Friday, March 12, 2010
The title of today's blog is courtesy of one of my best friends. She lives in Portland and when we spoke this morning she started choking on her cup of tea in response to something I said. She said that she was proud of me, and that I've changed. Her next comment was "not only have you grown 'a set', but I think that they're clinkers"! We both laughed. She also told me that I sound great and that I seem different. So thanks Lora, this title is for you!
Every morning I read from a book of daily meditations. Some days I feel no connection to the entries, but other days they seem to really hit the mark. On the days that they seem to resonate, I usually go for a bike ride and think about what I just read and try to get some insight. As I opened the book this morning, the first thing that struck me was the quote printed on my book marker, which I've had for years, but somehow stopped me in my tracks today. The quote was:
I AM NOT AFRAID OF STORMS, FOR I AM LEARNING HOW TO SAIL MY SHIP
-Louisa May Alcott
I really liked that! Then I looked at the title of today's meditation, and it was;
"YOU HAVE THE POWER TO REDEFINE YOUR WORLD"
As I read the entry, the author wrote about how we all have the "ability to redefine what we believe, and how we can learn to see things in a new way". The last sentence was - "you are free to redefine and help create the life you choose; you're free to see life in a new way". I thought about how this pertains to the changes I've made as far as health and weight loss, but especially how I've seen myself in the past. I have been working on discovering myself long before I joined Spark in August, and I feel as if I've made progress. I have stumbled here and there and let old beliefs return for a short visit, before bidding them good riddance. There's a reason that experiences we've had in our lives are called 'our PAST' - because that's WHERE they belong, in the past! I'm learning to leave them there and continue on my path of self discovery. I see the changes I've made as growth!
I used to feel like the fattest one in the group when we went out with our friends. Despite the fact that I always complimented our friends on how nice they looked - I NEVER got a compliment in return - NEVER! Even though I felt SO large, I also felt invisible at the SAME time. I used to ask my DH "don't they SEE me'? I no longer feel hurt by their lack of a return compliment, as I do NOT need validation or approval from anyone other than MYSELF!
I'm sure that many of you understand the hurt caused by dirty-looks or stares from strangers. My favorite, and yes I'm being sarcastic, is when they look you up and down - without EVEN trying to hide it, and then turn around for another look as you walk past them! This very thing happened to me recently, and was a prime example of how I've changed. Some nasty old hag gave me the up and down as I approached her, with a look on her face that can only be described as she smelled a fart! Sorry, but that's what she looked like! She didn't even try to hide it and had the nerve to turn totally around to get a second look as I passed her. Instead of putting my head down, feeling hurt, and like total crap, like in the PAST - I turned back around and faced her! I gave her the best 'death glare' I could muster, and said "take a picture - it lasts longer"! She was speechless as I turned back around and walked away. I thought to myself - here you go, you hag, you wanted another look, well take a look at my shrinking @ss!
I had another example of the progress I've made when a friend took me to lunch last week for my birthday. I have clothes that I bought and put away in a smaller size. That day I pulled out a pair of navy capri pants in one size down - and they fit perfectly. I then pulled out a cute white top, and a light blue hoodie jacket with little flowers embroidered on it - in a smaller size. All of it fit, and I stood in our bedroom and did the 'happy dance' in my new outfit! I felt SO good! At lunch I told my friend about my doing the happy dance and how good I felt about my progress so far. Instead of 'that's great', her reply was "well, I won't wear pants like that because they make my butt look too big. Won't you be glad when you don't have to wear pants like that anymore"? I said "why, I think that they're cute". I told her that I bought about 7 pair of pants that I bought on sale and put away in THIS smaller size. She looked me up and down and said "you should return the other pants you bought". Bitch!!! I stopped in my tracks and gave her a cold stare and said "why, they fit me perfectly, and I like the way I look in them". She didn't say another word. My days of taking crap are OVER!
I have changed, and I hope that I continue to do so. I will NO longer define myself by my weight!!! Yes, I'm still an overweight woman, but so what - it doesn't define WHO I am. I'm working on both the inside and the outside, and I'm making progress. I've realized that if I keep looking behind me, I won't see the road before me. The most important thing - I like who I'm becoming!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I'm a firm believer in KARMA!!! I don't think that you can go through this life hurting others, and not have it come back to bite you in the keister at some point. The last two days I've thought about this. So for those of you that know of my toxic MIL, you may be surprised, and even call me a sap. In the past when I limited my contact with her I was always pulled back in because of some emergency or illness, and that's what happened this week.
She said that she found a lump in her breast and wanted me to go with her to the surgeon on Tuesday. I REALLY didn't plan on going, as I've been down her lying road of manipulation MANY times before. TWICE - yes twice in the past she wanted me to go with her and told me that she found a lump in her breast. While at the doctor's I waited for her to tell him about the lump when we were in the exam room - she didn't! So I spoke up in front of the doc and asked her about the lump. Her reply was 'what lump'? I said the lump you told me about in order to get me to come with you. She said "oh, that went away". I told her that she should have told me weeks before! The doc actually rolled his eyes at me, which let me know that he TOO was on to her. So when she called on Sunday saying she found 'another lump' - which would be #3, I asked about the lump she told me about 6 weeks ago. Her reply was very familiar - 'what lump'? I said the one you told me and EVERYONE at the church about??? 'Oh, that went away' was her response.
Well since I stopped being a polite doormat, this witch was NOT going to wipe her feet on me ever again. I took a deep breath, and told her exactly what I thought, without holding back over fear of being impolite. I basically let her have it, and it felt GOOD!!!! She did have breast cancer 2 years ago, so that's really 'why' I did go with her before. She insisted that this was a lump and that it's red and filled with liquid. I said that it sounds like a blister, which only pissed her off more. My gut instinct told me to go anyway, so I met her there. The doc took one look at her and said 'you put a heating pad on didn't you'? She said 'yes'. He told her that she burned herself, and that it was a - blister! Imagine that. His tone with her was impatient. I told her that she's like the boy that cried wolf, and if she keeps this up - nobody will believe her.
So what's more fun than spending HOURS with your shrew of a MIL?? Spending hours with her - in the emergency room!!! This morning as I sat down to eat my breakfast, she called and said that she fell and "split her head open" in a parking lot and was being taken to the hospital. I did the good DIL thing and went to the ER. To be honest, I was NOT a happy camper, and was rather aggravated. Driving there I thought about karma and doing the 'right thing', even if it's for someone like her. I also realized something else - that she's miserable just about every day, and finds NO joy in her life! How sad is that? Is she getting back the negativity she puts out in the universe, and that's why she's so unhappy?
My mood quickly changed and my compassion kicked in. She had a cut on the back of her head less than one inch long, but since she takes blood thinning medication, she needed 2 stitches and a CT scan. As I stood next to her bed she grabbed my hand and looked afraid. Here's the kicker, who do you think she gave medical power of attorney to? Not my DH or my SIL - ME!!! You're all probably saying 'pull the plug', but she does know me, and knows that I would always do the right thing. I dealt with the doctor and nurses, as she was even nasty to some of them. She was giving one of them a really hard time because she needed to draw her blood and check her coumadin level. She wouldn't give the woman her arm! I told her "stop it and let this woman do her job - now stick out your arm and let her draw your blood!" My tone must have spoken volumes, because she looked at me as if it were the first time, and pulled her arm out from under the blanket. I guess my new 'I'm DONE taking crap attitude' really came through.
I learned a few things about myself in the last couple of days. I can still have compassion - even dealing with HER, but I will NOT be manipulated. There must be balance and I will never again give away more of myself than I'm comfortable with. The doctor asked me if I was bringing her back for a coumadin check on Saturday. I asked if she was okay to drive, and they told me yes. So I told them NO, she can drive herself. As she sat there wallowing in her nastiness, I saw glimpses of fear in her face. As I drove her back she told me that she doesn't know what she would do without me - that was a shocker! I'm not a stupid woman, I realize that she's still the same nasty person - that just happened to be afraid. Maybe she'll remember today the next time she tries to zing me with one of her toxic put-downs. And if she doesn't she better watch out because I found my voice, and I'm prepared to use it! And as for karma, I don't think that it's my keister that needs to worry.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Despite the fact that I think Dr. Phil is a pompous @ss, two of his life strategies are stuck in my head! They are:
"You can't change what you don't acknowledge"
"You teach people how to treat you"
I guess you can tell by my name - WINGSOFCHANGE, that change is important to me, so I've decided to take stock and acknowledge a few things. This blog started out as many of mine have, as an entry in my journal. I wrote this days ago, but hesitated in posting it because it's pretty revealing. I realize that all of us face challenges in our lives, and as a result we're changed in some way. This is my quest to heal my past and understand WHY I am who I am - NOT for any kind of pity. My birthday was last Saturday, and it's always a reminder of my mom, and how much I still miss her. Even though I've tried to distance myself from my MIL's toxic behavior, it still hurt my feelings that she didn't even acknowledge my birthday. I'm not keeping score, but for the last 26 years I've always done something for her on Mother's Day and her birthday. I really wish that it didn't hurt my feelings a little, but it did.
I knew growing up that my mother loved me and my sister more than life itself, and that she was proud of the young woman I was becoming. My father on the other hand worked all of the time and didn't have much involvement with me or my sister. To be frank, he probably shouldn't have been a parent because he always put himself and his needs before ours. He thought that if he provided a good living, that was enough. It wasn't! I was an honor roll student and graduated in the top percent of my class - yet he did NOT even go to my high school graduation! That still hurts! We were raised to be polite and to not talk back, so essentially - do as we were told. Over the years I've worked on forgiving my father for the hurt that he caused, but I still have lingering feelings.
My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 18 and my sister was almost 12. She was in a hospital in New Jersey recovering from having a lung removed when I received a call that my father suffered a stroke while working, and was taken to a hospital in Philadelphia. I had taken over partial control of the family business when my mom first got sick, but now ALL of the responsibility was on me, as well as taking care of my sister, and running back and forth from one hospital to the other.
Within 7 months my mom's cancer spread to her brain, and she passed away. Three days after her funeral, my dad's new 'friend' came over to the house for a visit. Yes, that BITCH came over THREE days after we buried our mother!!!!!!!!! My sister and I were expected to be 'NICE' to her and be 'POLITE' - not an easy thing to do! We had no warning that she would be there, let alone of her existence! To this day, I can't even wrap my head around my father's TOTAL lack of respect for my mother, and his lack of regard for my sister and myself! I've asked myself SO many times how he could have done that!
My father wanted me to get rid of my mom's things, but I told him NO, I couldn't do it. She didn't share a closet with him, so space wasn't an issue. I would go into her closet and touch her clothing and cry. I could still smell her perfume - it made me feel close to her. One day upon coming home, I heard women's voices coming from upstairs. I asked my father who was there, but NOTHING could prepare me for what I saw. I ran up the steps and into my mom's closet - and there were two waitresses from the local diner - trying on my mom's clothing!! I almost had a total meltdown! My screaming at them at the top of my lungs, sent them running down the stairs and right out the front door. Vultures! I felt like spitting in my father's face - how could he do that? I was grateful that my sister wasn't home to see that.
Since my mom's family despised my father, the day of her funeral was the LAST time we saw them, except for an occasional visit from ONE second cousin. So I felt isolated and alone - with my growing anger! I was appointed my sister's legal guardian when I was 19, and basically raised her and ran the business. And how did my father thank me? There are 2 sentences stuck in my head that he said to me over and over again:
'There's something wrong with you, honey!'
'I hate you!'
If it wasn't for my best friend and her family, I would have lost my mind! Her parents became Aunt Maria and Uncle Gino to me and my sister, and I loved them! Other girls my age were going to concerts and dating - NOT me - all I did was work! Instead of my sister turning her anger towards my father, she directed it at ME, fighting with me constantly. Her favorite thing to say was "I hate you - you're not my mother, you can't tell me what to do!" One night she got physical with me and literally knocked me out. I came to on the kitchen floor with Uncle Gino kneeling over me. I felt like I lived the life of an old woman, not a 19 year old girl. My father went on dating that witch, while I acted like a robot on automatic-pilot, just doing what was expected of me - but losing myself piece by piece.
I tried to find my 'voice' in the following 2.5 years, but there was NO speaking back to my father. I slowly started going out, which made him fight with me. I started dating and had what I thought was a serious boyfriend when I was 21. Since we were part of a very tight-knit Greek community, and ALL of our customers were Greek also, everyone knew everyone else's business. My father went around and told our customers that I was a 'PIG'! Why, because I was dating??? About a week before my 22nd birthday, he threw me out of the house. He told me that he HATED me, and that he wanted me out! I had no place to go, and asked for a week to find a place. I moved out on my 22nd birthday! I felt like my father shamed me, and I carried that with me for years!
Looking back, my sister and I should have gone for therapy. I continued to run the business, but tried to do so while avoiding my father. He needed me to do the work, but he didn't want me living there. My sister was almost 16 years old and continued to live with him, but I still saw her just about every day. She resented me most of her life, as she saw me as the one stopping her from doing what she wanted to do. Sadly, they have both since passed away.
I have worked on my issues, but I still have a way to go. I feel as if the last 6 months I've been peeling back the layers of an onion. I made a decision to NOT sugar-coat things, despite how raw and exposed it has made me feel. I believe in honesty, no matter how hard it is. There are two parts to my weight issue. First, I do have a thyroid problem, and was diagnosed as a young teenager. The last few years it got progressively worse and I was under-treated. Thankfully I found a new doctor that has helped me, and I'm feeling and doing much better.
The second part is that I used food to comfort myself and numb my emotions. However it didn't start until after my DH and I got engaged. Dealing with my future MIL was horrific, to say the least! Looking back I realize that I didn't have the coping skills needed to protect myself from the hurt that she caused. She was and is a negative, toxic person, that takes pleasure in hurting others. What didn't dawn on me until now, was how alike my father and my MIL were - ZERO regard for others! The emotional eating issue started after having run-ins with her. I would stand at the kitchen sink, eating - while sobbing the entire time. I have since realized this behavior was unhealthy, and didn't solve anything, and it is no longer an issue for me. I've learned how to use other methods to deal with my feelings, like writing in my journal, and even exercise. Both have helped enormously!
My past did leave a lasting imprint, which I'm working on changing. Years ago I felt as if I had NO voice, was treated with no regard, disrespected, and yes, emotionally abused. Self esteem or self worth are built up as a child or young adult when you feel valued as a person. My mom valued me, and I know how much she loved me - because she told me EVERY day. The woman I am on the inside is because of her and the values she instilled on me. I know who I am as far as my values are concerned, so WHY has my self esteem been such a struggle? I think that it was something that was slowly chipped away at, and will take time to build back up. But, I AM working on it. I have forgiven my father, as I've realized that he did the best he could. His mother left her husband and took my father and his brothers back to Greece when they were very young. My father didn't come back to this country until he was 18 and drafted. He spent all of those years without a father, so in my forgiving heart, maybe that's why he didn't know how to put his children first. I'm not trying to make excuses, I just don't want to carry that anger in my heart any longer!
And as for the 'teaching people how to treat us' part of the equation, my not standing up for myself in dealing with my MIL in the past - taught her that it's okay to disrespect and hurt me. Well guess what, it's NOT OKAY!!!! My birthday triggered memories of how she used to write the wrong name in cards that she sent me the first few years after we were married. My name is Doreen, but she would write Dorraine, which rhymes with Lorraine! She did that for YEARS despite us telling her that she's calling me by the wrong name! I know that my desire to be part of a family, and to be loved and accepted is WHY I've put up with SO much of her crap for the last 26 years. I've since kicked the 'polite-doormat' to the curb, as it's NO longer who I am. It's time for some NEW lessons - if you don't treat me with basic human kindness and respect - HIT THE ROAD! I'm working on letting go of the past, healing myself, and giving myself the acceptance that I've longed for! So thanks Dr. Phil, for your life strategies - because I'm learning to give myself what I need - love and respect!
Friday, February 26, 2010
After a few weeks of scale-frustration, I was ready! I put thoughts of beating the scale with a hammer out of my mind, and instead focused on reaching one of my mini goals. Weeks ago I set a couple of mini goals for myself with a time-line - February 27th, my birthday. Both goals seemed easy at the time, but I didn't plan on the blasted scale sticking for weeks at the same number. However I was determined to reach one goal - losing 2 lbs, and breaking a number that I haven't seen in close to TEN years. I weighed myself this morning feeling very hopeful. Oh happy day - I lost 2 lbs and reached my mini goal! YAY!!!!!!
That number represented years of failed attempts and a 28 week plateau. I had to lose 1 lb to reach the number that I haven't been able to break, and lose 2 lbs to break through into 'new scale territory'. Despite a stressful month, I was so determined to do it. I feel proud of myself, which is a feeling that's been dormant for far TOO long. In the past I felt beaten down and pretty hopeless, but today I feel that anything is possible!! To me this was a huge deal and the best birthday present I could ever give myself!
Friday, February 12, 2010
This morning started out as every Friday since August - with me looking forward to stepping on the scale! After looking down, and stepping on and off of the blasted thing 3 times, I started to fantasize. No, it didn't involve some hot stud-muffin, like Mario Lopez! As I stood there filled with frustration, I could visualize myself doing something that I've never done before, but REALLY wanted to on many occasions, but didn't have the nerve to do. I could SEE myself doing it, and working up quite a sweat - beating the crap out of the scale with a hammer! I've had many similar thoughts over the years, some more graphic than others, but the end result was always the same - total scale destruction!
Yes, I DO know better than to let a mechanical device have any power over me as far as measuring my success, but yet I couldn't shake that feeling of frustration. I did measure myself earlier in the month, and was happy with the 5 1/2 inches that I lost, but this was something else - disappointment. I set 2 mini goals for myself WEEKS ago, and both involved a time line - February 27th, my birthday. I thought that both goals were possible to achieve. I am ONE lb away from reaching a number that would be my lowest weight in YEARS!! So goal #1 involved me beating that number, which would mean that I had to lose 2 lbs. Goal #2 required me to lose 7 lbs, and fall below a number that would be a milestone!
As I stood there on the scale, and saw NO loss, which meant that I lost a whopping ONE lb in the last 3 weeks, I realized that goal #2 was impossible. But there was still hope for goal #1 - I have 2 weeks left. Unfortunately that nasty witch, Aunt Flo is coming to town this weekend for her monthly visit. And she brings with her in her dreaded bag of tricks - BLOAT - in the form of 3-5 lbs of fluid retention! And if that's not enough, she makes long bike rides miserable. The last time she visited I went on a 12+ mile ride, and ended up with a chafed cootchie from that darned 'cotton canoe' (AKA-pad), and wound up walking like John Wayne for days! UGH!
Okay, so I already know that next week's weigh in might not be great - until I can kick Aunt Flo's keister to the curb! I've been under some stress the last couple of weeks, and I can't help but wonder what role that played in the scale being stuck. I knew that my blood pressure was up and I've been having trouble sleeping through the night. So I've been feeling 'off' and kind of drained. I AM working on eliminating the 'source' of my stress from my daily life, and I have made progress. I DO feel better than I did one week ago, so that's good.
Being the stubborn, goal-minded wench that I am, that leaves me 1 week after I bid good riddance to my dear Auntie! So now my frustration has lead to something else - DETERMINATION!!! Goal #1, I AM going to reach you! I have a new pair of pretty red sandals (I live in Florida), with a small heel, that are ready for when I do the 'Happy Dance' on that scale! And if for some reason the scale doesn't want to cooperate - there's always the hammer!!! Wish me luck.
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