Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Love to Hate You

Welcome to the 2nd full week of my YMCA membership where I believe I’m blossoming into a very well rounded masochist. I’ve belonged to gyms before and have always enjoyed it, sure I’m not a muscle head or a lithe aerobics master with boundless spring and energy, but I push my sweaty ass around laughing between my dying gasps of life. I can think of a bucket load of things that are so much worse than my gym time, actually after experiencing the ‘prep’ for my colonoscopy 2 weeks ago I have a whole new gauge as to what is really not THAT bad. However there is something about going to this YMCA that creates within me a wonderful cocktail of hatefulness and joy, and isn’t that the core of masochism?
Fun House Mirrors – I know there are mirrors created in this world to lull me into a false reality of my body proportions. There are retail dressing rooms equipped with such magical looking glasses that I’ve not wanted to redress for I felt as though I should be sharing this wondrous nakedness with the entire city - I’m a freakin’ Venus! However at the Y, these sadists have installed the reverse of those wonderful mental rainbow inducing mirrors. For the past 2 weeks of class I’ve been taken by surprised to see this woman in the mirror who is wearing my work out gear but is at least 4 inches shorter and totally round, WTF that is SO not me! I didn’t look like that when I left home. It’s odd though because when I look at the other women in the class then look at their reflections their representations are spot on….hmmmm must be the angle.

Perky Perfection – My instructor has the body of a graceful ballerina combined with a rock hard marathon runner. I am confident that her boundless energy can only be the result of a fist full of coke (please just let me live with that delusion) and if it wasn’t enough that she is perfectly perfect physically she is a professional pastry chef… right of course you are. However the other day there was a sliver of light when during our stretch she blurted out to the class, “Ughhh my skin is so dry, it’s disgusting”. For at that exact moment while trying to reach the tips of my fingers to my shins I thought, “You know what, my skin feels rather fantastic – I RULE YOU INSTRUCTOR!”

Random Gawkers – OK I get that this is the Y and because I’m saving cash I have to deal with crap that wouldn’t happen at a real gym that cost some bucks. Well I mean I am TRYING to get that this is the Y and unlike the gym where adults are there for one thing and one thing only – working it – at the Y I’m sharing the space with a multitude of users. Hi piano class! Howdy Chinese learners! Check it out, 7 year olds learning to play the recorder! Now if you all could just stay put in your classrooms and NOT loiter in the doorway of the studio gawking at my red faced sweaty mess we all could get along. Or YOU GUYS I can see your reflection in the mirror, stop leering through the window at the back of the studio and keep running the track! The other night a guy actually had the balls to stand at the front of the class checking us out (?) and after a few seconds the instructor said, “Are you here for class” he calmly looked at her and answered “Oh no, I’m not here for class” and remained leaning against the mirrored wall, well until the instructor pointedly told him to leave.

So that’s just a few of my observations from the past fortnight but oddly enough none of those bitterly annoying things appear to inhibit my level of enjoyment. I get a kick out of attending class and I feel better for it even if the process does tend to piss me off.

mas·och·ism gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one's own actions or the actions of others.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Life In The Fatosphere

If you are totally confused as to why I’m on this route – go back and read my last entry - now continue.

I’m fat, I’ve always been fat, it’s not what I am it is who I am. I’m assuming a good comparison would be people who are gay or blind, it becomes who you are, not what you are.

There hasn’t been a time in my life that I wasn’t fat. I remember several year ago Lu looking at baby photo of me in full happy Buddha glory and proclaiming, “Like your Mom was surprised that you would never be a size 6 ?” (btw – this was not a jab at me) Oh Mom…. I knew she meant well but she didn’t know what to do with a fat daughter. She herself was the daughter of a woman who triumphed in the fact that she never weighed over 98 pounds, even pregnant. Yes this was my Tab addicted chain-smoking tight-assed grandmother who grabbed my 7 year old thigh as I sat shivering in an over air conditioned car and hissed, “How could YOU ever be cold, look at this.” – then gave my squishy leg a squeeze.

Being fat my entire life has formed me into the person I am. At age 40 I could not imagine my life as anything (anyone) different. And would I want to? I don’t know. Sure if I magically dropped 70lbs I assume my life would be easier, but would I still be me?

This influx of self reflection is the direct result of my recent diagnosis, it’s so conflicting to know that even though I am NOW contented with who I am (the majority of the time), was it all an unfair joke of the universe to grow up in this body? I don’t think anybody who has ever been thin would understand this feeling. To them a body is something to be conquered, or changed, or controlled. Mine is not. Mine is like an annoying tagalong that finally became accepted into the tribe out of mere exhaustion.

Last night at the gym while I was losing a lung and ¾ of my fluids I wondered what does it feel like for the people who were once skinny and now fat? I think there is a difference between people who have always been fat and those who once lived the life of a skinny person and now have chunked up. Do they harbor self hatred for what time and age has done to them? Do they long for something that used to be? Is it like how I feel about the bags under my eyes and my bitchy gray hairs, it’s annoying, it’s not “me”, but we age and things change? Maybe they used to be school athletes and now they wish for the past, maybe that’s why they are fighting so hard, to get BACK something. I never had that something, my past body and my present body are one and the same, this is all I know. This is me, it neither makes me happy nor sad, it just is. Over the past 30 years I’ve tried to morph my body, but I’ve never experienced any outcome from my labors, oddly though I’m at ease with this non-result based physicality, or maybe I’m just living a delusional existence in my self created reality.

Now with my thyroid diagnosis and medication I wonder how or even if my body will change. I’ve googled extensively and it seems that the only thing that MAY happen is that I go hyper anxiety wacky (great) or bloat out my belly (hot). **Side note - Yet again my Masters in Childhood Education does NOTHING to help in my non professional internet medical research – one day I will find a use for that 40K piece of paper.** One would think that by shooting up my body with the thyroid hormones it’s been lacking for 30+ years I would somehow jump start the whole system, but strangely (from what I think I understand) your body finds a “home base” and even with the hormones my body will fight the change tooth and nail. Long story short - I’m a store house, not a burner AKA I’m built for comfort, not for speed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Turn in Another Direction

I know I’ve been absent from blogging, but you haven’t missed out on much. I turned 40, took a trip to Jamaica, the holidays, winter… blah blah blah. But now I’m back to blog about a new journey I’m undertaking. It’s personal (maybe too personal for the blog) and unlike my past bogging submissions may lack in humor (good lord I hope not). It’s gonna be all about me, my body, and my feelings towards it.

In the past I’ve sprinkled in some funny antidotes (see Too Luscious for the Hampton Jitney) about being a fat woman but now after receiving a medical diagnosis that may or may not affect who I think I am I feel that I need to journal the process.

Immediately after turning 40 I was diagnosed with, Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune genetic disorder where your immune system thinks that your thyroid is an alien intruder and must be expelled from your body. The thyroid get’s really pissed off by this false accusation but it’s more of a fleer than a fighter so all it does to combat the attack is swell and shut down (see goiter).

Chances are that I’ve lived the first 39 years of my life with this disorder yet no doctor ever took a moment to diagnose me. As far back as I can remember whenever I submitted my body for a physical examination my various doctors would feel my neck, then pause and say with a grimace, “You have big glands”. I never knew how to react to this odd accusation except to say, “I hear that often”. The cycle of medical call and response was finally broken this past fall when at my new gyno she felt my neck, paused, tilted her head then before she could admonish me for my protuberances I proclaimed with a sigh and an eye roll, “I know I have big glands”. Shockingly she shook her head no and with a firm seriousness said, “Make an appointment with your GP, this isn’t your glands it’s your thyroid”.

At my NEWER GP’s office (side note - really why did I resist going to doctors on the Upper East Side for so long, it’s like a country club up here compared to the livestock convention in Queens), she took a feel and said firmly, “No that’s your glands, you just have big glands.” Ok….back to the drawing board. But miracles of miracles 20 min later upon completion of the physical exam my GP recanted her initial dismissal and suggested that I schedule an ultra sound of my thyroid because “Gynecologists are really good at sensing these types of things”.

Two ultra sounds and a few blood tests later my diagnosis was strongly confirmed, Hashimoto's disorder. There is no cure for the disorder; however I can treat the symptoms of my pathetically challenged thyroid with synthetic hormones for the remainder of my life, which I am.

So there it is, the first chapter of many to come. Yet again sorry that this will not be as entertaining as my “Temp Receptionist Stories” or my “On Line Dating Disasters” but sometimes I’m a little bit mushy and introspective and this is just one of those moments.