Trembling, as though Pennywise the Clown had suddenly appeared in my peripheral vision with his terrifying grin, I lifted first my right and then my left foot and stepped on the scale for the first time in six months. After I peeked for the briefest moment out of a half-closed eye, I sank to the floor, wishing for Pennywise to take me away, though I doubtful I would "float" given the appalling number that flashed before me in blue digital horror, burning the number into my brain. WHY WON'T IT STOP FLASHING? I shouted in my head. As the scale went dark, I wept and the anger at how out of control my life had become all flooded out my eyes. I can't even bring myself to type the number here, so you'll have to use your imagination.
The number showed that I've gained 20 pounds since summer. Twenty pounds. Two-zero pounds. I've had a lifelong struggle with my weight, from about age 15 when my whole life turned upside-down after my dad left for work one day and never came back, and I began eating my feelings (I KNOW! That was 30 years ago - get over it). I remember, vividly, shopping with my mother two years later as a high school senior to purchase a dress for a winter dance. I had to get a size 8 - which isn't even that big - and she looked at me sadly, remarking, "Don't you wish you were thin and pretty like your friends?" I pretty much stopped eating after that, then ate again, then stopped, then ate all the fat and calories. Through the next three decades, I've gained and lost the same 75 pounds over and over again, through various means. The most effective diet was the "divorce diet," during which the stress of starting my life over with three kids and no job caused my weight to plummet in a matter of months. I looked great for about twenty minutes, then it all started creeping back on. I'm still waiting to reach my lifelong goal of being so thin people worry I have an eating disorder.
I'm not stupid. I know what causes fatness. But I fool myself every time I lose weight into thinking that, this time, I won't gain it back - much the same way I fool myself every few years into growing my hair out, thinking that this time it'll look like Jennifer Aniston's. And every time, it creeps back on, and I find myself weighing more than some male professional athletes, decidedly without the muscle tone, athletic talent, and salary. The self-loathing and feeling like I don't want to leave my house and subject others to the horror of looking at my body sets in. I feel like I should apologize and offer eye-bleach when I leave the room.
This time, I'm trying the Beachbody program, after a convincing coworker talked me into it. I did a 3-day reset thing, and currently suffer the humiliation of working out at home where my family can watch. In the last 10 days, I have lost a few pounds. I've eaten no carbs, processed food or sugar, and I haven't bought a Party Size bag of Wavy Lay's (my weakness) and consumed 2/3 of the bag on the way home from the store. I've made shakes and eaten a lot of salad. I feel much better - even my back, which has plagued me with degenerative discs of late - and more awake than I have in a long time.
Will this time be the time that changes my ridiculous emotional relationship with food? I hope so. At age forty-seven, there's not a lot of time left for me to fool around with it. I'm putting this out there to beg anyone reading this for some support, and if you see me with a cupcake in hand, PLEASE slap it away and say, "NO, Fat Girl!" You'll be doing me, and the unfortunates who have to look at me, a favor.
Since most of the world has turned into a frozen bomb cyclone (which may be my newest favorite weather term, replacing Polar Vortex), take some time to read (or re-read) Cate in Flux in anticipation of the next installment! Thanks again to Pen It! Publications for believing in my little story! It's darkly funny (and a little gory). Click the links below for purchase information, and please leave a review! Thanks for your support of writers and books in general.
E-Book (in case you HAVE TO READ IT RIGHT THIS MOMENT)
Pen It! Publications
For all who haven't had the life-transforming experience of reading Cate in Flux, which will be re-released tomorrow in great anticipation of the book 2 in the Cate series, here's an excerpt to get you all excited! I'll post links and other information as I get it. Meanwhile, enjoy a taste of Cate.
If I had known the mannequins were inflatable, I would never have bought them in the first place, and my life today would be wonderfully dull.
The day I went to pick them up was a typical fall day; breezy, sunny, and cool. The peacocks that blocked the driveway when I drove up to receive the mannequins should have tipped me off. They darted manically, plumage wafting, back and forth, heads bobbing. Alarmed, I almost turned around. But Amelia needed her dress, and I needed the mannequins to make it, so I beeped the horn. The peacocks scattered, leaving me room to wind my way through the driveway to the cottage at the end.
I was surprised when an Asian woman opened the door. I assumed from the transaction e-mails through Craigslist that Simon would be a man, possibly a British one. But dressed in a short, red kimono with stiletto-heeled boots Simon threw me for a moment. Nails done, hair high on the head like a Jersey girl from the 80s, I wasn‘t quite sure what to make of this person holding a door open wide for me, gesturing that I should come forth. One diamond earring glinted in his right ear.
“Come in.” The voice was all cross-dresser.
“I’m Cate Jakubiak,” I said, shaking his hand. “Simon?”
“Yes. Simon Pham. The mannequins are this way.”
I followed Simon through the house, marveling at his balance as his hips sashayed in front of me. Each room had a theme. Dungeon, Care Bears, Disco. The voice in my head said to run away fast, but I needed the mannequins. Finally, we reached the sewing room.
“Here they are, Dolly and Sally,” Simon offered, gesturing to two torsos with heads, on which he’d drawn clownish faces. “I hope they’re to your liking.”
“Um, sure,” I said. Even though I was disappointed they were inflatable instead of solid, they would have to do.
“What are you making?” he asked.
“A dress for a friend, and maybe some Halloween costumes,” I answered. “Is that acceptable?”
Simon picked up a length of gold lame fabric from the table where Dolly and Sally were sitting. “Do you want this fabric? I was going to make some pants out of them, but I won’t have time,” he said, winking.
“Sure,” I told him. You never know when some gold lame will come in handy.
“All right then. I’ll help you carry these girls to your car.”
We stuffed Dolly and Sally into the back of my Scion.
“It looks like a clown car full of clowns,” Simon laughed, waving his hands around. “Oh my.”
“Right,” I said. “Here’s your check.” I handed the paper over quickly. I wanted to get out of there.
Simon leaned in and kissed me on the lips. Not just a peck, but a lingering kiss. His lips were remarkably soft, and I felt it in my gut, which was shocking. “I’ll be seeing you soon, Cate,” he whispered softly before going back into the house. “Don’t let the peacocks bother you on your way out.”
The kiss had rooted me to ground and it was a few minutes before I recovered sufficiently to move. Crap. Even though he was clearly creepy, I felt immediately attracted. I looked at the ground and was simultaneously disgusted and fascinated by a dead giant slug, its entrails blooming out of its bloated body.
I am a boring person. I like the status quo. I enjoy working, cooking, exercising every day precisely at five o’clock. I prefer men, strong men who want to take care of me. Okay, so some of them have been on the edge of crazy, but that’s not their fault. Well, maybe more than on the edge, really, if my friends are to be believed. Okay, the crazies follow me around like zombies on The Walking Dead. I have no idea why. Anyway, I also read bestsellers, love sewing and have a nice apartment in a quiet suburb. Simon the Asian Cross-Dresser was not a person I was prepared to find thrust into my life, and if I could change just one moment, I would’ve driven away at the first sight of the peacocks.
I received a message a couple of months ago that my publisher, Rebel Ink Press, was closing its doors. After I cried a little - I figured I'd never find anyone else who'd want to publish my little stories - I sent my Cate in Flux manuscript around, as well as the long-anticipated sequel, Cate in the Middle, and the pitch for the third and final Cate book, not really expecting that the Cate empire could continue unless I delved into self- publishing. Lo and behold, I've signed contracts to re-print Cate in Flux, and to publish Cate in the Middle, the manuscript of which is now in the editing stages with the publisher. I'd like to send out a HUGE thank you to Pen-It Publications for promoting independent authors and for giving my dreams a shot!
Cate in Flux reboot should happen on FRIDAY, with a new cover and some slight improvements. For those of you who weren't treated to this darkly funny story - which received many 5-Star Reviews on Amazon - the first time around, look for updated purchase links. Cate in the Middle should be out with not too long of a wait - I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath to find out what she'll get up to next! I'll post a juicy excerpt this week to get you in the mood for some Cate.
Here's a sneak peek of the new cover - and please support small-time authors as well as the big names we all love!
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.