Recently, a good friend of mine suggested that I put a picture of myself on my blog. She thought–since I’ve been gaining critical and widespread acclaim over the last few months– that people beyond my immediate social circle might be reading the blog. The concern was that because they’d never met me, they may think I was a five-foot tall, 450 lb, single girl who sat around eating bon bons and writing self deprecating blither about my life. And, if that were true, it quickly went from funny to really, really sad.
While I understood her point, I also had some concerns of my own. My vague anonymity meant that, at the very least, people who knew me in high school could still imagine the five-foot-nine-inch, 130 lb girl I used to be. They could relish the delicious humor I evoked by pretending I was one of the masses– a desk humping nobody who gained weight after college and accidentally started wearing sneakers over tights to walk to work. A photo, however, meant that I was going to have to face the music. I don’t technically hump my desk, and I’m somebody to someone, but honesty would have me disclose that I don’t relish the naked mirror dance the way I once did.
But, as you can see, I did put up a picture. Yes, it’s sepia toned, yes it’s cropped so that all you can see is my swanlike neck and pixie hair, but that’s sort of close to what I look like. Which is definitely more than the my-facebook-profile-picture-was-taken-my-freshman-year-in-college-and-I’m-unwilling-
crowd is giving you. I may not be sepia toned in real life, but then again, you’re not really as thin as your photo might suggest…
About six months ago, though, I did take some time to think about how I got to this place in my life. It couldn’t be the lack of exercise, or the inability to diet or deprive myself; it had to be something else. It had to be deeply psychological. I’m not a normal girl, so my weight gain had to be about something extraordinary. Not chicken and bacon pizza with onions, or boozing til all hours of the night. I was fat, and I couldn’t put my (chicken) finger on why. I decided to look over the twisted dieting history that was mine and find out why I couldn’t be thin.
Unfortunately, and on a more serious note, the history was littered with indiscretions. A little something sweet here, a Taco Cabana there… but it seemed that youth athletics had something to do with my overall fitness. I was a machine, but I was also being prodded along a wasteland of a track by a little Mexican man who, at 35, still had aspirations of being on the Olympic track team. I probably burned a lot of calories stressing over how to tell him that he was delusional and the closest he would come to the Olympics was being burned by a heroine lighter. Pass it on, hombre.
Fortunately, there was a pattern. (Is, if you want me to be honest…) As I sat in front of a bowl of guacamole last night, forgoing on polite, social conversation in order to keep tabs on the guac– concerned that I would never, ever again, ever, see guacamole, or feel its texture, or taste its delight and therefore needed to eat as much as I could as quickly as I could– I realized that I have no self control. I’m not just an addictive personality, I’m a whirling spiral. One bite, one sip, one look, one touch and there I am in a manic puddle on the floor, guac smeared across my wanting lips, thinking longingly about overspending, and wishing for another margarita–before I’ve taken the first sip of the one in front of me. Suddenly frantic for cheese, for sour cream, for stimulation and conversation. OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP.
And then I’m running across the Common sphincter contracted, hoping I make it home before my guaca-holy fuckin’-mole makes a reappearance.
Have I always been like this?
Yes, sweetie cakes, I’m afraid you have been.
In the Spring of 2002, my father came home from work with a Chocolate Ice Box pie. Apparently, the ladies at the local church were selling them to buy yarn to make blankets for blind, shivery kids in Ethiopia (or something) and my dad was simply doing his part for God by buying one. My experience with pie is limited, because I dont eat warm fruit, but Luby’s had taught me that ice box pie wasn’t pie at all. It was manna from old ladies. A deliciousness rarely found on this cruel planet.
The pie arrived before dinner time, and I figured, after all the sprinting della Mexico I’d done that day, it was probably good for my glucose levels to have a slice. I couldn’t have known I’d eat half the pie.
When my dad returned from changing his clothes, he gave me a look that reminded me that while I was the apple of his eye, it was only relative to his feelings about my brothers, and doing something like eating half a pie made him love me less, and the relatively was then moot. I saw it there in his eyes, and therefore didn’t argue when he told me he was going to throw the pie away– in the outside trash– the BFI one that the city collects by hoisting it overhead and shaking it violently.
We didn’t talk about the pie over dinner. I knew that in some small way what he did was about love and life lessons. The pie was coming between us. Watching me frantically scarf pie, he saw a girl that was helpless and pie driven. He knew I wasn’t that girl, and he was helping me realize it too. I was grateful.
Later that night, I received an invite from a friend to go to a movie. Movies are perfect because if you can just bypass the candy counter, you are eats-free for at least 2.5 hours. GOLDEN. I would sit myself down and watch a film. I would digest the pie and start fresh the next day.
As I walked to my car, I noticed the trash barrel out of the corner of my eye. I was horrified by my own thoughts, convinced immediately that I needed an exorcism.
Pie. Pie. Pie. Pie. Pie.
No pie, cowgirl. No pie.
But there I was, waist deep in a trash bin in my dark garage, scooping chocolate mousse with my fingers and making noises–ignoring the deep digging in my waist. (The thin plastic side was digging into hip as I leaned further in to the barrel.)
Pie! Pie! Pie! Pie! Pie!
As the chocolate and whip topping made its way in and around my mouth, I thought that there was nothing wrong with a little pie. I wasn’t eating emotionally, I was eating because it was fucking delicious.
And then my dad opened the garage door.
For a moment, I stayed in the trash barrel. Like a three year old, convinced that if I could not see him, he could not see me, I stayed. And then I slowly lifted my cream-pie-faced self out of the can to face my father.
“You disgust me.”
” I know!” I wanted to shout. “I disgust myself! But it’s so delicious! And you put it RIGHT HERE, right where you KNEW I was going to walk to get to my car. YOU SET ME UP FOR THIS!”
But instead I simply turned around, walked to my car, and waited until I was around the block to lick the rest off my fingers.
We never talked about the trash pie.