Friday, September 09, 2005

Share And Share Alike

okay. on second thought, i cannot let the importance of what you've shared go.

though i really expected you to find my original posts boring, it felt pretty good to just get some of that stuff out there.

but how i felt writing all that is nothing compared to how completely and utterly touched i am by what you've posted in return.

so i wanted to create a space just for what you've shared so far, and for any of you who might want to share more now.

so i will cut & paste some of your stories into the comments section of this post, and invite you to please add your own stuff if you feel like it.

i mean, it's so oddly and sadly comforting to know there are so many of you out there who can relate.

i feel like it makes us all friends. if ever-so-slightly invisible.

33 comments:

  1. Em said...

    Kiki,
    Well, shit. Where to begin.
    I thought about emailing this to you, thinking that, perhaps, it should be kept between us. But, the more I thought about it (and after talking about it with M2), I decided that I WANTED to write it more publicly. I hope you are OK with that...

    Your entry made me cry. Despite knowing you for nearly 30 years, I didn't KNOW the vast majority of what you wrote about. We just never talked about weight, did we? To think that you were so sad for so long, that you hated your body like that... I honestly don't even know what to say. I feel like a crappy friend for never realizing it, for not helping. How? I don't know. But maybe I could have...

    Perhaps, however, the reason I never realized any of this is because I was too busy with my OWN body issues... as they related to you. To wit...

    At seven years old...
    I didn't notice anything about your body, except that you had longer hair than I did. You would wear it down, in pigtails, in braids... We went to Disney World for the first time, and you were taller than I was, but I didn't notice it. I'm glad you were, though, or else we wouldn't have been able to take my most favorite picture of us, ever -- the one in the empty park with me and my finger in my mouth, and you leaning over me, head touching mine. Our grins are so huge.

    By the time I was nine years old...
    We had long been living in separate towns, but we still saw each other regularly, especially at our birthday parties. At my 10 year-old party, there you are, on video, proudly proclaiming to the world (in that precocious way of yours... ;) ) that, as my best friend, you met me when you climbed into my baby pool when you were 7 months old. Fully clothed.

    How early is body image formed, I wonder? Should I worry about Eleanor? She's only 8 months old, but still...

    When I was 11 and in sixth grade...
    We went to Disney World again. I suppose I was one of the "normal" kids you so wanted to be in that I hadn't even glimpsed the start of puberty. And I hated it. I was so envious of you -- I thought you were SOOO grown up compared to scrawny, little ol' me. I thought you absolutely walked on water! We went to River Country in WDW just after it had opened, and we went on the tube ride (I can still hear the bluegrass country music playing at the top of the ride, and that guy's twangy, welcoming voice... the water and how it sloshed up around the twists and curves...).

    In any case, at the end of the ride, we were both wading in the pool and these two older guys -- junior High? early high school? -- came up and started talking to you. They were cute! They were fun! And you TALKED to them, like it was no big deal -- laughing, smiling. I thought you were just THE coolest girl in the universe, and I was insanely jealous. I don't think I uttered a word (nor did they so much as look my way) during your entire conversation. When your casual, giddy conversation was over, they asked if you wanted to join them on the ride again... And, tossing a sideways glance at me, they added, "You can bring your little friend,too."

    I wanted to drown right there and then.

    In 8th grade...
    I got my period. I remember talking about it with you in high school (yes, before yet another trip to Disney World!), because we were going to go swimming and I'd never worn a tampon. You had, and I desperately wanted your advice. Would it hurt? How did you use it? Would it really work? You were the only person I felt I could turn to... I thought you were so wise, so much more worldy than I, and I deeply trusted your opinion. I was horribly embarrassed that I had gotten my period so LATE... And there you were, mortified that you'd gotten yours so EARLY. Maybe that's why, during the tampon conversation, we never actually SAID the word "period." Instead, we skirted with "I'll have my... you know..." and "that time of the month." ;)

    I still didn't have boobs, though. And I was BEYOND envious and jealous that you did. I've never told you this... but, when we'd have sleepovers, I'd sneak into wherever you'd taken off your clothes before changing into your nightshirt... and I'd try on your bras. On my non-existant chest. I SOOOO wanted to be like you.

    I never knew that you went to that diet center. Oh, K, I'm so sad for you.

    In high school and early college...
    I had NO idea that you were adjusting your wardrobe to hide your body. We went to -- you guessed it! -- Disney World in 10th grade, and I remember ransacking my suitcase to find something HALF as cute and put-together as the floral dress you had, or the white shirt with the see-through, billowing sleeves. Not to mention those cute, flat, white shoes! The best I could do was a *nice* Mickey Mouse shirt tucked into my rolled-up black jean shorts. I knew, right then and there, that my fashion sense ALONE meant that the boys would NEVER notice me like they noticed you.

    You were still THE coolest girl I knew. OK, OK... who am I kidding... You were bigger than I was (in part because I was so horridly SMALL for so long). But I didn't see it at all. I saw someone smart and funny. Someone who told ridiculous stories (cream cheese braces...). Someone with whom I could just jump into conversation as though we'd spoken 2 minutes ago, even when we hadn't talked in months. Someone who the boys couldn't stay AWAY from. It was instant attraction, and had nothing to do with your body -- you could have been bundled up in a parka, holding a bag of groceries in front of you, and the guys would flock to you. You were so easy in your conversations, so fun and cheery. I could hardly untie my tongue fast enough to say hello. Oh, how I wanted to be like you.

    -----------------
    I'm sure I'll have more to add as YOU add more... But those are my thoughts for now. I don't know how to end this, 'cept to say that I STILL admire you so much -- and, right now especially, your courage in sharing this. I love you a helluva lot, too.

    Em :)

    9:45 AM, September 08, 2005

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  2. hakuna said...

    Kiki's Mom was one of my dearest friends.

    From almost the moment I met her, I knew about her once-weekly "sugar days". I couldn't manage to have one day a week when I DIDN'T eat sugar.

    We used to frequent a local restaurant/bar to play a trivia game. Often, we'd each get a half-order of fried zucchini (in hindsight, it never occurred to me to wonder why we didn't simply get a full order and share it). Have I mentioned that I was the "fat" friend? I'd devour every bit of my zucchini, secretly wishing that I'd gotten a full order (and maybe a burger and some ice cream). She'd eat perhaps half of her half-order, carefully removing the fried coating from each circle of zucchini before putting the plain pieces into her mouth.

    Kiki's mom NEVER said or did anything to suggest that she found my weight and eating habits anything but dandy. Yet, I always felt twinges of guilt when I ate in her presence. Her self-discipline was AMAZING and she jogged religiously. I was likely the inspiration for the term "couch potato".

    I didn't grow up in Stepford territory (although I did raise my children there), but I certainly grew up in a familial culture in which being heavy was viewed as less than desirable. I vividly remember my Dad's three favorite phrases: "very nice", "too fat", "go to bed". My sisters have never had weight problems, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who was "too fat".

    As a mother, I've had to tread a very fine line regarding weight issues. At what point does loving a child beyond belief and wanting only "the best" for him or her cross the line to become something that may negatively affect the child's self-esteem forever?

    My daughter has never had a "weight problem", per se, although she was once so thin that even her doctor was concerned (contrary to your quote, Kiki, you CAN be too thin!). My son, on the other hand, did have some weight problems for which I felt at least partially responsible. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place. I should have encouraged better eating habits! On the other hand, "actions speak louder than words", so why would he listen to a hypocrite?

    I've lived with varying degrees of weight-anxiety for more years than I care to remember, but as I've gotten older, I've spent less and less time worrying about how others view me. Oh, make no mistake... I know that thinner would be healthier and I'd still love to be able to walk into a room with my husband and have him be the envy of every guy in the place. I'd jump at the chance to be able to wear all of those sexy clothes I'd buy if I were "petite" (and mortify my children in the process).

    However, my life experiences have caused me to change a lot of my priorities, dramatically in some cases. Because there are some things in life over which we truly have no control, there's something wonderfully empowering about realizing that sometimes we really do have choices when we might think otherwise. I'm the only one who knows precisely the road I tread and I no longer choose to spend my time dwelling on how others may be judging me. The people who love me do so regardless of the size I am and at the end of the day, and as corny as it may sound, those who love me and whom I love are what matter to me.

    Which brings me back to Kiki's Mom. The last time I saw her, in the hospice, she was indescribably frail, yet she had a frappe and was cautiously, but determinedly, spooning the whipped cream that topped it into her mouth. I was suddenly struck with great anger and immeasurable sadness. Why couldn't she have been able to savor that whipped cream when she was healthy and vibrant??? What was the point of all those years of sacrificing and self-control???

    At that moment, I knew she'd given up the fight. The fight with her weight; the fight for her life. It broke my heart.

    1:20 PM, September 09, 2005

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  3. Serrephim said...

    *hugs*

    Reading this made me realize a few things.

    My experience of being a "big girl" was slightly different from yours. I don't think I felt the shame to the degree you did. Don't get me wrong, I had days when I hated my body (still do), but on the whole, I was not unhappy with myself for the way I looked. For me, it was more that I had a weird relationship with food, particularly once I reached high school and really started to pack on pounds. When I was a little kid, my grandma tried to make up for a lot of the trauma I was going through with my mom/dad/step-dad situation by feeding me things like cookies and hot fudge sundaes and treats of that sort. So I learned early that food = consolation.

    As I got older, and my step-dad became a bigger figure in my life, dinner time became the time I was most frequently yelled at. I don't think we ever went more than a few days without me leaving the dinner table in some kind of tears once I was in high school. I'd be sitting there, trying to eat my dinner, with this huge lump in my throat that made me feel like I was going to gag and possibly throw up as I got yelled at for stupid things you probably can’t imagine yelling at a kid for: the way I held my fork, if I looked him in the eye for too long, if I complained when my baby brother kicked me under the table.

    By that time I was working in an ice cream store, and in anticipation of the hellish dinner event, I'd bring a pint home and eat it before being called to the dinner table: somewhere I knew this wasn't good for me, but it also felt like "at least I get to eat something". Because I was gaining weight, I wasn't allowed to eat past the dinner hour. My parents tried making me diet, tried bribing me ($5 a lb), tried sending me to Jenny Craig, but you had to buy their food, and there was no way they’d fork the money over for that.

    At the same time, after 8 or so, I watched my mom CONSTANTLY diet. Everyone compared me to her. We looked a lot alike. Our baby pictures were so similar, the only way you could easily tell the difference was that hers were black and white and mine were in color. At 5’3, I don’t think she’s ever weighed more than 125 lbs, except when she was pregnant with my brother. (She barely broke 100 when she was pregnant with me). But she is not active in a sporty way, though she rides horses. She has a booty, one that, if she weren’t my mom, I’d probably find wicked hot today. But then, those of you who know me know I like a bit of an exaggerated hip-to-waist ratio, and corresponding luscious booty, on the women who attract me.

    Still.

    My step-dad made snide remarks about the size of her ass, about trading her in for a younger, thinner model when she hit 30 (I was 8 when they married, she was 25 and he was 31). How was that supposed to make me feel? Particularly when at 15, I was a size 11 and my mom was a size 7. And dying to be a size 5. And it was so hard to watch her deal with that, especially because my step-dad, in addition to being a raging ass, was in fact becoming overweight him. He still makes comments like that to her. She still struggles. She told me recently she’s concerned because she gained 10lbs in the last year but hasn’t changed her habits. She’s still less than 125lbs. And while I would like to lose another 10 lbs or so… I just don’t want to be that thin. So what if a few more guys are attracted to me at 130 than they are at 145? If those 15lbs are what’s stopping them, they’re not worth my time

    I’m not sure exactly where I’m going with all of this, but reading the stuff about your parents resonated in an interesting way for me. Being thin and considered generally “hot” by most people would be nice. But I don’t want it enough to spend my whole life struggling for it the way your mom did, or my mom does. Life is too short and there’s too much amazing food out there!

    11:58 PM, September 08, 2005

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  4. (i picked those three posts because they are from people i know; if you'd like to add a comment you've already made or want to chime in with, please do so.)

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  5. Kristy,

    I really appreciate you sharing such a personal and sometimes painful part of your life.

    Although, as a guy, you would think I can't relate, but I can. My mom was and continues to be a weight conscience freak. I was called fat although I was never really overweight just a little pudgy. I realize this as I look at old pictures and look like a dehydrated turtle. But that's not what I saw then. I almost had a serious eating disorder until I saw a film in Anatomy class. I was scared crapless. Yet, I always felt inadequate, out of place and alone. That is until I realized that weight, although important for health and self esteem, is not the only thing to focus on. I became a happier person.

    Now, I could lose some weight, and I will, but it won't make me a slave. I'm going to the gym and staying off junk food because I want to, not because it's expected.

    So thanks for sharing Kristy Kristoferson.(I nickname, it's annoying) And thanks for letting me say that I can sorta relate.

    I think you are beautiful and you definitely inspire me.

    Your imaginary internet friend and ally,

    Undr

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  6. I'm going to copy and paste the verylong-winded post I wrote about my own issues with weight and food:

    I've mentioned that I have a tendency to obsess, right? First it was about finding a man, and the pitfalls involved in that exercise. Then once there was a man, it was about the man and the potential demise of the budding relationship. And now that the goddamn e-dumping motherfucker is out of the picture, (Who me? Angry? Naaaahhhh!) I need something new to obsess about and overanalyze and break my brain thinking about.

    It's a familiar friend this time: food. Show me a woman who claims never to have had an issue with food, and I'll show you a liar. For the last two weeks, I have whiled away the hours (OK fine, minutes) entering every last morsel that goes into my mouth on http://www.fitday.com, and working out to make sure that there is always a big discrepancy between the number of calories that I consume versus those I expend. For the most part, this will be a good exercise. I'm not getting any younger, and I'm not blessed with the metabolism of my youth. But this reminds me of much, much deeper issues.

    I used to figure skate competitively. Did you know that? (Yes, I promise, there is going to be a point here. I just can't promise it'll be made any time soon.) That myth about Canadian kids having skates strapped on their feet from the time they can walk in the hope that parents can raise the next Elizabeth Manley or Wayne Gretzky? Um, yeah, that one holds true for a lot of us. And I had a gift for it. My genetic predisposition to be short and tiny-boned also worked in my favour. By the age of five, I was in the accelerated program. By age 8, I was traveling to crappy little towns with shitty ice surfaces and 13 people in the stands, all parents of other skaters, hoping I'd fall so their own kid would have a better shot. By the time I was 10, a scout from Skate Canada had seen me at one of those crappy venues, and they wanted me to train with one of their coaches. I was destined for greatness.

    My coach, who shall remain nameless, was an Eastern European defector who grew too large in frame to make it to the big time. They say "Those who can't do TEACH" and for this *ahem* gentleman, truer words were never spoken. Because I was his prized pupil, he was meaner to me than he was to any of his other students. God, he was ruthless! During the summer break when I was 12 (and there was never really a break, because in the summer ballet and gymnastics kept up the form and built grace and poise), a crrrraaaaaazy thing happened... Puberty. I came back to skate camp having gained a whopping 8 pounds. Bringing me to cow-like proportions - 101 pounds to be precise, and I'm 5'3". This delightful man had ALL KINDS of lovely things to say about THAT.

    I spent the next two years getting up at 5:00 in the morning to hit the ice for a couple of hours before school. Homework was done on my lunch, and after I got home from evening practice at 8:00. And, of course, I was nagged and bitched at by my coach for being "a big, fat, lazy pig." I tried desperately to lose the weight, but instead of going down, the scale went up. All the way to 107. Had I known then what I know now, I would have realized that my legs were solid rock and that the weight that made me "a big, fat, lazy pig" was actually muscle mass. Jesus, I was as thin as a rail. But I didn't know then what I know now, and the most important authority figure in my life kept telling me I was a cow, so I spent my non-existent spare time writing down every single thing I ate, starving myself and working my ass off, trying to lose the "excess" weight.

    On February 11, 1989 - 8 days before my 14th birthday, I was at a competition. I had just mastered the Salchow in practice, and I was determined to nail it. So determined, in fact, that I had built up waaaaaaaay too much speed when I took off, going much higher than I should have. And then I landed on a bad edge. And I hit the ice like a ton of bricks, or a 107 lb. bundle of bricks. My right ankle was mangled, and I blew out the cartilage in my right knee. My season was over. Subconsciously, I was thrilled. My injury excused me from the post-season workouts. I pretended it hurt for MUCH longer than it did. Can you blame me? I was having SO MUCH FUN! I was going to movies and hanging out at the mall and smoking cigarettes that my friend had swiped from her mom. And that summer, I kissed a boy for the very first time.

    By August, it was time to get back to the training schedule. The goal was Albertville, 1992. But it wasn't my dream anymore. Instead, I dreamed of being a normal teenager. I wanted to stay out too late and have milkshakes and fast food and go to concerts and enjoy living my life, not a failed Eastern European coach's life. My mom, God bless her, let me decide for myself. I quit. My darling coach told me it was just as well, because I was so fat and lazy I would never have made it anyway. Wasn't he a prince? I haven't laced up a pair of skates since. If I ran into him on the street now, I'd probably punch him in the nuts. I don't regret the decision at all.

    Oh right, the point... (See! I told you I'd get there!) I pack my lunch for work, because I work on Bay Street, which for those of you who don't know is like Wall Street North. Every single option for lunch is either revoltingly unhealthy or revoltingly expensive. Sometimes both. As I was packing my lunch tonight, I was including some carrot sticks. And I found myself actually COUNTING the carrot sticks so that I could make sure that the 3 oz. of carrots that I entered into Fit Day was exactly accurate. Is that fucked up or what?

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  7. my own issues aside, can i put it out there that all of us, male and female, too big or too small, watch our diets a little so we can be healthier, and maybe spend as long as possible making the world a reasonable place? lean towards being healthier, and not necessarily thinner (even though sometimes the two go hand in hand), and we probably will feel better and have more energy, instead of weighing ourselves down with guilt about size (especially to the lady trying to encourage healthy weights for her kids! they will listen to what you say! both my parents smoked, but they spent my entire childhood telling me it is horrible, and to never ever smoke, that i could do better in my life than they did. Somehow, it worked, and i never smoked... good luck!)

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  8. Ok, Kristy, I'll bite, here is my comment to your post about your mom:

    Wow, Kristy, thank you again.

    I have been thinking all day about your post and these comments.

    I know that women sometimes blame men for the Dictatorship of Thinness, but I'm not so sure. There are the She-Devils who edit the fashion magazines. There are all those catty waifs in the gym who put other women down.

    And then there are our mothers.

    I dont' remember my mother actually telling me I was too fat. But her shame in her own size...she was an unfashionably sized big boned 5'9" woman living in the age of Twiggy...was palpable. HER mother was about 5' and 95 lbs (due to a strict regimen of diet and exercise. My Grandfather was a photographer who photographed nudes among other things, was the WORST kind of body snob, and basically didn't see the value of women beyond their contribution to the aesthetic. He was always extremely bothered by the fact that I was the family member who could give him the best run for his money in those mealtime debates and I was a GIRL. But that's a whole 'nother "comment")

    Anyway, my mother transmitted her shame to me, like, through the air somehow. This happens in families. SO many things get communicated that do not get talked about. I was smaller than my mother, built more like my Grandma, but I had way too much booty, and thighs way too juicy, to be acceptable in the Dictatorship of Thinness.

    So I knew, at a young age, what my mother knew: if I wanted to get a man I would have to overcome the shortcomings of my appearance.

    For both my mother and me, after my parents divorced when I was 13 (my father left to pursue his affair with his much younger, much thinner secretary), this shame lead to a series of relationships with men that were inappropriate. They were inappropriate because we routinely gave up important parts of ourselves, often our self respect, because, after all we couldn't make demands or expect any better because we weren't beautiful.

    There followed in my own life a downward spiral that included a lot of alcohol and drugs. At 23 I was sitting in my room one day and was visited by the absolute knowledge that I was dying. I was fat, I was miserable, I was sick, I was undereducated (having dropped out of high school) and under employed, I had no true friends and I was estranged from my family.

    I had NO idea what to do to pull myself together. But the thing that it seemed like I could start with, the little corner that I could pick up, was my physical health.

    It was the eighties. So I put on these huge green sweatpants I had and slunk into the back of an aerobics class in the studio up the street. I was deeply ashamed, but I found acceptance and support there.

    That was the beginning of a successful journey out of the darkness (admittedly, I occasionally still visit the darkness, but I never stay for long!). Getting in shape saved my life in many ways.

    I learned so much about myself. I started bodybuilding competitively...and I got on stage in front of hundreds of people in a tiny bikini.

    And you know what? At 9% bodyfat...as close to "perfect" as my body was going to get...the shame didn't go away. I learned that, for me, my body image was just a convenient proxy for how I felt unlovable, unacceptable, etc.

    And what I was feeling wasn't true, it wasn't a fact.

    It was just a construct, a legacy of erroneous belief that was passed down through the women in my family. That if only WE can change and get it right somehow, everything will be ok.

    Nowadays all I can do on this earth is not judge others as harshly as I judged (and still judge in my bad moments) myself.

    I was thinking as I was reading your post that I have been sort of judgmental of my mom recently. She has pretty much given up watching what she eats and exercise (which she always hated). And she's gained a few pounds. And she doesn't seem to care.

    But maybe it's her recent marriage to a 43 year old man (she's 68), maybe it's their stunning newly remodeled kitchen in which they create gourmet meals every night, maybe it's her retired status. Maybe she's just happy. Maybe she is spooning the whipped cream while she still can.

    Maybe I should take this lesson from her, too.

    Leigh

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  9. No offense, but has it occured to you that the recent love fest and acceptance etcetera of your most recent posts could possibly be because you are in the newness of a luvvy relationship with a nice guy and that perhaps, oh so casually, tends to cover everything with happiness and sunshine and the smell of newborn babies??? Not to mention the fact that said the male half of your new luvvy relationship reads it???

    Just a thought. Not a popular one I'm sure, but post for yourself, not for your readers and your new boyfriend.

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  10. So just as everyone is getting busy here sharing their inner selves and really talking about some issues they have, Anonymous has to come along and screw it up...AGAIN!

    Anonymous, is it really that hard to leave people alone and let them do their thing? Are they hurting you? Is it physically painful to you that people are sharing and leaning on each other and making connections across the broadband lines? Are you mad because Kristy sounds happy and you (at least the way it sounds to me) are not?

    And is this your blog? Are you the boss of who she writes for? I have a blog that I write for both myself and my readers. And a lot of other people do the same thing.

    It's okay if you aren't happy...just try not to drag the rest of us down.

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  11. "Just a thought. Not a popular one I'm sure, but post for yourself, not for your readers and your new boyfriend."

    This really baffles me.

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  12. It's funny, Serrephim, but until you drew my attention to that line, I hadn't really zero'ed in on it. (I just noted how jealous and unhappy the writer seemed and didn't think about the content.) But now that you mention it...why would a person write a blog for anyone else BUT their readers (that is to say, anyone who reads it, including boyfriends, former boyfriends, or whoever). You keep a private journal "for yourself." You keep a blog for anybody that drops by. Even people who say forlorn--and slightly strange--things...right?

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  13. If that poster (the anonymous one) had the courage to be visible, I'd personally think about giving what they'd said some credence... as it stands, not a chance....

    Anyway, Kristy, this series was incredibly honest, open and you really put yourself 'out there'... kudos to you for having the courage to do so!

    As for 'weighty issues'... who you are, is on the inside, not in the skin you're in...

    I'm someone who has also struggled with weight my entire life, I get down to something 'respectable'... and relax for an instant it seems, and the next thing I know I'm 50 pounds north of the weight I'd like to be.

    You've spoke volumes here, and judging from the feedback I've read, touched a chord with many, many people.

    I'll be stopping back to read here more often for sure!!

    These were great posts!!

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  14. I'm a male, 33 years old (34 this December), and I've hated my body and my life for half my life.

    I won't add my story here as most of these comments convey the same basic points however I would like to thank you and your IIF's for inspiring me to put my story on my blog (soon). One way I dealt with some demons in my past was to write letters to various people but not send them. Those too I will post.

    Only my wife has read them so far.

    Thank you again....

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  15. Since my previous comment I have since posted some of my story to my own blog. This is not a trick to get more people to my blog (I know those of you who abused me earlier will think this).

    I would again like to thank K for inspiring me to bare my soul a little more and perhaps find my way to my own personal San Francisco.

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  16. I've been anorexic, I've been an overeater/emotional eater. I wasn't happy either way.

    There is so much here I can relate to, and so much I would like to add, but I just don't have the time right now, or the brain capacity to do it justice right now. (School teacher still trying to get back into the swing after 3 weeks of crazy kids.)

    But thank you for your honesty.

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  17. And by the way... I only challenge Kristy's thought process because I've been there. Seriously. I lost 90 pounds with the birth of my son, eleven years ago. Please understand that if nothing else. Thanks for everyone's time.
    sheila: http://sheilabrooks.typepad.com/random_pixelations/

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  18. "And by the way... I only challenge Kristy's thought process because I've been there. Seriously. I lost 90 pounds with the birth of my son, eleven years ago.

    That's great for you, really! I lost close to 50 myself 2 years ago.

    Please don't assume that your experience makes you an expert on the "thought process" of other people. People are not paint-by-numbers. What worked for you, and what you went through, might not be appropriate for someone else. That kind of thing reminds of the Born Again Christians and Scientologists who think because it worked for them, it is THE WAY.

    Did you see Tom Cruise on Oprah? Or on the Today Show, going off on Matt Lauer because he (TC) knows the "truth"? Doesn't seem like he's playing with a full deck anymore, does it?

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  19. For some reason that last comment made me think of the immortal words of Kenny 'The Gambler' Rogers.

    You've got to know when to hold'em, know when to fold'em. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.

    Right now Kristy is holding her cards quite well and has inspired me to show my hand a little on my blog. The response I've received has been enlightening and heart-warming.

    Thanks for playing your cards Kristy!

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  20. Serrephim- this is a different anonymous. thanks for the lecture. People really like it when you correct their behaviour. you're awfully preachy for someone who thinks each person should respect each other's thought process.

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  21. "you're awfully preachy for someone who thinks each person should respect each other's thought process."

    I wasn't aware I was talking about respect. I thought I was pointing out that 1 person's life doesn't make them an expert on another's. That's not the same thing at all.

    My less obvious point is that the "this worked for me so you should do it too" mindset is precisely the kind of comparative argument that helped create K's body issues.

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  22. This discussion is interesting to me, in that it simply reminds me of what I should already know (but always seem to forget), everyone (or at least most of us) have body image issues and open discussion of these issues is so rare and shocking that it really strikes a nerve with everyone. Some are grateful for the openness - it makes them realize that they aren't alone, it helps them reason through some of their own feelings. Some people are scared. Some people are angry. But people all have opinions on the matter, and, to that end, I think it is good because it means everyone is thinking about it.

    Growing up and, subsequently, growing older under the weight (no pun intended) of the distortion that such body image issues creates makes your whole world and perceptions surreal - sort of a cross b/t an Dali painting and M.C. Escher Sketch. It is very hard to see where they end and you begin - or if there is even such a distinction.

    I have no answers, observations or stories to offer here, as I have not quite yet managed to work my way through the distortion.

    Kristy - I just wanted to let you know I really liked your observation about resentment being truly an ineffective way of losing weight b/c you will never be able to sustain that way. It's true. It's what keeps the roller coaster ride full of all of us, I think...

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  23. I won't begin to go into my own challenges with body image and self-esteem, or about my abuse of food, because it would mean I would have to own up to them.

    Suffice it to say that as long as we have television presenting The Biggest Loser as prime-time entertainment we will continue to build a society with harmful ideas about who and what each of us should be. Mind you, televison is only a symptom, not a cause (though it is contributory at the same time).

    What amazes me, though, is that I weigh enough to be on that show yet most people who know/meet me assume I am not overweight. At 250 pounds 5 foot 11 inches I am overweight. I am also not in any kind of shape, other than pear.

    Two things.

    One, I obviously hide my body very, very well.

    Two, my self-image does not conicide with the image others have of me.

    I believe that only by speaking frankly about my problems will I be able to accept them as part of me and deal with them. So thank-you to Kristy and the rest for creating a break in the world for me (and the rest) to open up.

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  24. fueltank,
    agreed that body image is important, and shows like you mention are aimed only at weight loss, but let's also add that actual obesity in our country is epidemic. It causes and contributes to multiple long-term, debilitating (or fatal, and besides, very expensive to treat) comorbidities. I hope everyone takes from this the sense that being healthy is the most important thing, and that if weight loss follows that, great. I do recognize the incredible overemphasis on weight and appearance that we have. We should be able to separate a few pounds over healthy from morbid obesity- some people on the tv weight loss shows clearly exceed the "few pounds" designation. Wouldn't it be better to shift the emphasis on ideal body to an emphasis on overall health than to reverse it, and say that hey, some people just are really and dangerously overweight?

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  25. Kristy's mom was my aunt. My favorite aunt who could drive a stick, smoke, change radio stations and drink Tab all at the same time. 13 years younger than my mom, she was like older sister, but not exactly. I remember getting cotton candy on the roof canvas of her austin healy once. issues of weight didn't start for me til later, but self esteem "stuff" was rooting probably. Our mothers and our fathers came from mothers and fathers who came from mothers and fathers... but i miss kristy's mom. there was so much more to understand.... Kristy, we have diffrent stories, but there are pieces of information you have that i didn't know about.. makes me understand things a little better. ... it is sad because i really thought i was so close to her. Lisa

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  26. Thanks to Melissa. Body image issues are one thing, and no joke, and not good cause they make people do bad things, but being overweight is too. I am overweight, not obese, but most peopel can't really tell (for some reason i carry it well). I liked the Biggest Loser because these are people that are bringing themselves back from what is essentially the brink of death. Whether or not you're going to be a size 6 and fit sexily into that teeney bikini is not the issue. Whether or not you'd live long enough to see your children graduate from high school is. Being morbidly obese makes you lose out on so much in life, much like getting emphysema from smoking might. Adn so while you shouldn't fall victim to the images shaming you in vogue, don't embrace the idea entirely either that what size you are is always a-ok because the people that care about you want to see you live another 10, 15, 30 years. There are two ends of the spectrum and probably the best solution is found smack dab in middle. Where Kristy has managed to land.

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  27. The dialogue between serrephim and anonymous is interesting as it strikes at the heart of a basic logic paradox: If you preach tolerance and acceptance, can you be intolerant and unaccepting of intolerance and unacceptance? If serrephim tells anonymous, "Please don't assume that your experience makes you an expert on the 'thought process' of other people", then is she being preachy and trying to affect the thought process of anonymous? (Cheap shot warning: assuming Anonymous has any thought processes?)

    Survey says? No. By using specific words like "please", serrephim makes it a request, not a command, although it IS hard sometimes for a cynic like me to swallow the unending tolerance and do-goodness of San Francisco Thought--not that they're not entirely in the right, just that I'd rather smoke cigarettes and scowl at the rain. :)

    Now that I've typed all this, I've realized that serrephim put it best: if you strip away the request she made of anonymous, she was also just pointing out a fact. Your personal experience doesn't make you an expert on other people's. Duh.

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  28. Long time lurker finally coming out. Let me add my voice to the chorus thanking Kristy for her willingness to reveal something difficult and personal, and for her superb writing.

    Along with Kristy's story, I was struck by something that "Leigh" wrote in the comments above:

    "I learned that, for me, my body image was just a convenient proxy for how I felt unlovable, unacceptable, etc..."

    Tears came to my eyes when I read this, because it is the perfect articulation of the struggle I have been having - I want to say the past few months, but really it's since I can remember. I lose weight, I gain weight, all within the same 20 pounds, but it never makes any difference in how I feel about myself, after the "honeymoon" period of losing. Thanks, Leigh. You hit it exactly.

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  29. You're right, Elizabeth, achieving a smaller body doesn't guarantee greater self-esteem. Rather than being unhappy because we overeat, more likely, we overeat because we're unhappy. Sure, in the short-term, anyway, we can feel very proud of our self-discipline, but if the rewards of being thinner always included feeling fabulous about ourselves, there'd be no yo-yo dieters. Once out of the sack (dress ;) ), we'd never go back.

    True feelings of self-worth involve so much more than clothing size and are vastly more complicated than simply needing to limit caloric intake (don't we all know people who are miserable, even though they're thin?). We each need to learn, somehow, to value who we are based on what's inside us, not based on external standards and random feedback from others.

    The always-so-difficult trick is to figure out how we can honestly say about ourselves the (in)famous words of Stuart Smalley (Al Franken's foppish, faux-therapist character from old Saturday Night Live shows): "I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"

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  30. Thanks, Melissa, for your comments and insight.

    Obesity is epidemic, and we are only beginning to understand the effects it will have on our selves and our society.

    But The Biggest Loser isn't about that; it starts off with a Last Supper of all of the foods that contributed to the obesity these people are suffering from. And throughout the show they are presented with the option to fall back in to their old ways by the Cupboard of Deadly Goodies each of them has available. That doesn't sound to me like a show about healthy eating and thinking; it really is about entertainment. The target audience is not the morbidly obese but the morbidly curious and voyeuristic.

    Health involves a myriad of elements, and cannot be determined by shape or size. As you point out the focus must be on living healthy and being happy (okay, I added the happy bit but I think you'll agree!), and not on physical perfection. Unfortunately we are given far too few examples of healthy and happy to learn from, and way, way too much Lindsy Lohan.

    kristy has provided a location for this discusion to begin to reach those who need to explore this about themselves and/or their society.

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  31. To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
    e e cummings

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  32. you guys are smart. i was worried that speaking up just gets a random tongue lashing a la anonymous.... but i think there are a large (no pun intended) group of people in the world who really get it, or really are starting to get it. You are all invited to assume Posts of Great Importance when i take over the world.

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  33. You only get a tongue lashing if you ask nicely.

    I agree that there is a gowing contingent of people who "get it", and when you take over the world you can bet we will give it to you!

    Thanks again for speaking up.

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