Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Will Never Blog About This Again

I've been sans blog because I've been really struggling with this entry, but can't quite find the appropriate words to finish. My other entries about the recipes and sundry other thoughts have had to take a number, so they're on deck and will be posted throughout the next week. This is a very long, badly organized, rambling blog. Get a stiff drink and a sherpa before you begin reading:

I had another conversation about weight loss, specifically my lack of it, with The Friend the other day. Yeah, that same friend from this entry. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson at this point, huh?

And I need to preface all of this by saying I'm not writing this for sympathy, and I love you all for how supportive and wonderful you are and how some of you emailed in and offered to gather up an angry mob with pitchforks the first time I wrote about this, but for this entry I just want everyone to kind of think about this, because I'm seriously sort of stuck on what to believe.

It doesn't matter how the friend and I landed on the weight conversation again, but the gist of what he said is distilled down to the following:

1) Losing weight is absolutely nothing more than a matter of burning more energy than consuming it. There's nothing hard about calories in vs. calories out, and people who say it's not that easy are whining.

2) Anorexia and bulimia are real diseases but addictive behaviors like binge eating (or alcoholism, drug addiction, etc.) aren't, because we make the choice to eat the food, or start drinking the alcohol. Likewise, depression or other mental illnesses don't count as a disease, or as legitimate reasons for overeating and gaining weight, because the choice is always there to improve the depression, and therefore the weight.

3) The fact that I've lost about 25 lbs. only means that I've gone from morbidly obese to slightly less morbidly obese (with the subtext of that statement being I crow about it like I've won Biggest Loser, when I haven't really done shit)

4) He doesn't believe I'll ever really lose enough weight to be normal sized.

And finally...

5) I make a hobby out of being fat. That if I seriously ever tried to lose weight, and I got thin and healthy I wouldn't have anything to bitch about, and so wouldn't have this blog, or these people who read it, or anything to say about myself or my life. So I don't lose weight, because if I did no one would feel sorry for me.

Of course it embarrassed me to read those things, especially because I was reading them in a Panera in Johnson County (it's the 90210 of the Midwest, if that helps) during last Saturday's brunch rush, sitting in a huge, overstuffed leather armchair, and wiping big, rolling tears off my cheeks while a table of college girls in North Face jackets and Dior sunglasses gave me funny looks in between sips of their I.C. Cappuccino Chips. But for a week, I tried to be really, really objective about what he said, because I think there's at least a little truth in it. I don't know if I use my size as an excuse, but I know I DO use it for things. I know Pasta Queen's talked about this in an entry before; I use being fat as a litmus test to sort out the kind people from the unkind, and the shallow from the worthwhile. I use it to be invisible, so I can watch how people really are when there's not a pretty girl around to distract them. And yeah, a huge portion of my entries in this blog are about what it's like to be fat, instead of always what it's like to be losing weight. I write them because I feel them every single day, and I write them because I see other fat people going through the same thing, and I read that some of you go through it, too. I write about it because what happens to people as they lose or gain weight is not right. Society wouldn't fathom of telling someone to be a little less Methodist, or a little more white, but our fat, or our lack of it, is everyone's business; the skinny girls get told to go eat a sandwich, and the fat ones are told how much prettier they'd be if they'd just TRY a little harder.

I've been overweight since time immemorial...this part of my life has become my identity, my struggle, and it has colored my view of the world in a way that a normal person simply couldn't understand. I don't expect to be able to tell my friend that I'm scared of abandoning that identity for a new one, because I don't think he'd ever understand it.

I say these things not as reasons for why I'm not currently losing my 2.5 lbs. per week, but because I didn't know before last Saturday that normal people feel contempt for obese people who try and don't do so well. I wondered if maybe there was some sort of fundamental "go get 'em" characteristic that most thin, active people have and most overweight people don't. I know The Friend would call it laziness or self-pity, but I also know I am not a lazy person. I'm a workaholic, and a to-do listaholic, and, well, I'm not the lazy sack of shit he seems to think I am. I know plenty of obese people who run circles around their skinny counterparts during the day, with their families and their careers and their lifestyles. It's not laziness, dude.

So, what is it? I keep calling it the lack of a "Rudy gene" in my head; that ability to take criticism or adversity and just plow through it no matter what. I know in the past when The Friend has goaded me about my weight, he did so with the intention of inspiring me to get up off my ass and exercise, or to remember it as I made a choice between a healthy lunch and an indulgent one. I don't know if he was planning the same thing when he said he felt disdain for me and "all my excuses for not slimming down". I don't know if he wanted me to pull a Bridget Jones and say "Fuck you!" and then spend hours pedalling a workout bike while Chaka Khan blares in the background. I know I didn't; I sank back into the Panera armchair and took another bite from my bagel and chewed and considered what he had to say. I didn't really expect myself to...I've always been one of those people who take the criticism and store it away to beat myself up with it later, rather than using it as an impetus for change. That part IS a character flaw, I know.

So, this is what I've been trying to figure out for the past week: What is it that causes me to be this ambitionless? Why do I get little ten minute flashes of inspiration and then they die out just as quickly as they started? What characteristic causes me to get motivated to make changes in my body, my career, my relationships for about a day and then I'm sucked back into that same feeling of inertia when the day is over? Why have I allowed that inertia to control my entire life, in everything from from choosing a college to choosing a husband, when I know that ultimately it's really messing me up?

I landed on depression, obviously. When I hear teachers or parents berate a kid at school for being lazy or listless or uncaring, I am never surprised to hear that two or three months later the kid's been evaluated and diagnosed with depression. Because depression isn't that kid's personality, it's what's drowning it. I know it's been drowning me for at least twenty years.

And this is where yesterday, at the conclusion of the week-long series of conversations between The Friend and me, that my jaw hit the floor. Number one, as I listed above, was that he believes depression isn't really a disease, and that it can be fixed by making the choice to get better. The Friend used his own case of depression as an example; that it simply was a mental disorder he improved by giving it the good ol' college try, manning up, and overcoming the same way he'd climb a rock wall, or negotiate a business deal, or make a particularly difficult pasta sauce or something. This is where our conversation sort of broke down, because I got all high school debatey and pulled out sections of the DSM-IV where the doctors say depression IS a disease, one that essentially starts out with a badly mixed cocktail of brain chemicals that ultimately erode your brain's structure and ability to cope with stressors or even with the day-to-day trivialities of life. The Friend said he didn't agree with the research, because it just didn't "feel right", I may have said something nasty about the lack of med school diplomas on his wall, and we both threw our hands up to one another and said goodnight.

Here's the thing: there is the kind of depression that comes from losing a job, or breaking up with a girlfriend, or of course being overweight, and then there is the kind of depression that starts for no reason at all when you're a child. I've had the latter since I was about five. I've spent more than one of my own birthday parties locked in a bathroom crying uncontrollably, my seventh because I couldn't stop thinking about all the children in orphanages or old people in nursing homes who didn't have anyone to celebrate their birthday with, my ninth because my mom got irritated at me when I told her I wanted a different Cabbage Patch than I'd received and she said I was ungrateful and I decided I WAS ungrateful and I had ruined my birthday for her, and a couple other ones in recent years for various twentysomething angst reasons. I was carried out of Epcot Center when I was 10 because a week of hearing my parents fighting in our hotel room and throwing up in the bathroom every night from the stress of it all finally wore me down until I decided the Laser Light Display was a nuclear bomb attack and I went beserk. I've spent entire days in bed, not sleeping, not really thinking...just unable to move because the sadness in my body weighed a million pounds and held me there. I was labeled a "high strung child" and a "neurotic teenager", and the thought of depression never crossed anyone in my family's mind until my mother found me collapsed on the floor of our kitchen one day during a Christmas break home from college, unable to do much more than laugh and cry hysterically. She called a local psychiatrist, and started referring to my depression as "my little problem" from that point on. For the past two weeks, "my little problem" has manifested itself in half of my brain, very calmly, urging me to eat at least 4,000 calories a day so I wouldn't give The Friend the satisfaction of seeing I lost weight after our conversation. It's funny, because the normal part of my brain shrieks out the warnings while the crazy part encourages me to eat, and by the end of the 4,000 calories I've been so preoccupied with the Wagnerian chorus of insanity in my head, I haven't tasted one bite of my binge. Don't expect a loss on Monday, by the way. :)

I'm not writing these things to shock you, or to garner sympathy. I'm writing them because I want The Friend, and other people who might read this and not get me and why I sort of fritter around at all this, to understand that sometimes depression is not a choice. Sometimes, you take your medicine and go to you therapy and do quite well for awhile, and then one chemical decides to take the day off and suddenly you're right back to where you started. And in the course of battling through the depression...of getting your head back above water for the 3,679th time in your life...you realize some things, weight loss for instance, have to take a backseat until you do. You're just happy when you eat poorly like a normal person would, instead of binging your life away.

I'm writing this, finally, because anyone who thinks it's a choice to live a life like this; to be that unstable for decades of your life, to have to admit to your parents why you haven't paid bills or cleaned your house for a couple weeks, to walk into work without a shower or makeup because you couldn't make yourself just do it, to be a hundred pounds overweight not because you're not really trying, but because the messed up part of your head won't LET you, to dutifully take your meds and go to therapy and do all the homework and the journaling and the roleplaying and the self-affirmations until you practically have a psychology degree of your own and still you haven't quite found the right combination to keep you happy for more than a few days at a time...to anyone who would seriously think that I, or anyone else like me, MADE THE CHOICE to live like this? You're welcome to go fuck yourself. Seriously.

I'm done talking about this now. I promise I won't ever write why I'm not losing weight again, unless it has something to do with finding out that a grocery store prankster somehow managed to fill up all the fat free yogurt cartons with Ben & Jerry's or whatever. I'll post the exercise logs, and the food journals and the recipes and the product reviews, and maybe if I go through a stretch where getting out of bed seems as unattainable as base jumping off the Chrysler Building, I'll write about other things, like how the front entryway of the Wal-Mart always smells like farts, or how I can't find a vase big enough to sit by my fireplace that doesn't cost a thousand dollars. I'm through trying to justify something that I barely understand myself to a person who doesn't care to even try to understand. My meds feel like they've kicked back in again, because I see the silver eye floaties and that's always a good sign. I'm getting more sleep, and that means more energy down the road, and since I've figured out I'm a wretched cook, I'm going to go back to the original plan of getting entrees and salads from restaurants and splitting them up throughout the week. I have a plan. I stumbled, but I'm getting better. I'm TRYING. And now I'm done bitching.

25 comments:

The Cakehole said...

I am incandescent with rage on your behalf right now. It's 2:25am and I have to be in work in 4 hours, so I'll write a proper email tomorrow when there is a minute chance that what I type may make sense, but really, astonishingly angry.

One thing I wanted to say immediately though, is please don't promise not to talk about stuff. Ths is your blog, not his, not ours. It's your place for your thoughts, and no one has the right to make you feel like you shouldn't share them. You're not bothering us. Anyone who has a problem knows where the back button is. Don't feel you have to censor yourself in your own space.

cliopatra said...

(Welcome to my comment, aka "The Book")

Amen sister on both the depression and the weight loss problems. I struggle with both. Thank God for supportive family and friends.

This brings me to the subject of your "Friend". No one who is your real friend would ever say "you are never going to be able to do this." A person who says this is not your friend.

My friends, when I slip up, say "What can I do to help? How can I help motivate you/support you?" or they say great things like "Well, get up, dust yourself off and get back on that horse!" A person who say these things is your Friend, and deserves to be capitalized.

I think sometimes people couch meanness under the guise of "truth." Your "friend" believes he is being truthful, and is treating you with "tough love" when what's really happening is he's just being an asshole. No, really. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts, but sometimes people are being mean just because they can.

We fat people tend to be doormats.

For something to be truth, there must be a kernel of fact in it. For example: the sky is blue. True, because most of the time it is.

The great thing about humans is our truth is fluid. We can change the truth about ourselves. You're proving it every day as the pounds go away.

So, get up, dust yourself off and get right back on that horse! :)

Shauna said...

I completely agree with your descriptions of Types of Depression! There is the circumstantial then there's the one that hovers over you from day one.

And I'm torn between wanting to punch your alleged friend and wanting to hug you and wanting to bawl because it just seems that some people will never see that it's not a choice. maybe it is just too far out of the realm of their own experience to be able to really understand.

I hope you just keep writing whatever is on your mind, whatever you need to say!!! take care erin.

Tracy said...

Erin, please don't stop talking about "the why" of the losing or not losing of weight, because these struggles you have with keeping your head above water, losing weight and just generally living are what everyone who reads your blog relates to. It is nice to hear someone else say how tiring it can be just to LIVE let alone live and try and improve yourself on a grand scale. Plus, if you stop talking about why, then "The Friend" (who I personally think should be called "the asshole who once duped me into calling him a friend" has one. You need to keep living your life and doing what your doing, because whether you see it or not, you are fixing your problems, slowly but surely. And 25 pounds is a big accomplishment! So cheer for yourself like you have won the Biggest Loser, because you lost weight without going to a ranch for 3 months where you exercise 5 hours a day, and every pound is worth cheering over.

So what I am saying with this long ramble is keep being you, and writing what you need to write because that is why we all come and read your blog. You are hilarious, witty and find the funny in pain, and that is truly a gift.

Poonie said...

This was a an amazing post Erin, it was thought provoking and so brave and honest. You should make no apologies at all for it.

Your "friend" is clearly someone who, as you said, doesn't want to understand. And no friend would define you as fat and tell you you'll never be anything else. He doesn't seem to be able to even see a real person behind the fat and gives you no credit for being anything else, and someone who does that is no friend. Those of us who have always been overweight tend to see ourselves as that fat person and define ourselves that way (until we learn otherwise), but nobody else has the right to do so. You deserve better friends!

You have done great and you will continue to do so.

Laura Brandon said...

i'm at work so i can't leave a long comment, but i just want to say everyone is right, that's not a friend. lose him.

Anne M. said...

Sending you big hugs and wishing I could sit with you at Panera and just chat about life and Friends who really aren't so much. Lose him, you are worth so much more.

jen said...

I wanted to post to ask how this person gets to be considered a friend... I think a lot of us spend way too much time and energy trying to prove ourselves to people who are never going to get us. The ones who are our fans are obviously too stupid and deluded to merit our attention and instead we use incredible amounts of energy trying to win over the unwinnable.

You need to live your life for you and not the Friends in your life. Then you'll be free to act in your own best interest instead of being torn between trying to please your friends and trying to show them who's boss.

It's hard, I know.

Lauren said...

you writing about that stuff makes me think about my own stuff. So please, write about whatever you want. Secondly, your friend, is a HUGE tool. Thirdly. I'm going through something right now where I've been told several times recently to see a therapist, but didn't really stop to consider that my meds that I havent' gotten checked out in 3 years might be the problem. That they might not be working properly might be leading to an all out meltdown. Oooh, new post a brewing. You can do this.

Helen said...

I don't have time to write all the things that reading this post of yours brought up with me but I will share a few:

1. The "Friend" is not your friend. I'm sorry, but he's not. I appreciate friends who help us along our path, but HE IS NOT ONE for you. I know you probably don't want to hear this and it will take you 20 or 30 years to get it (like it has for me, by the way!), but maybe just MAYBE you will realize this sooner...before you suffer through 20 or 30 years with a "friend" like this. Grrrrr. I am so angry at him and so sympathetic with you.

2. Thank you for voicing so much of this which is OH SO HARD to voice. My bet is that depression is at least half of lots of Our problems (the other half may just be genetic). I really almost cried several times in your post because it could be ME writing it. Know you're not alone and I, for one, appreciate you very much today.

We are making progress...it's not always measured by the scale. :-)

Thanks for all this, Erin!

Vickie said...

So,
how exactly did you get to be friends with Tom Cruise?

Linda said...

Erin - you said it yourself: 'I have a plan'!

So don't lose heart - and don't make the mistake of defining yourself according to the standards of that truly ridiculous caveman!

Be true to you. Whether you lose this weight now or later is YOUR decision and will be by YOUR actions.

You are a beautiful star!

Linda

Erin said...

Erin, he is such a tool and obviously insecure. People like this, and I know a few of them, really get off on putting good people down. The plan is a good plan and trying is all you need to start the battle. By the way, I have been using sparkpeople.com and there is a ton of info and support there. Check it out.

Cara said...

It makes me so angry when people are so ignorant to the fact that depression IS a disease. I hate your friend. I don't think he is a friend. What a complete asshole really.

My mom was in the same state of mind about depression as your friend was. After a year of conversations with her, I finally got her to understand the difference between depression form a breakup, death, etc and plain old depression. I had to explain to her real depression does not have a reason behind it, like the temporary kind does. It is a brain chemical mix up and it needs something to balance it out. When I told her this she started to understand. Like when you have PMS and are pissed at the world, and depressed, even if there is nothing to be pissed or depressed about. And then suddenly a week later you realize nothing was really wrong. That got her to understand it.

But everyone is different and everyone is capable of understanding in different ways. I say lose this "friend" of yours because he is obviously not a nice person. He is the kind of guy that wants people to be worse off than him, which is why he berates his "FRIENDS".

And please don't promise to not blog about this, because seriously, blogging is what helps you get through your problems often times, and I want more than anything for you to be able to work through this so you can move on. Also, you may help someone else get through this exact thing.

Stay strong, but be willing to accept when you should allow yourself to be weak; to be human.

Elizabeth said...

Oh man, just, I don't know, I don't even know you and I wish I could give you a hug.
Thank you for putting this out there. It was very moving. And please feel free to continue to write whatever YOU want and whatever you NEED to write.
For the record, I absolutely 100% am certain there's "voices in the head" of people who struggle with their weight that people who don't struggle will never ever understand. I really really believe that. When I describe what it sounds like in my head on a daily basis (eat, eat, eat) to my skinny ass husband, he looks at me like I'm OUT OF MY MIND.
This friend may have a few points that hit home with you, but the idea of judging anyone in such a fashion when he hasn't walked in your shoes is appalling.
Try to cut yourself some slack, if you can. I think you are a remarkable person.

Erin said...

Hey Guys,

I'm blaming all of you for making me cry, and Vickie especially for making me spill my Fiber One Honey Clusters all over my chair from laughing at the Tom Cruise comment. I love all of you very much(in the non-creepy blog friend way, of course).

I guess when I mean I will never "blog about this" again, I mean about this conversation, and him, and how I let it eat me up for a long time. I won't ever stop writing about what's inside my head, because if I didn't my blog would pretty much consist of Wal-Mart and cat anecdotes and then you'd all realize I was kind of mind-numbingly boring as a person.

I can't tell you how insanely better I feel after reading all your comments and finding out that so many of you adore the word "tool" as much as I do.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Comrade GoGo said...

"Because depression isn't that kid's personality, it's what's drowning it."

Yes, yes, yes, these words and in fact so much of this post resounded in my heart.

I've written about dealing with depression while trying to pursue weight loss, and likened it to carrying around a backpack of bricks 24/7: sometimes it's exercise just to fucking get up in the morning!

Screw the haters, love yourself, and don't waste too much more time trying to educated that ignoramus! Not to be directive ;).

Nory Roth said...

Erin,

What an insightful blog entry. I am also incandescent with rage at that ASS-HAT man who keeps screwing around in your head. You deserve a GOLD MEDAL for the olympian feat of self analysis that you have done in order to try to treat your disorder and gain a measure of peace in your life. I totally agree that you must get your mental house in order before trying the leviathan task of losing the weight. It all goes hand-in-hand.

My FIRST reaction was also to ask how you became friends with Tom Cruise!!! What planet is this guy from??? Friends need to encourage us -- not tear down our fragile ego state.

I also agree that talking about your struggles is SO helpful to those of us who struggle too. Keep writing, keep thinking, keep trying. Nobody should expect more from us!

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Someone has taught your 'friend' that shutting off his ears and opening his mouth to spout mean shit is the way to care about someone. And he's clinging, rather desperately, to his understanding of life as entirely self-determined--because if he didn't believe that, I suspect, his world view would crumble. What a sad little world he lives in if that's his learned behavior/thought pattern.

We all have friends that serve different purposes in our lives; the shopping-for-shoes friend may not be the number-one-confidante friend. If you want to continue to find room for him in your circle of friends, it sounds like you'll have to tell him that your weight and your depression and anything else you are struggling with are finished topics between the two of you, case closed. And that if he wants to talk to you about baseball or the latest girl who broke up with him thinking he was an asshole when he was just honest with her or WHATEVER, then that's fine--but your sensitive topics are not going to be part of the conversation. Then you can make your friendship about other things, and if he can't do that, then yes, I would say let him go. Because seriously, you don't deserve that. No one does. And even if his intentions actually are good, he needs to learn not to speak his mind on topics where he has no clue about them except for his own egocentric opinions.

Oh, and the Tom Cruise comment made me BURST out laughing.

Jarrett Meyer said...

Wow! This guy's a little fucker, isn't he?

You know what? I've lost over 65 pounds. I'm healthier now than I ever have been. I'm running my third half marathon this year. I'm going to get my black belt in karate this year. I go to the gym. I run on treadmills and do elliptical machines. I lift weights. I have a healthy BMI. I have a super-preferred rate on my life insurance. Yeah, I'm awesome.

AND I AM A FOOD ADDICT.

Even after all of the progress that I've made.

When I at home and controlling what I buy, or at work and controlling what I take with me (not eating out for lunch), I do really well.

When I go to parties, I can royally fuck up 2-3 weeks of progress. I can consume more calories in a single sitting that I should eat all week. I love food. I love sweet food. I love spicy food.

But I have learned something. To be successful, you have to put positive people around you. You can't do it on your own. You need friends who will celebrate (in a low calorie fashion) when you have successes, and who will understand all your many, many setbacks.

I've talked to those who don't believe that depression is a real disease. Fuck them. To these people, I've asked, "Do you believe that people can have chemical imbalances that cause them to have blood that cannot convert table sugar to glucose?" Most of them will say, "Yes, diabetes is a real disease." Then I ask those same people, "Do you believe that people can have a chemical imbalance such that, even when good things happen, they don't produce the chemicals in the brain that should make them happy?"

A lot of people still tell me that happiness is a choice. Screw 'em. How we react to food (fuel or , how we wake up in the morning, whether we'd rather go to the gym or sit on the couch, watch Family Guy and eat ice cream (what?) - it all comes down to brain chemistry.

Abba said...

Confession... I have one of those friends too. He's my best friend actually. And after we had a similar discussion and he went off and got him a pretty little girlfriend, well, let's just say, the definition of friend could have been redefined. I really cared about what this guy was telling me. He talked about choices as well. Blah, blah, blah.

You talked about being normal. What is normal anymore? I think we now live in a world where everyone's individuality is normal. We all don't have to succumb to a certain mold if we don't want to. You can be who you want, how you want. Get rid of the cookie cutters! The drop cookies are making a comeback!

G.G. said...

I agree with your "Friend" about one thing: you have an opportunity to make your life better by making one simple choice. That choice should be to kick him the fuck out of it (your life, that is).

Instant loss of 100+ pounds of parasitically toxic dead weight, IMHO.

G.G.

Jarrett Meyer said...

I agrees with G.G. That commenter is on to something!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin,

I've been reading your blog for a while, and I keep coming back because you are such a fantastic writer. I especially relate to your posts on depression, inertia, and also just the general malaise of being in one's late twenties:). I don't usually leave comments, but there have been several of your posts that have tempted me to, and this was the one that did it...

I don't want to overly insult your friend, if you still wish him to be your friend. But honestly, it seems to me that your Friend is what I like to call a charismatic asshole. Charismatic assholes are dangerous, because it's really easy to believe them. Even when we know they are being hurtful, self-serving and awful, part of us believes what they say--we think: but maybe he's right. After all, he is so smart. Other people don't understand our connection. Other people don't know how well he knows me.

And it is a serious and heart-wrenching dilemma, because as much as other people tell us not to care, we care, and more importantly we keep thinking this other person is RIGHT. I have absolutely been in this situation, I'm thinking of one in particular, and climbing out of it really made me begin to understand the dynamics of abusive relationships.

Perhaps that sounds too melodramatic, but I really think we downplay how much is at stake when someone treats us the way Friend has treated you.
And I think our/your/women's intelligence somehow exacerbates the situation--combined with the famous female empathy, it's what enables us to sit there and overanalyze, and say things like, "Well, he has a point," when really, what this person is saying is so unconscionable and ignorant that if we heard it in any other context, we'd be outraged.

Obviously, this touches a personal nerve for me. But I also think it's a really common experience that is somehow uniquely tied to being a woman. The weight issue only makes it more acute, because society is unbelievably accepting of bigotry toward the overweight--it makes kicking the charismatic asshole to the curb that much harder.

Oh, and you know what, in terms of being objective and all that--who CARES if you use fat as a litmus test, or use it to be invisible, etc...that doesn't make any of his points valid. Everyone does that with something. No one is innocent of social manipulation, or insecurity, or any of those things.

And one final point: I've never been overweight, but I have spent an enormous portion of my life hating my body. When I was ten years old I spent whole nights crying because I hated it so much. And I starved myself for years during high school. We are in the middle of a serious hysteria and insanity surrounding women's bodies, and body image and self esteem...and Friend is really a symptom of that as much as anything.

All right, I'll shut up now. Keep up the great blog. I look forward to every post.

Anonymous said...

I am just reading through your archives and came across this post and had to respond even though I know it's old. You say "I didn't know before last Saturday that normal people feel contempt for obese people who try and don't do so well".

Seriously, *normal people* do not feel anything like this. Normal people do not go around feeling contempt randomly for other human beings. Normal people feel sadness, or empathy, or compassion, for those who struggle to reach a personal goal. Normal people want other people to succeed in their lives, and hope that if they have failed once they'll get up on the horse and try again (obviously taking onboard the lessons of the earlier failure). Normal people do not attempt to undermine others.

A normal person, Erin, would have said "hey, I'm sad for you if you're not achieving what you want to achieve, but I care about you and love having you in my life whatever size you are."

Honestly, that's normal.

Your so-called friend is not in the least normal. In fact, he sounds like a pretty classic sadist, who can only feel good about himself when he's hurting other people. Luckily for the world, that's really quite abnormal.

Can I give you a piece of unsolicited advice from a total stranger? Don't see this guy for a while. Like, say, a year. You don't need to make a big deal about it, you can just say that you're busy or never happen to be free when he calls. A year is a good amount of time to get some distance on a relationship. If at the end of a year you don't know if you want to see him again, give it another year. You'll both be OK, and if this friendship has things in it that are worth preserving, they'll survive some time apart. Currently, though, he's just buoying up his own ego by putting you down. And you deserve so much better than that - just like all normal people do :-).