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CCKELLY3
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Struggles & Life Lessons: When doing it alone no longer does it

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I'm way overdue for a blog update, I know. It's not for lack of trying, I've started to write a few times and find myself slugging through a quagmire of emotions which causes convoluted phrases even I couldn't decipher. I refuse to unleash that on you. :)

Normally I prefer to write once I’m on the other side of a problem, when I've either reached the light or at least confident the dark tunnel is soon to recede completely. I wish I could say I was in that place. It's been a long autumn and winter of 1 step forward, 3 or 4 steps back.

Yes, I continue to hold fast to my food journal and being more active than I've been in a winter--a friggin' winter so cold I am amazed my blood isn't solid yet--and I seem to be holding steady with the weight I've lost. I am still technically 5 lbs away from my original goal set way back when I first joined over a year ago, a number I picked arbitrarily btw and stuck to, but to be honest, the number lost importance for me months ago. Technically, with my BMI, I'm still 'overweight' by about 10-15 lbs but when you've lost half your body weight that last few pounds really does not feel like an issue.

And everyone around me views me as such a success. Yes, I've done something a lot of people wish they could. But I don't feel so darn successful lately. Maybe this is a normal phase people go through after losing a ton of weight? I'm not sure how much of this I can attribute to what the weight loss has done to my body and how much of it is the other, very real, very heavy, life issues I'm going through. I'm so bemuddled lately I just can't sort it out. So I'm using this blog to see if writing and talking with you helps me sort it out. Perhaps some of you will see things currently obscured for me by my own involvement? I don't know, I just know I'm spinning in place and getting dizzier by the day, wondering when it will not be so hard.

So let me give you a quick lay of the land. What the heck is going on with me. Now some of this has been brought up by the weight loss because I literally peeled off the emotional armor of fat that had been covering this stuff up. But some of it is just life and I mention that because that's a serious stumbling block in reaching big and long-term goals; we've got to learn to keep going in the midst of things. Wow, that's really tough sometimes though.

So let's see if I can list some stuff without going nuts in details. Not my strong point but let's give it a try, shall we? :)

1. Holidays and my birthday in January. I'll be frank, this is a loaded time of year for me. It sucks. Depression from Dec-March is a demon I've wrestled with my whole life. It's part past experiences, part the whole SADD thing. This year, the demon bit hard and is holding on like a pit bull. Blech.

2. Family issues. I've not spoken to my father in something like 5 years. I realized that relationship was toxic, that he was unsafe for me and no matter how I tried to set boundaries with him, it wouldn't work. It still hurts but its okay. However, in doing so, that sent my mother, who had long since divorced him, into a tailspin I'd do the same to her. I tried to talk to her, I've tried to work things out and set boundaries, but it all came to a head a few days before Christmas. We haven't spoken since. I feel like nothing I've tried has helped, only worsened things these past few years. I can't be who she wants, and I don't want to be. And I know I've got to stop wasting so much energy and time trying to fix it. It either will be or won't, but boy, that's hard.

3. My car was stolen right after New Years out of my driveway in the middle of the night. I handled this amazingly well in the process, but it's been a long, arduous month of paperwork, insurance, and dealing with feeling trapped because for the first time in my adult life I cannot do it all by myself. Lordy, I can not tell you how emotionally exhausting it is for a fiercely independent person who has taken care of herself and only relied upon herself since she was 7 years old to recognize that I cannot do it alone. I cannot walk 5 miles in the knee deep snow, with no sidewalks on a 4 lane main road, and carry 50lbs of cat litter and groceries home in a backpack. Not when it's all of 5 degrees outside. Nope, not happening. Yes, I tried. Stupid, stupid, stupid. :) I'm darn good at giving help, at least I pride myself in thinking I am, but darn it all, I soooo do not know how to ask. And the people in my life aren't used to me asking. Oh this was so NOT a life lesson to leave to learn until a crucial moment. :)

4. And this is so embarrassing to admit, but I'm ashamed of my new body. It's saggy and well, I can only say it one way, my breasts which used to be my glory now have not only shrunk but look to me like shriveled octogenarian breasts. I try to love them, I do, but I'm embarrassed. And that hurts. I worked so hard to lose the weight and now I'm mortified to be naked with a lover or in the locker-room at the gym.

I don't want to be that insecure woman but things have been awkward, even with a lover who knew me before, during and now after this change, and while I know this is crazy-thinking, I can't shut up that nagging little voice saying things have changed in my love-life because my body looks like a withered up old lady body, all droopy and with walnut skin flapping around. I can’t help but think that the men in my life aren’t secretly disappointed and turned-off by this new, and not-so-improved-visually, me. Is this what I worked for?

Visually, I liked my body better when it was fat...at least naked, then it was voluptuous and the skin was soft but taut and full, my curves were round in sexy ways. Now I'm angular and yes, thinner, but I only look better in clothes. I only like my reflection when it’s completely covered up, from neck to ankle to wrist. Heck, give me a freakin’ burkha cause my eyes are about the only thing that haven’t changed! I can't even bring myself to buy new, cute sexy lingerie—and I LOVE lingerie and had been desperately looking forward to being able to fit into all the stuff I fantasized over for years-- because I can't find any that hides these screaming new flaws or makes my breasts look desirable and belong on a young, fit woman. Isn't that insane?

I know it's insane but so far nothing I’ve tried is getting me past it. A few people have suggested surgery but I can't afford it and to be honest, even if I could, I'm terrified of surgery and just can't see that as an option. Not for vanity. Plus surgery can be risky for a singer, very risky. You can’t do things to the body without it having major and potentially permanent affect to the voice. My whole body is the instrument, heck, even sex is supposed to be off the table for the 10 days preceding a performance because of how intensely it affects the body and thus shows in the voice. Surgery? That’s a big crap shoot.

Yet it's there, this disappointment, this shame, every time I undress, and while I use affirmations to remind myself that I'm healthier, I'm stronger, and this body I love can now do the activities I have been aching to do for years, it all comes back like a tornado whenever I try to be intimate with someone. But I want to curl up and hide away, go deeper into myself and not risk that look of repugnance or disappointment when a lover discovers the butterfly in the sexy red dress is not so alluring in her natural ‘splendor’. And that scares me, this tugging toward isolating. Terrifies me actually. And I feel myself closing in, hiding inside, knowing that if I need the affirmation of others to make me feel okay about how I look then I'm in trouble. And yet just not finding the strength or the tools within to give it to myself. At least not yet.

I hate to lay all this on you, my friends, because I feel guilty and nervous that I will scare you off of your journey. Especially those who are just starting. I didn’t start this journey sooner because I feared this exact thing. I don’t want to be the reason someone else decides it’s not worth it to get healthy! I feel the onus of being a role model heavily, and perhaps onus is too heavy a term; the responsibility to those who find inspiration in me is one of my major supports. Knowing that if I fail myself I fail all of you is part of what is keeping me from completely losing it and falling back into the bad behaviors of emotional eating and binging and purging, and the past month or two those behaviors are howling like mad dogs dying for need of food.

Some nights I turn the music up loud and dance myself into oblivion just trying to drown out the need of it. I have lost a lot of my normal safety measures and strategies having been almost literally trapped in this house, alone, and often unable to get out, so I'm trying to find new ones and cling to those that I still have. Like all of you. And knowing that if I find a way to stay successful through this, I can help you in your dark times when they come. Cause they always come.

And I suppose what I'm really learning right now, as hard and painful as this lesson is, is that none of us can do anything big and significant on our own. I can no longer live in the luxury of being a lone-wolf. I've let my pride of being self-reliant become a fatal weakness. I need to break out of my shell and let people in, to learn to safely and appropriately need other people, and ask for help. No matter how hard, no matter how deeply I suck at it. Until I learn how to do that successfully, I am vulnerable and self limiting my potential for success. No one does it alone. How is it I've been able to sustain the delusion for 20+ years that I'm exempt from that? And where do I begin the change? And how?

Thank you. Thank you for being there. Thank you for sticking through this very long, long post. Having you here helps more than you know.

And as always, I look forward to your thoughts and insights. If things I've said resonate with you, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments. You help me so much by what you say, I learn a lot through you.

Love yourself first and foremost, for how can we show others how to love us if not by example?
~Cassandra

Copyright © 2010. Cassandra Kelly. All Rights Reserved.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CCKELLY3
    okay, I hear the support and I really hear the tough love. Sigh. Maybe I stayed a little too long at the pity party...but c'mon, I had a great new party dress! :)

    Seriously, I hear you all. Thank you.
    4151 days ago
  • ELKNOTTS
    I am new and havn't lost much weight yet, but I know I hate my body now I hate the rolls of fat I hate the fact that nothing ever fits right, I hate the comments you here teenagers make at the mall, i hate hearing people say is she pregnant. I to am an emotional mess most of the time.
    As for your parents sadly sometimes you have to write people off and it may not be forever just till they come around I didn't speak to my father for several years but things are getting better. Sometimes you have to be the parent and take that roll of a lecture even if it dosnt help right that second it gives them something to think about.
    No one likes to ask for help but just think of the several times you have been there for others...my mom before she past away use to tell me "sometimes excepting help helps the giver more then you."
    Hang in there hun the universe has a strange way of working things out!
    emoticon
    4151 days ago
  • 4A-HEALTHY-BMI
    That stinks about your car. I'm so sorry to hear about that.

    Sorry too about the family and seasonal issues.

    About the skin, wow ROYALETBONE sure hit the nail on the head about what intimacy is. I love how insightful she is in her writing, and this is a prime example of it.

    Aside from my awe over her fabulous answer, I do understand where you're at, having lost over 180 lbs, myself. While my arms, shoulders, and back look pretty dang fantastic from the weight lifting and my quads are looking pretty good too, there are parts of me that have more skin than filling.

    Maybe it's because I'm not intimate with anyone at the moment, but I'm more fascinated than horrified by the extra skin. The boobs are pretty much into National Geographic territory, but with the proper bra(s) they're fine under clothes.

    There is a flap hanging from my midriff and a belly apron and some skin on my inner thighs. I was doing pushups yesterday with my personal trainer and happened to look at a nearby mirror on the wall and fell over laughing.

    Because you know that belly flap that cats get when you put 'em on a diet? The one that waggles back and forth from their furry bellies when they walk? Well my midriff and apron turn into one when I'm prone. And it just made me laugh, because it reminded me so much of my sister's late cat, Tigger.

    Maybe I should be upset, but it mostly struck me as amusing, because here I was, being all fierce and strong, and I had a cat flap on me. LOL

    I lost the weight pretty fast, so I'm going to wait and see what everything looks like in a couple years from now before deciding how I feel about it.

    In the meantime, I'd be lying if I didn't admit to enjoying how everything looks with the clothes ON... lol

    Probably none of what I've said will help you feel better, but I'm writing it just in case. Hang in there, Chica. You've come a long way and you've done Good. Good for your body, and good for your soul. It's just at the moment you're in the Well of Despair and can't see it.

    emoticon
    4155 days ago
  • ROYALETBONE
    FYI- I've lost over 150 from my highest weight- but I did it super slowly. Super slowly. So.... I don't know how long it will be until your skin catches up. Plus, there are different bodies, and different skins, and like that. It is certainly an individual journey.
    On the other foot- I have found that by being very careful about lotioning up 2 X a day, and using very tight bras/work out tops-that everything is holding up just fine. I'm 55, and with my bra off, I look like any other 55 year old woman with D or DD tits. Everything is pretty darn perky and tight. I actually don't even have any new stretch marks... wowoa. Nice.
    So---- in terms of 'hope'- I think with exercise you can tone up your skin and tits. At least, most people seem to be able to do it. The fast fast weight loss means your body looses faster than your skin keeps up with it, but...
    and none of that matters, does it?
    I wrote all that, and I'm thinking that none of that matters.
    Cause, tell me girl- when you weighed 100 pounds more, and you took off your clothes- were you really convinced that people loved all that extra flesh? Were you convinced that you were a hot big woman? Or were you insecure, and not sure how your lover felt, no matter what they said? Were you embarrassed about your body in public, and in private? Cause... most of us truly obese women are.
    In which case- and I'm assuming something here- I assume that you have always been a bit of a nervous nelly going to bed with people, getting naked, and what judgment they had about you- you, you, who didn't even have pictures of you up for ages- I assume that you had the 'they are judging me' button going on in your head before.
    Most of us do...
    And.... it doesn't matter. Really. If you are a DD or a GG or a sloping empty wasteland... it doesn't matter. Bodies in contact, flesh to flesh, touching.... has 0 to do with what it looks like, or what size it is. It's got to do with love, and taste, and sensation. And I know this, I know this in my soul and in my experience, and in my love- that making love to a 120 pound man or woman or a 500 pound man or woman- when I'm making love, it has NOTHING to do with what our culture says about bodies.
    And- I'm thinking that somewhere inside you, you know that too. That for all the stupid judgments we see, hear, and get into- love making is about accepting, and loving, what ever is in front of us, and in us, and about us. Really.
    I know you know that. This is just a reminder.
    You are an incredible living being- bud or stem, root or branch, going through a metamorphosis. Embrace all of it, as much as you can... just love yourself, and you will make it through this.
    About the car---- The universe is trying to teach both of us about 'asking' right now. Hard journey.... I'm doing my best with it. For a caretaker to have to ask for help... hard.
    Love you!
    4158 days ago
  • NANABABY5
    By the sounds of your blog you really have been riding an emotional rollercoaster; and I'm so sorry to hear about all the loses in your life. Some sound much tougher then others, but who am I to say ? To me, you are and always will be a very strong woman who knows exactly what she would like out of life. You have lost over 100 lbs !!!!! OMG! I had 30 lbs to lose, and have lost it, but wow, I am amazed by you. Think of the great things you have accomplished and hold onto that. We have to love ourselves inside out. Sometimes it feels like there is no one out there to listen or hear our cries ... but I believe there is. The first thing you should do my friend, is to give yourself the biggest hug you can. Love who you are. Because you are deserving of love. Yes, I too got saggy...but in time, things will improve slowly but surely they will. I'm starting to see the results...but it all had to happen inside out for me.The car can be replaced, but you can't.

    You have friends
    Take care of yourself,
    Hugs, Janet emoticon emoticon
    4158 days ago
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