Fighting off Frumpy: BEFORE

I'm a sharer. An over-sharer, probably.*

*Except for like food, because I will literally hide in a closet to avoid my kids asking me for a bite of something.

When it comes to letting people into my personal life, I don't have much of a problem with it. I mean, duh, I have a blog. On the Internet. If I were a private person, I wouldn't let anyone know that I have a weird condition that made breastfeeding horrible. Or that I once got stuck in a booth at a restaurant. Or that I was ridiculously clueless when it came to my oldest son starting Kindergarten. I'd write it all in a diary or something, and my quirks and misadventures would never see the light of day. But instead, I put it out there for millions of people to see.

Anyway, do you know why I share? Because even if it's embarrassing - which, oh my Lord, it can most definitely be - I love to know that I'm not alone ("You have a beard? OMG, so do I!!"). Because it makes me feel just a little less odd, a little less isolated in my predicaments. Not to mention the amount of wonderful advice and encouragement I get from people who have been there ... or who just care enough to send some kind words my way. You've kept me afloat more than once, y'all, and that's real.

But there's one thing I haven't completely shared - and ironically, it's the one thing that inspired this blog. The very thing that this blog is named for: my fight with the demonic possession of complete and total frumpy housewife-y-ness. I've disclosed bits and pieces here and there, usually disguised as something funny, but I've never been ready to tell you the whole story.

Until now.

So I'm going to do it in two parts: fittingly named "Before" and "After." (I'm so original, eh?) Because this is probably gonna be long.

*ahem*

Before my kids, I was always girly and pulled-together. Hair done, nails done, makeup on, everything shaved ... always. As ashamed as I am to say it now, I was one of those chicks who looked with contempt (secretly, of course) upon the frumpy moms I saw at the post office and the grocery store. What is wrong with those women? I'd think to myself. How could they let themselves go like that?

Then I got my answer (or, more likely, my karmic come-uppance). With my first pregnancy, I gained an astonishing ninety pounds. I lost some of it, but then got pregnant with Cameron, and packed on eighty more. Again, between pregnancies I managed to shed a few pounds, but never got completely back to my pre-pregnancy weight. In my mind, I couldn't seem to match this new post-baby body up with the relatively jiggle-free girl I had so recently been.

I despised the way I looked. Multiple pregnancies, especially when coupled with such massive weight gain, can wreak havoc on the body; my once-tight abs had dissolved into a wobbly, stretchmarked mass of skin, and my boobs were hanging, flattened, raisin-esque shadows of their former perky selves. But it wasn't just the physical transformation that bothered me; it was the resulting catastrophic slide into a depression so deep that I literally couldn't even muster up the will to take care of myself. Even my most basic needs - like personal hygeine, y'all - fell by the wayside.

My self-esteem suffered. A lot. My husband, bless his heart, was always sweet and supportive ... but though he never would have said anything, I could just tell he was no longer attracted to me - like, in the "bow chicka wow wow" way. How could he be, when I had such a low opinion of myself? I lived in a constant state of frumpitude, and my motto was "why bother?" Why shower when I'd just be spit up or snotted on within a matter of minutes? Why brush my hair when no one was going to see me? Why try on jeans when my pajama pants were so much more comfy? Why wear anything cute when I would only feel fat and ugly? For lack of a better explanation, you can't polish a turd ... and that's exactly what I felt like I was doing every time I tried to put on makeup or wear a decent outfit. Like I was making an effort for absolutely no reason. Trying to be someone that I no longer was.

Desperate, I started this blog when I was just a few months pregnant with Coby, hoping that someone out there in the far reaches of the world would be able to commiserate. It felt like one tiny step in the right direction. I hoped it would help keep me accountable.

In this post in honor of my 29th birthday - just two weeks before giving birth for the third time - I wrote the following:

So as soon as I pop this baby boy out (send labor vibes!), I'm on a mission to fulfill the name of my blog once and for all and stop the terrifying descent into full-time frumpiness. I'm bringing sexy back, for real. Just you watch. You need inspiration? Allow me. I promise.

I sounded much more confident than I felt ... trust me.

When I stepped onto the scale a few days after having Coby - the middle of September, 2009 - it read 273 pounds (I'm 5'8", for reference). And I cried ... bitterly. You know how you hear about people hitting rock bottom? That was it for me. Seeing the number, my unhappiness and unhealthiness quantified right before my very eyes, was the catalyst.

And right now, I'm going to share with you a picture that I loathe. Honestly, it's not even as bad as I actually looked, but I couldn't find a full-body shot (because if anyone had dared to snap a full-body photo of me at that weight I'd have gone all Godzilla and ripped the camera right from their trembling hands). Anyway, here I am at my heaviest ...


Notice that the baby is laying flat ... on my stomach. And that no makeup/glasses/pajamas look I was sporting? That wasn't because I'd just given birth, or because it was time for bed or something. That was just my typical daily garb at that point. All day, erry day.

I may have been smiling in this picture, but I was truly miserable. Nobody I knew in real life, except for my closest friends and family, ever saw me like this - because I hid from the world. I turned down invitations and missed get-togethers for fear that someone would see me and think, "Damn, she's gained a lot of weight!" Should that have mattered? No, probably not. Maybe if my self-worth wasn't directly tied to the number on my scale, I'd have been happier. But it was.

I wasn't doing myself, my husband, or my kids any favors by being fat and joyless. And even though at that point my blog had just a handful of readers, I had promised to be an inspiration.

And so, one baby step at a time, I began fighting off frumpy.

(Part Two coming soon!)
   


Comments

  1. Rita - I love you for doing this post. I know I don't stop by near as often as I used to..but I hear you on THAT number. When I started this journey - about the same time you did - I was at 245. It was not the heaviest I had ever been, but I was SO VERY TOTALLY over being fat. I was wearing a size 22 at the time. I was miserable. And remember? I was going through a ROUGH PATCH in my relationship. That turned out going down the drain. Which left me open for TRUE love. But that is all outside of what we are talking about. I love you and that you are posting all this. I can not WAIT to see/read the After post!!! Miss you, chica!

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  2. Ah Rita,

    I don't know what to say...I'm so sorry that you ever felt like that and I hope you no longer do. I must say, though, that I've been following your blog a while and you've hidden all of this very well ebhind humour. Not once did I ever see you as anything than fun loving, proud mother and wife who was perpetually cheerful - I was quite envious of the latter. I find it too easy to give in to my darker moods.

    Keep blogging and take care.

    Natasha

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  3. I'm a new reader of yours and can I just say that your super duper inspiring to me... Here I am 3 kids later with the squishy nastiness and stretch marks AND having to navigate the dating scene again AND thinking that I will never get back into any sort of sexyness...then you come along and give me hope that it can be better.... I can't wait to read part 2 :)

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  4. "I turned down invitations and missed get-togethers for fear that someone would see me and think, "Damn, she's gained a lot of weight!""
    That is the story of my life right now.
    I am avoiding everything.
    I'm ready for part 2!

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  5. I'm SO glad you're finally sharing this. I nearly fell over when you just sorta threw out awhile back that you'd lost 100 lbs. i had NOT idea that you'd been that heavy. I'm so impressed with you and your fortitude. Can't wait to see/read the AFTER portion of the story. I've literally jsut always been the fat girl, so I don't know any different. Now, I'm just A LOT less fat than I once was, but I'm still a big girl. But I fully understand the difficulty of losing weight, keeping it off and feeling good about yourself.

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  6. You leave me with baited breath waiting for part 2!!!!

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  7. As a gal who is 3/4... ok, 2/3 of the way through a weight loss journey herself, I hear ya. I was fat and joyless, too. Now, I'm mostly just joyless. Just kidding. Mostly. Can't wait to see the after :-)

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  8. So proud of you for writing this, Rita and even more so that you are taking steps to making yourself happy again.

    Big bloggy hugs from me!

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  9. I am right there with you. 165 when I started college. 280 now. :( And all the other stuff you write about...the pjs, not brushing my hair, not even trying...oooh, hurry with Part 2!

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  10. I love how open and honest you are, with your own humor added in there. Your Godzilla comment made me laugh out loud. I'm afraid of becoming the "frumpy mommy" because in my last weeks of pregnancy I have already given up trying to look cute at all times. Maybe once or twice a week of my husband is lucky, haha. Losing weight after I have the baby has been on my mind a lot lately. It's hard to watch your body change so drastically in such a short amount of time.

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  11. First off- thank you for writing this. And oh how brave you are for doing so. I still won't even say my weight aloud to my husband. But I relate to everything you have written and I look forward to part 2.

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  12. Thank you Rita for being brave enough to put it out there for us. So many of us feel the same or worse. I love your blog and admire you for being so real. Believe me, you've helped so many just by being you and sharing it with the world.
    That story could of been writen by me, only I'm still in the before stage and hiding from everyone. Went from 134 after high school to 253 now. I'm so ready to get to my After!

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  13. I didn't get above the 200 mark, but I came close. I gained 70 with my first and then 9 months later was gaining with my second. I am hating the way I look and it kills me to look at pictures of me 3 years ago. Hopefully I will get to a good place soon...it just takes time, I suppose.

    WM

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  14. I can totally relate to you in this post. I have been feeling much the same way and have begun my own anti-frumpy battle.

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  15. Overshare at will, lady. We're here with and for you.

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  16. Jessica Armstrong LasaAugust 23, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Yep, you are so not alone. I loved reading all the comments! Maybe I will lose some weight now. I freaking hope so.

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  17. This is one of the many posts that make me realize why i love your blog! I am that person now, after my second who had/has medical problems and just the stress of kids in general, i look in the mirror and can barely recognize myself.

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  18. Thank goodness I just read this, I just had a baby seven months ago and have slipped into a place feeling fat and frumpy. I feel depressed because I feel like I have no time or money to fix it. I have to go to work everyday, it's not as easy as just "going to the gym" before work when there is a baby around. And I feel guilty buying new clothes as we are trying to pay off debt.

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