Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Fessing Up

I recently cropped myself out of a photo. On purpose. Because I was fat. I know I put unconditional love for my body on my Christmas list, but it’s not true. I don’t want it. I don’t love my body when I’m heavy, and I don’t want to, ever. My body, I’ve learned, is my life satisfaction barometer. Extra weight around the middle means there are things in my life that aren’t quite right, things I would like to change, things that are not helping me move forward in any productive way. Extra weight on the body means extra weight on the heart. I’m speaking metaphorically here.

I am not unhappy because I am fat. I am fat because I am unhappy. Logic for the soul.

I am reading a book right now. I know. Quelle surprise! The author talks a lot about how most things in life are optional. I know what you’re thinking. Blasphemy!! But it’s true. We tend to get into our comfortable routines and hang out there because, well, because it’s comfortable. We know it. It’s easy. It’s predictable. We get to the point where we believe that this is the way we HAVE to live. Or we go about our lives doing what we do because it’s what we have always done. We play out the role of daughter, of brother, of friend or parent or whatever in the way we believe we are expected to play that role. Let’s just ignore what’s really in our hearts and play the part the way we believe we are expected to play the part because we don’t want to make any waves. Well. I like waves.

There’s a lot of joy in a wave. Waves are huge and fun and exciting. They’re messy and refreshing. And just when you think your heart can’t take any more, that it has experienced all the happy it possibly can and the wave is slowly dying down, here comes the next big splash right in the face. More happy.

Not playing in the waves is boring. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m stressed, when I’m unhappy, when I feel hurt or alone or generally discontent. Eating makes life look better. For a bit. Until that next wave fails to show. Then I just eat again. I create fake happy through food. It’s sick, but true. Hello, my name is Tammie, and I have a problem. My veins are great, but my ass is huge.

This is why I don’t want to love my body unconditionally, because I know that when I tip the scales something is not quite right in my life. I am not playing in the waves. I have forgotten how to jump and splash and laugh and just generally have a great time. I have forgotten that most things in life are optional. I have accepted what once made me happy as what currently makes me happy. Maybe life is good. Maybe life is ok. But I am not here to lead a good life, an ok life. I am here to lead an amazing life and to do amazing things.

When we are little, we have huge dreams. We tell everyone about them in such excitement that we feel our hearts may just burst into bits. Our entire little beings smile and are lifted to such great extent. Then we grow up and realize that no one actually gets paid to be a go-go boot-wearing toe dancer or a great Pickle Family novelist. In our hearts, though, we know that people do get paid to perform and to write, the adult version of our little girl dream. But these things seem out of reach, difficult beyond measure. It is easy to imagine living in a California beach house, strolling the sandy shore while mentally penning the next essay. It is easy to picture standing on stage making people laugh and smile and feel great about their lives. It is easy to envision a world of giving to the hearts of others on a grand scale, grander even than can be known. It is easy to draw this picture in my head. What is difficult is getting my head to follow my heart. My head is a bully like that.

My head pulls out its fine,but. It says these dreams are fine,but you are stuck in corn country and are afraid of huge stages and glittering spotlights. It says who are you to think that you may ever have a following or fans or a stroll down the red carpet? It says that no regular people become great authors with great books. Only great authors become great authors with great books. My head says that you are not a star or a performer or a personality even. It says to get real and get back to baking the muffins and letting the dogs out and getting the kids off to school. You’re pushing fifty, for Pete’s sake. My head says that you are a small town girl with small town possibilities. My head says that. My heart says that’s a load of crap.

The problem is that my head is strong. My head always has to be in charge. Unfortunately, the more I listen to my head and the less I listen to my heart, the more I eat. This is why I don’t want to love my body unconditionally. I know that in a weird, very extrapolated sort of way, the heavier my body is physically, the heavier my heart is figuratively. I’ve been inching up on the scale lately. I don’t like it. I am thinking to myself that maybe I am moving away from my little girl dreams, that I am like those t-ballers, those little guys running the bases the opposite direction from what should be, never quite making it home because the crowd keeps yelling no, turn around, go back, no, no. Well. I am ready again to play in the waves. I am ready to jump and splash and laugh and just generally have a great time. I am ready, and so I am putting my heart on a diet. I think I’ll start right now.


  1. The heart is always right, but the head has to figure out how to make sure the heart gets to go where it wants to go. In time, anyway.

  2. Exactly, Jill. My problem is that my head wants to be the driver, not the guy who rides shotgun and reads the map.