Lady Lazarus Rising

“I have done it again./One year in every ten/I manage it——“ These are the opening lines of Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Lady Lazarus.”

One of the most famous parts of this poem—a part Bill can actually quote—is, “Dying/Is an art, like everything else./I do it exceptionally well./I do it so it feels like hell./I do it so it feels real./I guess you could say I’ve a call.” This poem is about suicide—the times Sylvia attempted but survived and how she has a tendency toward wanting to do it again. This may sound like a horrific analogy to make, and agreeably it is not my best one to date, but I do feel that if I substituted the word “losing” for the word “dying,” Sylvia could be singing my song.

Every ten years or so I lose. Weight, I mean. The first time I joined Weight Watchers was in the mid-90s and I did well. Then I joined again in 2001, and after losing only 16 pounds, my non-church going, not religious mother made the famously odd remark, “My prayers have been answered!” This shocked me into—you guessed it—stopping. I gained yet again.

Between 2006 and 2007 I really did it “exceptionally well.” I lost 125 pounds. That was life changing, health changing, and clothes changing. I could at last go from plus sizes to regular sizes. I could order from any catalog. I could fit into diner booths.

But “Lady Lazarus” is also about resurrection, about coming alive again. And, after the sadness of losing both parents and a beloved cat within 18 months, a bit of weight seemed to find me again. But now I have come alive and have managed to get my head around losing again. I’ve been doing really well since January and now I’ve stalled a bit, but I’m trying to give myself a break given the enormity of the beating my body has gone through while changing up some meds for other health issues. I never waver in what I eat, and even though it has “felt like hell” recently, I will continue until I reach my goal. I will get there. My laser beam is on and I can see nothing but my goal. I’ve done it before and I “do it exceptionally well” when I set my mind to the process. I won’t say it is easy, especially at this time of year when celebrations and temptations abound as school crawls to a close. But I’m in for the long haul, and I do it “so it feels real.” And real is not always easy. But I will prevail, I am sure of it.

I guess you could say I’ve a call.


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