The loss of my security, my fat

By Sarah Floyd

10/18/2018

I’ve always had a weight problem, genetics has not been kind to the women in my family.  I was born in 1966, spent the 1970’s in elementary school and the glorious 80’s in high school.

“Fatty Fatty two by four, can’t fit through the bathroom door!” was what I was greeted with when I was in the lower grades.  This was always followed by my braided hair getting pulled by  the little shits that were teasing me. I would get mad and start to cry; but would always say something smart back to them or sometimes whack the kid teasing me.

I remember thinking during my pre-teen years in middle school, “If I can just stay at 135lbs like I am now, I’ll get older and be the same size as everyone else.”  Great plan! Didn’t work worth a damn.  I got into high school and ballooned up to 185lbs.  Although I was still teased a bit, it wasn’t as vocal as it had been in the elementary  and middle schools.

I wasn’t beautiful, but I cleaned up o.k.  I learned what Aqua Net was and how to rat my hair and managed to “almost” blend in.  My sophomore year found me with my first love.  A boy who was shy, played on the JV football team and for what ever reason saw something in me, he thought was worth spending time with.

I don’t remember why we broke up, but he always stayed my friend.  After graduation, we all got busy with adulthood and  lost touch with each other .  In 1994, that shy boy committed suicide.  He had hung himself in his garage and one of his kids had found his body.  My first love was dead and I was heartbroken.

In the late 1970’s, we had a “JC Penny’s Catalog Store” in our town.  These stores were actually tiny little shops.  You went in  and stood at a counter with a Penny’s catalog.  When you picked out what you wanted the attendant would place your order for you and when it came in, you’d get a call to come into the store and pick the item up.  I know… I can’t imagine shopping that way anymore either, especially with endless shopping on the internet right there, from the comfort of your home.  AND you don’t have to get dressed in your good clothes to go the other room and do your online shopping.  In the 1970’s, it  meant you changed out of your play clothes, got dressed in your good, clean clothes and went to town.

I always hated shopping for clothes.  My mom usually made our clothes for us.  She used a lot of that gawd awful bullet proof polyester that was so popular then, but I didn’t ever see a size, nor did I get looked up and down by an uppity catalog store clerk.  At the Penny’s catalog store, the lady took my measurements, in front of everyone in the whole damn store, and told my mother in a condescending tone “Well, she’s just going to be a ‘Chubby’ size. She’s not into women’s sizes, but it’s close.”  Mom shot her a look and we continued to look at blouses in the catalog.  I found a dark green velour v-neck blouse and it was with-in the amount my mom had told us to stay under.

As my mom was placing my order, the uppity clerk commented on the style of blouse, she told my mom the length was not long enough to hide my being on the chubby side.  She shot her another look, this time a bit more stern with almost squinting eyes.  She was silently warning her “Back off, or you’ll get a mouthful of filth.”  I pretended not to hear what the attendant had said.  We finished at the store, headed home, I got changed back into my play clothes and went about messing around in my tree fort.

I think during all of those years I got hardened to the way people would look at me, or speak to me;  not really engaging in conversation with me, but instead saying enough to be polite and then heading off to somewhere or someone more interesting.

As odd as this sounds, I started to become secure with my obesity.  I’ve lost and gained at least 200lbs and every time I become a thinner version of myself, people start telling me how good I look.  “Wow!  Look how pretty you are!”, “You are looking SO good!”, “How much have you lost?”.  My thoughts every time someone makes an exclamation of how wonderful I look, instantly go to, “Holy Shit!  How awful did I look before?! ”

I do get that nano second of “way-to-go” thoughts, but then I go back to feeling that insecure feeling that comes every time I lose weight. People start talking to me more, they seem more interested in talking to me.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling and my mind starts to obsess with thoughts of “why is this person taking the time with me now that I’ve dropped a couple pounds when before I lost weight, they wouldn’t give me the time of day!”.

It kind of turns into a never ending cycle. Gaining weight and becoming someone who is looked “past”; seen, but not really seen. Then losing the weight and realizing people start to pay attention.  Getting older, for me,  has helped quite a bit as far as people being judgemental.  It seems with age comes acceptance.  I have had the pleasure of meeting people who have been accepting of me at different times during my life.  I truly appreciated each and every one of those people.

Now, in my 50’s, I’m losing weight again.  The same feelings of a “Sunken-in” sensation when I wake up and start to move around.  The feeling of my clothes loosening.  Seeing the expression on people’s faces as though I look different, but they can’t put their finger on what that difference is.

For me, my security starts to take a dive.  I know I’ll have to start talking more to people.  I’ll look different and will get “those” comments from kindhearted, well meaning people who have no clue how their words of congratulations are actually affecting me.  The sudden positive comments coming from what seems like every direction can be very overwhelming for me.

This is why I often think of my fat as being my “Security”.  It protects me from over-stimulation from the people around me, from strangers who now “see” me instead of looking through me.

I have a great personality and, as my late father would say, I was “vaccinated with a phonograph needle”, meaning I could talk a blue streak.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a stranger; I can strike up a conversation with most anyone who is interested.  The funny thing is, as soon as I start losing weight, I don’t “look” for those people who are interested in talking.  It’s not as easy for me, it’s as though I don’t want the attention drawn to myself.

So here I go again; on my way down to whatever weight I end up at this time.  Usually my goal weight is one that allows me greater ease of movement, a healthier and more energized version of me.  My doc will be tickled pink and my psychologist will look at me with her little sideways grin and squinting eyes, telling me how interesting I am.  She’ll tell me with the wave of her one of her little bamboo and paper type fans how she has never had anyone have that issue before.  I’ll giggle at her and grab a burger on the way home. I’ll think about how good I feel and how if I ate that burger I would feel awful from all the grease and gluten I’ll be eating.  That thought lasts about a minute.  I happily bite into my burger, enjoy the juiciness of this heart attack on a bun.  I can worry about the outcome later.  Maybe the real reason I give in and have the burger is the thought it will make me safe as I have one after another and begin to gain my weight back.

I wonder sometimes why people don’t ever say “Wow! Look how good you look with a few extra pounds”, “It’s nice to see you’re back into your plus sizes.”.  Maybe people don’t make comments like this as it’s not polite.  Maybe they feel they would be encouraging a defeat; one in which the person who has gained the weight back is suffering due, to the fact the pounds are packing back on.

I guess it’s a double edge sword, like many things in our lives can often be.  We each deal with them differently than most people would.  But those differences are what make each of us unique.

The next time you see a friend or family member who  has lost weight, try to be a bit less excited for them.  Tell them quietly how you feel.  Let it be a private moment between the 2 of you.  No matter what, love that person unconditionally and let them know it.  Big or small, let them know you love them.

 

 

 

My Cat Eye glasses from the 70’s

It was 1973 and I got my very first pair of glasses.  The ever popular “Cat Eye” glasses.  By this time, the era of these adorably ugly plastic glasses had nearly run it’s course.  But not for me!

I was SO excited to pick out my very own glasses after my eye examination with our local Ophthalmologist, Dr. Alm, a dear man who was quiet and gentle.  With some help from the nurse and my moms approval, I settled on a beautiful pair of blue, marbled frames.  They were a baby blue with pearl white wisps through them.

My beautiful picture

On a hike near Mt. St. Helens in the mid 1970’s

 

The nurse made the necessary notes on the prescription and said they would be ready in a week or two.  It seemed like it would take forever for the lenses to be made for them.  I couldn’t wait for my mother to get that call from the eye doctors nurse, telling her that my glasses were ready to pick up!

Finally!  I was sitting at the little fitting table where the oval mirror stood with it’s spotlessly clean looking glass.  The nurse got out her pliers, dipped the ends of the ear part into some sort of magic warming sand (so the ends would bend easily) and fit them to my head.  She used both hands to adjust them, then asked me to look in the mirror and see how I liked them.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

They were beautiful!  All I could do is smile when my mom asked “Well?”.  I loved them and couldn’t wait for my friends to see them!

First thing when I got on the bus the next morning, it seemed as though all the kids were looking at me in awe.  One girl said “I wish my mother would let me get cat eye glasses.”  I floated on a cloud the rest of the day. Even my teacher complimented me on them.

Were you lucky enough to have a pair of “Cat eye” glasses?  Tell me in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

My secret to being a happy narcissist

1990's little sexpot

“I’m lookin’ kinda cute” so says I to my husband as we’re headed out the door on our way to somewhere.  He chuckles, replies “Yes you are” and away we go.

After getting my swim suit on, I exclaim to no one in particular, but in the general direction of some of the ladies from my swim class “do you not LOVE this polka dot tankini?!”  A muffled laugh comes from the lot of them and then that endorphin releasing sensation of the “atta-boys” that I crave!   “Oh! That IS cute!”, “Where did you get it from?”, “I love that swim skirt too!”  My 300lb ego has been boosted and OUT I go, all a flutter and feelin’ good with the other ladies to the pool for our aquatics class.

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Hmmmm…I hear what you’re thinking right now, is this gal REALLY this self-absorbed????  My answer is a resounding YES! I recently read a blog on line about how to tell if you’re a narcissist and according to that article, I’m a complete and utter, born and bred down to the bone narcissist.   UGH!

I do post pictures of yummy things I make onto social media sites.  I love to see what people have to say about it, how good it looks or how tasty it must be.  The comments left by friends and friends of friends make me feel good. It’s instant gratification to receive positive comments from people.

My social media is filled with endless photos and stories of all the great things I do.  Whether it’s a sewing project, an afghan I’ve just finished crocheting or a counter full of hams I have just retrieved from my smoke house.  You can get lost in the pictures and comments of (and about) projects and things that I do.

When I blurt out comments about myself as I did in the lady’s locker room, it’s an accidental positive affirmation for me, if that makes any sense.  The reactions of people around me are mostly smiles and laughs.  The last I knew, if you’re not happy about what a person has said or done, its more than likely you’re not going to respond with smiles and laughter.

I was born with an overabundance of personality.   My dad used to tell me I was “Vaccinated with a phonograph needle”, (a phonograph needle plays vinyl albums, hence if you were vaccinated with one, you talked a lot.)  To be quite honest, I’ve NEVER met a stranger and I am an extravert.  REALLY???  Nothin gets past you!

All of that being said; does this mean I am truly a narcissist?  That I am a self-absorbed individual?  I know people who would tell you I would absolutely give you the shirt off my back.  I have others who believe very strongly, that I am very conceited.

I really do enjoy doing things for people.  When there is a death or an emergency, I’m all in for standing up and getting the job done and receiving nothing in return. However, If I do something nice for you and don’t get some sort of gracious reply, I probably won’t ever do anything for you again.

This means, unless I get back something for my act of kindness, I’m going to be unhappy, have hurt feelings, or even be pissed at the person who has failed to acknowledge my good deed.  Then again, NOT acknowledging a person’s kindness could be construed as narcissistic.  “I don’t have to say, ‘thank you’, she KNOWS I appreciate what she does!”  AND “assuming” gets us back to the old adage of it making an “ASS out of U and ME”, at least that’s what the old timers used to say.  Either way, to not say something as simple as a “thank you” is just plain bad manners.

So now that I have you thinking about whether or not you fall into the category of “narcissistic”, I also need to point out the negatives of being a Happy Narcissist.  Deep down, inside, I don’t WANT to be self-absorbed.

Other than to put myself together in the mornings, I hate looking in the mirror. I see people walking past mirrors and taking long, sideways glances at themselves.  It’s like, almost creepy, the way some people do it.  That’s not me.  I hold doors open for people, I say thank you. I’M the one in the checkout line who will let the person behind me go ahead if they have less than I do.  I will give you my beloved hanky if you’re crying.

My beautiful picture

I even had a cloth hanky back in the early 70’s!

It all comes down to this.  I have no clue if I’m truly a narcissist or not.  I am, by no means, a perfect personality.  I have my bad days right along with everyone else BUT,  I laugh easily, I talk freely and I enjoy my life.  Guests to my home enjoy being around here, they’re comfortable.  I say funny things which make people laugh. I smile a lot and people smile back. To my way of thinking, there is nothing wrong with any of those things.   If all of this means I’m a self-absorbed person, with a true “narcissistic” personality, so be it.

At the end of the day, I’m a cool person.  I can accept the eccentric narcissistic person that I am.  I can also look in the mirror and like the person who looks back.  In my opinion, that’s the important part.

So, tell me, do you think you’re a happy narcissist?