If you have read one or two of my posts then you can probably infer that I am divorced from an alcoholic, have 3 mostly grown kids, and am generally enjoying this time in my life rediscovering who I am and redefining who I want to be. A humongous part of my journey for the past 20 years has been a cycle of destroying and repairing my battered self image. I think this is quite a common struggle among women. Most women I know are losing weight, wanting to lose weight, striving to include exercise in their routines, reading and engaging in productivity workshops, and going to counseling, etc.
My self image was destroyed by ME. I did it. I gained 100 lbs in avoidance of my circumstance. I used food to escape, to feel good, to feel loved, to NOT feel, and mostly, to insulate myself. When I am overweight I feel invisible and invisibility limits engagement with life. I spent so many years at such a heightened emotional level, feeling lost as a stay at home mom and in the feeble attempt to guard my family against the invisible enemy of alcoholism (ok, I know thinking I had the ability to guard us from this disease sounds ridiculous, but this coping mechanism is a subject for another day) that I could not or would not allow myself to experience anything that might create an emotional spill over. I mean this in the most ridiculously strict way possible – I could not, really still do not, watch movies or read novels that I know up front might prick a sorrowful feeling in me. That would be risking tears. Crying was to be avoided at all cost, according to my old paradigm. I needed to be numb at most because I feared the emotional release – I feared what I would have to acknowledge in my life – and I feared that I would never stop crying! So, when I began to feel almost anything, good or bad, I ate. I ATE IT ALL.
I realize this may all sound super dramatic. “Really, Bonnie? You thought you could regulate your entire emotional well being with food?” And, well, I did, sort of. I also have a beautiful group of friends and an insanely supportive family who loved and nurtured me as well. But food took a place in my life it should never have held.
I have worked hard to repair both the emotional damage I have collected as well as the damage I caused by weight gain to my physical body. These toxic habits of mind and body are excruciatingly difficult to break, bend, and mold into ones that serve me instead of battle me.
I have lost 40 lbs since the divorce. I still have 50 or so to go.
I am at a plateau of sorts. I AM HAPPY. It is a terrifying and strange place to be. It turns out that when I allow myself to feel the good feelings I am also bound to feel the bad ones. “Bound” in that I have no choice but to feel the entire range of emotions. Going from mostly numb to enduring the colossal spectrum of emotion from elation to grief has been, honestly, VERY unsettling. When I feel some of the same emotions that were triggered during the bad times, even though these emotions do not carry the same weight or impending doom, the habit is to allow the old fear to take over. And, this of course requires cake. (Not really, but you can see where my habits may be screaming this.)
I am in an emotional plateau and I recognize this and am working on acknowledging it and creating habits and a mindset that will better serve me. I want to feel beautiful again. I want to be able to go on adventures and not feel hindered by my physical body. I am also done with being invisible. I am ready to fully participate in this world and to do that, I need to be SEEN and to be HEARD. How terrifyingly thrilling!