...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

the whole is more than the sum of its parts

realistically, i know life is about numbers. we each have been given a finite inventory, but we often go about our days giving them little thought. from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning, we're in the midst, pulled out of the seven or eight hours we used to refresh ourselves.

they are there.

the television remote upon which you punch up the channel for your favorite program.

the money you pull from your wallet to pay the girl at starbuck's for your frappaccino, in which she has added two extra squirts of chocolate syrup because you've been coming in for months now and she knows what you like.

the calendars pulled out to set a date and time for a meeting.

the day that lies a few months ahead in that very calendar, a numbered square circled in red sharpie, that helps you tick by the minutes until you can take a vacation.

that barely scratches the surface, nor touches on the fact that numbers are also quite personal.

they are how we connect with others. the exchange of telephone numbers or addresses. celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries and milestone moments in life.

obviously, numbers are vital ingredients in our lives. that touch of something that, though we don't know it, we'd know it was missing right away were they not just ingrained in us. but sometimes, i'm quite taken with the interest (power, perhaps?) some numbers carry over others.

because i'm not a medical professional, nor do i work for the department of transportation, i have never asked someone what they weigh.

never in my life.

and yet, i'm surprised how often that very question is asked of women. maybe i'm more saddened than surprised, really. why? because whatever the number may be, there is usually a judgement attached to it. it has the potential (and please forgive the pun) to carry a lot of weight for some people, depending on whatever reason the question was raised.

before i go any further, let me answer the question that may now be in your head. i'm a healthy weight. a healthy person. i work out regularly. i sin occasionally. i grew up with and still today battle body image and food issues. a part of me is secretly glad i'm raising boys because i'm less inclined to pass these habits (sad quirks) onto them.

i've been better. i've been worse. i've been better again.

but i try very hard not to dwell on whatever my numbers are. i have no numbers in part because of what i wrote above. i also don't play the "let's guess that person's weight" game when it comes up (and believe me, it comes up in some company). i don't harp on appearances. sure, i'm going to compliment you when you look nice and i'll celebrate your successes if you're attempting to lose weight. but i tend not to speak up if the focus of the conversation becomes a paint by number dissection of your perceived flaws.

i also try really hard to simply like myself. because, honestly, for the most part, i do. i do have a kick ass rack (if you look deep enough in this blog, you'd discover my bra size, among other interesting numbers attributed to my quirks). i love my hands with scarlet painted nails at the tips. i think growing my hair longer was a smashing idea. my smile is a smirk when i give it to you, and i give it a lot. countless times. especially when i find you fascinating.

but those are outward physical traits and i don't want that to be the focus of what makes me happy about myself. so i also remind myself of the amazing things my body, in whatever its number, has done for me. i've experienced three pregnancies and given birth to two children through a gift i can still be amazed by. i can give and receive (and give some more) pleasure. i can roll around on the floor with my sons. i can roll around in bed. hell, i can even roller blade.

and i can get a bit dejected when the topic of weight and bodies and perfect numbers comes up in conversation (honestly, there's a part of me that's dejected just writing this, for some reason). i'm much more fascinated with who you are, how we interact and if we have a good time together than i am in what size pants you wear. i would hope you'd simply be the same with me.

i'm not unrealistic enough to not realize that many people, men and women, have their "ideal number," but the spotlight on the weight issue shines most blindingly on women. even "health" magazines are steeped with weight loss plans and diet tips, sometimes at the sacrifice of sharing ideas on how to "just be happy as you are." it would be nice if neither of those matters were truly important, but it seems certain the days for such thing are not numbered.

i don't hide myself from those of you who visit me here on purpose. you've had a glimpse (some of you have seen more and lived to tell) and have learned things about me that some people in my "real world" existence haven't a clue about. while drafting this entire entry, i debated putting a photo up as a means of "standing behind" what i'm writing. but i have a love affair with close ups and many of my photos are mere head shots, so i don't know if that counts.

but i might. at some point. the days seem numbered for such a thing, at any rate.



Blogger Nature Girl said...

awsome post! It made me love you even more.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 3:47:00 AM  
Blogger Satan said...

"For one dollar I'll guess your weight, your height, or your sex."

I'm fascinated with who you are, too, Swik.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There we go with the kick ass rack comment again...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post. I know for myself I find it easy to get caught up in the numbers game and allow it to define too much of me. It is a shame that we so often blind ourselves to the beauty in others and in ourselves with an outward focus that frankly lies more than it tells the truth.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007 9:38:00 AM  
Blogger April said...

i have an obsession with numbers...although i've struggled to overcome that.

unfortunately, i see that bad body image starting in my son. although he's only 6 he has faced bullies calling him "fat" and other things already. it's horrible to see your child obsessing over things to change what doesn't need changing.

too many boys are now facing that, though. from what i've read, anorexia is becoming more & more prevalent in teenage boys.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Geez, there are all sorts of numbers that we can let define us - zip codes, SSNs, income, property value. SAT score, IQ. How much can you bench press? How fast is your fastball?

Heck, how many comments did you get on your last post? ;)

And, as you get older, the 'physical' numbers change a bit - cholesterol and blood pressure come into play, altho weight never goes away.

Face it, we just live in a numerically-saturated culture. . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Really great post. And you just summed up exactly why I refuse to have a scale in my home. I don't want to be obsessed with that or any other number. And I don't want anyone else speculating about it, either!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...


You've just raised the kickassness up another notch! You rock!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger ArtfulDodger said...

Awesome post and wonderful point that more people need to understand, we are all different and we should be celebrating those differences. Although health is important, health is more than looking like the "perfect" person, whatever the heck that is anyway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 4:45:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

With your being so close to perfection what need you of numbers anyways?
If someone does ask your weight.. respond in stone... it's 14 pounds per stone (weightwise....)
I am about 19 and a half to 20 stone... now.. not only is that number lower sounding than the 275 to 280 pounds that I am it also is an archaic weighing system not common in these United States.. so you get to feel intellectually superior.. (which you generally are)
I lust you and your numberless perfection....

Thursday, March 22, 2007 5:46:00 AM  
Blogger j said...

Unless they are extreme (and that can be in either direction) I've never found that numbers mean all that much. It's all about style, attitude and confidence. Those qualities simply outshine everything else.

What I find fascinating is how some women work with what they've got and some appear to refuse to even give it a go.

When sitting in the car waiting for whatever and people watching I'm awed by the difference between women walking by, how some put in just a bit of effort (and it definitely shows) and those that don't.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I've always been partial to the number seven.

Incidentally, with all this talk of kickass racks, I decided I need a "kickass something." As of now, I have a totally kickass goiter.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 3:54:00 PM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

I have struggled to get away from the numbers. I'm so envious of my friends who love themselves exactly as they are and don't look in the mirror and see flaws. I feel like I need to point out all of my physical flaws before someone else gets a chance.

16...the number of months I have spent in therapy...where one of my goals was to stop panicking every time the scale twitched a pound or two to the right.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 7:35:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

stacie - i'm quite humbled by your words. you're a charmer, and i dig that about you.

satan - i can't even begin to say how happy i was to see you pop up here! i'd give you a dollar just to see you return! why? because i'm fascinated by you, too!

lbp - trust me, the kick ass rack ain't going anywhere...

finished - wonderfully said, and i do have to add that, even though i do try to hold onto what i wrote, there are situations (i.e. persons/people) who, with a look, can make me doubt myself and i lose track of the person i am inside, despite the outward. it's a tough venture, to say the least.

april - you're right. i had forgotten the things i've read about the boys/body image thing. honestly, i've not witnessed it firsthand from a male perspective, but it breaks my heart to see young girls so appearance focused at a time in their lives where they shouldn't be worried about such a thing.

though honestly, i'd like to think there was never a time in our lives for that sort of thing. but i wake up.

desmond - that was kind of my thought as i started pondering this post. we are a numbers driven society, but why does the number or the weight or the whatever personal thing associated with our bodies have to be so focused? why is the one of the first questions from a person you're never going to meet in "reality" have to do with weight (i've gotten it. it pisses me off). i find *you* interesting (case in point thing), am i more or less interesting based on some number i try really hard not to obsess about?!

ok, mini rant. unleashed! now i hear you have a "Little Bear" story for me!

kelly - it's a tough battle. i've had scales and ditched them, then bought new ones and ditched them, too. it's a bit pervasive, this apparent need, but things in my mindset are truly better off without one.

nanette - you charm me and i quite adore you. in my mind, i like to pretend we're neighbors. is that so wrong? (probably the part where i say "in my mind," for where else would i be pretending that?!)

art - you said perfectly what i was hoping to get across in my longwinded entry. if you're healthy, fabulous. if you're happy, even better.

savage - can i do no wrong in your eyes? would you lust me no matter what? silly me! of course you would...

j - i'm a fan of the attitude and the caring and putting everything to together. if you're happiest in whatever way gets you there, more the better. some days, i don't work with what i have, but when i do? lethal! (at least in my "kick ass attitude" mindset). thanks for chiming in, btw.

ftn - personally, i dig 8. curvy. sassy. shows me a good time. i respect that in a number.
and truly, i think you dig all this talk of kick ass things, no? here's to veiled talk about goiters! the kick ass rack awaits!

biscuit - heh...14 is the number of months i was in therapy for disordered eating/body image work. probably 20 is the number of books i have on the issue. countless is the times i cried when i was told to eat something i've held some deepseated fear of or to not be afraid of things i had no reason to be. as much as i try (and i have to try really hard day to day) to be happy in whatever moment i'm in, i can easily defeat myself in an instant. it's the toughest thing i've gone through (am going through). so try as i might every day, i know of what you speak.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Nanette said...

I am always wondering why you never touch the bowl of m&ms and glass of diet mt dew I provide for you during our girl's night--could it be I've turned into Sybil? ;)


2nd attempt

Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, I too try to stay away from such comparisons. It's healthy.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

nanette - trust me, we we hanging out for chick night, i'd be thanking you for the m&m's (peanut, if you please...) because, naturally, the diet mt. dew counteracts!

nocturnal - you're a 'live to tell' kinda guy, and coupled with the fact your numbers seem to shock cashiers, well, you seem to be living on the right course. of which i dig, naturally!

Friday, March 23, 2007 12:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want a kick ass goiter.


I've always thought of telling those rude people that ask probing questions they should not, like weight, something like this:

"First let me ask you a question or two. When was the last time you had sex? Are you losing your hair or is it simply growing inwards and out your ears and nose?


Oh, I'm sorry, isn't this rude question day?"

Friday, March 23, 2007 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

DFP - You know you're gonna do time in purgatory for those. ;)

DKG - Part of my point was that the numbers that we let define us aren't all body-related, altho the 'body' ones are pervasive enough.

Now then - Little Bear. With your indulgence. . . When our eldest daughter (now 25) was about three years old, her absolute favorite story was from one of the 'Little Bear' books; I couldn't tell you which one, but she always referred to the story as 'The Pit-Pat Story' (perhaps that will clue you in?). Molly read it to her so many times that she completely memorized the story, word-for-word, including the page turns. So one time, Molly's mom came for a visit, and 1F told Grandma, "I'll read you a story." So she grabbed her favorite book, climbed on Grandma's lap, turned to the proper page, and started 'reading'. Of course, she couldn't read, but she recited the page perfectly, verbatim, and then turned the page, recited the next page verbatim and turned the page, and so on, until she finished the story. Whereupon Grandma's eyes got real big, and she was looking at us like, "She knows how to read? Should you be getting her into a gifted program, or something?" It was quite hilarious.

Hope that was worth the build-up. . .

Friday, March 23, 2007 9:05:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

princess - as snarky as i can be (ashamed sometimes, i am of that talent!), i am often left speechless when these types of questions are asked. or i pull out some patented look of disdain. either way, though, i may try your ideas!

desmond - ah, dear man, we are on the same page, i think! and of course, i think all your stories are worth it! because you're so charming!

Friday, March 23, 2007 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Therese in Heaven said...

Fabulous post. Thanks for this.

It has taken me a bit of time to not care so much about the numbers. When I was still living at home my Mom and I had fights about my weight because she thought I was too thin. I still remember the horrible moments when she would march me into the bathroom and have me stand on the scale to "prove" she was right (shuddering at the memories). So even though she was trying to be helpful it made me think about my own numbers too much, something that time and being a wife and mom (and thus having more important things to think about) has helped me get over.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

therese - my own mother and i would have battles in the living room on a near regular basis. actually, it was more her fighting with me and me in a bit of unspeakable despair about why she was attacking me. i still can recite many of these "conversations" verbatim today. it's true how this need to "help" ushers in an entirely new avenue of "hurt." i'm not as bad as i was before because, as you say, i have other things to focus attention on, but honestly, i still battle it more often than i'd like.

thanks for sharing.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 10:54:00 PM  

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