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.
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.
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.