Sunday, October 14, 2012
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This is probably not the blog you were expecting when you clicked on the link. No, I am not feeling guilty for eating some food or for not exercising or anything like that. This is a very personal venting blog about my struggles and recent self-empowerment. If you don't make it to the end, suffice it to say: I am letting go of my guilt and other negative emotions that keep me from doing what I want to do.
My whole life I've felt guilty for something.
As a child, I felt responsible when my parents fought. When they divorced. Lots of things were blamed on my brother and me that probably shouldn't have been. Lots of things were said and done to us that probably shouldn't have been. When I began putting on weight in Kindergarten and then ballooned to over 250 lbs in grade school, I was dragged from doctor to doctor, year after year to try to figure out what was wrong with me. I felt like a disease that needed to be eradicated. Each time I was weighed in at the doctor, my mother would sigh in distress, once even saying "Now you weigh more than /me/." Shopping for clothing was equally painful, and it hurt to see the disappointment in my mother's eyes when she realized that I now needed to wear plus-sized adult clothing in the third grade. Her comments emblazoned themselves in the back of my mind: "You're ruining your body forever. Those stretch marks will never go away. No one will love you."
Whenever someone had anything to say about my weight -- whether it be my best-friend-and-worst-bully who teased me while throwing stones and spitting on me as I walked home from school, my first gynecologist who, at age 13, told me I was "not making his job any easier" by gaining more and more weight, or my grandmother who, attempting to be supportive, brought up weight management tips in casual conversation -- I would instantly shut down emotionally from the intense wave of guilt that would overtake me. "Why are you crying?," my grandmother asked.. why, indeed? I answered "I don't know" back then, but today I think I do: I've always felt like there was something inherently wrong with me and that I would never be good enough for my family, my peers, a potential boyfriend -- or anyone else.
Even today, I get comments from my parents about how I am still in school. How I wasted a full ride scholarship. How they are embarrassed to tell other people that I am still working on my undergrad degree. How I wasted my "genius" mind by switching my major, and how everything is my fault -- from health problems to an abusive relationship (which is thankfully long over).
I could go on recounting the origins of these feelings, but when it comes down to it, the origin is irrelevant. And the guilt is useless.
What is important is realizing that I have the power to let go of my guilt -- this stone I've been rolling up that mythical hill my entire life. It's time to begin unburdening myself.
***********It does not matter what my parents think of me*********** (I felt the need to go back and highlight this sentence because it feel so good to say it).
I need neither their support nor their approval to feel good about myself. I do not need to be beautiful in the eyes of family, strangers, society, or anyone else to know that I am a beautiful person. I do not need to continuously seek approval from outside sources: I have the power to mend what is broken inside of me. Being overweight or obese is not something I will feel guilty about anymore. It is NOT a character flaw; it does NOT devalue me as a human. I am NOT doomed to failure in life. It is not necessary to feel this way, in fact it is just a big waste of energy and emotion, in which I will no longer engage.
I am good enough for me, and that is all that matters. I love myself. I have the power to change anything about my life that I want to -- and not because I feel guilty or ashamed; not because someone says I should or someone would love me more if I did, but because I want to do it. I want to do it for me.
I'm chipping away the stone.