Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Bit of Insight

Guuuhh... o_O
So my last post on this poor blog was...last November...*cough* >_>
I'm sorry, I'm just not a big blogger. I'm already super-active on Twitter, and any blogging I do is WoW-related, and goes on my webcomic, World of Warcraft, Eh?
In case you're wondering, the reason why I'm dusting off this crusty old blog is that I really just wanted to get all my thoughts out in one place. I am speaking as Kelly, not Cadistra the tauren druid. I'm hardly an eloquent writer, but here goes.

I wanted to give a brief background and opinion on the way I've been feeling and acting over the last little while. If you follow me on Twitter, it's no surprise that I'm not always moonbeams n' kittens. :P One of the bigger complications I've encountered is my weight. Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking: "Ah my Gawd, Kelly, that's sooooo shallow and conceited of you!" Well, if it is, then it is. I've had my good days and bad days, but that's part of being human. This morning, however, changed it up a bit - a older pair of jeans that used to hang off of me, was, well, no longer hanging off of me. They weren't tight, but a bit more snug than I'd like.

Again, I know - I sound like the most vain, vapid and airheaded bitch on earth. If you don't like what I have to say, I suggest you go play Peggle or something equally as entertaining.
One thing that I want to make clear is that I am not vain, but self-concious. I have spent more than the last decade of my life battling various degrees of various eating disorders. Please bear in mind, again, that I am not fishing for compliments, I am not looking for pity or comfort...I'm just getting everything down in writing. I hear it's therapuetic.

My older brother and I grew up as big kids. My Dad was raised (with his two brothers) by a verbally abusive father and a passive-aggressive mother. His mother/my late Grandmother did what any doting mother would do - stuff her kids full of sweets. Cakes, pies, cookies, pastries..all homemade, I might add - were a big enough part of my father's diet as a child. When he grew up, he somehow shed the weight, met my mother, and eventually had us. So, my brother and I grew up drinking a 2 L bottle of pop in two-three days max. Every weekend for breakfast would be homemade pancakes, waffles, french toast, or, if my Dad was coming back from a gig (he's a musician), he'd bring us doughnuts for breakfast the next day. Food was a major aspect of our lives. Much like this one episode of 'King of the Hill,' Bill exclaims to Hank that 'when I was happy, my mom gave me cookies. When I was sad, she gave me cookies. All of my emotions demand cookies, Hank!'

I was never 'obsese', but I was certainly a 'chunky monkey.' But I was happy. When you're a child, that's all that matters, eh? A memory that sticks with me to this day is when I was ten years old, I was happily eating a banana. My [biological] mother came up to me, gave me a sharp jab in the belly with her finger, and said "You need to lose some weight." Ten. I was ten Goddamn years old. That memory is still so vivid, that I could tell you exactly what I was wearing (a white Reebok t-shirt with grey sweatpants), hell, even the weather (cloudy, about 12 degrees) and the time (around 4:15 pm on a...Thursday, I believe). That kind of shit sticks with you; I don't care what you say.

Time passed. My Mom left/was kicked out for...activities I won't get into. I was eleven years old; still an elementary school student.

Two years passed, and my Dad met, dated, and subsequently engaged to the woman who would be my stepmother (I love her to bits, but at the time...hooo boy. =/). My stepmom was the very pinnicle of West Coast, Kitsilano health - a certified yoga teacher, vegetarian, Dad, wanting to change our relatively unhealthy lifestyle, literally switched everything overnight. Now, I'm sorry, but kids in their early teens don't react well to change, especially something so drastic. I was thirteen at that point, and just starting highschool. I was still a 'big girl,' but again, didn't really mind. I knew what it meant to be skinny, but I loved to eat, and associated many emotions and comforts with food. The coming of this new 'lifestyle' and the beginning of highschool was not a pretty sight. My Dad almost literally would drag me to the gym to get me to lose some weight. Everything sweet was dropped from the household; nothing but bland vegetarian food. Now, naturally, this sort of tension leads to 'want what you can't have.' Because sweets and junk food were bascially forbidden, I would sneak to the corner store with my friends and chow down on as much candy, chocolate, chips, and everything else we could get our hands on.

Highschool continued on in all it's cruel glory. I found the first half of eighth grade as a target for a group of bullies. Long story short, I transferred highschools after I was physically assulted by a battalion of the bullies and friends they had temporarily recruited.

This transferral was on the recommendation of the police chief of Mission.

The next year, at around the anniversary of the attack, I was diagnosed with fairly severe clinical depression. Much of my personal agony was surrounding my weight and my confidence, which some would say are intertwined. After two bouts of medication, things got better...I actually suffered a second bout of diagnosed depression just last November, but adamently refused medication; I wanted to 'see if I could beat it.' Sometimes I wonder if that was the best idea.... :P

In today's society, thin is in. Thin has always been in. There is scientific evidence, to a point, as to what we naturally find beautiful. What does evolution want us to look for in a mate? Well, an ample bosom and big hips - that's essential child-bearing equipment! I don't remember what it is, but National Geographic (I believe) did an entire study - worldwide, and in different cultures - and there were a few very similar traits that spanned across humanity as to what they found physically appealing. North America itself is just a cluster-fuck of terrible advertising and portrayals. I've seen what it takes to be a size 0 - A FUCKING SIZE 0 - and despite how incredibly unhealthy it is, it is still 'the in thing.' It's 'cool' and 'hip' to look like a head on a stick. I wouldn't be surprised if some of these women stopped menstrating; it's disgusting.

And yet...I can't spit without looking at a Cosmo magazine cover, with some lucious young beauty pouting her lips, or some other ludicrous women's publication going on about you can 'walk your way to a six pack in ten minutes' sort of baloney.

Now, since the days of the dreaded highschool PE class, my attitude has greatly changed. I actually really enjoy doing physical activities. Last year, a coworker of mine helped me sign up for the gym, which was probably one of the best things I've ever done for myself. I shed ten pounds of fat, gained six pounds of muscle, and had a body fat percentage of 33 (overweight) drop down to 29% in the first six months. That's amazing. Granted, my heaviest was a couple of years ago (165 lbs...), but I always hovered at around 145 lbs, which is...okay for my body type/height. Not great, but...sorta-kinda borderline overweight. I signed up for the diet plan, and I have completely changed the way I eat, for the better. For someone of my busy lifestyle, interests, and income bracket (I'm at the lower end of things), I eat exceptionally healthy. Also, I cut wheat out of my diet about eleven weeks ago, and have seen even better results (I was having digestive problems; thought I was celiac, but all tests said negative...I've felt better for giving it up, anyways).

...And yet...after a hectic several weeks of projects, OT at work, insane deadlines, little gym time, and even less sleep...

I knew I wasn't 'feeling myself.' I'm at the point in my life where I like being active. If I'm sedentary for long periods of time, I just feel...ick. I have to go out and get my blood pumping. I have to break a sweat, whether it's (now) running, weights, dancing, whatever. The heat wave, combined with the long hours at work allowed for more than a couple of Ice Caps at the Tim Hortons a few blocks down. So, after years of being 'the big girl,' I was down to a steady and comfortable size 8. Now, after wearing a pair of jeans I haven't worn in a few months - which, again, are a size 8 - I couldn't go through today without hating my body more than I've hated it in a long time.

A decent enough part of this non-existent self-esteem has come from - yes - men. I would give away any details, but let's just say the last two guys I've dated have not been the most supportive or forgiving of my slightly larger build.

Again, when I say 'slightly large' I mean 'a size 10.' :P

So now, I've been single for over a year, and I can't bring myself to go out and meet someone because I'm seriously terrified of being 'the big girl.' In order to avoid going out, I bury myself in my work, which leaves no time to go meet people, and then I get upset at being alone, so I bury myself in my work... I realize that I'm the victim of my own self-perpetuating cycle, but I just have no incentive, energy or inclination to change it, and I don't even know why myself.
I know - or at least have a feeling - that much of this will recede back within my mind after a few good solid weeks of running and weights. Once this final project is done, I'll have a life again, and regular gym times will once again be re-integrated into my routine. A big problem is that my body type does NOT lose weight very easily. Super-easy to gain, impossible - and requiring more drastic measures than I'm comfortable admitting here - to lose.

I honestly have no wisdom on this matter. If anyone - male or female, young or old - I am not yet strong enough to give you the advice to love yourself for who you are, because I'm not even at that point yet. You, though, should be proud of who you are and what you look like. Even better, if you have someone who loves you, go and give them a big hug and a kiss after you're done reading this; you don't know how lucky you are. I, on the other hand, am a hipocrite, and am notorious for not following my own advice. :P

I am not trying to compare myself to anyone. My brain does enough of that on it's own. I've lost count of the advertisements I see with beautiful, leggy, toned women touting the latest product, or the girls on the Skytrain who just seem so effortlessly thin..and I wish so badly that I could be that pretty, just for once.

I know this sounds shallow. I know that there's a lot more to me than just what I look like, and I know that I don't want to attract the kind of men who look for just that. But for once...for once...I'd like to be able to put on a nice pair of jeans, and be happy about the way I look. I know the attitude should be "Fuck society! Fuck the media! You GO, girl!" I wish I was strong enough to truly believe that every day.

If I were to impart one single nugget of advice: don't end up like me. Love yourself for who you are, because I have a feeling I'm caught in a trap that I haven't escaped for over ten years, and not sure if I ever will.

...And to think that all this was started with a slightly snug pair of jeans.



Anonymous said...

I follow the WoWeh webcomic and your updates on twitter. Now thats not enough to gauge a persons personality but we all make assumptions and descisions based on information we have at hand.

My first impression was of a talented, educated and funny girl who was brave enough to put her affairs out in the open, show off her obvoius talent and accept the praise and criticism that comes with it.

After reading the post above that first impression hasnt changed. If anything It only proves to me more that you are brave and have a strength of character to be able to write about something so vey personal. I applaud you for standing up and saying you have issue with the sterotypes we are forced to swallow and that these shallow values are causing you to mentaly (and I hate to use this phrase) self harm yourself.
I have not seen any pictures of you, indded I havent even tried to look for any because why would I? Here I have an entertaining, creative and talented blogger who cheers me up for absolutely nothing on my part. If you take anything from this jsut know that the people who you share your webcomic, blog and e-life with respect you and admire much about you from the little snippets of your life they are allowed to see.
Be kind to yourself no one deserves to be unhappy with themselves. I alwasy find that too many other people are willing to tear me down so why should I help them by doing it to myself?
Take care of yourself.

Moomin said...

I am also a follower of WoWeh. And I only caught a glimpse of you when you posted a picture on Twitter (if I remember correctly) and I can tell you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about in the looks department. But I also know that it doesn't matter.

Don't think that thin is the defining word in the world. May guys (including me) prefer girls that are a bit on the fuller side. There is really no need to aim for such "ideal". But again, I know that this argument doesn't matter.

Because I know from my experience that no matter how logical arguments we hear the bottom line is that when we look at ourselves in the mirror we see something else than other people. Such self-concious is also widespread among young guys. 3 years ago I was sporty and in very good shape. Now I am 20 kilos heavier and choose to spend my time on things I -really- like. And I must say that I am more content with myself now. It did take years of therapy (sparked by other events), so I know it's really hard to achieve. But it is so worth it.

Bah, I'm babbling. What I'm trying to say is: it's worth putting in effort the self-conciousness. It's hard, it will take long time and it's sometimes counterintuitive but it's worth it.

Oh btw. If your body is ill, you take medication and that's normal. If your mind is ill, it's only normal to take medication as well. There is no shame in it :) *munches on his AD pills*

Michelle said...

Kelly! Hugs to you. :) You've just reminded me that I'm occasionally reading this new non-fiction collection of short stories called "Feed Me" that's basically crazy similar to what you've written here - women's experiences, woes, troubles, successes, lessons learned all centered around food & eating. It's actually very interesting & surprisingly empowering. Everyone struggles - or accepts. it's a life-long thing that is only perpetuated as you get older, I'm afraid. I totally see where you're coming from, too! Tighter -than-before jeans are not fun!

Even those skinny magazine girls have messed-up relationships with food that, having known, you would not aspire to be in a million years. It's a really insightful book - when I bring the copy back to VPL you should totally check it out! :) It'll make ya feel better bout the whole situation, promise.

Hang in there! We gotta meet up for coffee sometime soon, too. :)

Dan szilagyi said...

I agree with the comments posted here, i think you have nothing to worry about in terms of me.
Personally i perfer a girl to have some meat on her bones, since curves are nice.

I think you are doing well for yourself though! keep working hard! it's a cruddy time in terms of jobs and art but that doesn't mean you can't do some great work on your own!

keep up the good work on the webcomic as well :)



mayhem said...

Thank you for such an honest post. I've always respected you as a person and an artist.