say cheese

Fourth of July is one of those holidays that I can never really figure out. I mean, do we have to work the day before, are they gonna make you work the day after –  is anything open, what’s closed, should we go to the beach, is everything going to be packed, is it weird if we just hang out at home and eat brats and watch Jaws… ya know, what are the rules?

I think no matter what anyone does, it seems everyone goes to see fireworks. I used to go somewhere every year to see them; now my town doesn’t do them, and the surrounding towns do them at odd times or days and the last time we tried, there was a misprint so we got to any empty lot and by the time we got the next closest display, it was over and we just got to sit in the traffic for it.

The last time I actually saw a fireworks display in it’s full glory was 2009. I was here visiting Steve and we found a spot to go, headed out and decided we would go out to dinner afterward.

Except, afterward was almost 10 pm and there was practically nothing open, not a sit down restaurant, not a fast food joint, not a pizza place. Makes sense, but we hadn’t expected it, so here I am in a CVS getting some snacks instead. You’re probably surprised to find that I don’t remember everything I bought; but I remember I spent about $24 and in the bag I had Tostitos scoops and that microwaveable cheese dip they make. Hey, I’m on a mini vacation and had been eating nothing but meat wrapped in cheese for days leading up to it.

Anyway, we’re back at home, settling in to watch a movie and I put the snacks on the table, get us drinks and he sees the cheese sauce and says “That’s all you, that shit is nasty”


I warm it up and eat most of the jar, it’s so salty and gooey and warm and it just melts in your mouth. I put it in the fridge and forget about it.

The next day is our last day together for the long weekend and we go out and grab [very large] coffees and bagel sandwiches. We park next to this cemetery and eat and talk and drink our coffees before we take a drive.

By the way,  I’m lactose intolerant.

Well, I was. Somewhere between getting older and having my surgery it seems to have dissipated.

Not in July of 2009, though.

He’s driving, music playing and it is a gorgeous day. I am wearing this loose teal short sleeve shirt and black capri length flowing pants, that I referred to as my “pirate pants” and I probably wore them all weekend [read: all summer].

My stomach starts to grumble and I ignore it.

It won’t let me.

My face is getting hot and I am now anxious about it, because I’m sure I have to go to the bathroom and this relationship hasn’t been going that long, certainly not so long that it’s at the stage where I can crap my pants and we can laugh about it.

I’m gripping the door pull and probably curling my toes.

Maybe it will pass.

Maybe melty cheese sauce and caramel iced coffees go together better than I think.

Maybe throwing eggs in that situation wasn’t a bad idea.

Maybe I’m just digesting.

It’s going to pass.

A few zigs and zags later, it’s not going to pass.

I see ahead there are some stores, maybe a little strip mall.

I see a Dunkin’ Donuts.


I breathe easier.

I prepare myself to tell him I have to go to the bathroom and ask him to stop. For some reason I can’t, I’m embarrassed, or nervous, I don’t know.

I say nothing.

I feel sweat on my forehead, guts bubbling like a caldron but I say nothing.

Right as we are passing the entrance I shout


He practically slams on the brakes to get into the lot and let me out.

I feel hot and cold and relieved and embarrassed and of course, ridiculous.

I go in and head straight for restroom; single stall, thank you Jesus!

Everything is fine now.

Well, everything except the part where I have to walk back out to the car and explain why I’m so weird.

I open the door and before I even get in, he says “Everything come out okay? I told you not to eat that nasty cheese”

I half laugh “I just had to pee so badly, that was a huge coffee”

He let me have it, but for a few years, any time we passed it he referred to it as “your Dunkin’ Donuts” or “the bathroom you blew up”

I threw the remaining cheese out the minute we got back to the apartment. I never bought it, or ate it again.

It’s not intentional that I haven’t seen a fireworks display since then, and purely coincidental that I haven’t had a near pants crapping experience since, I know.

But, why risk it.

If you’re looking for me tonight, I’ll be drinking cocktails on my couch and watching Jaws.

picture this

I have to be careful when I share conversations between my boyfriend and I with people who don’t know him, or haven’t spent a lot of time with him.

He is, for sure, one of the most supportive people I have ever had in my life, he is also honest [sometimes brutally so] and holds me accountable to myself; for things beyond the subject of weight and wellness.

And honestly, he’s the funniest person I know. Like eyes tearing up, on the verge of peeing my pants funny.

I once told a story over breakfast to a girl who has never met him, and I was laughing the whole time I was retelling it but she sat there staring at me. She let me finish but her stare stayed, and she said “Uh, that sounds kind of rude” still laughing just thinking about the encounter itself I said “I guess you had to be there, he’s not rude at all” and I didn’t go too far on defending him, because he didn’t need it, I know who and what he is and really at the end of the day that’s what’s important.

I have since, however refrained from sharing some stories with some people because I can never duplicate his tone, or the situation or the inflection properly, and I don’t want to give off the impression that he’s some asshole.

But here’s a story that I told like eighty people because when I think about it, I still laugh.

I take a lot of pictures of myself, I think that I always have, but now I’m a little self obsessed, so it’s like I have to document everything in my life as a smaller person.

I’m working on it, but if you follow me on either of my Instagram accounts or Facebook, you’ve seen the selfies. Part of the reason, is because I like to make comparison photos. I like to see how I looked at Christmas in 2013 versus 2016, or how I took a selfie in the airport bathroom in 2011 and find myself in the same airport bathroom in 2015. I mostly make the comparison for myself, but sometimes they blow my mind, and I share them.

Steve sees me every day. He saw me every day for about four years before my surgery, and every day for almost three years since. He teases me for taking the pictures, he scolds [lovingly!] me for staring at my reflection in our new television [it was ONE time!] and he has probably grown tired of hearing people in our families or neighborhoods or friends commenting on how I look now almost every time we see them over the course of my weight loss, but he agrees every time.

He sees me, but I don’t think he SEES the difference all the time, he just sees me. Just the same person who he has always seen. I mean he’s not an idiot, he sees the difference but differently than me, or outsiders, ya know?

So here I am one day, almost two years post op from my vertical sleeve, a few months post op on my panniculectomy (this is essentially a lower tummy tuck without muscle repair) and I decide to make a side by side comparison of myself using photos from the night before my weight loss surgery, and this day. Both are bra and underwear photos taken in our bathroom, and I probably tear up a little, share them on the internet with a story about my story, with honest, real commentary.

When Steve gets home from work, I shove it in his face and instead of his usual “Wow, crazy” or something like that he stares for a minute, blinks hard and grimaces.

“Holy shit”

“I know right?”

“Holy shit you were fat'”

I laugh

“Oh my God, you were so fat”

I laugh again and now he laughs – almost maniacally

“I don’t remember you being that fat, oh man”


Now we’re both laughing, him as if he just made some earth shattering discovery and me because I don’t think I have ever seen him react to anything this way.

Pacing around the living room while shaking his head in disbelief

“I’m sorry, I mean woah”

“It’s fine, I mean, you never said it before, so I get it”

“Well I never realized, WOW”

“Uh huh, yeeeeeeeeeea

“Can we just talk about how fucking fat you were for a second?!”

And of course, we do. And we laugh some more, we reminisce about things from heavier days that we didn’t see or notice, and I am grateful.

Grateful that for years of my life that I shared with another person, he never saw me for anything other than who I truly was.

While he knew I struggled with my weight, he never struggled with it.

Yet, at the breaking point of my struggle, he soothed me, he encouraged me, for me.

If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.





There’s a lot of construction going on where I work right now; throngs of people in and out every day, it would probably be impossible to remember all their names, if you even knew them to begin with.

A pair of electricians show up one day; one older guy and a younger guy behind him. Both in work clothes, a little sweaty – my interaction with them is so minimal that all I can tell you is their names are Greg and Mike. They seem friendly enough; I point them in the right direction and off they go.

Oh yea, Mike is fat.

My boss returns from some errands and starts telling a story about said electricians … “So I’m talking to the fat one…” I felt my eyes widen, I felt surprised by his distinction, I say ” oh, his name is Mike” and I just assume he didn’t know and let him finish his story.

He leaves again and the guys come back past me and ask a few questions that I don’t have the answers to, but say I’ll pass them along. The next day I say to my boss…

“Mike wanted to know about moving that one outlet, if you still wanted to do that?”

“Who’s Mike?”

“The electrician….?” I respond

“Is he the fat one or the other guy?”

I just couldn’t – even though it shouldn’t have been such a surprise – I couldn’t believe an adult, a successful business owner would categorize people that way. A grown man with children, who would more than likely pass that classification on to them, he can’t be serious!

“I guess he’s overweight yea, but his name is Mike”

“What do you know him or something?”

“No, why?”

“You seem defensive is all”

“I am, I mean, if we know a persons name that’s how we should address them, isn’t it?”

Awkward staring at each other.

“All right, Miiiiiiiike and the other guy. Better?”

“Yea, sure, that’s better. It just makes me wonder how many people referred to me as ‘the fat one’ if they hadn’t known or remembered my name?”

“Haha you made your point, now you’re just pushing … you’re not even fat”

“…Not today”

This is the thing about people who only know me now, in my less uncomfortable, smaller body. They are comfortable to make judgements about other people’s bodies, to shame them in my presence and to make fat jokes without a second thought.

I’m more offended by jokes now, than I was at almost 300 pounds. I feel like a traitor sometimes to be present for them, like I somehow tricked these people into thinking I was one of “them”.

I’m getting better about speaking up. I try.

I try to speak up for the people who don’t get the chance to for themselves, the people who are unknowingly the butt off others jokes for merely existing.

I try to speak up because there are people I love, admire and respect, who are also fat. I try to speak up because I hope people have done it for me.

I try to speak up because fat is just a thing we have, not who we are.

let’s [maybe] talk

A friend of mine used to work in a pharmacy and I would tease her for fitting it into any conversation she could; Person opening a cough drop, lady at Bath & Body Works pushing hand sanitizer, cashier in a clothing store.

That’s me now.

I’m so obsessed with the way my life and my opinion of myself has changed since having weight loss surgery that I can’t not talk about it.

I have talked about it with the guys in Vitamin Shoppe, the member services gal at BJ’s, my hair stylist, a cashier at the grocery store and the lady taking my order at Five Guys.

In addition to a slew of people on Instagram, Obesity Help, Real Self and anyone who even hints at being curious. I’m a mentor for the pre-op and post-op patients for the Weight and Wellness Center at my hospital, I’ve spoken on a panel (& will again in October!) at an expo they held. I’m starting classes for counseling in the fall, I’m reading up on taking additional courses for bariatric counseling certification specifically.

I’m into it.

I wanna talk about it.

With everyone.

Well, almost.

Regardless where you went for surgery, or are considering going, there are very similar guidelines post-op. Things like no soda, no drinking while you eat, no solid food for about 2 weeks after; there are stages of eating that you go through and they’re pretty standard.

I can’t hear any more about my girlfriends boss who had the surgery a less than a year ago and a month out was “so hungry” that he had to have a cheeseburger and fries, and complained about how sick he felt after, but continued to eat that way after.

I can’t discuss our progress with a girlfriend who over lunch about a year post-op for both of us got a huge fountain soda and when I (casually) inquired about her drinking soda she said “Oh its fine, they just tell you that but they don’t really mean it”

I can’t offer any more advice to someone who questioned me to death about everything and then four days after their surgery, still healing, swollen stapled up stomach, ate six meatballs, even if “they were really mushed up”.

I sound cold maybe, but these are the people stereotypes come from.

The people who make others think this is “the easy way out”, people who aren’t committed to making changes, people who want a “quick fix”.

To be fair, some may have issues deeper than I am currently equipped to see them through, or deeper than they are even aware of. There’s some leeway there.

It’s been almost three years, but it’s a lifelong thing. On a patient and personal – not yet professional level – I’m serious about my commitment to myself, to the process, to the changes. If you are, or think you are or want to be, or are just curious, we can totally talk about it.

Everyone gets a chance; but some people are just window shopping for advice, and I don’t have time for that.


sorry, can’t make it

In my lifetime I have been invited to more things than I can count, and certainly more things than I’d like to attend. Most of my life I went, even when I didn’t want to.

A specific not-wanting-to-go-but-going-anyway that I can’t ever forget, happened just days before my twenty-seventh birthday.  A coworker was getting married and invited me to her wedding and it was easier to go than to not, so I went with a few friends and my boyfriend at the time.

The day of the wedding I was so annoyed that I had agreed to go and was suffering from menstrual cramps so I took let’s just say more than your standard dose of ibuprofen. Jammed myself into a fancy getup and off we went.

My grandmother always told me the places you want to go the least sometimes end up being the best time, she was [half] right, I had a great time.

I drank the carafe of table wine and only got more boisterous and entertaining, so my friends were stealing the carafes from other tables and feeding them to me.

My boyfriend was, to be polite, straitlaced and my behavior was too much for him, so once I was snapping pictures up my skirt he announced we were leaving.

I sill vividly remember following him halfway outside like some sort of drunk Cinderella from the other side of the tracks; missing shoe, purse spilling out, shouting obscenities. Telling all my friends he was making me leave.

The drive back to my house is five miles, maybe. In that time I begin sobbing about my grandfather having just died (he hadn’t) and telling him how he isn’t any fun because he made me leave my friends, and he tucks all his shirts in (seriously, ALL of them!)

By the time we get home I’m on FULL ON CRAZY and he calmly tries to explain to my mom why he brought me home and what’s going on, but he isn’t even really sure …

I’m screaming and calling him a liar and my mom takes me into the bathroom where she holds me over the toilet and I continue to cry, nose dripping, retching and vomiting and still, for what appears to be no reason.

I remember my brother, from the pantry outside the bathroom asking my mother if it was okay to open some sour cream and onion potato chips; I keep throwing up.

When I’m “calm” I pull all of my short hair up into a sparkly purple hair tie and go back to the kitchen. Brother eating chips, boyfriend talking to my mom, me, sitting with my skirt up around my thigh, leg up and my mother telling me to close my legs and I go on about how I’ve already “shown everybody!”

My boyfriend, who it’s important to note, was a person I had talked about getting married to, and was leaving about 12 days later for Air Force basic training said he’d put me to bed and then head out.

It was too much for him, I mean, me, I guess. And while kissing my head he stuttered and stammered and said he couldn’t do it and broke up with me. He walked out of my bedroom.

I flew down the hall after him screaming, my mom telling him to just go, she’d take care of it (not knowing he just basically dumped me) … my dad walking in from somewhere saying he heard me screaming from outside.

I’m choking on my tears, on my words, on table wine fighting it’s way back up I’m sure… I run, barefoot, out to his car. I start yelling, trying to explain myself (I don’t even know what words are coming out) – he stares straight ahead as I slap my hands on the windows, shouting. He only gets out when my father comes toward his Jeep, to retrieve me.


I am laying on the driveway. The only way he can leave is by running me over.


I fall asleep on a towel in my bed, sure that I am going to die in the night, crying that he’ll never talk to me again.


The next morning I see that I called him after he left about eleven times. We have plans for my birthday that day, he doesn’t call.

He doesn’t check up on me, he doesn’t come over, he doesn’t respond at all.

A text message – before texting everyone instead of calling had even caught on –

“I’m sorry, I just can’t do this.”

I later find out that his mother was mentally ill, and my outburst, a one-time-thing or not, triggered something in him and that was that.

We (my mom & I) also learn shortly after this episode, that the amount of wine I had, combined with my more-than-recommended doses of ibuprofen could potentially cause “psychotic episodes”

Uhhhh, yea.

It was one of the most heartbreaking times in my life [then].  Now, it’s just a story my boyfriend likes to hear me tell at parties because I still think he thinks I’m exaggerating!

It’s laughable because it is so ridiculous.

Now, if I don’t want to go somewhere, I don’t.

Can ya blame me?


driving miss jae

When my family moved from New Jersey to Wisconsin in the early 2000’s, one of my brother’s and I would make the drive back occasionally to visit friends and see some family.  Depending on your route, and your stops, it could be done in about 12 1/2 hours.

We would usually leave after 10pm, and drive through the night, getting to our destination by early the next afternoon. If I was driving the first leg of the trip, it was more like an ankle. We would get from my parents house, maybe to the Indiana line, which was about two hours, before I would be yawning myself to tears. After busting my chops for a few more miles I would eventually swerve a little too much for his comfort and he would take over the duration of the trip.


Rightfully so, he teased me for years. He also assumed that I just didn’t want to drive and did this to get out of it. I wondered if I did, too, but really I felt exhausted from driving.

Years later, when I’ve moved to Massachusetts, Steve and I are making the drive to Wisconsin for that same brothers wedding. The trip is about four hours longer, and we agree to leave around 9 and split the driving. I’m sure you can guess how that went. Barely into NY and I can’t keep my eyes open, so we switch seats. He needs a break so in the morning I’m driving again, until I all but doze off behind the wheel and he shouts, demanding I pull over.

I promise you I never made a connection between my weight and endurance on a long car ride; but again, in retrospect I find myself sort of piecing it together.

In 2015, just under one year post-op, we once again are driving from MA to WI for my other brothers wedding. We talk about flying because the trip is a lot for one person to drive, and we know that’s what happens, but we have a suit and a dress and favors and camera gear so we decide to drive.

I start the trip off driving and drive for almost six hours straight, without a break or, oddly enough, a complaint. We switch on and off for the rest of the trip and we joke about what a fluke that was, and I brag to everyone like I’d achieved something incredible.

After that, he’d “make” me drive more places we went, joking that I had recovered from my “driving apnea”.

I’d forgotten about any of that until this weekend when I was attending my girlfriends bridal shower about three hours from here. I was considering the logistics; would I go down the night before? Should I be local the whole weekend to avoid the driving all at once? I ultimately decide to drive down the morning of, and then home afterward. When I tell steve he laughs, “Who are you, me?” since he has on many occasions spent 8-10 hours in the car for one photography outing with friends. We laugh, and I don’t think about it again.

I did it; I drove something like 325 miles, with a several hour break in the middle full of mimosas and delicious food and socializing, and never got tired, or felt like it was too much. In fact, I got home, made us a late dinner and then watched some tv before going to bed at my usual time.

You might roll your eyes like “okay, losing weight made you able to drive longer distances? that’s a stretch” and ya know what, maybe it is. But in losing weight, I gained some things too, one of which was clearly increased energy and stamina, so let me have it 🙂



trial and error(s)

Yesterday I had a conversation with a stranger about weight loss, and then, of course, weight loss surgery. We talked for about fifteen minutes, she asked about the process, how it worked, and what kind of “diet” I followed now.

I was, as you might have guessed, more than happy to spill the details of the last few years. She congratulated me, and asked what I would tell my former self if I could go back and talk to her.

Without hesitation, I say ” I would tell her not to wait, to go to a doctor who would get her on this path sooner” because that is the truth; I have not a single regret, maybe only that I didn’t make the decision (three or four or) five (or six, or seven) years earlier.

She nodded and said “I bet. But would you tell her to try anything else? or just go right to surgery now that you know?” [curiously, not condescending]

“Ya know, of course I would want her to try everything else first – but I already did. I had tried every thing you could probably imagine and it didn’t work, or help beyond a temporary period”  She rolled her eyes “Oh, I know how it is.”

Nobody I know personally, who has had any type of WLS (weight loss surgery, for short) just woke up one day and was like “Shit, I’m fat, better get my stomach cut out” – although I am sure there are people who just skip over everything until a point where it is just too late and it’s a do-or-die lifesaving option.

Many of the people I know, had similar struggles to me, and to each other. On more than one occasion, sharing any part of my life-long (I mean, it was!) struggle/concern with my weight elicits “Oh my god, I was the same” or “YES, me too!

Here’s an abridged history of my personal weight loss trials prior to agreeing to let a medical professional remove 80% of an internal organ that I have had all of my life.

  • Weight Watchers – as far back as when there were cards you moved from one side of a little folder over to another one and all the way up through the points plus system.
  • Atkins – varying degrees, but I must have done the ‘induction’ phase at least thirty times in my life.
  • Juice Fast – only a handful of times; the shortest of which was 2 days and the longest was 7, just fruits and vegetables and water in my Vitamix all day every day.
  • Low Fat eating – Yep, just eating low fat foods, or foods with naturally low fat content, staying under, i believe 40g a day.
  • Adipex – prescription appetite suppressant/diet pill
  • Stacker – alleged world’s strongest fat burner, first time I took it I was so jittery i dropped a pizza I was serving onto the table, upside down.
  • Hydroxycut – Only once I think I tried this, three days later my grandmother died and I forgot to bring it in the bag I packed for her funeral; I still think she made me forget it.
  • Dairy free – For 48 days I had not a single stitch of dairy; no cheese, no milk products, no yogurt, nothing.

And of course, I made a ton of salads, drank all the water I possibly could and skipped plenty of desserts, fried foods and snacks. I used lettuce to wrap “burgers”, ate deli meat wrapped in cheese instead of on bread, didn’t put croutons on salads. I cut everything I could when i could. I did the cardio stuff at the gym, tried yoga, bought gimmicky exercise shit (shake weight / ab doer / wonder core / ab slide, to name a few), walked around parks and trails, bought hand weights easily a dozen times.

Once while Steve was away I ate nothing but salad for every meal, and walked about 3 -5 miles every day that he was gone – 2 weeks! I GAINED weight.

Sometimes your methods don’t matter, sometimes things are just out of your control. I didn’t believe that was true regarding weight loss, but my body was a traitor.

My surgery was a metabolic reset in addition to reducing the size of my stomach. And the only thing about it that makes me feel bad, is the anguish that could have been avoided for so many years.


rest assured, i’m eating.

When someone you know is losing weight, please refrain from saying “Don’t get too skinny”.

I laughed the first time, as if “too skinny” even seemed like a possibility from my place on the scale. The second time I didn’t laugh as much but thought “Huh, is that even possible?” and here we are at almost three years and ninety pounds later and it’s just not funny.

It’s not because it goes against being body positive or talking to people about their weight or their bodies in general; because I don’t have a hard stance on that stuff. I myself am an open, filter-less woman who will talk about and discuss almost everything.

It’s just annoying.
You don’t have to say anything.

Nobody talked about my body in fear of it getting too fat, but this too thin thing would apparently be an issue.

Nobody had anything to say when I loaded up my plate at a BBQ or holiday but plenty comment on my smaller portions now; “Is that all you’re eating?” “I hope you’re not starving yourself”

I don’t remember any comments on photos I posted about “blowing up” or “being huge” but I now get them about “disappearing” or “wasting away”

With a BMI of 40, a weight of 278 and blood pressure that far exceeded white coat syndrome at 178/100 nobody said shit. I had a great personality and was fun too be around …nobody ever said “Don’t get too fat”

Guess what? I got too fat.

Too fat to feel comfortable going on job interviews.

Too fat to try kayaking even though my boyfriend asked me to go every summer for five years (hey – we’re going on July!).

Too fat to (confidently) go to group exercise classes; or gyms.

Too fat for a dozen other things I can’t recall at the moment.

I got too fat for me.

I did that, and I am in absolutely no way saying that anyone else is responsible for what I did (or didn’t do) or let happen with my body, at all.

I’m also not saying I don’t appreciate the compliments and positivety thrown my way.

[ I do, so thank you! ]

I’m just saying … let’s maybe not say anything beyond the social niceties of “You look good” or “Hey, you look great” and let that be the gateway for a person to choose (or NOT choose) to continue on a conversation about their weight/weightloss.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who was self-conscious about their previous body, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a little self conscious after comments like “you’re wasting away!” Or “I hope you’re eating!” …it’s like you can’t win no matter what you’re doing!

Rest assured, I’m eating.

it was a wrap

“Hey, remember that time you cried over the sandwich?”

“It was a wrap”

“Same difference.”



I was about a week post op from an emergent gallbladder removal. Emergent mostly because after about four or five ER visits with crippling attacks that ended with me going home because I felt better after some drugs, or had no insurance, or honestly was just afraid – they were like, ‘Nope you’re staying this time’

The morning I am released the surgeon who performed the surgery told me that he also repaired an umbilical hernia. I remember saying “I always thought that bump was because my jeans dug in to my belly”; he went on to say he was surprised I had even noticed with the folds in my belly.


Well, at least he didn’t call them rolls.

He comments on my weight and advises me to make some changes to my diet, but sends me on my way to resume mostly normal activity and says I am free to eat anything. I have minimal appetite for days, and am treating saltines and cranberry juice like steak and champagne a few days later. After a full week or so I accompany Steve to a shopping center nearby where he is going to buy a new laptop. Short and sweet, but fresh air.

After we leave, out of habit mostly, he asks if I’m hungry. To our surprise, I am. There’s a restaurant nearby where we have gone a few times and I decidedly say I want to go there and know exactly what I am going to have.


We sit down, order drinks and peruse the menu. My eyes dart up and down, flipping pages; where is the Southwestern Wrap? Come ON.

When our server returns I ask her if they took it off the menu; she says she’s never heard of it and has been there for a few months so she assumes so.

I grimace.

She tells me she can ask the kitchen if they have the ingredients and if they do, she can’t imagine they wouldn’t make it for me. Do I know what’s in it she asks … As if I have been studying for this moment all of my life I say “Chicken, black olives, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, diced tomatoes, black beans and jalapenos”

She comes back happy to report that one of the guys said of course he remembers it and can still make it.

Crisis Averted.

The plate placed in front of me may as well have been gold, covered in lace, with diamonds strewn across it. I mean, I had barely eaten in a week, but my eyes must have widened like a child on Christmas morning.

With sky high levels of anticipation I take a bite and instantly shake my head in disappointment, spitting it into a napkin. Before I could even tell Steve what was wrong with it, I’m crying.

Full on, SOB crying.

In my defense it was just lettuce, sour cream and chicken in a wrap. That’s it. Gross.

He tells me to get something else …

“I don’t WANT something else. I fucking wanted this and they said they could make it and this is disguuuuuuuusting

Our poor waitress. She offered me every resolution but I just asked her to take it away. With tears running down my face I explain that I had surgery a few days before and was still taking pain medication and it was my first experience with anesthesia and I’m really sorry and she laughs and consoles me and takes it off the check.

I leave her a big tip because I’m a fucking downer in the middle of a lunch shift, I KNOW. I even wrote an email a few days later to the manager to tell them how awesome she was even when I was acting like an irrational baby.

The story is funny because who cries over that?

But what’s not funny is that this is just another story in a long repertoire of stories about being annoyed or upset over food. Almost anyone who knows me, and has known me for years probably remembers me throwing something out of a car window, in the trash or in the case of foods that you eat with your hands, violently squishing things that were not prepared the way I expected or requested.

When I think about it now, I just see this sad fat girl uncomfortably sitting in a booth crying over a sandwich. Er, wrap.



people pleaser

I’m a recovering people pleaser.

I thought for a while that it was just in my nature, my genes even.

My parents are good people.

Like, really good, give-you-the-shirt-off-their-backs good. I was raised watching them help when they could, nurturing and taking care of others.

So I did the same.

I’m not saying I’m some Mother Theresa who let my heart and hands bleed for the good of every person I’d ever met. I definitely didn’t. I did used to joke that I was the meanest nice person you’d ever meet.

A large portion of my adult interpersonal relationships had been flooded with phrases like “sure, that’s fine” or “whatever you want to do”.

Every job I have ever had, too, has been caring for others in some way. Retail and office jobs aside, waitressing, personal assistant, nanny; the reward for me was monetary, but the reward for the other half, endless.

It was just who I was.

It might not have anything to do with my weight.

[you know I’m going to tell you that now I think it did; at least maybe a little bit]

A few years ago I was working for a woman who was pretty put together and had lost her husband the year or so before. I met her and her kids and decided that it sounded like a good fit, and accepted her offer.

On my very first day, while she was showing me around their neighborhood and explaining what the duties might entail, I said, in no uncertain terms “Whatever you need”.

And for more than three years, I stuck to that.

I stuck to it when it interfered with my own plans.

I stuck to it when it seemed unreasonable.

I stuck to it when people would roll their eyes.

I stuck to it when I didn’t want to.

I stuck to it to the point that I was stuck.

Don’t get me wrong she was fine, and took excellent care of me. In retrospect, if I was doing it without complaint, why not let me.

It was during my time with her that I started going to the Weight & Wellness center, going through the process. It was about six months after my weightloss surgery that I would finally give my notice and think only [at least for a moment] about myself.

I also remember a time when my boyfriend and I were hosting a traveling model and her husband for a night. I made everyone breakfast; like a serious, scratch biscuits, eggs, juice, fruit, coffee situation. I served them, and ate while I was cleaning up.

After the third or so time that I checked on them, the husband says “Hey yea I need something, how about you sit down and hang out, you don’t have to serve us, geez!” We joked about me being a people pleaser, about me being a Libra and then he basically said “Well cool, but get over it and sit the fuck down”.

I didn’t ever want to rock the boat. Maybe if I just went with the flow and was nice and sweet and good to everyone they wouldn’t notice. If I could be mostly true to who I thought I was, but make myself just small enough to blend in… maybe I could distract them from my big mouth, my big personality, my big body.

It could totally be because I’ve gotten older and gotten more comfortable with myself as a result, and that’s probably the bulk of it.

But humor me that it could also be the shift in my self esteem (which I never thought was low, ironically!)… That with the weight that bothered me (and in my opinion held me back in some ways) gone, and the increase in my self esteem, my clearer view of my value as a friend, a girlfriend, a woman, a person; I’m less willing to say yes to others, if doing so means I have to say no to me.