I see so many Disney-based things out there for my daughter. She is a little over a year old, but I really do not want to encourage Disney themes for her. Why? Because for one, the Disney princesses are never ordinary sized with the features of a woman who just got out of bed with no makeup and bed head. Take Cinderella for instance, the step-sisters were ugly. They were ridiculed for not being as enviously beautiful as Cinderella. What kind of message does that send to kids out there? How about, unless you have breasts, a tiny waist, and some butt, you will never be sought out by Prince Charming. Now for the male side of things, even in the Incredibles being ordinary or above average weight was seen as bad and therefore had to be remedied by intense workouts, deprivation, and secrecy. The highlights of an eating disorder right there. Now we instill these thoughts of unnatural appearing women and men at such an early age, then we wonder why a 13 year old dresses like a 20 year old. Then said young teen (or even pre-teen) gets pregnant because she has showed off all the goods, made her body be the way it should be according to the fairy tales, and then went and found her own version of Prince Charming. Usually to find out Prince Charming is not charming at all, and reality does not compare even in the slightest to those fairy tales. The real world is hard. The fairy tale life is ideal. So now we have an extremely high population of men and women who hate how their body looks, strive to make their body be more ideal (thanks again Disney), and then feel like failures when they cannot look like one of those ideal fairy tale characters. So many people complain about their weight. To be honest, I am one of those people. I have issues. I acknowledge the issues. I also acknowledge that my weight does not make me any less awesome, any less of a person, or any less attractive, because honestly, the stuff on the outside changes as days pass and years go by, but the stuff that is on the inside is what needs to the most work, attention, and care. Caring too much about my weight (even though somedays I drive people crazy about it), is detrimental. I, like many others, have the ideal image of a woman imprinted in my brain from countless years of Disney movies, media influence, and the endorsement of “weight watching” throughout childhood and adolescence. But there is a difference between letting that socialized, encouraged thought pattern take control and saying, “Hey, guess what world, women and men come in all shapes, sizes, and forms.” Instead of encouraging words such as, “skinny, big, chunky, fat, thin, ugly,” to describe people, I encourage the use of words such as, “lovely, pretty, beautiful, awesome,” because our future generations do not need to be so focused on how to look, but instead they should focus on how to treat others and themselves.
Recently I, being a paranoid parent, announced that my children would not be exposed to all the body image, semi-degrading, sometimes sexual sayings, cliches, and clothing graphics. Why? Because I do not want them to be haunted by seeing a picture themselves in a shirt or whatever the piece of clothing might be with a saying such as, “It’s not fat, it’s all muscle.” I really do not want my daughter being haunted by people telling her what a BIG girl she is. Or that she is chubby, cookie butt, cupcake face, or anything of the like. Why? Because kids now have to fight a constant psychological war against statements from the media, so why should they feel as if they might not find support from their closest people? In this time of eating disorders that run rampant, high rates of depression, and anxiety disorders, why should our future generations not receive the most support they can to be just as they were created? I see no reason why they should not have the best chance that they could possibly have, so why not start endorsing self-esteem building characteristics?
So this past week has been filled with ups and downs. Mostly downs, which is why I am posting up here. One major downer was that I found out most of my husband’s platoon was weighed this week. The week right after Superbowl weekend, which is generally filled with greasy high fat comfort foods and beer or an alcoholic beverage of some sort. The week where the majority of the platoon would have indulged on those comfort foods since they know they are not getting to have any for a very long time. Some came up over by 1 pound, others by over 10 pounds. So ensued the threat, lose the weight by tomorrow or you get put on BCP. To add some context, BCP is the USMC’s body composition program. It is not a good thing to be placed on the program, as it reflect negatively against you if you are on it and prevents you from being promoted among other things. So the guys that are built like tanks, or brick walls, attempted to lose any and all weight necessary to not be placed on BCP. Unhealthy? Yes. Will I list some of the things I found out they did? No, and please no comments about tips on how to lose weight fast. Because honestly, losing weight fast puts so much strain on one’s body and mind that in the end the consequences are negative. So after all they put their bodies through the day before, most of the men were put on BCP even if they were less than 5 pounds over. It is ridiculous that the guys that go off and train hard, fight harder, and end up with PTSD among other things have to make sure they fall within the correct percentages and weights for height…. or else. A healthy outlook would be to say that is weigh in is precautionary and the last weigh in will be prior to shipping off to some undisclosed location. These poor guys work their butts off, and in return are made to work harder just to move forward in their military career. Do I believe this is wrong? Yes. Can I honestly stand up for them from the standpoint of someone in health services? No. Not without having the punishment rain down on their heads for my words. :-(
Okay, not that many people will read this, but I have a confession to make. I hate it when other women/girls I know get pregnant quite easily. It is hard for me to take in that a girl can get pregnant without even trying, or even if they are trying, they can get pregnant almost instantly. I know it is selfish and self-centered of me, but it irks me to no end. I even hated it that my sister, who had been trying for a while, was able to get pregnant with no special interventions.
Here is why: My husband and I decided we wanted to start our family young. As screwed up as it may sound, I wanted to have a part of him with me. A little someone who is a little bit of both of us wrapped up in all that is good and right in this world. My husband is an infantry marine and tends to get into life-threatening situations when on deployment (some stories he has told me have almost made my heart stop at the thought of how close we came to almost losing him!) The risk of having him leave and never return breaks my heart a little bit each time I thought and think about it. So we decided we would try having a baby before he was deployed. His rationale was that he didn’t want to be an old man when his kids were in their active let’s-play-sports-and-run-around years. So we tried… and tried… and tried some more. I made an appointment with my OB/Gyn and discussed things with her. I told her I had not had a period in almost an entire year. So she gave me some pills (progesterone and Clomid) to see if that would jumpstart my cycle. While we had talked about a reproductive specialist, I did not realize she was going to refer me to one or that I would get in so quickly. So here I was, 21 years old, walking into a fertility specialist’s office, terrified of what might happen. After an examination, discussion, and blood-work I was sent off with a new medication regimen. This one involved injections of hormones (aka ART assisted reproductive technology/treatments… or hormone replacement therapy, it is very similar). FSH/LH combo in the form of Menopur. Then since I just could not ovulate on my own, I was given scripts for HCG injections. To follow that up I had progesterone treatment as well. I did the Menopur injections until the follicles were large enough that we could induce ovulation and actually have a chance of conceiving. This took anywhere from 10 days to 21 days. I induced and then used the progesterone until I either got my period or did not. If not I could test to see if I was pregnant or not. So, round one came and went, round two… three… four… five… six… and finally I didn’t get my period after 10-14 days post induction!!! So we went through all the tests to find out, YAY!, we were pregnant! We were in a haze of happiness for a few weeks. Then we found out my husband would be deploying in two weeks, I bled, and at my 8 week let’s-make-sure-everything-is-okay appointment we found that the pregnancy was not viable. I was utterly heartbroken and hated the world. Why could all these other girls my age get pregnant so easily and I could not? So a week before my husband left for overseas I miscarried the only child I could get pregnant with at the time. My doctor assured me that we could continue on with treatment, we just needed a sample from my husband to freeze. About 6 weeks after my miscarriage I went to my doctor for an IUI. My husband was in a battle zone and I was thinking that this must be the weirdest thing ever. I know it is not, but hey, I was 21 and I felt really young getting that procedure done. But it worked. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant. And now I have my little girl who is my world after 42 weeks of pregnancy (she was a late baby who tried to come early, but decided against it.)
Now, after all I have been through, I still see all these girls getting pregnant very easily. But that is how God made their bodies. Mine has seen years and years of abuse from an eating disorder (which was why I could not get pregnant apparently). This said, I have to say that if anyone is ever wanting to have kids and people suspect them of having an eating disorder, get them help! Despite the facts that they deny it, they more than likely secretly agree but won’t do anything unless forced to. If I knew that I would face the possibility of never having any kids at such a young age I would probably have been more proactive. Because once it is gone it won’t come back on its own unless in some cases of Divine Intervention or intervention through some pretty heavy duty and expensive treatments.
Recently, my husband looked at me and said he was two different people entirely. He has a work persona and a home persona. Both personalities are separate from one another. Now, this made me stop in my tracks, jaw drop, eyes wide, a million thoughts racing through my mind. My first thought was, “If your work personality comes out at home… do I have to fear for my life and safety? How do I know which personality I am talking to?” and so on my thought travelled down the long line that branched off in varying directions. Finally I came to the conclusion that is just is not logical to be two different people. To maintain those two different lives within one mind is not logical, rational, or sane in any way. I personally believe that if you have to change how you are, who you are, and your behaviors to suit people then who are you truly? Personality A, B, or C? D, E, or F?
Having this thought pattern opens my eyes to seeing so much more about why I have such a hard time making friends. I just cannot alter my personality to be a fake me. I have no rational, logical reason to do so. Being a wife of a Marine and not near home or people I really know is difficult, being a student whose classes are solely online is horrendous, being a mother to an infant is degrading my verbal skills to the point of speaking in motherese more than actual speech. I realize I am kind of weird, that is my charm, in my opinion, but it does make me wonder if that repels others. All in all, I am finding I need to get out more, make more friends, be more independent, and the list goes on for a mile or two. But will I teach my daughter that she needs to be two different people. A work or school person and a home person? Or that she needs to be true to herself and just be the perfect little girl God gave me…and that is it. Hopefully I will be able to show my daughter that being Joy as Joy is, is the perfect person she can be. Here is to the next 50 or so decades in which I will try to instill into my daughter good values, honesty, and acceptance!
I have been dabbling in making organic baby food lately. This is due to my daughter refusing to eat any of the conventionally grown baby foods from the grocery store. Now, she will eat the organic jarred or pouched baby foods, just not the other mainstream baby foods. Why? I have no clue, but I have my suspicions. Maybe it is due to flavor, aftertaste, texture, or smell, but I cannot really give a definitive answer until she can actually talk using words. She is 7 months old so I think there will be a long wait before I get any answers.
I do not mind making her the baby food. It is an adventure with so many different combination possibilities. And honestly, kids nowadays have a lot of worry about, so why should I saturate my growing baby with genetically altered, radiation treated, pesticide drenched ingredients when I can just as easily give her the stuff without all the extras. I have seen all the articles relating to kids, obesity issues in children, early onset puberty in children, and so many other issues that someone decides to study. So many of them point to the use of additives causing the problems, the use of artificial ingredients possibly being the cause. So to combat these issues I chose to make the baby food from organic ingredients because, 1: my daughter will actually eat it, and 2: it might just help my daughter be healthier later on in her formative years.
Lately I have been seeing more and more stuff on the net about eating disorders, body image issues, body love, encouragement on loving one’s own body, et cetera. There are some people that I absolutely love as role models for ANYONE. Loving one’s body is a really tough thing to do. So many people I know have issues with some part of their body to the point that they have it absolutely set in their minds to change that particular area. You get to hear stories about so many different people who are out in the spotlight today.
Now here is my little old story. I did not ask for an eating disorder. I did not want an eating disorder. I actually did not know what an eating disorder was until I was in my teenage years… after I was diagnosed with one. I honestly thought dieting was a way of life, exercising was something women had to do when they got older, and younger girls absolutely had to weigh less than their older counterparts. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother dieting (SlimFast was all the rage then) and exercising (step aerobics anyone? Go grab your leg warmers and sweat bands!!!) Yes I am old enough to remember when leotards in violent colors were totally awesome.
I was dealt a bad hand when I hit puberty. The day I was weighed and found out I weighed more than my older sister, well, I was horrified. I wanted to curl in a ball and cease to exist. I promised myself that I would lose the weight, but I had no clue how to do that, so I started to associate things that had no actual reason to be associated. This is the first vestige of the eating disorder. It plays tricks in one’s mind to the point that common sense is no longer functioning. But, nonetheless, I travelled down that road, and did not even attempt to turn back around until my parents threatened to send me away via hospitalization… which meant I had to leave the safety of my own home and be stuck in some smelly utilitarian room versus my nice comfy cozy bedroom. Can we say no fast enough?
I recovered then, with the help of a dietitian, therapist, and doctor. Did recover last infinitely for me? No. Why? Because the disorder never went away. The Ed in my mind still nagged me, spoke to me, told me my body was grotesque even when other people did not. Even when other’s complimented me. Why? Because I was still catering to the belief that the only attractive person was the really skinny girl that everyone loved in the movies. The one who never was picked on, was accepted by everyone, and was so pretty she got the hot guy in the end. After my father passed away shortly before my sixteenth birthday I began a downward decent into the pits of Ed. Granted people in my family noticed, I really did not give a sh*t. Honestly, I just hated life at that point. I missed my dad, I hated being at home (I was home schooled), I did not want anything to do with anyone else, I just wanted to escape into my own world. I controlled my world and nothing was disappointing, depressing, oppressive, or hindered. This downward descent resulted in me being hospitalized in January because I would have otherwise died due to my obsessive neglect of my body in pursuit of the ideal perfect image. Yeah, honestly, I was not thinking right at the time. I blame all the myelin sheaths in my brain having been depleted due to the lack of anything going into my body.
It gets worse… over the next several years I relapsed a few more times. Well, folks, apparently bodies do not like being put in that position. Ed stole the one thing from me that I felt was a right nothing should be able to rescind from me. Ed stole my ability to have children naturally. At 21 years old I was going for hormone therapy because I had gone into a state of menopause and had stopped ovulating. It is one thing to not have a period for a few months, but when a woman goes a year without one, they say she is menopausal. I had thought it would only take one or two times with the hormone therapy (which really, really affects behaviors, moods, and rationalization). It took 6 rounds of injections before I got pregnant, and 7 total rounds of injections plus 1 miscarriage and an IUI to have a successful pregnancy. When I say rounds, I mean I went through the entire hormone injection cycle beginning with the FSH/LH, through to the HCG, then onto the progesterone for however long it took until I began a mense or was able to test for a possible pregnancy seven times. I am very grateful that I have my daughter today, but I still get agitated when I see people trying to diet or wishing their bodies were different. I wish I could stop them and tell them that their on their way down a path that might lead to more suffering than they ever wished possible. Or that they could lose something that only the grace of God and His hand in modern medicine can help them with (that and thousands of dollars or really good health insurance). I wish I could tell all the guys out there and all the girls out there that they are the ideal. The LIVE HUMAN BEINGS that make up the world as it is today, not the computer altered, animated, freakazoid Barbie beings that are gracing photos, movies, and media as we know it everyday.
We are HUMANS, we are made to be different, and by the Grace of God we are made as beautiful beings. He intended everyone to have the body they have today, otherwise we would all be a pile of goo or look exactly alike or (the horror!) all be men. (God made Adam first, He didn’t actually have to make Eve)