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The Aftermath

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After losing nearly 100 lbs ive developed the opposite of what people may think would happen. Insecurity and body dismorphic issues. Which is at times overwhelming and drowns out rational thinking. I was looking through photos last night and found a face picture that for the first time really let me see how far ive come. Because, you see, I dont see the current day me. I see the old me. The one who I have been for the better part of my adulthood. This was the face that was with me when I became a mother, when I was at my lowest, my highest, when I got my first grown up job, bought my first house became fiercely independent. I made soul mate friends with this face. This was the face in front of the heart that said “You’re beautiful. Size does not define you” I drank up all the body positive kool aid and celebrated my curves. I was wearing a two piece at the pool at 294 lbs and dared anyone to have an issue with it. I didn’t care about fat arms or cellulite. Didn’t care about scars. I ran races, I did mud runs. I offered no apologies for my space in this world and I was there to back up my bad assness if need be. I would slap on bright red lipstick and had no issue bringing attention to myself. No one was ever terribly unkind.

And then I made the decision to have my surgery. Mainly because it was hard to breathe going up the stairs. I was knocking at the door of 300 with no slowing down in sight. I was out of control, had a heightened sense of self worth and was literally headed towards health issues at 120 mph. I was embarrassed that I needed to get surgery but decided ultimately it had to be done.

And the pounds started to come off slowly. 1 pound a week on average. Which doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up eventually. People would comment on me losing weight and I would roll my eyes, thinking “guys 10 lbs isn’t going to make that much of a physical impact when I have 150 to lose total”. What no one prepared me for was the paranoia that I would feel thinking people were watching me, judging what I put in my mouth, wondering why I was losing so slowly. So I became concious of every bite. I felt shameful when I would eat. I thought that people would think that I was going to fail and that silently they were judging me. I had never had those thoughts before.

As the pounds eventually added up to a significant amount – around 50 lbs people started to be very vocal about my body. Positively but very vocal. They congratulated me and encouraged me. But with every positive word I became even more insecure. At around 75 lbs loss, I went to my reunion, one that I helped organize with love and was really excited for. I tried on dress after dress, nothing was right. Suddenly I realized that I had excess skin on my arms that would have to be removed surgically. And that my breasts weren’t as full or my stomach. And I remember standing in the mirror changing my dress and feeling like a failure. I went down to the reunion and people were just amazing and we all looked great and people mentioned my confidence and congratulated me on the loss. With every compliment came the toothy pageant smile and thank you. On the outside I was gracious and appreciative on the inside I felt like it was overwhelming.

Then came 100 lbs. This I was excited for. I had finally arrived at a major milestone. I fit into smaller clothes. This was where i felt the most proud. It was bitter sweet, the fat had melted off, I decided that I only needed to lose another 27 lbs not 50 and for the most part looked great under clothing. I knew I would have to save up for skin removal surgery eventually. But that was ok, because I could just tell people “but I lost 100 lbs!” And they would be understanding and I wouldn’t have to apologize for the batwings. Which is insane, because I never felt like I needed to explain myself before. But now I felt like I had an asterisk by my name that gave you an explanation as to why I was where i was. And the truth is no one really cares. People aren’t that awful in real life. This was a battle I was fighting within myself.

The 100 lbs was short lived, as you all know I got really sick and had to have the band removed because of slippage. I was admitted into the ER for emergency surgery as my body began to shut down. I made the decision to not have it fixed because the whole ordeal had been so traumatic that I was scared for my life. Besides I only had 27 lbs to go to goal, I could surely do that without the band.

That was 2 months ago. Since then I have gained 25 lbs. I hadn’t eaten in 10 days when I was in the hospital because of complications, so I knew when I started eating again that I would gain some back. That my body would hold on to it because it was starved for almost 2 weeks.

My new pants and dress that I was so proud of fitting into, doesn’t fit anymore. But that’s ok, I would change the way i eat and work out. Eventually I will find my way back right?

No one really noticed the 25 lbs. People still compliment me but I started to feel really insecure. I started to feel like a failure. Again, I felt like I needed to explain that ive lost 100, but gained 25 because of surgery and that I was working on it. I felt that asterisk by my name come back except this time I added an apology for failing.

I have become incredibly insecure in the past few months. Depression has set in. I’m back in the same cycle I fought so hard to get out of. I joined weight watchers, I’m taking pills, I joined the gym. But I can’t make it to the gym because I’m overwhelmed and insecure and those people there don’t know that I had lost so much, they just see me know and I have so much work to do.

I’m wearing long sleeves. I’m sad about summer coming (my favorite season) because of the excess skin and I can’t afford to have it fixed because I’m still paying for the original surgery, plus the emergency surgery (my insurance didn’t cover any of it) and I feel like if I step out in this body and people see the excess skin, that they will think “I’d rather stay fat than have that skin”

I’ve started to walk with my head down in the grocery store ive lost motivation to do things. I don’t want to meet new people because I don’t want to have to apologize for my existence. When I look in the mirror I see the before picture not the real one. My best friends talked me into getting a haircut recently and I kept saying how I didn’t want to go short because I had a really round face. They tried to show me that it wasn’t the case. I sat in the stylists chair and explained that I wanted it short but I was insecure about my big cheeks and she lovingly pointed out my face shape and cheekbones and tried to explain to me that what I saw wasn’t what she saw. So I chopped it off. And I felt great and I felt powerful and I sashayed out of that salon like a powerful goddess.

The next morning I woke up, as I was getting ready for work I became overwhelmed. I was trying to style my hair and realized people would be looking at me because it was so dramatic. My hair was past my shoulder blades and now it was in a cute lob right at my jawline. And so I started to think about the attention it would bring and suddenly my clothes weren’t right. So I changed. And that wasn’t right. So I changed again. I changed so many times that there was a giant pile of clothes all over my bedroom. I was late for work, I had to get my kid to school and I was having an epic teenage level threat con alpha meltdown that all my clothes didn’t fit right, they looked old, I looked old, and my skin looks like it’s melting and fuck, nothing in my life is ever going to be right again. Eventually I pulled myself together and made it to work. I mentioned to my friends my fit and they were supportive and said we would go buy new clothes. I’ll tell you as a side note, if you don’t have supportive girlfriends, please go get some they are literally my lifeblood and the reason I function day to day.

I came home later and sat on the couch. There’s alot going on in my life right now. Parenting has been tough, the house has been tough, financially its been tough. I’m sad all the time. And because of these issues I can’t really do anything about it. I feel frozen and stuck. My friends have mentioned that I need to get out more, that I need to date. My son says the same. But I feel paralyzed. The thoughts that have made me feel so insecure are so loud that all I have done lately is sit on my couch and it makes me sad. But I can’t muster up the mental strength to go out and apologize or explain my existence.

There is enough rationality left in my brain that ive recognized that I am most likely in a state of depression and I have a doctor’s appointment in a week to see if it’s hormonal or mental or both. But I know I can’t keep up. And I know that this is no way to live. And I know that what I “see” as far as physical doesn’t match up to reality. Even as I stare at this side by side, I dont see the “new” me I see the girl who I was. The one who wasn’t afraid. The new me is weak. I don’t even know what she likes. But so far she really sucks and sits at home all the time and cries and then puts on a fake face to go outside. I wore red lipstick the other day and couldn’t wait to take it off because it called too much attention to my face. “Fat Denise” was fearless, a walking goddess who deserved love and took what she needed. A motivator. I would flirt with the cutest guy in the room because who could resist this? Lol I was cocky and brave and funny because I had to be. This new Denise is a hot mess. I feel like I’m trapped inside a melted suit. Like my body is some sort of hand me down that doesn’t quite fit.

No one prepared me for that. I don’t have the luxury of a supportive partner who loved me then and loves me now and who’s seen all the scars and marks. I’m out here trying to sell a beat up clunker of a car while competing with this year’s newest model with all the features bell’s and whistles. If you don’t know what I mean, go take a look at these dating apps and see what you’re up against. These women are beautiful and young and their skin is tight and I’m supposed to stand out how? Suddenly being 38 a single mom and my body looking like it does is more of a “ooh I found this can of dented soup in the discount bin– do you think its safe to eat?” And then it gets put back because for 20 cents more you can buy a can that isn’t dented and avoid potential botulism.

I told y’all it was dark in this brain of mine. And I don’t know when it will get better. If I ever save up enough for skin removal, will the insecurity of the skin move switch to scars? Will I then have to apologize for looking like Frankenstein?

And these are the thoughts that now keep me confined to the house because I don’t have the energy to explain. And I know that I have to try to heal my brain and heart and thoughts one day at a time. And I have to figure out a way to drown out the mean thoughts about myself. I have to try to remind myself that this is just a shell and that internally I’m still the same woman I admire. Even if i can’t find her when I look in the mirror she’s still there and she needs me to get my shit together. I don’t know if anyone really could have prepared me for this.

If you got this far, thank you for reading.

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Help me Tom Cruise,  Oprah and Baby Jesus 

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I just burst out in tears, not my proudest moments as a parent but we all have these moments sometimes where we just fall apart.  I dare any parent to tell me otherwise. Recently I  have entered the wonderful world teenage years.  This is the area where your baby starts to define who they are,  they test boundaries,  they grow,  they dont need you,  but still need you so much.  To me it’s like revisiting the toddler years but with testosterone and lots of eye rolling and back talk and a tiny mustache. This is also the part of your life where as you’re wading in fresh attitude hell,  you apologize to the heavens and your parents for being so awful. I put my parents through pure hell and on a few occasions they both lost their patience with me.  I get it.  Payback is a beyoch and I’m in the throes of it.  

My son is gifted academically and this month alone hes been sought out to be in leadership groups,  invited to take his SATs in the 7th grade and to participate in a 5 year program for kids which will eventually lead to scholarships (I’m a single mom struggling so this is HUGE) hes had to apply to this program by today and write an essay to get in,  get letters of recommendation etc.  He puts it off until this morning. I wake him up, I’m sitting here trying to help and in fussing at him because lately he just has an “I don’t care attitude” and honestly I just want to throw in the towel on this whole parenting thing.  Im stretched thin.  His grades lately have dropped for no other reason than “school is stupid” and well my baby is sullen,  ornery,  and wants to play basketball or video games all day.  This is normal.  This is expected.  There comes a day where you are no longer the favorite human,  the best friend and more of a bother.  I’ve prepared for this,  but what I didn’t expect was the attitude. 

  Going back to this essay that he’s writing,  I ask him “why he didn’t care ” and he says “cuz I don’t,  I’m doing this for you.  You want me to do this,  you said it was for scholarships” 

  So I just was crushed,  because yes he’s 13 he doesn’t realize the opportunities that he has that I never did and how this will help his future.  No 13 year old sees that.  

 

 So then I go into a speech about how I wish my parents had helped me in school, not because they wouldn’t,  but because they didn’t know of these opportunities or how smart I really was and well in the 90s, I didn’t know how to ask for help either. They instilled a strong work ethic in me, so that’s all I knew.  Work hard,  make an effort and it will work out. (Great lessons. Mom and Dad don’t feel bad) i explained to him how I wish I didn’t have to work two jobs to pay for college that I had to drop out of because I couldn’t afford it, (I’m still paying for college loans with a high school education and no degree)  that if I had a chance at an education I wouldn’t be working at a hotel for 20 years and not following my dreams.  That I wanted a different life and if I had the chances hes been given I’d be a success.  Then I realize ive said this crying. And maybe I am projecting my failures on him and I’m trying to keep him from growing up to be me.  

He looks at me blankly.  This is what parenting a teenager is. 

This parenting thing is so hard and all i think most of us want is for them to be better than us. To be happy and healthy and good kind people.  I know he will be,  I have faith that this will all work out.  He’s too awesome and I just have to remind myself to be gentle and loving and patient because this won’t last forever.  

  Hugs to everyone parenting a teenager….. lord knows I ain’t seen nothing yet.  

Fresh Hell : The Pre-Teen Years

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freshhellI’m not even a full month into this hellish, hormonal, angst part of parenting. My sweet, precious baby lamb only just turned 12 last month, and almost as if a light switch magically turned on (or off) I was thrust into no mans land overnight. I had heard stories from friends with daughters that it was hard, I understood and could relate to that I was an emotional 12-year-old once and I’m sure I was a thorn in my mother’s side. Honestly, having a boy i didn’t think it would be so bad, plus he’s always been a fairly easy, obedient child so I figured it may be a few outbursts here and there, nothing too crazy. I mentally prepared (or so i thought) I’ve been doing my stretches and workouts in case he gets a bout of “testosterone” and tries to one up me i can remind him that even at 5’4 I’m still Mama.   But no one can really prepare you for this. This piping hot steamy pile of shit that just gets handed to you one day and you have to figure out how to navigate it with your own pile of hormones as you approach 40. Life’s cruel this way. Life’s a sordid, twisted little bugger.

danger  Already, in the 28 days of 12 (yes, I’ve counted) he has developed and practically mastered the art of eye rolling, the smacking of the lips, the smart ass tone, the whatever attitude. It’s as if he went to the science lab in school and accidentally got into the toxic goo and instead of developing super human powers I got Super Melodramatic Angst Man-Boy. I though I was the queen of sarcasm and acerbic wit but i have to bow down to the development speed here. Either the student has been studying the Master or were dealing with a whole new level of fresh hell here folks!

And y’all, between us this is totally above my pay grade! I’m not trained in this. Do you know that this past weekend we went on a Halloween Tour and I was so excited to have a great time and before we had even gotten there he had brought out, Cranky, Sullen, Sleepy, Hungry and Indifferent. That was just on the 30 minute ride. When we got there he hung out with Tired, Whatever, Kinda Stupid. When the tour started he invoked the spirits of I Don’t Get It, Why are We Here?, Kinda Cool, This Is Fun and Can We Go Home Yet? By the time we took all the pictures he noticed a raunchy Donald Trump sticker and then it was Gross Joke time and Silliness for 15 solid minutes. Then when we got home he snuggled up on the couch and we watched scary movies and he decided to let Sweetness and Tenderness hang out for the rest of the evening. It was a maniacal roller coaster and the bad thing guys…is when I bring it up to him I get the universal blank stare, your crazy mom look.

help-himMy sweet, talented gifted boy is currently sitting across from me as I type this. I just received an email from his teacher that he is not participating in class or turning in his work. Guys he’s a straight A student for the most part but this last report card he brought home some B’s. His response, I can pass the tests, the homework is dumb. Uh…..dude unless your ass got invited to join MENSA and forgot to tell me, i suggest you get with the program. Now he’s doing his homework that his teacher so graciously has allowed him to make up, which i told him was the only time i would allow it as a first offense. The next time he will suffer the consequences of a zero or an F. I refuse to celebrate mediocrity. He is banned from TV, video games and the phone. A punishment I’m sure will hurt me in the long run. And so what is he doing to show his disapproval of my discipline? Sniffing his nose loudly, breathing with a heavy sigh, writing hard and crumbling papers….

Help him Tom Cruse, help him Oprah, may he gather protection from his Abuelitas prayers. I also need help at this point I’m invoking all the power of Castle Greyskull, all the Care Bear stares and a Sam’s Club size pitcher of pre mixed Margarita mix to get me through these pre teen years. I also will start to forage and hoard the tears of a thousand angels for strength to guide me through what is yet to come…..Teenager. da da duummm. Solidarity y’all. So much effing solidarity!

Black Lives Matter, United we stand.

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blmI keep seeing “ALL LIVES MATTER” on my feed and i wanted to just explain something- because i don’t think people truly are wanting to understand. When people say “Black Lives Matter” it does not mean that other lives do not matter. It does not mean that police lives do not matter or LGBT lives do not matter or that white lives do not matter. What it is is a cry for help, a reminder of a people that have been denied rights and freedom and have been oppressed since the inception of our country. It is a reminder to people that “Hey were here too and we need help” To say “All lives matter” is dismissive of the problem that is being brought to our collective attention. Its saying – hey yeah i get that your people are being incarcerated by the thousands and this year alone 153 unarmed black men/women were killed by police brutality—but what about my feelings? This movement, this statement is so much more than saying “I don’t see race or color” Some may offer a rebuttal and say “Blah, blah blah, Black on black crime” That is not an argument to be had at this moment. That is not the current issue. To use B.O.B Crime as an argument standpoint is dismissive, it is as if ISIS would be justified in bombing us because of American on American Crime- that just doesn’t make sense. Or saying that the people in Orlando deserved it because of Gay on Gay crime- is that even a thing??? You see, we/some never had to grow up like this, your children may not have to experience what black people have. My own son at the age of 4 learned what it was like to be called a Nigger. He has been called one ever since by kids at school and on the bus. He has been accused of doing something and when the truth came out it turned out he was singled out because of his race Its an eye opener and its heartbreaking and we should all care about this because in a blink of an eye they can come after us. I don’t say this to minimize the horrific tragedies that have happened as of late, we are all brothers and sisters, be it brown, black, white, yellow, LGBT, cis, disabled, religious, atheist etc. We need to find compassion and love and understand that an injustice towards one is an injustice towards all and we just cant be dismissive anymore. ‪#‎standunited‬

Adventure #1 – Join a Dating Site

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Having a conversation this weekend with my 11-year-old and it went something along the lines of this :                       Awesome Kid: “Mommy you need to go on a date or meet someone”

Me: LOL its been a while huh? would you be OK with that?

Awesome Kid: Yes I’m going out-of-town for a few days you should do something besides being at home

Me: I guess your right.

and then we sat around thinking of ways to freak out my dates like – “Are you my new Daddy? and things like “who are youuuuuuu? and other insane things. I love this kid. He’s awesome.

So long story short i happened to be on a mom group on FB and someone said they found a non creepy site called #CoffeeMeetsBagel and i downloaded it. I’m a little weirded out because i haven’t been on a  real date in over 10 years and dating online wigs me out. These are my concerns:

1) What if he wants to wear my skin like a jacket? i mean highly unlikely but we all have seen Silence of the Lambs and well shit got real

2) what if i don’t get any hits? will i pretend I’m cool like “Yeah I’m so awesome that people can’t handle all this awesomeness” or will i silently be like “Ugh I’m 36 and a single mom and highly un-dateable!”

3) I’m worried about my weight. Yeah let’s get real about this I’m not at optimal fighting weight here. The years have not been kind and I’m a little insecure about this area. I do like my butt though—but you will not see me pose in any pictures that have me prominently displaying it as – i am someones mother. My personality is pretty cool so there’s that. Fingers crossed people are not that shallow.

4) Is my mom radar going to be so crazy that i will not trust anyone around my AK (Awesome Kid)?

5) I’ve been single so long – what if I’m set in my ways? what if im OK with coming home and not having a conversation and binge watching Netflix and Hulu and eating pizza and talking to my Beagle Sami and My cat Goonie? I mean my son is pretty concerned so that’s a red flag but…meh.

6) How do people even date anymore? This is weird i feel weird like im 50. But im not im 36 and highly analytical and also very witty and sarcastic. Surely this makes me a keeper right? but not a “Keep her under my basement that’s not cool “

OK I’m gonna go figure this out get my mind right and ill keep you guys updated. Wish me luck and send me tips!