Saturday, December 06, 2008

Chapter IX: Weight - Where Am I going?

Good golly. Where am I now and where am I going? “Messed up, but trying to get better” is the short answer, but if you’ve been following along for a while you know that I never stop at the short answer. If nothing else, I do know how to fill a page (or screen) with words.

I am working to put all the connections together, to really understand how my behavior was formed early on and that if I don’t think, don’t consciously choose not to do certain things I will do them without a thought or hesitation. I learned very early on that food equals comfort, food equals companionship, food is my friend. I also learned that I couldn’t count on my parents for hugs and kisses. They are not that kind of people. They do not hug anyone unless forced into it by some well-meaning unsuspecting person such as N. I could not count on them to love me if I didn’t meet their standards, and I seldom felt that I met their standards. To this day, if I feel like a failure (and anything less than perfection is a failure to me) my gut instinct is to comfort myself with food, and not just any food. It has to be junk food. Eating a plateful of zucchini is not going to be a satisfying binge for me. Well, not unless it is battered and deep-fried, preferably with ranch dressing on the side for dipping. To this day, when I am feeling a lack of affection or uncertain in my relationships, I prowl for the next man I might be able to attract so that I might fill the void physically, if not emotionally.

I have stunned myself by seeing that only once in my entire life have I maintained a monogamous relationship for any significant length of time, and that has been with W. W is the only person I’ve found so far that for several years made me feel protected, loved, and accepted. Only in the last few years of our marriage, as we drifted apart, did I start to feel those old yearnings to find the next man, or another man, or an additional man. Part of my regaining weight I believe was to make myself unattractive to other men, to protect myself from myself and my self-destructive ways with men. I have also realized how much I truly loved W at one time, and how much I had hoped I could get back to that place, that he and I could work together to get back what we used to have or to grow into an even better, healthier place. It has been a most difficult realization to accept that he and I are really through, that even with a counselor that was as much as either of us could have wanted a counselor to be we could not find enough common ground to make things work. I tired so much of hollow agreements made and then broken, of too often hearing that things would change only to have them stay just the same.

I realize that I have to find an alternative way to fill the void other than food and other than men, and that alternative needs to be a physically and emotionally healthy alternative. Not alcohol, not drugs, not smoking (yeah, I did for a while in my teens and 20s, and hadn’t been tempted since until the last couple of years, but I haven’t. It’s expensive, and unhealthy, and smells very bad). So this is where I am. I am looking for the alternative(s). As of this moment, I’m not sure what to substitute or how to find it. (I originally wrote these last few sentences a couple of years ago in the original series of posts. They still apply. Somehow I got stuck at this point.)

I realize that I need to refocus my priorities on my health. I need to focus on eating in healthy ways and not worry what the scale shows for a while. I need to focus on walking, swimming, playing ball with N, anything to get my butt out of the recliner and get me moving. I need to be more consistent in being active rather than letting the least little thing keep me from it. I need to focus on becoming more emotionally healthy, stopping the negative self-talk, trying to set for myself realistic expectations instead of the unattainable perfectionism.

I realize that having BJ in my life means that I have to find a different way of thinking about men, a healthier way. I try very hard to be independent and not to lean on him, and that is very difficult for me to do. I am one who has always leaned on a man, or multiple men, to help prop me up. BJ, unlike W, doesn’t want me to lean on him, and it is probably not healthy for me to do so. In situations where W would have just taken care of something for me, BJ encourages me to do it on my own. I hate that! Yet, at the same time, I appreciate it. It’s not easy standing on your own two feet when you haven’t had to for 20+ years, but it’s a good skill to learn.

I realize that now that I’ve found a job and a church in which I am comfortable I am quite likely headed down the right path to a tranquil and peaceful psyche once I get a couple more pieces in place (like finalizing the divorce for one), and I have to continue, for now, swimming through the shit to finally get there. This too shall pass, as they (whoever “they” are) say.

I still have a lot of work to do to make myself healthy again.

While this is the end of this series of posts on my history of weight related issues I certainly cannot say “The End” here because this is not the end. This is merely the beginning of the rest of the journey.

So I’ll simply end by saying:

To be continued. . .


Sailor said...

I'm glad that it's a to be continued, because aren't all of us continuing, all the time?

Digger Jones said...

I think you're on a good trajectory. One thing that has helped me through a few of my vices and compulsions was blogging it. I got good feedback, but I was also able to write through a lot of the feelings and process better. As long as you don't get wrapped up in what other people say about you, you show a real knack for that sort of insight.

This whole series was a good read.

Trueself said...

Sailor - Better to continue than the alternative. . .

Digger - It does help to write it out as does rereading it occasionally. Glad you enjoyed reading it.