Monday, April 25, 2005

rainy days and fat cheeks always get me down...

saturday was a fat day.

pity, as it started off as such a lovely, lazy, merry olde england day. a rainy day. i know i'm probably in the minority here, but i do love rainy days. they are permission slips to do precisely what i love doing, but so rarely allow myself to do: lounge in bed, sip coffee laced with half and half, and read pseudo-intellectual novels about love, starry skies, and rainstorms. heavenly.

in theory.

relaxation is hard for me. i'm sure we all battle this in some way or another in our production-driven, “you can sleep when you're dead” culture. i find i have to fight back the inner-Martha that screams in my ear, “Get up! Go to the gym! Bake homemade organic whole-grain bread with raisins and flax seed! Bleach your facial hair so that people do not mistake you for a man! Write that novel! Mop your nasty-ass floors and while you're at it, stencil them with Celtic goddess symbols! And, my dear, it is never to early to start embroidering monogrammed tea cozies for Christmas presents! i, after all, was in prison, and accomplished more than you.”


not saturday. i was successfully ignoring martha. really. i sat in bed for an hour so, happily absorbed in my alice hoffman novel, second nature. (about a woman who falls in love with a man who has been raised by wolves. yes, i know you're all thinking - “wait, i think i've dated him.” no, girls, this one turns out to be a sensitive new-age man raised by wolves. he can garden, his name's stephen, and of course he doesn't mind if she ever shaves her legs. does he, i pray, have a brother?)

then, i don't know what happened. i didn't look at vogue. i didn't attempt to squeeze into my skinny jeans (i threw those exercises in self-hatred out years ago). i just rolled out of bed, looked in the mirror and didn't see me - lovely, complicated, sleepy me. i just saw cheeks. fat cheeks. chipmunk cheeks. i swear i could actually feel the fat cells expanding. i imagined they might resemble those little glossy balls of tapioca that roll around the bottom of those newfangled, trendy new asian teas, but mine not so tasty nor so welcome.

and so, just like that, it became a fat day.

i moped. i pitied. i buried myself in too-big jeans that made me feel “small.” i hid behind my glasses, hoping that they would somehow camoflauge what i thought were cheeks on the verge of explosion. i burrowed into the crook of my friend b.'s couch alternately snoozing and moping, snoozing and moping, snoozing and moping as b. and k., in eager anticipation of k.'s wedding, watched the cinematic confection Father of the Bride (the steve martin one). i usually love that movie. it's one of those guilty pleasures that make me giddy w/ idealism. not saturday. all i could think about was how thin diane keaton looked, and she was at least 15-20 years older than me. i was washed up, fat, and unattractive at the tender age of 30. and look, is that a gray hair i see?

they should have shot me.

but they didn't. god love 'em. they are my friends. my urban family. like the macy's thanksgiving day parade balloon-handlers, they keep me grounded when i start floating away into a self-induced cloud of self-indulgent self-hatred. i credit them with teaching me how to love and, more importantly (?), be loved unconditionally. that's the thing about my friends, even when i'm an asshole, they love me into being less of an asshole.

and slowly, the day got better.

i went for a walk in the misty rain and helped k. pick out invites for her rehearsal dinner - a reminder that there are things more important than the size of my ass i.e. marriage.

thank you.

i brushed my hair, rouged the offending cheeks, and slicked on some Mac Lipglass - cosmetics are a wonderful, cheap alternative to anti-depressants.

thank you.

i sipped a cranberry-vodka cocktail - hey, don't judge me. it calmed my nerves, dammit.

thank you.

i cried in the street. one should cry more in public. it's so humbling. i really wish more people carried hankies though. it would have been so nice to have been offered one by some dashing gentleman.

thank you.

i hugged my aunt jo. my mom's mannerisms hide in her hands and smile, so while i wasn't quite comforted by my mommy, it was close.

thank you.

i hollered and whispered and moaned my blues into a microphone backed by a band that i am sooo lucky to be singing with.

thank you.

i was presented with a “gold” chain wrapped in tattered tissue paper by eugene, an elderly, partially deaf black man sitting in the audience who claimed to have 12 fingers and psychic abilities. he did guess that my uncle m. was my father, and my cousin c., my sister. close enough. i'll happily accept his premonition that i'll be the “next big thing.” thank you, eugene. i'd be happy to just be any “thing.”

thank you.

oh, that feels better.

here's what i'm learning. slowly:

what stops these fat days in their tracks? or maybe you don't have fat days. maybe they're ugly days. or stupid days. or not-enough days. or aint-got-no-boyfriend days. whatever. they all stem from a place of lack. the answer is gratitude. sorry to get all Oprah on you, but 'tis true. if i sit down and just start writing all of the things i'm grateful for, the feeling of lack that's comes free with the feeling of fat just kind of dissolves. poof! sometimes it's the lamest ass things that gets me started - the coral nailpolish on my toenails that reminds me of apricot fruit roll-ups. my hooded sweatshirt. my ipod. my pink kitchenaid mixer. coffee. my chivalrous neighborhood garbagemen. the giant redwood tree in the backyard.

you catch my drift.

my theory is, you've got a big ol' pile of stuff to be thankful for. first, you gotta recognize and sift through the little stuff that sits on top, and eventually, you'll get to the big stuff. health. friends. family. purpose. HBO.

so, the next time i feel a fat day creeping on, i'm gonna treat my cheeks as an artist's canvas and slather them in glitter, pink rouge, and rhinestone body tattoos. i'm gonna do yoga. i'm gonna cry. i'm gonna breathe. i'll probably even be a bit of an asshole. then i'm gonna pull my pilgrim hat outta storage and play thankful.


once a month, a whole slew of folks from my place of employment (i cannot say where i work as it is a very serious, important place where a lot of very serious, important people work and these very serious, important people cannot be associated with a silly little non-serious, unimportant blog like mine.) go to lunch over at the deli in the Edison Hotel on 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue for a Jewish culinary feast. actually, it's more like a Jewish culinary eating marathon (pace yourself, and stay away from the bagels. they leave no room for the blintzes). every jewish delicacy you can imagine is brought out family-style - gelfite fish, whitefish salad, salmon, cream cheese, bagels, pastrami, corned beef, matzo brei (sp?), potato latkes, chopped liver,'s been quite an education for me. a white chick from georgia, i haven't had most of them. their matzo brei alone is so good i'm considering conversion. go there. eat 'til you burst.

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