Up From Rock Bottom-ish
Thursday, June 13, 2013
So first of all, I would like to thank those who visited my blog last weekend and left words of encouragement. I’m not sure that I hit THE rock bottom last weekend, but I did hit A rock bottom. I was in a funk and feeling sorry for myself and it all felt pretty hopeless. But by sitting at the bottom of the pit for a while, my thoughts gradually transformed. I have spent so much of my time waiting for the better body to arrive that I have been neglecting the one I have right now.
The last couple summers I have worn two pretty frumpy pairs of capris, two pairs of hand-me-down sandals and whatever t-shirts Walmart had that didn’t look too crappy. The thought of going to work and classes and wherever looking like my best friend Paula’s mom when we were growing up—polyester, elastic waistband pants and hideously patterned nylon blouses—made me cringe. I know that this may smack of retail therapy, and perhaps it is, but I went online and bought two new pairs of sandals, three pairs of capris (non-polyester, thank you very much), five tank tops, three cardigan-type jackets and the piece de resistance, a pair of hot pink converse mules. It was not inexpensive (over $400), but I figure I can put together at least ten somewhat fashionable outfits that make me feel better about me. And they are all in a size 28. And I deserve to do kind things for myself even though I am a size 28.
Now I am going to go out on a limb here, because what I have to say next may not sit right with my fellow Sparkers. What I remembered down in that pit this weekend was that it’s not about the food. It’s not about the exercise. If it were, I would be a size 2. I know how to count the calories and read the labels and walk on the treadmill. I could have my PhD in what to eat and how to exercise. What my “education” never taught me was emotional intelligence. I can pull myself up by my bootstraps and reign in my free will to follow a diet and exercise plan, what I can’t do is listen to myself and my body and feed myself whatever it needs, whether it be a piece of cake or a comforting nap. That is where my attention needs to be right now—on learning to cope and take care of my emotional needs. Perhaps there are people out there who can work on the food and the emotions at the same time. I have learned that I am not one of them. So for now, my meals will consist of a hefty helping of attention and awareness, along with a side dish of whatever food appeals to my palate.
One last thought—I wrote about how constricting it felt to squeeze myself into size 26 jeans, how my body threatened to spill out at any moment, and I later wondered if that was a bit of a metaphor for my life. In the last year, my life has expanded in ways I could never have imagined—I am in school, working toward the career of my dreams, I am in a job now where I have become quite well-respected and influential in my organization (even though it isn’t what my heart desires), and I am looking at my life with an eye toward the possibility of being single again after 20-some years. I have outgrown my old life, is it possible that that is part of why I have outgrown my jeans? And if it is possible to outgrow myself, can I please not do it physically?