I’ve been teetering this past week or two with the feelings of victory and momentum I’ve gained with my weight loss and the ever-present darkness of self-doubt that waits to pounce on me and pull me back down into the bowels of the addiction/binging prison that I’ve left behind. I am in a delicate time in this process where I KNOW that I have given up so much and am working hard to overcome the comfortable habits I’ve been living with and allowing to cripple me for a lifetime. It’s easy to become doubtful or fearful of failure because the results are not as exciting or rapid as I was hoping…and the addict in my brain is convincing me it’s not worth it. I know that it is…I’m just being honest about the reality of the war in my head.
This weekend was filled with fun and friends. My husband and I were out on the town and fancy free! We had the pleasure of traveling to be at friends surprise party and then made plans to join another couple in San Francisco. We stayed overnight, got to sleep in, walked around and had brunch before heading back home yesterday. As far as kidless weekends go, it was glorious!
And as far as anyone else knows, I had the time of my life! And I did…except there is always the underlying issue I have to deal with whenever I am participating in being a human being in public. What is that issue?
I’m still fat.
On the outside, and to most everyone I am still fat. Even though my clothes are fitting better, and my body feels slightly different and just genuinely BETTER…the fact remains. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for the changes I can actually see and feel, though they are slight, they have boosted my confidence and have spurred me to keep generating the momentum I need to keep going.
That being said, to meander down a busy street in a big city on a Sunday morning is still just as awkward and painful and humiliating as it was 25 pounds ago. With each pair of raised eyebrows, and stares and scoffs I could feel a ding and a chip and a swipe at my thin little armor of confidence. People’s faces speak a language all their own, to which I have become fluent. The look I get most of the time after someone sizes me up is one that says,
” Wow. Really? You should be ashamed of yourself.” Or “Poor thing.” Shaking heads in disbelief. Which is usually followed with a look of confusion when realized that My hubs is MY HUBS and actually WITH me. He thinks this is all in my head. I wish it were. The sad thing is, we ALL do it. I’m guilty of it too. The sharp and simple judgements we make when we see others. When we “people watch”.
These kinds of experiences have gotten worse with each pound I have packed on over the years. Yet I still shudder to think of the experiences had by those who’ve had it and will always have it worse than me. In any case, we become numb to it. The embarrassment of being in my skin returns and that little momentum and hope I’ve worked so hard for disappears under the weight of all the familiar looks and snickers. But I’ve learned how to ignore it. Let it roll over me like a wave while I try to keep my cool and not let it affect the bluff of my composure. I don’t want to upset the herd or bring MORE attention to myself so I tuck it away. Fold it up and slip it into that lock box in my heart that’s reserved just for shame and self loathing. In the past, it would have set me up splendidly for a private and ugly couple of days of binging and self-abuse. But since I am committed to NOT dealing with things in my old familiar ways, and am also committed to being honest and REAL in this process and can longer engage in old behaviors, I am writing about it instead.
This is an excerpt from an article I read this morning which I thought was brilliantly written:
“The way that our country treats human bodies, fat and thin and in between, is barbaric…We frame people’s bodies as physical manifestations of their supposed moral failings, just so that we can congratulate ourselves on not being them. We publicly humiliate and dehumanize children to prop up the multibillion-dollar weight-loss industry. And then we tell fat people that they’re the villains.”
So if my new method of dealing with things is to SPEAK the truth to myself instead of LISTENING to that old tape of lies in my head…then the truth is, my body is NOT the manifestation of my moral or even spiritual failures. My worth is not determined by strangers or anyone else who thinks they can size me up by how I look. I am a human being with life and loves and feelings. Just as anyone else is whom I may be tempted to look upon and judge harshly. I no longer have to keep a cold, hard, locked box in my heart. Because that is not freedom. When I am convinced that I should, my faith reminds me that there was a dire price paid for me to have a warm, fleshy heart. Free to love and feel abundantly. A heart free to be tender and kind despite the risk of being hurt and torn. A heart that needed to be reminded that this whole pursuit of a “meaningful makeover” is not about becoming skinny. I may never, ever, ever, lose this weight. That wasn’t and can’t be the point. The point of all of this is to love myself because God loves me and thought me valuable enough to breathe life into my lungs this morning and allow me to wake up and write this down.
“…and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. Look a little closer. Stare a little longer. Because there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit. You built a cast around your broken heart and signed it yourself…you signed it “they were wrong”…”
– Shane Koyczan
Wow. Very nicely written, and emotionally charged while gracious and kind to others and yourself. Well done, Mandi. Stay the course. You are making progress and others are starting to get caught up in your wake.
Your words on love reminded me of this quote from C.S. Lewis (which I used at the Love Does Stuff conference last week…and I have no idea where it came from):
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
Thank you for not putting your heart into a casket (or maybe for being willing to take it out in full view of us all).
Thank you so much. The Lewis quote is PERFECT. I JUST MAY TATTOO IT. Lol 😉
Quit making me cry Siever!
Mandi, this post says so much about who we are as a people and about who you are. Randy has really said it all! How you can be gracious when you deserve to cut these people down at the knees is amazing to me. Yet, I have also found myself making judgements. I hate that I do. I know we all do, you are right. And, most of the time, it’s really a judgement of our our selves, our own weaknesses, that we see in others. Or the strength in others that scares us.
You are strong at the core. Rely on that. Your progress will continue.
You inspire me every day. <3
Awwwww! Thanks Jackie! I so appreciate the support and that you even care to read it!! Hahaha!
I love your honesty here. And whether you realize it or not, you speak for many. So many people have self esteem issues for whatever reason. I commend you for speaking so forthrightly about this, and for keeping up your fight. I think you are courageous. You are baring your soul and helping others in the process. You probably have no idea how many people read this and are helped by it. We are all so much more than we think we are. Truly!
Linda, I’ve never meant you but I am becoming so blessed by my new friendship with you. Thanks for the support and for reading! Xoxo
Mandi I’m so proud of you…xxoo