Oh the humanity.

I just finished up a croquis of myself based on the tutorial at Polka Dot Overload. Since I don't have any full-frontal pictures of me (nor are the going to BE any), I had to fill in the blanks from the closest thing to it. If my body image needed ANY more hits to the ego, this just about filled the bill. Don't get me wrong, I love who *I* am. I just really don't like the container I'm in.

And I'm entitled not to like the container very much. It's defective. And before you ALL jump down my throat about how I should "love the skin I'm in" and yada yada yada, let me explain. I have a couple of hereditary conditions that make living in my skin a bit difficult. I may have talked about them before, but if I haven't, here goes:

1. Multiple hereditary osteochondromatosis. Read: Bone spurs all over your body in very unfortunate places syndrome. I have a REALLY lovely example *right* by my femoral artery in my leg rendering it inoperable. It ALSO makes sitting with my left bent for any length of time very uncomfortable because it's shaped like a tiger tooth. Unfortunately, my oldest child also has the condition. It is EXTREMELY painful.
Ye Olde Inoperable Bone Spur
2. Short stature. Not entirely attributable to the above. Since my oldest child ALSO has growth-hormone deficiency, the doctor's believe I suffered from this as a child. I won't bore you with the intimate (aka TMI) details. Let's just say that the genetic deck was stacked against me from birth. My biological parents and relatives are all taller than me. By inches.

Unfortuntely, the medical conditions I have also have the unfortunate side effect of all of my torso being squashed down and out of proportion with the rest of me. My lowest ribs rest just above my hips. It's excruciatingly painful to have people hug my "waist" because in the process, they compress my floating ribs. For years I was accused of being "standoffish" because I didn't "like" being "hugged". To quote a high school buddy "No [bleep], Sherlock!" I do NOT like being hugged around my waist. It hurts like a mofo.

Because of my body composition/proportion issues, pants are a PITA - literally - to wear. They are generally 6-8 inches too long. Yes, you read that right. EIGHT inches. If I buy a size large enough to go around my distended middle section (thanks a lot Mother Nature!), they are going to be so long I could make pants for my kids out of them. Not literally, but you get my meaning. They are also going to be too big in the thighs. The odd exception to this is Old Navy's "sweetheart" jeans in bootcut/short length. For SOME reason, these fit every time. With no gap/sag/whatever. I buy them whenever they go on sale because I live in them since they are the ONLY pants that are comfortable.

The funny thing is, my bust and under-bust and top of my ribcage are a NORMAL size. But it all goes to hell the further south you go. I look Perpetually Pregnant™. In fact, since I was around 12, I've had a "baby belly". I've given birth and been asked 2 days later when I was due. Yeah. THAT went over well. I was carrying the fricking baby in the bucket seat with me and just STARED the Hell-Mart cashier down. Apparently she'd NEVER seen a lady who had given birth a few days earlier. When I was in high school, it was especially traumatic because people continually started rumours about me being knocked up. It didn't help that I changed schools often either. It only lent credence to the assumption. Let me state FOR THE RECORD that I first fell pregnant in 2001. I was TWENTY EIGHT. So for over a decade I had to field the "Are you pregnant?" questions before it was even a possibility. There's no phrase that makes me want to hurt people more than hearing THAT question. Just because I'm of child-bearing age (please GOD let menopause come soon), does NOT mean that my BIG FAT BELLY has a baby inside.

It might just mean I'm fat.

3. I have arthritis in some of my more important joints due to injury and pregnancy. Specifically my sacro-iliac joints and lumbar spine/facet joints. It is what it is. I've done as much surgery to those as I and my doctors are comfortable with (read KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!!) and now it's just heating pads, ibuprofen and not heavy lifting/bending/twisting.

I'm really not bitter about this at all, actually. I've come to the realization that NO amount of "dieting" or "lifestyle change" is going to undo the damage done by heredity. I am in pretty good shape for the shape I'm in. All my "numbers" are excellent. Cholesterols, blood sugar, triglycerides blah blah blah. All GREAT. I eat a fairly healthy diet all things considered. When you're gluten free, you don't have a whole lot of choice. My ADD is finally being managed and I'm better able to focus, less anxious and better able to cope with life in general.

I am not my size. 

I am not my measurements. 

I am a creative individual.

I am a daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother.

I am what I am.

Shirley Bassey - 1983

Gloria Gaynor - 2012

It was a major weight off me (hah!) to come to the realization that I will not ever be a size 2 or 4 or 6 again. And there's NOTHING whatsoever wrong with it. It was cathartic to realize that all this time I've been fighting genetics and when you fight your genes, YOU WILL LOSE. DNA FTW! I don't LIKE looking at pictures of myself. Because I remember being a size 0. And a 2. And a 4. And a 6. My latest purchase ( a mere $8.98 on clearance) was a size **16**.
It was SO HUGE under the arms I had to take out almost 3" on either side tapering down to nothing at the waist band. I heart this dress so much. I want it in other colors, too. It fits amazingly well after my one alteration, even though it's probably "only" about a size 12 in "real" sizing. It makes me feel like a million bucks. So I don't give a [wha?!wha?!] what size the label says. Especially when I wear it with my RED shoes.

But it still stings when you look back and see yourself as a svelte 6 and KNOW that without MAJOR plastic surgery, your body will not look like that again. Now it's more bittersweet than hurtful. And that is the beauty of it. As you move from one stage of life to another, you celebrate where you are. Live in the right now. Not the 10 pounds ago. Not in the "when I get back into my college jeans".

My challenge for you is to THROW OUT everything that doesn't fit. Obvious exceptions are pregnant/lactating women. You get a pass. ;-D Seriously. Live in the size/shape you are. You don't have to like it. You just have to live with it. Cross the bridge of "My pants are so BIIIIIG" **when you get there**. Otherwise you'll just make yourself crazy. Take it from the crazy lady. I should know. I wrote the book on keeping crap that doesn't fit. I still have my senior prom dress in a bin somewhere. I think it's in the garage (whoops!). But at least it isn't in my closet mocking me.

If you MUST do something about your eating habits, then cut the *crap* out of your diet. Real foods are not crap. Stuff that comes in boxes with a shelf life of 15 years (Twinkies, I'm lookin' at you!) are crap. High Fructose Corn Syrup is crap. Don't eat it. Just DON'T. I'm not a nutrition guru, just a Regular Jane™ who has learned from experience that HFCS makes me sick as a dog that it's just no good. If you don't believe me, just sit back and listen to Linda Ronstadt. She lays it all out for you.

Yes, I sing that song to foodstuffs with HFCS in it. In the grocery store. I admit it. I should probably let you see the croquis that started this rant...

Yes, I am a sucky illustrator.

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