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?
Copyright © 2010. Cassandra Kelly. All Rights Reserved.