Corpulent

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Corpulent

Corpulent

Corpulent

“My doctor says I’m too heavy.”

“I feel so huge.”

“I just hate this roll of fat on my hips.”

“I’ve always been on the big side.”

“I’m just a little overweight.”

“When I was a kid, I was considered chunky.”

I was a registered dietitian for many years, providing one-to-one diet counseling at hospitals and clinics. Doctors referred patients for weight loss diets…for a variety of reasons. Blood lipids too high. Blood pressure too high. Blood sugar too high. Joints wearing away.

Or…”to be more healthy.”
As if it was that simple…

I met with a young woman who cried with the shame of being criticized by her mother growing up. Because she was overweight.

A man whose parents belittled him at the dinner table when he served himself a second helping of potatoes.

A teenage boy who needed to be weighed on the hospital wheelchair scale. Bullied at school. Dropped out. Working on his GED.

A young man whose wife would put a box of chocolates in his bureau drawer to tempt him. She was chubby too.

Countless women – of all ages – were embarrassed to be sitting across from me, as if they had committed a sin.

To be fat. Corpulent. Obese. Chunky. Chubby. Portly. Overweight. Whatever you name it…is to be branded less than. Ostracized in our first world society.

Often facing an exhausting lifetime battle with food.
How much. When. Where. Why.
Most doctors don’t realize that food is just one piece of this puzzle.

You don’t have to do this, I’d say when calling to set up an appointment…if I sensed reluctance.

But the doctor said I have to.

It is your decision no matter what the doctor says.

There would be a pause in the conversation.

Really?

Yes. It’s up to you. If you aren’t ready, we can wait.

Most of the time, the appointment was made.
The patient showed up. Often wary.
And we’d talk. About goals. Typical meals.
Eating history. Likes. Dislikes.

Sometimes there was crying. Or almost crying.
Stories of shunning. Lost opportunities. Self-hatred.

So much emotional pain.
Because a body is large…
Soothed for years
With foods that comfort.

Only to face doctor’s orders
to take those foods away.

I often asked myself…
Is it worth it?

White

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: White

 

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 After a January blizzard

 

One of the things I don’t miss about our former home is the aftermath of a snow storm…as pretty as it was.

Shoveling. Snowblowing. More shoveling.
Off the roof. The deck. The driveway.

However, snow storms did provide many of nature’s best photo opportunities.

Which lasted just a short time.

Play

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Play

Playing music was always front and center in our home.
Whether it be playing a record, a tape or, as years went by, a CD.

But the best playing happened in person.

At the end of one oppressively hot September day in 1988, we huddled around our only air conditioner for an impromptu concert. After a long day of yard work.

The 6 year old playing my old guitar from childhood.
The 10 month old plucking strings on his daddy’s guitar.
And the daddy playing, singing and offering advice on note fingering.

Keeping cool…

guitar trio 1988012
This trio played together many times over the years.
Guitar. Flute. Recorder. Clarinet.
Such fun.

 

Dream

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Dream

Where am I?
These houses all look different.
I’ll keep walking. 
I know the school bus dropped me off at the same place.
How could I be…lost?
Did I make a mistake?
I’ll keep walking…maybe up ahead.

But that house is the wrong color.
And it’s up so high.
Oh no what should I do?

It’s so hard to walk up this hill.
Why won’t my legs move faster?

There was never a hill.
I don’t know what to do.
These are all strangers!

Where is my house?
Where is my family?
I’m all by myself.

A recurring dream from over 50 years ago…waking me up in the middle of the night. Heart hammering in my chest. Eyes snapping open in the dark. Hands clutching the sheets.

Relieved I was in my own bed…in my room..in my house…my breathing would eventually slow. My eyes closing…

Onlyadream…onlyadream…onlyadream….
Sleep would return to my 7 year old self.
My 8 year old self.
My 9 year old self.
The illusion of safety assured for another night.

home

Friendship

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Friendship

I couldn’t let this prompt opportunity go by…although it also has inspired me to write a longer piece on this powerful topic at a later date…

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I have often thought…where would I be without my friends?
Now and in the past.
I don’t think I want to know.

Being somewhat of a loner, I was never part of a large “crowd” when I was growing up. I did, however, have “true friends” (as I called them) and included this small tribute to them in a diary entry. In the Memorandum section at the end of December, when I was in the eighth grade:

These are some friends of mine (own age) that I have known & liked very much. They have stuck up for me when I was down, been faithful & kind & above all a close friend I could trust. I won’t forget them wherever I go.

I listed 2 girls. One of the two is still my faithful friend.

My girlfriends were my salvation. In a difficult childhood. And the years that followed. Even at the age of 13, I apparently understood friendship…faithful, kind, trusting.

Again, I can’t imagine life without them…
I am still in touch with several special friends from high school – who each went down very different paths, but remained connected to me. College also left me with several friends who I cherish to this day. As did my work life, my parenting life and my empty nest life. My friends have enriched my life beyond measure.  Some have passed away and my heart hurts with missing them.

One “summer friend” – from a high school summer job 300 miles from home – sewed patches for my threadbare bellbottom jeans – “crewel work” embroidery displaying the perfect message. The jeans eventually disintegrated. But I cut the patches out…they are now behind glass in a frame which hangs on the wall in my “writing room.”

friends patch

I am still friends with this wonderful generous woman 47 years later.

Does anyone remember the old Girl Scout song?…

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold….

I am still making new friends.
I hope you are too.

 

Walk

This post inspired by Ragtag Daily Prompt: Walk

It was an adjustment, to say the least, when our youngest child left home for college. For him as well as for us.

He chose a college where it was warm…and far away from our New England town. I understood that, as I had also wanted to establish myself in a college town far from my home.

Colleges have an annual “Parents’ Weekend” in the fall. So parents can check in. And check out their kids. And kids can touch base with their parents. Our freshman son was on his own for the first time and we were grateful for the opportunity to visit.

Although not a big fan of endless parent questions…how are you?how are your classes?your roommate?is the food good?where is the library?…are you okay?, he was happy to show us around campus. He led the way. The grounds of his university were lush with greenery of all kinds. With a bridge. And a pond. In a very warm spot in Virginia. We attended these Parents’ Weekends every year, but the first one…well, that was extra special.

Conversation always flowed a bit more freely with a walk in the woods.

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father and son

 

Past

Inspired by…Ragtag Daily Prompt Past

I went to nursery school when I was 4. At the time, I was already the oldest of 3 and my mother probably needed some relief from having 3 kids underfoot 24/7.
I don’t have any memories of those days, but I did chuckle when I found these two 8 x 10 prints of what must have been “Picture Day.” (1958)

Apparently getting 10 preschoolers to sit still has never been an easy task.

I also wonder what the other outtakes looked like….

 

1958 - 1071

1958 - 2072