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To be continued

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As promised, I am bringing this blog to a close.

If you’re so inclined, feel free to pop over to my new blog. I’ll do my best to keep it entertaining, slightly tacky, and full of inappropriately funny photos.

Thanks for 7 great years. See you on the other side!

——> new blog:



Hi & Bye

‘Ello. I’m sure a few of you thought perhaps I died or was mauled by a rabid marmoset or something, since it’s been eons since I posted anything. Well, never fear: I’m back! Though only long enough to give you an update on where I am now and to say that this will be my last second-to-last post on this blog. My penultimate post, if you will.

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Yup. Since starting this blog almost 7 years ago, I’ve shared (entirely too much, some might argue) about my adventures in dating & singlehood, mostly. I kvetched (let’s be honest: bitched mercilessly) about relationships and bemoaned life in general. In fact, reading old blogs is positively horrifying for me. Sure, parts are funny, but to me, I see a lot of misery. I chalk most of that up to my unrestrained alcoholism and less about who I was (or wasn’t) dating that month.


So where am I today? Well, first, I’m over two years’ sober, which feels fucking fantastic. I could launch into an epically-long description of how shitty it was to be a drunk but hey — many of you read about it in real time, so I think you get my drift. Of course, I still have days where I imagine how nice it’d be to be able to have a fat-ass margarita and let the day slip off my shoulders, but it was never “a” margarita for me. As the saying goes, one is too many and a thousand’s never enough. I never could just have one, and after one, there was no telling how I’d end up.

The day I got sober, I was also hugely fat. Like, “Damn bitch, you about to drop dead any minute now” fat. Last year, I had gastric bypass and today, I weigh 126 lbs less than I did on January 14, 2013. Which is awesome. Just crazy, nutty, awesome. Being able to shop in most normal stores (buying a L/XL BUT STILL) will just never get old. I shopped exclusively at Lady Giant (Lane Bryant) for waaaayy too many years, and while I applaud them for offering relatively (sometimes too) trendy clothes for plus sized women, I no longer need to shop there.


Pretty sure that dress was sold at Lane Bryant, because I am also pretty sure I almost bought it. Cute girl, though.

Of course, sometimes in my head, that 126 lbs is still on my body, and I am just as big and awkward and lumbering. And on the days I do feel leaps & bounds better about my body, I occasionally am brought back down to earth by the flab left behind. Yes, the sagging skin. A swift kick in the tits to the women who don’t experience this. Seriously, just fuck you. For me, a lifetime fatty, my skin elasticity up and quit this bitch a long time ago. I have pulled way too many diet/gain-back numbers on my body, and although I have good, pretty-elastic Slavic skin, certain spots just ain’t havin’ it. Like my arms, which are the banes of my existence. I bought a dress online that TOTALLY FUCKING FITS…except in the arms. That’s what it’s come to now. I tried cramming them in the sleeves, but, like overstuffed, petulant sausages, they refused to go nicely.

01 Giant Sausage Wrapping The Brompton

They are just awful. Let me put it this way: if Alex is sleeping here, and I have on a cute little chemise-style nightie? I’m wearing a cardigan over it. To bed. They’re that bad. And this is to say nothing of my tits, which are still laughably big, and only decent looking if squeezed into the most expensive, supportive bra ever. (What up Wacoal.) And my stomach — sweet Jesus! There’s nothing that will snap your ass back into reality like trying to have a sexy moment and hearing your extra skin slap against your body. Since I am still a ways from having any kind of skin removal surgery, I will just have to pour myself into Spanx (truly a God-send for people like me) and keep lifting all that shit at the gym that my freakishly chipper trainer tells me to.


So there’s that. Oh, and I’m getting married. In two months. To Alex, my Viking.

Yeah, I still can’t believe it. Here was this guy, who I briefly blogged about years ago (2011, I believe), who asked me out and then tweaked and didn’t talk to me for 3 years, asked me out again, made a few missteps, but fell for me anyway, all before I had my bypass surgery. There’s a picture my mother took of him the day of my surgery. He’s dressed up in jeans & a sports coat, looking fly as hell, sitting next to me in my hospital gown, holding my hand about 45 minutes before they gave me an IV of the good shit and I went into surgery. My younger, blond-hair-blue-eyed, cat-loving, Scandinavian Marine. He *loves* me. A lot. And we have a shit-ton in common. We actually like each other too, which is important. And he will clean my cats’ eye boogers — albeit while cringing, but still. So in November, he got down on one knee, on a cold, rainy night on a big beautiful bridge, and asked me to marry him. And the word, “Yes,” couldn’t come out of my mouth fast enough.


So that’s it. We’re not having a big wedding; in fact, it’s family only, much to the chagrin of some of my friends. It’s just that I can’t with all the hoopla. I can’t with having a total thrombo over cake icing or napkins or my bouquet. To me, that is for younger brides, the ones who really care about the wedding. They want a big party for all their friends. They want to outdo their friends’ weddings. They want to be a princess. They want it to be THEIR day, goddammit. And I just was not about to sign on for any of that shit. I would rather have a bear fart in my face than develop stress acne over what shade of beige my 19 bridesmaids are going to wear. I DON’T CARE.


I am, however, intensely invested in what my marriage is going to be like. That’s what I care about. I am 38 fucking years old. I have a Kitchen Aid mixer, nice sheets and a new duvet from Pottery Barn. Are there some things I’d like? Yes, and my registry is RIDIC. But if we didn’t get a thing on it, I’d be fine. All I want to do is marry that wonderful man and wake up next to him every single day for the rest of my life. There is no one whose nerves I’d rather get on, whose farts will endearingly gross me out, whose boxers I will fold, whose dreams I will do my best to support. I never thought, in a FRAJILLION FUCKING YEARS, that I would get to marry this guy.


In fact, I had a dream during that 3 year span of him first asking me out and us finally trying it again. I remember it distinctly: he and I lived in a small village, and while in my cottage one day, I looked out into the town square and saw him standing there, a rather unremarkable, mousy girl by his side. He was announcing to the town elders (what in the fuck kind of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale shit was this, exactly?) that he intended to marry this girl. And all I could do was watch from my hut or whatever. I remember thinking (in my dream), “NOOOOOOOOOO. NO. No! I haven’t had my chance with him yet!”

I had a feeling about him. I did, truly, even in my booze-addled state. Granted, I probably had feelings about a lot of things that didn’t turn out worth a damn, but he was different. About 8 months prior to us finally getting together this time, I remarked to a mutual friend of ours, “I am going to go out with Alex one day, dammit. I want to shed some chunk first, but it’s going to happen, even if I have to be the one doing the asking.” (And it did happen. And I hadn’t shed the chunk when it did. Holla, big girls!)


But I didn’t have to do the asking. Not for a date, and not to get married. That was all him. He is the cutest damn thing I have ever seen and there’s not a soul I’d rather spend my time with. He can be maddening, and stubborn, but he is also so lovable. He and I needed each other. And we had to slog through some shit, hurt, and disappointment before we met each other so we could get to each other at just the right time.

Yup. That's my ring.

Yup. That’s my ring.

So. The next blog I post here will be a link to my new blog, which I haven’t decided upon yet. I need to think about a new direction, and what my foundation will be. Because this blog, as it stands and what it stands for, isn’t really who I am anymore. It is a tale of my journey, for sure. And I regret nothing. One misstep, one smarter decision, one disaster averted, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. And today, I am as happy as fuck. Who knew.

My Foray Into Gym Membership (Or “Why I Just Can’t With Locker Room Nudity”)

Even before I had my bypass surgery, I was well aware that at some point, I couldn’t just rely on weight loss to look good. That, at some point, weight loss would lead to a skinny-fat, flabby shell…and that’s almost as bad as being just plain old fat.


So I knew that working out was going to be in my future. I accepted it as part of my process. And for the first three months, I just healed. Not much in the way of physical activity. But once I had my 3-month follow up with my surgeon, and he gave me the green light, I knew it was time to roll ahead with the working out thing. 

I don't want to do things

Unsurprisingly, I have never cared for working out. Not sure why — perhaps it’s that I have no  (and never have had any) natural aptitude for sports or athletic prowess of any kind. I “sport” about as well as I sing. [Imagine Roseanne singing the national anthem. Then imagine her being athletic. There you go.]


And also not surprisingly, legions of people have tried to change that about me over the years. I have been bribed, coaxed, threatened, peer pressured, shamed or coerced into some kind of fitness routine, from the time I was a kid onward. And save but one of those times (my tennis streak of 2003-2005), I hated it all with a hot passion. Nothing quite put the fear in me like the possibility of having to go do something active. I simply hated it: hated being outside, hated sweating, hated the heat and hated the exertion.

outdoors fucking yay

While many friends of mine naturally excelled at running or softball or later, yoga, I never took to it. I came out of the womb preferring to read inside all day on the sofa. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at my ass. 


But now it seems time. I’ve had success since my surgery (80 lbs down from my heaviest weight, 50 lbs down from when I started the surgery process) and I like the results. I’ve been able to bag up a bunch of old clothes that are too big, once and for all. My bra size has changed. My Spanx size has changed. People tell me I look happy, younger, glow-y, etc. And while the desire to look better (and eventually good) in my clothes is important, what I am now afraid of is looking good in my clothes….and like one of these freak pumpkins when I’m naked:


And let’s face it: time isn’t on my side here. I didn’t have this surgery at 20, where shit bounces back in place relatively well. I had it at 37, after abusing my body for decades with yo-yo diets and massive weight gain/loss. There is some serious toning to be done, and probably plastic surgery after that. Because why lose all this weight only to then be…flabby? 


So, rather than rely totally on plastic surgery (“There is only so much we can fucking do, lady.” — plastic surgeons) I knew that toning my ass at the gym was paramount. Not only that, I am tired of being tired and listless and low energy. If the Viking and I have children in the future (and that’s the  plan), I want to be able to keep up with the little shit. I will require a reservoir of energy, and I’m assuming that comes with being in better shape than I am now. Because now? I am in no shape. 


I know this because I recently joined a fitness center, and starting at the beginning of this week, I began trying to workout in earnest. This particular center is an anomaly — more like a country club than a gym (with the fees to prove it), and with an older average membership age, which is fine by me. It suits my personality and speed. 


So this past Monday, I strode in, full of piss and vinegar and determination, with my shitty black New Balances, too-big shorts and a bleach stained t-shirt. I spent an hour and twenty three minutes on the treadmill on Monday, burning 350 calories and getting 3 miles under my belt. I increased the incline rather than the speed, and worked up a good sweat. 

treadmill chair

On Tuesday, I felt like what pre-Miyagi Daniel must have felt like after the Cobra Kais kicked the bleeding shit out of him on the beach.


My sciatic was pinched, so my back & ass were hot with pain. Whatever tissue connects my thighs to my hips was on fire. I took a heating pad to work and didn’t care who saw. Perhaps my overly-enthusiastic goal of pounding out 10 miles a week was a bit of an overshot. Tuesday I didn’t fare too much better, as I was able to only walk 2.5 miles before the pain from the day before ate my ass. I was literally limping on the treadmill that day. Wednesday, I managed 1 mile on the treadmill until my feet went numb. Not content with just 1 mile under my belt, I hobbled over to the stationary bikes and put 4.5 miles on the kind with a chair on it.


She’s probably going faster than I was.

Then moved over to the bike with an actual seat, and got 1.5 miles before my ass literally turned numb and I managed to dismount. Sitting on that bike seat — clearly not meant for asses like mine — was about as fucking comfortable as sitting on a goddamned wooden fence post. It made me wonder what poor bastards like Lance Armstrong did if they ever had hemorrhoids. 

What I felt like afterward.

What I felt like afterward.

Part of my membership includes a lesson with a personal trainer. And that’s a big part of the reason I knew I needed a gym membership, not just access to a gym, which I have (albeit shitty access to a shitty gym) via my apartment. I need to be held accountable. I need someone to show me what to do, like they would if I were a total idiot. I think I need to physically jiggle my arm fat at him to make sure he understands just what we’re up against, here. I NEED BOB HARPER.


Because this center is in an older, more affluent part of town, a good portion of the clientele is, well, senior. Again, this is fine with me — there aren’t mirrors everywhere with ripped roid rats looking to see and be seen and grunt at each other. Is it sobering to be slogging away on the treadmill when a Pepaw more than twice your age is on the machine next to you, lapping your fat ass into oblivion? Yes, yes it is. 


But all of that is okay. It comes with the territory. There are over 100 classes a week for me to choose from, all included. When I lose about 25 more pounds, and build up some kind of fucking stamina, I intend to take a few of those classes. Maybe, even to my absolute chagrin, a Zumba class or two. My rhythm is laughably bad but I’ve heard too many people gush about how fun it is. Whatever — anything that’s not me trying to watch an episode of Property Brothers while I sweat my ass off is worth considering. 


Probably the weirdest part of this whole “gym” thing for me was the women’s locker room. It’s big, sleek, beautiful and full of lovely amenities. But I am, for all intents and purposes, an only child who grew up with incredibly modest parents. And because I was body conscious from a very young age, I have always been extremely uncomfortable with any public level of undress. So imagine my horror when I turned the corner and unwittingly came upon a woman, butt-ass nekkid,  drying off her giant bush with a towel. My eyes could not avert themselves fast enough. 


During my tour of the place, which included the locker room, the gym docent showed me the whirlpool and sauna areas. I looked at her dubiously.

“What do you go in the sauna with?” I asked her.

“Oh,” she said, laughing, having sensed my wariness. “Your bathing suit. Or some ladies wear nothing. Just, you know, whatever.” 

There is not an ice cube’s chance in hell that I would ever voluntarily wander in a sauna full of half-to-fully naked people and have a seat. Ain’t. No. Way. How in the fuck do you NOT look? What if they speak to you? WHAT IF YOU ACCIDENTALLY STARE? I know men manage their way around this dilemma in urinals every day, but I am not a man and I do not want to have to see strange naked people. 

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As the staff member showed me around the locker room, we happened upon a lady changing. She had her back to us, THANK THE GOD, but her bra was off, and I was afraid there was more coming, and soon.

The staff girl said to me, “Oh, hey! Yeah, well, the ladies do undress in here.”

I waved my hand. “Pffft. We’re all women, right?” I feigned. Internally, though, I was petrified. 

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I was petrified because I do not understand women who do not have deep-rooted and crippling, debilitating body image issues. They are like unicorns to me. I am fascinated with their kind, but I don’t understand how they work or process things. It leaves me thinking — and probably rightfully so — that I’m the freak, not them. 


Thankfully, my gym docent pointed out a small, private dressing room in the corner. “You can always use this room, if you’d like more privacy when you change,” she said, surely having sensed that I was indeed THAT PERSON. And I did use that room — and have — each day I’ve been there. I was only accosted in there once, and that was by a fellow fatty who was, no doubt, eaten up with the same issues I have and seeking the solace of privacy. But since the room was occupied by yours truly, I don’t know what she did about changing. She was even larger and more awkward than I was; had I driven her away? Did she go into one of the bathroom stalls? (I will, if that happens to me. Did it in 7th grade, will do it again.) I AM MODEST, DAMMIT. 


I am full of scars, cellulite, and blobs of misappropriated skin. I do not wear matching bra & underwear, I don’t shave as often as I should, and my ass has the texture of a walnut. Maybe one of these days I’ll get a bod worth flaunting, but until then, I’ll be changing behind closed doors, thankyouverymuch. 


I am one of those semi-freaks you hear about who’s infinitely more afraid of success than failure. For me, failure has always been comfortable, mainly because it was familiar. There’s a reliability in failing: you don’t get what you want (which you knew all along you weren’t deserving of anyway) and you disappoint the people closest to you. It’s an all-around good time, failing. There’s something comforting about it – and hey, it’s universal. It’s something we all do at one time or another. (Except for Jesus.) I always thought of myself as a failure, and the cool thing about it was, I was probably better at it than you were. BOOM – I win at failing.


But when my ass got sober, it was probably the first time in my life that it truly occurred to me that I could do something right. That I had some sort of say-so in whether or not things turned out my way. It’s an extremely simple theory — that you can take charge of your destiny — but nevertheless, one that seems incredibly hard to grasp. So when I got sober (and I’ve managed to not fuck that up for seventeen months & six days) it occurred to me that maybe there was some other shit I could do successfully. That maybe my tendency to always fail wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Maybe.


I haven’t known what to do with success though.  For all of my desire to achieve it, I haven’t the foggiest goddamned notion of what to do once I get there. I am uncomfortable with succeeding. I am the JD Salinger of the general public: if I do something noteworthy and astonishing, and receive accolades, I almost immediately contract paralysis-by-analysis and crawl back into the hole I came from, not to be heard from again, because I don’t know what to do with myself.

For one thing, I detest praise. Well, let me clarify: I love attention…I just don’t know what to do when someone starts heaping praise on me. I automatically think they’re shitting me, number one. (After all, I’ve been known to blow smoke up people’s asses on occasion, so what’s to say I’m not on the receiving end of that myself?) Number two, I feel unworthy of it, like it’s being wasted on me. And number three, it instantly goes to my head. I used to beg a tennis instructor of mine not to use positive reinforcement with me.

“What do you want me to say, then?” he asked.

“Nothing,” I said. “You say nothing.”


Because almost as soon as he uttered a, “Wow, that was a beautiful backhand!” I’d get giddy, lose my focus and boof the next shot. Praise was a bad omen.

Maybe it stems from not coming from one of those gooey, “we know you did your best, sweetie and we love you so much anyway” types of households.


If I messed up, I absolutely was going to hear about it. Criticism was meant to *do* something — wear you down, humiliate you, put you in your place, bring you down to size, trip your inner resolve, whatever. Soft-spoken praise was somewhat rare and seen mostly as superfluous. You made good grades? Goddamn right you did; that’s what you were supposed to do anyway. What, do you want a cookie? Actually, scratch that, you don’t need a cookie — it’ll make you fat.

Best advice from Dr. Phil youre fat dont sugar coat it cause youll eat that too

And after 18 years of that, I of course decided to enter the creative writing realm of higher education, thereby subjecting myself to seven consecutive years of workshops, where if someone was feeling a bit asshole-ish that day, you and your precious darling of a story could get eaten and shit out sideways.

Someone's reaction every day in grad school.

Someone’s reaction every day in grad school.

You learned to toughen the fuck up or pretend like you had.

Conversely, for as much as I don’t deal well with praise, I haven’t exactly developed a thick skin after all this time, either. I am one of those infuriatingly empathic, sensitive types, and I take everything personally. (Because hey, everything is about me. Because hey, alcoholic.) Maybe because they’re kissing cousins, but being rejected feels as normal to me as failing at some endeavor. I sometimes don’t know how to let people love me. And if they tell me they do love me, and even show me, I am still in a constant state of suspension, where I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Yes, it’s as exhausting as you think it is.) Alex, who is so sweet and so attentive and so demonstrative with his feelings for me, has gotten a taste of this trait of mine. Yet somehow, maybe because of who he is or what he’s dealt with in his life, I think he understands this side of me. Instead of chiding me for it, he just sticks around and keeps loving me.


I guess the good news is, I’m aware that it’s there, this hypersensitivity, this expectation of future rejection. And even better news, I am trying to remedy it. (Reading a super book called Unworthy by Anneli Rufus, which bears the tagline: What would you do today if you didn’t despise yourself? Go get this. Read it. Grow. Heal.) It’s become clear to me that my self-esteem is for shit. When and how that started seems less important than reversing it as best I can. Like all personal and spiritual challenges, the remedy will not be simple or easy. But a remedy does exist, and I’ve chosen to (try to) take it.

I mention all of this shit because of my weight loss. Since I’ve been sober, I’ve lost 65 lbs, 25 of which has come after my surgery in April. People at work are noticing. (I have noticed only in that my clothes fit better. I still look at myself in the mirror and sigh.) The thing is, though, that I’m forever comparing myself to someone else’s progress. I have a friend who lost 50 lbs in her first three months after surgery; I will be hard-pressed to be down 35 in that same time frame.

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Friends are telling me what I already know but need to hear anyway: stop comparing yourself to what everyone else is doing. You’ve lost 65 fucking pounds, and you’re going to continue losing. You are doing what you need to do to feel better, get around better, have more energy, sleep better, look better, work better and live better. Your weight loss, they tell me, is a success.

Eeesh. There’s that word again.

Because yes, I have a fear about weight loss, which is a sought-after success of mine. My fear about it is deep, and not spoken of much, but it goes something like this: what if I lose weight and it’s not enough? What if people still don’t want me around them? What if I’m still not desirable or good enough? Because then it’s never been about what I look like, like I thought it was; it’s who I am that is, in and of itself, undesirable. *I* am undesirable. Me, at my core. Who I am…is unwanted. That’s a bitch of a message to receive. Talk about taking a toll.


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The adult in me understands that I am not, nor will I ever be, for everyone. No matter what you do, there’s some (to utilize a common colloquialism of the younger crowd) hater out there who won’t like you regardless. The guys who think Kate Upton is fat. Or that Mark Zuckerberg is a dumb dipshit. Or that Malala Yousafzai really should pluck her brows. You can’t worry about your detractors, because you’re going to have them. It’s a fact. There will forever be at least one person out there who would get in line to tell the world what a seething shitbag you are, whether they even know you or not. Because this phenomenon seems hellish to some (*raises hand*), there are those (*hand again*) who then spend an inordinate amount of time in overdrive mode to prevent this very fact of life. And that, my friends, is an absolute exercise in futility if one ever existed.


An oldie but a goodie.

I have always secretly admired the women who did what they wanted, how they wanted, and if someone didn’t like it, they’d hurl a big fat, “Fuck you, then!” and go about their business as usual. Haters? Poof, begone.

To me, it’s always been more inspiring to see a woman do this than a man, since — let’s face it — women tend to get shit from all directions: each other, males and society in general. Anyway, while walking my neighbor’s dog the other night, a gust of wind came by and blew up the corner of my new summery dress. I caught a reflection of my chubby knee in a glass window and winced. Immediately, my mother’s voice came into my head: That dress is a little short, JP. I don’t think I’d wear that again. Or maybe her go-to favorite: Too clingy. But just as quickly as that voice piped up, I heard another. I’m not sure whose it was, but it said, “Fuck it. It’s summer, it’s hot, and I’ll wear what I want. I’ve lost 25 pounds and I look cute as hell.”


That, in a nutshell, has been my battle: to quiet that shitty inner-voice that is actually heavily influenced by the voices of others. (It’s not even my voice. I’m not even sure what that would sound like, actually.) To feel deserving of success, love, praise, affection, admiration and compliments. To acknowledge my accomplishments for what they are. To be proud of my progress. To not feel like one kind word will over-inflate my ego and cause some sort of mass casualty. Honestly, you couldn’t over-inflate my ego if you had a fucking air pump the size of the Chrysler Building.

I don’t want to get stuck because of success (Oh, I’ve arrived! Now I’m done!) but I am tired of being railroaded by doubt and failure, too. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, I will have to work on a happy medium. I know one exists. I know it’s possible for me to start undoing 30 years of horseshit — possible but not easy.

Awwww. Look at your little Arrogant Ass blogger, folks. She’s growing up so fast.

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*Puts cake and vodka on a boat, lights it on fire, pushes it out to sea, cackles maniacally

Posted on

Look, I’ll tell you my main reason for having this gastric bypass procedure: put simply, I was afraid I would taco-and-donut myself right into a motorized scooter. That I would be puttering around the Wal-Marts, putting as many boxes of ho-hos and bricks of Velveeta into that tiny little basket and probably (unwittingly) mowing down an innocent toddler in the process. And that just wasn’t cool with me.


It’s not like I have something incredibly wise or inspirational to say here. And in my darkest, chubby moments, that’s what I wanted: I wanted someone to say something completely profound, that would resonate with me and finally be the ah-ha moment I needed to climb out from under this shit. I had a lot of false starts. Those moments where you tell yourself, “This is my rock bottom. Now things are going to change.” Problem is, I had dozens and dozens of those moments, and none of them stuck.

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If my alcoholism has taught me anything, it’s this: until you are really, really ready, you aren’t going to do jack shit. No coercion, no nagging, no ultimatum, no threats, no shaming, no half-hearted efforts will do a damned thing for you. You have to say to yourself, “To hell with everyone around me. I don’t care what they do or don’t think. This, by God, is for ME. This is so I can have a life.” You’re not doing it to get society off your back, or love interests, or family members or employers. Facing and managing an addiction is the most selfish thing you can do, because you have to rewire your life in order to do it. It’s not convenient, easy, fun, or cheap. But for me it was necessary. I knew after I was sober for a while that I had a next step to take, and it was to do something about my weight.


As most of you know, my weight has always been the albatross around my neck. My weight, my eating, my obsession with eating or not eating or throwing up what I ate — were the topics of bajillions of conversations I never asked for but was roped into anyway. That’s the thing about being overweight: everyone sees that shit. I could walk into the post office and be a raging alcoholic and no one would know. Walk in a fatty? Everyone knows. You cannot hide. What’s worse is that people feel perfectly fine about starting up conversations with you about your weight, since it’s just right out there for the taking, and other fat people want to wink-wink, nudge-nudge you because hey, you’re both fat, so your stories must be the same. My weight garnered me a lot of unwanted attention. I just wanted to stand on a rooftop and holler, “Quit fucking talking to me about it! Did you ever think I didn’t want to be THAT person you engage about all your eating difficulties and body image issues?”


A friend of mine who had gastric bypass (GB) is very open on social media about her journey, and I admire her for it. She looks amazing and has worked her ass off. But she’s braver and more outgoing than I am.  I don’t want to be a poster girl. Not for anything: not for recovering alcoholics, not for weight loss surgery, not for cat ladies, not for anything. The reason being is that I’m scared shitless it won’t work. That I’ll fall off the wagon. That this surgery, like my Lapband, will be a miserable failure. I’m always wary of people who say, “Never again.” I prefer the AA motto of,  “Just one day at a time.” Less commitment and a much more manageable chunk of time.


All of that being said, I’m beginning to feel the need to speak now. To tell my story without any bullshit or sugar-coated rah-rah cheer. I feel the need to be a voice I didn’t hear from much when I was at the height of my disease. If someone had said things the way I want to say it now, would it have made a difference in my journey? Maybe not. But it’s possible.

I’ll say this:  my alcoholism and my weight both had something in common — they were going to kill me if I didn’t do something about them. They were going to significantly fuck up my life, possibly beyond repair. But the thing was, in the height of my addictions, I didn’t want to have to change anything. I wanted magic. I wanted to get to this zen place I am now…but without doing anything different. I wanted the prize without any of the work.

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And I certainly tried to find it. I didn’t want to give up booze or food, but I would read self-help books, thinking the answer was in there. I’d jump from anti-depressant to anti-depressant, thinking one would finally perk up and make me feel fan-fucking-tastic, even though I was drinking like a sailor on leave and eating like a fat kid at sleepaway camp. A new shrink here or there, a very special episode of Oprah. And none of it worked. In short order, I came to realize that the only thing that was going to make any discernible difference was if I gave up the sweet nectar and delicious shit.


I can’t tell you if there was one thing that brought me through the doors of AA in January of 2013. I think it was a culmination of things. I’d had a lot of “bottoms” and barreled right through them. At the point I got sober, I was just fucking exhausted. To the core. Exhausted. The way I was going was not sustainable.

Same thing about getting healthy. I’d had high hopes before, since I’d done Atkins and Weight Watchers and had the Lapband. I had many “this is going to really be it” moments. I’d like to think a lot of my problem then was that I was still drinking when all of those diet attempts happened, and it’s hard to consume 1500 calories of vodka a day and lose weight. Getting sober had to come first, and I’m glad it did.

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I’ll say this: everything about this GB process is ludicrous. Almost laughably funny. It’s a laugh-or-you’ll-cry thing. When I went to the mandatory seminar in January at my surgeon’s office, I looked around at the prospects around me. Ever the vain shitass,  I immediately felt like the Kate Upton of the group. And there were some sad sacks in there, to be sure. People for whom the motorized scooter had become a stark reality. People with oxygen machines. People who couldn’t get comfortable even in the double-wide size chairs.


There were lots of consultations, my favorite of which was the nutritional counseling with the dietician. I don’t know if I’ve ever expounded on my extreme hatred for dietitians and nutritionists, who I’ve always found to be the most dull, humorless, useless fuckers on the face of the planet. I actively dislike them, if for no other reason than they’re also always painfully thin. Just once, I’d like to find one who had her “fat”  before picture up on her desk. This particular seminar was with two other prospects, who were both just begging to be smacked in the face with a closed fist.

I almost felt sorry for the dietician (almost), for having to field some of the questions these two mental giants threw at her. Without even consulting the clear-as-day list she’d just plunked into their fat, sweaty little palms, they proceeded to ask some of the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard.


YOU’RE HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY. Of course you can’t have gravy on your mashed potatoes, you horse’s ass. And did you hear her? She said no potatoes, period. They’re on the avoid list. Can you read, motherfucker? One of the prospects was one of those types you remember from school, who *lives* to ask a question of the teacher to a) hear himself talk and b) to take the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge to everyone in earshot.

“So you say walking is good. I mean, I walk all the time. I walk like five miles a day. Should I do more?”

Oh. SURE YOU DO, BITCH. I’m sure that’s why you’re in here asking about bariatric surgery, because you’re so fucking active.

The other one couldn’t get past the fact that gravy, ranch dressing and mayonnaise were snacka-non-grata after this surgery. “What if it’s Light Ranch?” I was half-hoping the dietician would throw her hands in the air and say, “Yes, absolutely. In fact, eat as much Light Ranch as you’d like. I recommend a cup a day.” If all these people could focus on is what they could still find a way to weasel back into their eating regimens once this surgery was over, I got news for them: you might not be the best candidate for this procedure. Because that’s how I thought when I had the Lapband in 08. And guess what? That procedure, for myriad reasons, some beyond my control but mostly IN my control, was not a success for me. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. The doctors should have been able to pick up on that immediately. Hell, maybe they had and just didn’t care. But I can assure you, if your biggest question after a class with the dietician is, “What about sweet tea, can I still have that?” you’re going to be a fatty mcfatterson for the rest of your life, boo.

It's pretty damn American.

It’s pretty damn American.

I think this ties into the idea that having weight loss surgery is the easy way out. I’m here to tell you, there hasn’t been one easy thing about it. From the pre-op tests, pre-op diets, the procedure itself (my first cognizant thought upon awakening after 7 hours was to side eye the recovery nurse who was talking too goddamned much, of course), the physical pain, and being on a liquid only diet for 3 weeks — this is not easy. By the end of that 3 weeks, I was ready to go outside, chase down and throttle a squirrel and eat him raw.  I told Alex that only crazy people must opt to have this surgery. I paid someone to mutilate my body and make my stomach into the size of a thumb. That’s almost like opting to have a lobotomy. This surgery is irreversible. WHO DOES THIS NUTTY SHIT?!

I do. Because there wasn’t anything else that was going to help me. I had to physically make it impossible to be able to eat the way I had been for 30 years. It was the most drastic, permanent solution I could take, and in my opinion, I was the perfect candidate for it.


I am truly amazed at how much my life has changed in the past 16 months. It is completely unbelievable to me. I could never have fathomed this. I was unprepared for the happiness, hope, and love I would receive, not to mention a lot of dumb luck. To have clarity, peace, some hope for a future I never thought I’d have — is truly mind-numbing. I can’t wrap my head around it. How did all this happen to me? And not only that, but to find Alex (my hot Viking) in the red-hot middle of everything and for things to be going well with us — it’s really stunning.


It’s still not going to be easy. My entire lifestyle has had to change, both where alcohol and food are concerned. I told Alex that my three main coping mechanisms are forever lost to me: smoking, drinking and eating. Now when I feel anxiety or a panic attack coming on, it’s either a Klonipin or I’m up shit creek. In other words, I have to deal. I have to probably walk through that anxiety and experience it now. It’s going to be different. And not fun.

But here’s what I *do* look forward to doing that would have been out of my grasp had I not gotten sober and had this surgery. I’ll remember things vividly. I won’t look at the ground when I walk into a room anymore. I won’t wake up in a panic, wondering what I did the night before. Plane travel won’t be torture. I won’t need to sleep for 12 hours a day. I’ll save a shit-ton on groceries…and spend all those savings on new clothes that aren’t purchased in the women’s department. I can wear high heels again. I’ll look forward to trips abroad and not worry that I won’t be able to keep up. I might actually get married and have a healthy baby and be able to chase the little dumpling around without wheezing. I might start hearing, “You’re so pretty,” instead of, “You have such a pretty face.” I can go to a restaurant and not worry if I can squeeze into the booth. I’ll be able to sit in lawn chairs. Alex and I can go on long walks. I can ride a bike. I might even try rollerblading one day. I want to play tennis again. I want to take yoga and pilates. This whole new wonderful life is opening up to me. Not without a price, but the price was so worth it, because now I can have something I truly never even imagined.

Surgery and Vikings

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It may sound like hyperbole, but it’s safe to say that the last two months have been the most mind-blowing, life-changing ones I’ve ever had. I’ve been sitting on an assload (to use a precise, government-approved measurement) of material mostly because I just wasn’t sure how to present it…or even if I wanted to. Sobriety has brought out a bit of decorum and modesty in me (imagine that), and my incessant need to tell everyone everything has, right along with me, dried up a bit. (I mean that in an alcohol-related way, not a vagina-related way. Annnnnd now I’m back to oversharing. Thank you. Thank you very much.)


I think the rose is a nice touch. Also, never Google "vaginal dryess" images.

I think the rose is a nice touch. Also, never Google “vaginal dryess” images.

So, look: I had gastric bypass surgery two weeks ago. And a month before that, I met who I am certain is my future husband. How’s that for 60 days?

Over Christmas break, I decided — with the blessing of my family — to have gastric bypass surgery. Well, *first* they had to remove the jank-ass, regrettable Lapband…THEN they would covert what was left of my poor stomach into a pouch the shape of a thumb. (At this point, my elusive, detail-curious side came out. “But whose thumb? Mine? Because I have a tiny-ass thumb. Or, like, Shaquille O’Neal’s thumb? Because that’s probably fair.”)


That’s a big fucking thumb.

I won’t bore you with the details, but Blue Cross Blue Shield decided to be complete twat waffles and not cover a damned thing. Even though my surgeon made a personal appeal on my behalf, since my Lapband had been causing acid reflux and vomiting for years because — ta da! — that useless motherfucker had slipped out of place years ago. (DON’T EVER GET THE LAPBAND PROCEDURE, FOLKS. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE.) BCBS told me to eat their ass and so I was left to find funding on my own.

Also do not Google images of "eat my ass." Trust.

Also do not Google images of “eat my ass.” Trust.

Thankfully, I had two willing financial backers (hint: I slid down the birth canal of one of them) who agreed to help me out. Without that, I would be sitting my fat ass at work, woefully eating a glazed donut and eyeball-deep in raging pity. (And yes, I wonder daily why God didn’t test me on that one. I’m sure it would have made a good lesson somehow.)


So I return to the Big City after Christmas break, fresh with the revelation that I’ll be having this surgery sometime in the next couple of months. And I’ll be damned if, on January 1st, I don’t hear from someone I mentioned on this blog about 3 years ago: Alex. You may not remember him — he was the Swedish-speaking (actually it’s Norwegian — hello, Vikings) Facebook crush of mine who asked me out right after Brodkey and I split back in early 2011. Back then, things never panned out. We talked about going out and then it just fizzled before it even began. I didn’t hear from him for 3 years. (3 FUCKING YEARS.) And all of a sudden, this January, I get a message from him on Facebook.

Mmmm. Vikings.

Mmmm. Vikings.

Our first meeting, which was to happen in late January, didn’t go well. Because it didn’t happen. Again, details — but when our first date fell through, I found myself relieved. It’s just as well, I told myself. This is for the best. I didn’t believe it when I said that to myself, but I said it anyway. What I didn’t — couldn’t — realize at that point was that yes, it actually was for the best. Someone much wiser than I was orchestrating all this. The timing had to be just right.

Cut to 2 months later, in March. Alex and I began communicating again. This time, more intensely. Talking for hours and hours at a time. Then he gobsmacked me.  Let’s just meet for coffee, he said. And for as much as I wanted to — from the depths of my loins, you have no idea — I initially told him no: no coffee. Maybe in a few months. Maybe in like six to eight months, I told him. I just have a lot going on right now. The timing is horrible. 

Axl Rose was keen on this sentiment as well.

Axl Rose was keen on this sentiment as well.

Because here I was, on the eve of having this surgery, and I wasn’t feeling pretty. At all. I felt revolting and the last thing I wanted to do was show up and finally *finally* meet this guy — a guy who’d caught my attention long ago, who I’d never been able to quite get a hold of. A guy I couldn’t shake, even if it had been years since our last communication, and even if we hadn’t seen each other in almost 20 years (and even then didn’t even really remember the other one because of our age gap). In fact, when he asked me to have coffee with him, via text, I was sitting in the bathtub, and I vividly remember beginning to sob as I read that text. I asked — aloud — WHY? This is the worst timing ever. Please not now. Please, please not now. Some other time. 


Of course, it’s moments like that where I think God gets a good case of the wheeze & chuckles. We’re so human. So short-sighted. Everything has to be on *our* time. If we can’t fathom or see it, it must not be right. It’s an arrogance, really.

Eventually — and in short order — I relented. My curiosity and undying 3 year fascination with Alex won out over my vanity and fear, oddly enough. So we agreed to meet for coffee, and in the meantime, we kept talking our asses off to one another. There was something I really responded to about him. We had a lot of similarities: some nice but by no means crucial (“Oh you’re a Libertarian? Excellent? And you love cats? This is perfect, please keep talking!”) and others that hit on a much deeper level. Like having an instant rapport. Like having like-minded ideas and morals and life desires. Like having certain life events in common.

So we met up…and it was horrible. Our first meeting didn’t go as planned. It happened, but not how either of us anticipated. And because of one little kink (not that kind of kink, bitches), the whole thing came so close to completely, irrevocably going south. It should have, actually.


And yet. There was something there. We both knew it. There were a couple of things we didn’t know how we were going to overcome, but we both sensed we had to, or we’d be making maybe the biggest mistake of our lives. Yes, our connection was that strong. He knew it, I knew it.

So after 3 years, fizzled conversations, years-long breaks, a botched first date, and a shitty actual meet-up, Alex and I finally happened. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been without some anxiety. But it has absolutely been worth it.

Because I had lamented to a friend of mine, shortly after I decided to have this surgery, that I sure was sad that I couldn’t have met my future partner before I slimmed down and got all sexy and shit. They’ll never know, I told her, what I was like before. They’ll never have loved me this way, at my worst. How will I know if they really love the whole me? 


And yet, here was Alex, loving me anyway. I was upfront with him almost immediately about my plans for surgery. I was candid about this being a horrible time to start a relationship, because I was going to be in such a transitory state for a while. But somehow, he remained undaunted, and even better, terribly supportive. He was there the day of my surgery, from pre-op until they wheeled me into my room 11 hours later. He sat with my mom in a waiting room for most of that time. He has loved on me, kissed me, smoothed my hair, reassured me, dealt with my mother, helped out, been patient, and shown me respect and love. I never, ever could have imagined this.

Because honestly? Alex was kind of my dream guy. My pie in the sky. (Mmmmm. Pie. I haven’t had a solid fucking bite to eat of anything since Easter night, and let me tell you pie sounds delicious. Hell, the cats’ Fancy Feast is looking mighty appetizing at this point.)


Someone I’d always thought about and hoped for, but never thought would actually happen. I mean, even at best, I thought we’d maybe be friends and one night he’d let me give him a beej or something, but not THIS. This is just beyond anything I had even fathomed. What Alex and I have is different from anything else I’ve experienced, hand to God. It’s just off the charts. It’s…well, it’s real. Only took me 37 years to get here.

Anyway, my surgery went well, and I’ll be writing some posts about how things went and are going on that front. It’s a scenario ripe with humor, trust me. Because at its core, this surgery is ridiculous. The reasons, the method, the prerequisites, the recovery, everything. It has high elements of the absurd all over it. I could write an entire post just on what it was like to have to sit through a “nutrition class” (and I use those quote marks purposefully) with what I can only assume were two of God’s slowest creatures. (“So are you saying, like, I can’t dip my french fries in mayonnaise anymore? What if they’re sweet potato fries?”)


But for now, I am recovering nicely. Have one more week off work (woo-hoo!) and today, I should be able to move to eating pureed foods. Honestly, I’d kick a toddler in the face for a scrambled egg, no lie. I just want to actually have to chew something.

I’m scared to say it out loud, but life is really good right now. Maybe the best it’s ever been. (Definitely the best it’s ever been.)


“You are delicious,” Anxiety whispers in my ear, as it eats me for lunch

It’s funny, but when I feel an anxiety attack coming on, I almost always have the same consistent word pop into my head: Shitburgers.


It’s sort of an adults-only derivative of my favorite South Park character, Butters, and his frazzled battle cry, “Hamburgers!” And yet, for all of my word-love and English major nerd eloquence (“Since when are you eloquent?” – you all), “shitburgers” seems to nicely sum up my mental state going into a full-on anxiety attack. And I like to imagine that it will stick around, acting as a kind of bat signal for my future partner. What did you say? Did you just say shitburgers? and all of a sudden, he’ll start clearing a pathway for me like he’s a goddamned aircraft marshaller.


These wands have a dual purpose… know what I mean?

I don’t mean to sound obtuse (Note: I am about to totally sound obtuse), but some stuff has been going on lately that has deep fried my nerves so much I half expect them to be the feature staple at the 2014 Texas State Fair.


In future posts, I might ease into what exactly that is, but I can go ahead and say it’s nothing deathly or horrible. Just something complex and difficult, but with potentially happy end results. (And no, it’s not electro-shock therapy, though that might not be a bad idea, considering.)

But ironing out the painstaking details (and I am not a details person) is for someone with a lot more patience and sobriety than I currently possess. Unfortunately, it’s in my constitution to get completely cocked up over the details/waiting-game stage and just go completely off the rails. Which I have done gloriously in the last week. I go around with an expression on my face that probably looks like I drink human souls for breakfast.


Kunty Karl is displeased at being placed in such close proximity to a picture of fried food. (His inner fatty is secretly delighted, however.)

Perhaps offering my services to a timid co-worker today was a bit much. “Send that motherfucker my way,” I told her about an unruly office mate of ours. “I’m in the mood to shank someone.” Even an AA friend, after casually asking me tonight how I was, pulled away and said, “You look like you either want to eat my face or cry. Or both.”


Because I feel like I am about to break. It’s probably NO BUENO when you’re driving home from an AA meeting and fantasizing about how good a vodka cranberry would be right about then. I mean, I could almost taste it. And I drove extra-slowly past one of my old liquor stores. I stared at it with as much longing as I would a totally naked Alex Skarsgard helicoptering right in front of me.  I could have been in and out in two minutes with a handle of vodka and no one would have been the wiser.

Still, while that crosses my mind, that’s all it’s doing right now. Because at the end of the day, I kept driving past that liquor store, and my idea of a fucking treat tonight was two extra fiber gummies, not a vodka cranberry. Today, I did my part: I went to a meeting, I talked to other alcoholics, and I didn’t take a drink. I don’t have to worry about or make promises regarding tomorrow. I just had to take care of today.

So, this Unnamed Future Event that’s coming up — it’s going to be rough. A lot like getting sober again, as far as the emotional investment. But then, I’m one of those pussies who thinks *everything* about life is hard. Things that normal, well-adjusted people do every day and have done for years just takes a monumental amount out of me.

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I’m just muy incómodo when it comes to crying on the daily. In fact, that’s very much why I drank. And before I could drink, it was why I snarfed fattening delicious shit, and why I eventually would have done all the drugs: I detested the anxiety.


I live to be soothed. I hate chaos and conflict. I want my life to be a big ball of comfort. Even watching all those apocalyptic zombie shows and shit, I’m always all, “Who in the fuck would want to live in a world where you have no air conditioning, have to walk everywhere, and your occasional reward for not getting devoured by the undead is a commercial sized bucket of expired pudding?” (Unless I was nailing Daryl. Then I would hang tight and my will to live might possibly stay intact.)


Knowing all this mess was coming, I set up an appointment with my shrink and told her ass in no uncertain terms that I needed some medicinal help for this. That I had God, and AA, and a sponsor, and friends, and a talky therapist. But that there ain’t no shame in a good benzo to calm a bitch’s tits every now and then. She switched up a few things and is trying some new (non-addictive) add-ons that I hope will help.

Screen shot 2014-03-12 at 11.14.52 PMThe thing is, I will be okay. There are going to be a buttload of times when I’m going to feel like things are very NOT okay. But that’s the trick: to outthink this thing. If you can convince yourself that it’s not as real as it feels, and that it will pass, then you stand a much better chance of getting through it. Am I  still going to sob silently in bathrooms? Yes. Will I hyperventilate while taking Mr. Teefs to the vet to get his anal glands expressed? Yes. (Safe to say: he was also unhappy.) Do some anxiety attacks hit me like a metric ton of bricks, while others slowly, sinisterly creep up over the course of a day? Yes. So — I will cry. I will be out of breath. I will feel like my chest is in an ever-tightening vice. I will get tunnel vision. I will want to hide. I will hide when I can. But I will get through it.



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