Friday, November 12, 2010

Sumo Wrestling

My middle name is Sumo.  Seriously.  When I was born my parents thought I looked EXACTLY like a sumo wrestler.  Apparently, I was a very short, very round, dumpling-with-dark-hair kind of newborn.  (They also ludicrously thought the name would help me get into a good college.  Here's what they fantasized: someone in admissions at Harvard would see my name, think I was part-Asian, and bam!  I'd be a shoo-in.  Ummm...OF COURSE that didn't happen!  But they're funny, right?)

Growing up with that middle name, I couldn't decide if I was proud of it or embarassed by it.  On the one hand, I liked it because it made me stand out among my peers, while on the other hand I was embarassed by it BECAUSE it made me stand out among my peers.

Around the age of seventeen I sort of stopped eating.  Like, food.  I'm not sure if it was a reaction to the name "Sumo," which naturally implies someone fat, but, for whatever the reason, I really focused, controlled, and totally obsessed about every single thing that went into my mouth.  This obsession took up a good portion of my latter teen years, my twenties, and even into my thirties.  My weight would fluctuate -- sometimes I'd be bone-thin and sometimes I'd be wafer-thin and then sometimes I'd just be thin.

I'm not going to go in to the whole societal pressure thing on women, because we all know about it and we have all heard it before, and the bottom line is, it's true.  About 90% of all the girls and women I know currently have or have had some issue with body image and food.  But here's another truth: no woman or girl, or anyone for that matter, can conquer it until they they're good and ready to -- pressure from parents, peers, or professionals does zero good.

So a few things happened when I turned thirty-five.  First, I had my last baby (thank GOD! enough was enough!), but shortly thereafter I got very sick from a kidney infection that turned septic, meaning the infection went into my bloodstream.  Laying in the ICU, I knew I HAD to find change in my life.  I was cold, I was alone, and anyone who came to visit me had to put on this horrendous-looking latex suit and gloves.  And all this isolation was what I had basically done to myself by not taking care of ME.  Not only had I deprived myself of food, but I had emotionally deprived myself as well.  And now, to make matters worse, any visiting family and friends were forced to put on rubber suits that distinctly resembled monstrous blue condoms.

In the past three years since that really dreary hospital experience, I began to love myself again.  That sounds so fucking corny, but it's true.  I started getting stronger through exercise, yoga, etc., and I started simply, well, eating.  I just didn't have the energy or the patience to try to starve myself any more.  My mind and body were seeking other things.

As I grew stronger physically I also grew stronger emotionally.  I became more confident, and I stopped trying to please everyone else so much.  I started concentrating on real relationships with real people that made me feel good about myself.  And now, more than anything else, I feel grateful, not only because I conquered what I thought would be a demon that lived inside me forever, but also because I have a daughter, Bella, and the last thing I would ever want to do is pass down any of that God-awful craziness to her.

So I guess I feel lucky and grateful that my parents bestowed me with the name Sumo.  Yes, they were kind of freaks to do it in the first place, but maybe something in them knew a name like that could only make me stronger and funnier and more unusual in the long run. 

And in the meantime, I've got leftover Halloween candy to attend to.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


November 8, 2010

This is weird, I know.   Lately I have had an uncontrollable urge to start writing again, and for some strange reason, to have my writing seen (although I'm not even certain that will happen here.  I'll just think that it's happening and then I'll feel super accomplished and whatever).

So sometimes, depending on my mood, I'll probably write ridiculous anecdotes of my daily experiences and observations, and then sometimes I'll get all serious and write a poem or two.  I'm fickle like that.

For me, the weird thing about having kids was that, at first, you are just so ENTRENCHED in it.  You live, breathe, and emanate babies.  I think was pregnant for, like, five years in a row and I'm not really a good pregnant person -- I was uncomfortable most of the time and I complained about it ALL of the time.  My third pregnancy I was so miserable with varicose veins in my calves that I took to wearing knee-high support hose.  Because I was pregnant in the middle of summer and Houston's heat is what I imagine volcanic lava to feel like, I would only wear shorts and then I would have on the knee-high support hose, and THEN I would stick Juicy couture tube socks over those to try to make myself look semi-cute (it didn't work).  My best friend took to calling me "Hip Hop Socks." 

Anyway, I had these three babies by C-section (bizarre in a totally different way, but I won't go into it here) and I became absolutely and totally obsessed with these little loaves of bologna with strangely twitching limbs.  I would ogle them, fondle them, I think I wanted to physically inhale them.  I desperately needed to chill the fuck out.

Which I have.  Now that my kids are 8, 5, and 3, I practically neglect them.  OK, not really, but sometimes I hide in my closet so they can't find me.  Is that wrong?

And I finally feel like I have gotten my head above water again.  Whereas once I was mainly a vessel for carrying babies, feeding babies, and of course, cleaning poop-covered babies (clothes and walls too!) -- I am now, GASP, a person again.  I actually have thoughts and desires that are separate from my children's.  And maybe that is why I am writing this blog.  To reconnect with all that is in me, but that was put on hold for what feels like a very, very long time.

And truthfully, it's OK if no one reads it.  I just feel so much better now that I am again finding my voice -- and I'm not talking about my, "stop asphyxiating your brother!" voice.  The voice in this blog is the me part of me that was too swamped or too lost or too scared to show itself.  And now it's not.