Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Seeing Things Clearly

Feeling a little better about myself and the world in general today. Any coincidence that the TTOM started last night? On the other hand, could it have something to do with the fact that I actually got my carcass on the treadmill this morning and blew out the cobwebs?

Whatever. I think what helped a lot what reading other blogs and realizing I have a whole community of people who know what I'm going through and are here to support me. And even if they don't know me from Jane Doe, there are people out there who often help me see things more clearly.

On the AFG blog, bigassbelle made a comment that really struck home with me: "it's still a struggle and in one way, it's almost worse, because i am so happy and content with myself ~ i rant and rave about a lot of world events and such ~ i don't have that great drive and urge to get the weight off like i used to. i was convinced i would be happier with the weight off and i know it's not wholly true, but life is still better not having to haul around another 100 pounds. "

I may not be so happy and content with myself, but looking around at friends, family, acquaintances, etc., I know I fall somewhere in the upper middle on the happiness/self acceptance meter. I spent a lot of time in therapy working on this. Many people who have gotten to know me and my history have asked me over the years, "How did you turn out so normal?" And my reply has always been, "With (insert number) years of therapy." As of 2007 I've spent 22 years of my life in and out of therapy -- that's about 60 percent of my existence.

[Quick side note: I'll never forget the moment my father asked me, "What do you need to go to therapy for?" I was still a teenager at the time, and I could only stare at him dumbly, because I didn't have the nerve to say out loud, "Do you want an alphabetical or chronological list of your contributions?" I was thinking it, though. That memory always makes me smirk.]

I have worked hard over the years. I've struggled to break free from depression, chiseled away at the layers of defenses I built up around myself (fat included) and tried to figure out not only why I did this, but how to find new ways of coping. It took all those years of analyzing and delving to get myself to the point where I could finally look at the weight I was carrying around and say, "Why exactly am I hanging on to you?"

At that time I had a strong desire to lose the weight, and a lot of it came off. And now I'm reaching a point where that urgency has decreased. I found a satisfying job, I fell in love, got married, and extended my social circle. I entered a 5K race and enjoyed it. I'm beginning to buy clothes in the regular clothing section. So, like bigassbelle, while losing weight didn't give me a fairy tale life, certain aspects of my life certainly improved.

So now it comes down to a tug of war with myself and my desires. Does my wish to see 199 on the scale override my wanting a chocolate cake doughnut? Is my hankering for pizza stronger than my dream of fitting into a size 12 dress? Writing that down makes me realize how banal it all is: there are so many real problems in the world, and I'm torturing myself over junk food and numbers. It's just a pizza! And for heaven's sake, my worth as a person doesn't change if my body weight is 208 or 199. It's all so arbitrary and trivial.

Wow. I wasn't expecting this post to go in this direction. But here we are. Once again I've caught myself getting carried away with too much self-absorption and focusing on little petty things. The fact of the matter is that in general I'm taking care of myself much better than I used to. I want to continue doing that, so I need to continue the good habits I've adopted. There are moments that I eat food for pleasure instead of health, but on average the majority of my eating is balanced and mindful. I'm much more physically active than in my past. I may take a few days off for illness, etc., but on the whole I keep up a regular routine of movement. As time goes on I'm learning to stand up for my needs and I'm doing better at getting those needs met. I stay in touch with my thoughts and feelings and do my best to work them out instead of stuffing them in.

So let's quit worrying about how slowly or quickly it's going and just get on with doing it!

1 comment:

Shauna said...

Wow, your fifth & sixth paragraphs really summed my life up. So full of raw depth. Although the weight is an issue--it does not compare to the years of depression. Thank God there is a full, happy, balanced life to be had. At times it seems unattainable. Thank you for your transparency, Shauna