Friday, April 20, 2007

Confronting the past

So, we’re all tearing off that blanket of denial, right? Everyone will go about this in her own way, but for me, part of the process involved picking up the psychological flashlight and taking a stroll through the attic, the basement and even shining the beam over those dark corners that no one likes to go into because, y’know, cobwebs, and scuttling things and just ICK! Well, it’s time to hang some lights, give the place a good sweeping and dusting, knock down the cob webs and put out traps for anything that dares to scuttle or otherwise creep me out because the place better be ship-shape the next time I decide to poke around.

How did I get here? It’s not like I woke up one day and decided “hey, I think I’ll be fat for the next 15 years.” I wasn’t always overweight. In my early years, I was actually on the small side for my age. I was also a competitive swimmer until high school when I switched to dancing. I was in terrific shape and had abs you could bounce a quarter off of (literally – someone tried it so I know for sure). I weighed 116 lbs. when I left for college. Then, my knee went out towards the end of my freshman year at UCLA and that was the end of dancing for me. It even made walking to and from campus something I tried to avoid whenever possible by bumming rides from friends with mopeds, etc. so I put on a few pounds that way, but I was still about 120-122 which is better than acceptable for someone 5’5” and with my curves.

I think the real problem began my sophomore year when I started to struggle with an ever-deepening depression (except I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) and it really affected my sleeping habits, my energy level and my eating habits.

Ah yes, my eating habits. Never stellar to begin with – I pretty much loathed and avoided most fruits and all vegetables since I was a kid. My poor mom tried everything to change this. I remember many a night being the last one left sitting at the dinner table, in the dark, long after the rest of the family had gone upstairs and mom had finished cleaning the kitchen. Just sitting there. Me and my plate of vegetables that I refused to eat. Eventually, mom would cave in and come get me. I remember lunches where I poured my Campbell’s alphabet soup (which is essentially vegetable soup w/ letters in it) little by little into my brother’s bowl (sorry, Mark) whenever my mom wasn’t looking. I also dumped my raisins into his cup of milk (sorry again, Mark) to hide them. I fed vegetables to the dog under the table (in my defense, he didn’t like them, either, and would hork them back up later on the shag rug) or spit them into my napkin and then excuse myself to go to the bathroom where I’d dump my napkin out into the toilet and flush the vegetables good-bye.

So, when I got to college, it was like “finally, I am FREE from the tyranny of fruits and vegetables and shall never again be forced to eat them against my will!” Hey, don’t judge. Most college kids make stupid decisions when they get out on their own. Mine just didn’t happen to involve drugs or alcohol (except that one time in Santa Barbara at the I.S.V.T. that…okay SOME things you SHOULD remain in denial about). And, in my infinite “I’ve graduated from high school and am therefore all-knowing and mistress of the universe”-ness, what did I replace fruits and veggies with? Well, sugar and fat, of course. Oh, and mashed potatoes. Must not forget the mashed potatoes of which I could eat gallons especially if they are smothered in butter and gravy. I once survived an entire finals week on nothing but Diet Coke and mashed potatoes, but that’s another blog entry.

So, suffice to say, that between the depression, the sleeplessness, the bad eating and various other things, I got up to 130 lbs. by the end of sophomore year. Still, this was not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I’m sure at that point that no one but me even noticed the change because a curvy figure can hide a lot more “fluff” than a stick-straight one.

Then came my junior year when I moved into the sorority house to live. HELLO, body image issues! Big time! But I’ve done enough “demons of the past” confronting for today so we’ll save that for another entry.


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