Writing, weight, and familial ranting (exceedingly petty!)
Scattered thoughts after an intense day.
Date: 4/17/2005 11:53:21 PM ( 9 y ) ... viewed 1544 times
For years therapists and caring friends and family members have suggested that I keep a journal. I have never been able to. I would invariably go back through my writing and rip out all the pages, embarassed at what I had written. It seemed so self-indulgent, and I never made it more than a few days without giving up alltogether. But email has always been an easy way for me to express myself. I never really thought about it, but I think part of the problem was just my level of comfort with pen-and-paper writing versus typing. Keeping a bound journal seems much more romantic to me, but I think most fluidly and authentically on a computer (it's probably just the way I grew up). I'm rarely, if ever, embarassed about what I've typed. Blogging seems to be a great solution, especially as it combines the liberating aspect of being sent away from myself, yet the security of a permanent record. I do feel a little apprehensive about the public nature of blogging, but it seems freeing as well. All the same, I feel like I need a disclaimer at the beginning---*caution! self-involved blog! not very interesting!* Writing about my own story from an outside vantage point helps me to see myself more clearly, but it's hard to think that it would be interesting for anyone else to read. It's more of just a release valve for me.
I spent a long time speaking to a close friend today. We are very much alike, but she does not suffer from acute depression. However, our backgrounds align very much--her relationship with her mother is similar to mine with my dad. Whenever I talk about him, I am shocked how much anger I feel towards my dad. I must have spent three hours talking about him today, and I still feel angry! It is strange. For most of my life, my dad and I have been very close. Now, sometimes I really hate him. The anger overwhelms me. He is not a bad parent. He has done countless wonderful things for me. I think many people would be thrilled to have him as a father. But he has hurt me very much, and he refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing, or to change his behavior in any way. Ever. For me, this stubbornness is almost unforgiveable.
"You are too sensitive!"
That is all I ever hear. Whenever I have spoken with him about the issues that are difficult for me, he tells me my hurt is only the result of my "oversensitivity." He won't even share in the responsibility. I am admittedly very sensitive, but I can try to compromise! When people tell me that they are sensitive, I try very hard not to hurt them, and when I do hurt them, I say I am sorry. I do this even when I feel, inside, that they are being outrageous! But my dad will never apologize. In fact, whenever I speak to him about a difficult issue I would like to work on with him, he not only refuses to change his approach, but will actually bring it up in the future in the way that bothers me, in order to prove my need to "toughen up." This makes me want to never speak to him about any problem ever again. It actually makes me think about not ever speaking to him again at all.
It is hard to know which he values most, academic achievement or a slim figure. I'm no longer in school, so weight is all we ever seem to discuss. I have gained a lot of weight since my breakdown three years ago. Seventy pounds, or maybe even more. It horrifies me, really. I am now the heaviest I have ever been by far. But a part of me is delighted. I don't live near my family, but when I visit, I kind of relish the thought that he has to walk around with a fat person as his child. I know he hates it. My boyfriend recently showed him pictures of our vacation together last year (I was fairly plump at the time, though not quite as heavy as I am now). He told me he wanted my dad to be able to pick out one of the pictures for himself, since I looked so happy. My dad winced at the pictures, and turned away. It broke my heart.
Everyone in my family struggles with their weight. My mom and dad have been active and healthy for good portions of their lives, with small and medium frames, respectively. They are both tall. My dad has the classic belly now. He was a high school athlete, but gained probably 25 or 30 pounds in his thirties--he is constantly on some new regime (coconut oil at the moment), but it has rarely worked. My mom was very thin always while I was growing up (but did struggle with eating issues herself to control her weight). She also exercised rather compulsively. She's my same height, but much smaller than me, bone-wise. We do all love food, and all of us use it inappropriately. My mother is in a very dysfunctional relationship with an obese man. She has gained over one hundred pounds in the past six years. She is difficult to recognize anymore. I am worried and terrified for both of us, but perhaps even more so for her. She has a tiny frame, and she swims in her extra weight--it looks extremely unnatural. We are the same height, and our weights only twenty pounds apart, but she is twelve sizes larger than me. For me, with more muscle mass and a larger frame, it is unhealthy, but somehow more natural looking (and probably feeling). It is scary and sad. She has extensive joint problems and is now very inactive. Whenever my dad sees her, afterwards, he makes a big show of how bad she looks, emphasizing how beautiful she was when they dated. My mom has many problems. She cheated on my dad repeatedly and had no interest in raising me or my brother. She is not always the nicest person. But how dare he reduce her to just her looks, as if that is all he cared about? I told him I don't ever want to hear it again, but he never "remembers." He thinks my mother's intermittent misbehavior justifies his scorn. Strange, thought, that my mother has never said anything about his belly or his baldness.
My stepmother is extremely beautiful. She is fifteen years younger than my dad (her kids are the same age as my brother--they met while all of them were in elementary school). She has recently lost a lot of weight, which has been fodder for my dad's constant harassing of every other member of my family about their diets, and how great she looks. He attributes my stepmother's weight loss to his own influence, which is total %¤#&!§-. When my boyfriend and I were in town recently, my dad spent ten minutes telling my boyfriend how lucky and smart he (my dad) was to have chosen such a young, beautiful wife. "Smart guys choose women that are much younger than they are. It just works out best that way." I f***ing lost it. My boyfriend and I are the same age. I'm sure my dad didnt' think about what he was saying (he rarely does), but jesus christ! What a jackass thing to say! I swear, I had visions of dumping a drink on him, or preferably, a vat of acid. In the end, I just called him an %¤#&!§-. He, of course, told me to "stop overreacting" to his "joke."
I love my stepmother very much. She was often a mother to me when my own mom was not available, and she has many fantastic qualities. However, she and my dad are very bad influences on each other. She is vain and self-obsessed, my dad is obsessed with her. They reinforce each other's most unfortunate qualities. They are ok on their own (though sometimes a little irritating), but together they are kind of insufferable. All they ever talk about is how beautiful she is, and how everyone loves her. It is true she is very beautiful! But it is very dull to hear about it all the time. My dad loves to call me to talk about the clothes he has bought her, and how great they look on her/how she is on ESPN because when they were at a basketball game, the camera guys "fell in love with her"/how at his last conference he got so many status points because his wife was "young and hot." It is nauseating.
But even more than status, my dad loves nothing in life as much as his liberal, cool-guy image. He sees himself as "enlightened." But since when does total obsession with physical beauty count as enlightenment? It seems more like objectification to me. My stepmother is also very smart, and very accomplished in her career. There are many diverse and great things to be said about her, if one was inclined to call one's daughter to brag twice a week about one's wife. But he only ever talks about her weight and beauty.
Am I jealous? Of Course I am! My dad has told me exactly once that I looked nice. One Time in my entire life. I was trying on a dress for an important event, and I was so shocked by his comment that I immediately shelled out six hundred dollars to buy the dress I was trying on, just to try and capture the moment. Even if I was the most deformed freak in the world, couldn't he find something nice to say some other time? Apparently not!
I know I need to break from all this toxic hatred, and my compulsion to please my dad. It makes me feel sad and isolated, and it blocks me from my happiness and from my authentic self. This is my greatest obstacle, as my dad is the closest influence on my life. He made many sacrifices in order to raise me, losing the respect of his own family in order to stay home while my mother worked and philandered. I know this is why he is so attached to his delusion of being the "perfect parent" to an "oversensitive" kid. I know he did his best. But many of his words poison my spirit, and he actively refuses to change.
I find myself trying to test my boyfriend. I think my weight gain is also to push him to reject me, as I feel my dad has done. I want to stop the madness and live for myself!
My brother has set a wonderful example. Having spent a lifetime under my dad's constant scrutiny as a chubby (and thus embarrassing) child, he has blossomed into an incredible person. He is now a vegan and has a beautiful yoga practice. He is an inspiration to me. My dad's words (both praise and criticism) have no consequence for him. He has created his own path in school and in his profession, totally oblivious to my parents' obsessions. He is my younger brother, and I look up to him immensely. He is the family I want to focus on now.
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