Friday, April 9, 2010


Yeah, if you're sick of hearing me whine about being broke and fat, just stop here.I'm just warning you.

Actually, things are moving very well in other parts of my life. The two parts that depress me most, however, aren't. The needle on the scale, and the balance on the bank account.

I feel guilty being so upset about these two things. There are so many wonderful things in my life to be thankful about. I have the best husband in the entire world. I have three healthy and beautiful daughters. I have a home, and two cars (that both work!) and I even have an awesome job for the time being. So why do I let certain numbers screw with my head so much?

Let me think a bit about this here. First, I have always been broke. Even when I was in high school and working two jobs and I had no bills to pay. I have always been short on cash and I have never, ever, in my entire life, had a real balance in a savings account. It makes me feel panicky and scared.

I walk through the halls of my office and I see well-dressed women carrying designer purses and wearing fabulous shoes, and I want to BE that woman. I want to know what it feels like to plop down triple digits for a pair of shoes or an amazing handbag. I don't want to go to whoever is available at the cheap hair cutting place. I want to have a stylist that I go to every six weeks that knows everything about my hair and gives me a style and color that makes me feel glamorous every day.

Telling my daughters "no" to things hurts when it is because we can't afford it, and not because I have the freedom to choose. No safety net means that emergencies cause catastrophic chain reactions in my financial world, so I live in constant fear of an appliance or vehicle breaking. Paying bills means "stealing from Peter to pay Paul", as it is said, which means there really isn't enough to go around, but you put one thing off to pay another and go back and forth like that. My kids don't panic when the water or lights get cut off. They are used to it and they just make do. Thankfully, that hasn't happened in a long time, but kids don't forget stuff like that. Living with that fear and shame is enough to make anyone a little sad or grouchy.

My bank balance seems to creep into my mind all day long, no matter what. More importantly, it seems to hang in front of my on a scale that weighs my worthiness in compared to all those I see around me. I usually fall very short. I have older things, shabbier things, borrowed things. Socializing is sheer torture, because I am always the one who isn't able to pay for her part so I just don't go or I go and don't have fun because I am being nagged by my conscience about how my fun will affect the finances of the whole family.How can you have fun and enjoy yourself, totally, knowing that someone is paying for your tickets, your drinks, your food?

Looking at the bank balance causes tension, nausea, and physical pain. Not looking at the balance makes the problem much worse so I am constantly caught between the fear of knowing and the fear of not knowing. Simply contemplating that number causes me to break into cold sweat.

Second, being this heavy is draining. Walking hurts, I feel like crap. Even my undergarments don't fit well anymore. That is just plain embarrassing. Actually, I think that is what it boils down to. I am embarrassed to be fat, or at least fatter than the rest of my family. My whole family is filled with skinny, or at least physically fit, people. I feel as if all the focus is turned on me because I look bigger by comparison. Cameras and photographs are not friendly, they are fearful. I see a picture of myself and I am disgusted and embarrassed. I just feel so sick inside and out.

I would rather order dinner in from my favorite restaurant than go out to dinner, because being in public for that long is uncomfortable. I imagine the waiter and the other patrons judging my order and watching me eat and thinking, "No wonder she is so fat. Look at what she's eating."

I know this is still getting worse in spite of all the ways I am working to fix these problems. I don't want to use my bank card anymore because it will show proof of what I spend. I am ashamed of my trips through the drive-through, so I don't want to tell anyone that I did it. It doesn't stop me though, I just use cash instead. I'm still spending money, but I am the only one who knows where it is going. There is no evidence of it to be seen in my car, either. I throw bags and cups away at work or at a gas station so no one at home sees what I have been eating. I didn't realize I had started to do that until I came home the other night and brought my take-out bag inside with me (so as not to clutter up my car) but when I threw it away, I pushed it down to the bottom of the trash can and covered it up with other stuff.

I can see that both the negative reactions derive from the same initial action. Driving through fast food places. Maybe, I will get fast food for lunch because I was too late or too lazy to remember to pack a lunch and healthy snacks. I beat myself up for it, but I have to eat or I will get sick. At the very least, I have to eat with my afternoon dose of meds or I will be very, very sick. That is the first rationalization. Then, when I have the choice of places to eat, I choose fast and fatty, instead of slow and healthy. I feel that I deserve a treat, or I only want to spend X amount and the crappy food is cheaper. I feel awful after eating it - fat, bloated, sluggish. I beat myself up because every bite I put in my mouth should be working me towards my goal of a healthy body. If my body is a temple, it would look like a landfill inside.

Weighing myself in the morning has become a form of torture that I avoid. Instead of stepping on the scale and writing my number down every day, I step on it about once a week, shove it back behind the toilet, and try and forget I ever did it.

That number haunts me all day long. Every time I go to the bathroom, I have to pass by a mirror on the way in and out. I am still shocked to see my width and the way I move. I have developed the fat-girl-hip-waddle thing. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? Once a woman gets above a certain size, her hips and butt move differently  they sort of roll and sway and bounce back and forth, up and down. When I see this I remember my number, and I get grossed out, over and over again. I was watching television last night (I only watch 2-3 hours per week of my favorite shows) and an announcer called out the weight of one of the boxing competitors. Yeah, that was MY number. Do I really weigh the same as a tall, muscular, athletic, male?  Apparently, I do, in spite of being short, female, and not in the least athletic.

Is there any way to convert the number to something that doesn't hurt my brain and heart so much? How do I make the numbers feel like a milestone or a gauge ad not a punishment or embarrassment. Part of me thinks that if the numbers get better and go the direction I want them to than I will have to feel better about them. The other part of me is afraid that the numbers and how violently I feel about them are just a symptom of a bigger problem and progress will not improve me impression on them.

Or, I might be fat and broke and that is all there to it.  Sounds like I need to jog to the grocery store to get veggies for lunch. I wish it were that simple.

Deb "Numerous" Lollar

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