March 23, 2011


This vacation could not have come at a better time.

Yesterday I was catching up with my mom via video chat, and I asked how Dad is doing. She said that he was doing alright, that they had gotten off-track a little bit with his diet, and today he has three doctor's appointments, one of which is at the wound care clinic because he ate Chinese food and so now his legs are a mess.

I'm really proud of the fact that I kept my outward anger to a minimum. Honestly, I would have loved to have screamed at them, but it would have been useless - she'd just press the "mute" button because she knows that what I have to say is painful and she doesn't want to hear it, so she chooses not to. Meanwhile, I'm still here, in front of a computer screen nine hundred miles away, and I'm mad as hell. So I held back, and asked very calmly how they could stray from the prescribed diet.
"He said he's looking for quality of life, not quantity of life."
My heart broke when she quoted that. Even at my biggest, eating Chinese food was not something I did to make my life better - even then, I was conscious of the fact that it hurt me and got me further from my goals. I still chose to do it because my goal was self-harming. So to hear that my father could justify breaking doctor's orders in such a serious way by calling it something adding to his "quality of life" is heartbreaking; to hear that he chooses noodles over living long enough to meet his grandchildren absolutely devastates me. Maybe it's my healthier mindset, but I just can't think of anything that tastes that good.

So I did what I usually do when I get bad news about Dad: I log back into the dating website account that I can only bring myself to deactivate and not delete because I want to believe that somewhere out there is a guy who isn't a total wad, and I need to hurry up and meet him, because time is running out. Dad isn't getting any better, so I have to rush things on my end as much as I can.

There are right reasons and wrong reasons to lose weight. The wrong ones are based on others: I want to lose weight so someone will love me, I want to lose weight to look better than this friend or that celebrity. The right ones are all about you - about getting healthy and looking and feeling your best because you want to, because you honestly believe you're worth all this hard work.

So many of my reasons to lose weight are on the "good" side - I want to live, dammit. I saw myself at 23, struggling both physically and emotionally to get out of bed in the morning, and I just couldn't see myself living much longer. So I decided to save my own life, and that has meant sacrifices and struggles and an awful lot of sweating - but finally living this wonderful amazing life is worth every single second of it. Secretly, though, I also have a "wrong" reason: I'm in the race of my life, racing against my father.

Weighing on my heart every time I step on the scale is the thought that I have to get healthy and meet someone as fast as I can so my dad can be at the wedding. I don't know how much time he has, so I have to work as fast as I can. Every week when I only lose a pound, I panic that this will be the week when Dad takes a turn for the worse, and I feel guilty that I didn't start sooner, that I haven't done enough, that I haven't worked fast enough. I've been a daddy's girl ever since I was born, and if he isn't there at my wedding, I honestly don't know if I'll ever get married. It would be devastating. I couldn't possibly enjoy myself knowing that he should have been there and that he isn't, and for completely preventable reasons.

It's ridiculous and wrong - I know. My father's condition is not my fault. I am not losing weight just so that someone will be attracted to me, and I shouldn't rush into a lifetime committment with someone just because I want to have my dad at the party. But I love him so much, and my heart always manages to win over my head, so I log in, and I hope for the best.
May I see your boobs?
No, you may not.
I'll take that as a maybe. I have fresh baked cookies, if that sways your opinion.
*sigh* Deactivate.

By the time this post launches, I'll be rolling away from Chicago. It'll be really nice to vacate my life and its responsibilities for a couple of days. No Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter. No e-mails from students, instant messages from Mom, or chat notifications from creeps on dating websites. Just me, and my intense vacation plans.

google maps, what would i do without you
I totally love making excruciatingly detailed itineraries.

Something I am not taking a break from, though, is my committment to live a healthy life. My pre-leaving breakfast:

chobani rocks my world
First canteloupe of the season, balled up just the way I like it.

Also packed: a big bottle of water and some train food/emergency purse supplies.

i love bananas lately
I have also found vegetarian/health-conscious restaurants in St. Louis for my meals, and all my activities involve a great deal of walking. My goal is weight maintenance, and to keep myself accountable, I need you to know that on Tuesday morning, the scale said 223. Two pound loss so far. I'd like another pound by Friday but without two days of my usual workouts, it's unlikely - and that's okay by me. I'm going to be working on some serious emotional weight loss on this trip, and that's incredibly worth it.


Ann said...

I'm so sorry your dad is choosing not to live a healthy lifestyle! I know you'll have an awesome trip!!

Pretty Pauline said...


Amy said...

Oh dear I don't even know where to start... I guess a virtual hug??

I completely get this thing with your dad, I would probably elope if my Dad couldn't walk me down the aisle...honestly it's one of the *MOST* important and significant parts of a wedding for me.

My brothers best friend got married two years ago and I am pretty good friends with his wife. Her dad had leukemia and the entire engagement they were unsure if he would be able to go to the wedding. She was devastated but understood being in the hospital was best in his condition. He got clearance to go just days before the wedding and watching him walk down the aisle was one of the most moving moments of my life (followed closely by their dance). I bawled at their wedding, and pretty much all day (for many reasons). Unfortunately he eventually lost his battle to cancer, but I am so happy she will forever have that memory in her heart.

I am confused by the fact that your Dad hasn't been motivated by fear. My Dad used to eat terrible and I would say stuff to him and he would joke, I am insured... Until he had his bypass he just wasn't that serious about his health. Now he isn't great but he makes efforts. No butter on his toast, low cholesterol food...stuff like that.

I don't know how much you have talked to your Dad about your fears but I think if you told him how you truly feel you might make him realize that he has something to live for and the quality is in his family....and his family that will grow.

I think that you shouldn't see your weight loss as a race to find a guy. I know you look in the mirror and see your old self, but now and then too, you are a beautiful inside and out and any guy would be incredibly lucky to have you. I am not sure what dating site you've been on, but maybe try another one (insert question mark my computer is stuck on French and question marks are És). Fresh starts!

The only thing that will stop you from finding someone is thinking you are worthy, and when you realize you are worthy of great love, great love will find you...and believe me YOU ARE WORTHY!! You do not have to be a size 6 to find love... you just have to feel peace inside.

I hope you have a fantastic time away!!

Katie Warren said...

Mary, I'm feeling like I want to share something about fathers. My dad passed away when I was 22. He got cancer when I was 16, and he lived 22 years. In that time he got to see me graduate high school and even get married. I was only 20 when I got married. He did not, however, get to see any grandchildren. I tried and tried to get pregnant in the two years he lived after getting married. I wanted him to have granchildren so badly, but it didn't happen. I was heartbroken when he died. He also didn't get to see me graduate from college - something I believe he wanted for me more than anything because he had never went to college. Those were hard things, but looking back I know he KNEW they would happen. I know he loved me and was proud of me even when I hadn't "achieved" all the things I wanted to achieve before he died. I guess I say all this to tell you that your dad will be just as proud of you and love you just as much if you are married, single, a mother, a tenured professor, or anything. He just loves YOU, and I'm sure it doesn't matter to him if you have a husband or not. I don't even know if this helps, but I'm here if you ever feel like talking about anything. I have a boat load of daddy isses. lol

<3 Katie