September 29, 2011

What I do with my body

"You are the child of God's holy gift of life. You come from me. But you are not me. Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish."
As I prepare myself to share the events of my Friday night and the behind-the-scenes of what exactly has been going on with Justin, I find myself hesitating a little.

I've always been proud of the fact that I'm very honest here - moreso than in my "real" life, I think, because this is, above all else, a place for me to document my journey of self-discovery. A huge part of that has been my weight loss, but as my body has physically changed, my life has shifted - I can do things now that I couldn't do before, and this is a place where I can document all my firsts, all my experiences.

My voice has certainly shifted from a year ago. My issues and concerns are not the same as they were at 345 pounds, and not just with food or exercise. With weight loss has come a few attempts at dating, and I believe that I've approached the subject as tastefully as possible. That said, I got a fairly unsettling comment on yesterday's blog post. It was an understandable argument from someone whose views on sex and dating are far more conservative than my own, and I found myself immediately defensive. And then, confused.

The conflict: am I allowed to make the argument that you can't tell me what is right or wrong for my body on my healthy living blog, somewhere where the focus is very dominantly trying to figure out exactly what right and wrong may be for my individual circumstances, somewhere where I write out my experiences and ask for feedback and advice?

I'm really quite interested in seeing what people think about this. How honest is too honest - as both a blogger and a commenter?


Mia's Mommy said...

Everyone is going to have an opinion on what you "should" and "shouldn't" do. And it's just opinion. This is YOUR blog about YOUR experiences. You can choose what opinions to listen to and which ones to say "that's nice" to (trust me...that gets easier with practice!) How honest should you be? As honest as you can! Personally I feel like if I go back to sharing only part of my life, then I'm back to hiding my true self which is how I got to 275 pounds! But...that's my opinion!!
-Sarah from livingformeandmimi

Karen said...

IMO the blog is yours, your voice, your place to say whatever you want to say. That said, I also think we should be respectful and I do think there should be laws about what people say about others online, cyber bulling etc. But, I digress. I think you can be open and honest here. As for commenters, well... I have mixed thoughts. For me, I try to always be tactful, respectful, supportive. I figure the old adage is true - if I don't have something good to say I should say nothing at all. That does not mean I won't give out some tough love when I feel close enough to the blogger to think she would appreciate it.

I also think that a commenter could choose a more private forum and consider sending an email. Actually, I've sometimes responded to comments that way so that I could say thing out of the public view.

I will also throw out, not knowing what was said and how you interpreted it, that maybe a comment that seems harsh could be well intended, just not well worded. Maybe.

I'm all about showing the love, myself.

Also, I love the saying "Those who care don't matter and those who matter don't care."

Karen said...

P.S. Some of my favorite and most helpful comments have actually been from someone who asked a tough question or gave me some advice that I might not really have wanted to hear. Just wanted to share that too.

Claire said...

I don't think there is such a thing as too honest in your writing, Mary. Truthfully, I think your honesty is what brings readers back. Your experiences are ones that are both unique, but relatable (at least for me) and I appreciate your view on them!!! As for a commenter, they have the right to be totally honest too, but I also think they should have the courtesy to be SHARING opinions and not forcing/preaching them. You have a 'This is me, I'm not ashamed, take me or leave me' attitude, which is SO ADMIRABLE, but also hard for some people to see. Keep being you, and document it as you see fit, and I'll keep reading regardless. And also, YOU ROCK.

Jillian said...

My answer is--YES. A full, resounding yes. You can most certainly tell people that they can't tell you what is right for your body and your life, especially in this situation. Here's the thing, losing weight, being healthy, we all know what that looks like. Cookies and ice cream are NOT healthy. That is not a subjective topic. However, sex? That is VERY subjective. Your opinions and beliefs on sex come from a variety of sources. Culture, family, past experiences. If you were writing on your blog every day about hooking up with a different guy the night before, that would be cause for concern, because for most people, having sex with 30 different people in 30 different nights cannot be considered "healthy".

However--you and Bobby have known each other for two months. I'm invested in your relationship with him. More than that though, I am filled with curiosity, because I want to know what it's like to be with someone who cares about you, and how it's different than it was when you were bigger. Plus--I am just nosy as hell (let's be honest) and I am invested in your life.

People are more than welcome to give their opinions, but at the same time, everyone needs to remember that sex is subjective. Morality is subjective. Some people may not believe in showing their full faces to anyone other than their husbands. Some people might believe it's okay to live a lifestyle as a swinger. I don't believe we have the right to pass judgment on anyone for that.

finnj73 said...

This is your place in the world to tell your story. You be the judge of what you share. If it makes you uncomfortable to share and don't want to share than that is your choice we are none the wiser except when you tease. If you share all and hold nothing back that and you are comfortable with that than that is who you are. I read the comment I am assume you are refereeing to, and I am nowhere near as conservative as that person. But that is her views. Personally I side more towards you. I don’t think there is anything wrong with what you said or did or do. If you don’t want to hear what other people say than I assume you would turn comments off. But you didn’t so I am guessing you do want to hear from people about what you say. To me the point of receiving comments is to hear what people think, it may be advice or just a good job nudge that I was needing or even I am in the same shoes situation. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are doing something wrong, I would say I did it this way and that is what worked for me, because that is who I am. But I don’t know you except for what you share and you don’t know me so I wouldn’t say do it this way ever. I enjoy all that you have shared, it has been an inspiration to me and a great read. I hope you continue but you need to do what is best for you.

Charlotte said...

As I read the comments yesterday, I reacted very strongly to one in particular. It seemed to imply that you are, how can I put it, «easy», and even tough it may have been said in a genuine attempt to protect you from pain, it came out as a hurtful comment in my own view.

Having said that, I think that as a commenter, we feel like we know you, you share with us, you open up on very intimate subjects, and when reacting to a comment, we answer to you as to a friend, and that is why sometimes some of us may take some liberty and not keep the proper distance. The thing we have to remember is that you do not know most of us at all.

And now I am really sorry because I do not get the end of your story with Bobby...

Take care.

Anonymous said...


First-time commentor but long-time reader (also former French professor and American expat living in Paris...:)).

Let me start by saying I find your blog intelligent, reflective, inspirational and extremely well-written. It is the best blog I read of its genre and I'm glad you are writing.

Now, on to the focus of your post:

I saw that comment and was going to respond but anything I would have written would have been perhaps in violation to her right to free speech. That said, her right to free speech ends where your right to free choice (in terms of lifestyle) begins. What she should do is exercise her right not to read your blog, or any other blog which does not align with her religious (and zealot-like) beliefs. I glanced at her blog and knew immediately that it would not be one I would have the vaguest interest in reading. And that's fine. There are endless blogs that offer me a good, intelligent and sane read out there; hers is not one of them.

When you put yourself out into the internet, you must remember that it is mankind's largest agora. Anything you write here is in the public domain and will remain there as long as indexes persist. My sense is that we MUST use balance and caution when writing a personal blog. We must remember that anything proferred up here is open for comment, discussion, applause and criticism and we must prepare ourselves for that. So if there are private things you sense should remain private, I'd suggest writing them in a private (hardcopy) journal, just to protect yourself from comments are offbase (to me) as the one you received on the last post.

Also, your [public] comfort level today may not be the same in, say, twenty years. You may think today that "this is who I am and I'm going to share it with the internet world" and find out in the future that "this" is not who you have grown to be. While it may interesting for you to see the evolution from "here" to "there", it may be sensitive material that you'd regret putting out in such a public marketplace later on. We change as we adapt to our new bodies and spirits, and we change as we age. (When I first started blogging back in 2002, I was much more open about my dating life. Now, nine years later, I'd be embarassed to live these things so openly.)

Of course, it does come down to you and what you want to put out into the world. If you feel that your personal experience in the dating/sex/love arena can be of benefit to other women who have done a similar journey, I can see why you would want to be very open about it...educating and entertaining, as the beloved 19th-century novelists believed. But do put into place, mentally, systems to protect yourself from comments such as the one you received.

betty said...

Its your blog; you should choose to write what you want regardless of what people think or their opinion. They have the choice to read it or not and comment or not. However, I think people who comment need to be sensitive in leaving comments and be aware that ultimately no matter what, it is your choice (or my choice) in the decisions made on how to live our lives. So I vote write what you feel comfortable writing.


Anonymous said...

The problem: When you lay it all out and provide no boundaries for commenting, then you get what you get. If you want to discuss something about sex, but do not want commenting either turn off the comments or tell people that you do not want them to comment on the sex part.

You will never agree with 100% of the people 100% of the time - even commenters with whom you share 90% the same feelings and views.

Shall people only tell you what you want to hear? If the person was a jerk, you do have the ability to answer back. it is your blog after all.

Sometimes I find it irritating when people encourage destructive behavior in the name of not wanting to upset the blogger. If a person is writing in a blog where they want comments, they should expect and maybe want (if not say) a full prism of thought. It is up to you to think about it and either discard it or take it as sage - or ignore it.

If you want only encouraging words you shouuld just lay it out to your commenters. YOU should get what you want. It is YOUR blog. Your responsibility.

Arwenn said...

I don't have too much to add to the excellent comments here except to say that you have a wonderful gift as a storyteller and have been living some very interesting stories and I am delighted that you are willing to share those here. I agree with an earlier comment that a message with that sort of "thou shalt not..." tone should have been sent privately. I am also of the opinion that comments should always have more of a "didja ever think about" tone instead of "you should" unless you have specifically asked for advice. I have seen other bloggers that have specifically asked readers not to comment about certain subjects and I think that is a perfectly reasonable approach.

Meghan said...

I don't think that blogger meant to hurt your feelings/mean that comment as harsh.

I love you and your blog. As Christians ( which I assume that person is) we see or have even experienced the destruction of pre-marital sex. Maybe not now, but it will affect a future marriage or another relationship.

I feel her advice was very mom-like--save yourself. I also believe that you are free to make your own choices and do what you want when you want.

I've been hurt by a commentor before and it stinks. I just think her words could have been better than straight out attacking you.

Also, I'm not going to debate my Chtistian faith on this blog. The point is that I would never attack anyone over this issue as I didn't leave a comment yesterday.

People disagree on this subject and that will never change.

Stacey said...

I don't really have much to add to all the wonderful posts already made. I just wanted to say I really hate when people comment with the holier than thou attitude and don't understand your morals or beliefs. They might not be the same as theirs. Not to say they don't have a right to their opinion but they shouldn't make comments like that thinking everyone is the same as them. Yes maybe that's the way it should be, but in todays society that's not how it always works out.

I think I can relate to you in the sense that your life is different now that you've lost the weight and you have a whole new view on life and have a right to enjoy it. Not to say you didn't before, hopefully you know what I mean. I went through the same emotions. I actually got remarried again 9 months after dating my husband. I will never look back on the things I did after the weight loss because I was in a search to find me and I made some mistakes but I do not regret them.

Keep up with what you feel comfortable doing. You will never please everyone, but you don't have to sensor yourself for the ones that will not like what you say. I always go by the saying, if you have nothing nice to say then don't say anything at all. I think the tactful thing to do for her, would have been to send you a private message or email. Or click the x in the corner and move on. If she doesn't agree, then don't read.

Hope to really hear the end of the story....

downsizers said...

These blogs are on the internet for everyone to see and everyone will include conservatives, liberals, gay, straight, etc., etc., etc. Telling personal things will get personal comments. If you are secure with what you are doing, the comments might make you reconsider or might help you feel right about it. I do believe that women fall in love, and men fall in lust so just be careful. There can be a whole range of emotional/psychological "stuff" here. I know after I weighed 250 lb. and got down to 145 lb. I was not emotionally ready for intimacy. Communication is very important here in order for you to sort these things out.

Unknown said...

I've read said comment and I think it's as valid an opinion as anything else expressed on your blog, by yourself or any of the commenters. You are right, her viewpoints do come from a very different background than your own, and certainly much more conservative than mine, but just because it's different doesn't mean it's wrong. Then again, just because it's from a conservative, morally upstanding standpoint, doesn't mean it's right either.

You do have every right to say "it's my body and I'll do what I want with it" even if you do ask for advice, it's how you put it accross which is the important thing. It would indeed be wrong of you to say it in such a way as to be dismissive of her opinion, tell her she has no place to advise you...and you are right, on a blog where you speak of body guilt and ask for these opinions, you would be a touch hypocritical to do that.

Think of it this way...many people read and comment on your blog, each with their own assumptions and backgrounds, and they advise you in different ways, and you do not follow all of their advise, some of their opinions you will dismiss. Why should this opinion be any different to any of the other opinions and tidbits of advice you would choose not to act upon?

Without throwing an accusatory finger, merely an observation, I have to wonder why you felt the need to bring this up so strongly. Perhaps you were honestly shocked that someone with such a majorly different opinion to yourself reads this? Or perhaps you really are beginning to notice the changes you are going through, both mentally and physically. When I was 17 I did what this commenter tells you not to...I threw myself at every guy I could, and that lasted till I was 19...and it was fun. Then again, through the fun I also got myself an STD and got myself assaulted. And when people pulled me up on it, called worse than hell for it and told me I should stop being such a w***e, I went on the deffensive because for me I felt this niggling guilt that whilst I was never going to wait till I was married to have sex again, I knew what I was doing was bad, for me and myself and I.

Now, I'm not saying what you're doing is even half way to as bad as what I was like, but like what everyone told me strck a certain nerve... perhaps this has struck a chord with something deep inside of yourself...what it is, I don't know, it could be anything from sexual issues to just not liking conservatives I guess.

I know I'm being utterly verbose and probably overcomplicated as usual, but I think what I really mean to say is that I think the real question here is not whether you are right to react to her opinion, but why you felt such a strong reaction to this comment in the first place, and perhaps when you figure out why that is then you will feel less conflicted about how you would like to react to it.

Sorry if I sound like a bitch. Just to be clear, I actually think you should be enjoying all the aspects of your new body, if you catch my drift ;)

Lorrie Haley said...

I think its ridiculous to think that you can't value your body and yourself and still have sex with someone that your not going to marry. That is rules oriented and not character oriented. It is not disrespecting yourself whatsoever!

ChiChi said...

I really can't add much more than what others have said. It is your blog and you have many people who read it. I think what makes your blog so likeable is your transparency. There are so many changes that come along with losing weight other than body changes and you have been kind enough and real enough to share it with your readers. That being said it is 2011 sex and intimacy before marriage is very real. I have seen other weight loss blogs where women have difficulties with their body image in relation to sex and intimacy. I think your blog allows women to see someone working through the same issues. You're not writing smut or a harlequin novel, it's just real life. You write tastefully. This is your story, people can choose to read it or not.

Corryn said...

Be as honest and open as you see fit. If someone in the audience doesn't feel comfortable, they can leave. On the other hand, you need to be prepared for a variety of feedback unless you turn off comments and don't state your contact info. The internet is really an amazingly huge and varied place, isn't it? :o)

Do what feels right for you while respecting yourself and others. That's all there is to it.

Shannon said...

I can't agree enough with the supportive comments above. I, also, had a strong reaction to that particular comment yesterday. I think, the wording, and "tone" was harsh. Yes, she is allowed to have her opinion, BUT this is YOUR blog! She is visiting YOUR blog. No, she doesn't have to agree with everything you do, or say, but, I think, she needs to show respect, if she is going to comment. I hope you won't let that one comment change the way you share your life here. You are a smart, strong, beautiful, inspiring woman, and you have NOTHING to be ashamed of - IMO!:)

Bluezy said...

Zut Alors! I have missed a lot.

After reading Thursday's post, I did not have to be psychic to expect "stand up" statement from the moral "right".

I am sure you thought it unsettling...but it was honesty back at ya. Everybody has a friend or relative like that. C'mon you know it.

And you should actually cherish the fact that you have followers JUST as honest as you. I am sure her post was with good intention.

I appreciate both sides...yet..
I think many if not most human efforts are in seeking love and compatible companionship. That includes (very much)the physical aspect. It is only idealistic, if not naive to believe that love does not change with weight loss. Opportunity as well. And how this part of our journey is taken is very much subjective.

I am convinced that the "moral majority" actually is the "moral denial" and they secretly keep their Barry White albums and scented and flavored body the closet. Secrets actually kill the soul.

This is part of YOUR journey and your honesty is vital. You express it in good taste.

You were a big girl and still are in the aspect of maturity. Just tell that man that if he breaks your of your 261 followers will follow him down and nothing is worse that a mad granny that once rode on a harley and ...oh pardoney moi LOL TMI.

Sidebar with humor...typically me. If it is least I amuse myself. I know I misspelled Pardonnez and maybe even now did. LOL.

Christie Farrar said...

I think I'll email my response, instead. Not because it's hateful or anything, but because it's far too long to read here.

Tim said...

What I love about your blog is how honest you are with your posts. I have a lot of respect for you for being so open. I guess i'm also a little surprised at your reaction to the lady's comment because she was also being honest about her feelings towards what you have written in your blog.

Despite not agreeing with the lady's opinion, I didn't see it as a comment written in a negative way, I honestly think it came from a good place and there is something sweet and innocent about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to point out here, for those who don't care to read through to the blog of the commenter who started all of this ruckus. She is not married to the man that she lives with, sleeps with, has one child with and is expecting another with. I only say this, because, she expressed very conservative views on sex - that she herself does not live up to.

Mary, I think I indicated this yesterday, but I'm fully with you that this is an "off" comment. Especially once I checked out the blog of said commenter. If she was living the lifestyle she advocated to you, I'd have at least just said she was one of those conservative types that feels the need to have everyone living an equally conservative point of view.

I was raised in a moderately conservative home. Sex was certainly only for marriage as was living with a member of the opposite sex. So when I moved in with my boyfriend before becoming engaged or married to him, I had family members telling me that I would end up divorced. Their comments were no more warranted than Cindie's from Finding Calgon.

I understand, somewhat, the point of others that if you put it out there that it will get commented on. But, and this is a big but, there's one thing in expecting comments and another in having a person you don't even know or interact with come and have a moral parade on your blog. I also don't think reacting as you did is indicative that you only want certain kinds of comments on your blog. More, I think you feel taken aback that a person who had never commented before would take such liberties.

I do believe you can say that it's your body. You may have some body issues that you are working on, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a healthy sexual life as well. And, to the original commenter, I would have just told her that sexual compatibility is important to you in a relationship and that you aren't willing to risk waiting until marriage to find out you aren't compatible with the person you want to spend forever with.

Best of luck in however you choose to go forward. Part of what drew me to your blog and you is your honesty. You don't mince words and you don't hide who you are. I like that about you. I hope this rotten egg of a comment doesn't turn you off from remaining open.

Spoonful of Me said...

Mary, this is your blog. You should write what you want and not worry about what people reading it thinks. This is for your own self reflection.

Before I met my now husband I could easily be labeled as "easy" and if I wasn't married I would still be labeled as that. There is nothing wrong in enjoying sex and if you want to post about it or get feedback on something then you should.

I truly hope that you post about your weekend and about the behind the scenes with Justin.

Stacey said...

Oh and if its the comment I think it is, I read her blog. She's not married and been with the guy she's with for 6 years and has a child and another on the way. Pot calling kettle black? She's not married either. Sure it's the only guy she's been with the whole time but just wondering what her thinking is when she says you need to wait till your wedding night but she didn't.

Just saying....

Amanda said...

I agree with what a lot of other people are saying. It's your blog and I for one LOVE how honest and open you are. You truly know how to lock someone into a story with your words. It's amazing.

That being said, as we open our personal lives up to the world we have to expect and except that people are going to disagree with us. That's their opinion. We don't have to agree, just take it as a grain of salt and move on!

Joan said...

I love what emmabovary said, she put it so well (hi emma, I'm an expat in Paris too). I would just like to urge you not to forget the feelings and right to privacy of the other people involved in this story. "Justin" is intriguing but anonymous. "Bobby" has appeared in photo and so would be much easier to identify. Is he o.k. with that?

Stefanie said...

I think that people who live in glass houses should not throw rocks. Do what you want it's your blog and I love it.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I believe if you're writing a public blog you are asking for comments, even opinions. You're opening yourself up to the public and the public has opinions. I don't think the comment was meant in a negative way, only in a way that meant you should value yourself more (if it's that one comment to which you're referring). If you think you value yourself enough, then sluff it off and move on.

I do think you put a lot of stuff out there that years from now you might wish you hadn't. Your last name isn't on this blog, but if someone really wanted to find you, they probably could. Are you okay with putting yourself out there for the world to see, in a very unanonymous way? Does Bobby or Justin read this blog? Would you want them to? Ask yourself if you're okay with anyone and everyone reading what you write. If you're fine with it, then carry on and accept the comments that come along. It comes with the territory, I think. Of course, no one deserves to be attacked or criticized (I didn't see any comment like this yesterday, however) on their own blog, but since you're moderating comments, you can always choose not to approve them.

Remember, anyone can tell you what to do or not to do with your body, but only you need to make the decision that is right for you.

Unknown said...

You already have SO Many comments on this and mine isn't much different but here it is anyways. I think what keeps me coming back to continue reading your blog is the fact that you are so honest and your posts are so well thought out and written. We look forward to seeing you experiencing life with all of its ups and downs. And for me its entirely refreshing to see someone who isn't ashamed or afraid to talk about sex.

I hope you decide to keep it up and not limit yourself with rules from someone else's moral code.

SkippyMom said...

I have a saying at my blog - "My blog, my rules." It is a good rule to live by. I don't mind if people disagree with me [I don't like nasty, but I don't seem to write anything that riles people up - nor do you for that matter] And when people do disagree, well that's their right.

The thing is I am too old and time is too short for people to change me or my opinions. I am who I am. I will listen to dissenting opinions but mostly I am not swayed. My convictions are pretty strong. I LIKE who I am and I think that is all we can ask of ourselves.

The fact that the woman left the comment and included the words "wedding night" and "save yourself" makes me giggle. Considering.

I will consider anyone's opinion as long as they aren't a hypocrite about it.

It is your body, your life and your blog. Do what YOU want.

Good luck. You are quite the inspiration.

carla said...

great post and fantastic comments.

All I want to add is to echo what waistingtime said.

Ive grown more from commenters who said things I didnt want or was not ready to hear yet.

that said, my rules are say such comments nicely.


Tammy said...

I say write what you want!!:) OK, I guess I'm considered "easy." I say some things on my blog..but not all. I would..but I live in a small town and am freaked out about someone seeing it!!LOL Otherwise I sooo would. So be brave and live your life according to how YOU want to live it. Let those other people who give you crap about a long and boring life. I will also work on being braver and being more honest in my posts as well. I love reading your blog! Hope you don't stop.

Life as a Caterpillar said...

Waay behind here, just catching up. Not going to get into a slanging match about the character of others (that doesn't help at all) .
Mary-Doll, If you feel comfortable sharing as much as you do, go on ahead and share it, lots and lots and lots of people enjoy reading your blog, and love you for your honesty. Personally, and honestly, i have felt a bit uncomfortable reading the details of your search for love, simply because it comes across to me that you do not yet know your worth, and until you do, you will fall for (a much nicer way of putting it than in the last comment) guys who do not deserve you. And guys can sense that about a girl, and unfortunately you have seen that heartache first hand in the past, too often.
I'd never say that you should save yourself, and you know that if you know me. But you and i touched on this in a private email exchange a few months ago. As a mommy -type myself, i wish you knew how fabulous and amazing and smart and wonderful you are, without having that need to have a guy around to tell you it.

I am only saying this because every single person here knows and believes this fact. You are truly fantastic and you don't need a guy to validate that

much love
your pal