In 20 Wise Quotes from the Dalai Lama, I found this gem:
"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster."
I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday evening. Now, I'm not exactly one to promote meltdowns, not really, but sometimes a meltdown for me is a breaking point - a sort of mile-marker for the turnaround in my thinking. This meltdown seems to have been just that. To help you understand, I guess it's best to go back to the events of this weekend and let you know what led up to the turning point (or, at least, what I hope is the turning point).
I awoke Saturday morning at 8:30am. After a quick shower, the whole family headed down to the elementary school for my oldest son's basketball game. Logan, 11, is new to basketball. This is only his second game in his first year in the sport. It took him a while to figure out what he wanted, what he enjoyed and he had several false starts along the way. He played football one summer...and hated every minute of it. He ran away from the ball when it was thrown to him, and he didn't like running back and forth on the field. Last year he played spring baseball, and while he did seem to enjoy the game, he just wasn't very good at it. I think he may have hit the ball one time in a game all season...and I think he was immediately tagged out at first. Still, he tried all year, and we encouraged him to practice in order to get better. This year, Logan decided that basketball was his new sport. I have to admit, his father and I were both skeptical, but since his own tiny elementary school has it's own little mini-league, we decided to go ahead and sign him up. At least it didn't cost us anything.
Last week, while watching him in his first game, I noticed something about my son. My shy, I-don't-want-attention driven son was a bit of a showboat on the court. I don't mean that he was hyping up the crowd, I just mean that the second he was put into the game he was in defensive stance against any player on the other team that had the ball. The same son who walks (and actually does everything) slower than anyone I know, was one of the first players up and down the court. He blocked shots and passed the ball and seemed to be the start of a game changer for his team. His team was down 20-2 in the first half, but came back when Logan was put in to make something like a 26-18 final score.
During the game, I heard myself say something that even sounded weird to me. I turned to Ethan, Logan's brother, and said, "I didn't know your brother knew how to play basketball!" Ethan smiled and nodded. He's watched his brother at several practices, and I guess he had the inside scoop on things. All last week the coach of Logan's team promised to work on his offensive skills (shooting) and, sure enough, in Saturday's game, Logan made two baskets...and he was in the game a lot longer this game than he was in the last. Maybe he shocked the coach a little as well. While his team still lost, Logan felt proud of his two shots and proud of his overall performance. Still, he nodded and smiled when I said, "You made 2 baskets?!" but didn't further discuss any details of the game. (Unfortunately, his father and I missed both shots as we were roped into concession duty out front. *sigh*)
After the game, my friend Anne Marie and I ate lunch with the boys and then took off to Columbus to visit a friend. The whole way there we talked about all the things we wanted to do this year - rock climbing, rafting, tennis. We talked about our boxing lesson coming up this weekend and talked about how we hope to challenge ourselves this year to really find what we love and hate. I remember saying to her, "Let's do it all! We might hate some of it, but we might find some things we love too!"
The wine party that night was both fun and challenging for me. My friend, Hillary, had invited a bunch of old high school classmates. Most of those who came were people I may have graduated with, but didn't really form close bonds with in high school. I was never in the popular group. I knew a lot of people, but I wouldn't have ever called us "friends" per se. I was worried and felt those high school insecurities pop back up into my head.
We had a total of something like 10 girls that night. I knew I had AM, Hillary, and a good friend, Joanna, to cling to, but I also really wanted to get to know these high school girls as adults now. We talked about what we were doing now, our spouses and children, where we lived, where the road had taken us. And through all of that, I kept feeling the, "I'm the saddest excuse for a person here" monster talking to me in my head.
I promise I tried to ignore it, but I kept hearing it tell me how I had wasted my senior year, how I had withdrawn and had little to no high school experiences because I was busy being pregnant and trying to figure out what my life was about to become. I remember it telling me that I still had a sorry excuse for a job, even though I'm currently (impatiently) waiting on a promotion to go through here at work. I remember it telling me way too many times, "You are still the fattest person in the room." And, as I told my husband last night, in my mind, fat = ugly, so I automatically assumed that I was also the ugliest person in the room (although my husband strongly disagreed with me on that one).
I tried not to let the voice influence me. I hated every picture, but pretended I didn't care. I danced in the living room with Hillary's 7 year old while she was playing Just Dance 2, and there was a certain freedom in doing what I wanted and not caring what the people around me thought. (Turns out they thought it was hilarious and wanted to take pictures...more pictures for me to secretly hate.)
Also that night, this comment was made: "Man, Esther! Your boobs look HUGE in this picture." That one would stick with me...
The next day, AM and I went shopping. I found a bunch of clothes - XL and XXL shirts from Old Navy and the Gap that I could never imagine trying on, let alone buying, just last year. And that should have been enough to lift my spirit...but, of course, it wasn't. It was a solitary purchase that broke my heart -- a size 42DDD bra. Yep, you saw that right -- THREE Ds.
You see, this new body of mine has some downsizing that needs to be done. I started at a 52DD years ago. Slowly but surely, that band size has begun to shrink. I've gone from 46-42 since April alone. But what I hadn't expected was that, while the band size was decreasing, the actual boobs were not. And when the around size of the band shrinks, but the around size of the boobs don't, you actually INCREASE a cup size. The difference between the band size and the boob size actually GROWS. So I went from a 52DD to a 42DDD, and it killed me to buy that bra (although it was adorable...and on sale from like 40 bucks to 19.99).
Of course, the hubs thinks it's awesome and has nothing negative to say. But something in my head keeps mocking me. "You get smaller AND get bigger at the same time! HAHAHA!" It's quite annoying. Other mocking tones came too. My hair needs cut badly...it looks horrible. My muscle has melted away after weeks of disuse. This one was strange for me -- my hair is no longer red, something I once both hated and secretly had pride in. Oh, and that's not even considering the comment from my husband of, "So who is the strawberry blonde girl in the pictures?" *sigh* This one comment automatically set off a, "Your husband doesn't think you're pretty" tirade which lasted most of the drive home.
I got home last night around 6pm or so. I was tired and hungry since I hadn't eaten since about 11am. I grabbed the boys and headed out for Chinese. But I couldn't eat much. I was too upset. Hubs was worried. He said he hadn't seen me this way in a long time and he was seriously concerned. "I'm just a mess," I told him. I didn't want him to worry, but I needed to work through it all in my head. I needed to quiet the monster. I had my meltdown and then went to bed after setting out my gym clothes for the next day, resolved to get back at the one thing I knew made me feel like I was worth something.
'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
My tragedy was in my own mind...it was the loss, or rather the suppression, of hope. I thought I was done for - that I had done all I could and would never be anything. My (horrible) father once told me I would never amount to anything and no one would ever love me, and in my darkest hour, that comment becomes my mantra...and that was my tragedy. Last night as my husband kissed me goodnight, he said, "I'm glad you're home. I missed you." And my reply was simply, "I've been missing me too."
That was the problem. I had lost myself again...and I needed to find myself. As I drifted off to sleep, I recounted the conversations I had had with AM about our "Year of Adventures" and reminded myself how long it took Logan to find something he was good at...and I decided that I was done missing myself.
Now, I can't say that I'm going to do everything right from here on out. That would be silly and stupid to think. I can't even promise I'm going to make the most amazing quick comeback ever. But I've made the following promises to myself:
* Do what you love.
* Do what you do.
* Go to the gym every day, even if you just walk in and walk back out, just get in the habit of going again.
* Go back to Zumba. You love it, and you have to do what you love.
* Make a plan and follow it, even when you don't want to.
* Forgive yourself.
That last one is going to be hard. I tend to harp on what I've done wrong. But, like many of my friends who are starting over yet again, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm doing the same. How fitting, considering when I started in April, it was following a weekend trip to my friend Hillary's house, in which we experienced a wine tasting. (Maybe wine has medicinal mental properties none of us have ever thought about!! *lol*)
Workout Plan for the week of January 24th-29th
Monday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Thursday - Line Dancing/Zumba
Friday - 45 minutes Cardio / 45 minutes ST
Saturday - 60 minutes cardio, minimum