Diary of a mad, fat girl

Allow me to introduce myself – I am a former SKINNY girl. You know the type – the one who can eat anything and never gain a pound. I once had a very perturbed friend open my office desk drawer to find a baggie with one Oreo in it. “How can you leave one?! I don’t get it! You ate two and left the last one?” Complete and utter hysterical disbelief, and, if my recollection holds true, incorrect in her presumption that it was self-control that limited me to just the two eaten cookies. No, I was a skinny girl remember . . . I just didn’t want the last one. Five years ago, after three c-sections, I weighed 95 pounds at slightly less than five feet tall. I wore a size zero and Target’s Merona brand didn’t even have a size pant to fit me.  I was living the life in tiny swimsuits (ahem, just the size mind you – I am a bit self-conscious and appreciate a little modesty). I could shop in the girls department for pants and shirts (and bras, but that changed soon enough). Okay, okay, I was small and I disgusted more than a few female friends with my body type and effortless weight watching.

Today, right this second, I am roughly 30ish pounds heavier. Some would tsk this by saying in that time frame I have had yet another baby and c-section, breast augmentation (but these perky little ladies only weigh maybe 3 pounds!) and I turned 30. BUT, but, I am also ANGRY. MAD. Hateful. Annoyed. And not because of the weight, in spite of the weight. My anger and ill mental health has caused me to turn to food for comfort, but it’s obviously comforting only my seat.

I know this isn’t rock bottom, but it’s bottom. I feel the slimy squishiness of algae covering the rocks I am sure to meet soon. I have spent the past day on the couch in Hubby’s red plaid flannel jammie pants enjoying a days’ worth of a Law and Order: SVU marathon (and they were all good! Not a dud for six hours!). Normally this type of day wouldn’t be so trying to my psyche, but I combined the lethargy with stuffing my face with no less than the following: 2 Cinnabon cinnamon rolls (and the extra frosting I licked from the plastic container it came in), three cups of Donut House coffee with 2 servings each of Italian Sweet Cream creamer, my McDouble, my medium fry, son’s McDouble minus half of one “meat”, son’s medium fry less half, animal crackers, the chocolate parts of countless Oreo cookies after said son licked all the cream off (saved some calories there!), and the pièce de résistance – an entire cucumber to redeem myself for my food transgressions. Unfortunately, my self (that spiteful harpy), had to eat a Hershey bar to make up for the cucumber. After the piece of four-day-old deep-dish sausage pizza. Oh, and the bowl of chicken-flavored ramen, which, strangely enough, tasted a lot like curry. Yummy. I’m starting to think I have an unhealthy relationship with food.


As I sit here tallying the mistakes I’ve made today, one thing is perfectly clear: I am my own worst enemy. I recently told a friend that it seems that I will sabotage any diet I attempt. Any psychiatrist would attribute this to self loathing. Sooooo, aren’t I just a ray of freakin’ sunshine?

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When applying as a writer . . .

I decided to take an unconventional approach to querying for a writing position: I’m submitting a tongue-in-cheek cover letter to a few local newspapers and keeping my fingers, toes and legs crossed (Hubby not too thrilled about the last one!).  See below for a peek into the life of a DESPERATE woman who so badly wants to be PAID to write:

 

Subject: Writer to write and make you laugh

 To whom it may concern (but specifically to someone who finds value in nonconformity):

 Please allow me to introduce myself to you.  I am a married, stay-at-home mom of three boys – and yes, the stigmas of that position, as well as the number and gender of the children, are mostly accurate as I do wear pajamas most days, spend the majority of time yelling, and my kids almost never hear my voice or say please and thank you to the woman who gave them life.  My current job titles include, but are not limited to: chef, housekeeper, laundress, personal assistant to a handful (or fistful, depending on the day) of demanding and inflexible men, hostage negotiator, babysitter, party planner, life coach, nurse, child psychologist and bartender (though the latter two should never be confused with each other).  I would add that I have perfected the art of butt wiping, but I feel that may be a little too risqué on a cover letter for this classy lady. 

 Let me warn you that this may be a bit wordy, but if I am succinct, I am not funny.  If I am not funny, I should not assume that I have a snowball’s chance in . . . well, you get the idea.  I am interested in sharing my plethora of specialties with your publication in the form of written entertainment.  I am no longer able to entertain my current bosses with my biting wit and somewhat questionable sarcasm, as I am afraid they’ve all developed immunities to my charms. 

 I propose that I write a column documenting my somewhat hellish experiences with my little animals (one of which has special needs – always a fun addition of fuel to the fire).  They have a knack for creating drama everywhere they go and I have a knack for overdramatizing their antics, so we, as a team, would be tumultuously entertaining! My dream is to give you and your readers a front row seat to the disorganized hilarity that ensues every day.  A number of your readers are parents and, being one myself, I know stressed out parents would appreciate a tongue-in-cheek column about parenting and experiencing the area with young and rambunctious children in tow.

 Of course, nothing in this world is free, especially concerning an aging woman under the influence of little boys (ahem, someone needs to pay for my hair dye and wrinkle cream).  They suck every ounce of worth and youth out of me so I would expect some compensation for my hard work and certain misery while my boys embarrass themselves and me for your entertainment.

 I would also like the freedom to come in to work late and take random days off.   My current positions don’t allow any vacation days, so I hope I can count on you to assist me with that.  Aside from the pajamas and yelling, I am pretty professional.  I clean up well and impress when I have to. 

I have a small amount of experience leftover from my high school newspaper, but that was ages ago (honesty will get you everywhere?  Probably not, but at least I’m not embellishing my experience).  My most recent writing experience comes from a writing competition I won in Michigan, hosted by my former library district.  That’s write!  I took FIRST PLACE.  A few snippets of my work can be found below (please ignore the shameless plugging of my abilities – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, especially when the girl won the very first competition she entered, and when her brain cells are dying at rapid speed).

 Wait.  Before I end this asking only for a column, let me be frank.  I’m not picky.  I just want to write.  And get paid.  I’ll be your admin if you need one (and I’ll write about that).  I’ll be the go-to gal for the boring function no other reporter wants to go to.  Heck, I’ll be a grammar goon or spellchecker or what-have-you.  Got a position in the mailroom?  Need someone to read and respond to your e-mails?  A research assistant?  We all have to start somewhere and I’m willing to start by cleaning the office if it means there is room to progress into the world of writing.   Be warned, though, that I will write about the condition of the office. 

 Please let me know via phone, e-mail, snail mail or hot air balloon if this situation is something that is of interest to you.  You can also expect to receive a second copy of this in the mail.  I like to cover my bases.  I want a writing job so bad I can taste it.  Strangely enough, it tastes a little like that Jell-O salad called Ambrosia. 

 Sincerely,

 Underwhelmed, underappreciated and under a pile of laundry in Sylvania

 

Criminal Minds

Today’s trip to our local park was a real eye opener for me.  Besides being uncomfortable at the masses of people there, I realized mid-trip that I have watched entirely too many episodes of Criminal Minds.  Mind you, this fact is reminded to me weekly by my hubby when I regale the paranoia I encounter almost nightly after dark, but today I believe I brought it to a whole new level – a level in which it was possible that police could have been called had I not controlled myself.

 When we arrived at the park, my heart sank (like normal) when I saw how many Toledo citizens agreed with me that the mild temperatures created the perfect park day.  On top of the mass conglomeration of kids and their parents, there were also more dogs than I was comfortable with.  Well, in all fairness, one dog is more than I’m comfortable with, but that’s beside the point.  Trudging across the grass (too long and filled with clover so thus, filled with bees), only one son was excited to play so we thought we’d ditch the people and go for walk in the woods.

 The trail to the woods was littered with a few solitary walkers.  I kept the kids close and found every reason to leave the trail toward the park side whenever those creepy, smiling hikers came close (read: single people are always suspect to me).  Yes, we even explored the inside of a grill to keep from interacting with what I was sure was a soon-to-be abduction attempt.

 As we approached a not completely hidden fork in the trail, two men stood talking smack in the middle of the intersection.  The mother and BAU profiler in me was convinced this was all a ploy to make me (yes, I was sure they singled me out!) think they were just normal, nature-lovin’ folks, mindin’ their own business until BAM!  One reaches out, grabs a child by the arm and tosses him into the van barreling out of the woods.  Just like that, in a literal blink of an eye, my world would be over.  Staring at them from afar (yeah, I gotta be able to describe them down to the five o’clock shadow pattern) but looking down as we passed them, I fought back the hyperventilation flirting with my lungs and pushed on.  The boys, completely unaware of the dire situation entirely within my head, tripped over each other, laughed and pulled on my hands when . . .

 “Hi boys!  Is your mom taking you for a walk?”

 Breathe, breathe, breathe.  That man, that certain molester/murderer/vagrant, just engaged my children!  I forced a smile void of eye contact and pushed them on – literally, I had to place my hands on their backs in puuuuush.  My head twitched to the side every two seconds or so, looking to make sure he wasn’t following us.  He wasn’t, but I still had my hand on my phone all the same.  Just in case. 

 This encounter today made me question: at one point is it okay to call the cops?  My irrationality was overwhelming my sanity, which knew deep down that nothing bad was going to happen; but my body was in fight or flight mode anyway.  With a mother’s instinct, when should one ignore it and chalk it up to paranoia? 

Gray hairs, white lies

Oh. My. Word.  Is that a gray hair?

 For reasons unknown to my mostly rational self, this morning I got the feeling that I should be checking my hair for grays.  I didn’t really think I’d find anything but I looked anyway – we all have that weird OCD-like behavior when it really behooves us not to.  I took my brush and brushed my hairline up and back and leaned over the sink to peer closely into the mirror – something I had never, not ever done in my life. 

 My first brush stroke produced what I had really highly doubted – my very first gray hair.  It was about three inches long and slightly thicker than the rest of my dull, baby fine and painfully thin hairs.  It sparkled and shone in the light of the bare globe vanity bulbs and appeared blonde (which is what I was hoping for).  My hubby walked in just moments into my sudden old age.  I turned toward him in what seemed like slow motion and pointed.  “Is that a gray hair?” I asked incredulously.

 Now, let me tell you a little something about my husband.  He is the type of guy women want around because he is very flattering and complimentary and will go to the grave lying to make someone (ahem, me) feel gorgeous and perfect.  Lately we had been having discussions about my between-the-eyebrow wrinkles or, according to him, “wrinkles”.  His eyebrows shot up as he leaned closer and I read it all over his face – I was old. “Uh, yeah.  It is.” He said.  “Welcome to thirty, baby!  You always said you want to be all gray.”  He knew his face had betrayed what was to be a little white lie (er, gray lie) and then had to make a joke of it.

 “Psh.” I said, laughing but superficially worried about my current predicament.  He kissed my sleep-wrinkled forehead and headed off to work, chuckling at my vanity, I am sure. 

 I spent the morning thinking about time and youth and gray hair and wrinkles.  What is youth, anyway?  An overpriced, overhyped serum at a department store?  A feeling? An adjective?  A state of mind?  If it is the former, than I am youthful – wait, no.  Ever since I was 23, I’ve felt out of place with my age.  I should be thirty; I used to tell my friends.  I feel thirty on the inside, I would explain.  But my face and height and body shape begged to differ – I still get carded to buy wine!  I was shopping with my parents (who are 49 and 51) and children a while ago and they were buying O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer (which, although non-alcoholic, you are still required to produce proof of age).  The cashier asked if I was their daughter and my dad, befuddled by the question, asked, “Why?  Can you see the family resemblance?”  She said, “Oh, I was asking because I can’t sell your alcohol to you with her if she wasn’t your child.”  At this, we all looked at each other open-mouthed and shocked.  “She’s knocking on the door of thirty!” laughed my mom. “Four kids!”  The cashier was surprised and laughed it off as a compliment, but a deeper part of me felt like I was being jipped out of a certain rite of passage, like developing breasts as a teenager – wait, I was jipped out of that, too.  I felt like my age and my appearance didn’t match and for that I was a little sad.  There have been many times in my life where I felt that I was being overlooked due to youth, misunderstood and brushed away.  I knew people didn’t take a lot of what I thought and said seriously due to being mistaken for, say, 15. I wanted to look older, I wanted to look wiser.  Are wrinkles wise? 

 Later in the afternoon while my youngest was napping, I got curious and took out my trusty, five-year-old hand mirror and brush and went to the window for better light.  I began running my fingers through the hair I’ve had a hate-hate relationship with since teen years, and wouldn’t you know it – my hair was ridden with grays.  Ridden, I tell you! Gray, gray everywhere.  At my nape, by my ears, smack in the middle of the back of my head.  Everywhere.  I must have counted twenty before I stopped.  When did this happen?  Why haven’t I noticed them? – Well, that’s not really a legitimate question.  I know why – I don’t pay too close attention to my hair as I HATE it.  I wash it, brush it and pull it back.  I trim it very sporadically and color it even less.  It just hangs on my head like dead, thin corn silks.  It’s shiny – I’ll give it that, and smooth – but it lacks about two-thirds of the volume a healthy head of hair holds.  I stared into the mirror, playing with one of them for a few seconds before I was shocked back to reality by the ring of the phone.  It was Hubby-of the-Year.  “Hey, that gray hair isn’t the only one.  I found more.” I said, expecting to hear him say something like, “You’re crazy” or “No, those are just blonde” but instead he hesitated and said, “I know.  I’ve been noticing them for a while.”

 Wait.  What?  What?! You knew about them and didn’t tell me?”

 Because of my dismay, I cannot recall what he said in response to that.  I do know that I felt almost betrayed, like he had lied to me.  My core, normally so age-driven and anxious to be old, had just been told it was old.  I was no longer the young 25-year-old-blond-with-the-yoga-butt he was dating.  I was now the wrinkled, gray-haired-30ish-year-old-wife.  In the course of one night (one sleep as my kids say) my whole persona seemed to change.  I aged dramatically and drastically just at the revelation of the pursuit of youth.  I had really never given any thought to anti-wrinkle creams.  When I saw a hair dye commercial, I completely disregarded the sales pitch that it “Completely Colors Hair Thoroughly – Even Those Pesky Resistant Grays” and “100% Gray Coverage”.  On this day, my afternoon was spent perusing Amazon.com for the best price/product for my situation (in case you are wondering, it’s Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cream.)

 When my boys got home from school, they were anxious to tell me all about their fun Friday, but I was anxious to shock them with my old age.  “Do you see my grays?” I laughed as I pulled my hair back. 

“Whoa, yeah!” said my oldest with a huge smile.  “They are white!”

 I had to tell myself, after realizing what a bad example this would set for my teenage stepdaughter, that this obsession with youth and beauty had to go.  I sat down, opened my laptop and here I sit, pouring out my frustration over what shallow, insipid little ideas that float through my sometimes tiny little mind.  Hubby and I had a little laugh over the whole deal and he turned and looked at me with the most genuine expression and said, with his hand on his heart, “This is all that matters.  All that counts is what’s in here . . . and yours is beautiful.”

 Gotta love my man.  He sees past the shallow exterior into the shallow pool of love!