Thor and I have dined in a high-end restaurant, and he has gone to pay the bill. I have chosen my food carefully to watch my intake, but still do not feel satisfied. I look around and spot a dessert counter, with many cakes, pies, and sweet buns. My husband is taking a while, and I am getting anxious. On an impulse, I lunge for the cinnamon buns at the front of the counter, reaching across the cakes and pies, with no regard for social propriety. I scoff the bun quickly, before anyone, especially my husband, can see me. I needn’t worry. He is nowhere in sight. The room we were dining in is in the basement of the building, with a walkout patio. Thor headed upstairs to the cashier’s desk. Embarrassed by my actions, I decide to follow him, but I cannot see him. I catch sight of him leaving by the front door. Has he forgotten me? I run to catch up with him and encounter two teenage boys, one of whom threatens to grab my breasts. Angry with Thor for leaving without me, I am enraged by this young boy’s brazen behaviour. “Do it and I’ll beat your head in,” I warn him. He makes the grab, and I retaliate by grasping one ear and twisting it, while simultaneously poking him in the eye with other. I knee him in the groin, and as he goes down, I slam his head against the wall. “That will teach you!” I conclude. I have caught my husband’s attention now, and we walk off together.
Restraint is obviously a theme in this dream: the ability to control my eating, and the need to control my anger.
Thor and I are in week four of Weight Watchers. He has very successfully been following the plan and losing weight. I am not faring as well. It is frustrating, to say the least.
Dining out is the base of our problems. I am vegetarian and Thor is meatatarian, and rather than cook two meals, it is just easier for us to dine out. With only 26 points allowance in my day, that is a difficult task. Last night, I had a veggie stir fry with the sauce on the side (8 points). Thor, on the other hand, had a seafood linguine with garlic bread. (He has 45 points in the day.) I went to bed hungry, while he had a midnight snack. As I often do when watching my food intake, I got cranky.
I am proud of my husband, don’t get me wrong. The changes he is making to his diet and daily routine are commendable. I do, however; feel a bit like the woman in my dream: left behind.
The two teenage boys in the dream are an interesting addition to this dilemma. When I was a teenager, with new, but fully developed breasts, a boy did grab my breast as he passed me on the sidewalk one day. I was so surprised that by the time I responded, he had fled. Thus began a series of sexual harassments that continued well into my twenties. In retrospect, it wasn’t until I had my third baby, and the weight stayed on that the unwanted advances stopped coming. This is an aha moment.
Could the anger that I feel when dieting be related to inappropriate attention? I clearly remember thinking, just yesterday, that the nice thing about being older is that you can be unattractive and get away with it.
I never felt attractive. One of four girls, I thought of myself as the dumpy one. I had reached full height in elementary school, and filled out way ahead of my older sisters, earning the nicknames ‘Moose’ and ‘Linebacker’. Whenever my sisters and I went anywhere together, everyone assumed I was the oldest, even though there were several years between us. While they received endless attention for their beauty, I was the goofy looking one. When I did bring boys home, I lost them once they caught sight of my siblings.
Despite my lack of self-esteem, or maybe because of it, I was always finding myself inappropriately propositioned. Fathers of children I babysat, employers, boys I went to school with, and later colleagues, as well as friends of my then husband. And, there was the rape. I was targeted out of a whole gathering of schoolgirls. I never understood it, but the more it happened, the angrier I became. Occasionally, I did retaliate physically, but mostly I internalized it. “Boys will be boys,” my mother would say. “It’s up to the woman to deter it.” Like my mother, I learned to be a victim.
Why would I want to lose weight only to make myself vulnerable again, must be the question running through my subconscious. No wonder I am cranky. Being overweight is not desirable, but neither is being desirable, literally! Maybe, I need to have a little talk with myself, and remind my inner young woman that I am a lot older now, and have learned to ward off unwanted advances, and protect myself.
Who knew losing weight was this complicated.
A little restraint please!