Saturday, June 17, 2006

Satan Wants Me Fat!

As a gymnast, I've tried every diet known to man, including, but not limited to Atkins (when it wasn't fashionable), Susan Powter low-fat hell, Beverly Hills, Scarsdale . . . the list could go on, but I can't. Everything I couldn't eat was always what I wanted, every season was a misery, the weigh-ins and fat belts (thick pieces of elastic to keep our waists in) had beaten me down. I wasn't a great gymnast, by any stretch, and only sheer determination kept me going long after the cold facts told me to give it the hell up. How did you hurt yourself today? was a question that most of my family and friends had taken to asking me, my hands were tore up with what we called rips, blisters that had opened from the uneven bars, and if I had stayed in any longer, I would have not been able to date men way too old for me, my favorite past-time as a teenager. Still, the dieting habit stuck a little too long, no movie of the week anorexia, I'm dancing as fast as I can stuff, but more the mundane calorie counting, fat-reducing, I'm going to slurp vodka and eat nothing but popsicles this week sort of deal.

My favorite diet book ever, Satan Wants Me Fat!, showed up like grace in Recycled Books and Records in Denton, Texas when my friend Priscilla and I were doing our usual Friday night graduate student perusal of the goods on the clearance shelves. Satan Wants Me Fat! said that people were fat because of demonic influences and that it was safe, advised even, to speak out against Satan when tempted to snack. Examples included "I will not have those potato chips, Satan!" Priscilla and I had tried damn near everything, but not speaking against the ex-Angel of Light. We nearly died laughing, but I remembered a woman named Wendy from my youth who was married to a charismatic youth minister (the glamor job in Christian ministries -- all those young girls, swooning after you, dying to be your wife if only you didn't already have one), and he was having an affair. She'd decided to go on a fast (per the Bible verse about some situations only changing through prayer and fasting) for Jesus in order to make Adulterous Youth Minister Boy change his unholy ways. Well, it didn't, but she got so thin that she nearly died and had to take a class at the church about curing eating disorders through spiritual means. Satan, it seemed, did not want her fat, but wanted her very thin, Karen Carpenter thin, and her husband wasn't going to stop cavorting with his mistress no matter what -- he'd lost his job, the swooning girls, the respect of the elders, and on and on. Seems that having sex with a gorgeous woman had trumped all of that. Of all the things Wendy had to swallow as part of her recovery, this must have been the most difficult. Satan Wants Me Fat! went back on the shelves, and Priscilla and I went out to dinner, a demoralizing affair always, me with a big heaping plate of steamed rice and Dr. Pepper, her with Diet Dr. Pepper and some stir-fried vegetables, but we had good company in each other and the knowledge that we could talk back to Satan whenever we felt like it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"The biggest victory Satan has is making us not believe in him." C.S. Lewis

Cowgirl With A Twist

25 ml chilled peach schnapps
12.5 ml Bailey's Irish Cream

A shot garnished with a peach wedge. Eat peach wedge after the shot. Layer the schnapps first.

Benedictions and Maledictions

The Other Woman

There's always one, even when there's not:
the childhood sweetheart, the one that never
loved you, your mother's beautiful friend. Or
maybe there is someone, all flesh and blood,
and you see her around Christmas, that doomed
nostalgia that sends you running into her
bed, every meeting a child's peek-a-boo
game, Will I see you again? hanging
in the air like a noose while you search
for your clothese, reassemble yourself
without thought, noticing the colored
lights in someone else's window shining
all for you through no effort of your own.


cindy said...


You're so beautiful! You NEVER need to lose weight! Forget about the patriarchal paradigm and enjoy, the mirror will let you know the truth. Open your eyes, beautiful -- don't let any men make you think otherwise ;)


Sheila said...

Michelle i have a problem. my blog doesnt seem to be working right. i have to go to my site, then click search this blog because it doesnt show up properly and then i have to click on specific links. i did a post today and it didnt even show it there. i had to sign in and then go to the edit posts and view just to see it. do you know whats wrong? has that ever happened to you?

Nice post today, cute picture, and U R NOT FAT!!! hehe you don't need to lose a pound!


Anonymous said...

It's very sweet how Robin is protective of you. You're tres chic. Absolutement.

Michelle's Spell said...

I'll take all the protection I can get, and I love Robin so there you have it! As for her point, I liked it very much in that the whole "truth on high" method of teaching gets old. Better to expose students to what you like and hope they find something to love about it. Not that I know anything about teaching really, although I never took an education class so I think that helps me be a better teacher, having avoided the whole theory end of it.

robin said...

I really don't think Michelle needs my protection. For me, it was more about my unresolved anger at Pinka (and myself), the bruises that needed to heal. Thanks for supplying the opportunity to express it. Now I can let it go. Of course, I do love you, Michelle. You're a great friend & teacher!

robin said...

And of course, it wasn't ALL about the anger...I love your blog, Michelle! It's very creative and your writing is vibrant! I haven't been writing enough, myself, lately, so I guess I've needed to put myself out there a bit. :) Cheers to self-expression and that we live in a place where we CAN freely express ourselves! Look forward to your next great post, Missy!

Anonymous said...

Did Ruth Reed hire you? God rest her soul.

Anonymous said...

Did Ruth Reed hire you? God rest her soul.

Tom said...


I like what Robin calls you "Missy". O,K, for her but not me right? Pick a word out in that last sentence. Your's is fine. I mean, truly fine. Your curves are in all the right places. I've told you once I've told you twice. You are petite. Without getting graphic I would'nt know how else to put it. Just remember, it was your voice I noticed first. Everything else is just a bonus. Tom

Anonymous said...

Was your chapbook "Such Short Supply" dedicated to a relative? I bought a copy. FROST HEAVES PRESS. What a name. Quite a fine collection by the way. Read it straight through. I think I like "Second Coming" the best. As Jesus says in your poem, there really are "'a lot of assholes out there.'"

Anonymous said...

Thank God you don't have "bra fat." See today's NYT for an interesting article on this subject.

Anonymous said...

The Scarsdale Diet is connected to "another woman." Jean Harris, a scorned lover and teacher who filled Dr. Tarnower (the diet book's author) so full of holes that he looked like a swiss cheese. She got life. He never lost more weight for the rest of his life.

Anonymous said...

Have a nice weekend.

Michelle's Spell said...

Dr. Anonymous Rants,
Thanks for the kind words on Such Short Supply. It is dedicated to my dad who died the year it came out and was wonderful in every way. Sadly, I never met Ruth Reed, but heard wonderful things about her. If you haven't seen the HBO movie about the Scarsdale doctor, you should -- Annette Bening is a brilliant scorned woman and Ben Kingsley is also great as the good doctor himself. Of course, you probably know that Jean Harris worked as a headmistress at a local prep schol in Grosse Pointe (now University Liggett School). That kind of work might have driven her to madness.

John said...

Dearest lovely Michelle,

Another great post. You look very happy which is perfect! Cheers to you!

luma said...

Michelle, you made me to laugh excessively at this text! "Satan wants me Fat!" exists exactly or is only one joke? It will be therefore that one sends regards to pray before the meals? Good weekend!

* In time: It is not needing diet. She is pretty!

bonnie said...

Hey honey,

very funny post and yes, you ARE great ;)