I’ve been thinking about what scares me - really scares me. I’m not a fan of suspense films. Slasher flics don’t bother me. I know going in they’ll be gory. Suspense pics keep me on edge never knowing when the AAAHHH moment will jump out at me. Walking to one’s car in dark and empty parking lots can quicken the pulse - same for venturing out at night onto dark and lonely streets. I had a friend who suggested that if I ever imagined I was being followed, I should wave my arms about and talk to my self as if I were dangerously unhinged. That may have worked a decade ago but now, my assailant would just think I was babbling on my cell phone. I am an actress and even though I have been performing for many, many years, that moment before stepping onto a stage, hearing the hum from a waiting audience can get my adrenalin pumping fear through every fiber of my being, but NOTHING is as terrifying to me as circling the plus size section in a department store in search of a bathing suit. I know that no matter which one I will pick, with the hope that its new and improved tummy technology will actually make mine disappear, all the while knowing the crisscrossed inner-paneling won’t work to flatten and lift as promised. I am positive there isn’t anything but a turn-of-the-century flopsie two-piece swimming-suit that covers from ankle to neck and comes with a large obscuring parasol, guaranteeing almost total concealment that would lull me into a sense of calm about going to a beach or a poolside party. Having to drop my oversize Turkish bath towel and walk towards my social execution in nothing but a hideous and matronly bathing suit scares me more than almost anything. I could ride in an elevator to the top most spire of the Empire State Building with a fasting and now ravenous Hannibal Lechter and be more at ease.
All that got me thinking about the right to bare arms. I don’t think anyone other than Michelle Obama has the right to do that, unless they’re fifteen. Michelle Obama’s arms need their own special place on Mount Rushmore. The sculptor would swoon with joy while chiseling those most glorious of chiseled arms. It’s not fair. I’ve heard women complain about their arms forever, and how when they gesture with them, it’s akin to a Canada Day flag-waving spectacle. This is not a contest that I want to win but trust me, hands down, arms up, I would be the champion. I have not worn anything sleeveless since 1982. I do arm raises and punch-outs with weights; I force-march almost every day with arms swinging. Still my arms have ruffles on the underside making them look like a pair of Italian lampshades. My arms belong to a potato picking-peasant woman from an Eastern Bloc country back in the late 1800’s.
Having spent most of my life on one diet or another, I can honestly say they all worked; as long as I never stepped out of that food monastery of rigidity I was safe. I am good at not eating. I can starve like a champion, and how awful is it that I am so good at something that real hungry people the world over don’t have a choice about. But at some point one has to step back out into the real world.
When that invitation lands in my mail-box or inbox emblazoned with frolicking bathing suited images of laughing young girls dressed in polka dotted strings and things tossing their beach balls in the air, promising a ‘fun time’ by the pool. I feel flop sweat at the nape of my neck preparing to beginning to gather. It’s the first sign of an imminent panic attack. My next move, is a hastily written response declining as I have a previous engagement. Sadly, the inviter knows I don’t. Let the starvation ritual begin. Armed with a diet re-entry plan and a martyr-like zeal to remain vigilant against all the siren calls from my old friends cheese, chocolate and all things potato. As a side note, these foods are known for alleviating high stress levels. They are even better known for adding extra pounds. Instead, while the will still exists, I begin drinking my eighth glass of water to fill me up so as to keep me from succumbing to temptation.
Having only had two weeks to change my ample body into a sylph worthy of lounging poolside, I arrive at my poolside execution wearing layers. Perhaps a better description would be, a shroud. I pretend I’m allergic to the sun. I sip my water. Truly, I gulp it as I’m broiling under my protective layers. I know all about body positivity. I am positive that I don’t have any.
As the beach ball throwing and high pitches fits of laughter surround me, I am overcome with something, perhaps chocolate-lust, maybe even something far more deep-seated but not yet an identifiable feeling will begin brewing and then BAM! - A volcanic, very familiar, roiling resentment at being the not so young fat woman at the party bubbles to the surface and with all good intentions, a tiny sliver of cake is inhaled. Just a small taste… But then the damage is done. An unleashed starving woman emerges. I am on a rampage looking to fill a hole that has nothing to do with food.
Life is filled with myriad ups and downs and we cannot always be Silicon coated and stay the healthy course we would most want to be on. Sometimes we just cave in to the pressures and when we do - if we are prone to reaching for comfort in the way of food - our slip up, our pain, our anxiety… It shows. Let’s all cut each other some slack. Be kind. We are all in this together. One little favour… Please don’t invite me to your pool party!
Diane Lawrence • Contributor
The religious conservatives have it wrong ... again. Gay marriage will not destroy the institute of marriage. How can people who want to get married end marriage? In fact, gay men and women who crave marriage are the distraction, the front, the “beard” if you will for the real secret, pervasive threat to the Institute of Marriage ... childless, single, joyous, happy and free women who just can’t get worked up about getting married and who do not want children. And our numbers are growing. Nearly half of the population is single and 61 percent of them have never married.
I have been unmarried all my life (60 years) despite being attractive, bright, talented and accomplished. I’ve had a few men hover around aiming at my ever moving target, and I’ve had a few men who were too fast on their feet to fall over my extended foot. I had one man hint around about marriage, and the only response I could give him was “Think, man, THINK!”
I remember an incident in my childhood that might provide a clue to my spinster trajectory. When I was about 7, a local playground provided summer activities. Unfortunately it was a rather dismal playground, offering minimal shade while we participated in the usual pipe-cleaner, stick-figure projects or popsicle and glue creations designed to keep us out of mom’s hair for a few hours.
One day a counselor decided to shake things up. She sat us down, boys and girls, and told us we were going to have a wedding day. There would be cake, ice cream and balloons! Sounded great until she dropped the bomb and told us we would be paired up to marry each other.
I listened in anxious confusion as she explained how we would dress up in our Sunday best and go through a little wedding ceremony. “C’mon! It will be fun!” Inside every little kid brain is the adult they are going to become, quietly observing and occasionally commenting. My thought? “This is the worst game ever.” Yet I went along to get along and came to the appointed day looking fetching in a new white party dress. My mom had fun putting the veil together and wished me well as she dropped me off and watched me trudge toward the other kids dotting the playground in white dresses and black suits. I was paired up with a poor young lad who looked quite serious about the whole thing as we took our place in the marriage line with the others. I have little memory of what happened next, other than my betrothed and I standing stiffly next to each other avoiding eye contact. I suspect he was wondering if this meant we were really getting married and how the hell was he going to support me and the kids.
That day, 53 years ago, was the closest I ever came to a wedding dress or wedding day. I remember in my 30s standing next to a girlfriend as we waited for the light to turn green. She suddenly gasped out loud and exclaimed, “Oh NO!” Startled, I turned and asked, “What!?” In all seriousness she said, “I forgot to get married!! DARN I knew I forgot something!” We both broke up laughing as the light turned green, and we proceeded on our merry, unmarried way.
I am not against marriage. I know some wonderful unions where two people have lasted and are so well suited one couldn’t imagine them with anyone else. In some cases one couldn’t imagine anyone else putting up with either of them. I have also seen disastrous unions and placed bets at the wedding as to the number of years or even months it would last. I’ve seen wonderful unions that ended with the untimely death of the partner. I like the stories of “We knew we were right, right from the start” and they were right.
Yet this “right for each other” never came my way. And if it did, I apparently didn’t notice. But contrary to what married folks want to believe, lack of children or husband has many rewards for an adventurous woman. Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose. I have had the enormous great fortune to have been able to pursue everything I’ve ever wanted to do and become the most full version of myself, something I hear gets lost for many women in the middle of endless husband and child demands. I do know that a family can have its rewards: Who can deny the benefits of protection, affection, support? But so many are a hotbed of tangled resentments, unspoken fears and complicated intrigues one can’t deny that single isn’t better or worse than being married: It’s just different. Actually for some of us it seems to work exceedingly well. The secret is out.
When I meet children, I am immediately drawn to those kids who are curious about everything. Yes, it can be exhausting to answer their endless questions but the rewards are so worth it. “How come birds can fly and we can’t?” “Why can’t dogs talk like we can? Parrots do.” “Can God swim?” “Has anyone not died?” It’s not fun when a child arrives in your bedroom at 3:00 a.m. to ask, “What are lungs for?” The temptation is to say for sleeping. When a child asks all those questions, we don’t always have to know the answers but we shouldn’t ignore them as if they had never been asked. We can start a conversation no matter how odd their questions by asking them what they think they the answer might be. That’s how conversations and problem solving starts. Even more importantly, they get the knowledge that they are being heard. With so many of us glued to our various electronic devices, we have a tendency to close ourselves off to those around us. We may be unpleasantly surprised when that comes back to bite us in the form of our kids not hearing us or just plain shutting us out.
To open a child’s hearts and minds, physically be present and really be with them in the moment. We need to ‘turn off to have turn on time.’ Unplug and grab those children who grow up so fast and help give them memories and our attention. Take them fishing; paddle a boat. Blow bubbles, wash the dog, watch fireworks, take in a sunrise, have a picnic in your living room on the floor. Visit a farm; milk a goat. Show them where eggs come from. Run outside in a rainstorm. Jump in a puddle.
Take the time to open up to the really, really big questions and have a conversation about who God is, what they think God can do and what they wish God could do. Then have them draw what they think God looks like. They will have even more questions. But isn’t that great?
Wake them up when the moon is full, talk about heaven and then spin some dreams with them. They are only children once.
A place to discuss money choices
By Elizabeth Bradley
Well THIS is a doozy
AUGUST 7, 2020
Who would have thought at the beginning of 2020 that summertime would hold quarantine orders and new fashions in mask-wear? There is SO much unknown – schools, elections, will I ever wear non-loungewear again, how will this pandemic play out, when will we feel excited about our world again?? Well, my approach is to focus on whatever brings the most joy, in whatever dose possible. While I’ve taken my loungewear game to a whole new level, my love for chocolate, sunshine, tequila, and good books & streaming apps have brought newfound joy.
This insane time has also provided the chance to focus on things we always meant to get to – like reorganizing the closet, starting an herb garden, cleaning the window screens. The exciting part (yes, I’m going to try to make an exciting part) is that focusing on your financial life might even be the MOST interesting option!! OK, maybe that’s not worthy of two !!’s, but at least having some plans plan in this time of uncertainty can feel productive, soothing.
So let’s chat $$.
If your income has taken a hit, and you’d love some added income, there are actually some interesting new options in this new world, all from your couch. Tutoring is a brilliant idea when education uncertainty is everywhere, or other types of child care, or dog-walking, or deliver (love Instacart) groceries and packages.
One of the few benefits of life on lockdown, I’ve noticed my spending has gone down, have you?? Less morning coffee spends, less vacation spending, fewer dinners out – I have purchased more relax-wear, but generally spending is down. All this makes now a great time to reassess monthly spending, and look at paying down any high interest debt.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to, why not start that savings or investing fund you’ve had in the back of your mind!
Talking about finances can decrease the stress and anxiety. Find friends, family, anyone who knows how to use zoom (isn’t THAT a new world). We chat about our sex lives and relationships in detail with our girlfriends, why not add finances as a topic? It can be overwhelming and make you feel vulnerable, so approach it like you would anything you hold dear – be selective about who you chat with, find someone you trust, and respect their opinion. And just share parts of the picture to start – test the waters perhaps. This time of chaos gives us a chance to find some order.
And definitely time for more chocolate.
Monday, March 16 -2020 the day the world, as we knew it, vanished. The Corona Virus had been declared a full blown global Pandemic by the WHO on March 11. But here in North America they didn’t start shutting things down until five days later and the shock that we were to be prisoners in our own homes wasn’t yet penetrating our consciousness. We had rights. “You can’t tell us what to do!” The denial was deeply dug in. We weren’t ready to accept our new reality. But IT was here! IT was everywhere! But where was IT, this insidious, invisible mass murderer? A level ten panic began to escalate. Fear mongering along with endless misinformation was coming at us with the velocity of a confetti gun.
I could feel dread coming from everywhere. We were suddenly prisoners in our homes – and not all were spacious or private. Parents were pulling their hair out trying to find ways to corral their agitated, trapped children. Hospitals were under siege; families were separated, unable to reach out to give reassuring hugs. The dying were alone and isolated from family. No funerals for loved ones to commemorate. No wakes. No Shiva’s. No weddings.
No dinners. No company. No jobs! No money! Only the relentless hum of an ever-building panic as a rudderless global population drifted further and further from its moorings into a sea of unknowns.
The Quarantine Fifteen became a thing. Carbs calmed our frayed nerves. Sourdough bread and all kinds of baking united a skittish world. Flour and yeast became the contraband everyone was suddenly seeking. Those with access began to dole out small amounts to friends and family with the stealth of drug dealers. Hand sanitizer, much like the tulip wars of old, became auction worthy – only the highest bidders would remain sanitized. Those hoarding massive amounts of toilet paper remain a mystery, as this was not a virus that caused diarrhea.
As always in times of trouble, there are rays of sunshine. We realized there is a bigger definition of ‘essential workers’ - from the over-worked nurses, doctors, and garbage-collectors, to the transport truck drivers, delivery people and the hard working grocery store clerks who never miss a beat to keep most of us far too well fed. The unbridled family sing-a-longs and brilliantly choreographed parodies arrive on every streaming platform to make us laugh. Horn honking parades course through neighborhoods to brighten the days of those with birthdays and graduations, comforting those with dashed hopes and dreams, and bringing smiles to the lonely and isolated. They show us that somehow we will find our way through this.
But economic recovery remains a bigger uncertainty. For more than two months all but essential businesses were ordered to close. So, how does one earn a living? The lucky ones have the skills and jobs that allow them to work remotely from home. But so many jobs don’t. Restaurants that couldn’t provide take-out meals were soon shuttered.
All their staff, from cooks to wait staff, were unemployed. Housekeepers and hairdressers suddenly had zero income. Drycleaners were done. No one needed his or her unworn clothes cleaned. Even dog walkers were sidelined. The panic was palpable. There were very few industries that remained unscathed. Imagine an office where everyone must be 6 feet away from her co-worker. Or working on an assembly line. People the world over were scared. How were they going to put food on the table?
People from every corner of the world started to become problem solvers. Creativity and innovation flourished. Homemakers, film costumers and designers, my hubby included, began firing up their sewing machines, making masks for nurses and doctors along with all the other much needed PPE. Doctors in Boston ran out of virus-testing swabs, so they mobilized an army of 3-D printers to churn out new ones. Car companies refitted their machines to make Ventilators. Distilleries rejigged and made liquid sanitizer. A non-profit modified snorkel masks so doctors would have protection.
A seventeen-year old created one of the most popular Coronavirus tracking websites in the world. A good friend of mine’s son started a concierge testing business that would come to people’s homes. The live streaming of everything from fitness classes to art classes was an instant success with financial opportunities for many. Streamlined grocery shopping apps proliferated. So many creative innovators became entrepreneurs over night. Tutoring companies from math to language skills filled a void for parents who were desperate to keep their children’s education on track. All of these creative thinkers pushed a form of economic growth into being. We are not powerless. If we spin this pandemic into an opportunity we can learn from this dark time..
There is technology to unite us all in our common goal. We don’t have to take to the street to make change happen. We can unite and demand that the inequality between rich and poor be narrowed. We have the power to change. It starts with us. The Coronavirus gave us this! Save! Hope! Plan! Diversify! The now what? I’m guessing. One foot in front of the other and don’t look back… This is our reality now. We cannot cling to what was. We must accept what is. Only then can we move forward.
By Monica Parker
Why is it okay now?
Words used to have p o w e r
This seems to deflate them - so, is it a good thing, or, is it a bad thing?
The following is a re-post by Tom Bentley. He is a business and travel writer, an essayist and a novelist. He's published hundreds of freelance pieces in newspapers, magazines, and online. He is the author of three novels, a book of short stories and a how-to book on finding and cultivating your writing voice.
How did previously taboo profanities become de rigueur on cutesy merchandise?
By Tom Bentley May 4, 2020, 8:30am EDT
If you look around — and you don’t have to look very hard — you might have seen that there are a lot of items that now have the word “fuck” printed on them. These aren’t exotic or unusual things: socks, pencils, shirts, keychains, desk calendars, books, earrings. Even bars of soap, which might be handy for washing your mouth out after use.
I started to notice this commercial drift a few years ago when someone gave me a cup with a cartoony cat image and the statement “Cats Don’t Give a Fuck.” Not that that’s not true, but it is rather blunt. The cup seemed to be a clever novelty item, and its cheery presentation nothing taboo.
This was not long after I’d heard Samuel Jackson recite the text of the popular Adam Mansbach book Go the F**k to Sleep, to give modern parents some solace. There was something a bit daring in hearing Jackson shout the expletives in an alleged bedtime book, but, to me, more hilarious than blasphemous. And late last year, I read Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and checked to see what else he’d done, only to find his newest, Everything Is F*cked. It wasn’t until I received a set of 10 pencils as a Christmas gift — pencils labeled with phrases like “Fuck-a-doodle-doo” on them — that it seemed the product-profanity engine had reached fourth gear.
Those pencils (box-labeled “Fucking Brilliant: 10 Pencils for Writing Shit Down”) are the product of Chronicle Books, a San Francisco–based publisher of books and gift items. Chronicle’s Calligraphuck line has a high percentage of fucks (and shits) among its varied product roster. Kim Romero, senior editor at Chronicle, told me, “Calligraphuck uses profanity in an uplifting way, putting emphasis on positive messages and sentiments. Much of the appeal lies in the humor and surprise of seeing profanity rendered in lovely gold calligraphy. It’s an irresistible combination of irreverence and elegance.”
Chronicle doesn’t see a commercial risk in carrying products with a naughty message. “We’re always interested in offering our consumers something new. In this case: brilliant swear words with a twist, not just vulgarity,” says Christina Amini, executive publishing director of adult books and gift products at Chronicle. “Believe it or not, we spend a lot of time talking about which expletives are just right for this line. You can’t please everyone all the time, especially when you offer something with a strong flavor like our ‘Classy as Fuck’ flask. So we know that it won’t work for all retailers, but for the people who love this, they are all in,” she says.
When Will This End?
This pandemic is a reality that none of us has ever faced before. It’s more complex than the first time we picked up a Rubik Cube and struggled to realign those simple looking but devious color blocks. The Corona Virus has tentacles that seemingly shape shift on a whim. When scientists, epidemiologists and renowned doctors are still striving to understand the insidious symptoms and complications that come with this virus, of course it elevates our fear from so much being unknown. That, and that it is still seemingly unclear how this invisible menace chooses its victims. We come in all shapes, colors and ages and it doesn’t discriminate.
This uninvited formless monster snuck through the cracks of societies the world over, upending life, as we knew it. I know we feel helpless and more than a little aimless. So many people lost to this unseen enemy. So many families unable to console, cherish, or simply hold the hand of a sick or dying loved one. People are not sleeping well. Many of us are panicked about our future and how we will earn the money needed to pay for shelter, food, medicine, and education and on and on… Sigh! Businesses are falling like dominoes and it’s only been eight weeks since the apocalypse began to take hold. So many seeing their dreams shattered.
What I do know, is that history has proven that even this monstrous hydra will be brought down. It will take time. More time than we would like or have patience for. But patience is what’s needed. This is where our power lies. We need the willpower to keep social distancing, willpower to avoid crowed bars and beaches, willpower to resist temptation.
We are not powerless, if we spin this pandemic into an opportunity. We can learn from this dark time dimming the blue ball that we all cluster together on. Take a moment to understand our planet is breathing better, sparkling more, it’s letting the fish stocks replenish, the dolphins and whales have room to play without fear, every animal is finding it’s migration path and resting places in the sun. We humans can seize these days to find our place back in the sun. There are new and better ways to share what we have with those in need. There is technology to unite us all in our common goal. We don’t have to take to street to make change. We can unite and demand that the inequality between rich and poor be narrowed. We have the power to change. It starts with us. The Coronavirus gave us this!
What is appetite? I know what an appetite for life feels like.
It feels uncharted, wide open with all possibilities. It’s listening to Bono in your car at full volume, making a complete ass of yourself as you sing along, forgetting that your windows are open while sitting at a red light. The people in the car next to you start to laugh but then join in, making for a memorable and great moment. Or it’s sitting in front of the glorious, overwhelming Canada Day fireworks at Ashbridges Bay while a full orchestra of “Oohs and “Aaahs” takes over every pore in your body, or standing at the edge of Niagara Falls and breathing in that overpowering beauty, or standing on the shores of either the Atlantic or the Pacific or any other ocean as a storm rolls in and the power of the pounding waves takes your breath away. It’s impossible not to be awestruck time and time again by the majesty of nature or the ingenuity and imagination belonging to us humans.
Falling in thrall with another human being and wanting to consume the object of your desire, much the way a Praying Mantis does, is as terrifying as it is overwhelming … and more than a little twisted. It’s potentially dangerous but it is still appetite, probably more in the Hannibal Lechter vein. To feel your heart be cracked open by the power of love is like no other feeling. It’s achingly pure and magical. The want and need to be in that person’s wake 24/7 is wholly consuming - a different kind of hunger.
But appetite in the more traditional sense is confusing for me. When I feel the pangs of hunger, I’m not always sure what it is I am hungering for; is it food? Is it attention? Solace? Companionship? Stress release? Boredom? I know I want something and food is what I reach for first, habitually and blindly staring at the full or empty fridge, not always finding what it is that I need to shut down the feelings of emptiness or hunger. I can’t always tell the difference. I love food - good food. I’m not a junk eater. I have high standards even when I’m in an angst-driven tailspin. (French fries don’t count - they are a super food).
Often my plate is simply too full. I have taken on too much and I have forgotten to exercise the power of “NO!” That’s what it’s like to be a woman attempting to have and to do it all in today’s world. I am like those plate spinners that can’t stop running from one end of the row of fast-twirling plates to the other, keeping them aloft from sheer will. I am wide-awake at 3:00 a.m., unable to quash the brilliant and awful ideas spinning out of my overtired brain that is incapable of relaxing. But I have solved the crisis in the Ukraine, the mess of the Alberta Tar Sands and Jennifer Anniston’s dating woes.
Learning to say no is what we all must learn to do. We serve no one when we are on overload. Frying synapses zapping and popping much like the sound of the electrocution black flies and mosquitos face when flying into that seductive purple light - SNAP! Spreading oneself too thin is a totally false concept seeing as it leads to stress eating, which in my case leads to weight gain - Aaarrrghh! And it has nothing to do with my appetite. There is a hole that is desperate to be filled. Knowing what it really is that I am wanting remains an elusive mystery.
The planet is resting but we are restless. We are out of sorts. Our plans have been disrupted and we are scared what the future may bring, or worse…not bring. A future interrupted and completely stalled. No money. No direction other than being confined to home. Straightjacketed as we try to tame our claustrophobia. When we break free it’s as if we are in an endless corn maze, as we walk 6’ feet apart, desperately seeking a way out. Some pray to Jesus to save them, some to Allah. We all pray that this invisible equal opportunity destroyer of our hopes, dreams, lively-hoods and lives can be brought to heel.
This is when resilience is truly required. I know this, in order to live a quality life it’s a very necessary component. But what exactly is resilience? To my mind, in it’s simplest form it’s similar to the coating one finds on non-stick frying pans. Bad things can be made to slide off. But like bobsledding or axe throwing, it’s a skill that requires practice.
Into every life there are troubles big and small. Right now, we are dealing with the biggest trouble of all. This ravaging death stalker called the Coronavirus. It’s tentacles are everywhere, but we can’t see them, except in the body count which is climbing every hour and every day. Of course we are scared. We don’t know which way to point our sword. How can a little facemask and endless hand washing protect us? But they do! So does this uncomfortable, ill-fitting idea of distancing ourselves from our friends who we lean on in times of trouble, and now we can’t. But we are not on our own. We are sharing this daunting time with not just family and friends but with our entire planet.
How we handle these troubles is what makes us or breaks us. Remember, we are not defined by our circumstances. It’s the way we respond that defines us. Resilience and flexibility is what we all need to make it through these moments when the unexpected awful comes our way. I really believe that faith is the unsung companion necessary to make resilience whole! Don’t spend too much time alone in your head. It can be very weedy and dark in there. Find someone to talk to, or laugh with, even if it’s online…or pick some flowers and make them into a bouquet. It’s always about making the best out of every situation. That’s our path forward.
Every day, in almost every civilized country, there is a feature story (with before and after pictorial) about how to make your body look better. Better than what?
What is the holy grail of a better body? What if you haven’t won that genetic lottery? What if you are short or pear-shaped? Busty or flat chested? Stocky or skinny? We can’t seem to leave well enough alone, because we don’t know what well enough is. We orbit into a spin-cycle of self-directed mean-girl-ness.
Must we spend our lives in abject misery about our God-given design flaws? I say NO. I am fat, fit and fabulous! And I have spent far too much time trying to be something that perhaps I was never intended to be…thin.
I started my TV career as a plus-sized woman by doing an exercise show on City TV. I squeezed my body into a leotard, yanking that thing up as if it was a sausage casing, praying that when I stood up; nothing would fly out, especially my boobs (which by then looked like floatation devices). Blessed with an unnaturally flexible body, I did backbends and the splits. I decorated the Christmas tree with chicken legs and celery twists and played host to an endless parade of fitness experts who all thought they had the solution to being overweight. ‘Lose it!’ I tried. I did every diet on earth and some that must have come from Mars. If it was on a magazine cover, I did it. I knocked back a drink infused with clay, which was guaranteed to suck the fat from everywhere including your spleen. (Assuming one could have a fat spleen - which I’m sure I must have) The drink smelled like wet basement walls, tasted like the very glamorously named plaster of Paris. And that was the good news. The bad news came as my personal plumbing ceased to function and I was left with what I imagined to be my very own collection of clay garden gnomes that now resided in my gut. Never had I been more bloated or hoodwinked. Zero poundage was lost as my doctor encouraged me to eat lots of bread dipped in olive to loosen the backlog. Eew! My next favorite diet-disaster from the ‘Chronicles of Stupidity,’ was presented as a guaranteed lard-dropper: daily shots from the urine of pregnant cows. What? But of course in my desperation to become thinner, I said yes. Every day for six months I had a needle jabbed into my hip filled with pregnant cow urine. (How was that collected?) The diet accompanying the shots was an alarming 500 calories, mostly made up of grass cuttings. OF COURSE I LOST WEIGHT! I was eating the equivalent of two sticks of gum! But the diet devils couldn’t have made any money from that scheme, so they fronted the whole flim-flam enterprise with the magical properties found in pregnant cow urine. Why are these shysters never put in jail? I know why, because desperate people like me pray that there could me a kernel of truth to these brilliantly crafted sales pitches. As if the diets weren’t enough, there are always the bullshit exercise contraptions that have been springing up like mushrooms since the turn of the last century. Shaky leather belts strapped to one’s derriere, pulleys, ropes, electrified fat-melting pulse machines. Hey, I wore gravity boots to bed. I knelt at the altar of my Thigh Master. I skipped, I hula hooped and I popped Bennies. I lost weight.
I have a gold star for losing weight – and I have a platinum one for gaining it back. I’m not a scientist, but I have a theory: fat doesn’t ever really disappear. It hovers above the hole in the ozone layer just waiting for one bad hair day, one teeny emotional meltdown, one glimpse caught in an unflattering light and…whoomp! Fat always finds its way back home.
There are Ferraris and there are Fords. There are racecars and cruisers. Would I want a smokin’ hot body? You bet, but I wouldn’t know what to do with one. I already have a permit for this one and it has taken me years to learn to hug the curves and drive it full out!