Sunday, July 05, 2009
Today is my 1st Spark Birthday. Yessir, it was one year ago today I discovered Spark and actively started changing my life the SparkPeople way.
I'd been well on the road to change already, having spent a couple years finding the right physical therapy for my injury, re-addressing my eating disorder with a counselor and going through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training before I was cleared by my Doctors to start thinking about "dieting" again. Then I signed on with a Nutritionist who also was trained and well aware of helping people with eating disorders; that was Feburary 2008. And at that point I'd felt like I'd spent half a lifetime dealing with every unhealthy thought, feeling, action or food but had yet to see much in the way of actual physical changes but I knew persistence and tenacity would have to get me somewhere at some point, if I'd just be patient and keep going.
But the day I became active in Spark --and I say this because I'd actually been led to the site the previous December, joined, peeked in and then promptly forgot about it--well, that was the day my journey to a healthier me hit overdrive. Like the old saying goes, When the student is ready, the teacher will come.
Anyway, the past few days I've been thinking about all these huge changes in my life that are a result of this past half decade of work, and some seem small, others HUGE, but most of them, oddly enough, are not physical. Believe it or not, the loss of 1/3 of my body weight, over 100lbs is NOT the biggest change in my life, nor, honestly, the one for which I'm most grateful.
So what are these things that are changing? Well, one I noticed just today is how now, when I'm fully rested and in good health, it's nearly impossible for me to have a fully sedentary day. I'm so bursting with energy that the idea of sitting, being inactive, just feels painful. I get restless and agitated, and I thought the past few days I was having some sort of anxiety attack. Then I listened, deeply and realized my body just needed to move. Not intensive cardio or training, just move. Like walking. Or dancing around the house. Anything other than sitting still with a book or the tv.
I also notice I like TV a lot less. I mean, who wants to sit down and veg watching other people's pretend lives? I could be out having one. So I do. LOL.
Another is that wonderful moment when you're looking at a lawn chair or step ladder or some such item that for years I've had to quietly wonder if it could safely support me. Which kept me from going to outdoor concerts or such, because I didn't want to have to go shopping for folding chairs for fat people. And getting up off the ground, well, there was a chance that could be embarrassing. So I didn't go. Now I'll be at a picnic, and someone will offer me a flimsy looking chair, I'll pause and start to stammer a "no thank you" and then realize...I CAN SIT THERE. Wow.
Something else I'm really enjoying is this discovery of myself. Who I really am. Not who my family and people growing up told me I was, but who I really am deep down. It's like waking up to find myself, and thinking, how did I lose me?
And I'm surprised at qualities I'm discovering. Tenacity. Fierce competitiveness--not the cut throat, kill my competitor kind, but the burning flame to push and strive and blow away obstacles that stand in my way. Strength; I'd forgotten just how freakishly strong my body used to be, and is becoming again. I was really blessed with an amazingly powerful body, and I'm athletic. Who knew? When i was younger, I compared myself to sports stars, either the school star or those on tv, and dismissed my innate natural athleticism as lesser than that, so not worth pursuing. But I did dance, and now I can value the coordination, agility, flexibility and all the other physical strengths that requires. And I can do it. I like this.
I'm also learning I've got the fluidity of mind and spirit like a palm tree. I can't think of the correct term for it, but when something doesn't work, when a plan or idea I invested a lot of energy falls flat, I DO NOT QUIT. I don't consider myself a failure; the plan may have failed to acheive it's mark, but that's the plan. I can change the plan. I've spent my life thinking I'm a quitter; since I had a lot of talents I'd play with then abandon, my family came to view me as a quitter, but I'm not.
I tweak things. Yes, I may get depressed a couple days, or get upset, but then I go back to square one, I evaluate what happened, and I make changes. I tweak the paln and start over. Yes, those old voice in my head still try to tell me I'm a failure, that I quit everything, and isn't just easier to give up now, before I embarrass myself? Yes, those old demons still try to surface, but I now fight them with positive words and thoughts to counter them.
And you know what? It works. It takes time and persistence, but it works. You can change those thoughts and feelings. I know because they used to crush me, and now they're little more than a blip on my radar.
And that leads to another great change. I am no longer Cassandra the people pleaser. I still like to make people I care about happy, but I'm no one's yes woman anymore. When people ask for things, I seriously consider how it affects my life and schedule before I answer. I love when I can say yes, but I'm no longer terrified and unable to say no. Especially to unreasonable requests. Yes, I've seen a lot of people I thought were friends slip away the past couple years, but with them went drama and pain and stress. So it was a fair trade. Now I think about what I want to do, what my goals are. Not what other people, teachers, mentors or lovers tell me I should do or should want, but what I genuinely want. My needs. My goals. And that is a HUGE difference. Because when I commit something now, when I decide instead of just "go along" I own it, it's mine.
And when I own my decisions, my actions and my yes-es to other people, I feel good about doing it. It builds my self esteem. This is not the attitude of a quitter, ladies and gentlemen. Cassandra is NOT A QUITTER. She's actually stubborn like a mule and holds on like a pit bull with a bone. I swear, it's like meeting a me I never knew existed..why, hello, who are you? Me? I'm Cassandra, the NOT QUITTER!
Okay, that's a bit of rambling, but you have to understand the profound amazement I'm having at finding this person inside me. She was buried under all that fat that I hid behind. She was a part of me I made a recluse because I didn't believe in her, I listened to others, so she hid away. And now I'm finding her again, and by gosh, I LIKE HER. I LIKE ME. And suddenly, it doesn't really matter what other people think of me anymore. I know who I am, and if they're interested, they'll get to know me too. If not, they're not worth my time. Wheww....did that just come out of MY mouth?? Whoo yeah! It's called self respect, and it should be on everyone's menu!
Wow, there were a lot of little, fun things I'd planned to write about. Like being able to go to the movies and sit in any chair comfortably, with room to spare. Or talk about how I've rediscovered wandering in the woods, exploring, like I did when I was little. Things like that, but my writing numen took control of my fingers and had something altogether different to say. Tomorrow I'll proof this because it probably rambles madly about, but for now, I'll trust him and let it be. It's my Birthday after all.
Happy Sparkday to me. Happy Sparkday to me.
Happy SparkDay new and improved Cassandra. Happy SparkDay toooOooooOooooO ME!
Thanks for listening.
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