Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mourning

I found myself mourning this weekend.

On Friday was the funeral of the gentleman I talked about in a previous post. I got there early to help usher if necessary, but the men I called to help me said they had everything under control, so I could mingle and just be a visitor. His wife of 60 years and I chatted for a while, and his daughter pulled me aside and had a very nice conversation with me, too. While I don't know everyone in the family, the ones I do know are so genuinely nice, kind people, and I felt for them as they grieved the loss of their family's patriarch.

His son-in-law, a Lutheran pastor, gave the eulogy, and what an amazing job he did. His love and admiration for his father-in-law was evident, and he shed true tears of mourning during his time up at the podium. Of course I started crying, too -- lately it doesn't take much -- but having known this family all of my life, I felt their sadness as they said goodbye to this wonderful man.

This next part will probably sound really superficial and selfish after writing about the loss of a special person, but I also did another kind of personal mourning this weekend. I'm really coming to grips with my weight regain and facing the reality of what my compulsive eating did to me these last few months. Saturday morning I forced myself to go through my closet and try things on, and what didn't fit would go into storage. How sad! There were so many pretty things that I bought last winter, thinking I was only going to get smaller and smaller, that are simply too tight to wear now. I wound up with an embarrassingly big pile of clothes, which were placed in their plastic coffin and taken to the attic, where they will be stored in hopes of being resurrected one day.
It reminded me of when my grandmother died and we had to clean out her closet. The discarding of a person's clothes really makes you face the fact that this person is dead. Our clothing is a tangible part of our personalities -- it reflects not only color preferences but can reveal if we're conservative or liberal, flirty or demure, sometimes what we do for a living or what activities we engage in.
It wasn't very long ago that I was discarding my "fat" clothes, and there were some pieces of clothing I found it very difficult to part with. There was the outfit I wore when I first saw my daughter, the dress I was in when I later adopted her. I had one shirt I adored -- it was comfortable and I loved the pattern of the fabric -- that I really didn't want to get rid of even though it had become more of a tent than a shirt.
At that time I was saying goodbye to the Fat Me (and when I say this I mean the body that wore sizes 26/28 and 30/32), and while it was generally a good feeling, there was a sense of loss of a life I had been familiar with. I had sworn to myself I would never buy bigger sizes again and would never return to this weight.
Well, I have to admit I am fortunate that I haven't gotten back to that size. The clothes I packed up on Saturday were mostly below a size 16, except for a few pieces that must have been vanity-sized to make people think they can wear smaller clothes. I'm mostly in the 18/20s again, which in the grand scheme of my life isn't a terrible tragedy. I've been much, much bigger, so I still don't feel like I utterly failed.
This packing up of the skinny clothes did feel a little bit like defeat, however. I felt like I was saying goodbye to any hopes of ever reaching the Onederfuls, that I was mourning the loss of a size I never even got a chance to reach.
I am part of a Yahoo group called dietsurvivors, run by Linda Moran, and I wrote there about what's going on with me right now. Nadia wrote the following paragraph, and it really meant a lot to me.
"One thing I'd like to point out is that when you grieve the loss of something, and then move on with life with some sort of peace and acceptance, it does not mean that you are glad that the loss occurred. You've still lost something that you cared about; it's just that it no longer rules your life, and happiness is possible in spite of the loss."
What a wonderful paragraph, and how true it is. At one point reaching 199 was my main goal in life; I even named this blog after it! And I was so close: at the beginning of this year I managed to get down to 205, and I was so sure that by now I would be firmly in the Onederfuls. But life didn't work out that way, and now that goal seems nearly impossible, mainly because I can no longer keep up the calorie restricting and the constant diet mentality that twisted my brain and made my eating so wildly disordered.
So maybe this weight gain has its purpose: it's making me see that this goal I had can no longer rule my life, and that I need to find happiness and contentment in spite of it. It's not giving up and saying I'll never reach it, but that reaching it -- or not -- will not define me as a person and determine the overall quality of my life.

3 comments:

Jen said...

I feel compelled to offer words of admiration, encouragement or inspiration. But I'll simply say this: You are my dear friend, not matter what your "size." Although the numbers on the tags of our pants/jeans may change, that will remain a constant.

Lori said...

I'm finding it very hard to write (not because of anything you said but something going on here) but you have my admiration and I know you will be okay.

It's just a size and you are more than a number on a pair of pants.

I got very sad and very selfish about getting rid of some of my fat clothes. I really loved some of them like you described and I have a box of my favorites. But I did get rid of the rest of them. I hope you have a good week, Andrea.

Nicola said...

That last paragraph made me smile. At the start of my IE journey, had I known I was (A) likely to gain weight and (B) going to accept my body at it's current size, I wouldn't have started IE at all. I was afraid of accepting my body as I was convinced that that would mean giving up on losing weight. What a relief it is that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

You are such an inspiration to me :O)