Monthly Archives: February 2012

Image

Being pregnant has given me a different perspective on a lot of things but the one place I have had the most eyeopening thoughts and experience has been body image.

In an earlier entry I talked about losing weight and how at one point in 2010 I weighted 270 pounds. I lost 70 of those pounds and began to deal with my issues with food and my body. This summer I bought clothes in a size 14, yes that is still considered “too big” by most people but for me it was incredible. A year previous to those purchases I was wearing a size 20/22. A few months after buying those clothes I became pregnant and unlike a lot of women I did not have horrible morning sickness.

Everyone kept telling me I would be so sick I’d end up losing weight, I wasn’t and I didn’t. Instead I dealt with nausea that was really only cured by me eating something. I mentioned my battle with food issues, well for me eating regularly was uncomfortable. I would go several hours (like 8 or 10) or sometimes full days between real meals. When I got pregnant and started eating regularly I gained 7 pounds. I freaked out. I mean I really freaked out, I cried, felt ugly, felt like I was right back at that 270. To a lot of people this probably seems stupid and self centered, it’s not.

Body image and eating disorders are major issues, it’s not something someone should just be told to “get over” or just stop. There are deep roots to those issues, it took me a while to face the root of my problems. When I was a kid and into my teenage years I hurt myself as a way to deal with emotional stress. I know most people just eyeroll and assume that behavior is just for attention and that anyone who does it is a spoiled brat just seeking to be the center of attention. It was never about that for me, for me it was about redirecting emotional stress into a kind of pain that was manageable.

When I was 17 I stopped hurting myself. Or so I thought. Shortly after that I began using food and not eating as a way to deal with stress. As my life became more stressful and more out of control the more I refrained from eating. It’s been a struggle, not one I like to talk about and one that often humiliates me. I don’t like admitting this is a problem for me.

I spent so long feeling hungry that when I started eating regularly I was uncomfortable, it hurt to be full. That was so shocking to me and so hard to explain to my boyfriend. I’ve working really hard to keep these issues to myself, I didn’t want anyone to know what I was struggling with.

Since becoming pregnant I’ve had to confront those issues because I have to eat, both for my own health and for the health of my baby. It hasn’t been easy to watch the number on the scale go higher. It hasn’t been easy to outgrow my clothes and feel like I’m just a fat ass.

The other reason it has become important for me to deal with these things is because if I have a daughter I don’t want her to learn these behaviors because she sees me do them. I want to be able to teach her to love herself and have my actions reflect those teachings for myself. I’m learning to accept the little things I used to hate about my body. I lost weight once and I know I can do it again, but this time it will be healthy and not driven by self hate but rather love and acceptance.

 


01/02/05

I probably spend too much time on facebook, I think most people do these days. Yesterday as I went through the status updates, event invites, pictures and other random stuff I came across a post by a local radio personality. Last year she was hit by a drunk driver on her way to work she was injured badly and as most car accident victims she was affected. Well her status explained that the man who hit her was sentenced without anyone giving her notification so she could make her victim statement and the punishment for the man who nearly took her life was probation. This brought up a whole variety of emotions for me.

First was empathy, I’d been where she was. When I was 17 my family was hit by a 19 year old kid who was drunk and high on cocaine. Due to a bunch of legal maneuvers and flat out bullshit from both the DA’s office and the insurance companies we received nothing, no assistance for medical bills (and they were substantial), nothing. And then to make things just that much more fun we found out the person who nearly killed my entire family was tried and sentenced without the court giving us any notification. The best part of all of this is he was convicted of one charge of drunk driving. No mention of the accident or the lives he changed. I could relate so clearly to this local radio personality.

The second thing I felt was anger, a white hot anger. I thought I had dealt with the anger I had concerning this entire incident. I was wrong. The accident affected me a lot. I became car and driving phobic. I was 17 when we were hit and I didn’t drive until I was 22. I had panic attacks, severe anxiety, nightmares and at the root of all of that was the anger. Anger that we never even got a chance to speak, to tell the court what that kid did to us. Anger that we were all hurt, all affected and it seemed to matter to no one in our justice system. Reading about what happened to the radio personality reminded me I have not yet dealt with all of the anger I feel.

The third thing I felt was sadness. I thought about what my family went through and thought about what her family must have gone through when they got that phone call saying she’d been hit. I thought about the scars on my brother’s face and all of the dental surgeries he has to look forward to. I thought about how paralyzed I was by fear, how sometimes that fear still creeps up on me and I am once again paralyzed.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about car accidents and how each one I’ve been in has affected me. In the summer of 2010 I was t-boned while making a left turn. It was scary, I got hurt, my car was totaled, however it was an accident. A real accident. When someone gets in the car and drives while they are intoxicated and hits another person it is not an accident. I think that’s what makes me so angry, is the justice system treats it like it’s an accident. When you hurt someone or kill someone because you chose to drive drunk it ought to be punished harsher. New Mexico’s drunk driving laws are a joke, sure they’ve gotten tougher but they’re still a joke. We have so many repeat offenders it’s ridiculous. I truly believe if you hurt someone or kill someone because you drove drunk you deserve jail time, not probation and not community service. Maybe that sounds harsh but after being the victim of a car accident caused by a drunk driver and seeing the impact it made on our lives and also having to learn to accept that we got no justice I think DUI offenders deserve jail time.

Because of my experience with the justice system I have zero faith in it. If it can let a person off with essentially no punishment after that person seriously injured five people there is no justice.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Novel): A review

I recently read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (TGwtDT), I was surprised to find that I liked it. I’m a picky reader, I tend to avoid stuff that I can find on a shelf in a Wal-Mart, mostly because a lot of that stuff is just crap. I want to read writers that can tell a story and create characters that are believable and relatable, not just churn out some crap that will sell to the masses and get a movie made based on it (i.e. Twilight series).

I was very hesitant to read TGwtDT because it was “critically acclaimed” and Hollywood felt the need to make it’s own version of it. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t put it down (or actually, close my laptop as I was using my Nook app). The characters are complex and make you want to keep reading to find out what makes them tick. The story is layered and interesting, it keeps you guessing. Larsson manages to keep two distinct plotlines interwoven and connected. It doesn’t get bogged down by the sheer amount of details, which is a surprise. One other aspect of this book I was wary about is that it’s a translation and it takes place in a country I know absolutely nothing about. I didn’t feel like I was an outsider though, it’s written in a way that makes the reader feel familiarity even though it’s completely unfamiliar (at least for most American readers).

When I first started reading I didn’t understand why the book was titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the character of Lisbeth Salander isn’t exactly what I would normally consider the main character. However, it’s clear by the end of the book that she is the focus of the series. She is an interesting character, at times you relate to her and at times you want to hit her with a brick. I was completely enthralled with her, I wanted to learn more about her and understand what makes her tick.

I can now understand why such a big deal was made over who would play her in the American version of the movie, this is a character that can make a career. She is not a character for a faint hearted actress. I’ve watched the Swedish version of the movie and I love the actress they chose to play Lisbeth, she’s perfect.

Enough about the movie, I can honestly say this is one of the best books I’ve read. It gets under your skin and makes you think about life and the people around you, which to me is the goal of any good book. I now must finish the rest of the series.


Birth

I fell like leaves,
Scattering disintegrated
Pieces of me in
Every direction.

Tears fell,
I sat in my wretchedness,
A broken imitation of
My former glory.

Teetering at the precipice,
I jumped.
Plummeting downward
Is when I learned to soar.