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Bones to Pick Apart


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So. Nearly there. Two and a half more physical pounds to go. Where is "there"? "There" is one place of peace within me, where the arguments about what I can have to eat or not no longer reside. Getting there is long process - a journey of self-discovery - that digs up all sorts of things.

I say "physical pounds" because there is a skeleton left to dig up and its a bit heavy.

If you have read my SparkPage you would know that I'd lost all the weight once before, only to very slowly gain it back because of what boils down to peer pressure. The peer pressure came from two people (one the instigator, the other her follower) whom I held very dearly in my life. Both would never admit their part in all this, even if they were aware of it.

I can only guess that because of their own problems, they couldn't accept me eating healthy and being my own newly stronger "self" around them. Their reaction to my weight loss was negatively dramatic and not the least bit supportive. Needless to say, it didn't work out well for the friendship when this, as well as other stuff that accumulated, hit the fan one last time.

Please bear with me here, as I piece all this together.

My ex-friends, whom I loved, flat out told me I was too skinny. They were overweight and in bad health, but I was too healthy - At 5'2", 37 years old, and 125 lbs., I was too skinny to them. After they quit telling me this verbally (when I told them lovingly to sod off), they spoke amongst themselves and gave me the stink eye. Now, I didn't see them as overweight or unhealthy, I just saw them with my heart at the time.

I remember a moment of truth when one of their chubby nieces who thought herself funny (and was some of the time) started a stand-up comedy routine regarding my "stick-figuredness" (as she put it) at the popcorn counter in a movie theatre when she thought I wasn't listening, involving all around her. Needless to say, this was just plain rude. And when I faced her about it, her aunt (the aforementioned instigator) took me aside and told me I was anorexic. Of course, even from a clinical standpoint, she was dead wrong. As a matter of fact, I ate more, and better, than she did. Maybe it was that she didn't like looking at me, or perhaps herself, and didn't like what it reminded her of, or of what she'd lost.

My doc, who was watching me like a hawk the whole time of my first weight-letting, said I was fine, my health was top notch, chemistry panels all at the norm. I asked him about the anorexia accusation and he laughed and firmly disagreed with the instigator's diagnosis. But to "them", who do you think they thought was right?

Well, after all the verbal and non-verbal brow-beating I broke down and started eating like they ate. This went on for eight years. Eight years, and I still hung on to the friendship because of what these people meant to me.

We have split and they've gone on to better lives and so have I (thank the gods). But at the time of the split, everything was very near back where it was before I even began losing weight in the first place. My endurance was gone and the chems the doc ordered came back dismal. I had to recover my health after that.

I have since worked hard to face myself, mostly, to figure out where my place in all this was. I take responsibility for how I felt and what I ate before the demise of that friendship and the related weight gain. I knew I had control over what and how much I ate, but I did what I knew made THEM more comfortable.

So with all that history behind me, I have clawed my way back out of the grave I dug for myself. Now, after many months of re-learning healthy eating habits and acquiring a few new contemporary skills, and SparkPeople, the weight is almost all back off again. The chems are back sharp, the endurance at the top. Yet that peer pressure still niggles at the back of my brain. There's that aforementioned skeleton.

OK. The skeleton emerges like...a dark emerging thing.

This last weekend, I attended a workshop. Many of the people I saw there I'd seen fairly recently and since that last time, I'd only lost about two pounds (yep, only two - I checked). They knew I was on a health journey and walked with me, supporting me, all the way so far. However, a couple of the reactions to seeing me after those two pounds brought that skeleton out of the grave. There were the compliments but then one or two seemed alarmed (or that is how I interpreted it). One even said she thought I should not lose any more weight. BAM!!! My skeleton's dry finger bone hit me in my heart. I was shocked at first at hearing this, and then reassured her my health was great and was being monitored, and that I only had a few more pounds to go. She relented and apologized, but did not give any real reason for her reaction nor did I wish to pry.

Don't get me wrong - there have been compliments, like "jeez, you look good", and the smiling "Hey Girl! Look at YOU!" and that sort of thing. I can tell those compliments from the eyebrows shooting heavenward, the glazed eyes, and the hushed lilt in their voices. I know it because as you remember from the prior ramblings herein, I'd had practice.

Now please keep in mind that my goal is 135 and at 5'2", that is reasonable for my age (now 50-ish). I'm not even quite there yet. According to doc, I could easily rethink my goal and work for 130 lbs. and still remain quite healthy as she says I am "bird-boned". I'm in a US size 8 for bloody sake, not a 6, a 4, or a 2. And there's plenty of puffy cheeks and cellulite to go around.

So I had to ask myself a number of questions here. Like, why their reaction? Or, WAS it a reaction on their part or MINE? Was I looking for this? Is it that they just now noticed? Is it again that they are reminded of their own health journeys? (Wow. As I write this, my left eye started twitching.) Or am I overreacting in self-defense?

Damn skeleton. It's nashing its teeth at me.

What is important here in MY reaction to this. Or, I should say, OUR reaction, because quite a few of us are in this same boat - people who don't support us or who can't handle their own skeletons, and we let them get to us.

Why did it hit me so hard when I got those recent reactions? Why did I have all these negative flashbacks and misinterpretations pop up? I can guess it is because I cared so much about those two women from before, and I care about the people who offered their opinions now. But enough is enough.

It is without a doubt that no person on this Earth has friends that will support them in ALL their endeavors. There will ALWAYS be a few that for whatever reasons, will not be able to handle change in either you or in themselves and will drag you down into the grave with their own skeletons. I have to learn to accept that, and realize that I must draw the line so that the reaction to it will not drag me anywhere.

We have to remain focused, people . What lines are we going to allow others to cross, when it comes to our own personal care? Mine must now be thick, at least for a while, because I now know I can overreact to even the slightest criticism about my weight. Still, only I know where my journey has taken me and what it will take to keep me healthy. But in any case, we do indeed need lines.

I can be supportive of my new friends' journeys now and love them for who they are. I can have friends who are dealing with their own skeletons here on SparkPeople and in other places. I will help them with words if they ask and with my heart to a reasonable degree if they need. But unless I want to again pick apart this skeleton in the future, I must continue on this journey alone or make the mistake of allowing others to help me dig my own grave.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MZZCHIEF 11/15/2011 11:32AM

    Enjoyed your post, it really does underscore how vulnerable we permit ourselves to be when it comes friends and family... or even the words of a stranger.

Me... I guess it comes from being in art school group critiques as a young girl, where no matter how good or bad your work was, there were always unexpected things said about it, some of them downright nasty. It served you well to get past your initial emotional reaction and reply to these comments with reason rather than with an emotional outburst or feeling bad about yourself.

Initially this was difficult, but with practice it became second nature.

I learnt to distinguish criticism, which is meant to be helpful, and is factual in nature (even if it did hurt)... from insult, which aimed to hurt, subjective and often false. It also made me have a sense of humor about my own failings and not take things so personally.

There's a quote attributed to Elenor Roosevelt which I recite to myself when I find myself um... backsliding? ha

" No one makes you feel badly, without your permission".

Glad you got rid of those friends who put up a fun house mirror to your objective reality about your form.

Be who you are...
Chose actions that express that and people who support you.
Easiest way to realize your dreams, although not alway do-able in this crazy world of ours.

: )
Mzzchief





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CHRISNLEE14 12/1/2010 1:41PM

    A few people have acted shocked if I mentioned that I want to lose more weight. At the time, I was probably down about 30 or 40 pounds and weighed about 160 or 170. I didn't understand how they thought I didn't need to lose more weight. I've learned that the best way to interpret these comments is to realize that most people have the best intentions, even if they can't verbalize it propertly. The woman at the workshop who said you should not lose any more weight...that's just her way of saying that she thinks you look wonderful and in her opinion, you're perfect. There are no hidden innuendos. She's not trying to say that you are unhealthy. She's trying to say you are awesome. And, I've learned from experience not to tell people that I'm still trying to lose more weight because then they will start to worry that you have an unhealthy obsession with weight loss. Just let them compliment you when they notice, thank them, and move on.

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