Krissie: Vanity, Vanity, All is Vanity

So that’s what my hair looks slightly parted with the dreaded bangs to one side. Not happy. Maybe it’s simply the cut. It looked fabulous after Hannah did it, but it’s not wearing well, and I don’t want to be using product on a daily basis. It’s fun for special occasions but not now.
but I digress. The scale is sitting happily at 230.5 to 231, which is nice if only slightly frustrating. Losing at a glacial pace is always better — means the skin gets less saggy, means you’re in better shape about regaining.
So, I’m still on vanity, because there was so much food for thought in the comments yesterday. One thing that’s changed — the last time I lost significant weight I was at least …. hmmmm, fifteen years younger? Maybe more. And yes, times have changed. It’s such a loaded question.
Case in point — every time I go to RWA people compliment on losing weight, even if I’ve gained. And my theory is that everyone remembers me as bigger than I really am, so the reality is better.
Of course, that’s a fairly depressing theory.
And now that I’m (cough, cough) 57 significant weight loss usually signals something dire, not something nice. I’m probably just as guilty of thinking those dire things when I see someone my age melting away.
And here’s a little Krissie story. I do try not to offend (at least, not on personal matters) and I’ve run into trouble so many times asking people if they’re pregnant (always much worse than mentioning weight). A couple of years ago an acquaintance came by to pick up a check for garden work and she was wearing a maternity top and clearly about 8 months along. Having run into trouble before, I blurted out “Oh, are you fat?”
Yes, Krissie, well done.
I remember a larger woman I know talking about “when the baby comes” and I said “Oh, are you pregnant?” Considering she was almost at term that was as big an insult as asking someone who isn’t pregnant if she is.
The last library job I had, when I was about 31, I was trying desperately to get pregnant. I’d also made a nice, loose, trapeze-style denim jumper (they were big that year). And every damned person kept asking me if I was pregnant, rubbing salt in the wound. I finally embroidered “No, I’m Not” on the front. Sometime I’ll talk about infertility, but today isn’t the day.
But I digress.
I have very mixed feelings about being praised for weight loss, just as many of you do. It’s that old line — “you look beautiful — I hardly recognized you.” What’s wrong with the way I used to look?
Part of me wants to show off, but part of me doesn’t. Because we go up and down and temporary weight loss means nada in the long run (and might even be bad for us). I didn’t want to show up at RWA a newer, slimmer version. Not until I wrap my heard around it.
Mind you, I was more conflicted the year my sister died, when I lost ten pounds and then got distracted. It said right on her death certificate that she died of “emphysema complicated by obesity.” She wouldn’t have died if she hadn’t eaten herself to death. Death by Cheez-its, I kid you not. As if I weren’t conflicted enough about the entire weight issue to begin with!
I’ve made some peace with it, at least better than three years ago. But I’ve got a ways to go.
I guess part of my issue is, again, the roller coaster. The high of losing weight, gathering the compliments, preening, buying new clothes. Followed, almost inevitably, by the regain, the buying larger clothes again, ending up worse than you began, and the added shame of having failed.
One good thing about surgery — even those who regain don’t go back to their previous weight. But it’s clear it’s not a magic button. People with eating disorders find a way around everything to regain. God knows, I have.
I don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to dance around the house singing “I’m skinny, I’m skinny” when I finally dip into the 220s or teens or even below 200, only to surge back up when something terrible happens, because terrible things always happen. (Sorry, but you’re talking to someone who lost her beloved father when he was 58, nephew at 18, brother at 40, sister at 64, all without warning. Just a phone call and everything changes.)
So I think I need to make peace with weight loss. Look at it clearly and calmly, figure out what I need, why I need it, and stay on task. It’s much much harder to keep weight off than to lose it, and it’s once you stop being in the moment that disaster happens.
Big sigh. (Mentioning my family always puts me in tears). Anyway, clearly there are no easy answers or dieting wouldn’t be such a multi-billion dollar industry.
I have lots of food for thought, even if not much on my plate (chortle).
And on the good news front, Crusie’s still losing weight too, even while ignoring the whole thing. And when she mentioned she wasn’t down 10% (though she’s close) I realized I am. Or close enough that I’ll take it. I was in the low 250s when I started, and I’ve lost 25 pounds. Very very cool. I think it calls for a celebration or a (non-food) treat.
I’ve accomplished a lot.

Krissie: Vanity thy name is woman

Who the hell said that? Some damned man, no doubt. Yesterday was a pure 10 on the gorgeous scale, today it’s windy and pouring rain, which might put it at a 3. At least I’m staving off the roller coaster, even if the weather isn’t following suit.
But I digress. The subject for today, my children, is vanity.
I have staunchly insisted that I am losing weight and exercising to feel better, get healthy, live longer. Absolutely true. And absolutely foremost in my re-claiming my fabulousness.
I have also insisted that vanity has nothing to do with it.
I lied.
Well, let me amend that. I was mistaken.
Mind you, I’m really not a terribly vain person. No one could post pictures of themselves everyday, including in a bathing suit, tell everyone their weight no matter what it is, or grow up with a sister being “the pretty one” without being short on vanity.
It used to be when I lost weight people would notice and praise me, I would preen and dance in private and be inspired. Used to happen when I lost twenty pounds. That was the point when people started to notice. Okay, so maybe 25 pound, I thought. Nada.
I don’t get out much, and I don’t expect my son to pay any attention. My DIL hasn’t said anything but I’m her MIL (or close enough that it’s easier to type DIL and MIL) so maybe she’s not sure she should say something.
But I went to church on Sunday for the first time since Palm Sunday. We have a “greet your neighbor” moment where you get up, and I always go greet the choir since they’re left out. And did anyone, anyone mention that I’d lost weight afterwards during coffee hour? Nope.
Now I know all you see it in my face. But you’re primed. You know about it. I’m sure if I told anyone I was working on losing weight (I wrote “trying to” and changed it) they’d immediately praise the results, but that doesn’t count. I want acquaintances to greet me with shock and awe.
I have no idea why there’s this sudden need for outside validation. Maybe I’m just so used to the way it used to work that it feels like I haven’t had real results. Maybe nowadays it takes 30 pounds for people to sit up and take notice. Dunno. I do know that liking the changes you notice in the mirror helps, that compliments help. They’re not necessary, but they’re fun, part of the perks that, hey, I fucking deserve! So there!
I want even the most oblivious person to notice I’m getting thinner, damn it.
Okay, enough of my little temper tantrum. I’m retaining a bit of water, I had a late night pig out (a diet ginger ale and a third of a bag of whole grain goldfish) but I was still 230.5, and the scale even dipped lower before it settled. So I’m on the cusp of entering a new … milestone, and I think giving NettieD (as opposed to NetiP, the dreaded Neti pot) her due might push me over.
And I will dress as if the world thinks I’m astonishing.
Well, actually the world tends to think I’m astonishing no matter what I weigh. Not always in a good way but I’m a bit of a presence.
Anyway, I’ll just assume everyone thinks I’m gorgeous but are too shy to say so, afraid it might sound as if they didn’t think I was gorgeous when I was heavier.
That’s it! A perfect excuse for all of them.
Okay, that’s settled. I’m navigating the shoals of my kids’ crises (harder than dealing with own sometimes), I’m writing, I’m sewing, I’m exercising, and I’m losing weight.
And I think I’ve found my mantra, at least for now.
Rock on, shin-diggers, everywhere.