Brittany: Standing in Place
For three nights in a row, I have woken up between 1 and 2 am, and haven’t been able to go back to sleep. This usually starts happening in the fall when I go into “planning the next project” mode and I usually use these nocturnal awakenings to write whatever it is that is threatening to burst forth. But this time, my project in the works doesn’t seem that close by. Or pressing. This time, when I wake up, my mind is a complete and total blank.
My one consuming thought (though, ironically, it isn’t consuming enough) is “I have to get this weight off.”
My weight has not changed in over a year. And you can’t call it baby weight when your baby is no longer a baby. I am despondent. I went on Atkins and lost 16 lbs before my brother-in-law’s wedding, started cheating here and there and slowly gained a few lbs back, and then my mother came to visit and I packed on 10 lbs in just over a week (Hello Cortisol!). Now the fat sits like a flabby innertube right around my middle, preventing me from looking good in anything I wear.
And I want to lose weight. Very much. But I also want to eat. I’ve talked about my issues with food on here and on my personal blog before. I am definitely an emotional eater and this summer, while blissful in many ways, has also been highly stressful and frustrating. I just don’t seem to be getting anywhere. My creative life is at a standstill. All my big goals and aspirations are at a standstill. But my flab, is, unfortunately not at a standstill. I can feel it jiggling slightly as I type this.
Tom is trying to be helpful when he repeats the well-worn dieting mantra: work out more, eat less. But it makes me want to bash his head in a little. I don’t want to eat less. I already eat far less than I want to. I almost never get to indulge in truly naughty foods. I don’t bake. We never have dessert. Plus, I’m limited to budget cuisine that appeals to Mr. Picky and the Rug Rats. And I’m a steak with a blue cheese cream sauce/salad/artichoke hearts in mayonnaise/rich chocolate mousse kind of girl.
And I don’t want to work out more. I already wake up at the crack of dawn, carry two children hither and yon all day, and am frequently used as a jungle gym for their entertainment. That’s besides the fact that I’m not a hamster and I don’t find it particularly fun or gratifying to run in place for an hour at a time, at the gym, surrounded by skinny mothers, who have rock hard abs despite giving birth to five children.
I know some of you on here (Miranda, for example) are runners. There’s a part of me that longs to be out there with you, feeling the wind in my hair, and the road beneath my feet. But I was not built for high impact/endurance sports, and with every stride, I feel my arches and my pelvis screaming “STOP! STOP! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! STOP!” And I do.
But I went to the gym twice this week anyway, and on Wednesday I discovered the elliptical machine. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it didn’t make me feel happy either.
When I start down a path in the process of a creative undertaking, I can quickly assess, right off the bat, if I’m on the right track or not. With exercise, I just don’t know. I know I’m burning calories and improving my cardiovascular fitness. But I just don’t feel like I’m going anywhere. Literally and figuratively. And considering the fact that I’m feeling so stuck creatively, I feel like I spend my days slogging through a never-ending quagmire of minutiae.
I am sick of the tedium of grocery shopping and buying the same groceries week after week after week. I’m sick of preparing meals every day. Of changing diapers every day. Of dressing and undressing children every day. Picking up the same toys. Of filling and re-filling sippies. Repeating the same requests. Getting the same responses.
I had a vague feeling that my life had become Prufrockian, and went back and read T.S. Eliot’s poem again, and sure enough, my subconscious was on to something. Especially this part:
For I have known them all already, known them all —
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all —
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?
I know I sound very melancholy, but it’s hard to convey tone online. I’ve come to accept that I’m just not going to get to do what I want to be doing right now. To paraphrase Kelly and her latest blog, now is the time for standing in place, and the future is for moving forward.