I'm Mandy, a mother of a handsome handful of a toddler. I'm the wife to a relocated Jersey boy at heart for almost five years. I'm a "youngster" in "Corporate Legal America." I'm one-seventh of a dynamically loud and loving family. I'm a woman with newly-diagnosed hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Metabolic Syndrome trying to find a course of treatment that works. I'm a twenty-something trying to find her way on a journey to discover faith, friends and fitness. Most importantly, I'm me. I'm just trying to figure out who that is exactly...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dear Maura Kelly...

I read this article from Marie Claire yesterday.  I quite honestly do not believe that I have ever been more upset reading an article from someone who does not even know what they are talking about.

Here are some highlights:

"My initial response was: Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese! And while I think our country's obsession with physical perfection is unhealthy, I also think it's at least equally crazy, albeit in the other direction, to be implicitly promoting obesity! Yes, anorexia is sick, but at least some slim models are simply naturally skinny. No one who is as fat as Mike and Molly can be healthy. And obesity is costing our country far more in terms of all the related health problems we are paying for, by way of our insurance, than any other health problem, even cancer."

Really?  And perhaps some people are naturally curvy, chubby, or *gasp* fat.  Guess what, I am as fat as Molly, and I am healthy.  Minus a THYROID PROBLEM which was not caused by my fat but is causing my fat.  And yes, the reasons why my family have been to the doctor in the past year: colds, flu, cataract surgery, bladder cancer, heart issues, have been caused by our being obese.

"So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."

I find it displeasing to read this article.  After seeing your definition of "very, very fat," you would be displeased to see myself or my husband walk in front of you.  You would also be displeased to watch us kiss each other.  In public!  Our nerve!

"Now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk. And I also know how tough it can be for truly heavy people to psych themselves up for the long process of slimming down. (For instance, the overweight maintenance guy at my gym has talked to me a little bit about how it seems worthless for him to even try working out, because he's been heavy for as long as he can remember.)
But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.
(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)
Then again, I guess these characters are in Overeaters Anonymous. So ... points for trying?"

Thanks for the pep talk and the action plan.  And yes, I am trying to lose weight.  But I am not trying to lose all of it.  I want my curves and love handles and pudgy parts.  And yes, you are size-ist.  You basically said in your previous paragraph that you prefer anorexia to being obese.  Having been anorexic AS A CHILD and bulimic as an adult, it sickens me that you think people do not try to lose weight.  Also note that there are many obese people that do not want to change, even if you want them to.

"What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?"

YES!  My husband and I were excited to watch Mike and Molly because in a world of Gossip Girls, 90210's and Desperate Housewives, we were excited to finally watch a show about people who looked like us.  And that show is our lives, in many, many ways.  Oh my gosh, fat people making out on TV -- run for your lives!  I would be much more concerned about the plethora of near-naked women, degrading comments (much like yours) about other races, sexes, genders and abilities, sheer violence for no point, and dead-beat parents and the children who suffer.  Just because fat people making out offends you, I will make sure that my husband never make out.  Ever again.  Got that, honey?

But wait...there's more...

"UPDATE: I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary. It wasn't productive, either."

You were a bully the entire post, so how are people not supposed to feel bullied?  I, for one, did not feel bullied.  I felt furious.  And ashamed?  God made my curves, and I am going to flaunt them!  It upset people, like myself, because it was unnecessary and unproductive.  You went on a rant, about a television show you've never watched, to be mean.  You made yourself feel better, regardless of your insensitivity.

"I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight — for medical and psychological reasons — and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.

I would like to reiterate that I think it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows — and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100 percent more than their ideal weight.)  And for whatever it's worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations."

You're right, you shouldn't be so quick to judge.  Also, I have never seen an obese person FOR A GOOD REASON in Marie Claire, so I doubt that statement is correct.  There are plenty of BEAUTIFUL "obese" women nowadays -- Amber Riley from Glee and Nikki Blonsky from Huge and Hairspray fame are two women that I look up to because they do not apologize for who they are and they are not on the diet bandwagon.  You cannot feel uncomfortable about Mike and Molly because you have never seen the show to be uncomfortable.

If you have seen the show, you know that they are two beautiful people with good hearts who are looking for love, much like yourself.  People are people.  They are not unhappy because of their size, they are unhappy because they do not have someone to love.  So know the details before you judge.  My grandfather often said that "if you assume, you make an ass out of u and me."

"To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight."

If you are a recovering anorexic, you of all people should know that words affect your choices and lifestyle.  You should have known better.  Children will read this article.  Struggling adults will read this article.  Your words are now a trigger for someone else's battle with anorexia and bulimia.

"People have accused me of being a bully in my post. I never intended to be that — it's actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset."

To now quote my mother, "be careful what you say because you can ever take back your words."  Had people not commented about this as they have, would you have given your thoughts a second thought?  Would you have apologized if your words just offended one reader?  Most likely not.

On a final note, beauty is skin deep but ugly is to the bone.  You may be pretty on the outside, but you have a very ugly soul.  I wish you true love because perhaps that will allow you to expand your horizons and open your mindset.  I also hope that your soulmate is a "healthy size" so you do not have to make out with a fattie...

Blake and Mandy

Mike and Molly
...but DO NOT stop Molly and I from making out with ours!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

From Where You Are...

Nine years ago yesterday, one of the first loves of my life passed away. One of the greatest women I will ever know would have been seventy-six today.

“When I get where I'm going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I'm gonna do
is spread my wings and fly.” – Brad Paisley (When I Get Where I’m Going)

I miss them terribly. I see Cristian and I want so badly for his great-grandparents to see him grow into the little man he is. I want them to hug and kiss him and take him to all the places they took me growing up.  I want them to meet Blake and for them to love him as much as I do. I would have loved their advice last year when I needed it so badly, and I want them to see that we made it--even when the world was against us.  I want them to see what I am doing with my life—because it’s completely different than when they left me.

I want them to know how much I love them and think about them each and every day and more so if possible on these two days of the year. I want them to know how much I appreciate having two of the best angels in heaven on my shoulder, and I want them to know that I am trying my hardest to make them proud.

When you love someone so much, losing them is an exhausting and exhilarating experience all at once. It’s emotionally exhausting but it’s exhilarating to know that they are no longer hurting and one day you will be together again. If you understood how hard it was for me to see them both as sick as they were, you understand how happy I am that they are together and healthy. They were both such amazing people with never-ending love and passion for life and family.

If I can be even an eighth of the woman my nana was, I will be so incredibly successful. Between her and Mom, I have had some of the best role models on being a good mother, wife, and woman.

I want Cristian to know how hardworking his great-grandfather was and to instill that work ethic in him early. I want him to realize how important family was to Papa, and how important family should be to him.

I will always remember our last family dinner at Andrea’s Restaurant. It was a joyous time with no discussions of ailments or heartaches. We enjoyed each other’s company. Even though the restaurant no longer exists, my memories will be as concrete in my mind as if the building stood strong.

I am hoping to visit their crypt sooner than later so they can meet their great-grandson face to face. And I want to shed a tear on their flowers and place the flowers next to them so it permeates through the marble and into their amazing souls.

Nana, I miss your smile which could pierce even my worst of days. I miss the way you called me “Mouse.” I miss our trips to the mall for pretzels and chatting. I miss the way only you could comfort me and let me know you were always there for me. Most of all, I miss you.

Papa, I miss your amazing blue-grey eyes. I miss the times I could sit in your lap or by your feet and hear incredible stories. I miss your catch-phrases and sayings and that belly laugh. I miss the way you made me know you were so proud of me. Most of all, I miss you.

And I love you both more than you’ll ever know.

“I miss the years that were erased.
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face.
I miss all the little things.
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me.
Yeah, I miss you,
and I wish you were here.” – Lifehouse (From Where You Are)
Two of the greatest loves of my life.  May you rest in peace.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Second chances...

I have guest posted on my new friend, Amy's blog, while she is on her honeymoon.  Since she's on honeymoon, I thought it would be great to reflect on mine and Blake's and what wasn't. 

As you may or may not know, we are going to Vegas for our fifth anniversary, so I wrote about second chances and how this is ours.

You can check out the post here.

I promise I will be back soon with a new post.  Lots has happened since my last post: daycare changes, continuing the weight loss journey, saving $80.00 at one trip to CVS, my best friend's birthday party, keeping my love affair with hockey alive and more!  Maybe I will post about the massive transformation I am going to partake in this weekend...