Tag Archive for self-esteem

Heart Attacks, Healthcare, & The Time I Did Meth

According to this video, I am currently and am always having a heart attack.

This is terribly unfortunate because I was recently denied health insurance on the basis of my weight. I had a stronger emotional reaction to this rejection than I expected, partially because I never actually expected to be denied. I’m (relatively) young at 31, have no serious health problems, no penchant for cliff diving or anything risky or edgy at this point, and I don’t plan on doing anything expensive like getting pregnant EVER (which should be covered anyway, in my opinion, but just sayin’). If I’m feeling the symptoms in the video above, it is due to anxiety, which can obviously affect one’s health negatively in the long run, and I thought I could do something good for myself by seeking insurance coverage for my minor (by comparison) issues with that. I thought I was being smart and a good person by not lying about my weight (sorry about that, Driver’s License), but now it feels like I’m being punished.

Usually when the subject of obesity comes up among civil folks, two camps quickly form: those who advocate for size acceptance no matter what and those who are quick to inform everyone that they don’t hate fat people, it’s just that they are worried about us because we are probably going to drop dead at any second and are pretty much stealing the money directly out of everyone’s pockets with our expensive diseases (aka concern trolls). The issue of fat and health and whether or not the two can coexist has been debated at length and quite frankly I don’t want anything to do with it. I cannot stand it when people use concern as an excuse to shame fat people (that’s what it comes down to, pure and simple), but I’m also not a doctor or someone that likes reading doctor-y statistics, so whatever. I can only go by my own history of physical and emotional health as a fat person with a lifetime of baggage because of external and internal fat phobia. I struggle constantly with the disconnect of how I logically feel about body acceptance, my personal struggle with internalized fat phobia and low self-esteem, and my health issues and fears. The majority of past posts on this blog were written when I was at a much lower weight than I am now but starting to gain it back. When I was going through the archives recently, adding tags and such, I was kind of surprised and ashamed at just how much I talked about my weight and how I was absolutely planning on “starting a new diet asap.” I guess some parts were supposed to be funny and in-step with the whole Failure schtick, but reading now it feels embarrassing on two very different levels: 1) because I never want to feed into my own or others’ insecurities and body fixation/shame and 2) because I never did go on that diet. See what I mean about the disconnect?

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to write briefly (HAHA) about a few of my adventures in trying to lose weight.

Shame
I never forget I’m fat. I mean, how could I? It’s a constant focus within and by the world around me. Sometimes it seems like my (thin) friends forget I’m fat, though. Surely that could be the only explanation for someone having the audacity to inform me, breathlessly, mouth curled in disgust, how “omg sooo FAT” so-in-so has gotten, or showing me FatBooth pictures (that app has thankfully fallen from popularity, but one remembers these things when an acquaintance was so genuinely horrified by what she would look like fat that she nearly cried), or posting Instagram shots of oozing burgers, decimated pans of brownies, or sometimes even just a regular plate of food with the caption “Uh oh, my inner fat kid is coming out!” or “Being a fat girl again” or (my favorite) simply, “I’m so fat!” My own “inner fat kid” comes out every day when I get out of bed as my outer fat woman, a person who is haunted by past ridicule and is subjected to very real prejudice in the world. For the record, my inner and outer fat persons are not particularly partial to burgers or sweet treats and are resentful at the suggestion that only fat people eat a certain way or at all and thin people don’t. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for nourishing my body. I’m not that sensitive when it comes to jokes and I have one of the most off-color senses of humor, but shit like this wears me down after a while. How many “Oh, I wasn’t talking about YOU”s can a person accept in their lifetime? I cannot pretend that when you, even unintentionally, say cruel or hurtful things about fat people, you aren’t talking about a fat person “like me.” You are. I’m fat. That being said, I am obviously not free of fat phobia. My own internalized fat phobia does some pretty impressive contortionist moves. I don’t hate fat people, just myself. I love the fat positive movement, but I could never be that. Wow, she sure is brave to eat that in public where everyone is watching and judging her. I want another serving, but I know what people will think. I just love how hot Beth Ditto looks on stage when she takes her clothes off, but I could never do that, my body is disgusting. All of my fat friends are prettier than me, which is why they can pull it off. It never ends, and yes, it is as painful and tiring as it sounds. All of this shame is something I’ve tried to use as motivation in the past to try to lose weight, and it just does not work. It leads to deeper patterns of despair, desperation, and negative behavior.

“Diets”
I won’t bore you with all 20+ stories of me trying to beat (and measure and count and blend) my weight into submission using Weight Watchers, Slimfast, etc., starting from about six years old. The main thing using Slimfast taught me was that there is no way a shake is a full meal for me and that adding a banana to one of their chocolate shakes, while counter-productive, is damn delicious and banana+chocolate is the dream team. All I really ever got out of Weight Watchers was the terror of being dragged there by my mother and weighed in public each week and probably, deep in storage somewhere, several vintage sets of measuring cups, kitchen scales, and books emblazoned with the WW logo. Today Jennifer Hudson wails at me from my tv to say that if I want it, I’ve got it, I’ve gotta believe, believe in myselllllffff. I wish I could tell her that one of the main reasons I DON’T believe is that I DID believe on and off throughout the 90s and yet here we are. Oh well.

Diet Pills/Meth
Seriously. Meth. Okay, sort of. When I was in high school my group of friends and I met a group of older kids, Caltech students, and started hanging out with them. We found out that the school actually has a not-so-secret reputation for its wild parties. Apparently extreme science nerds need to cut loose somehow, and that somehow was with booze, weed, ecstasy, GHB, meth, and K. Someone told me they used their superbrains to make their own drugs sometimes, but I don’t know if I believe that. I do know that there was a hollowed-out electrical box in the wall of one of the dorms containing piles of condoms and clean needles, among other goodies. I never got down with any needles, but I was curious and self-destructive enough to try just about anything when the creepy ringleader dude gave my friend and I a tiny baggie of speed one afternoon. We took our first ever nostril-burning rails in our Catholic school uniforms as he stared lecherously, leaning back on his bed. It was totally weird because he obviously expected something other than money in return, so we got out of there fast. I remember feeling slightly euphoric for literally about four minutes and then feeling my emotions come crashing down as I walked along the sidewalk, wishing it would open up and take me inside. When we got home we put on a movie in an attempt to chill out, but I could not relax, laugh, or even smile. The movie was There’s Something About Mary, and to this day I don’t know if it was any good. I mean, I highly doubt it because I don’t find Ben Stiller very funny, and is the main gag seriously semen as hair gel? But it WAS sort of a 90s classic, never the less, and now I’ll never be able to appreciate it. We stayed up all night until the little baggie was gone, trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to ward off the terrible feeling of coming down. We talked in circles about everything awful under the sun and moon and damn near made a suicide pact. Somehow we made it through to the next morning when my mom picked me up and I’m seriously glad I can’t really remember that awkward car ride. Just before I finally fell asleep late the next afternoon, after trying to force myself to eat a piece of bread that tasted like poison in my mouth, my friend and I swore to each other in whispers on the phone that we would NEVER EVER try speed again. I hadn’t tried it to lose weight, just out of teenage curiosity, but fast forward a few years later and I was trying a diet pill for the first time, the original formula of Metabolife, which was packed with ephedra (a powerful stimulant which has since been banned by the FDA). I pretty much had a meth flashback and a total meltdown, so no, it didn’t help me lose weight, because I was only able to take it once. I had hoped it would give me energy and cut my appetite, but instead it just made me jittery and depressed. If you know me, you know if I drink even one cup of coffee I start having racing thoughts, pacing back and forth, and being generally intolerable. This “energy boost” doesn’t help me get stuff done or concentrate or feel invigorated. I’ve since tried caffeine-based diet pills and they have a similar effect. It doesn’t really suppress my appetite much, but even if it did (like meth and the amphetamine diet pills that some doctors still prescribe) it wouldn’t work for me because I hate that speedy feeling. I know a lot of people love it, but we all know that real speed and fake speed and even excessive amounts of caffeine can be just as terrible as or much worse for your body (speaking of heart attacks) than being fat, so there goes that method of weight loss.

The Not-So-Healthy Diet and Exercise Plan
Several years ago I tried to go on The South Beach Diet but failed to lose even one pound or inch, despite the fact that I had followed it strictly for over a month. I had healthcare at the time and went to the doctor to be like WTF and was tested and diagnosed with PCOS. It had been so hard to lose weight even when I was genuinely trying my whole life that it was in some ways a relief to be diagnosed with PCOS, a disease that makes weight loss more difficult, among other symptoms. The thing is, even though it’s harder to lose weight, weight loss can help alleviate some of the other symptoms. I began a strict regimen of birth control pills, anti-androgen meds, generic metformin (a diabetes drug that can be helpful to some PCOS patients, but has several unpleasant side effects), exercise, and an extreme low-carb diet (as in not even fruit for the first month) all under a doctor’s care at first. Eventually I did start to lose weight, but I wasn’t exactly at my healthiest. I lost my health insurance through my mom and was no longer seeing a doctor. I was newly living away from home and was hanging out with two thin girls who were both very concerned about their weight, and we talked about it constantly, obsessively. I was getting thinner and thinner for me, but never “thin enough.” There were days I cheated on my diet and ate whatever I wanted, weeks I ate salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and times where I wouldn’t consume much at all other than vodka sodas (low in carbs, you see) when I went out at night. I had a job where I was constantly moving and on my feet in addition to taking daily walks and spending feverish nights on the dance floor. I was such a hot mid-20s mess that I rarely remembered to take my medications then finally stopped altogether. For me, losing weight was a FULL TIME commitment and lifestyle change that had started for health reasons, but that was never the real issue. I wanted to feel better about how I looked and be more accepted, and people did treat me better, sadly, but it was never enough. I never got skinny, I never felt like I looked as good as my friends in clothes, I still hated my body, I still hated myself, inside and out. And I certainly wasn’t being healthy about it after the first few months, skipping meals because I was too busy and going out every night, not dealing with my real problems. I think people who find it easy to moderately difficult to maintain a certain weight really don’t understand that when they say “why don’t you just lose weight?” to someone like me, they are essentially saying “why don’t you devote just about every waking moment to looking a certain way and being my and society’s definition of beautiful and healthy?” I mean, I kind of feel like no one should be getting in anyone’s body business like that anyway, but it is particularly annoying to me as someone who has a condition that makes weight loss extra difficult.

So, this is where I’m at now. I feel defiant, like going on a diet and exercise plan would be me bending to society’s will. I don’t want to be shamed or bullied into doing something that could potentially be healthy for me, and losing weight definitely isn’t the answer for everyone’s health. It sure wasn’t the answer to my biggest problem, which was my absent sense of self-worth. I do want to make steps to avoid certain health pitfalls I know may be prone to because of my history. I feel like this time I could be trusted to do things right and for mostly the right reasons, but I keep going back and forth. Attempting to get insured was a big step for me, but we know how that ended up. It feels extra hurtful and crazy that I would need to lose weight to get health insurance but getting health insurance could be one of my best shots at losing weight, if that’s what I decide to do.

Ugh. Is it Obamacare yet?

The Failure Princess Reboot (there’s a shoe tie-in pun here, but let’s not)

I’ve been trying to think of a way to reintroduce this blog without having to admit that I’ve been a lazy asshole full of half-baked ideas, but in the spirit of lazy assholes with half-baked ideas, nothing is coming to me.

In the meantime I’ve been going through all of my old posts adding tags and cleaning up egregious spelling and grammar errors as much as possible, save for stylistic choices such as all lowercase letters and perhaps overly-liberal sprinklings of “duh”s “lol”s and “wtf”s. Not that I don’t still believe in the power of a well-placed lol, of course. I began the oh-so-poetic habit of using only lowercase letters in my writing sometime in my early teen years and had to train myself to write with proper caps when I started writing and editing professionally, which was a big step… Yup, and someday I will learn to tie my shoes properly without using double bunny ears and you’ll be the first to know.

Anyway, I’ve been writing professionally since around 2008 when I thought I’d found my dream job, but I was either wrong about that or somehow managed to fuck it up. Both are entirely possible within in the Failure realm. In any event, I do some freelance work now but am mostly unemployed. My person/boyfriend/partner/girlfriend and I will have been together for five years in October (July, really) and we are still sickeningly in love. This kind of sickening, life-affirming love and devotion is contrary to everything I stand for, but seeing as I regularly stand for being contrary, it works out! I have a Pomeranian and am a total crazy dog lady now. Remember when I was a cat person!? My former cat love was a weird thing I “discovered” while going through this blog, in addition to the fact that for some odd reason I used to spell catalog as “catalogue” and hooray as “hurray”, neither of which is incorrect, per se, but odd because I don’t know where I picked up those spellings or when exactly I dropped them.

Also, did I mention I am 31-years-old and live at home with my mother? I guess we can just get that out of the way and I should warn you that it’s actually no fun to judge or mock me for it because I do a damn fine job of that on my own. I’m not saying I’m funnier than you, but I have a lot more material to work with, and I promise I’ll lay myself bare for your entertainment, as always.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I feel a bit guarded right now. I recently had an unpleasant exchange with a former friend (I threw the first punch, full disclosure, but she brought a gun to a text fight) wherein I was verbally assaulted with many of the same failures and shortcomings I tear myself down for internally but also find humor in. Making fun of myself and complaining about my “shitty life” has always been a coping mechanism, an art form, hell, even a pleasure of mine, but hearing someone else say the same fucked-up things that I think about myself then turn into jokes — only minus the joking part — kind of made me want to be nice to myself instead and not give them any more ammunition. I don’t know, I guess it just doesn’t feel that funny to be self-deprecating right now. I wrestled with the idea of using this blog to write in again partially for that very reason. I mean, do I even fit into the same cement shoes I did when I started writing as the Failure Princess? And what exactly is “failure”? I don’t have a job, any money, a living space of my own, a formal education, self-confidence, any sense of self-worth whatsoever… but I do have an amazing relationship, a wonderful dog, the kind of happiness I did not think was possible for someone like me, and all kinds of good things that are not that funny to write about. Luckily I also still have loads of good stories, a lot of opinions, and a taste for cheap booze, so we should be fine. Amanda: Failure Princess is alive and well.

These days, I don’t think those cement shoes exactly fit me anymore. I still carry them around with me though, like a party girl on a walk of shame, and maybe I always will. But maybe I won’t.

cloudbusting

this is my new fav video (thanks natasha!). it is kate bush’s “cloudbusting“, which is based on a true story. it is such a beautiful song and the video makes me cry. i especially get weepy when she whispers toward the end “i’m cloudbusting, Daddy.” do i have daddy issues? yes. but also, there is the obvious thing happening in my life right now, which is that i am trying to change the weather. “i just know that something good is gonna happen. i don’t know when, but just saying it could even make it happen…”

i should mention that the job hunt isn’t going so well. i am in a constant state of worry, bordering on hysterics, which is proving to have a range of negative side-effects, from chest cavity-melting heartburn all the way to friction in my relationship. this is deeply vexing because while i am lucky enough to have a prescription for generic zantac, i do not have what i really need, which is deep, intensive psychotherapy.
to make matters worse, i am less than confident about how i look right now because of my weight-gain and because i’m pretty sure i’m going bald. this makes it difficult to look for a job because i have this idea in my head that i am not hot enough to work anywhere. joe says this is crazy. he says “do i always have to listen to you talking shit about yourself?” and i say “yes. welcome to the next 50 years of your life.” jk. i hope maybe i will get some self-esteem in the next couple of months, but honestly getting a second job is one thing that is really going to help that. but then how do i get a job if i am stupid, and ugly? SEE WHAT I MEAN??? vicious cycle!
this is obviously old news, but i just saw a story on the news about sexy coffee shops popping up all over the pacific northwest. two thoughts:
a) wtf? see, i knew it was just going to get harder and harder for regular-looking people to get jobs. it’s bad enough living in l.a. where you sometimes feel like you have to be a hot model type, punky/piercings type, or hipster girl-uniform-wearing type (think skinny jeans, overpriced t-shirt, and bored facial expression) to get a job anywhere in the city at a retail store, but now you are telling me i might someday need to look great in garters to sell coffee? ridiculous. heinous. i’m going to resume planning my suicide now.
b) speaking of wtf, wtf is up with the pacific northwest? i feel like they are playing a big joke on the rest of us. first they are like, “hey! everyone should do what we’re doing! we make quality coffee with care and we have shops that we hang out in and it’s like, our culture!” then they are like, “hey, now your coffee is going to be served by Suicide Girls rejects.” i don’t get it. when i think of the NW, i think of flannel, falling rain, and feminists (blame riot grrrl), and yet i always hear about crazy things happening there like drinking allowed in fully naked strip clubs (good idea? bad idea?) and now half-naked girl coffee!
fine, i guess that’s only two things, and i guess it’s my fault for seeing the NW as some kind of stereotypical queer utopia (minus the flannel and rain). joe says if i move there, which i toy with often, i will realize that there are downsides and upsides to living in any town. as you know, i LOVE l.a., but i am currently feeling a bit down on the queer community here, and on any sense of community at all. i’m craving that, especially a community of real, down, queer femmes, who are less interested in screwing each other over for andro/butch/guy attention and more interested in being besties, shopping for lipstick, making muffins, and having reading groups. maybe it’s right in front of me and i am looking in all the wrong places, but i am having a hard time, nonetheless.
last time i was in portland i was like, i HAVE to move here, i don’t have a choice. i NEED this. then i was in the bathroom and i had an epiphany. i don’t remember what club i was at, but the bathroom was the same as any club in l.a., minus the hair extensions, and it occurred to me, no amanda-faye, running up here would be the easy way out, you must stay in l.a. and try to build that community, try to make it better, BE the femme you want to be friends with! then i got home and one of my friends was hanging out with this really obnoxious girl who i’m pretty sure isn’t even gay, and i realized i was a) up against the impossible, and b) a total judgemental bitch in addition to being lazy. i am probably not the person to try and carry the l.a. femme revolution on her back. can anyone help? i googled los angeles femme groups, but it didn’t go so well. i REALLY don’t want to have to move. my boyfriend goes to school here, i am very close to my family, and i am simply in love with this breathtaking city in ways that no one who doesn’t love los angeles could ever understand.
plus, if i move to portland, i will not have nearly enough use for HD wraparounds, these beautiful and stylish sunglasses, which i MUST have.
this is hilarious. the best part is the guy who is TOTALLY SHOCKED that his clip-on sunglasses let light in on the sides.
i probably would seriously wear them, though, because lord knows i totally wear my sunglasses over my scrip glasses whenever i can’t wear contacts. i honestly do in the car, and sometimes forget to take them off in public! embarrassing!

a toast: to habit, and rehabbing

i was getting frustrated today because i have gained so much weight that my clothes simply are not fitting properly and in my mind there really should be no reason for that, as i have been so poor i have been eating next to nothing. then i remembered that when i do eat, i basically eat jam. jam is high in carbs. okay, i don’t eat plain jam, cause that is absolutely hitting rock bottom, but i have been eating a lot of toast.

my old bff alex used to get SO PISSED because i would say “i want a toast!” instead of “a piece of toast.” i understood her frustration, but it’s one of those things we just sort of grew up saying. sometimes my grandma, grandpa, or my mom would say stuff strangely because they are from texas and speak a lot of spanglish, and it would annoy the shit out of me, but some things, like “a toast” just slipped through the cracks and became part of my vocabulary.

it sucks as you get older and realize what a shitface you have been to your parents for things that are simply not their fault or even necessarily bad. i can specifically remember one time when i was in high school and i snarled at my mom that she was saying the word “sandwich” incorrectly because she sometimes says “sangwich.” my mom and i fight like two cats in a sack and sometimes she gets way out of line with me and says fucked up things, but i remember that time she looked at me with genuine hurt and said, “i’m sorry i say that word wrong. it’s really hard for me to say that.” and i felt like a fucking douchebag, but i didn’t let it show.

sometimes i wonder if i will end up doing things like my mom and aunts do. i am so lazy and so incapable that i have never actually made a steak, but i wonder if i tried to cook one, would i inadvertently season it the same way my family would? i just wonder…

i already make the same silly faces as my mom and tell everyone how ugly i think i am, like she does. it’s so funny because it embarrasses me to no end and makes me so sad when she does that, but i do it too, all the time. it’s like an out of body experience. i can hear myself saying the words and regretting them. i can hear whomever i say it to becoming uncomfortable.

where does it end? what is true? do i know how to make a piece of meat taste exactly like my grandmother makes it just because i have eaten it like that a hundred times? was i ugly before i learned to say so, to anyone who was listening?

there are some steps you can never retrace.

wit with tits

surprisingly, a lot of my casual friends and loyal readers might not know this, but i am much more than a wit with tits. i’m not just this amazing, brilliant writer and tasty piece of ass, okay? i will have you know that in many circles i am highly regarded as a sort of go-to gal for advice because of my deep sense of empathy, and, quite frankly, sad amount of time on my hands.

well, no more folks. from now on… well, for a period no less than three and no more than six months, i am not giving any personal advice to any of my friends. i will still be the great listener i have always been, but no talking and no dispensing of my “wisdom.” all that has done lately is get me into huge trouble.

what people don’t understand is that i am not just a nosy, gossipy, bigmouth, but i literally have a problem separating my life from the lives of others. if you tell me something that is worrying you sick and you are someone i care about, i will lie in my bed at night, sick to death over it myself. now, that is no one’s fault except my own, but i can’t take it any more. i’m killing myself with worry, every day.

next week i am going to figure out what kind of hippie shit can fix me. psychotherapy doesn’t work because all my therapists just fall under the charm of my self-depricating humor. i can’t even be serious in therapy. sucks. so i’m gonna get like, five colonics and maybe light some sage on fire and swallow it. i don’t know, any suggestions would be helpful.

but for now, here are my new rules:

no advice giving

no advice asking

no rude comments about myself or others (except on the blog, don’t panic!)

not a bad place to start. i have to stop telling myself and other people horrible things about me, because really, they just start to believe them, and start treating me as such. i deserve better than that… yup, i’m going to wake up tomorrow, look in the mirror and say, “goddamnit, amanda-faye, you are beautiful, smart, and a hellcat in the sack.”

then i am going to give myself a mani-pedi, go get a fifteen dollar bikini wax, and meet my friend shari to color her hair and eat the delicious lunch she makes me. because i’m worth it, but still broke.

p.s. if i wasn’t broke, i’d buy this:Elperrocover because it is the best cd i have heard in a while. and yes, i already have the mp3s, but i’m still gonna buy it. it’s that good.