Friday, June 13, 2008


That was my nickname from fifth grade until eighth.

It all started when we watched a film in class, "Animals of Africa." Surely you all remember the science and nature films. I digress. In one pivotal moment, the warthog appeared. Some boy in the class (I believe it was Kip) yelled out, "That looks like Jeanna!" That's all it took. Granted, I did little to help the situation by crying like a little girl. Oh wait, I was a little girl.

If you've ever been so lucky to have seen the warthog, he/she ain't pretty. Hence, the narrator of the film calling it "the ugliest animal known to man." It was quite a rotund animal. The name stuck like super glue.

All this leading to...I was a fat child. Not obese, but overweight. I will say, I was the cutest little girl. I mean, damn cute. But pudgy doesn't look as sweet at 5 as it did at 3.

My parents did what they thought was best. They did not want me to experience the trauma it is to be a fat teenager. I (and they) know now it was not the right approach.

I was put on a diet in the first grade. I never remember drinking regular Coke, it was Tab for me, baby. Imagine my joy when they came out with Diet Dr. Pepper. Diet Coke? Pure ecstasy!

The next three years were pretty rough. I was grounded, spanked, punished for eating and rewarded with money and praise for losing weight. I heard my grandmother (Honey, the light of my life) say, "Jeanna would just be perfect if she would lose weight." Gah.

I believe the worst ever was when I tried to grab my third roll (carb addict that I was...and still am) and my father took me from the table. We were at Honey's house, his mother's home. He took me into their bedroom with his high school yearbook in hand. He showed me pictures of the president of his class. She looked like "Pat" on Saturday Night Live. "Is this what you want to be?" he asked me. "She never had a date ALL THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL!"

So, I guess she was a loser even though she was class president. Okay.

In the sixth grade, I weighed 140 pounds and I was 5 feet tall. In eighth grade, I weighed 130 and I was 5 feet, 6 inches. It makes a difference. It makes all the difference, except in your head.
My body issues have continued to haunt me my entire life. I am now a size 8 (give or take, women, you know it can go from 6 to 10). I am not overweight at all. I am also not in the best shape, but I do tend to get lots of movement from chasing a 3-year-old around.

I have been through (in the past 20 years) anorexia, bulimia and diet pills. None of that is in effect today. Yet, my weight is more stable than it ever has been. Why is that? Too tired to eat? I wonder.

Friends who have been closest to me in the past always seemed to wonder why I was insecure. That is why. Period. It made me susceptible to the wrong boys who said the right things. (See above.)

I think I've finally let it go. I'm 42, y'all. I am a professional women who does a pretty damn good job at her job. I am a wife and mother. I have much more important things to worry about than love handles or back fat.

Screw you, Warthog.

PS I know it's a funky photo, but Bizzy told me I was chicken! So, I had to do it. For now, however, it's there and will continue to be there until I have something better. (Do you know how many really bad photos I've taken of myself? Do You?)

PPS I actually do have an upper lip. Who knew?


Brenda said...

Warthog? I'd like to wring those kids' necks. You fixed them, though; you grew up to become a beautiful, intelligent, witty and SLIM woman. And an excellent writer to boot. So eat your hearts out, nasty kids!

Suzanne said...

Pwetty! (And as for that chicken comment? HEY! That's MEEE! I'm glad I helped to encourage the photo, though.)


Ange (formerly Writer Mom) said...


Love the self confidence and sassy class coming through, too.

Sorry about the asshole in grade school, and all the pain that came after it.

Coyote Bebop said...


It's all in the way that you see it, isn't it?

I think that you are beautiful.

Those eyes are killers. You could weigh 300 lbs and still kill me with those eyes.

Jeanna said...

You're all very sweet (and, Coyote, you made me blush!).