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The Musings of a Melodramatic Misfit

The Skinny Girl That Knew Too Little

I work with all women. Literally not one male in the building. Our ages range from 24-63 someone is always on their period or going through menopause.

Our break room is filled with excessive doughnuts with encouraging notes written on top of the box or “Happy Monday”, which are two words that never belong together. Next to those doughnuts are magazines telling us how we can get our bodies “bikini ready”. With a doughnut in hand, coating the covers with sticky frosting from my fingertips I slide the magazines to the other side of the table. Because reading about fitness while ingesting what is essentially a ring of lard is about as productive as frequenting a flask at an AA meeting. 

“I ordered my new bikini last night, but then I weighed myself this morning and I’ve gained 3 pounds so I won’t be wearing that. I seriously want to cry.”

This complaint comes from the mouth of a 25 year old weighing all of 125 pounds. I know she’s waiting for me to respond, to tell her she’s not fat or I wish I had her body, to take the bait as she fishes for compliments, but I say nothing. It’s not out of jealousy or to spite someone that is the weight I significantly lied about on my driver’s license when I was 16. 

It’s because a part of me is hoping that maybe she’ll take in her surroundings and see that she’s talking to someone that would sooner order a bikini for her pugs than she would for herself. If the ignorance was limited to one person, it might not rub me in the same uncomfortable way my inner thighs do on a hot day. 

Throughout the day it’s “I feel so fat” and I often wonder what would happen if I (an actual overweight person) said the same stuff at the same frequency that they do. Complaining about the bikini I can’t wear as though I was considering it anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I realize there are people with genuine disorders that see their bodies in an inaccurate way, but the other people, the people that just want to hear about how good looking they are just as a reminder, those are the people that need to take a moment away from the scale and mirror and look around before they speak, to stop throwing the word “fat” around like it doesn’t sting, like it’s not shaping the way young girls see themselves and young boys rate them, because I never knew I was fat until someone else told me. 

I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m a work in progress, making healthy changes daily, but it would be nice to hear women appreciating their bodies so we don’t continue to perpetuate the stereotype that we hate ourselves. I’m not in love with every stretch mark or patch of cellulite, but I am in love with the fact that I’m not searching for the praise of others, a scripted reassurance so that just for a moment I could know what it’s like to buy into the bullshit. 

Why I Hate the Acronym “OCD”


The counting started at a young age. Not the milestone kind where you’re proud to show off how high you can count. Ritual counting, counting that felt as necessary as breathing, because if I didn’t count I believed something bad would happen to someone I loved. Turn the lights on and off four times to protect all four members of my family, four more for extended family and then we got pets for a grand total of twelve light switches each night. This applied to twisting door knobs and signing crosses after evening prayers, which were filled with apologies for who I was. A nauseating puddle of guilt manifested in my stomach once I was old enough for my brain to articulate sadness and failure.Why couldn’t I be happy like all the other kids? None of them seemed preoccupied with the “what ifs”. The most illogical belief they had was belief in Santa Claus.

I had friends, but couldn’t attend sleepovers, because I insisted on sleeping with a clean pair of underwear underneath my pillow in case I was abducted in the middle of the night. Priorities.

Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression before I could even spell it. Going to the school nurse to take my Prozac while a boy with ADD waits behind me for his round of Ritalin, terrified that my secret would get out. That the other kids would think I was crazy. This pill wasn’t working. My Prozac consumption was short lived and the therapist that prescribed it died a few months later.

For the next 9 years, I went without therapy and without drugs. Not to say that I didn’t need it, I did, but I didn’t want it. I could sweep each batty meltdown under the teenage hormonal rug. But when I turned twenty, that excuse didn’t hold up anymore. I’d stopped eating which led me to therapy and a spreadsheet of prescriptions. I’d gain 50 pounds and lose 20 then gain 30 and finally try to detox from it all. Breaking out in a fever, sweats, vomiting and heart palpitations. Not sure which was worse. The way I felt on the medication? Or the withdrawals?

It took a solid 10 years of my adult life to find the drug that worked best. A drug that wouldn’t make me gain weight or make me feel like a zombie. And one of the biggest hiccups during that time was coming to terms with the fact that my chemical imbalance is just part of who I am. I’d take my medication for a few months and feel so great that I thought I no longer needed it. Almost thinking of them as antibiotics rather than antidepressants. And then finally after a decade’s worth of heartache, the support of my family, friends and therapist I got on the right drug. And it’s not a crutch or a cure. I still go to therapy and I still struggle. And if anyone should happen to be reading this and believe I don’t need my medication and that I just don’t pray enough, I prayed. I have scripture tattooed on the back of my neck and mental illness in the head on top of it.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed more celebrities sharing about their depression and anxiety. That takes a lot of courage.

But then there’s that large portion of society that doesn’t quite grasp what people with mental illness are actually dealing with. Some of it is just innocent ignorance some of it is just dick and I can’t speak for everyone when I say this, but I feel it’s important. Even if no one reads this.

Using the acronym “OCD” like it’s as simple as “YOLO” is dick. There’s a vast difference between being particular about something and feeling helpless in a sea of repetitive thoughts and debilitating sadness.
“I like to make sure all our picture frames are straight, because I’m so OCD.”
Yes, you a majority of society.
“I have to have the volume up on the radio several digitalis above my age so I live that long.”
This will become more difficult as I age.

“I wash my hands a lot during flu season, because I’m so OCD.”
I know people that say these things constantly, people I love and enjoy being around, but it doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.
I don’t go around saying “I haven’t eaten in a couple of days. I’m so anorexic.”
And while I’m at it, when someone is moody it doesn’t give you the right to call them bi-polar. HUGE difference.
So if you’re reading this and you’re someone that uses “OCD” like “LOL” I hope this hasn’t offended you as much as that behavior offends me. And if you find that someone you know is especially moody lately, they probably aren’t bi-polar, just giving up caffeine.

Lines and Curves

more like anti-social studies

I was looking at my Facebook 
news feed this morning and came across a status update from one of the girls that was part of the clique that made my life a living hell in the sixth grade. When she added me a few years back I was hesitant to accept it, but my rationalization was that she wasn’t the meanest of the bunch, therefore she deserved to be privy to my status updates about the funny things my students say, plugging an upcoming show I’m in or poking fun at my own flaws and awkward way of being. We’re two adults and that was so many years ago, but I’ve never outgrown the memory of that year of longing to fit in with a group of girls that weren’t going to make room for me. It didn’t matter what I wore, what I said or the “if you can’t beat them join them” mantra saturating my brain. I was smarter than that, but getting hit in the head with rocks can knock the sense right out of you.

Together they were a cocktail of Guess Jeans, Sunflower Perfume, Noxzema and the intellectual substance of a communion wafer. I take that back, one of them was a skilled artist and I discovered this when I opened a social studies book with an illustration of a fat stick figure which is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. The stomach was the size of a clementine and next to it my name was written. Yes, I was fat, compared to them, but I’ve always carried my weight in my thighs and an ass that won’t quit. Jeez get it right, ladies! I remember slamming the book shut as quickly as possible with the same volume of embarrassment that you feel when you dream about being naked in public or maybe you don’t, maybe you’re like “I’d be naked in public everyday if I had the chance” in which case I’d say “go for it, but please don’t go to the same Soup Plantation as me”.

It was the first time anyone had ever taken a crack at representing me artistically, clearly a memorable one. I never found out who drew it, because it’s the not the kind of thing you want to ask around about. “Hey did you draw a fat stick figure of me in that social studies book? Do you know who did? Here’s my pager number, let me know if you’ve got any leads.” This post might actually be the first time I’ve made my discovery of the work of art public knowledge. All I know is that it wasn’t this woman I’ve allowed to be my friend on Facebook. Like I said, she wasn’t the meanest, but I’ve yet to allow myself to “like’ any of her pictures.

And I’ve been thinking about my weight more than usual, not sure if the dryer is shrinking my clothing or if I’m gaining weight and my thighs look increasingly more and more like oatmeal daily. So I’m guessing Whirlpool isn’t to blame her and I should probably be more upset with See’s Candy. For the record,this isn’t a complaint,it’s an observation. Something I plan on changing, but not for other people, because there are things in this world that are much more concerning and unappealing than my Quaker thighs.
Besides, the children in the class still draw me as a stick figure, but the belly is gone and my head is huge, but that’s an insecurity for another time.

Don’t go in the water, because you might attract sharks

Every month I have an “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret moment”, in which I’m able to discern that I haven’t gone completely batty, but was solely on the verge of starting my period. I verbally refer to it as “lady time”. You would assume that by my age I’d be able  to figure out the pattern, but I inevitably end up having a meltdown that looks like something from the show “My Super Sweet Sixteen” and contemplate abandoning this humor writing thing I do to write bad poetry about my feelings and listen to Ani DiFranco,  while cutting my own hair.

On my commute to work this morning I started crying, at first because I was anxious and Monday mornings in general are lacking in charisma, but it evolved into blubbering, because I didn’t even know why I was really weeping in the first place. There’s nothing sadder than not knowing why you’re sad, because you actually have no reason to be sad. Actually…there are much sadder things, but it’s still sad, yes?

Within a 20 minute drive my hormones put my docile logic through some kind of sick hazing in order to become a part of the sorority house that exists in my psyche. I sat in the parking lot of my place of employment convinced that everything in my world had fallen apart, while eating a granola bar and sipping a Diet Coke, because that’s what you do when a real  “tragedy” strikes, make sure you get your fiber intake and foster the development of your aspartame addiction.

I wanted to be back in bed, under a blanket, preferably eating a Snickers bar and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls. I couldn’t fathom how I was going to enter the building, let alone make it through an entire day of work, but then things kick in like responsibility and reality and the fact that I was sitting in a new car that needed a monthly payment and there was a classroom full of children actually depending on my arrival.

I stood on the playground feeling bloated and frumpy, passing for an old librarian or the “before” on pretty much any makeover show. Despite one of my co-workers complimenting my weight loss and another group of women shouting out compliments about my “new” haircut I’ve had for nearly a month, I still wanted that blanket and chocolate and quick witted banter exchanged between a mother and daughter with flawless skin.

My self esteem workbook talks about the difference between your ordinary mind and wisdom mind. Your ordinary mind basically states all the mean things you think about yourself and paints a pretty ugly picture of what it believes to be reality and the wisdom mind is what’s actually occurring. I tried to figure out which one I was using and before I knew it they’d mated and created a new mind that just wanted to shame eat Wendy’s in the car.

Around 3 o’clock I wanted to rip out my ovaries and a throw them at someone’s face, but kind of in a celebratory way…like confetti? I got my period, God! I was elated. I wasn’t on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I wasn’t slowly sinking into clinical depression. My sanity was there all along, it was just smothered by an estrogen monsoon.

It never hurts to remind myself that happiness is always possible, sometimes I just need to work a little harder to get it. And when my other options run out, Snickers bars are really high in protein.


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