The Sweet Spot

this-butch-wants-this-ice-cream

The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck Haunts Me

I’m still trying to find my sweet spot. The place where everything butch and everything transgender fits together and feels right. I’m not there yet, but I am closer than I was last year. I’m still evolving. I need to eat an ice cream cone.

The sweet spot may sound like a pathway to  either gastronomic pleasure or sexual pleasure, but it is actually a music and a sports metaphor. In the analog era, audiophiles tweaked the sweet spot. It was the place where you got the best sound in the room. The complete stereo effect. A different kind of non-binary; the precise balance between the left channel and the right channel. In baseball, the sweet spot is the perfect place of contact on the bat. The home-run spot. I’m still looking for it.

My sweet spot is elusive. It is inside me. I need to find it.

I’ve read that what I enjoyed as a ten-year old is probably what I would enjoy now. I’m going to find out if this is true. My list is short: eat an ice cream cone, swim in the ocean, go ice skating in Central Park, go to a folk music festival, go to a Mets game. All of these are things I have done as an adult, but not in the last year. It was a busy year; I didn’t have time. I did have a couple of bites of ice cream from a shared dessert in a restaurant. I never ordered my own cone. 

“Don’t wait until you have free time. You may never have any free time.” Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. Good advice.

I’ve been following Weight Watchers for 18 months. I lost my baby fat. I reached my goal (140 pounds) and I’ve struggled to stay there. Losing the weight was no picnic. Staying within two pounds of my goal is a Herculean effort. I’ve stopped binge eating (I no longer find myself standing in front of an open refrigerator with random food stuffed in my mouth). I’ve cut down on my drinking. I have not stopped obsessing about my body and my weight. I have not reached nirvana.

I promised myself last year, that when I hit goal I would treat myself to a cone at The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck or at L’Arte del Gelato. I imagined sitting on a bench with Gracie and enjoying my cone, lick by lick. But when I hit goal, I realized that I had to maintain the new weight. I re-promised myself that when I had remained at my goal for 8 weeks, I would celebrate and get an ice cream.

The weeks passed. Donna and I went to Mexico on vacation. We came back and started planning for Thanksgiving. I was still barely within goal, but I didn’t let myself get the ice cream. I kept coming up with excuses for why I should wait. I didn’t want to sabotage my progress. I didn’t have enough time to enjoy it. It was too cold outside.

On Weight Watchers you can eat anything you want as long as you make room for it in your weekly regimen. One ice cream cone, no matter how large, does not take up a lot of space in the program. It takes up space in my head.

The ice cream scares me. Eating it means that I accept my body where it is. That I am no longer “trying to lose weight”. That I am willing to eat something “fat” and it is not the end of the world. I can put a pound on. It doesn’t mean I’m a recidivist. I know how to take it back off. I’d like the ice cream to just be an ice cream.

My sweet spot has to include being at peace with my current middle-aged butch body. My sweet spot has to include being at peace with my transgender nature. My sweet spot has to make room for my ten-year old self in all my chubby, awkward, tomboy glory. Unconstrained, unsuppressed, and eating a big drippy ice cream cone. With gusto.

9 thoughts on “The Sweet Spot

  1. bc craig

    I was anorexic as a late teen/young adult largely related to my desire to starve myself into being tall and muscular. Through a variety of strategies I got myself out of the behavior, but it took me years to get to the place where I truly believed that I could gain weight and survive, lose weight and be unhappy, that my weight was not my identity, that no fluctuation was permanent and irrevocable. I’m not suggesting that there is anything pathological in your feelings, just that it takes time to come to peace with freedom.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      I’ve mostly been on the overweight/binge side of eating disorders; using weight to hide. It is actually kind of strange to let go of that – and I am not on an even keel trying to be a “normal” weight. Definitely afraid of backsliding into that middle aged pudge – if left to my own devices I would probably put back some weight via a combination of slight overeating and drinking.

      I do like looking slimmer – I’m trying to find a body size that feels “right” without slipping from one eating disorder to the next, but it is not as easy as I thought it would be.

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  2. RonaFraser

    Wow! Congrats on the weight loss and maintenance and self control! I can imagine it is hard to add treats back in after having them on the NO list for so long. A good friend who does Weight Watchers has a thing about cheese — she talks about it like it’s as bad as potato chips. Anyways, I am definitely someone who believes in treating oneself now and again… but I am also overweight and broke, so I would do whatever you think is best and don’t listen to me! Some of us do tend to give ourselves an awful lot of rules though… I agree that we should just relax and enjoy ourselves more — there is a difference between enjoying ourselves and medicating with food, right?! (She writes, right before a day of feasting…)

    Merry Xmas!

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      I’m a creature of routine and habit, and I have lots of rules which I perpetually break. I’ve always been a “good eater” and a bit chubby. But it got progressively harder to maintain even being slightly overweight – as I became middle aged I slowly put just a little more on, and then it became really hard to lose it.
      I’ve been trying to pay as much attention as I can to what I really enjoy eating, as compared to what I think I should eat, the theory being that if I am satisfied, I will not binge/overeat as much. I am also trying this with some activities – I can barely remember what I did as a 10 year -old (5th grade was the all time worst school year for me) but I working on it – mostly solitary activities like skating and reading.
      I feel like my 30’s and 40’s went by on auto pilot and then I woke up one day and whoa!

      Happy Holidays!

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      1. RonaFraser

        Ya – I think I first “woke up” from autopilot in 2nd yr uni – first time I chose what I wanted to do schoolwise (what actually interested me), rather than just going where my marks pointed. And since then I wake up more and more frequently… Some days I wish I was still asleep (I should have taken the red pill!! — or was it the blue pill)… Awareness brings responsibility for your life. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy the monthly deadline of one of my jobs – it means I need to focus on work and not worry about anything else.

        I think I need to practice staying in awake mode through the realizations (usually of where I feel unfulfilled and of what I want) and continue onwards, taking informed actions, instead of sinking back into avoidance/procrastination. Perhaps I should make it a resolution or something. Hmm…

        Do you make resolutions?

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      2. Jamie Ray Post author

        I don’t make January 1st resolutions in a serious way. Most of my resolutions are Yom Kippur resolutions – in response to looking back at my actions over the year. I tend towards regretting times I was harsh, or ignored someone, or did not follow through or extend myself to a friend.

        There used to be a guy who worked for me, Joe G, who was a closeted gay man with a lot of anger at me for being out. He would purposely hold back information from me, would not correct me if I said something wrong, and let me make preventable mistakes.because he didn’t see it as his job to point it out ahead of time (he was wrong). Then he’d get angy at getting a good review instead of an excellent annual review.
        Every year at Yom Kippur I would resolve to forgive him and try to be nice to him, but it never worked out that way. Finally he retired and I could cross him off my list.

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    1. Jamie Ray Post author

      Thanks for the link! I’ve seen other articles on the internet about the Albanian tradition of “sworn virgins”. It is one of the few examples of “passing” that I’ve read about that was considered socially acceptable and not a secret. It is just sad that they were not encouraged to be in relationships. I generally do not think of Albania as a liberal or progressive place. I’ve read that in Tehuantepec (Oaxaca) there is a tradition of men taking on women’s roles also (they are called muxes). Hope you enjoy your winter in the tropics.

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