Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sonic Boom

Not a whole lot of people venture to St. Paul’s East Side for dinner, but that’s exactly what Aaron’s former boss and current coworker are willing to do this evening in order to check out the first Sonic drive-in. They’ve been so excited about eating here I swear it’s been on the calendar for 6 weeks. Forget gang activity, horrible assaults, murders, drug deals, drive-by shootings, and drive-by eggings (I was the victim of an attempted drive-by egging while running around Lake Phalen two summers ago, luckily the punk-ass teenagers had terrible aim. I couldn’t figure out where those golf balls were coming from—where was the nearest course?—until one of the “golf balls” exploded in a goopy mess on the trail ahead of me), now there’s a reason to show my East Side Pride! We have the FIRST Sonic in the entire state, and it’s practically in my backyard! Cherry limeades, Tater Tots, and big, juicy burgers, here we come!

Friday, July 18, 2008


I was looking through old journals recently and realized, with sadness, that I started writing about my weight starting when I was 15. I went from 118 to 130 pounds between my freshmen and sophomore years in high school (after I quit the cross-country running team) and apparently thought I was a blimp. Here are a few things I wrote: "Nobody understands how I feel about my body. I HATE it. And when I'm not hating it I'm trying to ignore it." "How did I gain so much weight in one year? I'm two inches taller but that's still no excuse." "I used to be skinny. Now I'm HUGE."
"Why is thin so NECESSARY?"
Fast-forward 18 years and I still wonder that.
I work in a department dominated by weight-conscious women (a former coworker would watch us eat with longing in her eyes and drool practically collecting in the corners of her mouth to the point that no one wanted to eat around her) and the majority of the women in my life—close friends and family—seem to struggle with accepting their bodies. I admit, I'm one of the worst. For this reason alone, I'm glad I had a boy. I once read a statistic that 80 percent of fourth grade girls have tried some type of diet. We're talking 10-year-old girls. I'm sure many (most?) girls learn to accept or reject their bodies based on their mother's perceptions of weight. And of course it doesn't help that we're constantly subjected to images of rail-thin women in the media. It's not easy being a girl in 2008, and it wasn't easy being a girl in 1990, and I'm guessing it won't be easy for the daughters of my friends in the year 2020. I'm sure Adam will have his own adolescent issues, but I have a hard time believing they'll be too focused on his weight. (Unless he's a wrestler.)
Why are we women so hard on ourselves?
I have a friend who is GORGEOUS, the kind of girl who turns heads whenever we're together (and is so genuinely modest she doesn't ever seem to notice all the men admiring her). Most women would KILL to look like her, she is that pretty, and I recently discovered that she won't wear shorts or capris—even when the temps are in the 90s—because she hates her knees and "cankles."
I have another beautiful friend who, in my opinion, has a better body than some celebrities and she hates the way she looks because of her flat chest. She eats healthy, she works out (she recently competed in a triathlon), she doesn't smoke, she rarely drinks, she's long and lean and looks amazing whenever I see her. I don't notice her lack of a rack but she jokes about it all the time, I'm guessing to cover up her insecurities.
I have another stunning friend who obsessively watches what she eats and carefully removes the OLIVES from her martinis because of the "added calories."
I have wonderful, smart, amazing friends and it makes me incredibly sad to think of how we've abused our bodies ... the same bodies that went on to create lives, deliver babies, and provide those babies with milk and nourishment.
One friend used to chew her food and spit it out so she could "get the taste without commitment," one used to eat nothing more than a bagel and an apple a day, and another has been on more diets than I could ever possibly count. She's tried WW, Jenny Craig, diet pills, a crazy cabbage soup diet, no carbs, no sugar, and on and on. I think she's perfect just the way she is, clearly she doesn't see herself the same way.
I struggled with my own eating disorder when I was living with a guy who paid more attention to other women than he did me. Thankfully I met my husband right around then. I will always be grateful that he saved me from myself. I can still picture the two of us sitting outside after work one day. When I confided in him about what I had been doing, he kneeled down in front of me and took my hand in his, sadness and concern in those big green eyes, and asked, "Don't you realize how beautiful you are?"
Just one of the many, many, many reasons I love him so much.