Friday, June 29, 2018

Dating While Fat

I haven’t written anything of note or particularly personal in a loooooong time. My struggles have changed dramatically but have also stayed frustratingly the same. One particular item of note that has changed since the last time I wrote a blog is that I am now fat. I’m not borderline, or thin-passing, or temporarily-fat. I’m all the way fat. I am now on the other side of eating disorders and manic exercising –which are huge wins, but I am now struggling EVERY-SINGLE-DAY not to hate my body. 

The fact is that most people are hardwired to despise fatties. They assume that we’re gluttonous, lazy, slobs that are incapable of putting down a doughnut long enough to walk around the block. We are the ‘before picture’ of a beautiful and happy person’s life. We are the dire warning to children of what they don’t want to become. We are loathed, but we are also often fetishized. People love to look at us and fuck us but are often secretly ashamed of wanting us.

On-line dating is a mixed bag. It’s 90% percent dick pics; 7% nice people who think I should be grateful that they’re even considering dating a fat person, and 3% genuine interaction. It’s nice, though, because it’s very easy to find out whether or not someone is repulsed by or attracted to your body before you go out with them. It is also exhausting. I gave up on sifting through the barrage of bullshit last year and decided that it might be cool to try and meet people the old-fashioned way. You know, in real life. This meant I would have to leave my house and shower more frequently, but I was excited to try it.

This experiment of mine is not going so well. I’m a socially anxious introvert who can also be incredibly funny, charming and self-assured. That combination is a fucking nightmare in the dating world. When you add to these already confusing signals the fact that I’m fat, it gets downright impossible. I don’t lack confidence, but my anxiety lies to me about everything –all the time. Someone may be blatantly flirting with me, and my anxiety will tell me that they’re just being nice. Without being able to look through someone’s question answers or dating history, I have absolutely no way of knowing whether or not they are into big women.

You see, when I was younger and had thin-privilege I could safely assume that a person flirting with me was doing just that. And, I would act on it. But, now, I constantly exist in a state of not knowing what to do. I don’t mind being rejected for who I am, but I absolutely mind someone being repulsed by my advances because I’m fat. And, my anxiety tells me that every person alive hates me for being fat.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

You are My Denisty?

I don't exactly remember the first time I had the thought that I had a soul mate, one true love hanging out somewhere on this planet waiting for me to find him.  Or, maybe I was waiting for him to find me.  I may have been born boy crazy because I also have no recollection of a period in my life where I thought they were gross.  Quite the contrary, I liked them and I beat them up and I hid from them maybe before I could talk.  If I thought really hard about it, I could probably list my main, secondary, and tertiary crushes from every grade.  That's the thing.  When I was little, I didn't like just one boy, I liked many of them.  I was a nudist, polyamorous wild child who would beat up the boys she adored and then hide from them when they tried to talk to her.  That pretty much continued through middle school (although I spent a lot more time dressed). Of course, I had been subjected to a world of Disney princesses and bad romantic comedies, so I think there was a little spark of an idea that maybe there was one boy out there who was right for me.  But, mostly, I liked a whole bunch of them at once.

It's hard to say if it was organized religion or my hormones that changed my outlook so much because my religions and my hormones came all at the same time.  I became a Mormon when I was 12 and left when I was 16.  During those particularly awkward years, there was a whole lot of talk about what my future husband would be like.  I was taught that there was one good Mormon man out there that would be so right for me that I would surrender my life and desires and reproductive organs, so I could spend eternity loving him and cleaning his house.  I think this is probably when the idea of soul mate took root in my psyche.  I entered the church with my eye on a missionary and several boys in the congregation, spent most of my time in the church in a very pure and needy relationship with the Holy Spirit, and left the church thinking that every crush I had was potentially my soul mate. Love had lost its innocence and become all serious.

In the twelve years that I've been dating, I've had some big loves (and losses) and have certainly thought more than once that I had found my forever person.  And, as I look back on the big ones now, I can say with certainty that they all could have worked.  The men in question were all very different and appealed to different natures in me, but those relationships really could have worked out, and I would have been happy in any of them.  And, I'm also equally glad that none of them did work out.  As much as I loved the ones that got away, I am so eternally grateful that I'm not married and that I don't have children.  I love the children in my life very dearly, and I also enjoy the times that I'm in a relationship.  But, above all these things, I relish my freedom.  But, despite all of this, I still catch myself observing a boy I like to see if he displays any soul mate characteristics.  I just can't help it!

So, lately I've been thinking a lot about this whole soul mate business and whether or not I give it any stock.  And, I have to say that I don't.  At least, not in the literal sense.  There are people in my life that love and enrich me, and I like to think that they're my soul mates.  And, maybe that's just me being poetic.  But, when it comes to the idea of one true love, I just can't get on board.  I'm not saying that I don't believe in lasting love or monogamy or marriage.  Just the opposite.  I believe all of those things can and do work.  I even believe it's possible for all of those things to work for me.  But, I don't believe that there is only one boy in the world for me.  I've loved too many people that it could have worked with.  And, I will love more people that it could work with.  When it comes to love, I think there's the right person at the right time.  It's all about timing.  My therapist used to say that to me, and I hated it.  It felt like he was cheapening the idea of romance.  But, I understand what he was saying now.  We are a dynamic species.  Love happens when you meet and recognize a fellow traveler on the same path as you.  Some of those travelers are lucky enough to be travelling the same direction their whole lives.  Some choose to go the same way.  And, many break off into different directions.

I guess what I'm saying is, when it comes to fate/destiny, I believe it is a product of our choices and not vice-versa.  My destiny is what I choose it to be, and the people that are right for me while on my journey will find me (or I will find them), and we will call it fate.  And some of us will be fated to stay together forever because we chose to be.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Follow Up to Some Deleted Stuff

If you read my blogs regularly, you are aware that in a fit of shame I deleted all of my posts.  I like to think that they're floating around cyberspace somewhere, and will one day be magically recovered.  But, alas, I fear that is not to be the case.  There are two, in particular, that now have follow up stories.  

The first is the blog I wrote about my attraction to stray cats.  I gave a rather lengthy and glamorous definition of the term 'stray cat' as it refers to the men I date.  I'm not going to do that this time...  Basically, they are very fun and frisy commitment-phobic disappearing acts.  And, I love to throw my heart against the brick walls of their defenses.  What was probably obvious to the four of you that read my blog (but not at all clear to me) was that I fit the stray cat definition perfectly.  It's no fucking wonder I love strays, I'm one myself.  Of course, I would be a very sleak and sneaky black cat with a long tail and majestic gait.  I would be a mighty huntress with my pick of at least three different homes and food bowls...

I don't know how it took me so long to realize it.  I suppose it just took several cute boys running away before I started to consider that my lack of a partner must have at least as much to do with the boys I date as it does my own mindframe.  And, then, it was very clear.  I am the flightiest of the flighty.  I am slow to trust.  I'm fun and exciting and at the same time a little mean and abrasive.  I'm open about many things but deeply secretive about others.  The more I like a person, the less I give away because the more afraid I am of trusting them.  I could tell a stranger my whole life story, but when it comes to a boy I like, I usually get anxious and weirdly defensive and end up just creeping him out with drunken stories from my younger and wilder days and weird stories about my broken family.  Ah, my strange defense mechanisms designed to push people away before they can get too close.  I'm terrified of commitment because it's nearly impossibly for me to imagine living with someone ALL the time.  And, why would that be?  I don't know, maybe because I'm terrified of opening up?  It's not really rocket science.  However, I like to fancy myself a scientist of sorts, so I think there is an obvious solution to this conundrum.  I'm just going to have to keep practicing until I get it right.  Now, that sounds like a fun solution.  I have also been making a more sincere effort to recognize when I'm walling up and forcing myself not to do it.  I think, for a while at least, this might cause me to reenter the world of rather frequent panic attacks.  But, like all things, it gets easier the more times you do it.  Lord, please send me cute boys to practice on for Christmas.  Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation.

This brings me to the next post I wanted to follow up on.  One of the other characteristics of stray cats is that they're wanderers, homeless nomads just looking for rooms to rent for a while.  And, I once wrote a blog about how I was a girl without a home.  Or, if I had a home I didn't know where it was; but I really wanted to find it.  Well, in my first step toward domestication, I have discovered that I do have a home.  It's in Louisville where my family and friends are.  It's in Louisville where there are local coffee shops in most strip malls and motorists occasionally swerve to hit bicyclists.  It's in Louisville where everyone I know is affiliated with local theater and everyone asks me where I went to high school.  I could continue on with this list forever, but I'm feeling a bit lazy about it at the moment.  So, I will just leave you with the knowledge that I am, in fact, a stray.  But, I'm a stray with a home.  And, strays with homes don't stay wild for long.  

Friday, September 21, 2012

West Virginia Bound

In a month or so, I will be a resident of West Virginia.  I've driven through it twice, but I've never seen more of it than highway signs and gas station bathrooms.  I certainly never dreamed I'd be moving there.  Maybe the world really is ending this year.

Thus far, 2012 has been an introspective year.  I've been thinking a lot about life paths, patterns, meaning, magic, destiny, and most of the things one thinks about when examining their choices and current trajectory.  I think one of the reasons I like math so much is because my life moves in infinite cycles, repeating themselves over and over again until I'm dizzy.  If my life was a graph, it'd be a sine wave.  It's hard to map progress when you're moving in spirals that often lap back to the beginning.  And lack of measurable progress can often be quite disheartening.  If life is measured by accomplishments, I am failing.

I thought, when I was finally diagnosed with ADHD that life would change somehow.  And, I guess it has in a way.  Mostly, though, I've just become less of an enigma to myself.  My spiraling life is just a mirror of my thoughts winding round and round themselves.  My tendency to fail at school after a successful semester is also indicative of my condition.  Folks with ADHD are a group accustomed to truly epic failures.  Success comes hard.  It brings with it a mix of fear, shame, and anxiety.  It's slippery and scary.  And so, after a big win comes a big depression.  And then enters failure.  And the cycle repeats itself.

I've been living my life in this holding pattern for a long time.  I always assumed that by 30, surely, I would at least have my bachelor's degree.  And, had things been different, that may have been a possibility.  For instance, if I had known that I had Attention Deficit Disorder before I was 28, I would have understood my setbacks better and been able to find a way to work around them.  Or, maybe not.  Being a child of a narcissist, I wasn't actually allowed to have diseases.  It's highly plausible that ADD, like Asthma, would have simply been a make-believe disease that really meant I was weak-willed.  So, perhaps finding out as an adult did more good than harm.  There's no stigma attached to it.  I spent the better portion of my childhood pretending I could breathe like a normal person and refusing to admit when I was having an asthma attack.  I was 25 before I'd let my doctor prescribe me medicine for it.  How long would it have taken me to allow myself to actually have ADD?  I shudder to think of it.

More than anything, I want to finish school.  I have all these puzzle pieces swimming around in my head, and I'm certain that they fit together to form a truly spectacular whole.  But, I don't have enough knowledge to fit them together yet.  Someday, I hope.  Unfortunately, I've failed so many times and taken out so many student loans that the only way I'll ever have a bachelor's degree is if I pay for it myself.  And...  That brings us back to the imminent move to West Virginia.

One of my favorite things about getting older is becoming more self-aware and accepting.  And, 2012: An Introspective has at least led me to the realization that this is me.  This is my life.  Right fucking now.  I can spin in circles waiting for something to propel me forward, or I can do something completely crazy and move forward myself.  Selling paint is not what I want to do forever.  It's not my life's work.  But, it's what I'm doing now.  And, I happen to be very good at it.  So why not allow myself to move upward and onward in that particular field?  And why not have an adventure while I'm at it?  And maybe, just maybe, I'll bring in enough money to continue hacking away at my degree.  Or, maybe not.  I can't be sure.  I'm also not sure if I'm going off on a tangent and will return in a few years or if I'm starting something completely new.  Those things never become apparent before the very end, though.  All I can do is speculate.  And wax nostalgic.  And, believe me, I have been doing plenty of those two things.

And, as my departure looms ever closer, I also find that it is getting more difficult to walk away.  I suppose the reasons to stay somewhere never become fully apparent until you're leaving, and this is certainly no exception.  As I sit here writing this and looking out my window, I have to admit that Louisville has come closer than anywhere else to feeling like home.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it probably is home, and I'm just not accustomed to recognizing those feelings.  And, of course, I will miss my people here.  There are the people that I have known and loved for years, and there are the people that I was just getting to know.  In a way, I think it's the latter relationships that are hardest to walk away from.  The might have beens.  Lord knows I could write a country song about them.

And, now that I'm sitting here all teary-eyed, I have to remind myself that I'm moving three hours away, and I have a company car.  It's not like I'm moving to the other side of the world.  It's not like I won't be able to visit frequently.  And, for the first time in many moons, I feel like adventure is on the horizon.  Maybe this is really is just a tangent.  Maybe this is my pilgrimage to reclaim my sense of awe and adventure.  Like a wilderness explorer, I step bravely into the unknown...

Just like this guy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Could You Repeat That? I Wasn't Listening.

Since I deleted all of my prior blog posts in a moment of insecurity, there's really no back story left.  And, I don't particularly feel like inserting one here.  So, to make a long story short let's just say that I had quite a traumatic childhood which led to a slew of psychological problems that I've spent the better portion of my 20's coping with.  And, when that was pretty much done, I assumed the rest of my life would unfold before my eyes, that the red carpet would unroll and lead me to a glamorous and fulfilled life.  And...  It didn't quite work out like that.  Like, not even a little bit.  Something was still wrong.  I was still running myself ragged spinning in circles.  I tried to go back to school but after a semester I was self-destructing again.  My house still looked like it had been ransacked by burglars.  The relationships I had been so excited about building were stagnant.

And, I discovered the one major drawback to psychotherapy.  You view every negative behavior as stemming from your unconscious.  You analyze yourself over and over again trying to find that buried negative feeling that's poisoning your psyche.  You assume that all your problems are psychological.  You dig deep, looking for any hint of damage that could explain your behavior.  I couldn't find anything.  I really felt certain that I had come to terms with those things that used to haunt me.  Instead of looking for another explanation, I started getting paranoid that I had repressed memories.  So, I went back to therapy to uncover what I was hiding from myself.  But, it wasn't helping.  We weren't getting anywhere.  I assumed that I had closed myself off and was refusing to allow anyone to help me.  It was hopeless.  My life wasn't going to ever be any different than this because I was too broken to fix myself.  I became depressed, which made all of my problems seem even bigger.  The circles I was spinning in became ruts.  My house was starting to look like it could be on an episode of Hoarders and my stagnant relationships were becoming non-existent.  This is what my life was going to be like.  I just had to accept it and move on.

And, that's when we had a breakthrough in therapy.  We were having a particularly bad session.  I had decided in our last session that I was never coming back, but I had not been able to muster up the energy to cancel our next appointment.  Since I was going to be charged if I didn't show up, I decided to just go.  I mean, it couldn't really get any worse...  He was asking me why I wasn't doing my homework or going to bed on time and I kept saying, "I don't know."  And, he kept grilling me.  I was starting to get pissed off.  And I was sort of yelling when I told him that I really wanted to finish the things I was failing to accomplish, but I just wasn't able to.  It was like a scene that repeated itself over and over again in my childhood.  My parents came home, and my chores weren't done.  And, because this happened pretty much every single time they came home, they were red-faced when they asked me why my chores weren't done.  "I don't know."  I could tell by the wide eyes and shaking hands that I had just written myself a death sentence.  It always played out the same way.  I wanted to be good.  I wanted to make my parents proud.  And, I failed, over and over again.  I was rebellious and lazy.  I was wasting my talents.  These episodes, which happened all the time, cut a little bit deeper every single time.  I really did intend to do what they asked me.  I would just get distracted and either forget about something altogether or put it off indefinitely, saying to myself, "there's plenty of time."  Well, time is a slippery little bugger.  It always slips away at the last second, and I find myself empty-handed and ashamed.  Eventually, I started to both resent my parents and believe the things they said to me when they were angry.

So, I'm sitting on my therapist's couch getting increasingly angry over this line of questioning because it's hitting a little too close to home.  And, he puts down his clipboard and says, "It sounds like ADD to me."  I had been expecting to see a concerned look on his face while I received a speech about how I would never get what I wanted out of life if I wasn't willing to work for it.  I had NOT been expecting that.  I don't think I realized how significant that moment was.  I just sort of cocked my head to the side and said in a mocking/disbelieving tone, "Really???"  He (quite patiently, I should add) described the disease to me.  He had been diagnosed in his forties, which is why he was able to recognize the symptoms in me.  I left with my head spinning faster than it normally does.  It made sense. It took a while to get into a specialist and receive an official diagnosis.  During that waiting period, I kept dreaming that the psychiatrist told me I didn't have a disease, I was just lazy.  I experienced a very interesting mix of hope and apprehension waiting for that appointment.  And, at the end of our first 45 minute meeting, she confirmed the diagnosis.  It was official.  She recommended a couple of books, wrote me a prescription for the first medication we were going to try (150 mg of Wellbutrin XL), and shuffled me out the door.  I burst into tears the moment her office door closed behind me.

Of course, there's a lot more to treatment than that.  Perhaps I'll get into it later.

At the moment, though, I'm experiencing a very new and fabulous sensation.  I feel hopeful.  I feel like I really can do anything.  It finally seems like every step I take is leading me down a path that doesn't end exactly where it started.  I'm excited to see what happens.

For anyone curious about this neurological disease that is more prevalent in the US than any other country, I highly recommend this very awesome and easy to read book.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Cinderella Complex

The other night, I came through and deleted all of my old blog posts.  Naturally, I seriously regret this.  I started this blog to help map my path toward self-discovery and mental clarity.  And, I did what I do best, I just decided to start all over again.  Ah, well, it's gone now.  Time to start over, I suppose.  If anyone has any nifty ways to recover deleted blog posts, I'd be happy to hear them...

I find myself, once again, repeating the same tried and true cycles of refusing to take responsibility for my life and stop running in circles.  I haven't been to class in, oh, a month or so.  I did so well over the summer.  What could have possibly happened during the two week break between semesters?  I have been trying to figure this out.  I have a lot of spare time when I'm not in class or doing my homework.  I've just been running in circles in my head.  It's hard to see the truth.  But, I think I've finally stumbled upon something.  

I've decided to start therapy like it's my job again.  I even found a guy who is not only a therapist but a life coach.  I'm thinking this might be helpful because I was considering selling a bunch of stuff and paying a psychic every penny I had to tell me what to do with my life.  We shall see...  He asked me one question in particular that got me thinking.  What do you feel in control of?  Would you believe that I had a hard time answering this?  And, then, I started thinking about all the ways in which I attempt to relinquish all control.  It's sort of my motto.  Relinquish control.  Believe in the Universe.  This all sounds very poetic, but I don't think it means what I think it means.  The idea of relinquishing control is the idea of giving into the fact that the future is unknown.  This planet we're spinning around on is more of a mystery than anything.  All we can do is live right now and trust that everything will work itself out.  That's what I think of when I say relinquish control.  But, that's not what I'm doing.  Instead of accepting that my future is not written and there is no way of knowing what it could possibly look like, I'm giving up on right now and throwing myself into a proverbial river hoping it will carry me to my predestined future.  I'm doing the exact opposite of what I'm preaching.  It would seem that the last thing I want to be true is the fact that I don't have a fully mapped out destiny.  That would mean that I might be forced to accept responsibility for my own life.  Good lord, help us all!

So, a lot of writing and a google search (refusal to accept responsibility of control, psychology) later, I came up with a few options.  First, I did some reading about narcissism.  I fit the bill in a lot of ways (elaborately constructed fantasy world, spends lots of time alone, blames others for dysfunctional relationships), but I'm not a total emotional cripple.  I do actually love and trust people.  Just not a whole lot of them. --I should take an aside here and mention that I'm a little bit obsessed with diagnosing myself.  Ever since my first day of therapy, I've been looking for a title to give myself.  I think I must believe that if I give it a name, I can more easily cure it.  Or this may be more of my inability to accept the fact that a lot of things are just fucking vague...--  So, yes, I have narcissistic tendencies but that doesn't really seem to be the lot of it.  Then, I do a little research on victim psychology.  I do like to blame my parents for my neuroses, but it doesn't really fit the bill either.  And, then, I stumbled on this glorious term: The Cinderella Complex.  Check out the link.  It's pretty interesting.