Monday, November 22, 2010


We’ve had our first official snow of the year and oh, what fun!

As usual, there was panic because in the Pacific NW (at least in my particular area) snow isn’t that common, so when we get it we get weird. Also, we have hills. Kind of steep ones, with lots of twists and turns in them. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to get all excited and drive our cars over steep precipices, into ditches, or just leave them in the middle of the road when we realize it’s too slippery to continue in the direction we had been traveling.

It’s not that we can’t find a different way to get to our destination; it’s just that if we had to choose between the smell of our own urine and feces in an enclosed vehicle or getting out and walking, we’ll always choose a lively game of dodge-car any damn day.

That’s why I love my car. It can, and will, go anywhere, and because my mother was very good at insisting I learn how to drive in the snow when I was a new driver, I can do wonderful things with my car. Like, you know, get to where I’m going and still retain all my pee and poo inside my body. Yes, I’m THAT awesome!

The worst thing to happen to me was that time the car I was driving lost traction and we ended up in a slow 360 spin across the road, over a curb and into a field. Spawn was just a tiny monster and my first thought was “don’tletmybabygethurt.” I did not evacuate my bladder or my bowels.

Neither did Spawn. Her first thought was not PANIC! It was “Do ‘gain, Mommy.”

It could have been worse, but I kept my head and didn’t roll the car. Probably because I was going too damn slow for that to happen.

Anyway, I think the best part about the snow today was one of the kids in class. He’s never seen the stuff. We were on our way to the cafeteria, when my charge unexpectedly wheeled his chair over to some snow-covered benches and proceeded to investigate this new white fluff all over the place.

He got very excited and proceeded to tell everyone about it, wheeling his chair around like a maniac, laughing and showing everyone his…empty hand! Wait! Where’s the snow? He tried to go back and get some more, but it was lunch time and I promised him it would still be there later. Thankfully, I was right.

So now, most of the district employees are begging for a two-hour late start (which means we don’t have to make up the day later in the year). The chant has begun.

2-hour late start! 2-hour late start! 2-hour late start!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I am F.A.T.

I pledge to myself, that I will do my best
To keep my eyes from looking for judgment
When I eat all of my dinner in a restaurant.
I do not want to take half of it home in a box,
Where it sits to grow cold and bacteria,
Or get left behind.
I will carry it home in my stomach;
That’s what my stomach is for,
Even though I’m fat.

I pledge to myself, that I will do my best
To keep my ears from searching for cruelty
As I look at pretty things in clothing stores
And the clerk says
“We do not carry anything in your size,”
In a scornful voice that drips loathing.
It is their loss of capital;
I can take my money elsewhere.
Even though I’m fat.

I pledge to myself, that I will do my best
To feel beautiful even when
Those who think otherwise
Cast their foul words my way.
Their opinions matter less to me
Than the opinion of my lover
Who insists I am beautiful
Even when I feel like shit.
Even though I’m fat.

I pledge to myself, that I will do my best
To accept who I am,
How I am,
And whenever I am,
Even if those around me refuse to do so.
I can live my life the way I want;
I will sing and dance and laugh.
Even though I’m fat.

I pledge to myself, that I will do my best
To not let the word “fat”
Mean anything cruel or ugly.
It is a word.
I am F.A.T. …

And I'm loved.
Even though I'm fat.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Turning Points

That phrase popped into my head the other day after Tam and I had just watched this video:

We started talking, and at one point she apologized in case something she had ever said made me feel bad. I assured her that throughout our long years of friendship, we’d both said things that hurt, but those things happen when people are talking.

Later, I got to thinking about the video and our conversation and I realized that a turning point isn’t necessarily a single shining moment; it’s the culmination of many illuminating circumstances that finally lead us to the point where we’re ready and able to make a change, whether it’s for the better or worse.

A childhood of people telling me I’d be so pretty if I “just lost some weight” built turning points of low self esteem. It wasn’t any one moment, although there are several that have burned themselves into my memory and the pain is nearly as intense as when it first happened. But I don’t count them as turning points, just points of illumination, road markers that are gradually leading me into the land of self loathing.

When I did finally lose “all that weight,” I felt better, pretty, even attractive, but always in danger of losing my grip on that place. I became involved in a very toxic relationship and when I gained a LOT of weight during pregnancy, he took much pleasure in reminding me of my failures as a wife, a woman, a human being.

“Turning point” makes it sound like there was a defining moment that suddenly altered the course of this juggernaut. But it was a collection of moments that were brought into focus by a single action that stayed my hand from a regretful mistake. The turning began after that, and it was still gradual.

Later, I found another toxic male to shape my life, and while he accepted me as I was (he insisted body image wasn’t as important as what was inside) he took out his frustrations in other ways, leaving bruises on both my psyche and my body.

There was no turning point there. I was finally lucky enough to make him so angry he “punished” me by leaving and refusing to speak to me for two weeks. During that time, I was able to come to grips and move on, although I hadn’t yet realized how bad he was for me and I ached to have him back in my life. Why? Because he said it didn’t matter if I was fat, he loved ME, and even with the violence, that idea of acceptance made him hard to give up.

Other relationships, other instances, other shining moments, they all illuminated a path that I couldn’t see until I allowed myself the luxury of stepping back to see just where these moments were guiding me.

The path is dotted with sparks marking my way through joy and pain. It forms a long, slow arc that continues across the horizon and out of sight. But I know, in the end, it will lead me back; full circle, but one level up, back to that girl who thought she was worthy, despite not fitting into “regular” jeans.

Only this time? This time I’m old enough to tell those assholes who tell me I’d be pretty if I lost the weight, to get fucked. My children love me, my friends love me, my family loves me, and most important, Tam loves me the way I am.

That’s not a turning point, folks, it’s a safe landing zone.