I've spent the weekend in a relaxed mood without anxiety from looming deadlines or chores that needed to be done. It's been a long time since I've felt this at peace without my head berating me with 500 things I need to do by Monday. I watched TV, read a book, went to get coffee, re-organized my closet (for fun, mind you), watched some TED Talks videos, and slept.
I sat down this afternoon wanting to write. The problem was that I didn't know what to write about. Have I done anything epic lately? Seen anything new, done a new workout routine, cooked something fantastic, or had a funny story to share? Those are the easiest things to write about because they come so easily and are more like reporting a situation that writing out something that comes from a deeper place.
I try not to be all “woo-woo” here, because honestly, I'm not so much of a “woo-woo” person. Not that I mind woo-woo, but I tend to overanalyze and dissect instead of pontificate. I don't work particularly well in the abstract.
In desperation of something to write (either on this blog or several other places I write), I went to my default list. It's an electronic list that I keep ideas on. Sometimes things get put on the list that make perfect sense at the time I wrote it, and then make zero sense when I sit down to write. Other times, I've stalled too much and the timing of the subject is no longer relevant. It seemed everything on my list today fell into these categories.
I went to my Google Reader and was reminded of The Burning Question series from Danielle LaPorte that Holli had written about before. Danielle LaPorte always smacks me with her words (in a good way), so I checked out some of the “burning questions.” This one struck a chord:
What is one dumb thing that you used to believe in?
Perhaps I could say “the tooth fairy” or “santa claus,” but I was always highly skeptical of both figures anyway. Fanciful fairies and present-bearing bearded fellows just didn't make sense to my overanalytical mind.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. There is something that I used to believe in, and in moments of weakness the belief pops up as the devil on my shoulder. I might not believe it anymore, but its effects are omnipresent.
I'm destined to be fat and unhappy.
I have tried to not be fat for my entire life. Weight Watchers at 8. Fen-Phen at 14. Fat camp at 15-18. Juice fast at 22. On and on. Where did all the [what I perceived as] struggle and heartache get me? I can look at certain photos and feel the desperation and sadness and it's like a tidal wave washing over me.
Each effort left me even farther away from where I'd started. The rollercoaster ride not only sent my stomach hurling, but left me emotionally empty. More stress came and it was too hard to cope with. So I ate. I became reclusive. I hated everything about myself and honestly didn't think I deserved better. I told myself: “This is just how I am, approaching 500 pounds and there's nothing anyone can do for me. I will handle work stress, family stress, appointments with the Medicaid office try to get my mom any sort of assistance to help her medical condition, find attorneys to try to get affairs straightened out before she can't write or speak any longer. I will take it all, and handle it, because that's what I do. I handle things.”
It wasn't just a parents illness that made me believe my destiny was to be fat and unhappy. It was a complete lack of self worth and recognition of anything I had accomplished. Everything was negated because I was a super morbidly obese person with failing physical ability and self worth the size of a pea. Somehow being fat meant I was an awful person. An uncontrollable crazy genetic mutation of a human that goes through what seem to be the proper motions, but can never reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Something is wrong with me.
I'm a failure.
I physically can't do anything.
People think I'm an idiot.
I must have no self control.
This is never going to end, so I might as well accept this as my life.
No one wants to be seen with me, and I don't blame them.
I am embarrassed about myself, and I'm an embarrassment to my family.
With every failed attempt at weight loss, these emotions rooted themselves more firmly into my soul. I will even admit that these feelings have crept up when I have yet another week of weight loss stall or don't feel strong enough physically to do something. Like weeds with a strong root system, these emotions have sucked out energy, life, happiness, and motivation. They feed on them and the more they suck away from me, the more wildly they grow.
Here's the thing though: I can rip those weeds up. Perhaps I can't ever fully remove the roots, but I can grab them and yank them up when I start to feel them grow. I know that my life is worth so much more than physical appearance and any associated happiness with that. Life is painful and messy, but it is also full of an unlimited amount of choices. I may not ever be physically thin or fit into a certain “ideal” body shape. I may not ever finish a marathon or break any weightlifting records. Those things don't determine my happiness or my worth. Does it sometimes feel that they do? Hell yes. When I really think about it though, I remind myself that those feelings of inadequacy are a direct result of my own distorted beliefs that somehow held on to my life for too long.
Permission to fall is a powerful thing. Falling means that when I stumble and find myself on the ground, I still have the power to get up and brush myself off. I have fallen over and over and over and over. Each time, it sucks to brush myself off and lick my wounds, but it sure beats lying in the dirt.