Sunday, March 20, 2011

Salvaging the Balance

Some days... Damn.   It's not been as good of a day as it could have been and a lot of that blame falls directly on yours truly.  I could have made it better and I took the last few hours and blew it.  And I'm pissed and sad about that.

It started out like a gorgeous Spring day should.  It was 30 degrees on my way to church, where I cantored the 7:30am Mass then did home visits (for bringing Communion to the sick).  It was 40 degrees when I got home and the sun was shining.  Lovely day.  Peter had already fed the babies (he stayed home with them today, since Maya is just about well but Bobby is getting worse) so I grabbed a quick breakfast and played with them while he showered.  He played with them while I prepped and got our equinox luncheon started.  Then, the kids ate and went to nap.  It was all good.  Lunch was done, his parents and Sarah joined us, and the food was good.  I ate a little much to be honest, but didnt think much of it: it's a celebration after all.  Folks left and Peter said he'd take the kids out for a little daddy time so Sarah and I could hit the gym.  For joy!  So, 600 calories burned later, we get back home and the kids are having dinner...and this is where it starts to go downhill.

After eating a plate of dinner (I wasnt really hungry), I finished the kids yogurt (Greek yogurt? not going to waste in this house!!!)... then had a cookie...  then a piece of candy (okay, 4 pieces of candy).  Here's the worst part.  Even though Peter was giving the kids their bath, he and Sarah were right there.  I could have just called out "HEY!!! NEED SOME HELP IN HERE. EMOTIONALLY EATING."  But no... I just ate them, all the while feeling like I wanted to burst into tears.

I should back up.  There really is a reason for all of this.

I'm going to call this person "X", namely because I dont think I have any friends or family members whose names begin with that letter.  X is someone that I cannot stop interacting with for reasons that would give away who they are, but suffice it to say that X is in my life forever.  X doesnt always think before speaking and a lot of the issues with X arise out of their ignorance.  (I'll be using "their" as the pronoun instead of he/she since I'd like to keep X as anonymous as possible.)  I saw X recently and, as is usually the case, my weight came up.  X used to be much heavier but lost some weight and, ever since, has loved to make weight a topic of conversation.  One of our recent conversations included X asking me if I lost weight because I overheard X talking to Peter (or if Peter had told me about said conversation) because X wanted me to lose some weight.  I kindly explained that I had no knowledge of that particular conversation and that I lost weight because I stopped viewing food as an emotional crutch and started eating for my body.  But X still thinks they should have part of the glory for it since we (incessantly, it seems) talk about weight issues.  But, back to last week... So, X tells me about a girl from high school who was a cheerleader, only wanted to date football players, etc, but had a really bitchy personality and was nasty to "ugly people".  "But it's okay because the last time I saw her she was a real dump and was fat."

Don't get me wrong.  I talk a fair amount of trash and, if someone is mean, I find that I dont care so much if I bring up physical imperfections in said trash.  B.U.T.  I'm trying to do better and, since X makes comments like this a lot, I decided to say something.  Basically, I said that I never wanted words like that said around Bobby and Maya.  I dont want them to grow up linking their self worth to a number on the scale or believing that their weight somehow indicates the amount of love they are due from X (or anyone else).  X's response?  "Don't worry; I wont tell Bobby 'hey your mom used to be a dump'." (Dump is a word X uses interchangeably with words like "fatty" and "tubby".  Lovely.)

I wasn't trying to be nasty, but I was getting frustrated.  The kids were napping, which at least gave me pause when thinking I wanted to yell at X (or better yet, throw some of the dishes I was washing at them).  I believe I responded with something along the lines of how I am so tired of having my weight loss tossed up in my face and that I'm the same person I was 60 pounds ago.  And this is where the conversation got even worse (I know... Looking back, I wouldnt think it could get much worse, but it can!)  X tells me, point blank and with all seriousness, "Oh no, you are different.  Now you are skinny and pretty."

I've got to say.  That one stung.  A lot.  Actually, it was more like a slap in the face, a nice hard, open handed slap.  Virgin Mary, thank you, because I think I would have killed X, but instead, I heard this voice in my head, telling me that some people are just ignorant and that we have to accept that and try again later to educate them... That it wasnt worth the pain right then...  So, I turned around, shook my head, and washed my dishes.  X changed the subject (this is common...) and I chose to let it go.

But I havent.  It hurt.  A lot.  And it's been eating away at me since.  I'm actually surprised the food issue waited until today to pop.

X is on medication and uses that as a constant excuse when called on behavior.  But, like alcohol, the particular cocktail X takes is known to make your tongue more free.  You end up saying things you think without that "off" switch that most people have.  So, where as you might 'think' that person looks fat in those jeans, X will actually say it.  And then wonder why people are upset.  And, if called on it, will respond "I was just kidding."  But X isn't.  X is, possibly, irritated that they were called out on their behavior, but, give it time, and it will happen again.  I've known this for years.  Decades.  I thought I was used to it and, in a lot of ways, love can mend a lot of things, but usually (for me at least) there is a fair amount of hurt that comes before that mending.

But I digress...  Since talking to X, this has been eating away at me.  I never really gave a thought as to whether I was pretty (either when I was 150lbs and 18 years old, or 250lbs and pregnant with Bobby and Maya, or now).  Pretty is as pretty does and, as Mom always said, physical beauty is only skin deep.  Whether I am beautiful on the outside is in the eye of the beholder.  Peter thinks I'm beautiful and, in that regard, that's what matters.  I get flirted with at the gym from time to time, so I'm guessing I don't look like a junkyard dog, but still, not something I think about too much.  I dont wear make up (ever) and my hair is in a perpetual ponytail, so I'm not trying to impress anyone either.  Honestly, it doesnt bother me.  But hearing a comment that implies I'm pretty now so I must not have been pretty beforehand (or, I suppose, that being overweight made me unpretty), damn... that hurts.  (I wont even touch the skinny comment, since I dont think 5'7 and 180lbs=thin, but again, skinny is in the eye of the beholder and my goal has never been to be "skinny").

When someone you love (even though you recognize their ignorance) says things that cut you to the core... for me, that is one of the easiest triggers to get into the kitchen and eat, eat, eat.  And, tonight, in the silence of my head as I was cleaning up the kitchen, the evil monkey on my shoulder got the best of me.  One cookie, one candy then another and another and another.  I would have eaten more, but Peter told me that Maya was pointing to letters on her bath seat ("S" and "D" were the two I saw her do) and making their appropriate sounds (we've been doing the alphabet every day in homeschool).  As I was in the bathroom, the words just stumbled out "I'vebeeneatingcandyandIhavetogetoutofthekitchen..." He put his strong hands on my shoulders and told me not to worry... to play with the kids... that he'd handle the rest of the mess. (There wasnt a lot, thank goodness.)  So, I got out of the kitchen and spent some time with the babes as they finished up bathtime.

Sitting here, I'm angry.  At myself, mostly...  I let the comments get to me and get under my skin.  And, in that moment of weakness, I let my eating demons come lose.  It was 300 calories of crap I didnt need on top of the dinner I shouldnt have eaten because I wasnt hungry.  It pisses me off because I worked out hard and this entire week has been a wash anyway because I was trying a new calorie/workout combination (I'll be going back to my old way this coming week).  I could have talked to someone.  I could have blogged.  I could have just gotten away from the bowl of candy.  Normally, I walk by it without issue or I have a piece and that is it.  But not tonight.  Tonight, I wanted to stop my pain with some sugar.  So I ate it... and some more... and some more... and the pain is still there, only now, I've gotten to add some guilt and anger to it.  Fun times.

I refuse to let this day of perfect balance go to waste.  I will cling to something, to Peter, to the fact that I am finally getting back to a place of being comfortable in my own skin, to my kids, to my friendships.  I will take a deep breath and repeat my mantra: I am a good and worthwhile person and the number on the scale doesnt change that- no matter what it is.  I will acknowledge this day, not as a failure, but as a reminder that emotional eating IS my struggle and that, every single day, I fight the battle and, ultimately (I KNOW) I will win the war.

Deep breath... Deep breath... Balance.



If I say it enough, I'll find it... I'll believe it.  And, until then, I just watch old videos of Bobby and Maya with Peter and I'll remember that the true measure of the beauty in my life in found in their smiles and the love of my husband and babes.


Hillary said...

I know that you said that you can't get away from X for certain reasons, but they sound terribly poisonious and toxic. If there is anyway to aviod this individual then you should make this effort. If not for yourself then for your childrens sake! It sounds like its only a matter of time before X's attitude towards judging people speads and you should be prepared to protect yourself and your children.

I hope this situation turns around for you!

Leah said...

I'm so sorry Michele. You are human though, and need to forgive yourself. I have no doubt you will reach every weight loss goal you set for yourself. You are more determined than anyone I've ever seen. :)

I read this post with my mouth hanging open regarding X's comments. I've heard rude comments before, but this was beyond, and you didn't deserve them. At all.

My take on beauty is this. . . You need to see yourself as beautiful, and if you do, I truly believe others will as well. After having my baby girl 8 months ago, I didn't love my body. I actually hated it, and ate and ate more because of it. In looking back, I don't think one other preson could have seen me as beautiful because I was too busy self loathing. Now, I'm trying to be better with my weight, and I feel better about myself, and I think that that shows on the outside as well.

You were no doubt a beautiful person before, and you are beautiful now. Unfortunately, there will always be people who can't get further than skin deep.

I hope you are feeling much better today. :)

Joanna said...

I have an X or two in my life as well, for me they are family members. Lately, I'm finding myself cutting them off at the first comment with "I really don't want to talk about that" as I leave the room to the bathroom, kitchen, whatever. Sometimes its better to "nip it in the bud" as I find it's like a broken record, same story each time.

And don't dwell on stumbling with food this week. It happens to all of us - we're not perfect, but we're trying, right?