behind the scenes

Hey.

Where to start?

Well. You see. It’s, um, like this. Saturday I wrote a little post which, in my head, was about the Live More, Weigh Less challenge. You, my friends and regular readers, know me. It morphed a little in the writing. The title, you know, was a somewhat satirical reference to my repeated attempts at The Plan™. The Plan™ has taken many forms, some better than others. But I like the idea of this challenge because I agree with the idea that you have to love who you are, all of you, if you think you’re going to treat yourself well.

But then I went a little bit sideways. Honest, but sideways. I don’t hate myself. There are many things that I think are pretty cool about me. But I hate the way I look. I think my assessment is realistic. Others don’t. I try very hard to trust the others’ opinions but this idea that Zaz is fat and ugly is something I know.

Now, it may be something I know like when I just know that it’s Friday and it’s only Thursday. I won’t contest that.

But I don’t want to stray too far off topic. The thing is, I linked to Peabody’s post about the challenge and she followed the link and wrote a post about how my post made her sad. That was unintentional. I don’t write to make anyone sad. I just write whatever I’m thinking about.

Let me be clear about this. It was very kind of Peabody to leave a comment here and even more so, to talk about her feelings on her own blog. It’s just a little weird to have hundreds of people wandering through here. Most came and went. A few apparently felt some connection. Those are always the people I want to meet. I write for myself and it’s a fairly small group of people who connect with what I write, but even one person who says “That meant something to me,” is something incredible to me. And well worth writing about very raw and sometimes uncomfortable feelings.

I never write anything online that I wouldn’t say in real life. Still, it’s a little like I’ve had a spontaneous open house and hundreds of people have wandered through. But to all of the people, even those who came and left, thank you for coming by. To those who left comments, thank you so much for taking the time and for reaching out. To my long time friends, always good to see you.

I want to address one comment that didn’t even appear here. I’m not sure what was wrong with the commenting system, maybe my host was freaking out at the sudden traffic. Anyway, I wanted to thank KB for her comment and to respond here. I’m not comfortable taking my response to Peabody’s space.

KB says:
August 25, 2013 at 11:34 am

I’m a little embarrassed that reading Zazzy’s post made me sob a little. I couldn’t get a comment to go through on her blog (some error message?), so I’m hoping she sees it here:

Zazzy, I used to think like that. “I could love myself if I were thin.” Then I got thin. “Well, maybe I’ll love myself if I were thinnER.” Then I got thinner, and thinner, and over the course of six months I dropped half my body weight until my ribcage stuck out. Guess what? I still didn’t love myself when I was thin, and I still didn’t when I was skeletal. I tried putting makeup, dressing in snazzy clothes, wearing jewelry, changing my hair, working my body to exhaustion until I could barely stand up straight, all to “reshape” it into what society told me was “perfect.”

I looked in the mirror when I had “succeeded.” Eighty-five pounds, wearing horrifically uncomfortable “fashionable” clothes, with hair that was falling out from being so tugged-on and smeared with products, feeling like the jewelry I was wearing weighed as much as I did, chewing gum to get those defined cheekbones that models are so praised for.

Trust me, Zazzy, you still don’t love yourself. You can be thin, you can be “pretty,” but you’re going to look in the mirror and feel yourself breaking inside. You can’t hate yourself for being what you are. Maybe you don’t look in the mirror and think, “I’m gorgeous.” Maybe you never will. But find reasons to say, “I’m beautiful anyway.”

Maybe it’s your deep eyes. Maybe it’s the way that you smile that makes everyone smile back. Maybe it’s the fact that your hugs are so warm, or the funny t-shirts you wear that always get people to laugh, or the way you take cookies to new neighbors or casseroles to those people who are struggling. Maybe it’s that you’re honest about yourself. Maybe it’s that you have a unique talent or a special skill, or a heart full of love. Maybe it’s something you can’t even define.

But you are beautiful. You ARE. Just because you aren’t “thin and pretty” doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful inside. People don’t love you because you’re a supermodel. They love you because of you. If you can count just one person, one on the entire earth, that loves you, know that they love you because you’re beautiful to them.

And whether I can see you or not, whether you think you are or not, Zazzy…you are beautiful to me.

My first response was to want to argue. You know, that “Yeah, but…” response. But, I know, and I agree with what you’re saying. It’s hard sometimes to admit that the ugly feelings come from inside, not so much from outside. It’s easy to point at the outside and say, “That’s it, that’s the problem!” “If I only looked different, then I would feel different.” Like you, I have not found that to be true. I lost a lot of weight a few years ago and I didn’t feel much different. Now I’ve gained that weight back and, well, I have another failure to blame myself for. And that’s still just the outside stuff. The truth is, the outside may never be what I would like it to be. I was bulimic as a young person and always felt like I was a failure as a bulmic – because I have the type of body that is very, very good at storing and holding on to fat. My people will survive the next famine.

And I agree that it’s not the outside that makes the person worthwhile. I know that’s just the easy to focus on part. Seems to me, it’s the easy to focus on part for most people out there in the real world, too. Let’s be honest, it’s not just the thoughts that happen in my own head. It’s the social norm. It’s the comments directly to me or those funny funny jokes about fat people. It’s easy to just see the outside. It’s easy to believe that’s all that matters. But I know it’s not. Sometimes, at least.

I really want to thank you for sharing your story, for reaching out, and for caring. It’s too easy to believe that most, if not all the people out there in the real world look at me and think the things I think inside. Then someone comes along who gets it, who understands the struggles and has had their own fight finding how to love herself. Hell, maybe there are way more of those people out there, but they aren’t ready to reach out. You can’t know how much it means when someone does.

So thank you KB. You are beautiful to me.

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16 thoughts on “behind the scenes”

  1. We all have struggles; they may not show from the outside though. It may not be our appearance, but may be something more hidden. My daughter Ashley is painfully shy. She hates herself for it and feels that it hinders her in her social life and her career goals. My younger daughter Alison is horribly insecure in her relationships and manages to sabotage them by becoming jealous and controlling. It’s almost tempting to think that it would be easier if their struggles were related to their appearance which seems like it would be more simple to change. (not that it’s true, just that it’s tempting to wish it were so)

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    1. I know what you mean, Margaret. It’s tempting to look at someone else’s struggles and think that they’d be so much easier to deal with. And if you say it out loud, you’re bound to insult someone. We all have our own struggles, our own pain.

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  2. Well, my goodness, I missed quite a lot here over the weekend. Congrats on getting the interwebs to take notice!

    Like you said: “… it’s not the outside that makes the person worthwhile.” But the problem is that our society says the exact opposite to women every minute of every day, making it difficult to be authentic to your own reality when faced with a barrage of be thin or else messages.

    No solutions here, just awareness. Good post.

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    1. I guess there aren’t any easy solutions Ally. There are some very vocal people out there with the ‘it’s okay to be different, we aren’t all meant to be thin’ message and, while I agree, I still can’t live that way. It’s another one of those things that I support in other people but not myself. And I sure haven’t seen a change in the messages from society at large. Not when a particular site for exercise clothing calls a size 12 XL and doesn’t even carry anything over a size 8 in most of their styles.

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  3. As another being who is struggling desperately with the issue of how to love herself when all she has ever been told is that she is too fat, not working hard enough, not good enough etc., I hear your voice lound and clear. I hope your willingness and bravery to speak your truth is some of what you love about yourself. We need voices like yours to heard especially in today’s weight obsessed and “everybody has to do/feel things my way” society. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Jacquie and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I recognize those messages of never being good enough, working hard enough, etc. Those were my dad’s idea of “motivating” us. As far as my willingness to speak my truth, it’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? It’s easy to get obsessed with this one part of me, when that’s not all there is to me. I’m also the goofy cat lady and the caretaker of my parents with Alzheimer’s/Dementia and the cook and the poet. So I’m looking more forward to this upcoming challenge with each person I meet. People who know these feelings and struggles and want more. We all deserve more.

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  4. When my best friend from the US came out here to visit me, he was over 500 pounds. I did not actually know this before he got here. I knew he was big, but not how big. I think probably he was in some denial about it himself.

    So on the second day, we went to the zoo. Just after we got there, this group of kids went by, pointing and laughing at him. And he got upset. And I said.. hey. you know what? If you weren’t here, I would be the person they were pointing and laughing at. And if it weren’t us, it would be maybe someone who was stick thin but from a different country, or wearing an outfit they thought was funny. Kids suck. That is just how they are.

    However the real truth is, society overall sucks. Everyone is so busy judging everyone else. Most people do it in their heads, not out loud, not so anyone else would know.

    This was a couple of years ago, and he went back home, and once he got there we had a good talk about it. I was worried for his health overall – plus a couple of times while we were out and about he fell over when the ground was uneven, and one time when I wasn’t there he told me he had a really bad fall. It isn’t because I care what society thinks, or that I think any different of him because of his size, but because if something happened to him I would be absolutely devastated. There are only two people in this world who get me – my partner, and my best friend, which happens to be him.

    So, he got seriously motivated to make some changes and since then he has lost over 300 pounds, which is just a massive achievement and I can’t even type how thrilled I am for him because I know how much difference this has made to his mobility and confidence and health overall.

    We’re going to meet up in Hawaii soon to celebrate this huge achievement and I am so excited for that.. but..

    I hate that there is a but, but the world we live in, there has to be one. He still is a big guy, and people are still going to judge, and look, and possibly point, and make comments. Well, they don’t want me to hear them because you better believe I am going to go all crazy on their shizzle.

    Maybe I’ll just write out the story and photocopy it and have copies to give out when I see the judgment, about how much weight he has lost, and how this is a huge achievement, and how they ought to get themselves a nice big cup of STFU and turn their judgmental shizzle back on themselves.. better that than start punching people. But I know I am going to want to punch people when I see it.

    It bothers me more when they do it to someone I care about than when they do it to me.

    I don’t think any of us ever get to a place where the outside is what we truly would wish it to be. But the inside – the simple fact that we do not punch or even dead others for the way they treat those of us who are not stick thin.. the fact that we take the treatment they dish out without violence.. that we survive the bullying, the comments, the jokes.. it hurts, yes it does.. but it makes us stronger inside.

    Zazzy the things you do, the way you have handled your family situations.. I am constantly in awe of you. I don’t care what the outside looks like. You are an incredible person and you inspire me to be a better person. That is what counts, at least to me.

    Your challenge for the month, if you choose to accept it, is to focus on the good things you do. There are a lot of them that I know about and I am sure you don’t even write the half of it here. But maybe take note of one good thing a day, focus in on that, and note it down, and at the end of each week, write us a post about that. And maybe, at the end of that time, you can look at yourself and say.. I might be fat, but I am not ugly. Me personally, I would go with “not stick thin” or perhaps “curvy” but that is because I am not a big fan of the F word.

    I don’t even know what you look like, but your inner beauty and the goodness of you shines out through your posts. If I can see it, all the way over here in Australia, why can’t you? 😉

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    1. Heya Snoskred. How’s your winter been? Last I saw you had a new chook pen. 🙂

      It was really brave of your friend to come visit without telling you the full truth. I don’t think I could do that. I’ve met a few online friends in real life and I’ve always made sure that they knew. Because I don’t think I could survive that look – not from someone I cared about. I’m so glad for your friend that he has gotten healthier and I hope he can maintain those changes, that’s the hardest part.

      Astute readers may have noticed that I’ve yet to respond to any of the “you’re beautiful” comments directly. Hey, there are wonderful things about me. I’m creative, I have a wicked sense of humor (at least I think so), I’m intelligent and compassionate and truly caring of my friends. There are things that are less great aside from how I look. I’m human. But beautiful? I can’t get there. There’s the whole beauty on the inside thing and I’m not so great at even going there. Those voices? The ones that say I’m ugly? Those come from the inside. The inside does not feel beautiful.

      I appreciate your thoughts and your kind words. And I’m trying, you have no idea how hard I’m trying to believe those things about myself. There are just so many “yeah, but…” thoughts and I guess, in part, that’s one of the things I’m hoping this 28 day challenge will help me resolve. I’ll be posting about the Live More, Weigh Less stuff and will keep your ideas in mind, too.

      Oh my frogs, it’s an insight. I just have issues with the word Beautiful. I’m a lovely person. Lovely doesn’t push those same buttons with me. How weird.

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      1. Hi Zazz –

        Snos pointed me in the direction of this post (after she made her comment [the contents of which didn’t come to me as a surprise, but still is very inspirational to read], but before your reply came along), and I wanted to just clear some things up. 🙂

        What she said in her initial comment was that she knew that I was overweight, as I was up front about that with her, and there was no dishonesty about that.

        The part that was not realised, even on my part, was how overweight I really was. Ever since we had met online, I never had any clue of how much I actually weighed, as no scale was able to measure my actual weight. In fact, it was not until April of 2012 that I was at first able to weigh myself.

        At that point in time, the scale read just over 200kg, which is equivalent to around 440lb. That reading came about 5 months after I was in Australia; about 9 months after I had started working out every single night after work at the gym (something that I still do to this day [except for the days I go swimming at a public pool or something]), and about a month after I had done a major change to my diet (i.e. enroling into the Nutrisystem program).

        My work isn’t done yet with my weight loss, but if you were to look at photos of myself from before I started, you would see an amazing transformation.

        Simply put, I have gone from having to either special-order clothes or go to the one store in my area with clothes my size to being able to go to just about any store to buy clothes. Ironically, I still have some clothes from when I started, and I have to wear belts (and fold the waist up) in order for them to even have half of a chance of them staying on.

        I should add that at my most recent weighings, I’m down to around 145kg ~ around 320lb. 🙂

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        1. Hi Sephyroth, nice to meet you. 🙂

          I understood that Snoskred knew that you were overweight – I guess it’s my own issues, I found it really hard to meet people I knew from online even with them knowing exactly how big my issue was. I still think that you’re brave.

          Your story is inspiring. I know how hard it is to do. I’ve written before that for me, I reached a place where it was no longer new, or fun, and I started slacking off. Then life intervened and I went from not losing weight to re-gaining weight. It was so hard to get moving again. For this, I take full responsibility.

          I wish you well. It’s hard work but you are showing how committed you are. I’m betting that you’re feeling a lot better already.

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      2. My winter has been not great, now that I look back on it. 😦

        It started out with losing “my favourite” who was a work colleague, first she resigned from work, and a few short weeks later she died from cancer. So it was a bit of a downer and I always struggle with winter in any case, just because I don’t love the cold. This, and the chicken story I told on my blog, I have no favourites anymore. Not even inanimate objects. I’m just not going to risk it! 😉

        I’ve had my Hawaii trip to look forward to, which has helped a lot.

        Now that we talked about it, Sephy did send me a pic before he came out here. It was from a bit of a distance more because he was trying to be artsy and fit a massive bridge into the shot. So I knew he was a person of magnitude (that is my thesaurus speaking, piffle to that PC person of size shizzle) before he visited.

        I also knew that regardless of the outside, I was such a fan of the inside, that the outside did not matter to me. He would never have got a look from me, even if I did not know ahead of time, even if he was an alien with purple skin. What he did get was a huge hug.

        From the moment he got here it was like our family was complete – me, my other half, and my bestest friend.

        What I did not know – and what I think was so important for me to learn – was how much that extra baggage he was carrying affected.. well.. everything. Things you never thought about before suddenly became important – eg chairs. Will that chair be comfortable for my best friend. Will it hold? Does it have things that will limit how comfortable it will be eg sides, or the back. I would have to try and picture in my mind what chairs were at the restaurant we planned to go to, and then work out if that place would be a good idea or not, because I did not want my best friend to be uncomfortable. And that is just one thing.

        It affected the things we could do – it was simply not possible to walk the distances I had planned at times. Flat walking was ok, but I got so used to saying “watch out the ground is uneven here” that I was saying it to everyone for weeks afterwards.

        What I also did not anticipate was my reaction to people reacting to him. People can be unintentionally cruel with their facial expressions, or even intentionally cruel with comments and sneers and general nastiness. I’ll be honest.. if I were a person of his magnitude, I would find it really hard not to just knock those people down and then sit on them until they were.. crushed. Of course he is used to it, which somehow makes it even worse – that anyone should be used to being treated badly just based on their weight.

        I am not a stick thin person, I have been a lot of different sizes in my life, and I have seen some of this behaviour directed at myself before, but it *never* bothered me the way it bothered me when they did it to him. I have never wanted to dead people with just my thoughts purely because of their behaviour in the way I did while he was here.

        But all that aside, we had a great time – it was an amazing trip and I am looking forward to the next one. For this trip Sephy has learned to swim so that we can snorkel.

        The progress he has made since I first met him, there really are no words. I am so honored to be able to call him my best friend. 🙂

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        1. So sorry about your friend. I hope the chooks are safely enjoying their new enclosure. I would make a poor farmer. I would be really attached to my chickens, who would die of old age long after they stopped laying. Probably they’d end up living in the house so that the critters couldn’t get them. I’m a big marshmallow.

          There are a lot of things people of normal weight don’t think about that those of us on the upper end of the scale must. In my case, add one artificial knee and one bone-on-bone arthritic knee as well as other physical issues – well, I became a little house bound. Particularly with going to a new place, I never know whether I’ll be able to get around, need the wheelchair, or whatever. It becomes easier not to go, but isolating.

          I am really glad for you and your Sephy. I’m not sure I’ll ever have that level of trust again, but then again, one of my dearest friends is from down under and we had a great time when he was able to visit here a few years ago. Sometimes it works. Other times, far too often for my taste, I’ve had online friends disappear after seeing a photo of me. Clearly they were the wrong people to have in my life, but it hurt.

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  5. Just a short, sweet note from me to tell you that you are one of my all time favorite people and I think you’re beautiful. I imagine a transporter in my “if wishes were fishes” land where I could get together all my favorite people and go out in fancy hats for tea.

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  6. Something happened the other day which made me think of this post (and you) again. This time I was at work, and I was truly having a day that could only be concocted in the mind of the devil.

    I work in a call centre where we handle calls for a lot of different clients. Usually full moons are crazy time, but this was not a full moon, so when every caller was just flat out nuts, asking me some of the most bizarre questions I have ever been asked..

    eg – I can’t get through to X, they won’t answer my call when I ring. I know you are not X, but I am sure that you must have a magic number which will make them pick up my call, so can you give me the magic number please?

    I wanted to say sorry, this is not Hogwarts, we do not have any magic numbers here. As you do, of course. Then I wished I had a magic wand so I could magic me to somewhere else.

    Anyway, it was pretty constant with the crazy all night, and then I got a moment to breathe. I just got this new Samsung phone with Android and one of the things it has is predictive text. I have been using this to create messages which make me laugh hysterically, kind of like the spam messages you get..

    At this point I needed the laugh.. I like to close my eyes and just click on the middle word to see what comes out, sometimes clicking with my other finger on the second word, just to mix it up. Here is what my phone said as a surprise to me.

    “the next generation of this year is going to be a good idea to have a lot of people who are not the intended recipient, you can get a chance to win the game. I am a beautiful person. I am a beautiful person. The only problem is with the company. I am a beautiful person.”

    I think maybe this message was not intended for me at all, I think it was meant for you! 😉

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    1. Clearly that last bit was meant for you and should be your mantra. I am a lovely person.

      By the way, I am glad that I never worked in a call center. I did volunteer on a suicide hotline and I was also the person your callers were trying to reach for a while…. those calls were often weird enough.

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