Ok. So, I have come REALLY far. As I have noted in my past blogs, my life has turned around 180 degrees.
However, I am still a work in progress and I still have big fears. One of those fears is being around my parents.
So, I haven't yet shared my story (that's still a work in progress too) but just to give an idea, my parents are not what one would say, "doting" or overly proud. In fact, I don't even remember the last time I received a genuine compliment. My mom used to tell me that she didn't hand out compliments to me in order that I would stay humble. Ok. That's well and good, but what about the girl who goes way below humble to self-loathing at some of her lower points? That was a different time in life, something I won't share today.
My hubby and I are going for a very short visit with my parents this weekend. We are going now, because once the holidays start, we won't see them until next year. We do holidays with his family--again, another looooong story. My parents recently retired and have been pressuring us to come for a visit before they "move away." We don't know where that is going to be, because THEY don't know where they are "moving away." But, we are going nonetheless.
I will start by saying this. I love my parents very much. I'm an only child, so we were very close growing up. Things have happened over the past decade that have changed that relationship though, so things are more tense than they once were. A great deal of my current issue with them is my weight. For some reason, over the summer while spending a ton of time with them through my Aunt's sickness, death, memorial and then spreading her ashes (all total around 6 weekends spent with them), I found out just how critically they view me. My dad made countless comments about my weight ranging from the more subtle, "You're hungry AGAIN?" to "You are a much bigger girl than that girl [rude cashier], why don't you just sit on her and squish her?" He also made comments at every meal about how much I consumed and how quickly I ate. I soon realized that this behavior was not new. He had been tearing me down in his sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle ways all of my life. I have been cataloguing everything I can remember into a journal over the past few months trying to bring it all together and make sense of it.
My mom is different. She's not so blatantly open about how she views me. She does this in subtle ways that I never even saw or suspected. I realized it this summer. I don't know why this summer was a magical time for me to have all these realizations, but here I am, sorting through all of it and going to counseling. My mom is a feeder; with all her might (although I think it might be subconscious), she will toss extra food on my plate or offer her leftovers to myself or my dad. I used to fall for this, although in my older years, I began to see through it and tell her no. My dad doesn't tell her no. He eats whatever is left on the table. His issue...not mine. Anyway, I also find that my mom's perception of me is strangely distorted. She buys clothes that are 79 sizes too big for me! I'm talking, most literally, at least a good 3-5 sizes too big. She always prefaces it with, "well, I know you are working out, and so it might not fit in the future, but for now, I think it will work." I wonder, how much of this stuff went on in my childhood that I'm only now going to realize?
So, with all this being said, and only a snippet of what I have to face, I am VERY nervous about being around them and how I can take it. Also, despite my greatest efforts to eat healthy and work out, my physique just doesn't show it yet. I'm not only making lasting changes more slowly, but I'm also older. When I was 18, I could twirl around in front of the mirror and drop 7 pounds. Who couldn't?! Who wouldn't want that wonderful metabolism of a teenager back?! I haven't been "skinny" since I was 10 years old, but I do remember what it was like to drop weight quickly and I'm quite sure my parents still have this measuring stick in their minds.
So, here I am, 48 hours away from traveling to go see them and I am panicked! My body doesn't at all reflect what I have been telling them! I have told them about my green drinks and using the spark meal plans and cutting down on bad foods and working out and riding my bike to work and....and.....and........I'm just certain there will be consequences of the verbal assortment for telling them about my accomplishments and it just doesn't show yet.
I'm positive they won't even notice that I have slimmed down a tiny bit, or that my hair is shinier from eating healthier, or that my skin is more supple, or that I don't have dark circles under my eyes from lower stress. All they are going to see is that I haven't magically dropped 100 pounds overnight, and I'm sure I will hear all about it.
I talked with my counselor about my fears of this weekend, and she has given me some tools to overcome the negativity. First, she said that I need to remind myself constantly that the changes I have made not only physically but mentally are pleasing to me, the hubby and to God. She said it doesn't matter a thing in the world what anyone else says or thinks. She also suggested that although the relationship we have is unsteady, that I should strive to say at least one positive thing every hour we spend with them, such as, "I'm so glad the weather is nice for this trip," or "I really enjoyed the long drive time to spend with my husband getting here." She says I don't have to feed into their egos, but rather give them the impression that I'm positive No. Matter. What. So, I'm going to pray really hard that I am able to overcome the negative; I'm even hopeful that I might inspire them or that they will not say those things to me since we are going on completely pleasant terms (ie, no one's sickness, no family drama, etc).
Please think of me this weekend! And, I hope I don't sound negative about my parents; I really mean them no harm and I REALLY want them to be healthy too! It is my ultimate hope and prayer that my lifestyle changes will be so evident, they will desire that for their own lives....even if my physique doesn't show it as quickly as they would expect.