Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If You Could Read My Mind

Today, I'm grieving because a wonderful, wonderful time of my life is ending.

This was my job for the past five years. I taught Musical and Theater at a high school in our neighborhood. The pic was taken just before last year's show, and you can see we are all happy about what we achieved in a year of hard rehearsing. The kids are proud of themselves, and rightly so. Nearly all of them are from migrant or socially challenged homes and learned, in this class, for the first time how great they are and what they really can achieve if they just believe in themselves. I invested many hours, many weekends, many extra hours in this project.

And it was MY project, right from the start. I brought it to this school, first as a volunteer, then paid a pittance (200$ for 16 hours a month, when I really worked at least triple that time). I didn't mind because I loved it.

We all loved it. And we worked hard.

Here is my son Mario, singing Neil Diamond's "I'm A Believer".

He is not a student at that school but a young medical doctor, but he enjoyed working with us so much he just took to the stage after helping us set up the light and sound for the show.

And here's my other kid, playing his role as announcer, with Bryan.

I'm not free to say why I had to quit the job, of course. There is a confidentiality agreement in my contract that makes me feel like I used to work for Stargate Command. That's ok. Let me just say, working with that school administration has become impossible due to mutual distrust, and too much anger on my side. I threw the job in their faces. At some point you've just taken enough, and then it is time to let go.

I will let go of my worries and watch them sail away like ships in the night. They will simply leave, and I will not even listen to their horns calling out in the darkness.

It was a great time. The kids taught me much, and I hope I helped them find joy in an otherwise often dreary life. and now it is over.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Born To Be Fat

I'm fat. There is no other way to call it. I've been fat since I was six years old and my parents and I returned home after two years in Brazil where I had been ill most of the time. Seriously ill. We came back, and wham, within half a year I was no longer the thin, fragile little girl but a roly-poly maggot. No one bothered about it. I was healthy again, and that was all my family cared for. Then my little sister was born and attention drifted from me to the baby.

When I was nineteen I starved myself into a moderately thin figure, but it did not last. I just could not keep the weight no matter how hard I tried. And NO I was no couch potato. I cycled, did sports, went dancing. And still I was fat.

I tried to hide it as well as I could. Wide clothes, practical clothes, flat shoes and a spike of guilt every time I put something in my mouth. And I only went to a doctor when I could not crawl anymore, afraid they would tell me I was too fat and needed to lose weight, when I never wanted anything more than that.

I wanted to wear something like this.

Be able to walk in these.

And I wanted to be an eye-catcher, but not because I had the widest butt on the street.

I'm a very sensible eater. I used to walk stairs whenever possible, rode the bike even during my pregnancies until I was nearly due. Granted, sports are not my favorite pastime, except throwing an American football or playing Badminton.

And yet. There are MASSES of people out there who eat way less healthy than I do, a lot more, too,  and don't work out and still are slim.

Two years ago I got sick and was diagnosed with a couple of auto-immune diseases, and the unthinkable happened: suddenly I was firmly in the clutches of doctors and hospitals. And while still no one was very interested in why I was fat, once they had started on their gazillion exams and test and found out everything about me there was to find out I thought, "What the heck, I might as well ask them why I am obese!"

A far cry from that girl in the lovely gown, right?

So they drew blood, prodded, tested, scanned again and came up with - nothing.

Now I'm in a very lucky position. My son is a doctor, and so he knows my lifestyle and how and what I eat, and he agrees I really should be WAY thinner. He is, in fact, the one prodding my GP into doing all those tests.

Last Friday I had my latest appointment at my GP's. New results, and he tells me I'm perfectly healthy - except for those auto-immune diseases - and he really sees no way of helping me reduce my weight. I broke out in tears.

He looked me up and down and said, "You know, you should be glad your metabolism is so slow. If we had bad times now you'd survive and I would die of starvation." I nearly smacked his mouth. When he saw I was upset he patted my shoulder and told me he had heard it was quite normal for women of Arab descent to put on weight when they got older. AFTER, mind you, telling me what HE ate during a normal day. And here I am, living on tomatoes and cucumbers and lean chicken, just like a Supermodel, listening to my slim doctor listing his three sandwiches for breakfast, three plates of lunch and how hungry he is at night... yeah thank you. He really, really tried to comfort me. But in effect he told me I was born to be fat, and do myself a favor and accept it.

Well, I'm not. And I'm also not going to eat the lovely fresh bread hubby just brought home. So there. Tomatoes and cucumbers it is.

And yeah, why am I telling you all this? I'm telling you because I'm going to fly to the States this summer, and my biggest fear is they won't let me on a plane because I'm too fat.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank You, Please Carry On!

I've just been awarded the "Stylish Blogger Award" by http://ange-aspiringnovelist.blogspot.com/ (and I hope the link works!). I've also been told I'm now supposed to tell you seven things about myself and then nominate a handful of other bloggers for this award. Seriously, Ange, you might want to reconsider after watching me mess this up.

1. Early spring, like now, makes me want to take off and be in new and strange places. There is is this wild yearning to be away, have adventures and meet people. Maybe I'm a secret hobbit. One of the daring tribe.

2. If I could I'd live in a house with a porch on the beach in Virginia. The porch would lead directly on the sand and there would be a big fridge with plenty of drinks for when all my friends come visiting. At day I'd sit on the porch and write novels and at night I'd sit on the porch and party with the Mimosas. Can you see how important the word "porch" is?

3. I don't like chocolate. No, really.

4. I'm fat, and I'm working so hard on slimming down, only my stupid chemo will not let me. I guess I'll never wear a strapless gown again.

5. On the upside, I've finished my first novel, edited and submitted it.

6. And started on a new one. Goal: finish the first draft before I go to the States in summer. I have 110 days to achieve that.

7. And now I'm going to go back to writing.

Here are my Stylish Blogger Award nominations:






Thank you for this awesome nomination!