Today is Saturday. I am sitting on the futon in my living-room; my flat screen TV is turned off and folded back against the wall; from my angle I wouldn’t be able to watch it if it were on. The only light in the room is coming from the energy-efficient lamp in the corner opposite of me and from the glow of my laptop screen. I am not comfortable on this futon–there is not enough padding or cushioning. However, at present, buying new furniture is on the bottom of the list of priorities. Any maybe, in some part of my mind, I know that uncomfortable furniture might make it slightly less likely that I’ll sit on my ever-widening-but-hopefully-soon-to-be-shrinking ass for too long. Maybe.
On December 31st or January 1st of each year, many people find it customary to share with all the world their goals and dreams for the coming new year. Jumping on the bandwagon, I decided to start a weightloss photo journal on my FaceBook page. Each day, starting on January 1st, I have been posting pictures of myself. At first, I wanted to post head-to-toe images, so that people could see whether or not progress was being made. However, my webcam doesn’t always like to cooperate, so I gave up and am just posting whatever I can. Since it’s only been nine days, there’s no discernible progress, but my hope is that by the end of this year, I will have lost the 130lbs I need to lose.
It is not that I wish to conform to society’s standards of what makes a woman beautiful. I know that I have beautiful features. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a guy refer to my “assets” as being pleasing to them (tits and ass). And there’s always the “oh, you have such a beautiful face” remark. And many women tell me they can’t believe I weigh as much as a do because I still have obvious womanly curves, whereas some women who are overweight no longer have a defined waistline. My ankles and wrists are smaller than it would seem they should be, given my overall weight.
So, no, it is not a conformity to society that drives me to want to drop the weight. It is the other things, the “no, Luna, mommy doesn’t feel like walking right now” and the wheezing when I’ve walked too far and the high blood pressure I’ve been diagnosed with since I was 17 and the potential to develop diabetes and the looking in the mirror and discovering that I’ve sprouted an extra chin…I want to be happy with myself, not because society says I’d have to look a certain way to be happy, but because I know that I have to feel a certain way to be happy. I loved when the boys would cat-call when I lost all that weight back in 2006. I had never had that before. Yes, there were some times that made me uncomfortable, but there is wrong attention and right attention. Now, I am married, and do not so much care what other men think, but it is good to know that if I were back on the market, there’d be a high demand for this product.
But it’s not just men and their reactions that made me feel good back then. It was jealous looks from other women, it was being able to walk eight miles without breaking an obvious sweat, it was being able to tie my shoes with my feet planted firmly on the ground, it was putting on a pair of jeans that fit like a second skin and being able to breathe while wearing them, it was knowing that it didn’t matter if I ordered a hot fudge Sunday with extra fudge every once in a while because I was active enough and had a great metabolism. I was proud of myself and my accomplishments. I was happy to buy pants that didn’t have a W in the size number.
Luna is two and a half. She still has some baby rolls on her thighs, but she is mostly skinny in a healthy way. I want her to remain healthy. I don’t want to give her a complex telling her to not get fat or anything like that, but I want her to be active and choose healthy foods for the most part. I want junk food to be an occasional treat rather than a daily diet, for both of us. I want her to prefer running around in the backyard to watching a TV show where other people are running around in their backyard. I don’t want to eliminate electronics from our household or prevent her from enjoying technology, but I don’t want her to be a slave to it. I want her to get on a real bike and pedal around the neighborhood rather than sitting on an electronic one that hooks into the AV plugs on the TV and powers a video game.
We live close to an elementary school; I want to be able to walk her to school and back every day when she’s old enough. If I continue down a path of junk food diets and sedentary lifestyles, she and I would have to get on a Hover-round and drive it to her campus, or worse–be one of those fat families that drives to a place a block away in good weather because they’ll die of strain if they walk.
But losing weight isn’t my only goal for 2010. I’ve already started working on another–financial security. I cannot, of course, control husband and his choices. But we have separate bank accounts. I’m not going to get into the debate on whether couples should have separate versus joint accounts; I just think it’s going to work best for us. So far, as we are nine days into this year, I have been doing well. I have been keeping my checkbook with me so that I can write everything down on the register, even debit purchases, deposits, and transfers. If my register is incongruous with my online banking record, I am going to follow the number in my register. In this way, I can ensure that overdrafts will not take place. I am going to attempt to save money in whatever ways are possible. For school, there is no reason to purchase food on campus this semester. My classes are scheduled in such a way that I can eat at home, sit through a few classes, and then return home and eat again if necessary. Returning home does burn gasoline, which of course costs money, so I will try to avoid making too many round-trips during a single day. I am also going to try to keep a balance in my savings account, a just-for-emergencies fund that’ll slowly grow.
Childcare during my classes is an issue I haven’t yet worked out, but I only have two more days in which to do that, so I’m hoping it’s figured out soon. I will be graduating in May, so if you’re reading this, mark your calendar and plan a trip! Another goal for this year is to get into and begin attending a graduate school. I have only applied to one, thus far, as money is still an issue. But I paid the application fee for the one I applied to, as well as paid for and scheduled a testing session for the Graduate Record Exam. I still need to get several different applications filled out and faxed or mailed to the appropriate persons or institutions, as well as gather up and “perfect” my writing samples. I am applying to both a Masters of Arts in English Literature program and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. I would rather get into the latter mentioned program, but either one is ultimately okay. My eventual goal is a Doctorate, so my Masters degrees are less important than the eventual Doctorate, and I am interested in both topics. I am still excited about the possibility of Law School, but I also love the idea of getting my Doctorate in something English or writing related.
School resumes on Monday, and I am very much thrilled and cannot wait. I have already purchased my textbooks, though I am hoping that I might get to return at least one of them, which is a duplicate of an older book I already own. Some of the rules in the book have changed in the new version, but I can always look that information up online. I am looking forward to a bright new year filled with possibilities and hope to see less and less of my physical self and more and more of my intellectual (and hopefully well-organized) self as the year progresses.
Husband still isn’t supportive of my educational goals and dreams. I cannot change who he is. I have always loved him, but more and more we are both finding parts of each other that we’re not pleased with. For him, it is my desire to get something more out of life than a low-paying job, my desire to pursue higher education, my lack of affinity for housework (though I must say that I never let it get hazardous or disgusting), my need for a husband who prefers my company to that of desktop computer…for me, it is his desire that I get a low-paying job and drop my pursuit of higher education, his lack of affinity for sharing in domestic responsibilities, his preference of his friends and electronic devices over the company of his spouse, and his anger management issues. In time, it is possible that we might work through these issues.
However, I am fearing more and more that the next decade may bring me something I never wanted: d-i-v-o-r-c-e. If this turns out to be the case, I know that I am a strong independent woman, or can become one, and that I will survive (thus saith Gloria Gaynor!), but I would hate for that to be the eventual outcome of a relationship that started in 2003 when a seemingly shy, tall, pale, blue-eyed, long-and-black-haired boy produced, as if by magic, a single black rose for a loud-mouthed, overweight, short-black-haired, headband-wearing girl after several random conversations on their job corps campus. I once told a friend that you couldn’t find love in job corps–it was like finding love in prison. But then I met husband. I don’t want to give up on us, but I don’t want Luna to see her parents fighting, to see her daddy treat her mommy wrongly, to see her mommy cry, and to watch those events take place over and over and over her whole childhood, to the point that she either resents both of us, or thinks that men and women are supposed to act that way.
I know that I am not a perfect person, there are things I could do to improve our relationship, such as clean the house on a his schedule. But I’ve come to realize that no matter how much I change me, I’ll never change him. If he wants to change he will. Maybe, at the end of this year, I’ll have lost the weight I want to lose, and organized myself and my priorities. Maybe I’ll have the energy to work my own 32+ hour a week job and keep the house spotless and keep Luna entertained and taken care of and attend my graduate courses full time and make love to him on a regular basis, and it’ll make him happy and he’ll want to make me happy. But I can’t rely on maybes. I have to rely on facts.
So for 2010, in addition to losing weight, managing money better, becoming more organized and energetic, completing my undergraduate studies, getting into and attending graduate school, hopefully securing a teaching assistantship ..in addition to all of those goals, I am going to make sure that I have Luna enrolled in a safe and reliable daycare program in the town in which I plan to attend graduate school and make sure that Luna and I have a residence in that town. If husband and I can work through our troubles, then the residence in my graduate school town will just be a place to stay when the weather’s too bad to commute home or a place to stay when I need to be back too early the next day for wasting the gas money to make sense. If we cannot work out our issues, then it will be a place for Luna and I to live full time, a separation period, in which husband can figure out whether or not he still wants a wife and child in his life and in “his” home. I really do not want that latter scenario to play out, so I hope that he and I can work through things.
Anyway, thanks for listening, imaginary readers. I hope you all have made and are truly going to keep your own goals for this year. Unless, of course, you happen to be perfect, in which case maybe your goal should be to be less perfect this year!
Meatloaf–There’s always something magic, there’s always something new, and when you really really need it the most that’s when rock and roll dreams come through. The beat is yours forever, the beat is always true, and when you really really need it the most that’s when rock and roll dreams come through for you.