Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Escape From Stepford: A Weighty History (pt. 3 of 3)

turns out, i was right.

now, it didn't happen overnight and it didn't happen completely and it didn't happen without a few considerable bumps in the road.

but since i've been here, i've learned to enter a room -- at a party, at an office, anywhere, really -- and be myself and have faith that that self will be accepted.

i unlearned 20 years of second-guessing.

i stopped thinking that every time i met an attractive man who seemed interested in what i had to say that it was because he was just being nice.

i stopped thinking that every time people found me funny, they didn't also feel sorry for me, or think of me as someone who learned to be funny as a way to compensate for physical shortcomings.

i stopped expecting to be ignored.

and i have never felt more like MySelf since childhood.

but before any one of you suggests that maybe it was just a matter of confidence all along, and that my expectations were borne out of adolescent angst and actually self-perpetuated...well, don't think i didn't wonder that myself.

but last june, i went back. i went back east to visit my family and i made a pilgrimage to stepford and made a point of Going Out to the newest Hot Spot, equipped with my re-discovered self and all those shameful expectations banished. i looked good, i felt good, and i was ready to greet my past.

and do you know what happened?

i was completely ignored. shrugged off. for the most part, men wouldn't make eye contact with me.

in a two-room bar full of maybe 200 people, at size 14, i was the heaviest woman in the place. and even though i'm 30 years old, STILL no guy was grown-up enough to even DARE to have a conversation with me. because...well...you know.

so nope. not me. stepford.

and thus, here i am in san francisco.

and interestingly, here i am ALSO ready and willing and interested in getting back into shape. now.

finally.

not because i am constantly made to feel ashamed for how i look, but just because i want to. because it feels better than not. because it looks better, too.

certainly -- most certainly -- i will never let go of the idea that my size matters. i will never think that i look just as good overweight as i do thinner. i will never be okay thinking of myself as a "big" girl. i will never not be weight-conscious, or mindful of every single thing i eat.

(hey, you can take the girl out of stepford, but you can't take stepford out of the girl.)

however, for the first time in my life, on the days when the best i can do is just walk around with it? yeah. even those days are pretty sweet.




38 comments:

  1. k,
    you have made me laugh a thousand times, and now you have made me weep.
    how many of us 'just walk around with it'? all too many...

    -a yellow rose in my lapel-

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  2. This whole trilogy has been deeply compelling and relatable to me. Well done K! Brava! We should all be so comfortable in our own skin.

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  3. I'm so proud of you. I loved you then and still do. xoxo

    (Hi, el_gallo)

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  4. You shine, and you inspire me to shine too.

    I'm so happy I met you.

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  5. i've read your blog for quite some time now...i've actually caught up with everything. but, you really just made me cry. you are an amazing, courageous and beautiful writer. wow. i think ISH said it best-- "you shine, and you inspire me to shine, too." well, me too. and thank you.

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  6. K- so glad that your confidence and San Fran agree with you and help to bring out the shine! great story!

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  7. I'm guessing that my chances of ever finding a woman I'd want to fuck in Stepford are pretty, uh... slim.

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  8. If your blog was a movie, this post would be the title scene. The title scene can come at almost anytime during the movie. It's when the characters explicitly blurt out the title of the movie, and it's all supposed to make sense. Unfortunately, usually when it happens in the movies, it's really corny and awkward and pointless. This post was more poignant and not like that at all. It's good to get back to the stated purpose of the blog. There seems to have been a lot of troll defense recently.

    I'm glad I found your site. Your IIFs are here for you (however imaginitively).

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  9. This was such a wonderful post about self-love. I'm a little scared though-it almost seems, in contrast with your very first post, like a conclusion. It's not, right? You'll still be here, right?

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  10. That's what it's about. life too short to be measured in pounds and ounces. Ladies, you are hot. but do it cause you respect the life given you and you don't want to cut it any shorter.

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  11. Boy oh boy. Two comments in one day after months of lurking. Kristy your honesty and lack of bitterness in describing events that shaped my life are awe inspiring. I grew up next door to Stepford, and am STILL recovering almost 40 years later. Really it's like being Catholic.

    It's interesting to me that you felt just as bad even though you were tall and blond as I did as a short curvy big-lipped (before it was stylish) kinky haired Jewish girl in WASP land.

    I'm so sorry your life sucked too.

    Congratulations on growing into yourself. I think you have a hot soul.

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  12. Your three posts this morning were SO worth waiting for, K. That's why it took a little time to put them out there.

    I'm so moved, I'm almost afraid to comment. But you have become not only an inspiration to me, but one of my heros.

    I've been up on the weight scale and I've been down and have experienced exactly what you experienced. But now I have a new and related challenge that nothing can touch. I'm getting older and I'm to a stage where the culture tells me that I'm unattractive and undesirable (even though God knows I still get rabid offers).

    I love my life. I love my work (and I'm kick-ass at it). I'm more fully myself than I have ever been. I get lots of respect and positive reinforcement. And I make positive differences all the time. But when I'm a little weary or a little lonely or feeling the pain in my lower back or part of a group of people who are younger and thinner than I am, the Ogre comes out and pokes its finger in the soft underbelly of my aging body and laughs. And I feel sad.

    Thank you. You give me hope.

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  13. WOW

    That was a very strong post! I am not one to be moved by things like that(My wife says I have a stone heart) but you really moved me with that one! I would like your permision to print it? My 18 year old daughter is going thru something along those lines. I want her to know that she isn,t alone and show her that she shouldn't let other people (pinheads) make her feel bad a herself and that they somehow determine her self worth! thanks and God bless you!

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  14. Amen sista! I know the feeling all too well!

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  15. I don't have the words.

    Proud. Love. Deeply grateful to be part of your life.

    And similarly anti-Stepford.

    - cuznate

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  16. the1thingfish,

    of course. :) looking back, being 18 was harder than being in middle school -- because by the time i was 18 i thought i was supposed to have a handle on things (whereas i was just clueless when i was younger).

    thanks for the kind words -- all of you.

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  17. I love this -- it's amazing how clearly we can see those moments when things changed, in retrospect. I really wish that instead of taking me to some diet nutritionist when I was a chubby-but-tall 11-year-old, my parents had just tried to cook healthy meals and left me alone.

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  18. As someone who also has run through that time of men-not-paying-attention-to-me to being-okay-with-me-no-matter-what-my-size to I-just-want-to-be-healthy, I salute you. It's a hard thing to get a handle of. Trying to unlearn the years of emotional eating and compulsive eating and eating of boredom will be (for me) a huge challenge. I am working on it, and I am taking baby steps forward and anticipate some steps back as well...but I am doing it because I deserve to be the best me I can be, and my body deserves to be strong and healthy and well-nourished. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  19. Thank you for this post. As a resident of "Stepford 2" (Canada) it's good to read something that not only validates my own experiences, but makes me realize that it's not ME...but the culture and the people and their cookie-cutter expectations that are fueled by the superficial society. I so completely related to this series of posts...I almost felt like you were telling my story except that I haven't moved to SF and I haven't reached the same, confident and positive place you have - YET!

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  20. OK, I've finally read ALL of the posts (somehow, I didn't realize that they were all here at first... just got around to reading everything... OOPS!).

    And I didn't cry, this time. ;)

    Yeah, I remember you being "that thin" after freshman year. We have that cute photo of us in my mom's pool (and you're STILL way better dressed than I am). You're glowing.

    But - you know what? You still look like YOU to me. Even 10 sizes smaller, you are you.

    That said... You look even more like YourSelf in the photos from SF at Thanksgiving two years ago. I knew it the moment we got there -- you were happy. Fulfilled. Home.

    And I was so sad, because it probably meant you weren't coming back ease for a long time. :(

    But.... I'll take a plane ride and self-esteem, self-confidence, and joy... over living next door and being miserable... any day.

    So very much love,
    Em

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  21. Beatifully expressed. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have battled similar issues all my life and it's comforting to know that I'm not alone.

    The days when I go out with my friends and I'm the largest one and they get all of the initial attention kills me and makes me want to crawl into bed with elastic waisted pajamas and a crapload of food.

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  22. K,
    Wonderful posts! Like you, I have been up and down the weight scale. I also lived in a small Midwest town where I was looked down on. Not only was I a chubby little kid, but my mother was from New York City. I was teased and tormented because we "talked funny" and we "weren't from around here" - - you know the scene.
    I am now in my early 50's. I didn't have any self-esteem or confidence until probably my early 40's. But once I was able to let go of my former self-image, things have been MUCH better! I can go back home and hold my head high around the people who tormented me all during school. They no longer bother me - - I have a very good sense of "self" now!
    Thank you for a very moving commentary on your life. It's so good to know that there are others out there who are going through the same feelings and experiences I did for so many years. And I have every confidence that you will come through everything just fine - - it is taking a while, but you will make it!
    Keep up the wonderful writing - - you are an inspiration!
    miss lizzylu

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  23. Great post! Thank you for sharing your weighty history...it's very similar to my heavy history. I wish I could move to SF and get away from the college coeds here, even if I was skinny, I'd still be fat by their standards.

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  24. This subject is so very close to my heart; thank you. I REALLY hate when skinny people think that losing weight is just about having the willpower to eat less and move more. Weight is SO much more than that...sometimes it's the weight of the world, not just the weight on your ass.

    I love you.

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  25. I grew up in Vancouver, and even so I was keeping a calorie diary at age 12. I thought I was too fat, at 5'7" and 115 pounds, because I had hips and booty.

    So I guess Stepford is everywhere.

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  26. I can identify with SO MUCH of what you said. Where to start?

    You're right--you have to do it because it feels good, and healthy, not because of what other people think. And girlfriend, at a size 6 these days. . .that little fat girl inside me still has a mealy-mouth voice that I am constantly trying to SHUT UP.

    These days, I am better than ever at telling her, "Bitch, I am small. Get out of here." And I 98% believe it.

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  27. Oh, Kristy. I have no words. Thankfully, you do.

    Hugs from Long Beach, CA.

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  28. Kristy, are you, in fact me? That story sounds almost exactly like my experience (including the competitive swimming bits!) that I feel like I wrote it. Just substitute Evergreen, CO for Stepford, and ignore the fact that I never got married, and it's me. I have been lurking and enjoying your blog forever but today was the first time I felt motivated enough to comment. Thanks for writing a story I can truly, truly relate to.
    Much love,
    A fellow San Franciscan

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  29. This was wonderful, thank you so much for it, truly.

    You go girl!

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  30. your history inspires me truly. i have never ever ever been able to lose more than 5 or 10 pounds. and i have been forever beating myself up about it. why? because of some social norm? yet, i too don't want to be ok with being the big girl. shit, i don't even date because i assume no one would want to be seen with me. how's that for confidence?? damnit. i too need to just walk around with it and work towards small changes.

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  31. Kristy,

    I too, SO identify with your posts. By age eight I was having daydreams (rich fantasies, complete with snubbing all former and current crushes) of showing up at school tall and blond and thin (see I was short and, well, not fat, but from 8 on convinced that I was...) I was a thickly built kid (Does anyone remember "husky" Levis? Aaargh!) and at 11 my mom put me on my first diet.

    I keep pretty physically fit these days and have found some acceptance and love for my body SIZE...just in time to deal with the effects of AGEING.

    As another poster said, even though I am successful in many ways; great career, great kid, great place to live, great lifestyle, it's hard sometimes to cope with the lack/loss of sexual attractiveness.

    And as you alluded to, Kristy, it's because no matter how many literal and figurative mountains we climb as women there's a way we are always judged on our looks at the end of the day in our culture. Look at all of the nasty potshots taken at women like Janet Reno, Madeline Albright and Hillary that were about their physical appearance or lack of femininity.

    So I'll spare you my rant about the american feminine ideal being actually significantly underweight and part of a tacit conspiracy to keep us consuming and to keep powerful women down because they are scary...but you get the idea.

    So mostly I reject that part of our culture myself. I don't buy women's magazines that are going to make me feel like crap. I don't choose to spend time with people who are "body snobs." I stay away from Internet sites where there are frequent "fat chick" discussions (yeah, a lot of Craigslist). I watch a lot of British tv, where the women are still normal (and the shows are good!).

    I guess you could say that for myself, I'm just not buying it anymore.

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  32. Leigh,
    Hear! Hear!
    I'll work on that, too.
    Sister.
    :-)

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  33. be true to yourself. good luck. and lots of support!

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  34. i love reading your blog. you keep me giggling and work and you make me feel like, hey, it's okay to be me.

    keep writing. seriously. i'm in a creative writing graduate program, and i often think you are a hundered times more interesting than most of the other things i read.

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  35. I have tried another way to lose weight. I tried adipex and it is really effective. i have lost lots of weight. I ordered it online from www.medsheaven.com I highly recommend this, and this didn't require a prescription!

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