Thursday, May 26, 2011
I am an insecure person by nurture. Yes, you did not read it incorrectly, by nurture, not nature. When we come out of the womb naked and thrown on the scale for the first time, we don't care about the numbers on the scale or worry about how we look. We don't know any better. It is only by nurture that we develop our sense of self and our insecurities.
I can't really put my finger on when I became insecure (about everything). It is just a feeling I have always had. Ten years ago, if you would have asked me if I could change anything in my life what would it be. My answer would have been that I wish I had gone to college right out of high school. If you asked me that same question today, my answer is totally different. I would now answer that I wish I had the nature to stand up for myself and fight for what I really wanted and needed, which would have allowed me to go to college right out of high school. I let my nurture rule my life for many years, let it define me, let it continue to breed my insecure ways.
With insecurity comes the search for security. Although, I have searched for security in many ways, one of the "security " blankets, or "Wookies" I use quite often is the cardigan sweater. I own tons of them, in every color, style and sleeve length. I hide my insecurities about they way I look behind these cardigans. So much so, that even when it 110 degrees outside, I still wear one. I told my mom the other day, that this was going to be the summer of shorts (also something I don't wear because of my insecurities) but I along with the summer of shorts, I am going to go one step further and make it the summer of NO CARDIGAN sweaters. I have to do this because if I don't become comfortable with the person I am, right here, right now, it won't matter what the numbers are on the scale. I will just keep hiding.
Today was as good as any day to start, and I left the cardigan at home (it is going to be 101 degrees here today). It is tough, I feel like a part of my is missing, I feel exposed. But at the same time it is liberating and cooler ;-).
The ultimate test for me will be later this summer. I am attending two weddings and am determined to wear dresses (maybe even strapless), with no CARDIGAN SWEATERS!! As a breath a heavy sigh, I am up for the challenge. I can do it!
Here's to what I am hoping will be a cooler summer and good bye to my Wookies!
Monday, May 23, 2011
I had a frustrating week last week and with frustrating situations comes the inevitability of how I am going to handle them. As my weekend began, how I handled them really got me thinking about who is really in control.
When I got home from work on Friday I had the blahs and recognized that I probably should not have more than one glass of wine and watching "Say Yes to the Dress" was out of the question. You see I was in one of those moods where even though I was upset about the way things were going at work, I knew eventually it would turn into how everything in my life (past and present) was upsetting me. Watching "Say Yes to the Dress" in this kind mood always leads me to tears over would could have been and I knew I should not go down that road. It was a good decision, but one I don't make or seem to recognize as often as I wish I would. So, that got me thinking about control. The control so many things in my life have over me. As I was making breakfast on Saturday I thought, I wonder if there will ever be a time in my life where food does not have control over me, but I have control over it? Right now it is controlling me, or rather it is controlling what I can't control in my life. I'm not out of control eating, but I am definitely eating to ease the uncertainty I am going through. So, I started to think back to the beginning of last year, and what changed in my thinking so that I could get control of food. Well, my life was simpler at this time. I was not about to lose my job. At that time, I also started tackling my problems at the choke point, or as I like to say getting to the bottom of what was "eating" me. Flash forward to today, I really have stopped the intense sole searching I was doing because the weight had come off. However as much as I would have liked it to, the problems did not come off with the weight. They are still there, and will always be there to some degree. So, where does that leave me. Back to the choke point. Back to REALLY dealing with is eating me.
So, what is eating me? Let's start with just something simple like the fact that I am worried about finding a new job. Anyone would be in this economic uncertainty. But as I said above, it is always so much more than that to me. One simple problem opens up my flood gates. When the flood gates open I start to lose any sense of self-esteem I have. I begin to doubt who I am, what I am and what I truly deserve. Then I shut down and the flood gates keep gushing. I try plugging them up with the various things that I usually use but stuff just keeps seeping through. I am NOT in control.
Of course, food is a huge issue for me. But when those flood gates opened up, like they did this weekend, another common theme reared its wet ways; If you let me, I can prove to you I am good enough. This is a common theme in the relationships in my life. As far as romantic relationships go, I always seem to be interested in men that are unavailable, either emotionally, or just plan not available (to young, involved, you get the picture). You see if I can prove to them how wonderful I am, then maybe they will become available??? If I can prove to them how wonderful I am, maybe I can finally believe it myself??
It really hit me hard this weekend, but I am finally coming to the realization that when my life is out of control the only way I know how to be in control is to eat (over eat, under eat or purge) and shop. If I feed what seems like hunger on the inside and make the outside look good then no one will ever know I am not in control, right? WRONG!
So, who's really in control of my life, lack of self esteem/confidence, that is who. This lack of self esteem/confidence has been in control for as long as I can remember, and quite frankly, it is exhausting. Can I gain control over something I have never had. I am not sure? I will tell you this though, I have to to try. I want more for myself, I really do.
Where do I start? The first place is to stop feeding the hunger with food and start feeding it with acceptance.
Can I do it...stay tuned!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Last night I was feeling uneasy and what I eventually said to myself was a feeling of limbo. In the midst of this analyzing I was eating, and saying to myself, "you know you are going over your calories for today, but you know what, that is ok, because once you are out of this state of limbo, you can really put the pedal to the metal, and lose those six pounds you need to lose". Then I thought, what does limbo have to do with it? Does limbo mean that you don't have to watch what you eat or exercise? I am pretty sure I can answer my own question, which is no, that is not what limbo means. I am laughing and shaking my head as I write this because it is so funny how often I do this. You know, trying to justify one behavior with another. If I really thought about it, isn't life always going to have some sort of limbo in it? So does that mean I will never have to lose those six pounds, or exercise, or do anything I need to do, because I will always be in some sort of limbo? Again, I think I know the answer to that question.
I have said it before and I am going to have to say it again, old habits die hard, and this is one of the worst habits for me. I always think of this quote from Gone with the Wind, "After all, tomorrow is another day" when I think about how I approach things with a later rather then now mentality. That is what I am doing really, putting of what I can do today until tomorrow. That comes in part from this extremely annoying habit of mine to be perfect. If I can't do it perfectly, then why do it at all. Did you pick up on that, another one of my justification. Why walk when you can run, right?
My son got an award in 6th grade from a teacher for his enthusiasm. Instead of just saying "here" when the teacher was calling roll, he would said, "here and ready to learn". I need to take a lesson from him and say "I am here and ready to learn." Learn that I can't be perfect, I just have to be me. Learn from my Spark friends. Learn what works and does not work for them. Learn that my past behaviors do not work, and that putting off what you can do today until tomorrow serves no real purpose. Now, I know that six pounds does not seem like much, and in the grander scheme of things it is not. But six pounds can become sixty really quick, that I do know!!!
Knowing that things are in limbo in my life is a good place to start. I just have to learn how to deal with it better then with justifications, cookies and shoes.
I am here and ready to learn....today rather then tomorrow!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
These were three words used by a speaker I listened to this past weekend. A friend of mine invited me to attend a breakfast that was organized by her church. The theme of the meeting was how can a woman be unshakable in times of struggle. The speaker used these words in conjunction with prayer and problems and I thought these words were pretty relevant to all the issues that are shared here on SparkPeople everyday.
Openness is an interesting one. I am always amazed at how honest and open people here are. I think it is truly brave to be able to share OPENLY the struggles people face both past and present. But now after hearing the context in which the speaker used openness do I truly understand why it is so important. You cannot receive the help need if you are not truly open. Case in point. I often times read thoughts like this; I know I am upset but I just can't put my finger on why (I am famous for this). Okay, if we really knew why, then it would be really easy to just deal with it and move on. How often does that happen? Not to often... You see, I think we really know what is bothering us, we are just to scared to be open about it. We are scared about what people might think or how they will react. We are scared to have to face the problem head on or plain and simple, we just don't want to face the problem at all. I have said it before and I am going to say it again, until I am truly OPEN about my problems and how they relate to my need for food this is going to be an everyday struggle. Right now, I am sick, school is kicking my butt and I am about to be unemployed and I gotta tell you, I have been feeding my fears and worries with food. It is what I do, it is all I know how to do. There, I opened up...was that so bad....
Humility, well, that is as tough as openness is. By definition, humility means "the quality of being modest, reverential, even politely submissive, and never being arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing" From a religious standpoint, and how the speaker was interpreting the definition, humility means "A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God's sake". The way the speaker put it was we have to be humble enough to admit that we have problems and admit that we need help with them. Another tough one right? As humans, we want to be strong, we want to be able to deal with our problems on our own. The way I see it is, God put all sorts of wonderful people on earth who became doctors, nutritionist, personal trainers, friends, etc. so that we may seek out the help we need instead of always trying to go it on our own. Friends are great, everyone knows that, and friends try to help us in their own way. However, if we are not totally honest with them about things, then they really can't help us can they? Also, sometimes friends, are not totally open with us because they want to be our friend and don't want to hurt us. This is one of the reasons I think seeking other avenues for help is something that is truly beneficial. Ten years ago I would have never shared my feelings on blogs....but now I do. Why, because I sought help from a professional that told me to get my feelings out in the open by writing them. I am all for seeking help, and if the means medically, spiritually or metaphysically, then do it...No need to go it alone...I am at a crossroads right now, I see those bad habits sneaking back in. I gotta figure out a plan and what help I need to get back on track.
Accountability; we all know what that is. That is what we do on SparkPeople everyday and a tough one as well. I get so bored of journaling. I get so bored with celery and chicken. I hate that one of my friends can eat a hamburger everyday for lunch. I HATE exercise. So what do I do, I take it one day at a time. I hold myself accountable by journaling what I eat and how much I move. Every time I have not held myself accountable, I have put the weight right back on.
In the end the weight is just the variable. Not dealing with the problems and issues that arise in my life on a daily basis in an open, humble and accountable way will keep my weight right were it is, on rather then off....
Thursday, April 07, 2011
I don't know about everyone else, but I put a lot of pressure on myself. What I find interesting is where I chose to apply that pressure.
Being a success in my household as a child was the way to my father's heart. He was a tough customer and offered little to no support other than the negative. That is how the pressure started, trying to earn the affection of someone who was unwilling to offer it. So, from childhood to adulthood I have been trying to apply pressure to succeed to win my father's affection and approval. The first area I chose was school. I was an above average student, who applied pressure to myself to get the best grades possible even receiving straight A's in 6th grade. Anything lower then a C was cause for punishment in my house. So, I continued to apply pressure all through junior high and high school in the hopes to further my education in college. It was a huge deal to me to be able to go to college, and it was what I thought my parents wanted for me. I thought all the pressure would pay off when it came time to fill out my college applications. I mean my father acted like there was no other way to succeed in life without a higher education. I worked hard, I applied pressure, so that I could make him happy by getting into college. To my utter dismay, neither one of my parents were willing to step up to the plate to help me with college, or at least I thought. My parents divorced when I was 14 and that made things complicated. All this pressure I was applying was because I thought that was what they wanted for me. I made no other arrangements. I did not apply for scholarships, I did not look into financial aid, I did not think I had to. When the day come for me to fill out application my mother told me she could not afford to pay for college, and I could not get financial aid because my father made to much money. I can't remember if my mom told me that my father was not interested in helping, but let's just say the subject was dropped. If I wanted to go to college, I had to find a way to make it happen. I enrolled in community college and paid for it myself. My higher education plans were derailed by love and a baby, so my brief stint at community college came to an end. I came to find out several years later in a conversation with my father about his son from his second marriage finishing college that in fact my dad was wiling to pay for my college, but my mother told him that I did not want to go. Now, that sounds strange doesn't it? Why would my mother do something like that? Well, my mother was struggling with the divorce, and she wanted to make my father look like the bad guy. Whether she came out and said I did not want to go, I am not totally sure, but my gut tells me that she may have she said something like, I have it taken care off and left it at that. I told my dad that nothing could have been farther from the truth, and the mere fact that he did not take the time to talk to me and get my side of it, changed the course of my life. It was at that time that I realized that I would never have his affection and approval because he was unwilling to give it. The funny thing is, is that I don't think until recently, when I was thinking my grades right now, that I was still applying that pressure. I asked myself, why would I still be applying that pressure, because you know he was not going to give it you what you need, but second he's dead. So, do you need to put so much pressure on yourself to get A's? No, you don't even have to put pressure on yourself to get B's if you don't want to. Do what you want, what you need, that is all that really matters. You already put so much pressure on yourself in so many other areas, why keep up the charade.
Now education was not the only place I applied pressure in my life. Being thin was among many of the things that my mother prized and she planted the seed in my brain at a very young age. My body image issues started at 8 when I reached for a second pork chop and my mom looked at my and said, "do you really need that"? I think it was that moment that I never felt comfortable in my own skin again, and began my obsession with always having to look perfect. I was not an overweight child, far from it but I continued to apply the pressure so much so that when I was 16 I developed anorexia. My mother who for her own reasons never got me any professional help which prevented me from learning how to deal with my issues and developing the proper coping mechanisms. I gradually stop food restricting under the watchful eye of my mother and once I was on my own, overeating became the problem. That is how the weight gains and losses started to happen. I continue to apply pressure to reach some sort of beauty ideal left over from my childhood instead of loving myself for who I am.
I feel like I need to stop here and say that by no stretch of the imagination do I think my parents did not love me. It is extremely hard to be a parent, I know that. They did what they felt was best. I also know that not all parents have the means to send their children to college, and some parents feel that the child should be responsible for their own higher education. My parents however, had the means, and college was I thought always the ultimate plan for me and my brother, and my father paid for his other children to attend college. In the end for me, it is not about the money, it is about the fact the neither one of them cared enough to give me the support I needed, so that I could be as prepared for adult life as possible. I do love my parents and have had to learn the very hard way, that they are who they are. The hard part for me is learning to be who I am, not who they want me to be.
So, where should I apply the pressure now? The best place to start would be to myself, I need to apply the pressure to love and accept myself for who I want to be. Apply pressure to myself, to worry about what I want and need. Live according to what brings me joy and pleasure, get the grades I want, look the way I want, work in a job that makes me happy.
I am going to try to leave the pressure where it is needed, to a bleeding wound, or the cooker...not to myself! Wish me luck!
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