Starv­ing be­fore sum­mer

Si­mon Wil­liamson lives with his hus­band in het­eronor­ma­tively-as­sim­ila­tive fash­ion in Athens, af­ter a year of sur­viv­ing ru­ral Ge­or­gia.

GA Voice - - Outspoken - By Si­mon Wil­liamson

I hail from the land of Nel­son Man­dela, Char­l­ize Theron, and (for­merly) Os­car Pis­to­rius. In­deed, the wel­com­ing em­brace of South Africa will en­velop me again next month as my hus­band and I go back for Christ­mas to spend time with both my im­me­di­ate and ex­tended rel­a­tives. I love the presents and eat­ing part of Christ­mas. Since my hus­band and fam­ily take the whole birth­day of Je­sus part quite se­ri­ously, we have de­cided to take a full range of Star­bucks cups.

How­ever, Christ­mas in South Africa is bang in the mid­dle of sum­mer. Bizarrely, we still cel­e­brate the hol­i­day like you cul­tural colo­nials who have in­flu­enced us: with fake snow on our win­dows and hang mod­els of snow­men on the Christ­mas tree, de­spite sea­sonal tem­per­a­tures that can take your beer from fridge to room tem­per­a­ture faster than the world can get over a bomb­ing in Beirut.

The sever­est con­se­quence of hav­ing this hol­i­day in the sum­mer, how­ever, is the crash di­et­ing and ex­er­cise reg­i­men that is now tak­ing place in this house­hold; with yoga and lemon-wa­ter re­plac­ing couch slob­bing and cheap wine, while cheese plat­ters piled with lit­tle trea­sures from Trader Joe’s ex­ist merely in the imag­i­na­tion. I’m cur­rently try­ing ev­ery avail­able way to make a Wasa cracker taste good with­out smear­ing some fatty, de­li­cious, artery-clog­ging, mass-grow­ing good­ness on top, but my ef­forts are thus far no more suc­cess­ful than try­ing to get a Ge­or­gia mo­torist to move out of the pass­ing lane.

My hus­band has an al­ter­na­tive ap­proach. For ev­ery minute I spent wolf­ing Dori­tos on the couch, watch­ing old episodes of “Roseanne” while try­ing not to let my chips fall about me (act­ing out Dan, really), he spends four min­utes run­ning. Even HE is watch­ing what he eats be­fore we jet off to South Africa, and he has the fig­ure of an ac­tual ath­lete—you know, the peo­ple who can fit in clothes with­out an X in the size. You know the seven-minute work­out? He does the 28 minute work­out, which is the seven minute work­out FOUR BLOODY TIMES.

And we’re also en route to visit fam­ily. We don’t need to be primped and plucked and waxed and tanned and have eaten food in amounts small enough to be put un­der—this is not a trip to the Kroger around the cor­ner where the hot cashier works, for good­ness sakes. We’re go­ing for a nice re­lax­ing hol­i­day some­where near a beach that is usu­ally emp­tier than The Annotated Ency- clo­pe­dia of Awesome Anne Hath­away Jokes.

Of all the an­noy­ing habits from my twen­ties, trolling peo­ple on Face­book and try­ing to shed fifty pounds in two days be­fore a trip where up to half of me will be un­cov­ered are two I can­not seem to kick, and I am a for­mer smoker, so I know what giv­ing things up is like.

It is sad that we spend so much time try­ing to build up the con­fi­dence of those close to us who strug­gle with their own is­sues about how they look. I am go­ing to visit peo­ple pre­dis­posed to lov­ing me, and I am still ter­ri­fied of them be­ing judg­men­tal. And it is stuck in my brain like Adele sang it.

Oh Lord, I’ll go back to us­ing the Star­bucks cup with the snowflake if you will just let me Pho­to­shop my­self!

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