Monday, August 30, 2010
OK, yes, this is another "personal" one, and partly based on my conditioning and experience.
The personal part: My daughter in law got me started on my latest fitness efforts, the one that started with joining Jenny Craig to "support" her efforts. I wasn't convinced that this program would do a blamed thing for me. I didn't pick it. But on looking at it, the program did have a balanced diet, and emphasized activity and working on emotions and mind-set, too. So I "went along". That was May of 2009.
Problem: I've succeeded. About the time I reached my goal weight, my daughter in law reached her halfway point. She backed off the program after his leave. She was going to try it on her own, she'd learned a lot, etc... we know the drill, those of us who have cycled many times. I could see the seeds of what was to come next, but kind of pretended for my own comfort that it wasn't happening and would not happen.
The traditional elephant in the room: she's regained, and here I am, maintaining and still losing. It was the "bonding" element between us while my son, her husband was in the process of deploying. And now? The anxious co-dependent in me reads every nuance coming from her as a "change back" message.
I fear self-sabotage in some kind of warped attempt to improve the relationship with my daughter in law. I know I need to continue healthy habits to live a healthy life. But I well remember seeing successful people when I was NOT being successful and thinking things like: "Yeah, sure it's easy for HER!" Yes, I was either a jealous overweight person OR one in denial about my own desire for a healthy body size... take your pick, depending on the day.
No everyone responds to their own jealous feelings with resolve to improve, and not everyone takes action. I love my son and my daughter in law. I want them to be happy.
Yes, wise people, the problem is not with them. It's with me. I need to get a grip on my own co-dependent impulses here!
Breathe deep, pray that serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change - other people's internal thoughts and feelings.
I can't change how other people feel about my body size. I can try to hide it with sloppy clothing, but it's there. And if I hide it from others, I'm also hiding it from myself... and that may NOT be a good thing. I need the feedback of "normal" being a healthy size.
The courage to change the things I can: I need to practice good self-care. This is something over which I DO have control. I need to face my feelings about my perception of her feelings, and keep doing healthy things anyway.
I need to communicate that I value and love her no matter what her size, as best I can. No matter how much I'd like her to feel the feelings I feel being fit, her life is her own... and she has to make her own choices in her own time.
And the wisdom to know the difference! And let it go because the things I cannot control? Those things belong to God.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
This is intensely personal & if you don't want to know... you've been warned to stop reading here.
I was married for nearly twenty-two years to a man who for all the good things I saw in him, could not stand me expressing joy. He didn't like it if I sang (my son to this day associates me singing with arguments in the house). This is NOT because I have a bad voice, people. I'm passable. And singing is a way to express the internal joy and happiness that just bubbles over at times!
If I came home bubbly and happy over something that happened at work, I was chastised for it. "How do you think I feel?" He was miserable and wanted me to be down there with him.
For years I conditioned myself to take the happiness I felt and "stuff it" away so I wouldn't make him upset. I pretended to not be happy unless I tested the waters of HIS emotional state first.
I ran away from the misery... my earlids shut down on him... I played video games. I read books. I went to work and was happy there. But when I went home, I shut down the happy.
Even now, with so much joy... I don't particularly want to phone him to rejoice over our son's homecoming because I know what will come next: "how do you think I feel? I haven't seen *son* in X years."
I never said the honest words to him: "Well, sorry. I love you still, despite being divorced for seven years, but I can't live with this attitude. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself, but I cannot respect an attitude that doesn't TRY to improve your situation. You are alone because you wouldn't let those around you be happy independently of your control."
I wish he was happy. But that's one of the things I cannot change. It took me a very long time to come to that realization.
What I could change is this: I am no longer afraid to be happy myself.
Today, I am full of joy. I hold in my heart the recognition that not everyone in the world shares my joy today... that is the gift of my 22 years with ex. But this I now know: having personal joy does not mean you don't have compassion for others. It does not mean you are unkind. It just means that right now, in this moment, something has come for you that needs to be cherished, because if you ONLY feel the bad emotions, and never the good... you won't like yourself or anyone else. Joy is the reward after working through the pain... if you never accept the reward... where are you?
Today, I choose to feel this joy. Today I pray for the comfort of others who may be feeling sorrow, or pain, grief, or anger, or fear. But for me, today there is joy, and I intend to cherish it.
And that is a mental / emotional health victory.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
The flight was only about 15 minutes late (says the mom who paced back and forth and fretted over whether daughter in law would make it in time!) The funniest thing that happened was that she DID arrive, right on time... and I went skipping down the stairs in my skinny jeans and polo shirt to greet her. She went right past me, kind of ignoring me or giving me the cold shoulder and I thought, "What have I done? Is she irritated that I horned in on the welcome at the airport? Did she want this moment alone with him?"
Anyway, I backed off... kind of feeling guilty. She ducked into the restroom, and when she came back out she did a double take and gave me a grin and a smile... she had NOT recognized me! Seriously. My own daughter in law didn't know me in skinny jeans at the airport! We had a bit of a giggle over it.
Sorry, no pictures... left the camera home out of privacy for the kids! He was the first passenger down the gate to us! We saw ACU's coming, and then I looked at how he moved... and gave her a little nod... "go get 'im girl" so they did the classic homecoming PDA to the approval of others who were waiting for their own loved ones. Mom got the second hug, as appropriate & it was SO worth it! And it was enough...
Waiting for his bags, he had one arm around his wife, and the other 'round his mom... then we packed his bags into her car and off they went and I floated home, completely at peace. Great sleeping night, then...
Pre-dawn workout one of week 2 of Couch to 5K program. Here's the deal: I wanted to go in a certain direction, thinking the sun would come up while I had some great views. I had barely turned for home when the workout time was over... so I kept on walking home, another 30 minutes! OK, so I kind of overshot the workout, but that's OK... remember, I was still kind of walking on air!
Oh, and I had a "close encounter" with wildlife: a skunk! Not too close, thank goodness, but we startled each other, and he (or she) lifted the tail... but we both were moving in opposite directions. It was right beside the running/biking trail!
Friday, August 27, 2010
The phone rang, per my co-worker, at 8:02 a.m. Son was in a great mood. His flight gets in to the LOCAL airport (don't have to drive even the hour to the next nearest one) after the work day... BUT I was bouncing off the walls. So I sent an "outage" note and came home, where I hopped on the treadmill to work off some of the springs.
Oh, and in the background, I heard another "Hi, mom!" Apparently some of his buddies have adopted me, too. How cute is that!?
Friday, August 27, 2010
Got a phone call from my son last night as I was getting ready for bed. He says if all goes well, he'll be out of that base by 10 a.m. today. He promises he WILL get home today, whatever airport he has to fly to. I told him and his wife the same thing: I won't horn in on their homecoming but I'm anxious for that mom hug. He got real quiet and said "gotta go"... methinks there is a lot of emotion attached to coming home.
So I woke up at 3:09 a.m. and tried laying back down but to no avail. The mind is running. I'm up, I'm dressed. I really want that first hug. No reason to neglect self-care... can't will it to happen faster.
So, slow down, have a good breakfast, walk a bit before work, and wait for the news about flights, which will come some time after 8 a.m.
Edited to add:
So, what to do while waiting: I chopped veggies. And my mind started doing this little thing it does sometimes (as some of you already know):
"When the going gets tough..." my Mother's Day card starts out. My brain took it to ... "the tough chop onions!" This spun from my son's quick phone exit last night. The tough can't show their emotions, or they'll crack. If you chop onions, the tears can be blamed on chemistry!
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