Sunday, December 20, 2015

Like learning from your past self.

Today I did a super old yoga video that I got when I was like 18.  So, yeah, super old.  :)

It was good to do it again but I couldn't help but think about how if I had been doing it regularly since then (so, 21 years or so) that I would be so flexible and good at all the moves now.  And then I started in with the guilt, and then the plans.

sure, I haven't been doing the other exercise plan I had planned to do but I could start doing this.  I could - no SHOULD do this.  I could get so flexible and lose weight ... or, maybe I wouldn't lose weight from just the yoga, after all, it is old school yoga.  Not easy, per se, but certainly not the yoga of 2015, no power this or sweaty that.  So, ok, I could add in the weights.  Yes!  5 - no! 6 days a week!  I will lose so much weight and get so flexible and fix all the stuff of my life!  

Then I felt like shit and talked to dh about it all.   I think I have too high of expectations.  And I think I have a 'loving myself' problem.   So I went to my old posts to see if I've been down this road before and I found this letter.  And so I'm posting it again, to remind myself.   I don't agree with all of the stuff, but a LOT of it hits home.  

Hi mom,

i was lying in bed last night trying to compose a big email to you to tell you all the reasons that this battle is worth it, even if we only lose at .5lbs per week. i laid there for almost an hour composing, getting myself all inspired, planning on inspiring you.

then i woke up this morning and my weight was the same as yesterday and i entered it into my chart and although the trend line is still going down i heard that evil voice that has been talking to you, inside my head. it said all the things it has been saying to you.

this is too slow. nothing is probably happening really anyway. what is the point? i wanna eat ice cream and not watch my food and enjoy my life instead of struggling to lose a measly half pound every week if that! this sucks. i will never get to my goal at this rate. i wanted to be really close to my goal by my birthday so i can go dancing with sam and look so cute (in your case go to mexico and not look like a beached whale, if i remember correctly). if i am gonna look like crap for that event and afterwards then what is the friggin point? other people lose so much faster than this. my body WANTS to be at this weight. obviously it is fighting me tooth and nail.
I am sure that your evil head voice (from here on known as EHV) is saying some combination of these words. probably some other ones that my EHV isn't saying. these are the words that he (EHV) has been saying to you your whole life. these are the words that he has used to stop you in your tracks every time you start to make progress.

now you may be asking why he would want to stop you in your tracks when the goal is something good for you. well, there are probably a ton of reasons (maybe you are afraid of being trim cause of that sleeze ball who molested you or maybe you don't really believe that you are a person who can be trim because you were told at such an impressionable age that you were fat even when you weren't by my dad). the truth is that it doesn't matter why EHV is trying to stop you. what matters is that you recognize that those thoughts are not rational.

now this is something that i myself struggle with hugely. therapy girl is always asking me if something i just said is rational and i almost always have to agree that it is not. if we are overweight (which we are) and we want to be a healthy weight (which we do) then it is irrational to believe that because that goal may take more time than we wish that it is either not attainable or not worth the amount of time it will take. for example, even if it takes us TWO YEARS to get to goal that time will undoubtedly be added onto our life expectancy. which would mean that we get (after subtracting the amount of time it took us to get to goal) the same amount of total years but those years are at our goal weight! that means that all the years we have after that are years we could do things that we can't or don't want to do now. years of getting in and out of a kayak. years of salsa dancing. years of not worrying about how we look on vacation. years of not beating ourselves up because we can't get out of a kayak. years of not beating ourselves up because we "can't control our weight".

on the subject of being judged about how we look on vacation.....people are going to judge you no matter what your weight. that is the bad ugly truth, mom. if you lose twenty pounds before then, people will judge you. if you lose forty pounds, people will judge you. people will always judge everyone they see, that is the way it is. you are no less lovable because you are not at your goal weight. i know that we both worry about what other people think of us but no one will notice your loss as much as you and if you are trying to lose weight to avoid criticism then you need to reevaluate your motivation (yeah, yeah, me too. :) ) No one can avoid criticism. the only thing we can do is love ourselves enough to not give a damn what other people think about us. this is obviously a huge mountain to climb. i can almost hear you saying that either you don't love yourself that much or that other people don't like you or love you and that makes you not love yourself or what ever. that has been my refrain for years, too. especially when i am pms-ing and feeling defeated. the problem with that refrain is that it is irrational. see a pattern here? :)

you are a survivor, mom. and so am i. we survived living with step-dad (and you survived dad!). you are always saying, "i can't change this, i can't change that, that is just how i am". but you can't fool me, mom. you are a very very strong woman. you may be refusing to claim that, and i don't know why, and you can refuse to claim it but it is who you are. it is at your core. you are one of the strongest women i know. did you hear that? you are one of the strongest women i know! there is a lioness inside you and she is just sitting there waiting for you to stop pretending that you are a victim who can't change anything and whom no one likes, blah blah blah. she is laid out in the grass of your soul, waiting patiently for you to take off that coat that you are wearing. that coat isn't who you are. that coat is a coat that you put on to protect yourself. i can even remember when you put that coat on. you are a shiner, mom, and you put that coat on and all those rays of light that are shooting out from your soul are just hidden under that coat.

some day, and some day soon i hope, you are gonna stand up and drop that coat to the floor where it belongs. when you do that, the lioness inside you will stand up and claim her life, mom! i don't know what you may be thinking right now, shaking your head at your crazy daughter probably. but i don't care! i know who we are. we are children of God, mom. we are crafted from the stuff of God. We are divine, holy, regal. we are lionesses who are pretending that we are Eyore. we are not!

there is a part of you who knows what you deserved. and what you deserve. there is a part of you that craves and needs and yearns with ever fiber of her soul to be taken care of for once in her life! luckily for us there are two people who can do that for us. God is one of those people (excuse the messy terminology here. :) ). he is there for us and i know that because you taught me that. i like to picture Him in the form of grandpa, maybe that would work for you? i picture him in that chair just like the picture you have of him over your computer. he is sitting in that chair with his arms outstretched, welcoming me into his lap. i am tiny and can fit. he is always sitting in that chair waiting for me. and he is always waiting for you.

the second person is you. now i know i have talked to you about this before or slightly related subjects and i think that your knee jerk reaction might be "but i shouldn't have to nurture myself, i want someone else (ie a man (sam in my case, dh in yours?)) to do that. i don't know if this comes to your mind or not but it comes to mine. when sam and i were almost splitting and i needed some loving care i told tg that i needed that and she said that i could give it to myself and i wanted to punch her. :) how is it being taken care of if you have to do it yourself?!?!? this really pissed me off and made me feel tired. i thought of it like trying to give yourself a massage, what is the point? it is certainly not the same thing as laying there relaxing while someone else does the work. luckily for me at the time, he was incapable of comforting me. i say luckily because it gave me my first taste of really nurturing myself. if he had been able to nurture me, i would never have started to learn to do it myself.

i can almost hear your protesting but here is what i learned. i sometimes feel like a black hole. i feel like i can never get enough love and affection. even with the way that sam used to be in the beginning (sometimes still but not really) it wasn't enough, i always wanted to go back for more. what i figured out is that it will never be enough. i will never be able to get enough from him or anyone else (no matter how skinny and cute they think i am or how nice or how smart or how whatever). the reason that their approval will never be enough and why it is so devastating to me is because i don't' have my own approval.

i have spent years and years and years looking outside myself for my self worth. i know that you do this too because you taught it to me. i don't mean to be harsh here, i know that someone taught it to you. grandma? no matter. what matters is that we stop judging ourselves based on the tide of other peoples opinions. if someone is mean to me (or i perceive them to be) then i feel bad about myself (and them). if someone likes me then i feel validated. the obvious problem with this is that all of my emotions are tied to what they are feeling....bad deal! we need a foundation of love for ourselves. this is what all those self help books say and that is kind of irritating but it is true. you will never believe that someone loves you until you believe that you are lovable. the only way to believe that you are lovable is to love yourself and accept that god created you in all your splendor. you must figure out how to love yourself.

now maybe you are saying "i do love myself!" . it is hard to have a conversation this way! :) if in fact you are saying that then i will counter with this..." if you loved yourself you would not consider overfeeding your body and causing damage to it "enjoying your life" ". you would not consider staying in a physical shape where you can't do the things you want to do and you beat yourself up mercilessly for being in that shape. you said that sometimes you just want to stop dieting and enjoy eating and your life. mom, i have seen you getting dressed and slapping your stomach. i have seen you rushing through your food, even food you are enjoying. that isn't enjoying your life. you are not enjoying your life and i am pretty sure that if you gave up dieting you would not enjoy your life. how can your soul enjoy doing damage to itself?

i have been "dieting" for six years...more if you count just thinking about my weight and feeling guilty about what i eat. you have been "dieting" for as long as i can remember. i can not remember a time when we didn't have lowfat stuff in the house. we never had soda and cookies and garbage in the house. it is a little depressing if you think about all the years that we have spent trying to get thin only to be fatter and fatter.

i think the reason that it has never worked is because we were doing it because we hated ourselves, not because we loved ourselves. if you could hear some of the things that i have said to myself about my weight and eating habits you would be appalled. i am sure the same goes for me hearing your inner dialog.

i know you pretty well, mom. and i love you even better. i know that eventually the lioness is gonna win. god doesn't give up on us. this isn't about me wanting you to be skinny or wanting myself to be skinny (although wouldn't that be lovely?). it is about the fact that we have sustained enough abuse in our lives. it is time to take ourselves into our bosoms and give ourselves a hug for doing such a great job. it is time for us to really think about what our hearts desire and then give it to ourselves. we have to be our own saviors. there is no good reason to give up. there is only a good reason to give up abusing ourselves.

don't listen to EHV.

homework: :)

write me back a list of three things that you love about yourself. i don't want to hear that you can't think of three things (if you are quiet the lioness will speak).

my three things:

1) i am pretty funny
2) i love learning new things
3) my lips

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