Queen of Denial

When most people diet, they force themselves the foods they desire.  You deny yourself enough and you take in fewer calories, thereby losing weight.  You’re not an idiot, you knew that already.  You also knew that once you are off the diet and you have what you desire again, back it comes.  

That works for some people.  Not everyone,  because if it did we wouldn’t be wallowing in obesity.  Seriously.  I don’t remember this as a child.  I’m in a public place and I look around and people aren’t just a little overweight, they are magnificently huge.  I am amazed by it all.  And yet, there is so little sympathy and understanding.  You see an alcoholic, someone addicted to gambling or nicotine–nd many say they need treatment.  You see someone fat and you say they should just get some exercise and shut their big, fat, mouths.   

But obesity is a symptom of a disease.  Here, I’ll even throw in a definition of precisely what disease is from a medical dictionary:  “An impairment of the body or one of its parts resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.”  

And here’s where denial comes in.  Culturally, we deny the fact that the obese have a disease.  You can’t just wish away diabetes and cancer.  You can’t just wish away obesity either.  Of course every diseased person has that wish.  You have no idea how many times, how many years, I would wish that I would wake up thin.  Or smaller anyway.  I would actually wish I had some non-fatal wasting-away condition and I would just wake up, better, and 100 pounds lighter.  I’m not kidding either.  And I know I’m not alone.  

The non-obese public, in my opinion, denies that obesity is a disease.  The obese deny that they have the responsibility to fight for their health.  They, and I say they based upon my own experience and talking to thousands of obese and formerly obese individuals, they even deny that they ate something.   I have such a problem with that.  Did you eat ALL that?  No, I didn’t.  Uh, wait a minute, maybe I did.  Maybe I did devour all those calories.  Isn’t a can of Pringles a single serving?  No?

Denial is, at its essence, a defense mechanism.  For instance, I will just desire my feelings for you.  That way, if I pretend they don’t exist then I don’t have to deal with them.  Dealing with them would mean I would have to act upon them one way or the other.  However, if they don’t exist then I can stay on my current path.  Deny that you’re fat.  Deny that you’re in love.  Deny that you’re a failure.  Deny that your life is a cesspool.  Denial comes in pretty handy.  

It’s been said that once you accept you’re out of control then you can start to rebuild.  I have always said I am in control of my actions, the good and the bad.  I don’t blame anyone for anything I do. So,  I guess it comes down to this.  Admit to yourself that what you’re doing and the life you’re living is or is not satisfying to you.  I would say, “are you happy?” but I have only vague recollections of a few minutes of what I would call happy.  I have spent most of my life denying my feelings about anything (except my children).  I have tried to contain major highs–because you can go nowhere but down, and major lows–because they suck.  Consequently, I am almost always detached, level, numb.  It takes a lot to keep yourself numb.  

However, in my case, I have so many memories of food equaling happy that I turn to it to change my mood.  And I realize I have always done that.  That’s why I understand the alcoholics, the smokers, the junkies.  You get in such a state of denial that you just want to feel nothing.  Or maybe you want to feel what you think is normal.  I actually get a rush of happy when I shop.  I feel almost that good when thinking about what I need to buy.  Just looking at shoes online can flip me like a pancake. (Mmmmm, pancakes.)  I try to channel it for good when I work as a stylist.  I can accessorize as brilliantly as I can cook.  However, it makes me wonder.

Can anyone truly get past denial?  Or is the act of avoidance so ingrained that we, collectively, are doomed to live unsatisfied lives?  My personal belief is only you, the person who wants to change, can change.  No one else can change you.  It all starts with you.  If you feel a change is in order, and then you can’t seem to move past it, then, other than feeling totally fucked, you have to kick it into gear.  What’s just one thing you can change so your life will be what you want it to be?  I started with bread.  I gave it up completely.  Now that I’ve conquered that I need to take a bigger step.  I guess I’ll need some new shoes for that.


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One Comment on “Queen of Denial”

  1. Angie Person Says:

    Great post, Jane.

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