Lately, I’ve taken to calling my backside “donkey.” It all started when my stepdaughter, C, reprimanded me for saying “ass” too much.
“But ass isn’t a bad word,” I say to her. “It means donkey.”
And so now, I’ve started treating my “donkey” as a separate entity.
Donkey don’t fit in the chair. Donkey needs to get smaller. Donkey refuses to shrink. Donkey don’t fit in them jeans. Donkey bad. Donkey good. Donkey flabby. Dead lifts good for tightening donkey. Donkey sore. Donkey cozy in stretch pants. Donkey okay. Donkey takin it day by day.
You get the drift.
I’m not sure why, but naming my rear quarters “donkey” has been cathartic in an odd sort of way. It’s as if it’s become something separate. So I’m freer to look at and it talk about it in a more objective and less personal way which, for a person with body-image issues, is quite fabulous. By detaching it from the rest of my body, it’s as if I’m no longer responsible for it. I like that.
And even though it still comes with me wherever I go, like a cold sore or a pair of old sneakers with holes in them, it doesn’t have to dictate how I feel about myself. In fact, calling it donkey—and thinking about it as a donkey—has made it almost loveable.
So there you have it. Me and my donkey are doing just fine. Thank you for asking. Why yes. We’d love to meet you for dinner. What night is good for you?
Speaking of donkeys, mine and I have been holding steady with my wellness program. If you recall from my last post, I did, in fact, wind up seeking the help of Dr. G, who, I’ll admit, I disliked in the way you dislike the taste of goat cheese before you’ve ever really had any.
Now that I’ve been working with her towards, among other things, a smaller and more fit donkey, I must say, were I in the market for a new best friend, she might be at the top of my list.
Since I have one of those already, instead, I’ll look to her as a great teacher, a fellow journeyman, my physiological fly girl, my chiropractic Kazoo, the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi who starts me on my quest for spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. Or, who keeps me from tipping the scales at 800 pounds as I delve ever deeper into the vortex of middle age, taking my metabolism, willpower, resolve, and good luck along with it.
She’s a guiding light who’s arrived just in the nick of time.
Since taking the first step towards hotness, I mean, good health, I have learned from Dr. G’s magical x-rays that I have a tinge of arthritis in my neck. Bad for me, of course, but much worse for my husband. “Honey, I can’t empty the dishwasher…I’m arthritic.” ”Can’t walk the dogs, babe, my arthritis is acting up.” “Ouch oh mighty, that pesky neck-thritis, would you mind massaging it, again?”
On a positive note, I also have some of the best posture G’s seen this side of the millennium. And, my body, albeit it robust, is perfectly proportioned, which means instead of having a skinny waist and a donkey the size of a double wide, I’m large all over.
It also turns out that while my cholesterol is somewhat borderline, my triglycerides are a hair’s breath short of award-winning (damn that writer’s strike). Reason to celebrate? Well, not quite yet.
That’s because my CRPJKV (or some such) marker is slightly high. In other words, I’m precariously inflamed. Of course, who didn’t know that? I didn’t need to give blood to know that I’m bloated a good 20 days out of the month. What I didn’t know was that inflammation, my friends, can be bad for the ol’ ticker.
Now when I heard this news, naturally I panicked. Because that’s one of the things I do really well. Then, after having some time to digest it, I decided to crawl into bed with my therapy dog Elvis and cry for six hours straight. “Oh Elvy, why me? Why am I so bloated? Why oh WHY is my donkey so large? Oh my babeeee, I’m so hungry…..”
Of course, in the middle of all this, my primary care physician called to re-deliver the news and tell me to take a baby aspirin, so I don’t drop dead suddenly from a heart attack (well, she didn’t say that). Which, of course, made me fell ancient and served to intensify the hysterics already underway. I mean, who knew that, at 45, I’d wind up in such lousy shape? Despite my efforts otherwise?
After all, I’ve never smoked, drank, or done drugs—save a few emergency Women’s Correctol’s. I’ve always watched my diet and been active, lifting weights for several years (although I did stop when I got married last year). So naturally, when I heard that my CRVXZ was high and my B-M-I was B-A-D, I was not only baffled, but slightly despondent.
I mean, good grief. If I had known it’d all turn out like this, I’d have spent the first half of my life having some fun–tokin it up, drinking like a fish, shooting heroin, and overdosing on pie and pizza.
But then, after several conversations with my boo boo girl Doc Gigi, I started to feel better about things. She reassured me that if I stuck to the nutrition and exercise plan and even calmed my crazy brain through meditation, all my nasty markers would find their way back to where I’d like them.
Since then, I’ve been like a priest at a sexual harassment convention—diligent in my efforts to stay disciplined. Goodbye potatoes, rice, and bread. Hello low-glycemic vegetables and lean protein. Goodbye just an hour walk with the dogs. And a big how’d-you-do to five 30-minute high intensity interval training and two weight training sessions a week (along with shin splints, calf soreness, and lower back tension).
I’m on a mission. And it ain’t to find religion.
I’m looking for a donkey that stops traffic—one that barely moves when slapped but shimmies and shakes at just the right pace. As appropriate of course.
So after 11 days on the course to drop weight and CRPJKS levels like a skydiver with a faulty parachute, I decided to check my progress on the scale. Proud, excited, and terrified like a Marine called to active duty, I raced to the Wellness Center to get weighed (because I don’t own a scale and please don’t buy me one for Christmas). I was sure I’d dropped a good four pounds—at least. After all, the folks on the Biggest Loser were dropping the body weight of small toddlers. If they could do it, I could certainly lose four pounds. Maybe even FIVE.
Once there, I waved to the young metabolically rich girls who staff the front desk, and head straight for the scale in Dee-to-the-Dee-to-the-Gee’s office. I took off my coat, sneakers, socks, earrings, sweat jacket, rings, spit out my gum, and stepped on the scale. What I saw shocked me.
I had lost two pounds.
Two lousy stinkin’ pounds. Two pounds—as many dry vegetables as I put back in a day—the number after one and before three. As I stood there, with I’m sure a look of pure horror on my face, as if I’d seen Dr. Atkins’ spirit rise up through the brown carpet like a chorus line of rusty nails, Dr. G’s brother, Dr. E, peaked in to see me. “Hey,” he says, smiling a big white toothpaste-ad smile. “How’d you do?”
“Let’s put it this way,” I said. “I do not need an agent. I am NOT the biggest loser.”
It was in that moment that I realized: my fat should go on the record as the most dedicated life partner on the planet. Who knew that instead of looking for companionship in another person, I needed only look to my own hips? No matter what I do, no matter how many times I try to break up with it, no matter how much I deprive it of love, my excess flesh will never leave me. Til’ death do us part for sure.
Which leads me to believe that the only way I’ll ever lose any real weight is through decomposition. Yep, you heard me. And that, my friends, is a very depressing notion.
So of course, I left that day wanting desperately to hit Dominos—HARD—but I didn’t. Because really, what would be the point? Like Britney Spears, my fat would merely attract more–the fat papparazzi, if you will. Hey guys,c’mon over here, the feedin’ is FINE, check me out, take my picture, roll with me, grow and prosper, make money, multiply, c’mon, this is where the action’s at.
I could just hear those nasty genetic buggers now.
So, instead of stopping for Italian, I went home and cried, again, into Elvis’ fur. “Oh Elvy, Can you just see it now? ‘Famous blogger, talented, loses 40 pounds. How’d she do it? She’s on the D-compose diet. She may be dead, but her corpse is toned and fabulous! See page 35 for details’.” Course the poor animal just looked at me and yawned, while I sobbed, groaned, choked, and blew my nose. (Desperation is not pretty.)
And so, from there, life had to go on. I decided, after releasing Elvis who made it clear through much squirming that he could take no more, to stay the course for eight weeks and see what happens. If, after that time, me and my donkey are still inflamed to the point of our CRPJQST risking damage to the International Space Station, well, we’ll both spend another few days in bed with Elvis and then do something entirely different.
Please don’t ask me what.
That night, drained of all bodily fluid, I went to bed hungry. And dreamt I was eating a corned beef sandwich. I could almost taste the meat (which, when fully conscious, I don’t even like) when my husband’s alarm went off. I rolled over and moaned and he spooned me, whispering, “Good morning, honey, I love you.”
To which I replied, “Get your own sandwich. I’m not sharing.”
On another subject entirely, I had a meeting the other day with a recruiter for some freelance work. Let’s call her Coco Paloma.
Somehow we got on the subject of divorce. And I found out that Coco P had finally lost custody of her young children to her ex-husband after a 10-year court battle. I have no idea how she endured for 10 years what we endured for five months—or how that father managed to convince the court he was the better parent.
I wanted to ask more questions, but given that I don’t know her well enough, I simply marveled on how prevalent the issue of child custody is. I don’t know why that surprises me, given the 50-percent-and-higher rate of divorce. Something’s gotta give–or someone’s gotta get caught in the crossfire of emotions–and sadly and typically, it’s the children.
I think about how all my friends who married in mid-life and became stepparents—every single one of them—has a bad and sometimes bizarre tale to tell of how their husbands’ ex has wreaked havoc in their lives, and even more specifically, in the spirit and minds of the kids.
Which leads me to wonder how, after a childhood spent stuck in the middle of two angry people, they’ll grow into adults. What kind of people will they be? How will they move through the world? How will they contribute? What kind of dreams will they have? And how will they reach for them? Will they? What will this future generation look like?
It scares me to think about it—and of them, bruised and battered and, eventually, in charge of their own healing. It hurts me even more to know that, at least in our own situation, we’re powerless to do anything about it.
Because even though we’re all nicey nicey now, the schedule in terms of when we see C is precarious. It can roll over on a dime. That at any moment, Dan’s ex can do what she did before—remove the child—for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Because that’s how it happened in the first place.
I know it. Dan knows it. And even more tragically, at least in my opinion, C knows it. And she is suffering. More and more, we hear of her migraines, nails chewed to the quick, allergies, fear of going to sleep at night. Crying that when she’s with her mom she misses us and when she’s with us, she misses her mom. And we are powerless.
We can’t reassure her that what happened will never happen again because not even we know that for sure. We can’t make promises about the other parent’s actions because we don’t control them.
So we acknowledge how hard the back and forth must be for her and tell her we love her and we’ll be here and that we’ll see her soon. To wit, she replies, quiet and broken, “I hope so.”
They’re words that break my heart. And, for the first time in my life, make the issue of even my donkey seem small.
Switching subjects again, just one last thing: I apologize to all waiting for my New Year’s resolution blog. But frankly, I have resolved to stop being a bad cliché. Making resolutions is, therefore, out of bounds.
(Although I am going to try to be nicer to the assholes in the park who insist on walking their dogs off leash, even though it’s not their backyard as indicated by the fact that they don’t, among other things, get their mail at the public park, and hey lady, when I ask you to leash your dog, it ain’t because I like the way those particular words feel coming out of my voicebox, and have you never heard of leash laws…Oh, I’m also going to be nicer about asking the folks at Ruby Tuesdays for crayons when they seat us because for some reason, once you’re over the age of 11, the hostesses at most major restaurant chains don’t think you deserve to color…I’m also going to stop starting my sentences with “Kids these days…” because that’s just unoriginal…and I guess I’ll give flossing another shot this year but I don’t make any promises…”)
Other than that (and maybe two or three others), no resolutions.
I will, however, pay homage to my father’s brilliant lone resolution: Which is to gain seven pounds because, as he so eloquently puts it, “that’s one I know I can keep.”
Rock on daddy! And to you all.
Until next time.