Monday, November 05, 2012

No, I'm NOT Pregnant. But Thanks For Asking.


Picture this:

It's Halloween night and I'm doing my parental duty of walking around the neighbourhood with the family. I'm feeling fan-freaking-tastic because the post I wrote that was syndicated on BlogHer is up, and the script I'm working on is going well, and I had a stellar workout at the gym earlier in the day, and, most importantly, there's going to be a huge stash of candy this PMS-riddled Maven will be able to tuck into as soon as its guardians are passed out in their respective sugar comas. It was perfect.

Too perfect.

Generally, when things are that good, something not-so-good will crash the party. My life enjoys a certain level of balance, which usually involves my ego taking a little bit of abuse to keep it in line. That's how it works.

I just didn't think it would work quite like this, that's all.

We bumped into a family we hadn't seen in a while - a young family with a couple of kids. The woman immediately came up to say hi, stopped, looked down at my belly, got a huge smile on her face, gasped and asked, "Maven! Oh my gosh! Are you... expecting?"

I had no idea what to say, so I shrugged and replied, "No, I'm just fat. How are things?"

She immediately apologized and we went about our fairly awkward conversation about kids and life and other things one speaks of when you're trying to make polite chatter after one of you mistakenly took the other for being knocked up. And then we parted ways. The end.

Incidentally, this is what I look like pregnant (circa 2006)
Kinda like if I had a baby and 6 months later
he decided he didn't like me from the outside
as much, and so he crawled back in.


Ok, totally not the end. I want to tell you that I was able to shake it off. I really do. I talked a good talk for a couple of hours - to my sister, my mom, my husband. I scoffed, and laughed, and made it out to be not a big deal at all. I even believed myself at first.

I'm the girl who writes ample posts about how much she loves her ample body. I've been to counseling, I've read books, and I've encouraged others in believing they don't have to be thin to love the skin they're in. Type "fat and miserable" into Google and my blog is the first hit. It's a sneaky little bastard of a post, because it isn't about being miserable at all; it's about being happy and kind to your body as it is today, because we don't do things for people we hate, we do them for people we love.

I'm that girl.

Except, I wasn't. Not that night, anyway. Despite PMS and the cravings that generally accompany it, my desire to touch the gleaming bags of candy was nil. And not because I wanted to do good things for my body, but because I was suddenly disgusted by it. I felt uncomfortable and disproportionate. I avoided mirrors. I began berating myself for all the food and activity choices I'd made in the last 36 years; Choices which were, of course, why I looked like I had a fetus growing inside of me when my baby just turned 6. I told myself I was lazy for not going to the gym every single day; that I ate too much; that I was fooling myself every time I took a "nice" picture, or put pretty clothes on such a grotesque body and think I look good.

Hello, Darkness, my old friend.  

My ego didn't just take a bit of abuse. It was dragged out into a field and asked if it would like more blood with that baseball bat.

I haven't felt that way in ages. It was awful. At one point I was even in tears, my poor husband doing his best to talk me down from the hormonally driven ledge I found myself on.

Tears.

Me.

In them.

As if.

It's so uncool that I went there. I woke up pretty angry with myself for it.  The Maven doesn't treat The Maven like that - ever. It's our golden rule. And we'll ignore the fact that I just described myself as two separate people right now. That's a whole other post. And a whole lot of therapy.

By the light of day, I realized the truth: A woman thought my belly looked like it had Maven Junior balled up inside it. And that implies the fat deposits in my stomach are significant enough that it might appear, in very bad outdoor lighting, that I am with child. Okay, that kind of sucks, but it's not the end of the world. I know I carry a lot of weight in my stomach (as well as scar tissue from three major abdominal surgeries) and I know I would like it to shrink for a few reasons. I'm working on making healthier choices in my life, and my ample abdomen is ever so slowly responding to them.

I should have been able to shrug it off, laugh about it, and taser any little tentacles of hate quickly so they retreated back into the lagoon of self-loathing before the entire beast emerged. But I was tired and hormonal, and I guess it just took me off guard. I can't blame the woman for the dramatic woe-is-me-fest that occurred that night. And I shouldn't be angry with myself, either. I'm only human, after all. A pretty fabulous human stuffed full of amazingness (and scar tissue and fat), but human nonetheless.

Anyway, the whole experience was terrible, but it reaffirmed some things for me:

1. I need to remember to be gentle with myself, always.

2. It is my God-given right to devour my children's candy on Halloween night - even if I'm hormonal and crying (especially if I'm hormonal and crying.).

3. We have a really big tentacle creature in our head. We should see somebody about that.

4. Doing things in love and not in hate feels a lot better and is far more productive overall.

5. Even though my ego took a beating, my self-esteem was there to stitch it up and remind it to stay away from baseball bats. Because, if you cultivate self-esteem, it always has your back.

6. Self-esteem is a powerful thing. This morning, when Spawnling and I were mentioned on the Today Show* (4 minutes in - check it out!) I was reminded that I love myself just the way I am, even when I'm not mentioned on big news programs.**


*I'm sorry. I know that clip had nothing to do with the post topic. So tacky. But I had to mention it somehow, you know? When is that ever going to happen again? Also, I figure if someone's going to troll me, they now have the option between my weight and my self-importance. I'm just trying to be helpful.

**But, like, it doesn't hurt.


20 comments:

  1. its important to keep those tasers charged up, and sometimes halloween candy is the charger.
    sorry it was crap. glad you got the chance to make a 'remember' list. i'm 400 weeks pregnant over here, still. so my 'remember' list has been lost. i'm assuming i'll find it again when i am no longer with the behemoth inside...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You hang in there, WME! I've never heard of someone going over 403 weeks pregnant, so it won't be long. Then you can re-draw your remember list-- actually, you might want to do that now. I'm not sure how much time you'll have once the baby comes...

      Delete
  2. As a mom of three, the oldest being 18, 16, and 15...I can so relate! We need to remember to be kind not only to others, but to ourselves as well:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! And I had a little slip in that department, but I'm geting back on track. It's a process, and one that sometimes involves a step back after those two steps forward.

      Incidentally, who walks backwards like that, even for a step? What kind of saying is that, anyway?

      Delete
  3. I am SOOOO glad you wrote this blog entry! I was actually thinking about you having seen your twitter comment about this and was going to email you and suggest you write a blog about it but obviously you're brilliant enough to know that yourself! Thank you for your transparency and your amazing gift of witty reflection. It's easy enough to make that quip back-at-em "No, I'm just fat..." and thrown them into awkward-ville but the hard part is indeed the old tapes in the head that insensitive comment activates, isn't it? That tentacle in the head we thought we had amputated with years of therapy... You're doing a great service in this blog-o-sphere - helping a lot of people. Just remember that. Hey, maybe our personal internal chaos is there to help other, who knows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. Our personal internal chaos is DEFINITELY to help others. I have to tell myself that or it doesn't serve much of a purpose and then I just feel angry a lot ;)

      Delete
  4. You ought to be on the Today show every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My ego says thank you and would you like some Halloween candy. You know, the best thing about simply being mentioned on a morning news program is that I didn't have to get up early to actually DO anything. If that could happen every day with no 5 a.m. makeup department on my part, I'd be totally in. I should see if my non-existent agent could make that happen for me.

      Delete
  5. Laughing and crying, crying and laughing. seriously, you are so freakin' talented. Thank you for the reminder to be kinder to the Candace. See? That so doesn't sound as cool as when you say "The Maven". I need a new cool name. Suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Candace of... ugh. I got nothing. Screenwriting is eating my brain. I'll get back to you.

      Delete
  6. I am a fairly skinny person - but any weight I do gain (because I cannot say no to a donut or a fist full of fries) goes to my tummy. So essentially I am skin and bones with a spare tire. Before I got pregnant last year I always got the "are you knocked up"...which was always replied with a no. I still have a pouch, but luckily no one has asked that lovely question yet.

    ps. I was totally eating a donut while typing this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG I miss donuts. Sorry... what else were you saying?!

      Delete
  7. Another extremely eloquent post. My therapist keeps reminding me to be gentle with myself. Now your post reminded me too. Maybe I should start listening?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I couldn't have read this at a better time (found my way here through the Bloggess). I've been trying to follow the HEAS lifestyle and yet this morning I got up and tried on my pants and they don't fit and since it's been a day of trying not to obsess on it, while trying to 'be healthier' while trying not to beat myself up and remembering to be awesome just being me and well.. thanks. Thanks for writing this.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amen! I'm 33 years old, divorced, and childless. I'm not skinny, but I've never considered myself severly overweight either. In the last few months I've been working out like a mad woman (you know, post-divorce-looking-good-revenge type motivation). Yet, while on vacation, some random lady saw me getting into a hot tub and came over to chastise me for endangering my unborn child. Me "Um, I'm not pregnant", Her "Don't lie to me, I saw your belly", Me "No seriously I just ate that's my food baby, cletus the fetus, he is a figment of your imagination", Her "You are the rudest person I ever met, all you had to say is that you aren't pregnant", Me "I thought that's what I did". *sigh* Freakin' awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That's an awesome lesson and I wish we were all kinder to ourselves. Glad you could find the funny in an unfortunate situation. Found you through the #FF from a retweet. How about that?!

    Teri

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have always thought you were beautiful.

    The other day I was gmailing one of my single guy friends, and I guess he could see your picture because gmail is a little creepy that way. Anyhow, "WHO IS THAT?" was his most immediate response.

    You are awesome, that is all.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes, I did just snort out loud at the caption on your photo. These are the times when I'm thankful that I work alone.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A wise person once told me you should never assume a woman is pregnant unless you can actually see a baby emerging from her vagina - it is a rule I live by!

    ReplyDelete
  14. A wise person once told me never to assume a woman is pregnant unless you can actually see a baby emerging from her vagina - it is a rule that I live by.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead: feed the attention whore (just don't tell the zookeeper).