fra-gee-lee! That must be Italian!"

Because of not caring about anything, I didn't lose any baby weight until Holly was 3 years old. In fact I still wore maternity clothes until then. People kept asking me when I was due. I kept saying, "Um, 3 years ago?"

I really hated myself then from all the mind-numbing. I thought I let Holly be born that way. Even when everyone around me told me not to blame myself, I still did. So I took weight gain upon myself as sort of a self-mutilation. Some girls cut themselves, (like Lindsay Lohan) starve themselves (like Lindsay Lohan), or do drugs (like Lindsay Lohan). Instead I put on weight from pure hate.

In 2002 I switched to Paxil and lost weight right away. But it wasn't really the anti-depressant that made it work (in fact, if you ever miss a dose, watch out! It'll feel like your lips are falling off). Then I ate better, exercised more and finally took off weight. What a concept!

I remember crossing the street at an intersection pushing Holly in a stroller, and some guys in a car yelled, "Hey, want a donut?" It was right after I lost my first 10 pounds. Come to think of it, I wasn't wearing the most flattering clothes - a frumpy T-shirt and light blue maternity biker shorts. Ladies, if you have any issues with your thighs at all, do NOT wear light blue. Imagine cumulonimbus clouds brewing on a sunny sky-blue day. And then add cellulite.

I may not be down to my vegetarian body from my twenties and I don't expect it (bacon just tastes WAY too good). In fact, I went into a dressing room this weekend for the first time in years. I hated those flourescent lights on my legs. This time, I looked at my imperfect self and said, "Whatever!" and tried on a pair of Vera Wang jeans. And I loved them.

I love Vera Wang because a) she has a line at Kohls and b) she's not only a designer to the stars but to little ol' mommy bloggers like me. Now, I no longer fear self-loathing.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Crap, is it THAT Time Already?

The Birds and the Bees (film)Image via Wikipedia

My 10-year-old wants to know about the birds and the bees. Yippee. She didn't know boys had different body parts until we got a boy dog. She asked, "What's that?"

I said, "That's where the dog pees. Human boys have the same thing."

Or maybe I said "Thingies."

I am so bad at this.

What makes her inquisitive are the Viagra commercials playing on TV in the background. She asks, "What does it mean to be healthy enough for sex?" Then she tacks on an "Eww."

Yep, it's time.

Viagra commercials are akin to those tampon commercials we watched in the 80s while our boyfriends sat on the couch eating popcorn and wondering when they could put their arms around us.

As soon as we heard the phrase "Now available with WINGS," we hit the mute button and say, "Hey how 'bout those Packers or Brewers or Cubs or (insert any random sports team)?"

Just to turn the subject away from feminine hygiene products. It was too late because those poor guys already lost their appetite. But that's a whole, though related, different topic which will garner more "Ewws."

The terms for "thingies" at my daughter's school these days are Australia for boy parts and Africa for girl parts. Perhaps I can work in a geography lesson along with the sex talk. I wonder how I'll work in the plate tectonic theory.

One of my Facebook friends (Eric) said explain it to her like this: "Daddy pulls his train into Mommy's train station. If Mommy's lucky then Daddy's train stays on the track for more than 3 minutes. On second thought, leave off that last part."

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

BOOM! Bra Vo!

Ben & Jerry's (now with breast milk)Image by RW PhotoBug via Flickr

Yesterday Holly asked me if she needs to drink milk in order to grow breasts. I said drinking milk is to build better bones but you don't need it for breasts.

She thought the milk went from her stomach to her chest. April asked, "Do I have breasts?"

I said "Yes and they'll get bigger with milk after you have a baby. Breasts are for feeding babies and that's how I fed you."


Just a few more years before breast size obsession. Yippee, can't wait. When I was in 6th grade my mom said I needed a training bra. I thought they came with wheels like bikes and when I grew breasts I took the wheels off.

Before I started a new school in 8th grade, I bra shopped with my sister. One bra had little sponges in the cups. I thought, well, that's convenient in case I spill my milk in the cafeteria I can whip out these thingies and viola! Crisis averted. Or if I got wet? BOOM! Instant Dolly Parton!

My sister said the sponges were to make your boobs look bigger. Even then I didn't believe in false advertising so I passed. I settled for the training bra, wondering when I could take off the wheels and go for a ride on my own.

Good thing I didn't buy the sponge bra because 8th grade was full of girls whispering who stuffed. I thought girls naturally kept their Kleenexes in there because we cried so much. Did I have a lot to learn!

I don't know what made us so impatient for big boobs. They grew into their own in high school, college, marriage, pregnancy and BOOM there they are. Serving a purpose.

Now in our forties we struggle to keep them off our belt loops. Maybe I'll go out tomorrow and try to find that sponge bra again. And recite my own version of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept my breasts I cannot change

Courage to change the breasts I can without plastic surgery

And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chivalry is Freakin' Dead

Company of Chivalry Blue SealImage via Wikipedia

Remember when gentlemen gave up their seats for ladies on a crowded buses, subways, or waiting rooms?

Forget it, it never happens anymore. The last time a man ever gave up his seat for me was when I was pregnant. And that was only because I was about to pop and he didn't want to see my water break right on the floor.

Today I took my daughter to one of her many, many doctor appointments. The waiting room was crowded and I looked around and saw many seats occupied by small children who were not sitting in their seats all the time.

When my kids were little in crowded waiting rooms, I sat them on my lap so adults wouldn't have to stand.

Today, I sunk down to the floor having an incredible time doing so since I proudly own titanium rods in my back, along with almost 30 screws and bolts. I saw a chair open so I struggled to get up and walked over to the seat.

Two parents stared at me. I said, "I have a really hard time sitting on the floor." I didn't go into my rigamarole of back surgery because I don't like to tell strangers my life story right off the bat. Surely, I thought, these parents saw me struggle getting up and down on the floor.

The dad said, "You just took my son's seat. If you're okay with that, then..." I saw the 4-year-old boy and said, "I'm sorry, sweetie, do you want to sit here?" I got up and walked to a wall, struggling to get down on my knee and sit upright. The little boy just kept walking around, staring at Spongebob on television.

Then a mom with a leg brace came in and she also sat down on the floor because no man in that waiting room cared to give up his seat, or even tell their wee tiny children to give up their seats.

Finally one dad came up to both of us and said, "There's two seats available." Leg Brace Lady said, "No, I won't be able to get back up." I saw that the two seats were next to Rude Dad with a son who still wasn't sitting in his seat. I said, "No thanks, I'd rather wait."

I said nothing because I knew karma would bite Rude Dad right in the butt soon. Like me writing about him in this blog. And I left in a good mood because my daughter's doctor looked and sounded like Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean.
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Why I Don't CyberStalk

Lunch 2.0 Happy Hour at FacebookImage by Laughing Squid via Flickr

In a world of the interwebs where anyone can contact anyone instantly, be it a friend from grade school or a celeb you adored in the 80s when you wore matching neon socks and sweaters, one has to wonder when do you draw the line between e-mail frenzy and cyberstalking?

There has to be a light that goes off that says, "Danger, Will Robinson, that person on the internet who IMs you every time you're on Facebook needs a hobby!"

Unfortunately, that light switch never seems to waver from the OFF position.

For me, I don't have time to cyberstalk. One of my Facebook buddies from high school, Eric Hoegsted, put it best:

"I work 24/7 so I'd have to be like okay, I can stalk you in 6 weeks at 2
o'clock but only for 18 minutes because I have to make my delivery on time or
I'll be late."

I'm getting off this computer right now. As soon as I check my e-mail because AOL just pinged me.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

I Want to Hate

"I want to hate but I have no room for it in my heart."

This is what my pastor Ron Armstrong said as he sat in court fifteen away from the three men who murdered his son the day after Christmas last year.

I can imagine struggling with forgiveness. I understand staring at the men who took your oldest child away and think, no way are these men going to the same place my son is right now after they leave this earth.

Imagine the strength you need to fill up your heart with hate. It's easy to hate, don't you think? It isn't. It takes more strength to hate and it exhausts you more quickly. It takes more passion to despise and it envelops you more.

Having no room for the people who most deserve hate is a strength most of us will never achieve.