Saturday, August 29, 2009

Miss Invisible by Laura Jensen Walker

I just finished reading "Miss Invisible" by Laura Jensen Walker. It's about a "big woman" (as described in the book) who is constantly running herself down but throughout the book comes to terms with who she is. She makes some changes in her life and finds a great man that loves her despite her size. While reading the book it just resonated so deeply with me since that is what I am going through at this point in my life, minus the great man part -- still on the lookout!

The book starts off with the line "one size does not fit all." I find that to be true. We live in a society in which both men and women must be a certain size to be considered beautiful. I'm going to focus on the pressure on women since I know nothing of the pressures on men. Women must be Barbie incarnate -- hourglass figure, big boobs, bleach blonde hair, perfect teeth, perfect skin, perfect everything. It's absolutely ridiculous how much money women spend on elective surgeries to reach this perceived perfection. It doesn't help that men drool over the airbrushed models in magazines, TV, and movies. Women see the men drooling and think that in order to catch a man they must copy the looks of the current hot model. I am completely disgusted by the actions of both men and women in that scenario. While I understand men will be men and will always drool over the models (because let's face it, women drool over male models just as much), I wish that men would keep it amongst themselves and not act that way in front of women. Of the men I've met, most would prefer a "real" looking woman, meaning she is proportionate. The same men also find it to be a turn-off if a woman talks bad about her body and is constantly down on herself. Well what do you expect when all women see is drooling men?

It's been said that fat is the last acceptable prejudice, I agree. While many prejudices exist in our society, I can't think of any others that are not frowned upon. On this point, I will speak of only my experiences. Being fat (that's right, I said it!) today is a difficult life. It's an embarassing life. Many people think "Well why don't you do something about it then?". It's easier said than done. I've been saying for years how I want to lose weight and have actually tried several times. The truth is, I've always been bigger than other girls, that's just the way I am. In high school (prior to my relationship with Jon) I weighed approximately 150-160 pounds. I was able to maintain that by walking to and from school everyday (about a 2 mile roundtrip) and by playing sports. Then, when Jon and I got together, I put on weight faster than I could have ever imagined. I stopped playing sports and walking the 2 mile roundtrip. Jon picked me up after school and I would go and sit at his house and do nothing. We also ate fast food...ALOT! Jon and I were together for six years and during that time I put on roughly 135 pounds. The most I ever weighed was 287. In the last couple months I've dropped 27 pounds (as of this morning) and currently weigh 260. My goal is to get back to 150-155 pounds by next summer. I know its possible because my mama did it not too long ago. What I mean about life being difficult is that not only do I have to endure the ugly glares from people as I eat in public or go shopping for clothes, I've also developed some health related issues. The pressure on my knees from carrying the weight of another person for so long is taking its toll. The same goes for my ankles. I have very poor circulation in my legs and terrible cardiovascular health (though smoking has contributed greatly to that). I have high blood pressure, though my doctor says its only 10 points too high and isn't a huge issue, it could turn into something worse if not dealt with immediately. I have also developed a bone spur on my spine on my L5 (right above my belt line) that causes me excruciating pain constantly. For that, I have to take 3000 milligrams of Extra Strength Tylenol and 440 milligrams of Aleve on daily basis....just to walk. If I want to do more, like working a 7 hour shift at Subway, its an extra 1000 milligrams of Tylenol and another 220 milligrams of Aleve. Though not related to my weight, I also have chronic migraines for which I take 1000 milligrams of Excedrin Migraine in the morning and occasionally will take 1000 milligrams of Ibuprofen at night if my head hurts before bed. From all that medication, I have frequent heartburn/acid reflux that is very uncomfortable. Being fat is embarassing because of the glares I receive from people at the grocery store, a restaurant, or when I go shopping. I laugh it off and make jokes about my weight but I have a subconscious log of all (well, most) the negativity I've encountered due to my weight. It hurts, it really does. You would think that would be inspiration enough for me to get off my lazy ass and lose weight, but it's not. I don't believe a person can truly change who they are to please someone else. If a person is going to change, it must be for themselves or it will not happen.

The main character says she feels "invisible" because of her size. Meaning that men don't notice her and waiters ignore her or give her a nasty look as she orders her food. I can totally relate. I've only had one boyfriend in my life. I've always felt that if I was skinny then maybe the guys would give me a chance. I still feel that way. In a way I feel cheated by my weight and angry at men, but I realize that I'm the one who's cheated me and I'm the one I should be angry at for letting my weight get out of control. And I can honestly say that when I go out to eat at a sit-down restaurant I don't receive the same service as a skinny person would. The waiters tend to take my order and walk away as fast as possible. They seldom check on me to see if I need my drink refilled or if my food is tasting fine. While to some of you it may sound stupid and trivial, it bugs me. It also bugs me when people stare at me when I wear shorts and a tank top. Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I have to be covered from head to toe all the time. I dress for comfort. If it is 100 degrees outside with a 110 degree heat index, you bet your ass I'll be in shorts and tank top!

For me, being fat is no longer an option. As I said before, my goal is to get back down to the 150-155 pound range. I think I would look absolutely ridiculous as a size 2. I've decided to lose the weight, not because of society's pressures or to attract the eye of a man, but because I want to. I want to wake up in the morning and feel good about the way I look. I was comfortable with who I was six years ago. I want to feel that again. I also believe that if I lost the weight perhaps my health concerns would drastically decrease. And for the record, I do not believe in gastric bypass. I see it as a lazy person's lazy way out of a serious problem. In order to fix a serious problem, you must face it head on and deal with it seriously. A half assed effort simply will not do.

So there you have it. Another rambling blog from a fat blonde.

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