Tuesday, June 25, 2013
As I am transforming into a newer, healthier, improved me, I've learned a great deal about myself in the last few months on Spark People. Some of it good, some of it not so wonderful, some I knew already but needed confirmation or acknowledgement in my own mind.
I am strong. I've had to be for most of my life because in my family I'm the strong, dependable, reliable one. If you want something done, give it to Gwen because she will get it done. I didn't want to be the strong one and yet at the same time, got a sort of perverse satisfaction from it. Now I am ready to truly own it. Why should I be ashamed of being strong? Why should I not be happy about my ability to handle just about anything without breaking? To use some Celtic imagery, I am the oak tree. Strong winds will buffet me, but I will always come through fairly intact. That's not to say that there isn't upheaval that I go through; there is always that. What is changing for me is that now I acknowledge the upheaval instead of denying it.
I am independent. I've learned to handle all the things around the house that my ex husband did and I just didn't worry about before. They are now my own responsibility and while I don't like doing some of those things (coughcough*mowing the lawn*coughcough), I do get a sense of accomplishment from knowing that the only thing that prevents these things from getting done is me. I can do it on my own schedule and I am the one in control of it. There isn't anyone around telling me that I'm doing it wrong.
I need my friends and family. I need to have love in my life. I am an extrovert and I need people. I have come to see it as a plus instead of a minus. How much people time I get is completely up to me. I have people who love me in my life and whom I love. People who would bury a body if I needed them to and they know I would do the same for them. For too many years I had built walls around me to prevent me from getting hurt. Today, those walls are mostly down, although there are a few residual ones.
I've learned that most of the things I told myself I couldn't control, like my appetite or my ability to choose healthier foods for myself were simply not true. I make the choices for this body. I decide what I want to eat and when. With the help of all the tools that Spark People provides, I have learned about my eating habits then and now. I have learned that good, healthy food is what I crave these days. If I want something sweet, then grapes, cherries, dates are my go-to foods.
I have learned that while I'm not hugely crazy about exercise, I am crazy about what it does for me. I can move so much better these days and I always feel healthier. I am not sick anywhere near as much as I used to be and while I do a bit of complaining about having to constantly buy smaller and smaller clothes, I am really enjoying how I look and feel in them. My flexibility is getting better all the time and I have so much more energy.
There will always be challenges in my life. I used to want my life to go so smoothly along and was so disappointed when something happened that I had to deal with. And disappointed is probably a mild word. I retreated fairly often into day-dreams of what it would be like if I won the lottery or any other life changing event. I included my (ex) husband in those events, but I recognize now that it was very reluctant inclusion. I couldn't really picture him and I together for the long haul and I didn't want to face it, so was in denial. I've learned that I don't want to go through life with my eyes closed to the challenges that face me. They have so much less significance and power if I face things bravely and head on. It's harder, of course, not wrapping myself up in cotton. It's not safe. But even "safe" wasn't safe. Safe is an illusion that I've been chasing for most of my life and like perfection, it's unobtainable.
I don't know where I'll be in my life 6 months from now (except filing for divorce), or what emotional, physical and mental challenges are yet to come. I'm a little at peace with the fact that I don't know, which used to drive me crazy before -- and if I'm honest, still does to an extent. For me, the big picture now is that I want to be happy. Not all the time, but most of the time. This doesn't mean I will be fabulously rich or have lots of things. That's not happiness. For me, happiness is having people who love me and support me in my life. That makes me one of the richest women in the world and at last I know that.