Lately it’s occurred to me that there are a lot of topics that I’d like to be talking about, and am currently just avoiding because I’m afraid I’m not smart enough to add to the conversation. But today it hit me that if I don’t at least take a stab at expressing myself, I’ll never get better at doing it. So from now on, I’m going to try to sit down and share a thought with you whenever something juicy arises.
Tonight, I’m thinking about my career, and how stuck I’m feeling right now. But I’m also thinking about my weight, and how I’m currently at my heaviest ever – about 178 lbs. My frame is meant to hold about 140 lbs, and it’s starting to take its toll. My knees are hurting, and my back, which has been pretty much constantly in pain since I threw it out about four years ago, is not looking to let up any time soon. Tonight, I binged at dinner again. I wanted to eat some cookies, but instead I had clam chowder, two and a half helpings (a full container) of pizza bites, cheese and crackers, a pint of coconut ice cream, and two diet cokes. In that order. I was uncomfortably full after the clam chowder, but the rest just found its way in.
That being said, I think I should get some help. I keep trying to make changes, to exercise daily, to cut down on my food, to log every bite, to drink more water, to “think thin”, to love myself. But that last bit throws me every time. I just don’t. I like myself, in a general way. I have more self-confidence than a lot of people I know seem to. I believe that I can accomplish a great many things, and in general I’ve been pretty good at following through with those accomplishments, at least until the last few years of frustrating career standstill and looming poverty. But the food issue has been here for my whole life. It’s just that my metabolism was helping me out with covering it up before. Now I’m getting old, and my dirty little secret is slowly becoming noticeable, tacked onto my hips. If only Hawthorne had written about the Scarlet Letter NOM.
My boyfriend told me about this exercise that therapists sometimes have their clients do. You’re supposed to look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself out loud, “I love you.” I tried it. I looked into my eyes, I smiled, I said it…but I knew I was lying. I hated that woman in the mirror. I was disgusted that she’d be so duplicitous. I tried it a few different times, thinking that one day I’d catch myself unawares and the love would finally start to sink in. Utter failure. I can’t do it. Some days I can’t even talk. I catch sight of myself in the mirror and wish for a cigarette. I don’t smoke – never have. It seems like the right thing. I want my lungs to burn so I have an excuse for my stomach to be churning whenever the L word tries to come out.
So, to the therapist it is. With what money? I don’t know. Family Services offers counseling on a sliding scale, so I guess that’s where I’ll go. If I put $10 in a jar every time I’m thinking about going to get a sandwich when I’m not even hungry, I’ll have the first two sessions paid up within a couple of days.
It’s important to note that the difference here, maybe the reason that I’m finally able to admit that this is a serious issue that’s not going away, is that I’m finally not feeling crippling shame about it. Not like before, anyway. Before, my weight was connected to my sense of self worth, specifically where my beauty (or conception of said beauty) was concerned. The bigger I got, the uglier I felt, and the uglier I was, the more I wanted to eat, and the more I ate…you get it. If I felt fat, I couldn’t bear to be touched. It made me push people away, to be less loving in an attempt to have them stop pretending I was worthy of being loved…a killer cycle.
Suddenly, I’m able to separate weight and beauty in a way that I couldn’t before. It’s not OK, by any means, but it’s significantly different. I think that some of this is because I’m with someone I’m finding that I love unconditionally, and I’m feeling worthy of that same kind of regard. He makes me feel beautiful and somehow treasured, like a tiny thing, protected and loved in a way I’ve never allowed myself to feel before. It’s helping me work out a lot of the kinks in my thought patterns. There’s a long way to go, but he’s helping more than he could know.