Identity #10 – The Elephant in the Room (of my mind)

Hitting publish hurt...

“Have you ever been told you are beautiful.”
Sure. My mom does sometimes -like, you know, she’s supposed to.

“No one else?”
Hmph. No.

“Okay, so what does she say.”
Heh, she’ll be like ‘oh, you’re such a beautiful young lady. IF ONLY YOU WEREN’T SO FAT.’
Too many things wrong with that, in and of itself.

“So…technically no.”
Basically.

Throwing Stones-> Glass Reflections

I remember I was of some precocious age, eleven maybe, when I clambered onto the scale and said “Oooh, a hundred pounds.” I stared solemnly down at the 3-digit number and pronounced with an undercurrent of awe, “I’m fat.” 

I think I was drawing from my mother’s morning routines where she would get on the scale and proclaim her unhappiness with her weight. In some skewed part of my brain, I thought this was just another step to growing up.

My mother had been standing around nearby, cooking a meal in the kitchen. I strode out the bathroom, planted myself in the kitchen and announced. “I’m 100 lbs. I’m fat.”

“Okay dear,” she said, distractedly.

I said it only once. But she never let me forget.

A weapon in her arsenal; the more she reiterated it, the more I would squash down that boiling landslide of anger by stuffing another bite of food in my mouth.

My response: rebellion. So what if I am.

In a moment of (fucking) stupidity I gave myself a label and defined myself by my mother’s bad examples. I let it consume me and destroy my confidence. A self-fulfilling prophecy, a self-destruct mechanism, an open grave to swallow me whole.

If I have a kid and they ever say this, I will say ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! You are beautiful and smart and amazing.

Then, I’d let them play sports with other kids, or take dance class, or martial arts, or whatever they wanted to give physical activity.

The exact opposite of how I was treated.

Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to play sports/take martial arts/learn gymnastics (no money…supposedly), take dance lessons (against religion -avoid the devil movements!) or anything. Just stay home, and do homework and chores. I wasn’t really allowed to go exploring in the forest like I loved to, or walk alone (like, really, who wants to kidnap me?), or be out of earshot for any reason.

I didn’t set out to be overweight. But it happened, because I didn’t know good eating habits. For a health-freak family raised to be vegans from birth, it’s surprisingly easy to be overweight. Healthy food doesn’t guarantee healthy eating habits.

Mom ate huge portions, her family was expected to eat large portions and finish everything on the plate. Mom ate seconds and never stopped us from doing so. Mom snuck food from the cupboard, damn right I’d do it to! Mom had a sweet tooth, mine was sweeter.

A strange competition, I can’t explain.

 

The Future

“You know, I told [person a] that no matter how smart you are, you are still defined my first impressions. ”
Yeah, no shit.

“I told [person a] you need to take care and watch your weight. You can be brilliant in [high end job] but they can and will discriminate if you are fat -consciously or unconsciously.”
Yup, that’s so true.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, ya know.”
Boy, you have no idea.

And now, I am a working professional. I see this happen all the time. I see the prejudice. I see the struggle. I don’t want that to happen to me- a brilliant mind trapped in a body no one wants to hire.

Seriously? Torture. The definition of misery.

 

Listen to Your body

I’m not saying that thinking you’re fat means you are. Not at ALL.

My body tells me when I’ve gone too far.

At my heaviest, I couldn’t walk without pain. The few feet from the bus to the office had me out of breath and exhausted. Nothing fit, I ran out of clothes so fast…

This is embarrassing to share. But if I don’t write it out, I’ll forget why I wanted to change myself, why it’s all worth it. Because human memory is faulty and I need to keep myself accountable in some fashion. This is one method.

Nothing fit, I ran out of clothes, my back would hurt Constantly. I felt like there was this weight on my chest, I couldn’t really catch my breath, I’d get dizzy spells and I’d feel so sluggish.

I’d get depressed, and I addressed it by eating more (greaaat solution *sarcasm).

 

Emotional eaters are irrational eaters.

Fucking hated myself all the time. How could I stand in the mirror and say “You’re beautiful” without punching my reflection? I didn’t believe it.

So I didn’t say it.

I hate you. So fat, disgusting! 

DISGUSTING!!!

My body -a revolting prison. If you can’t love yourself and you hate the way you look, there is no such thing as self confidence.

Doesn’t mean I give up, roll over and play dead.

Means I have to keep fighting, even when I don’t want to. Even when 80% of me is fighting that 20% that wants to keep me on track. Even when I’m at dinner functions with so much food around me…

No. NO.

How do you escape the shame cycle (you know: eat, shame, repent, diet, succumb, eat, shame, repent etc.)?

I don’t know yet, but I’m trying something new. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try something until I find what does work.

I’m not giving up on myself. I’m going to win over this. One day at a time, one moment at a time, one meal at a time.

I love myself when I take care of myself. And why wouldn’t I take care of myself? I am my most valuable commodity, why would I destroy me?

Doesn’t that sound so silly? Self destruction? Yet it is a familiar siren song…

 

I fucked up this month ->Do Over?

I had been doing so well. Then I stressed out.

And ordered food for 8 people. And ate it all over 2 days. And kept eating for another 12 days.

Confessions!!

You aren’t my priest, so don’t feel obligated. It’s as if I’m talking to ghosts and fog. Screaming at the lake.

I’ve done that before. Screamed at a lake. I was really stressed out at the time (-I should do that more often. Shout, yell, scream, run, wave my arms like a maniac -whatever it takes. Reservation might be the death of me).

I can’t swallow it down again. Then tap it down with food.

I took a vacation this weekend, been gone for 3 days. I traveled 6-8 hours away, to a new environment, and focused on relaxing.

And the more I relaxed, the less I wanted to eat. And the more water I drank.

Surprisingly, I hadn’t realized how dehydrated I’d become. You’d think the migraines would be a hint, but I ignored it all in my headlong descent into bad decisions.

Now I’m planning better decisions.

What’s that phrase? “Strategies and plans don’t last even one moment of battle” or something like this?

Doesn’t mean I can’t set up a plan of action.

Planning If -Then Execute

  • If I’m hungry and eating is “legal” (during period of day when you max workout/use of caloric intake), then eat allotted portion.
    • Pre-pack your food for the week on Sunday and stick to small portion sizes.
    • Keep a supply of cough drops, gum, and water around, everywhere
  • If I’m hungry and eating isn’t “legal”, then drink lots of water until tummy stops feeling empty.
    • If water doesn’t work, then drink 0 calorie beverage with fizz, or a huge mug of tea –this always works, lol
  • If I’m walking to work, take the stairs.
  • If I want to exercise, take advantage of stationary bike set up
    • We need to buy this.
    • If not bike, then get dance routine for exercise.
    • If at work, take a 30 minute walk: get moving, the weather is gorgeous!
  • If I’m feeling stressed, get out of that location immediately!
    • Go outside, take in the sunshine.
    • Hang out with friends, connect, go to Barns&Nobles. Chillax!!
    • If I’m at work, immediately take a break and go outside to the coffee shops and cafeterias and listen to the silly conversations of students.
    • If I’m at work, call a colleague for lunch.
    • If not, then read tapastic (the best collection and source of independent comics/manga/artwork/graphic novels) for a few minutes (15 min breaks are allowed!).
  • If I fail and break my good intentions, then I won’t beat myself up about it.
    • Face the situation factually and without blame/shame.
    • Plan for a way to recover.
    • Stick to the plan, getting started is the hardest part.
    • Remove all temptations from vicinity -even if I have to remove myself.
    • Get to exercising!!!
  • Drink lots of water before, during and after meals. A lot of times I was thirsty, which translated into “hungry” for some reason…

Cool. I feel better about this.

Hitting reset. I’m starting over. Again.

Right now. Let’s do this!!

“You’re amazing, you know that? I’m always surprised by your quick progress, how you soak in knowledge and incorporate it so quickly. I’m so proud of you!”
Thanks… (smiles shyly).

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Published by

opalflame

I am artist, analyst, author, poet, composer, musician to name a few aspects of myself. A bit of a jack of trades, I dabble into many fields that encourage the blossom of imagination and allow me to channel my creativity. I dream vividly and view the world through the lens of optimism and opportunity while acknowledging the ink and shadows.

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