I Am Not My Weight – I Am So Much More

by Joan Oshatz on April 5, 2010 in Overweight / Fat

weight scale

My mother used to say, “Emotions are ephemeral – like the waves in the ocean, they come and go. What you may be feeling one moment, you may not be feeling the next moment, because your emotions are constantly changing.”

Mother was right. She was right about a great many things. It has been a little over eight and a half years since Mother died. If Mother were alive today she would be ninety-six. We were thirty years apart.

Last night I started to think about my mother. Nobody has ever loved me as much as my mother did. Even when we had our differences, I always knew that Mother loved me. And nobody has ever given me better advice than Mother.

Sometimes when I have a decision to make, I will have these imaginary conversations with my mother, because I knew her so well that I’d already know what she’d say. But I just needed to hear her say it.

“Mother?”

“Yes, Joanie.”

“I don’t want to write about losing my weight anymore.”

“So don’t write about it, which is not an excuse for not losing it, because you have diabetes and it’s not healthy to weigh what you weigh.”

“I know that, but I just don’t want to weigh-in publically anymore.”

“Then don’t.”

“But how do I stop?”

“Just stop writing about it.”

“But I made a commitment to my readers.”

“Joanie, are you a little girl? You can do whatever you want. You don’t have to ask permission to not write about losing your weight.”

“How do I explain to my readers if all of a sudden I stop writing about my weight loss when I told them that I would weigh-in every Monday and tell them what I weighed.”

“Joanie,” Mother says, and when she says “Joanie” in that certain tone that only she can, she has my complete attention. “Have any of your readers written to you saying that they’re going to stop reading your blog because you haven’t been weighing in?”

“No.”

“So that answers your question. No one really cares what you weigh except me and you – and I only care about what you weigh for health reasons.”

“Okay, you’ve made your point.”

“People are not looking to you for their own inspiration for losing weight.”

“Well, that’s for sure.”

“You’re a writer. Besides, you are so much more than your weight. Think of all the things that you are.”

I think. . .

I’m a daughter – well, I was a daughter, but I’m not a daughter anymore because my mother and father are dead, but when I was a daughter I was a very loving daughter and I was very caring to both my parents.

As if Mother can read my thoughts she says, “Your father and I could not have wished for a more loving and caring daughter. You took care of us when we needed you and you did it with a loving heart. What else are you?”

Without thinking I say, “I was a granddaughter.”

“And Grandma and Grandpa loved you very much. Remember the typewriter they bought you for your thirteenth birthday?”

“I’ll never forget,” I say smiling as I remember the most special birthday present of my life — my first typewriter.

“And what else are you?”

“I’m a sister.”

“A very good sister to your brothers. Larry and David know how much you love them and they love you. You’re lucky to be so close with both of your brothers. Sometimes when parents die the family drifts apart – but you, Larry and David have remained close. And what else are you?”

“I’m a niece and I love my Aunt Sunnie. We share so many happy memories together, and she’s the only older living relative I have left.”

“And you’re a cousin.”

“Kathleen and I are more than kissing cousins, we’re like sisters.”

“And you’re an aunt to your nieces and nephew. You love them and they love you.”

“And I’m a sister-in-law. I lucked out when I got Margo for my sister-in-law. She’s one of the sweetest women who has ever lived. I have never heard her say an unkind word about anyone or ever heard her gossip.”

“And you’re a mother.”

Yes, I’m a mother. I did not become a mother until I was forty. I put everything into raising Michael, who’s now twenty-five and is an incredibly talented musician who sings, plays the piano, electrical, acoustical and bass guitar, drums, synthesizers, clarinet, writes and records his own songs and produces them – and he’s a gifted photographer also.

“And you’re a writer – a very talented writer!”

Well, so far I haven’t embellished upon anything, but now I’m embellishing what my mother would say. Mother would never say I was a very talented writer. Oh, let me correct that. She would say I was a talented writer as long as I didn’t write about her drinking. Mother, if she were alive, would be aghast that I have written about her drinking.

“Joanie, have you said anything about my drinking?”

“No Mother.”

“Because you know how I feel about airing one’s dirty laundry in public.”

“Yes, I know, Mother. I only air my own dirty laundry about my marriage to Paul.”

“What have you said about that lovely man? You know how much I liked him.”

“Yes, I know, Mother. Actually, I think you should have married Paul. You would have been very happy with him – being that you thought doctors made the best husbands.”

“But I didn’t have your brains, or your beauty, or your education. You were so much more than I ever was.”

“Really Mother? And I thought you were so much more than you ever gave yourself credit for – so much more.”

“So Joanie, you’re not going to write about losing your weight anymore, because even though you’re going to do it, we have established that you are not your weight – you are so much more.”

I love talking to my mother. She has always helped me put everything into perspective.

“And Joanie. . .”

“Yes Mother?”

“Just remember what I have always said about emotions.”

“Yes Mother, I remember, ‘Emotions are ephemeral – like the waves in the ocean, they come and go. What you may be feeling one moment, you may not be feeling the next moment, because your emotions are constantly changing.’”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Calam1ty April 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

We are all so much more than our weight, our looks, our disease, our wealth…and so on. I know that health is my goal but I will say that I am shallow enough – and apparently honest enough – to say I really really want to look good! But absolutely – you are more than your weight, you really are! Whether you choose to publish it or not doesn’t really matter except to you. You make a commitment to yourself, not to us – and if you stick to that commitment, the numbers don’t matter. Thank you for this post.

Reply

abadmarriageisfattening April 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I don’t think that there’s anything shallow about wanting to look your best. We all weigh a number on the scale, but whatever that number is shouldn’t define who we are as a person. Nobody should be judged for what they weigh. Unfortunately, we are a society that makes a lot of judgments about women by what they weigh. I feel it’s a way of keeping women down, not allowing them to rise to their own empowerment, and subliminally giving women the message, “You’re not slim, then you’re not good enough. Not deserving of love or to be loved.” And this just isn’t true. Women are good enough and beautiful enough no matter what we weigh and that is why I have decided to stop posting my weight. I want to thank all of the many loyal readers who have been following my blog and I’d like to welcome all of the new readers. Your liking and identifying with what I have been writing about means the world to me and makes writing this blog a joy!

Reply

French Pastries April 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

I could actually, vividly, see this conversation happening for real as opposed to just your imagination. Although in this piece it starts in the context of your weight, I can seriously remember these types of things that she would say. . .so much more than the actual minor concern that I (or you, in your conversations with her) might have, yet her response more empowering towards my (or your) ability to do what was right for myself (yourself) and happiness. You truly are an amazing writer; able to convey each character and the emotions! Keep it it up, with or with out the weigh ins, keep on writing! If you can imagine it, you can do it; if you can believe it, you can reach it.

Reply

abadmarriageisfattening April 8, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I was pleasantly surprised to read this comment from my niece, (my mother’s granddaughter). It’s nice to hear from another family member that my mother had a lot of wisdom and gave some very good advice.

Reply

Name withheld by commenter's request April 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I’ve started reading your blog. I understand completely. I’ve been with my husband for 13 years, and I’ve gained 50 pounds since our marriage 9 years ago. He is emotionally unavailable, passive aggressive, and nothing I do is ever good enough for him. Even when I was 145 pounds (5’9″) he would find things about my body to find fault with. You talked in one of your posts about red flags at the beginning. My red flags were that I wasn’t good enough for him then, and he was hesitant about getting married. That stuff doesn’t ever go away.

I eat to fill the void of love and to help deal with loneliness. My husband withholds sex as a way to get back at me. For what? I don’t know, I can tell when he is mad, but he doesn’t tell me what he is mad about. (That’s the passive aggressive stuff.)

As soon as the newness wears off, your husband will probably treat the new woman the same way he treated you. I’m not sure if that makes you feel better, but people don’t change. He was the problem, not you.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: