Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Longing For Gray

I have such a love/hate relationship with girly girl emporium Vict*ria’s S*cret. All that pink and those frills and bows and impractically padded D cup bras. All those absurd undergarments that never support me like they should. So why is it every time I walk in there I feel like all I need is one matching bra-and-panty and then I will be the hottest, sexiest, most desirable woman in the world? Just a $90 set of underwear and I am good to go. This urge to buy underwear/instantly become sexy has been so strong in the past that I actually once applied for a VS credit card on the spot and charged everything because it seemed so frivolous to spend the money I had on all that. It seemed MUCH smarter to spend money I didn’t have, and pay that off $20 a month plus 25 percent interest. In my defense, I was in my 20s. I know better now. Sometimes. But still, today, I really really wanted that overpriced matching set of anything. So sparkly and frilly and lacy and impractical….

Yesterday I bought jeans. It seems like a practical purchase, considering my current stay-at-home status. Of course, the process of trying on clothes kick started all those lovely body issues. I got mad at myself in the dressing room. Because the jeans aren’t the right size (I should be smaller) and they are a little too snug where they should be loose (my waist should be smaller) and because my stomach mushrooms or muffin tops (pick your metaphor) over the top of the jeans in a new and not-so-welcome way.

I don’t have unrealistic expectations for myself. I just want to be perfect. So let me rephrase that: I have extremely unrealistic expectations for myself. I am trying to get past them, I really am, for many reasons, not the least of which is that I don’t want my two children to grow up with issues like this. But this whole getting older thing (the body breaks down in new and unusual ways; your metabolism changes; gravity becomes a bigger issue) really compounds the issue. And food issues add something undesirable to the mix. And the all-or-nothing attitude thing. And the I-fucked-today-up-by-eating-two-pretzels-so-I-might-as-well-just-eat-a-box-of-crackers-thing. I could go on.

Here’s a perfect example of my all-or-nothing attitude (heretofore to be referred to as aona because I don’t feel like typing it out): I went to Jen’s house the other day, but made a stop on the way to pick up some supplies for some projects I am working on. I grabbed a bag of gummi bears for Jen, since she is pregnant and craved them. I also got a candy bar for her. (I figure she can indulge in this without guilt if it is a gift.) Anyway, so I get in the car and the girls are getting fussy. They both are crying and I am trying to navigate my way through roads I am not familiar with at all. I felt disoriented and the crying oh the nonstop crying in the car makes you INSANE after a while. I was hungry. I had to pee. I figured gummi bears would make ALL this better. So I ripped open the bag with my teeth and saw no harm in eating just a few of the green ones. I ate the entire bag. Not the snack-sized bag, the big share-with-other’s sized bag. A bag that would sit in a normal person’s cabinet for weeks!

That might seem harmless enough but the problem is that these singular events snowball into entire sequences of bad events that can spans weeks if I let it. One bag of gummi bears leads to one box of the treat that is something like a cracker but more like a snack which leads to not my sensible ice cream bar but half of a pint of ice cream for dessert which leads to skipping the gym which leads to eating whatever I want whenever I want which leads to low low low self esteem which leads to more body issues which leads to a viscous cycle of eat/don’t work out/feel like shit until I wake up one day and just say enough is enough. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes a few days and sometimes a week (and sometimes, sadly, much, much longer) to get to the point where I reset myself. And let me tell you, people, a week (day or even hour) of eating crap and not working out and beating yourself up for it and feeling like shit every time you looked in the mirror is not fun.

So that is life with aona. When I am good, I am very good. I can be very disciplined and dedicated and controlled and organized. And when I am bad, I am ridiculous. I can be perfect and the second I am not, I dip so far into the opposite side of perfect that it is crazy.

I am not terribly comfortable writing about this sort of stuff, but oh well. And let’s be honest, the only reason why I can write about this now is because I am in a good phase.
This blog has always been about me having a place to vent/share/opine/record/reflect. The fact that other people read these long, meandering not-very-well written posts blows my mind. I can’t imagine how others might find my life interesting!

I am also a firm believer in admitting you have an issue as a precursor to changing it. And since this is something that is so hard to talk about because it is embarrassing/some people just don’t get it/makes me seem weak and imperfect/here we go again, I’d rather write about it and then go about my life as if everything is just fine. My life has always been about such extremes. One of these days, I hope to live happily in the middle.

Pictured above is my adorable Madeline. How cute is she? Wow, do I need a manicure.


Katy said...

Just wanted to say HELL YESSSS! I am right there with you! When I'm good, I'm so good = gym, good, healhty diet, no candy. When I'm bad (lately) I don't work out for months, and I eat the entire bag of candy corn. Yep, I can relate!

Katy said...

Oh! And Madeline is ADORABLE!!

Louise in Canada said...

As I sit here reading various blogs and munching my way (almost) through a can of chips, it strikes me that I may very well have 'aona' too!

For me, part of the viscious cycle is that, until the reset button is hit, the bag of gummy bears/half pint of ice cream/the can of chips, etc becomes the generally accepted serving size for the food in question. I too hope that one day I shall find the middle but for now, it is bad, very bad.

I don't know you at all but I think that you sell yourself short when it comes to your blog. I would not be at all surprised to find that you are some sort of writer in your non-blog life. I think that you write incredibly well about your life. It may not appear to be interesting or it may seem to be about nothing but to me (and I'm sure others) it is an intriguing read that I look forward to.


I've been lurking for a while, and wanted to say that I understand the aona, having often been there myself. I don't mean to disregard the issues you have with your body, but give you lots of credit for identifying them, and working to change them - especially in light of the fact that you have two daughters who you want to grow up with healthy body images, but I have to tell you that I think you look great, based on the photos on the blog.
As for the blog itself -- yours is one of my favorties to read, because I think it is really well written - honestly, I look forward to it. And, I need a manicure myself, and I don't have twins (yet).

calliope said...

you write about the body stuff so eloquently that it kills me. Because everything that you write just resonates with me in this deep, primal, I too have issues with food and body, way.
Last night I was trying to sleep and trying to hush the inner conversation in my head- you know the one that tells you what a fuck up you are. (& by "you" I mean me- but you knew that) And suddenly I just shushed myself silly by deciding to set my alarm for a crazy early hour and get up and walk.
And so I did. I walked. And I so hope that it puts me back on track.

sara said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post-- it was one where I was nodding my head the whole way through-- I can completely relate. I struggle with the same issues and I also tend to be either unrealistically good (which inevitable sets me up to fail), or very bad. Thank you for being brave enough to write about this-- it's really important.

JLO said...

Recently discovered your blog and love it! You are a gifted writer and reading your stories helps me cope as I'm also a mom of twins (mine are 4 months old) who suffers from aona. If I "cheat" and eat what I want, I will plan my entire day around other things I will eat since I've already blown it. I am a control freak in other areas of my life too, so I think it is all related. Here's to one day finding the middle of the road.

K J and the kids said...

:) ha ha ha ha hah ahha ahahah ahah
(choking on the corn nuts I'm shoveling like popcorn in a movie theater in to my mouth)....ah ah ah ha

From the over eating and bad food choices to standing in the dressing room wondering if it's a new fashion statement and the cloths have since been cut and tapered weird or if I REALLY am this big now.
My boys are 15 months sister...and I still have these issues.
I've learned to get over mine. (wink)
Until I want to look cute and feminine to go out with the girls and once again appear human...and then UGH it starts all over again.
:) Thanks for the laugh !

Motel Manager said...

In our house, it is my husband who suffers from aona. He's very disciplined about certain things, like going to the gym, but he has had to cut himself off from desserts entirely because if he has one cookie, he has 25. When our son was born, he decided that that day, he would eat ice cream from C.old But since he decided to do that, he also ate a black and white cookie, a scone, and a cupcake before our friends even brought the ice cream to the hospital. He went back on the wagon the next day. :)

ms.bri said...

I totally did the same thing with a Vic.toria's Secret credit card in my 20's. I don't go in there anymore.

Wes has a major candy-related aona. I have to hide any candy that enters the house.

Anonymous said...

Madeline is a beauty. Go get a manicure, drink some tea, pat your belly and thank your body for its amazing work everyday. Then think about something more interesting while you enjoy a gummy bear.

Kerry Lynn said...

yup, eating cake while reading.

at least you have periods where you ARE dedicated/motivated.

i had to laugh that it blows your mind that people find your life interesting. i guess i'm not sure what it is but i'm definitely drawn to the honesty of your venting.

JAMs Wife said...

First off I am totally with you on the victoria secret thing. We don't have VS in canada, so I fill my void with Silk & Satin, and Le Vie en Rose. A girl can't ever have enought cute underware.
Secondly, thank you for sharing/venting your feelings. It is great to know that we are not alone.