onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “dating”

Commitment and cleanliness

It is my experience that life will test you. Especially when you make a commitment. When you really want to recreate some aspect of your life. 
If you are committed to drinking 8 glasses of water a day, suddenly, all of the bathrooms in your office are out of order except one. On a different floor. For a week. And you have to decide if you want to keep that commitment.

Recently, I decided that I wanted to leave my current job like a grownup. I want to go on good terms. I put in my two weeks notice just yesterday morning, in fact. (Yay!)

But when I got my schedule for the week I don’t have a day off for six straight days. And I have two assignments for my new dream job as a writer due on Tuesday morning, 8 am. 

I knew immediately that it was a test from life, but it took me a minute to figure out what the test was. It was not, in fact, to test if I was committed to my new job. It was to test if I was committed to leaving my old job like a responsible adult. 

And I assure you, when I saw that I wasn’t going to get a day off, it crossed my mind to say screw this, I have a super sexy writing job now. I’m not going to my crappy food service job.

But there is another story I want to share with you. Many years ago, before I was reunited with my boyfriend, I was going on a lot of dates. And that often meant packing a dinner and eating it in the city at a Starbucks before I met the guy.

Now, I have a person who helps me when something happens with my food. One evening right before a date, I was eating my strictly portioned dinner and I dropped a speck. Seriously a speck. I called my friend and I told her. She said that I didn’t need to call for a speck, but I said I was about to go on a date, and I wanted to be as “clean” as I could be. I wanted my integrity to be solid. I was looking for love. I was looking for an awesome relationship. I did not want a speck of food to get in my way.

The truth is, the date was horrible. I ended up telling him that I was not having a good time because he was not being nice to me. Then he tried to make out with me. (Apparently that’s how he showed how nice he was? Ew. Whatever…)

I left that date. I didn’t stay longer out of politeness. I didn’t let him drive me home. I saw that I wasn’t getting treated the way I deserved, and I ended it right there.

I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t called in that I dropped a speck of my food. Maybe the same thing. But maybe, if I thought my integrity had a crack in it, I would have stayed and let myself be treated poorly.

So here I am, fulfilling my commitment to write my own blog. And I will fulfill my commitment to get my writing assignments for my new job in on time. And I will also fulfill my commitment to stick it out at my other job for the next two weeks. So I can leave knowing I did the right thing. Not for them, but for me. Because I want to start this new job as clean as I can be. I don’t want cracks in my integrity while I am fulfilling my dreams.

Advertisements

Unburdened

I happen to be the product of a wildly unsuccessful marriage. Sometimes I look at each of my parents and wonder who the hell thought that union was a good idea. Of course, I didn’t know them through their youth and courtship. (They had known each other in highschool, and married in their early twenties.) But in my lifetime they have been as different as can be. My father is a Harvard Ph.D. and atheist who wears bow ties and thinks intellectual discourse and art are fun. My mom is a Catholic with a dirty sense of humor who thinks Disney World and midnight showings of blockbuster movies are fun. They were divorced, oh…about 15 minutes after I was born.

When I was 27, I had a conversation with each of them (separately) about why their marriage didn’t work out. My mother’s explanation was that my father didn’t want a family. (This is not an insight into my father, by the way. He has always been in my life. Always as a father.) This is an illustration of the context of my childhood. My father didn’t want a family meant my father didn’t want me. Of course, my mother never said this to me growing up. I certainly don’t think she ever considered his leaving my fault. Both of my parents are good people who love me. But my mother believed that he left because he didn’t want a family, and technically, I was that family. A context like that is insidious. It does not have to be distinguished to be lived. It does not have to be named and expressed to be understood. That my father didn’t want me is the water I have been swimming in my whole life. To the child in me, I chased the man away with my very existence.

34-year-old, intelligent, rational Kate knows that her parents’ marriage is between them. That their choices to communicate or stay silent, fight or make peace, stay or leave, had nothing to do with her. But baby Kate got the burden of being a burden. And she’s been carrying it dutifully her whole life.

I have never been available for love. I shut my heart down early. But the thing about a heart is that it will love if you let it. So I didn’t let it. I anesthetized it with food. I ate every feeling constantly for the majority of my life. I built myself a fortress of fat and I lived inside it.

So fast forward. I got control of the food. I got hot. I got some integrity. But I kept the fortress around my heart. And then I started dating. I mean a *lot*. I internet dated. I went out with my cab driver. With my waiter. Bankers, lawyers, architects, construction workers. Even a chef. I met men on the subway. In airports. On the street. In the park. Starbucks. (Starbucks, single ladies! You just have to go there and smile.) But it didn’t matter how many men I met or how many dates I went on. I was all surface. I was all face and body. I never let anyone into my fortress to get a glimpse of my heart.

What I am starting to see now is that cowardice begets cowardice. That grace is a muscle. I let mine atrophy for 28 years. Perhaps if I had faced my fear and shame, I would have found that it was a paper tiger. But there is no perhaps. My story is that I fed my shame with cake and I hid away from life.

About two years ago, I was seeing this guy. (Starbucks. I’m telling you!) And wow, did I like him. I had had my food under control for a few years by then. I looked great and I was at a place in my life where I genuinely respected myself. So I got up all the courage I could muster, I found a little chink in the wall of my fortress and I told him that I liked him. (Like. Not love. I have never been in love.) He didn’t feel the same.

Now most girls can figure out how to deal with this kind of rejection by the time they are 14. But I was in my fortress at 14, cowering in the corner and stuffing my face. I did not know how to deal with it. I didn’t have that muscle. So I went back into my fortress and lamented my lot as the unwanted one. This guy is not a jerk. He was not cruel to me. He and I are still in touch occasionally. We exist somewhere between friends and acquaintances. He thinks I’m “really special”. (Ugh! I hate “really special”!) He says I’m his biggest cheerleader. He loves my honesty and seeks my opinion. And of course, he would still sleep with me if I were available for that. (Which I am not.) But what I have just come to realize, is that for the past two years, I have been feeling sorry for him. Sorry for having burdened him. Sorry for wanting what I don’t deserve. Sorry for making him look at my heart.

But now it’s been a couple of years. The food is still under control. And the longer it is, the more alert my heart gets. It wants out of the fortress. It woke up, looked around, and wanted to know who left the fat girl in charge!?!? It wants me to stop locking it up every time the fat girl and the baby and the burden in me get scared. It wants to get to work on building my grace muscle.

I hope that the next time I tell a man I like him, I will remember that whenever a person shows their heart to another person, it’s a gift. Even if that person is me.

Post Navigation