Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Perception is an IDIOT

Hey everyone!

Do you ever think about PERCEPTION?  I'm mostly talking about self-perception, or how we see ourselves, and how effed up it can be.  I mean, seriously--can we ever TRULY know ourselves?

I mean, it took me exactly ONE BILLION LADY TSUNAMIS to know that I started to feel blah two weeks before my period, with one solid PMS day of actually wanting to die.  And it took me ages to learn that for two weeks before my red buddy shows up, I'm a bloated water tower, not SUDDENLY OBESE.  This may seem obvs, but back in highschool, it was one big poetic mystery:

highschool karen:  "I don't know WHAT'S wrong with me...there are just these times each month that I have the DARK CLOUD over me."

I'm serious.  That's how Hamlet-karen worded it.  "The dark cloud."  I look back now and scream:  YOU HAD PMS, DUMBASS.

Or, let's say you'll colour your hair.  Maybe normally your hair is light blonde, so you'll get sick and tired of the whore roots you've been sporting and you'll go for a colour that's closer to your "original" hair colour; "dark ASH blonde."  Then, after you rinse the excess goop out of your hair, towel dry it, brush it and begin to blow dry it, you will think "wow, it's REALLY different!  I...er...like it!  Yeah! I like it!"

Then, things will start to CHANGE in your brain.  They will begin to morph into something else.  Your dark blonde hair, in your mind, will be BROWN.

Then, it'll be GREY BROWN. EW.  MY HAIR IS THIS DISGUSTING SHADE OF DARK BLACK-BROWN.  IN FACT, IT'S WITCH-COLOURED HAIR NOW.  YES, I LOOK LIKE A WITCH.  I MIGHT AS WELL GO OUT AND GET A CAULDRON.

I LOOK LIKE WITCHY-POO NOW.  IT'S WITCHY POO HAIR.  I AM EMBARRASSED BY THIS HAIR.  THIS SHOCKING, DIRTY ASHES, FLAT, MONOCHROMATIC HAIR.  WHEN I GO OUT WITH MY FRIENDS, I'M GOING TO LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT.  MY HAIR.  MY HAIR IS SHOCKING.  IT'S SHOCKINGLY DIFFERENT.  IT'S MAKING MY SKIN LOOK PASTY GREY.  IT LOOKS LIKE I COLOURED IT WITH SHOE POLISH.  I WANT MY OLD HAIR BACK.  NOW I LOOK LIKE I'M FIFTY, NOT FORTY...

and on, and on.

And then, you go out with your friends and ZERO people notice that you've coloured your hair.  ZERO.

And how about body image?  That's the most retarded, skewed perception of them all!  That is why anorexic girls can look in the mirror and think they look fat.  Of course, that is the extreme example, but it's not too far off.

Let's say you know that you're overweight.  You know, somewhere in the back of your brain that you're chun-kay.  You accept this with a laugh and conclude that's just how you are.  Still, when you look in the mirror, and your hair is all did, and you've got on a new top, and your hoots look BA-BANGO, you're not that chunky.

So then you hit the town for that girls' night out.  Or, you go to that big family backyard barbecue.  SOMEBODY always has a camera.  They snap all kinds of pictures.  And then they post them on FACEBOOK. And then they TAG you in those photos.  Then you log in, and facebook tells you that you've been tagged in a bunch of pictures.  Oh goody!  You click over to have a look!

You spend the rest of the evening weeping.

You had NO IDEA you looked like THAT.  Oh my god--look at those THREE EXTRA CHINS.  That picture is HIDEOUS.  That's the WORST PICTURE OF YOU EVER.  It's shocking.  You're beyond mortified.  How can you ever go out in public again?!?  How come nobody told you you were GROTESQUE?!?

Nobody else thought you were grotesque.  They just thought you were you.  Sure, maybe if you saw someone whom you hadn't seen in 15 years, they might be surprised by your expanded appearance, but everyone else still thinks you're the same old lovable you.

But you, on the other hand are DEVASTATED.

So it all comes down to this:  I've been exercising for SIX MONTHS.  Six months people.  Six days a week.  Sometimes I work out twice a day.  I've always tried to eat healthy and go for power walks and stuff, but after years of yo-yo dieting (since I was 13), and two kids, my body held on to the extra weight with a vengeance.

And then one day I'd had it.  I was tired of being worn down all the time. I was tired of feeling depressed, and I was really, really tired of being forced to only shop in the Plus size section.  Do you know why?  The fashion sucks in the PLUS SECTION!  At least in Canada it does! Okay, there's maybe one store around that has some cute plus-sized clothes.  But for the most part, those plus-sized shirts are big, frumpy, ugly squares.

And I live for new shirts, so this was a deal breaker.  I was walking through the "regular" size section of shirts at Wal of evil, and there was a really cute top that I knew I'd never fit into.  That was it.  Right then and there I decided more than anything I did NOT want to wear plus-sized clothing any longer.

So, I've been working out like a maniac.  I've been eating more vegetables.  I hardly bake anymore.  Whatever.  I don't know how much weight I've lost, because I stopped stepping on the scale years ago.  I'll find out at my yearly physical, because the doc should know.

I have gone down from a tight size 20 plus to a 16, and now my size 16's are starting to feel baggy.  Nearly three inches off my hips.  Weight does NOT easily fall off anymore.  It's a slow journey, but it's happening.

Okay, boring karen, what's the point?  The point is this:  even though my clothes have become baggy..even though I have to put a safety pin in my shorts to keep them from falling down...even though I was out powerwalking in these cute capri pants, and every 20 steps made them shlump down nearly to the HAIR LINE and I had to keep hauling them back up...

there is still a large part of me that doesn't believe it.

I'm a total pain in the ass.  I already informed The Man that I will have to keep asking him the same tired questions, and getting him to affirm that I am indeed smaller.  He keeps typing away on his work computer and says in the same slightly bored voice:  "of course--you're a lot smaller."  It's obvious to him.

I just need to hear it.  I also do this to my sister.  I'll say tedious things like; "talk about how you found that picture of me from last year and how I look smaller!" and we'll have the same convo again about how my double chins were way bigger or how much heftier I was.

It's like a sickness..except there are days when I feel much hotter and I can actually see for myself that I look way more fit.

So, recently I forgot that I linked my twitter account to my youtube channel, and when I upload a new video for my VLOG (VLOG IS AN EVEN STOOPIDER WORD THAN BLOG), it lets all my twitter friends know.

I got a nice message from my good friend Leanne at "One Odd Duck":

  KAREN! You are fading away! Good for you and "fuck no" is my new mantra! xxoo

(If you want to see the vid in question, wherein I bitch about exercise, click here)


I lurv her.  But what did I do?  I ZEROED in on the "fading away" part and I had to FIGHT the urge to immediately send Leanne a message and ask:

"YEAH?!?  DOES IT LOOK LIKE I'M SMALLER?  COULD YOU TELL?  TALK ABOUT IT!!!!"

Seriously.  It's just not good enough to say "I'll believe it when I see it," because thanks to STUPID PERCEPTION, I SEE IT, and I still don't BELIEVE IT.

Perception is an idiot.



(by the way...on my youtube channel, all I do is yack about my HIDEOUS JOURNEY through the world of exercise with Jillian Michaels' workout videos.  If you'd like to join me in my repulsive struggle, I would be super excited!!! )

35 comments:

  1. I feel ya sister. My Husband is pretty convinced that I have that body dysmorphic disorder. The older I get the worse it gets. Oh well. Great job on your weightloss journey that is pretty amazing and certainly not an easy task.

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    1. Corie, maybe all of us wimmens do to a certain extent! Funny too, considering how much time we are in front a mirror SCRUTINIZING.

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  2. My husband sounds a lot like you. On a little smaller scale. But, we are eating less carbs. Me still no wheat. He eats wheat, but he has cut way back since I am the one doing the cooking. He is finally losing weight and talking about how its all coming off his butt and not his stomach where it needs to come off. I tell him I can tell and he says that he's glad someone can tell.
    You know, it took me years before I figured out the correlation between how much sugar I eat and my mood swings.

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    1. Good for you with no wheat still Ruth! Are you more used to it now? Do you feel different (better?)? Men can lose weight so easily it's ridiculous.

      And funny you should mention about the sugar and mood swings because that is just my point. We're so NOT self aware!

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    2. I am used to it now. My daughter seems to feel bad if I can't eat this or that. She can't seem to grasp that I am OK with not eating it. I do feel good. I used to get a lot of pain in my back that I don't have anymore. I also don't get so tired anymore.
      My husband gained a lot of weight and has never been able to lose it. But, he is now.

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  3. omg, that video was hilarious. I had to promo you on my blog and facebook. I think you look awesome. I myself am plus size and totally understand the people say you are cute, but then you look at the picture they just took of you and then you want to rip their face off. wait, did I just say that. My favorite exercise, putting that bite of cake into my mouth. works the arm muscles really well. my least favorite, trying to roll out of bed before wetting my pants

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    1. thanks Dazee, I appreciate that!

      Thank you for the kind compliment as well. I should clarify one thing though that I forgot to mention in my post. It's not all about NEW SHIRT VANITY...I also have a crippling, illogical fear of death :) Hooray!

      Yeah, every morning I nearly pee my pants. I hate getting up at 4 to go to the can though.

      Oh! And thank you for the promo on your blog and facebook! I will stop by soon. I take ages to get to EVERYTHING.

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  4. OKAY! *Noogying your head and making you smell my pits* You seriously ARE smaller! I see toned shoudlers that are CONSIDERABLY smaller, I see a SMALLLER face with 1, count it, 1 chin, I see toned arms, and I see a good, healthier Karen. You look great and I believe the 4 sizes down! And I am so stinking proud of you I will eat a cake in your honour! Well done, Dearheart! Well done! Keep on!

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    1. thank you Leanne, sniff! It's more about the health than the shirts...but really only a teeny bit more :) I still eat the cake, but not every week. But that's okay because now it just gives me wicked indigestion.

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  5. Holy shit, I get this I get this I get this.

    Congratulations! I am on a similar journey... I gained 40 lbs in the last three years, and I finally got serious.

    I am 20 lbs lighter than when I took my trip to Hawaii in June, and the other day someone took a picture of me, and I was almost in tears. I look fat! Delete that photo! Is that really what I look like?

    In other words, I flipped my shit for no reason.

    Boyfriend has started just saying, "You look skinny!" to me every day, or, "You're losing weight!" He's a keeper.

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    1. good for you Leauxra. It's a really, really, really difficult thing getting in shape. That's awesome about being 20 pounds down since June! Speedy!

      I think I read online somewhere that one of the biggest catalysts for a woman to embark on a weight loss thingy is by seeing a BAD PICTURE of herself!!

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  6. OK, Karen, I have SO much to say on this topic that I will email you, to save your other readers the bother of scrolling past a huge chunk of writing! Not you, though, you have to read it! Distilled down, I think these things;
    1) No, other people do not see you as you see you. This is because perception is based on a lifetime of memories, thoughts, experiences, feelings and beliefs, which have shaped it so it is uniquely skewed. We have our baggage, which acts as a personal filter which other people don't see.
    2) We don't get to see ourselves as living, breathing, face-pulling, active going-about-their-business folk. We see posed photos or ourselves looking a particular way in the mirror. So random impromptu glimpses of unposed us seem odd. Also they are still, one image. We don't live like that.
    3) Btw, are you liking my organisation? Beauty has nothing to do with size or shape.
    4) Confidence is what it's all about, my friend. Really attractive people are confident. Not a nauseating " aren't I gorgeous? I'm made of ice cream and everyone wants a lick" arrogance, but a calm, quiet "I'm OK as I am" type of confidence. And I think you can learn that, the same as you learned to have negative thoughts. Blogging is a great way of getting a load of positive feedback!
    5) YOU are fabulous, whatever weight you are.
    6) Ba-bongo hoots? Yes please, I'd like a pair of those!
    Well, I think I am done actually. Well done for keeping up the exercise and getting healthier. Treat yourself to some new clothes. Show us! xxxxx

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    1. Oh lovely Curtise, never worry about how much you want to write here, or what you want to write here. No limits, no censorship.

      You are very right: beauty has nothing to do with size or shape. In fact, I think a woman who's heavier is way, way sexier than a woman who is a stick.

      I just really fear 1) heart attacks, 2) breast cancer 3) cancer of all kinds. Oh, and I'm a big bummer if I don't exercise, so this manages my bad moods without meds (not that I was on meds in the past, but I probably could have used something).

      Thank you. I liked your take on how photos are just one pose caught in time, and we don't live like that. Very deep and astute.

      Yeah! I have a new dress!

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  7. I think you're awesome. I've somehow spent the last hour and some looking through your videos, and making a list. I'll definitely try that one you recommended.

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    1. thank you Tanner! What a kind thing to say. I'm just a whiner who would much rather be sitting in my garden than EVER exercising :) Let me know how you make out!

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  8. our own perceptions are off because how we feel and how we look are rarely the same. we see our faces and bodies as we're standing still in the mirror, freshly applying makeup and other beauty devices. pictures show that moment when we forgot to suck it in cuz we were too busy laughing and having fun with our friends while telling an animated story which inevitably leads to wonky facial expressions which, without fail, get caught on film and tagged on fb.
    but i've forced my way through most of the self hatred of those photo moments and i ask myself if i look happy in the pictures; and if i have pleasant memories of the event. if the answer to those 2 questions is yes, then i've decided to accept it and move on. happy and chinny beats perfect but sad in my book. plus, our people love us anyway, in spite of our chins and blobby belly rolls. maybe even more because of them...

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    1. Of course, Sherilin--and that's exactly it! We never love someone less because they're not PERFECT--in fact, we don't even see them that way. I've seen horrible photos of my loved ones, and never decided that's the "real" them, it's just a bad picture and that's all. But we are so hard on ourselves.
      You always have the best way of wording things: about how a "bad pic" if it reflects happiness and good things, is not in essence a bad pic at all.

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  9. Listen to Curtise! She knows the THINGS and says them in a good smart words way!

    You are AWESOME! You are FABULARSE! I hate the world that makes us think that our bodies are more important that our minds. Fuck that. You are PERFECT Karen. So cop that.

    Sarah xxx

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    1. thank you Sarah. I just want to be an indestructible tank of germ/disease crushingness. You know, kick ass rather than crotch spread on the hood of a car.

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  10. A-freakin-men!! I've battled with weight all my life, after having my kid (ahem 17 yrs ago) I carried those xtra 70 lbs for 7 yrs. Then divorced, got depressed & lost it WAY to fast & not in a healthy manner. So now I live with the ever drooping skin as a reminder of how fat I was & that I will NEVER, EVER have a flat stomach. So now, I teach Zumba, 3x a week thinking this would make me a freakin' diva. I've been doing it since April... not a pound. I fluctuate, 5 less here, 3 more there. I'm more active now than I ever have been & still carry the same stubbon 15 lbs I need to lose. I've changed my eating habits, not that i don't ever indulge hell yea I do life is short! but I eat 5-6 small meals a day, drink only water or diet. People say "well you need to do more than just zumba" which I understand, agree & often do BUT for someone who never exercised for years you'd think my body would go into shock doing this much moving but instead it's a rebellious teen saying "yea, so??" Ugh!! So at this point I must try to be content in my size 12 body knowing that my health & heart are good, I may not look NEARLY as sexy as Halle in my cat suit but who likes skinny cats anyway???

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    1. Jodi, thank you so much for sharing that. I appreciate your honesty very much. Yeah, I just read this bullshit article in a fitness mag that sez if you're a woman who's lost a lot of weight then gained a lot, then lost then gained (yo-yo) etc, etc, we have to work WAY harder for the rest of our lives to keep that weight off. I believe that to a certain extent because I've seen how slowly weight comes off me now. I don't care though, because I'm not on a diet that will end at a certain point, this is my life.

      I don't want to be depressed and tired and shitty anymore. I want to feel good, and energetic life all the people around me. I will never have a flat stomach either--two pregnancies! That's awesome that you teach zumba. I guess you could lift some weights a few days a week? Do you want to smack me for suggesting that? I'm not trying to be an asshole--seriously! I go for MUSCLE CONFUSION and do a different Jillian Michaels workout every day.

      Size 12 is awesome though. The smallest I got (without being in grade 9) in my adulthood was back in my 20's: size 15.

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  11. Dazee was right. I like you. As for me, I cope with life by only looking in fun house mirrors.

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    1. Oh! Oh! Ms Boomer that happened to me at Zellers! There was this one mirror that totally stretched me out and made my legs look LONG, THIN, AND NOT STUMPY! Genius!

      Thank you for stopping by!

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  12. you're doing amazingly you crazy lady. I know exactly how you feel though, it still never seems good enough. You always crack me up. Keep up the good work,yeah and listen to Curtise or she'll be round to get you! xxx

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    1. thank you Clare. OH yes, I heed Curtise...at all times!

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  13. wow I thought it was me who had these issues. I am always shocked at what I look like......thanks for saying what swims around in my mind. I had a huge laugh at everything you wrote.

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    1. thanks Melissa, it's good to know we're not insane, right? Or, we're not insane all by ourselves :)

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  14. Oh yes, perception is a real be-yatch. I had some serious issues with it from a very young age, and all through my teens and twenties. It wasn't until about thirty that I looked in the mirror and realized it was all in my head. Even now I have a good amount of days where I look in the mirror and see 'crazy self-perception me' instead of the real me. It's a real battle, and the sad part is that it's one that takes place in our own heads without any basis in reality.

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    1. true Vesta, very true. Ah well, keeps us motivated I guess!

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  15. this made me smile and i loved your video you look amazing girl

    Come Say HI

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    1. thanks Becca, I appreciate it! Thanks for the link as well! I'm way behind in all my blog reading/visiting. Please give me a kick in the ass if I forget again in a few days!

      No, I'm serious!!

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  16. Well I just wish to hell my hair would stop falling out! As I sit here a type more is falling to the floor. I have made so many trips to the health food store and had numerous blood work but nothing!
    The thing I hate about fb is not the tag photos but seeing people from the past posting photos or writing about their perfect lives! meow meow I know!
    Karen we all have issues with the way we look! I just put up a new profile photo and was actually cringing over it and then I got all these compliments..strange. I just don't see it!

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    1. funny isn't it Pam? It's because we see ourselves under a MICROSCOPE. Your pictures always look lovely. I read something about hair loss...was it lack of zinc? I'll have to check it out again. Do you take a multi vitamin? Have you had your thyroid checked?

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  17. Thanks for sending Jim over to my site. I really need a blogging friend who posts pictures like that. I'm a wanderer/explorer, but I haven't been outside of Topeka city limits in years. Thank you. Thank you!

    You are a good friend.

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    1. Everyone should go visit you Fred! You're welcome.

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