Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why Wafting the Scent of Taco Bell Out of My Car is Essential to My Sanity

Let me start off my saying, I am NOTICABLY CHUNKY over this time last year. Let's say thirty pounds. Which considering I comforted myself with all things comfort food, comfort drink (adult beverages) and a lifestyle that can only be described as BEDRIDDEN, I'm almost proud to say IT'S ONLY THIRTY POUNDS. I mean, that is only, what, 2.5 pounds a month? After two years of sloth-like depression - I'D SAY CONGRATU-DAMN-LATIONS/

However, to my parents who value APPREARANCE (read: thin/skinny/emaciated-even-better) over all, I knew this 30 pounds was gonna be a BIG FAT PROBLEM. (Get it, “fat?” I know, I'll try harder.)

However, I, being the Manipulative Mind/Reverse Psychology Expert that I am (essential to my survival), decided to launch a pre-emptive strike in hopes I would NOT HAVE TO HEAR from my MOTHER about my chunky HIPS & THIGHS.

“Mom,” I said, “My friends and I all joined a weight loss club… I'm already down 3.2 pounds.” (True & True).

Apparently, after seeing me (Chunky Hips & Thighs & All), she couldn't hold her tongue (I thought after 24 hours I was in the clear… I'll never learn). I should have known when she came up to my room to “have private girl talk” that she was going to have something to say.


Even after I said I was addressing it, even after I said I felt I had finally turned a corner and was getting back into working out (not true but I'M GONNA, I'M GONNA TURN THAT CORNER, even after I said I found this conversation kind of humiliating.

I said, “I think what I've been through the last two years, I'm not ashamed that I got depressed and gained this weight.”

She was lost in her own thoughts, “What are you ashamed about?” I said, “I SAID I'M NOT ASHAMED.” She said, “Everybody has problems.” “Really,” I said, “Everybody's cousin gets murdered?” (I know, bitchy, but her DISMISSIVENESS pushed me to the edge. And I did leave out, “And EVERYBODY'S Mom has a nervous breakdown a month after the trial?”

But she didn't even hear me. Instead she was busy turning the HUMILIATION DIAL from “I Really Think You're Being too Sensitive, Dear” TO “I Will Crush Your Self-Esteem into A Power Like Substance.”

She said, “Is this why your not dating much… BECAUSE OF HOW YOU LOOK?”

At that point, I was so blinded by my anger that it actually made me go deaf. I can't remember anything that was said after that.


My Grandmother's in the hospital. My mother and I are going to visit her. I go to gas up the car. It's 1:30pm and I've only eaten a bowl of cereal. NOW THAT I HAVE THE FEAR OF GOD OF EATING IN FRONT OF MY MOTHER, (My older sister hasn't eaten in front of my mother in over 20 years. My mom sent her to fat camp two years in a row as a kid. My sister was maybe six or seven pounds overweight. Maybe.)

But I know I'm going to be hungry. We could be at the hospital for hours. That's when I see THE MECCA THAT IS TACO BELL. As I pull in front of the menu, my heart starts beating faster. “Mom will smell it on my breath!” “WHAT IF SHE CAN SMELL IT IN THE CAR?”

“Can I take your order please?” “Yes, um, what on the menu smells the least?” “Excuse me m'am?” “Would you say, a chulupa or a gordita smells more?” “Uh…a chulupa?” “Then I'll have the gordita.” “Can I get you some hot sauce with that?” “Dear, God, no! The scent of that will get trapped in the upholstery for months!”

I get my food and start driving home. It is raining. It is 20 degrees. Still, I drive with all four windows down. Rain is coming into the car, it's all over me and the seats.

I intermittently drive, take a bite of my gordita and WAVE ONE ARM AROUND TO GET THE SCENT OF DELICIOUS OUT OF THE CAR. I think it's working.

SHE'LL NEVER KNOW. I'M SOOOO SMART. I AM SOAKING WET. I am a grown woman who can't eat in front of her own mother. I feel ridiculous and stupid and angry all at the same time.

I SAID I WOULD NEVER BECOME THEM. I would not be “a sneak.” Like how my Mom said she quit smoking when I was twelve but she was still sneaking outside until I was 19. I would watch the orange glow of the cigarette and I would know. Or like my Dad. He hides a 30 pack of beer in his car and will only sneak in three or four at a time. He'll only drink it after she's gone to bed. The evidence goes in the recycle bin which he takes out. NO ONE IS THE WISER.

I don't want to be like that. I have every right to eat a 250 calorie bona fide taco with chicken (protein!), cheese (calcium!), sour cream (dairy!), lettuce and tomato (FIBER GALORE!). I could EAT TEN IF I WANT TO.



MY LIFE IS MY OWN. But only if I don't let myself become them.


Surfergrrl said...

OMG! I felt myself laughing and getting pissed at your mom all at the same time!!! I'm so glad though, that you recognize that their opinion on what you "should" look like and eat has absolutely nothing to do with you.

I was a fat kid. My grandparents would constantly berate me for my weight, then feed me rich, hungarian food and encourage me to eat seconds. I lost a lot of weight for me in college (i know, weird time for that). When I would visit my grandparents my grandma (who was fat) would tell me, "you're too!" My response was, "thank you grandma, but I would prefer not to get as fat as you are." Wow! that shut her up for years to come.

It might be quite liberating to say to your mom, "well mom, i can always lose the weight, but i'm pretty sure you will always be crazy." (I hope you don't hate me for saying that) :)

adventure grrl said...

Surfergrrl, Your honesty is what I ASPIRE TO. I think that is awesome what you said. I think our parents/grandparents just want us to be THEM (in my mom's case, thin like her but only due to the gift of a massive eating disorder. If I AM NOT PERFECT LIKE HER, what will the neighbors think?!) I do not hate you for saying the "crazy thing" - in a way, even as a metaphor it makes sense - "Why would I get upset about what a crazy person says?" I love when people give me something to think about. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I had just had a baby and my MIL said to me...oh dear, you are so big, I cant believe that you can even move. I know your mind numbing, not sure what came next in the conversation, feeling. My sister always tells me to think...I can lose weight but you will still be ulgy. Yeah, were not nice either :) Sorry you had to have the "weight" converstaion...and im not talking the healthy one :)

Obsessedwithlife said...

Hi there-
I just started reading your blog-you are such a good writer!

I have a friend whose mom is very similiar to that and my friend still struggles with an eating disorder. It makes me so mad--her mother told her when I was REALLY sick with cancer and looked like a skeleton that she should look like me-that I looked good. GRRRRR.

Anyways, I look forward to reading more of your stuff!!


mac said...

OMG this is what my friend said to me when i was home: mac, you look so thin, or maybe it just seems that way since i'm so fat cause i just had a baby.

meaning: your'e not skinny and oh, BTW i have a baby and husband and you dont!

adventure grrl said...

Anonymous, I have just gone BLIND with insanity that your MIL said that to you. OMG! I need to work on the most HIDEOUSLY PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE comeback if she or anyone dares to say that sort of thing to you again. :)

Ditto on Rachel! Man, that makes me crazy! P.S. Congrats on being a survivor, girl!

Mac, There are NO WORDS. But virtual hugs ;)

Anonymous said...

This story brought tears to my eyes...thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Here's my theory: Our Moms (or any woman under 50 today) grew up in a time when their bodies and looks is what dictated their social standing -- meaning the type of husband they'd get and hence their financial standing. Today, WOMEN CAN TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES financially, emotionally, etc. Hallelujah! OK, good theory, but yeah, dudes still buy into it! OK, progress, not perfection. But we can be overweight and still have full, rich lives. (Dammit!) Hot topic for me, can ya tell?

OK, so recently I'm in a therapy setting and exploring a bit of my relationship with my Mom and how it feels like she only sees success through how thin people are. (I, myself, am about 60 pounds overweight and 6' tall.) My coach says to me "Ask yourself when you are going to stop letting your Mom dictate your sexuality!) Whoa. Still trying to get my arms around that thought, but wow, it sure put it in perspective.

Love your blog!