Monthly Archives: February 2013

Second Hand Rose

Standard

I’ve started thinking about wedding plans. Wanna drive yourself nuts? Go look at wedding sites on the internet. Watch bridal shows on TV. Get nauseated at the “bigger, better, more expensive” culture that is wedding planning. Huge, glittery, poofy dog-and-pony shows. Then, throw up your hands and do what you wanted to do in the first place. So far, I’ve been scoping things out and putting them up on Pinterest, and narrowing down what I want that way. It’s a useful tool.

I’m astounded at the complicated “rules” and “etiquette” for weddings. Here’s my rules: 1. Find someone you can’t imagine being without. 2. Marry them.

I’m over-thinking this, for sure. We don’t even have a date yet, as we’ve still got a lot of logistics to sort out. The one thing we know is: we both want this.

There are so many traditions that I’ve examined and rejected. I don’t want a diamond, for starters. I’d like a garnet, my mother’s birthstone, and I’ve found someone who hand-makes beautiful rings from ethically mined stones and reclaimed silver. They’re beautiful, they mean something, and we can have them engraved on the inside, with whatever sentiments we wish to share with each other.

I want to get married in my bare feet (for reasons that probably make sense only to me). I don’t want a big white poofy dress, for a million reasons. Come on, I’m six feet tall, will shortly be 50 years old, and I have two kids. I don’t think it’s appropriate. I didn’t even wear white to my first wedding! I think I might wear Indian trousers. I’ve seen some lovely things online, and you can order them made-to-measure very reasonably. We’re definitely not getting married in a church, either. Sorry, God.

Our best man is a woman. I’m not sure who I want to ask to be my best woman yet – too many options – how do you choose just one person when you have so many awesome friends? But, it’s not a big fancy wedding with a huge bridal party, I just need one person. But how do I choose just one when I have so many wonderful friends?

Apparently you don’t walk down the aisle on your father’s arm for a second wedding, either, you walk by yourself. Not only can my dad not sell me, he can’t even give me away! But I think my dad would be thrilled to walk me. And what about my sons? They are so vitally dear to my life. Maybe they should they walk me? Is it awkward to invite people who were guests at your first wedding to attend your second wedding, or does it just mean you have awesome friends who have been around for years? What about my niece and nephews? My brother is performing the ceremony, which we are absolutely thrilled about. I can’t think of anything nicer. But what about my dear sweetie pie sister-in-law? What about family members from whom we’re estranged, or who live far away? Do we invite them and expect a no-show? Also, I want everyone to bring their kids. I hate weddings where kids are excluded. Kids are awesome, and often the best dancers!

What about cakes, and dinners, and halls, and a band? Well, Den knows a million musicians, so I don’t expect that’s an issue. Sit-down dinner, or maybe a late-night buffet? Can my friends and I make food for the reception, or do halls frown on that? Do we have to have a sit-down dinner? Cash bar? That’s a given, we’re broke, and many of my friends are good little drinkers. Also, we don’t want gifts, but want to choose a charity if people want to donate in lieu of a gift. What charity do we choose?

I’d love to get married outdoors in Jackson’s Park, but what if it rains? What if, what if, what if?

So, here’s my “must-haves”:

1. Man I love.
2. Family and friends.
3. Good music.
4. Food and drink.

Everything else is superfluous.

Namaste.

Advertisements

The F Word

Standard

I want to talk about the f-word again.

Fat.

Now, here’s the thing. I’ve been fat, and I’ve been thin. Believe me, people DO treat you differently when you’re heavy, unless you’re a very, very strong self-advocate, which I am not. There’s an assumption that you are not too smart, or you wouldn’t be overweight; that you’re unattractive, and unworthy of affection. There’s a distinct lack of respect, and it’s very wearing on one’s self-esteem. It’s a very unpleasant place to be, particularly for an introvert. After a while, you start to believe it.

I’m on the fence, however, about “fat activism”. I follow a lot of feminist blogs, health-at-every-size blogs, fat activism blogs, and fashion blogs.

I almost feel like I can’t talk about my health goals and still be a good feminist.

NO, we should not be judged on our bodies. However, is my goal to be fit, strong, and physically and emotionally healthy something I can’t talk about in a feminist environment?

I’m not judging anyone’s body. We’re all who we are, we’re all wonderful and worthy of love. I don’t know your life, and I don’t know your journey, and I have no right to judge anyone.

On the other hand, I don’t feel anyone has the right to judge me, either – not the patriarchy for being an atypical shape and size, nor feminists for taking charge of my health.

My goal has never been to be a supermodel. I have never had the least urge to change my body for anyone else’s benefit.

However, I have chosen to change it for myself. I have lowered my cholesterol and my blood pressure; quit smoking; upped the nutritional quality of the food I eat; increased my lean muscle mass; increased my cardiovascular health; increased my endorphins and lost my need for anti-depressant medication. As a result of all these changes, I am also thinner, and I find people treat me differently as a result, and not just men, either, but women too.

The health profession treated me differently too. I had unnecessary bladder surgery – it was assumed that my weight was the source of my problems. No one bothered to check to see if there was anything else going on, like, gee, huge fibroid tumours pressing on my bladder. When I finally had my hysterectomy as a result, the doctor provided inadequate followup care, and simply kept repeating “you are too fat”. I wound up with a massive infection, a ventral hernia, and horrible scars as a result, which further chipped away at my self-esteem.

Finally, the surgeon who did my hernia repair treated me like a person, not like a “fat person”. Instead of fat-shaming me, he offered me facts. He explained risks and outcomes. Most importantly, though, he said to me “you’re young and you’re motivated, and you can absolutely do this”. So I did.

So, I will probably live longer as a result. I am strong, and optimistic, and happy. I’m confident and in charge of my own life. I’m independant and opinionated, and it’s very hard to stare me down or shame me, now. I will fight back.

In conclusions – fat IS a feminist issue. But let’s not swing the pendulum back in the other direction. Being fit and strong does not make me a bad feminist, nor did being fat make me a bad feminist. We are what we are, and we all have the right to make our own health choices, and the right to be treated with dignity and respect at any size.

Surgery Update

Standard

It’s been four weeks since my surgery. I’m back to work, and back to the gym (somewhat).

So, here’s the scoop: the surgery was more complex than anyone thought (hence the long hospital stay), but I’ve healed fantastically well. So, like, yay.

However, that doesn’t mean life goes back to normal. Oh, no, that would be TOO easy.

I have to wear the abdominal binder for six more weeks! He said, though, that he thought the groundhog had just said six more weeks of winter, so I could just think of it as an extra layer of warm clothing. Thanks, Doctor Optimist. 😛

I still have to be super careful lifting things, although he said light laundry was okay. Also, I have to be careful to be balanced, i.e. not carry a whole bunch of stuff in one arm and nothing in the other.

I can ONLY walk and do some light cycling for the next eight weeks. NO elliptical, NO rowing.

AND – this is the worst part of all – NO STRENGTH TRAINING for FOUR MONTHS!

Well, I understand. And he’s cautioned me to take this very seriously, so as not to undo all the hard work we’ve both put into repairing my stupid body. So, I will. I have to. He reiterated this several times, also cautioned me to THINK before moving, lifting, pushing, pulling, etc. Use the brain AND the body.

My regret? Remember my goal to be in the best shape of my life by my 50th birthday? Not going to happen now. I can’t get back to strength training until at least the first week of June, which only gives me 3 weeks, as my birthday is on the 28th.

I REFUSE to beat myself up about this, though, or to give up. I’m off the smokes still. My weight is up to 209, but that’s not bad, considering I quit smoking, had Christmas, and spent an entire month lounging in my pyjamas. I should be between 190 and 195, so really only 14 – 19 pounds. In the circumstances, that’s a walk in the park.

So – new goals. Lose 14 pounds by 50th birthday. Continue to be a non-smoker. New goal – to be in the best shape of my life prior to turning 51.

Does this mean I’ve failed to meet my goal? Absolutely not. I’ve just had to move things a little bit. Shit happens.

Namaste. Be strong!

The Big News

Standard

Soooo…what’s newwww?

Well, pretty much everyone knows now. The cat is out of the bag. Yes, indeed. The rumours are true. I’m getting married again.

Older and wiser. I’ve figured out what I want, and who I want. Figured out how to argue fairly, how to pick my battles, and never to go to bed mad. Figured out give and take and compromise.

We don’t go out much. We don’t have a lot of money, for one thing, either of us, but we both have jobs that we love in the social service sector, making a difference in the world. We like healthy cooking at home, drinking gallons of coffee and playing scrabble. Going to bed early. Reading and music. CBC radio. The Far Side. The news, the what’s-going-on-in-the-world stuff. Volunteerism and causes. And we laugh, oh we laugh, he makes me laugh all the time.

He cuts me slack, makes me feel kinder towards myself. We have the same values, the same tastes, the same kind of energy. During my recent convalescence, I really saw his true colours, and they are all my favourite colours: compassion, thoughtfulness and a genuine concern for my well-being. I care whether he’s happy or not, whether he’s well, whether his feet are cold.

I once asked a wise friend, on her second marriage, how she and her spouse made it work. Her answer stuck with me, and astounded me with its simplicity. “We’re kind to each other.” We’ve taken that very much to heart. We ARE kind to each other. We’ve talked about not taking advantage of each other, or cheating. We’ve talked about respect, and the need for each of us to have separate interests and personal space. We’ve talked about politics, spiritual views, and feminism. We’re both great communicators, good listeners and talkers, too.

We’ve got lots of things to figure out first. Will the cats get along? Domestic arrangements, reorganizing and merging, complicated family stuff, and legal considerations that weren’t there our first times out. Just – stuff. Needs to be done, and we’re both old enough to recognize that.

My brother is a lay minister for the next five years, and has agreed to marry us. How cool is THAT? Not a big-white-gown cathedral wedding, but something intimate with our families and our friends around us. We drove up to Bracebridge to tell my Dad yesterday, and his response was “I hoped that was what you were going to say.”

I know it’s not been long since we met, but it’s just “one of those things”. Some people are supposed to be together. I can’t think of a single reason not to do this, and a million reasons to go ahead. I feel like if someone said “this is as good as it gets, you know. If you choose this, this is all you get,” that I’d be completely okay with that.

I’m not perfect. I’m not for everybody. Neither is he. We’re a little odd, maybe, a little intense. But I’ve never smiled so much in my life, and I’ve yet to be in a position where I had to explain a conversation to him. He gets it. I get it.

And it’s awesome, and I’m blessed.

Notes to Self

Standard

I was just tidying up and getting organized for my return to work next Wednesday, and I found the little notebook I took to the hospital with me. It was a great idea to take a little book, for writing down the doctor’s instructions, tips from the nurses, etc., but what really made me chuckle was my morphine-induced notes to myself.

“Why can’t your boyfriend sleep with you at the hospital? Seems unreasonable.”

“I would kill for something crispy – a piece of TOASSSSST! TOAST!”

“People have an unreasonable interest in my bowels.”

“Sorry, old lady in the next bed – I’m not chatty.”

“I wish my little cat was here.”

“I like the curtains closed. That’s why they’re CLOSED.”

“crispy crunchy sweet salty fibre-y food”

“Best boyfriend, really. He’s very sweet to me.”

“Did I say crispy?”

“Please stop opening the drape. I’m an introvert. I like it closed. It completely unnerves me to wake up to an old lady staring at me.”

“Things I want to do:
– clean house and simplify my life
– travel
– get $ under control
– stay fit and healthy
– be easier on myself”

I actually don’t remember making any of these notes, but they’re in my handwriting, in my book, so I gotta claim them. Apparently I like sex, crispy food, and not being stared at.

Boy, was I in the wrong place!