Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Yesterday, I was having what I call as "Stupid Ugly Fat" day. That is a day, where, yes, I determine myself to be stupid, ugly and fat. Generally brought on by a lack of sleep, these are days where I wallow in insecurity and generally fail to see joy in anything.

When I was younger, the only person who could make me smile during SUF days was my brother. I would whine, "I'm so stupid."

Tom would grin and reply, "You're not only stupid, but you're ugly. And fat." This would make me smile because 1) He knew the script so well, 2) He loved me so much and so unconditionally that by merely saying the words, he took away their power, and made them ridiculous.

Once Paul and I got together, and I was comfortable enough, the dynamics of SUF changed. I would begin my whining and he Just. Wouldn't. Play.

"I'm so stupid," I would say. "I'm so fat. I'm so ugly." Ah, the pathos! The violins!

Paul, being a practical Midwesterner at heart, would look me in the eye and say, "That's not true, but since that's how you feel, what are you going to do about it?"

For awhile, I would attempt to pick a fight, but Paul wouldn't budge, and wouldn't play. His point continued to be, "If you don't like something, do something about it."

As you can imagine, this threw me for a loop, but after being together for twelve years, I'm starting to figure it out. Some positive results of Paul's tough love include: becoming a runner, becoming a writer, and finding sympathetic girlfriends.

After a run, everything is just not that intense, and I usually can at least knock "fat" out of the equation, because my three mile run instantly renders me skinny.

Writing, for the longest time, was an opportunity to whine on paper. Oh my, some of my entries were tedious. I made Morrissey from the Smiths sound like Pollyanna. I was in a writing group back in Arizona, and a colleague told me, after reading an especially whiny piece, "Maybe you should look into counseling. Really. This made me very uncomfortable." O--kay. Time to scale back a notch. Phrases, such as "My life is a dark, dark, room" are not only overdone and overdramatic, but they are just plain boring.

After moving to Maryland, having a series of rough things happen all at once, and spending some time on the couch with a prescription to Zoloft, I understand what depression really is. It's not cool, and it doesn't make you more interesting. It's just really, really sad, and really, really hard work.

So, after that experience, I stopped writing to vomit out every negative feeling floating in my head, and started to write for the joy of it. This is the most recent evolution of my writing life.

This leads me back to sympathetic girlfriends. While it is better to find solutions through exercise or writing, sometimes a girl's just gotta whine. I called my friend Kristen. Kristen has probably been told her entire life that she is beautiful, because she is truly stunning. However, I hope that she is told as often that her soul and spirit are beautiful, too.

I started telling her that I felt ugly, etc. etc. She didn't try to solve my problem. She didn't try to make me laugh. She just listened and sympathized, and then she did the exact thing I needed. She complimented my hair and my skin, and told me that she thought I was pretty.

Yes, it's needy, but sometimes a girl just needs to hear that.

My SUF day thankfully ended, and I'm grateful that I can see them for what they are---days where I'm a little needy, a little lost, but never, ever, alone.

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