Blog, Essays & Art

Complacency. 01/26/05

I once wrote something about how complacency is the nemesis of hope or something like that. At the time I had a crush on a co-worker I had dated for a few months, he was ignoring me in favor of an ex-girlfriend. I figured he was comfortable around her, complacent. That as much as he whined about how depressing and stupid she was, he didn't want to bother with getting to know better an exciting, intelligent, fun-loving woman like myself. I hung around him and his friends hoping, hoping, hoping he'd dump her and get back to starting something up with me. But no. He just drifted through an on-again/off-again relationship with her until he moved away.

I was thinking about all this silly drama that went on 12 years ago because it was the second time I was really successful at losing weight, and the first time I'd seen myself through the eyes of others as an attractive grown woman. When I met the guy I weighed 140 as I do now, in April of '93. When I saw that the other girl, my "competition," was slightly overweight and didn't have a great body (small chest, round stomach, weak chin, narrow hips, flat butt, large thighs) I realized that in one way at least I could be visibly superior to her -- if I just lost some weight and started showing off my curves. So I began having only a small fat-free muffin for breakfast, a can of diet coke for lunch, and a Healthy Choice frozen meal for dinner.

By July, I'd gotten down to about 125. I cut back on wearing loose silk shirts and jeans 2 sizes too big (I was an 8 and always bought 10s, just out of habit from when I was at my largest during college) and I shopped the juniors' department of JCPenneys and Lerners and 5-7-9 for trendy and flattering things like velvet bodysuits and hip-hugger jeans. I practiced looking radiant and alive, to counteract the sullen demeanor of the other girl. And I'd started attracting men like bees to honey for the first time in my life. I felt powerful, and comments such as "you look like a Celtic Goddess!" made me feel like I had finally found my true self. The Goddess.

Unwilling to mope around waiting for the guy to notice me any longer, I started a casual relationship with another guy in the group of friends and eventually moved in with him later that year. I never felt much of anything for him or he for me, but it was a comfortable, friendly, complacent sort of happiness we had. During most of the time I was with him I was still longing for the first guy and wishing for him to break up with that stupid sullen dumpy girl. After a year and a half I'd lost interest in either of the guys however and was saving up money to move to a place of my own and begin dating other men. I wanted to break free of the whole business.

And then I met Steve. I actually fell in love, which I'd almost stopped believing in. I'd thought that the infatuation I'd experienced with the first guy or the casual like-each-other-a-lot-and-happen-to-be-mildly-attracted-to-each-other thing I'd had with the second guy was all there was, and that some people called combinations of those things "love." But here I was, head over heels, and thus began the love life I've led dreamily for the past 10 years.

Now back to this: A fear of complacency, once again. I'm no longer trying to attract men, so I've kept the "seductress-goddess" part of myself turned off for so long, to display faithfulness to my man. I barely remember how to flirt and tease, but now I realize that's what he wants me to do with him.  I still have the self-confidence and powerful-goddess thing I've been doing for the past 12 years, but I need to resurrect the sexy radiant side of that to keep him not only content with being with me but also excited about me.

Once I drop 20 pounds I'll be a lot more able to feel sexy. These days I put on my slinky velvets and can only see the backfat above and below my bra straps bulging, and I put on low-rise jeans and my flesh squishes out over the top of the waistband. Urgh.

If only I could have complete control over what I ate every day as I did 12 years ago. But living with someone else you love, you share many things -- meals included, and dinner is no longer just necessary nourishment to try to fit into the end of a busy day but an occasion, a shared recreational activity. Can't see any clear way out of this mild dilemma. The best I can do is to eat practically nothing during the day when I'm by myself and hope that's enough.

I might be becoming a serious caffeine addict. Not only do I crave the taste of coffee and of diet cola, but it is a decent substitute for food (as far as providing energy and giving me something to pick up and put in my mouth).




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