Tag Archives: Body Image

I DESERVED IT, DIDN’T I?

I was physically assaulted for years by different men and there were times when I woke up that I didn’t remember agreeing to have sex with a person or know where I was.

Alcoholism will lead you to dark places and to people you wouldn’t normally be friends with.

My parents were actually good parents. They had some moments when we were younger that could’ve been better but I don’t think any of it was too bad. Then again maybe it was and I don’t want to remember it. I don’t really know. I do know I was always painfully shy, over weight by the 6th grade with glasses and acne. It wasn’t fun from the 6th grade to the 12th grade. A lot of damage was done that couldn’t be undone.

When no one stands up for you as a child or intervenes you start to believe what is being said to you. So I believed I was fat, useless, ugly, unlovable, even that I smelled when I didn’t because everyone believes when you are fat you must smell. I was the cleanest person I knew. I became obsessed with expensive perfume as I grew older because of one comment made in the 10th grade. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on perfumes from places people have never had of.

The group of people I surrounded myself with when I began drinking at 16 were all predators in some way or another. Some were emotional predators, some financial, and some sexual or needed to feel in control.

I was perfect for all of it. I had zero self confidence and thought I was nothing when I arrived. I worked hard and always had money. I was easy to control when drinking and I was always drinking to numb a feeling or fake a personality or emotion or to feel normal. They saw me coming a mile away and never wanted me to leave.

While one would say and do cruel things another would be there to act as the good guy. Then it would flip. I went on like this for almost 9 years starting at 16. Those are important years where you learn how to be a young adult then an adult. I didn’t learn any of those things. I learned a lot of street smarts and how to immediately scan a room for scumbags or trouble. I learned to always sit with my back against a wall facing the door so I could see who was coming and going. I learned not to trust anyone ever again and to look people in the eye. I learned how to read facial expressions and tell when a person is lying to me.

I learned all of these things the hard way and by slowly becoming the monsters I hated.

I never fully became the monster but I still carry that fear with me and the street smarts. I also carry the “Trust No One” mentality with me because it huts too much to trust and be let down over and over again even by your family. I have brief flashes of the rage I carry deep within me and I won’t lie, it scares me. I wouldn’t hurt another person but I would hurt myself in that rage as I tore through the World. So I have to be careful with it and channel it into something else. That’s where the tears and stuttering come in I think.

I didn’t ask for any of this. The mental illness I knew was a 50/50 shot so was the drinking. But when I was growing up no one really knew that or talked about it. If my parents had taken me to a Doctor when they first suspected I would have been institutionalized until the age of 18.

It’s here and now at 44 that I decide how I want to deal with all of what I’ve been through, what I’ve learned, what I still need to learn, and pass it on.

If I could travel and speak on Radio Shows or in High Schools and tell the absolute truth with no sugar coating that’s what I want to do more than anything. There are too many organizations right now that so many feel like they don’t belong in because all they see are the positive messages of hope and recovery which is fine but don’t promise it right out of the gate. When I’m feeling like 0 the last thing I want to see are shiny happy people holding hands because I’ll already have the thought of failing in my head.

I don’t know if I’m making sense about this at all or if I’m completely off base and too messed up to even know it. I wouldn’t mind some feedback as long as you don’t completely tear me down because then that’s all I’ll think about for weeks. Ridiculous! But that’s who I am now. I’m a lot stronger in many areas but I still seek love and approval. I’m a work in progress like everyone should be.alone-by-edgar-allan-poe-scarebaby-design

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A DIFFERENT TAKE ON BEAUTY (From Ugly Duckling To Confused Swan)

I was born in 1973, born five minutes after me was my fraternal twin sister. There is a picture of us only a few weeks old where it appears she is trying to punch me in the face. That should’ve been a good indicator of things to come.

Although we were not identical, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins still were confused about who was who. When we were born we weighed a little under 5 pounds each and stayed in the hospital until we gained enough weight to leave. Except one of us never stopped gaining. Starting at an early age that’s how relatives would tell us apart. They didn’t care if I heard them or not. “D is the fat one and Deb is the skinny one” is what I constantly had to listen to. As I became older I would scream in my head “Are you f*cking stupid? One of us is blond and the other is a red head! If you don’t know the difference after 15 years than don’t bother!”. There were honestly times I wanted to physically hurt one of them. I would be playing with cousins and one would get hurt. I would automatically get blamed because I was “big” and must have “squished” one of them.

I tried to be invisible. It was easier that way. If I drew attention to myself that would be asking for punishment, humiliation, or ridicule. I wore baggy clothes and hid my face behind my hair for many years.

I always had a love for make up, hair products, perfume, clothes, but I was limited in what I could do. There was little clothing available at that time for 16 year old girls who were a size 18. Most clothing was marketed for much older women or what little I thought was nice was extremely expensive.

By the time I was a Senior in High School my Bipolar Episodes (Not Diagnosed Yet) were in full swing. I would have feelings of wanting to belong so badly I thought the world would end. I wanted a guy to actually see me for once. I wanted to be wanted. Smoke and Mirrors became my best friends.

Not many are born knowing how to apply make up correctly or blow dry hair just right. I had to learn in order to wear my “mask” of confidence that was boosted with alcohol. When I was all made up and had a new outfit on I actually felt a little good about myself. Add the alcohol in and I was hot. That can only last so long. 20 years to be exact.

When I was diagnosed as Bipolar and stopped drinking I also stopped socializing. I did start to lose some weight. The Doctor told me I would at first because of the medication and because I have Celiac Disease. A year went by and I was down almost 130 pounds. My family was worried. Well most of them. I now weighed less than my twin sister and she wasn’t taking it well.

I wasn’t doing well either. I had this new body in the mirror, a completely different face, I had changed my hair color as well. I wasn’t sure how to dress for this body. My sister refused to go clothes shopping with me. I would sit in a dressing room quietly crying because I was confused about whether I was wearing a shirt or a dress. Did I have a camel toe or was it suppose to fit that way? Some of the clothing should’ve come with directions. I finally had to ask women in the dressing rooms to help me. I was embarrassed. I was angry that after all the years of bullying and pain my sister would hold this against me.

When I received a compliment I didn’t know what to do with it. When someone found out I had lost a lot of weight I felt like I had to tell them it wasn’t through diet and exercise because it would be wrong to let them think that.

When I started to notice dents in my temples and indentations in my cheeks I became concerned. My Hematologist told me I had “Muscle Wasting Disease” which happens with Autoimmune Disorders. What we didn’t know was that my Kidneys had been Failing. I wouldn’t find out until it was almost too late.

Bipolar Disorder, Alcoholism, Obesity, and even being too thin all carry Stigma. The things I’ve hadthonf73axv said and done to me because of one or the other I still can’t forget. I used “Beauty Tools” to try to hide the real me even when I lost weight. I never leave the house without a mask. But sometimes they serve a purpose.

While in Cosmetology School and working in Salons I would do hair for women who couldn’t afford it. Women who hadn’t had their hair done in years or ever. I can’t tell you how many had tears rolling down their faces when I was finished. As they stood up their posture would be different than when they first came in. Their eyes brighter and their smiles confident. I know it’s only hair but sometimes it’s the human interaction and having a chance to relax and feel good about yourself that can make a difference. It’s those times I enjoyed the most.

 


TWITTER BOOBS (I have to clarify my statements again)

The people that were commenting on a podcast I was listening to about breasts were doing so in a comedic manor. They were not trying to be sexist or hurt anyone’s feelings. I have a tendency to take things personally because of my own problems with self-esteem and body image.

When I look in the mirror most of the time I don’t like what I see. I still see a 270 pound woman who was bullied and mocked for most of her life. That’s my problem no one else’s.

My family has never even commented on the fact that I am literally half the person I used to be. No one has said a positive thing about the way I look. They have commented when my weight went down to 119 pounds that I looked “horrible”, “skeleton like”, “anorexic”, and “sickly”. They were correct. I didn’t know I was in Kidney Failure and that was why my weight kept dropping. Now that I am at a healthy weight they say nothing. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. Again it goes back to validation. Something I always seem to want. It’s something I have always struggled with. The need to fit in or to feel like I belong. Part of it is because I’m Bipolar and the feeling never goes away completely.

It isn’t easy to live a life where you constantly feel uncomfortable no matter where you are or who you are with. When you live with nonstop doubt in your head and feel you were never meant to be or exist.

This feeling is compounded by being a twin. For some reason I have always thought there should’ve only been one of us, my sister. She is the “normal” one. She has done everything that I imagine a “normal” woman would do. She went to college, dated, got engaged, married, bought a house, and had 2 children. I wasn’t able to do any of that and wondered if it was for a reason.

I have to try harder than most people to distract my brain from focusing on these thoughts. It isn’t easy. Medication and therapy has not been successful due to my late diagnosis, alcoholism, and other factors. But I keep trying. I will always make mistakes. I will always own up to them if I can realize that I’ve made them. Talking openly about it is the only way I know to work through it.


You’re So Vain

Recently I was told that I am vain. I almost laughed out loud. I didn’t bother defending myself. The person making the accusation wouldn’t have understood my way of thinking. She hasn’t in 43 years. The only thing it would have done is cause another argument.

Growing up the only person I remember saying I was pretty was my mother. Even she would add “But you would be so much prettier if you would just lose some weight”. When I started drinking and going to parties sometimes a guy would make a comment to me. I remember a popular guy in high school saying I looked good one night. My response was to turn around and look behind me to see who he was talking to. Over time as my drinking became worse, and so did the company I kept, that changed. The more I drank, the cockier I became. Alcohol on most occasions didn’t act like a depressant on me it acted like a stimulant. My brain chemistry was different. I would start at 5 p.m. and keep going until 4 a.m. or so. I did a lot of damage to myself not to mention others.

Sober, I never found anything positive in the mirror. The numbers on the scale kept going up and up until I reached 270. When medications and illness caused me to rapidly lose 135 pounds I didn’t see anything different in the mirror. Without guidance from anyone on how to dress for this new shape I found my own style and was unsure what looked right. No one would go shopping with me. My sister was now heavier than me and wasn’t dealing well with it. I was having to ask strangers and dressing room attendants if pants or shirts were the right fit. It was sometimes embarrassing.

Then came comments of the opposite nature. “You’re too thin, you look sick”. Ummm, I was and still am sick so maybe that’s why. It never ends. Even now if I am in a public place I don’t think about how I look or about bending over to put air in my tire until some idiot makes a gross comment. Even then it takes a few minutes for me realize they are talking to me. I fuss with my hair and make up constantly because that was the only thing I had control over when I was 270 pounds. I could at least make those things look good. Now it’s a nervous habit. I’m not comfortable in my own body and I’m not sure I ever will be.

There were too many years of torment physically and verbally that no matter what I do, who I talk to, just won’t go away. It’s a horrible thing to admit but the only the times I had confidence, even if it wasn’t real, is when I drank. It gets harder and harder to leave the house. It’s become too much effort just to go to the grocery store.

The peanut gallery keeps telling me there are plenty of things I can do on my own. I don’t need other people to do things with. I know that. I WANT other people to do things with. I have an extremely hard time making friends. If one more person tells me to “join a group” I might slap them. Let them join some of the “groups” they keep pushing me to join. They wouldn’t last a day. I’ve tried many of them over the years. Each one leaving me feeling more alone and more scared about how I will be in the future.


The Entertainment Industry And Weight

On the Entertainment sites recently they have been making a big deal out of Christian Bale pulling out of a movie due to the weight he would have to gain.

I have watched 20 Christian Bale movies. This is only because he happens to make some brilliant films. The first one I watched was Empire of the Sun. Even then you could tell he was too thin which is what the part called for. This was in 1987. In 2004 his weight plummeted to a dangerous level for The Machinist. Did it work for the movie and make it realistic? Sure. Was it worth the possible damage to his system? I don’t know. In 2005 he had to regain the weight he lost and gain muscle for Batman Begins. In 2006 he had to go back down to play a POW in Rescue Dawn. 2008 he did The Dark Knight and had to get back in shape to play Batman again. The Fighter came out in 2010 where he played an ex-boxer turned drug addict. So once again his weight went way down. Then in 2013 American Hustle was released where he played an overweight con-man and gained 40 pounds.

The movie Mr. Bale dropped out of was a biopic of Enzo Ferrari directed by Michael Mann. The reason he dropped out is he would’ve had to gain a significant amount of weight by spring. He didn’t feel he could do this in a healthy way. So he backed out of the film.

Personally I’m glad he did. Mr. Bale’s weight gain and weight loss through out the years have had to of taken a toll on his body. The heart cannot handle drastic continuous changes in weight. I’m glad he realized this.

Mr. Bale certainly isn’t the only actor/actress that immerses himself in a role and wants to be as realistic as possible. The problem is making it look so easy to gain and lose weight in short periods of time. We all know it isn’t but part of us always looks for that easy way to feel good about ourselves. I know it’s hard to find the right actor for the right part. I just don’t understand why you can’t use a talented heavier actor to play a character that is overweight. You can’t tell me there isn’t anyone talented enough. I happen to love Brendan Gleeson and Ray Winstone. They are not young actors but I can’t think of any younger actors at the moment. I’m sure they are out there.

Giving someone flack because they refuse to compromise their health for a movie is just ridiculous. Wake up people.

P.S. To the woman who gave Mourning Son 1 star and said unnecessary hurtful things about the Documentary, shame on you. One more example of humanities loss of empathy. A man pours out his pain and self destruction and you call it “boring”. His mother was murdered. Are you a robot? Unbelievable.


Weight For Me

A lot of you may know that I spent the majority of my life in the body of a 250 pound person. When I was diagnosed as Bipolar then with Celiac Disease things began to change. I also began my journey of sobriety. The meds can make you gain or lose weight, it’s difficult to find food that is appealing and affordable for Celiac and alcohol bloats you and puts on the pounds.

The combination of meds I have taken for the last few years made me lose weight rapidly, I am also always sick from the Celiac because mine stays active. I lost 120 pounds in less than a year. It looks like more because I have a muscle wasting disease caused by the Celiac. It shows mostly in my face. There isn’t anything I can do about it. I also no longer have the trigger in my brain that tells me I’m thirsty, this leads to dehydration.

I bring all of this up because it is difficult to respond to people who haven’t seen me in awhile. People don’t realize the things they say. I often get the response of “You must be so much happier now that you are thin”. Actually I’m not. My brain has trouble processing it when I look in the mirror. I also didn’t lose the weight in a healthy way. This leaves me in an awkward position. Do I tell the truth or do I lie so everyone feels better? Why do they have to assume my happiness depends on my weight? My sister tells me I look awful, like a skeleton. My father has asked that I don’t lose anymore. Others say I look good. I looked up my height and age and I am within my target weight. I’m just tired of the comments and questions.

I’m also tired of going clothes shopping alone. My sister refuses because she is no longer thinner than me. I cry in dressing rooms. I was always complimented on my style as a plus sized woman. Now I can’t even decide on a pair of socks. It shouldn’t be this way should it? I should be enjoying this time. I try not to let other people bother me but guess what? I’m human and Bipolar and over sensitive. I think robes should make a good fashion statement. I love pajamas. Maybe I’ll stick to those.


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