13 Jan


Do you know what I’ve discovered?  It’s 2012, and I’ve spent 464,588 hours dieting—in other words, most of my life has been possessed by a bathroom scale.  I just figured out how much time I’ve wasted on this shit while much of the world is starving, and I’m so pissed off that I ate a box of gluten-free donut holes on my way to join Weight Watchers—yet again!  I’m not depressed about losing and gaining weight like a yo-yo on crack, as much as I’m furious that I spent so much time chasing a damn illusion. There is a difference in wanting to be healthy, and then there’s trying to look like Cameron Diaz.  Until recently, losing weight hasn’t been about me being healthy; it’s always been about fitting into someone else’s concept of what a woman should look like—mostly European descent, tall, small boned, narrow hips, slender waist, small tits, and a non-existent ass.  Not looking like that plagues all the women I know, and it just kills me to see them suffer.  We have this body image problem because we live in America—home of the airbrushed magazine covers and glorified stick women.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have this pressure about my body image in many parts of Africa.   But then again the word “dieting” would probably send me into gales of laughter as I rejoiced over the extra protein in the maggots found in my food.  Food, wiggly or cooked, would be a good day to be alive, not “did I lose another pound”!


In my defense, I have inherited the genetic makeup from Hell.  My Cherokee grandmother, who legend has it, was 5ft tall and 5ft wide, had fourteen children and at least two of her daughters were called, “Lily & Hannah, the Five-by-Fivers!”  All my life, I’ve pushed against my genetics—half the time I’ve lost and half the time I’ve won, but only for a season.   All that “fluffy” history gives me what my Doc calls:  The Set-Point Prison.  In other words, my Cherokee grandmother’s genetic need to hold onto fat in case her body might need it during the harsh long winters has turned me into a yo-yo dieter on crack, and no amount of multiple dieting will ever be successful in the long term.  I’ve had moments of glory, sometime even years, but as soon as I relax my guard, BAM!  I’m back on tour as the 5ft chocolate Rubenesque model from The Cleve.

Author’s Cherokee Grandmother

But if I’m truthful with myself, and if given the power to go back and change my genetic makeup, I wouldn’t just change the physical crap, I’d probably go back and change just about everything.  Shoot, I might even become a man.  What the hell!  When I’m really down on myself (usually at the beginning of a New Year), I think about all the things I have yet to accomplish, and I make New Year’s resolutions that not even a god could keep because I’m just that much of a perfectionist.  I fantasize about what it would be like to become the people who seem to have it all—a magical life.   In my fantasy I send God my plans, replete with pictures of my idols, accompanied with impertinent questions, and I don’t need to hear an audible voice to guess what God would say to me.

Dear God:  I’d like to put a stop to this set-point thing I’ve inherited, and I think the best way to do that is to be given the genetics of Halle Berry.  She and I are both from The Cleve and being beautiful could just as easily have been my lot in life.  What say you?

Dear Eleanor:   I see you’re up to your old tricks of comparing your journey to that of another.  Well, Halle’s definitely a great choice in the beauty and body department—one of my finest human specimens to date.  But you must be willing to take her struggle with diabetes, her slavishness to exercise just to maintain that coveted body, her austere diet that never fluctuates, two divorces, horrific spousal abuse, abandonment by her father, etc.  If you take the beauty, you have to take the pain.

Dear God:  You can’t beat Hillary Clinton for intelligence and fortitude.  I would love, love, love to have the courage she has displayed on the world stage.  Have you been watching her?  She kicks butt and takes no prisoners.

Dear Eleanor:  Yep, Hillary’s my girl, but you’ll have to take a life with Bill.  No Bill—no Hill.

Dear God:  I am in awe of our first black FLOTUS.   She’s got poise, grace, beauty, intelligence, and a spine of steel (not to mention those arms).  I never ever, ever thought I’d see one of my peeps living in the White House and doin’ it with such style.  If I had to pick just one of my idols, you could turn me into Michelle Obama.  I’d be all right with that.

Dear Eleanor:  Yes, isn’t she lovely?  Personally one of my favorite FLOTUS—second only to Eleanor Roosevelt, although don’t tell Anita Perry or Callista Gingrich that.  The two of them have been lusting after the FLOTUS position to the point of imploding.  But are you able to handle an inordinate amount of haters and trash talkers?  Think you could handle watching your husband constantly being attacked by the Rush Limbaughs and the Pat Robertsons of the world?

Dear God:  On second thought being the FLOTUS might give me a heart attack.  I would truly become an “angry black woman” and that would be self-defeating.  I wouldn’t mind being rich, powerful, and influential however—especially as a black woman.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  I choose my girl, Oprah!  (But the skinny Oprah, please; I’ve had enough of fat for a lifetime.)

Dear Eleanor:  No can do.  You get Oprah’s wealth and power; you have to carry her cross.

Dear God:  Can I possibly sneak in a career as a “working” actress, and if I’m working I might as well become a brilliant one—“I LOVE YOU MERYL.” 

Dear Eleanor:  Yes, isn’t she lovely?  Unfortunately, you can’t be her because, as far as her talent is concerned, I broke the mold when I made her.

I am discovering that I need to cut myself some slack as do most people.  I am what I am and I really don’t think God is down with making me into something that I’m not.   I am also discovering that people are who they are because of the good, bad, and the ugly in their lives and working it all out is part of the human journey.

One of our daughters asked her father recently what his favorite phrase was and he said:  “I love you.”  When I think of Halle Berry’s life, I think of the man that says that phrase to me on a daily basis with such warmth and tenderness after thirty-two years that it makes my heart melt and it renews me.  I think between Ms. Berry and myself, I may have won the lion’s share, and maybe being really “hot” would be nice but not all there is in life.  Maybe being “Halle Berry” is too high a cost to pay, even for Halle Berry.  When I think of all these women who are my “idols,” I think we all wake up everyday hoping to hear the same whisper in our hearts from God:  “I love you, just as you are.”  If I focus on that—if I rest in that—having a chubby ass in 2012 may not be so bad!

Author:  Just as I am

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”  ~e.e. Cummings

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


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38 responses to “JUST AS I AM

  1. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    January 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

    The simple rule, “Be Yourself” seems to be the hardest one to follow. Isn’t that strange? Where does this competitiveness come from? “She is she and I am me, but I want to be her.” Weird.

    Well, we must keep those mental health professionals in business, don’t we?


    • etomczyk

      January 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Hi Ronnie. I know. That is actually my one and only resolution this year until the day I die. Don’t you just love the e.e.cummings’ quote: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~e.e. cummings I plan to post this on my forehead. All the best.

  2. becomingcliche

    January 13, 2012 at 10:09 am

    A friend of mine has been a size zero most of her life. I spent 30 years so jealous of her fabulous metabolism. And then I learned that it doesn’t come as naturally to her as I thought it did. And it made me just a tiny bit more satisfied to be me. I have less to lose if I gain five pounds. Makes me smile.

    • etomczyk

      January 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Hi BC. Thanks so much for stopping by. Don’t know how old you are but my metabolism is shot! I’m working on revving it up but the fact still remains that I’ve become an old fart! 🙂 Cheers!

  3. dysfunctional unit

    January 13, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Great read…very funny, scathingly true. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and accept God’s gifts as given. Love this posts overall message that our modern day obsession with perfection is driving us a little crazy. Reading yer posts reminds me I’m glad I’m a man (God bless yer souls) I’ll check out a couple of your other posts though I’m not very confident, but anyone who mentions Chris Rock and e.e.cummings well…but be careful I don’t think you’ll like mine, lol, it’s not as…mmm…nice.
    Again good write

    • etomczyk

      January 13, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Hi Tom. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I just spent the past 15 mins perusing your blog–interesting stuff. All the best to you this year and beyond. Cheers!

  4. imagesbytdashfield

    January 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I am not going to even venture into my genetics and what they have done to/for me! Too messy and convoluted! Happy to see the cute baby cooties have let up on you. As you and God have related, for every wonderful life there are some trade offs and some things we may not want. Think of it this way, there are probably some people out there who would love what you are and have now. Ok, when the hell did I get philosophical? LOL

    • etomczyk

      January 13, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Somehow I think you’re always philosophical. Yep, I am determined to go out better than I came in. Here’s hoping I reach my goal. Cheers!

  5. An Observant Mind

    January 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    As soon as I got to the part about Hallie Berry, I thought to myself, “Oh no! But you would have to have her rotten-ass luck in love, and you have such a fabulous husband, you couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t give that up for Hallie’s exterior beauty.” And of course by the time I read to the end, I see you came to the same conclusion I did!

    You have something infinitely more valuable – heart and soul beauty – you are loved and your soul shines with gorgeousness. And for what it’s worth, I think you’re damn cute too! I wouldn’t trade it for all the flat asses in the world 😉

    • etomczyk

      January 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

      Karyn: I always love it when you drop by. I know it almost doesn’t seem right that all that beauty can’t connect with love in a meaningful way. But all my ‘idols’ have their personal crosses when you think about it.

      I wrote this piece for all the twenty-thirty somethings I know who aren’t living their lives to the fullest. I wish I knew then what I know now. Life would have been so much more substantative. 🙂

  6. Carolyn

    January 13, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Ditto. I love you, just the way you are.

    • etomczyk

      January 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Carolyn: Now that’s a heartwarmer! All the best. 🙂

  7. eurobrat

    January 14, 2012 at 12:02 am

    First, let me make a confession: I wouldn’t entirely mind a life with Bill. So maybe Hillary wouldn’t be such a bad deal.

    Seriously, though, there is no such thing as a magical life! Everybody has to pay the price, flat ass or round ass. I think the key is at the beginning of your post: if you make your resolutions with the goal of being healthier, NOT losing weight, it might work better. Don’t pay attention to those scales, they’re just a number. The point is you living a long, happy life.

    But I must agree, accepting myself the way I am has by far been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do! I still haven’t quite succeeded…and I have quite the flat ass, let me tell you. No junk in the trunk over here *sigh*

    • etomczyk

      January 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Happy New Year Karolina: I always love your comments. I could have used your last paragraph in my story! 🙂

      I think accepting one’s self is a lifelong journey; I just want to do the process better at the end of my days than in my youth.

      On another note, I can’t remember if I ever thanked you for linking my “Jesus Must be Pissed” story on your FB page. That was so sweet. All the best!

      • eurobrat

        January 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

        It was a pleasure to link it, as I have quite a few snarky friends who enjoyed it 🙂

  8. totsymae1011

    January 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Why the “angry black woman” with FLOTUS?

    • etomczyk

      January 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Totsymae. Thanks so much for stopping by although I don’t understand your comment. I think our First Lady is one of the most gracious, elegant, intelligent, even-tempered, and poised people (man or woman, white or black) I’ve ever seen. I think you might have misread my post. The line was a “sarcastic dig” at the people who are calling her an “angry black woman” because she’s anything but. In fact, if you read the story again, you will note that “God’s” answer is that if he grants my wish to become Michele Obama, I have to take all the crap she has to put up with from the haters and the people who are mispresenting her. My response is that I’d have to turn down being her because I probably wouldn’t be able to take the heat from her critics, and I would become the “angry black woman” (purposely put in quotes to indicate the sarcasm) that she’s been falsely accused of. Hope that helps.

      • totsymae1011

        January 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

        Yes, it does. I’m with you on everything stated. I didn’t know being a FLOTUS was so challenging until Mrs. Obama got there. (ahem)

  9. aFrankAngle

    January 14, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Great post and a reminder to know your roots and work with what you got. Plus, a great tribute to a few classy ladies … and thanks for the Halle pic.

    Happy New Year E-Tom!

    • etomczyk

      January 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Frank: Thanking me for the Halle pic, huh? You’re so bad–I’m telling Mrs. Frank on you. 🙂

      Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. I know how busy you are. Hope the project is going well. Cheers!

      • aFrankAngle

        January 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        The wife (known on the blog as The Right Angle), knows I have many favs … with Shania at the tip top.

  10. Joanne

    January 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Wonderful, Eleanor! I have shared this post with several friends.

    Lately I’ve been thinking about ideas for children’s stories, and I recently reread The Story of Ferdinand the Bull — remember him? The bull who didn’t act like the other bulls. I loved that the author put in that Ferdinand’s mother was sympathetic and let him just sit under his tree peacefully, enjoying the flowers, rather than pushing him to act like the other bulls…..
    And also, there’s always something relevent from Dr. Suess: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

    Keep ’em coming!

    • etomczyk

      January 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Joanne: Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I always love your comments. I do remember the story of Ferdinand the Bull. It’s wonderful and so is that Dr. Seuss quote. Hopefully, in my latter years I’ll be able to freefall into the “youer than you” state more consistently. Cheers!

  11. Maggie Ingram

    January 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Hey there Eleanor, This was wonderful as always……and I always need to hear the “truth” about our ever aging bodies and always wanting that flat tummy. Since the three C Sections, that just is NOT going to happen again unless I go to a “cut em up” doc. No thanks, I am with you on that one.
    A favorite quotation: “The vanity of human life is like a river, constantly passing away, and yet constantly coming on.” -Pope
    Vanity – this could be a group of its own. Why be so driven by vanity when in the end it leads to nothing… Does it bring friends that would stick around when you don’t look good? Does vanity help build deep and meaningful friendships? In fact, vanity becomes a mask that prevents others from seeing who we really are, hence preventing deep friendships.
    I have this on file and probably need to read it more. Keep on writing my friend.

    • etomczyk

      January 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      Hi back at you, Maggie. Thanks so much for leaving a comment. This story was one of the hardest for me to write. I was up all night and didn’t finish until the morning. My raison d’etre from 2012 until is to go out doing, saying, living, and embodying as close to who I really am as can be. It’s one of the reasons I wrote “Get Up Otta My Face.” I’ve wasted far too much time doing otherwise. Happy New Year.

      Oh, by the way, the cat in the picture is a long story. Suffice it to say, he found me. 🙂

  12. Lindy Lee

    January 15, 2012 at 2:34 am

    You & I see eye to eye…

  13. DesiValentine

    January 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    That ridiculous image of what a woman is supposed to look like makes me nuts. Not because I want to look like her – I’m pretty happy with the body I’ve got, it does a lot for me! – but because when one is my size (6-8) and my height (5′ 4″), clothes are designed to fit That Woman. Not me (a black woman with big thighs and a round bum) but someone shaped more like a remarkably tall, prepubescent child. Why is that? Especially when so few women actually look like that?!?! Mystery of the ages, ET….

    • etomczyk

      January 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      I don’t know why that is, Desi. I went through a museum of antiquities in Malta last year and archeologists had dug up minature statues of the “beauty queens” of the time. They must have been 300 pounds with bonderous boobs down to their knees and behinds the size of boulders. They were considered what was “normal” and everybody else had to get in line. I think it’s all about the power of control. Depending on who shows up first on the scene, each age determines they have the authority to define beauty. It must be part of each human’s destiny to find their own individuality in it all.

  14. anne wells

    January 17, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Thank you Eleanor for that. We are not the most perfect women in the world, but who we are to our children is the most beautiful thing we can do with our lives.

    • etomczyk

      January 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Anne: I couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

  15. Ma. Novie Godmalin

    January 17, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Hello! I am just dropping by a little present for you, The One Lovely Blog Award from Mis Experiencias Personales. Congrats!

    • etomczyk

      January 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Ma. Novie: Thanks so much for the “One Lovely Blog Award.” I’m very touched that you would consider my work worthy of consideration. All the best.

  16. Mal

    January 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Wow, Eleanor, a fantastic read, and, as usual, brilliantly written…kudos! Laughed and giggled a lot…then decided “Ha well, be happy, don’t worry…let’s toss out the bathroom scales and grab those truffles!” 🙂

    • etomczyk

      January 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Amen, sister-friend–truffles it is! 🙂

      Thanks Mal for your gracious comments. It is high praise coming from you. Glad I made you giggle 🙂

  17. debbie

    January 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I am every bit me and boy does that piss off the folks who are trying so hard to be someone else. I live in awe of the number of folks who are trying so hard to act like the person they want to be, instead of letting their guard down and showing who they are warts and all. I am not going to act my way through life, I am going to live it. Damn the rest of those who get in my way, I make no apologies. I tried living the way people wanted me to, I was exhausted! ” I got a be me ” as the saying goes.

    • etomczyk

      January 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Amen, Sister-friend! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, Debbie. Good point about living life as something you’re not is exhausting. So true, so true.

    • etomczyk

      January 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks Jasmine for stopping by! For some reason you ended up in my spam. Glad I found you. I dropped by your site and decided that I’m so glad I’m too old to have children anymore because I’d be scared to death. I stopped at the “worm” a.k.a “mold” in the orange drink. Yikes! All the best.


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