Monday, 11 January 2016

Living off the fat of the bland

Folks I am fat.  Not two seats on coach or weigh yourself at the zoo fat, but fatter than I've ever been in my life, and  I say this
'thinking' I was fat for almost as many decades as I've been alive when I really wasn't (except for the first two when I thought I was - naturally - skeletally thin - and I was, too,  as wincingingly thin as I am now chubby).  As the facebook adage goes:  if only I were as fat as I was the first time I thought I was fat.  But there's no dressing this up in anything less than (tight) size 18 trousers - this time it's real.  My hourglass has dimples in every conceivable spot and is actually more of a couple of hexagons balanced.  With cellulite.  I don't have curves, I have undulations - rolling fields of arable land, hills and dales, even - sadly - a few trickling brooks.

Not only am I afflicted by the fat, but - something new, that's only developed over the past 15 years - and that is self-loathing.  In the old days I didn't hate myself for my - mostly imaginary fat.  I had my issues, loads of them, like the next angsy mother of four with no proper career and an African bum despite being resolutely Anglo Saxon every where else.  But the self loathing has crept in on the side, like that unwanted serving of coleslaw you never eat, that you get with the burger, that you do. 

Cos, it's not a surprise that I'm fat.  I mean it's not my 'big' bones, or my underactive thyroid (despite having one of those) or my poor metabolism - it's that unlike the fat that I carry around saddled to my thighs, the stuff that comes in 250g blocks market 'finest butter' (or frankly 'Sainsbury's value'), the stuff that comes in pyramids that melts when you lop the top off and stinks up the fridge, the stuff you ladle on scones and jam, the hidden content in almost everything that tastes good - that fat, I LOVE.  And I love the bread in all the myriad of forms the evil temptress takes - wholemeal, stoneground, rye, long, thin, sliced from a packet, the pasta, the risotto, the cakes, the cookies, the chocolate - in short - the crap.  Yeah, I do eat vegetables too, and salad, and fruit, and acai berries and nuts and almost negligible amounts of meat, and I don't drink, but my heart belongs to pastry.  I love fat , I just hate fat Marion.  Can.  Not.  Stand.  To.  Look.  At.  Her.

Here's the thing.  I've been on an almost continuous diet for the past ten years.  Sometimes I lose weight and have thigh gap and wrinkles and have even managed to shrink low enough to get into a size 10.  The diets that worked were the 'sudden fear of a stroke diet', the 'husband left me for another woman diet'  and the 'brand new boyfriend love diet' - twice.   Sometimes I don't lose any weight and just stay static at a size that's neither thin enough to let me enjoy it, or fat enough to call for the glazier to lift me out the window if I died in the chair.  But this period of stasis is called Misery, because I'm watching every minute mouthful I take, and eating what I 'shouldn't anyway' so getting none of the results and all of the pain.  This last spring I became an 'almost' vegetarian as in almost never eating meat.  Over the summer, I tried not to eat carbs.  In effect this meant I ate the carbs but felt bad about it.   In autumn I gave up sugar, all refined sugar.  And then about November, as my body continued to grow and the number of clothes in my wardrobe that fitted, to shrink, I thought Oh shut the front door, damn it to hell, and just ate what I wanted.  Anything.  Twice.  I indulged my every calorific whim. 

Since then my bras are all on the last notch.  My jeans (which are in any case jeggings from New Look) leave little pocket indentations on my bum and since I keep my credit card in my back pocket, when I take them off at night, you can see the long number embossed in my flesh.  I have five outfits that fit, one more than the days I work in the week, my boots don't zip up, and - as far as food and life are concerned, I can't remember when I was last so happy.  I love being able to eat exactly what and when I want without worrying.

But old self loathing has decreed all mirrors should be shrouded and when I catch sight of myself by accident I am slightly aghast to see myself a dead ringer for my equally dead, fairly mad, aunt who had bosums like a ship's figurehead and wore huge frocks, entering a room like a galleon in full sale, except that she had buck teeth.  And that's the good part.  When the big frock comes off the fat lady doth not sing.  She whimpers.  She hangs her chubby cheeks in shame, over the new chin that only arrived last year but seems to have settled in for the duration.

I am so tired of it.  There is enough to hate in the world without devoting any of myself just because I'm fat.  But I truly don't want to begin to love my fat.  It's not a relationship I want to pursue.  I want it all - cheese, chinese dumplings, egg fried rice, fruity toast and a swimsuit body that doesn't elicit whale watching  jokes.

I know it's not healthy to be this fat, but comeon, lets face it, not all the skinny are healthy.  Body size is not necessarily a marker for health, especially mental health.  You may not get diabetes but you thinness can bring its own dangers.

So what do you do?  Happy as pie on the inside - looking like pie on the outside.  It's a dilemma...

Friday, 1 January 2016

Day one

1st of January 2016 and I'm sitting here alone but for some cooking smells that are not mine emanating from the kitchen, that is.  And I'm feeling bluer than a new pair of 1970s Levis, with the dye all ready to run out.

I've said before, somewhere else, that my life has turned into an exercise in simple arithmetic.  I just turned 58.  That's two more makes sixty.  I can't possibly be sixty.  It's terrifying.  Like coming home from the store and discovering you've accidentally shoplifted a Tiffany necklace and it's only a matter of time before the CCTV exposes you.  Not that I've been in Tiffany more than twice in my life and frankly, if I had shoplifted anything from there, it really would be an act of madness as I care nothing, less than nothing for the ridiculous crap they sell.  I like the blue boxes though.  A metaphor.  I hate the crap, but like the packaging.  But the thought of actually being me - at 60, such a foreign number, such a foreign place, is just beyond my comprehension.  My bones, my poor aching, beaten, battered bones that ache from doing nothing more than being attached to my body, are less surprised and aghast at the idea than I am, but there it is, and the maths begin.  How long do I have?  ten years or so until I can retire in legal terms, though financially I should work till maybe two years before I die as then I'd have enough money to live till the last day.  Unfortunately, in most cases, you don't get that sort of notice.  Or fortunately, even, as who'd really want to know.  If I move this year into another house, I have maybe ten years before I need to think of moving again, downsizing to the sad little old lady pad where I will live with my cats and two pieces of the furniture from my previous life that doesn't fit in with the proportions of the new place.  If I don't get Alzheimers in the meantime.  Because all that is a distinct and reachable possibility now.  Death, disease, dementia, disability - they are all there, hovering, like pro-lifers outside an abortion clinic, ready to grab you as you walk past.  What will get me.  How many years before they do?  One, or twenty?  And so I do sums.  None of my kids have children yet.  Only one is married.  None look likely to make me a grandparent any time soon, so say I get one in the next five years - I'll be 63.  That gives me ten good years of being around and available, all being well (and who knows?) so the likelihood is that I may not see even my first grandchild graduate from college, let aloe get married.  Will I be around long enough to know them.  To make any sort of impression.  To get the chance to rehabilitate myself from being a fairly terrible mother into an okay grandmother? Will I be gone as my own parents were when and if my kids' lives hit a bump and they need help?  Can I be there for them?  Will I have time to just be there for myself?  At 58 I'm still sharing a home with my adult children.  I've never actually lived alone with a partner.  My ex and I had fifteen months alone before we were parents and though he left, I stayed and got the kids, albeit the grown up kids.  And now one of their wives.  My lover moved in when I was ill three years ago and we had five months alone, with a lodger while my youngest was in College and my other son was at University.  But since then both those kids have returned, left and returned again.  I've never really known what it's like to be a partner in a relationship that existed only for we two.  Will there be time?  Will I plant and plan a garden?  It's not over yet, but I realise I haven't even started.

This year I have to move.  I have to pack up my old life and move to a new life in a place I don't want to be in a suburb I don't know, in a house that isn't this one.  I'm happy to change.  I'd move tomorrow, yesterday even for a new start, but I hate that circumstances are forcing me to live in an area I don't want to away from everything I know and love, from neighbours and history.  I say it will be good for me, and it will, but that too is terrifying.  I want to wind the time back, not to replay what I've done but maybe do it differently.  I want to stop everything, hit pause, and sleep for a year, and figure out what I'm going to do next before I restart the clock.  I want my kids back, I want my kids gone, I want to keep them close, and see them settled elsewhere.  I want to settle down and I want to kick it all up and just take off.  I want adventure and safety, calm and excitement. One day I want nothing more that this and the next I feel I'll die if I don't get away from it all.

Blue, blue, blue, blue.
And so fucking fat you could see me from space.