still not miserable

good morning, america

On Wednesday morning I got a phone call from a 212 number. I am a suspicious person, who eyes things sideways and suspiciously and askance at every opportunity, because when should you turn down an opportunity to look askance at something? NOT EVER. Anyway. Suspicious. Right, so, I didn’t pick up because mysterious number. But I googled it, because that’s a thing that you do in these, our modern times. And it was the number for ABC News. ABC News was calling me.

Do you know how long it took to actually work up the nerve to listen to the voicemail? A long time. An endless time. ABC News on my phone. The world is getting weirder and weirder every day. I thought I had reached my weird threshold when my Brazilian waxer texted me to tell me that she had seen me and my book on a major news outlet. We had graduated, as more hilarious people than me pointed out, from her seeing my yahoo to seeing me on Yahoo!. And that was insane. And weird. And delightful of course delightful, hugely amazingly wonderful, delightful, thrilling. I’m reaching the world, which includes my Brazilian waxer.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about putting out a book into the world for people to read, I somehow never envisioned the world being quite so small.

And then Good Morning America left a wonderful, sweet, enthusiastic voicemail, inviting me to share my story about having been fat and then not fat and all the complicated squishy feelings involved and all murked up by it, and I sat at my desk and wondered at the marvels of the beautiful universe and how unbelievably weirder this was getting. And cool! And weird.

GMA (we’re buds, I can call them that) decided they wanted to fly out that afternoon (in approximately 3 hours) and meet at my house and film me, at my house. Television at my house. My amazing bosses said, “get your ass out of here, go!” and my amazing friend Jenny said she’d meet me at the house and help me clean it and I fled home to meet the camera crew. A batch of delightful, burly men who worked hard to make me feel comfortable because they could see I was physically shaking, head-to-foot tremors and wide, wild eyes, full of generalized panic and terror and dread.

“Have you done television before?” the producer said. “NO,” I shouted. “No, you did Good Morning Utah,” Jenny reminded me. “RIGHT. THAT,” I shouted. “Oh, a local show,” the producer said. “That’s way different. This reaches something like 4 million people.” And he smiled at me excitedly. I said, “THAT’S GREAT,” and I fled.

And there was a camera crew setting up lights and talking about the colors of my house and which direction to face and how to set up the shot and where to put the giant cameras and taping me up with wires and microphones and strapping things around my thigh to hold wires in place. In the middle of my living room.

That was happening, and the weird threshold snapped into a brand new height of weirdness, and then higher and higher as the lovely interviewer interviewed me and I was talking on camera and holding very, very still for fear that I’d start shaking again and shake entirely into pieces. Trying desperately to say smart things with words in the right order, and very carefully explain the very important thing I keep trying to explain over and over: Weight loss wasn’t the only key to happiness. I expected it to be, and it wasn’t. I’m working hard to find other ways to be happy in my life and in my body.

And then they turned off the lights and the interviewer left and they started setting up B roll shots, in which they requested I walk from one place to another, looking natural. I did not look natural. I texted, awkwardly awkwarding down my hallway, “You’re on television! Are you excited?” because texting is more natural for me than walking. It was still awkward. B roll outside, walking the dog and looking around wistfully at natural nature. And then, the crew of Good Morning America looked at my stove and said, “What’s that buzzing noise?” The clock is broken, I explained. “Oh, we can fix that,” they said, and they all gathered around and together took the front of my oven off and fixed it.

The crew of Good Morning America fixed my stove you guys. Weird threshold is officially blown to shit.

They hugged me and they left and then I crawled onto the couch and under the electric blanket and shook for awhile because I was overwhelmed and scared it would turn out poorly and amazed that that had just happened and terrified I had said something stupid and full of stupid wonder that I was lucky enough that shit was getting real, yo.

I got to talk about the thing that’s important to me, but the segment ended up being titled, “Woman Loses 200 Pounds, Now Miserable.” Which—you know. The hell? When did I say that? Misery sells clicks though, doesn’t it? The Onion-like headline that makes you want to watch the video just to see what kind of big idiot would be miserable after weight loss.

For the record: Not miserable. So not miserable. The opposite of miserable. It was hard to realize that losing so much weight wasn’t the answer. It was hard to figure out what the answer was, in fact (well, still hard. I have no goddamn idea what the answer is). It is amazing to me that I have to keep explaining that I’m not moaning about my diamond shoes being too tight, that it is far easier to be thin than fat and I am very, very cognizant of the thin privilege I benefit from every day. That I’m not miserable. Not! Happy! Happy to be me! Wishing I hadn’t been so miserable! But did I mention I’m happy?

Maybe that’s where the weird threshold really sputtered and died—that this is still a surprise and still something some people misread or misunderstand or refuse to believe. All I can do is keep promising I’ll keep yelling about it.

P.S. Still excited about all the super crazy cool stuff happening. Still not miserable.

Posted in happiness and craziness

  1. Posted March 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    WE love you Jen and I dvr’ed or tevoed or whatever it’s called the show and watched it over and over and cursed at how many times they show promos before the actual segment. WE are all so proud of you!

  2. Posted March 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I find it kind of insane that 1) they called you directly and not your publicist and 2) they wanted to just pop on over that afternoon. I’m trying to imagine a life in which I dart off across the country on a whimsy to interview interesting people. Anyway, you did great and I’m happy your book is getting so much press!

  3. brian
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I am sending you my superman tattoo because you are awesome. Because you are my new hero. Because you deserve it. Because you are pretty.

  4. Posted March 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Mikkipants I adore you more than most things. Jennette, I did not at that point have publicist/agent info on my site, so straight to the source? Also seriously, I would love their job. Brian, I have always wanted a superman tattoo! You are pretty too.

  5. Posted March 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The best part was that psychiatrist. She basically said “Obese people are delusional. It’s because they’re fat. And then they are not fat but still delusional”. It’s ridiculous to have such a short segment on such a deep subject.

    Also, I finished your book a few weeks ago and loved it.

  6. Kristen Cranford
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I thought it interesting that you clearly stated that you were HAPPY. And yet they still ran with the idea that you’re miserable. Ugh. I brought your book to my wls support group last night and passed it around and told everyone to buy 10 copies.

  7. Jane
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    You are about the most un-miserable person I know. Also the hottest. xoxox

  8. Sandy
    Posted March 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    A little off topic but you could have a second career as a decorator… I LOVE your house. I’m thinking I need a little turquoise and tomato red in my life too.

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