Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Monday, January 24, 2011

In 20 Wise Quotes from the Dalai Lama, I found this gem:

"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster."

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday evening. Now, I'm not exactly one to promote meltdowns, not really, but sometimes a meltdown for me is a breaking point - a sort of mile-marker for the turnaround in my thinking. This meltdown seems to have been just that. To help you understand, I guess it's best to go back to the events of this weekend and let you know what led up to the turning point (or, at least, what I hope is the turning point).

I awoke Saturday morning at 8:30am. After a quick shower, the whole family headed down to the elementary school for my oldest son's basketball game. Logan, 11, is new to basketball. This is only his second game in his first year in the sport. It took him a while to figure out what he wanted, what he enjoyed and he had several false starts along the way. He played football one summer...and hated every minute of it. He ran away from the ball when it was thrown to him, and he didn't like running back and forth on the field. Last year he played spring baseball, and while he did seem to enjoy the game, he just wasn't very good at it. I think he may have hit the ball one time in a game all season...and I think he was immediately tagged out at first. Still, he tried all year, and we encouraged him to practice in order to get better. This year, Logan decided that basketball was his new sport. I have to admit, his father and I were both skeptical, but since his own tiny elementary school has it's own little mini-league, we decided to go ahead and sign him up. At least it didn't cost us anything.

Last week, while watching him in his first game, I noticed something about my son. My shy, I-don't-want-attention driven son was a bit of a showboat on the court. I don't mean that he was hyping up the crowd, I just mean that the second he was put into the game he was in defensive stance against any player on the other team that had the ball. The same son who walks (and actually does everything) slower than anyone I know, was one of the first players up and down the court. He blocked shots and passed the ball and seemed to be the start of a game changer for his team. His team was down 20-2 in the first half, but came back when Logan was put in to make something like a 26-18 final score.

During the game, I heard myself say something that even sounded weird to me. I turned to Ethan, Logan's brother, and said, "I didn't know your brother knew how to play basketball!" Ethan smiled and nodded. He's watched his brother at several practices, and I guess he had the inside scoop on things. All last week the coach of Logan's team promised to work on his offensive skills (shooting) and, sure enough, in Saturday's game, Logan made two baskets...and he was in the game a lot longer this game than he was in the last. Maybe he shocked the coach a little as well. While his team still lost, Logan felt proud of his two shots and proud of his overall performance. Still, he nodded and smiled when I said, "You made 2 baskets?!" but didn't further discuss any details of the game. (Unfortunately, his father and I missed both shots as we were roped into concession duty out front. *sigh*)

After the game, my friend Anne Marie and I ate lunch with the boys and then took off to Columbus to visit a friend. The whole way there we talked about all the things we wanted to do this year - rock climbing, rafting, tennis. We talked about our boxing lesson coming up this weekend and talked about how we hope to challenge ourselves this year to really find what we love and hate. I remember saying to her, "Let's do it all! We might hate some of it, but we might find some things we love too!"

The wine party that night was both fun and challenging for me. My friend, Hillary, had invited a bunch of old high school classmates. Most of those who came were people I may have graduated with, but didn't really form close bonds with in high school. I was never in the popular group. I knew a lot of people, but I wouldn't have ever called us "friends" per se. I was worried and felt those high school insecurities pop back up into my head.

We had a total of something like 10 girls that night. I knew I had AM, Hillary, and a good friend, Joanna, to cling to, but I also really wanted to get to know these high school girls as adults now. We talked about what we were doing now, our spouses and children, where we lived, where the road had taken us. And through all of that, I kept feeling the, "I'm the saddest excuse for a person here" monster talking to me in my head.

I promise I tried to ignore it, but I kept hearing it tell me how I had wasted my senior year, how I had withdrawn and had little to no high school experiences because I was busy being pregnant and trying to figure out what my life was about to become. I remember it telling me that I still had a sorry excuse for a job, even though I'm currently (impatiently) waiting on a promotion to go through here at work. I remember it telling me way too many times, "You are still the fattest person in the room." And, as I told my husband last night, in my mind, fat = ugly, so I automatically assumed that I was also the ugliest person in the room (although my husband strongly disagreed with me on that one).

I tried not to let the voice influence me. I hated every picture, but pretended I didn't care. I danced in the living room with Hillary's 7 year old while she was playing Just Dance 2, and there was a certain freedom in doing what I wanted and not caring what the people around me thought. (Turns out they thought it was hilarious and wanted to take pictures...more pictures for me to secretly hate.)

Also that night, this comment was made: "Man, Esther! Your boobs look HUGE in this picture." That one would stick with me...

The next day, AM and I went shopping. I found a bunch of clothes - XL and XXL shirts from Old Navy and the Gap that I could never imagine trying on, let alone buying, just last year. And that should have been enough to lift my spirit...but, of course, it wasn't. It was a solitary purchase that broke my heart -- a size 42DDD bra. Yep, you saw that right -- THREE Ds.

You see, this new body of mine has some downsizing that needs to be done. I started at a 52DD years ago. Slowly but surely, that band size has begun to shrink. I've gone from 46-42 since April alone. But what I hadn't expected was that, while the band size was decreasing, the actual boobs were not. And when the around size of the band shrinks, but the around size of the boobs don't, you actually INCREASE a cup size. The difference between the band size and the boob size actually GROWS. So I went from a 52DD to a 42DDD, and it killed me to buy that bra (although it was adorable...and on sale from like 40 bucks to 19.99).

Of course, the hubs thinks it's awesome and has nothing negative to say. But something in my head keeps mocking me. "You get smaller AND get bigger at the same time! HAHAHA!" It's quite annoying. Other mocking tones came too. My hair needs cut looks horrible. My muscle has melted away after weeks of disuse. This one was strange for me -- my hair is no longer red, something I once both hated and secretly had pride in. Oh, and that's not even considering the comment from my husband of, "So who is the strawberry blonde girl in the pictures?" *sigh* This one comment automatically set off a, "Your husband doesn't think you're pretty" tirade which lasted most of the drive home.

I got home last night around 6pm or so. I was tired and hungry since I hadn't eaten since about 11am. I grabbed the boys and headed out for Chinese. But I couldn't eat much. I was too upset. Hubs was worried. He said he hadn't seen me this way in a long time and he was seriously concerned. "I'm just a mess," I told him. I didn't want him to worry, but I needed to work through it all in my head. I needed to quiet the monster. I had my meltdown and then went to bed after setting out my gym clothes for the next day, resolved to get back at the one thing I knew made me feel like I was worth something.

'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
My tragedy was in my own was the loss, or rather the suppression, of hope. I thought I was done for - that I had done all I could and would never be anything. My (horrible) father once told me I would never amount to anything and no one would ever love me, and in my darkest hour, that comment becomes my mantra...and that was my tragedy. Last night as my husband kissed me goodnight, he said, "I'm glad you're home. I missed you." And my reply was simply, "I've been missing me too."

That was the problem. I had lost myself again...and I needed to find myself. As I drifted off to sleep, I recounted the conversations I had had with AM about our "Year of Adventures" and reminded myself how long it took Logan to find something he was good at...and I decided that I was done missing myself.

Now, I can't say that I'm going to do everything right from here on out. That would be silly and stupid to think. I can't even promise I'm going to make the most amazing quick comeback ever. But I've made the following promises to myself:

* Do what you love.
* Do what you do.
* Go to the gym every day, even if you just walk in and walk back out, just get in the habit of going again.
* Go back to Zumba. You love it, and you have to do what you love.
* Make a plan and follow it, even when you don't want to.
* Forgive yourself.

That last one is going to be hard. I tend to harp on what I've done wrong. But, like many of my friends who are starting over yet again, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm doing the same. How fitting, considering when I started in April, it was following a weekend trip to my friend Hillary's house, in which we experienced a wine tasting. (Maybe wine has medicinal mental properties none of us have ever thought about!! *lol*)

Workout Plan for the week of January 24th-29th
Monday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Thursday - Line Dancing/Zumba
Friday - 45 minutes Cardio / 45 minutes ST
Saturday - 60 minutes cardio, minimum
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hey Esther - I don't want to overstep my boundaries here, but have you ever considered talking to a pro about how you're feeling? Just sometimes, some of the things that you say in your blogs about things that your father said to you, or things that you say to yourself make me feel like you'd really benefit from an outside person to validate and bounce these ideas off of. Because they are SO important and you are SO allowed to feel all of that. You fight so hard to "get back with it" and stop yourself from feeling upset, and I just know from experience that sometimes what you really need is to BE upset and have that breakdown and be angry at everyone (or specific people) for a while. If you ever want to chat about it, I'm here for you. I just think it might help you get over this hump if you were able to frame these feelings in a different way. I'm behind you 100 percent. I see a lot of myself in you and I want for you to succeed as much as you do - and I know you can and will because you are truly amazing and you're one of the smartest, most insightful people I have come across in a long time.
    3792 days ago
  • MAIA2011
    I might be overstepping here but I get super in my head like that, too, and the wine helps me R-E-L-A-X. Too much causes other problems. I am glad that your plan is to get back to exercising. When I get out of the habit I am even more sad to see muscle loss than weight gain.

    I'm so glad that Logan is kicking butt at basketball! That's a game changer!

    3794 days ago
    This made me cry. *hugs* I LOVE the idea of a "year of adventure" - that's an inspiring thought.
    3794 days ago
    I understand what you are saying in so many ways. One thing about the boobs - the reduction in band size is you melting your back fat. (One bra fitter once told me this!) Maybe you are one of those skinny chicks with huge boobies, if that's the case, that's how the creator made ya! As I have lost weight my boobs have never shrunk...and while they looked small when I was bigger, they look pretty big on a size 8 frame. It's always kinda messed with me because I don't see below the boobs...and it makes me feel larger than I am because bam - boobs. Just know that with everything, your body will continue to change as you put good stuff in you and move you around. You can do anything and I love you and think you are beautiful inside and out.
    3794 days ago
  • MAGSA10
    I am so glad that I have subscribed to your blog posting. They make me feel human and like I am not the only one out there dealing with some of the same mental workings.

    emoticon on your future physical activities and hope that some of them workout for you.

    Have a great Tuesday and stay strong and keep on Sparking.

    Maggie j. emoticon
    3794 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8301081
    emoticon emoticon
    3795 days ago
    I look at meltdowns in a similar way - as a means of growing stronger. Each experience, be it negative or positive, gives us knowledge; and knowledge is power in the battle to be who we want or intend to be.

    I think you're doing a great job of learning who you are now, and who you want to become. Just keep allowing yourself to grow from the meltdowns and you'll become an awesome version of yourself that you didn't know existed. :)
    3795 days ago
    I know that you have been going through a hard time, but I'm really proud of you. I can't wait for you to find you again!
    3795 days ago
  • MAGPIE17
    Those are great promises, hon. And FYI - when I lost weight, I went down a band size and up a cup size too. It can be frustrating, but my bf thinks is awesome that my boobs weren't lost with my weight ;). They'll shrink eventually, but don't let it get to you that they aren't yet. Think about it - would you be happier if you were losing the weight in your boobs instead of your waist? Your hips?
    3795 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7466362
    Crud, I hate those "reunion" type situations where the "wonderful who you are now" doesn't exist because the "nobody" you were has taken over. Of course you're not the same person from years ago (thank goodness!). You have grown immensely (and as you pointed out, shrunken somewhat, too!). The meltdown is over, served its purpose. Now onward to your new adventures and greatness. (ps.. Logan is awesome by finding himself, just like his mama!).
    3795 days ago
    I like how you're able to so eloquently write out the thoughts in your head, and lead us through your thought processes . We all have a negative tape that we need to turn down the volume on. You've got a solid plan in place to get you toward your goals, and following that is going to make you feel self-pride again. Cause we all know you're a determined, hard-working person who doesn't let circumstances stand in her way when she's made up her mind! We'll all be rooting for you :)
    3795 days ago
    All that internal noise really gets in the way sometimes, but I know you have to figure out why and where it's coming from. I think your plan is a good one, and you know that if you do fall, you will forgive yourself and get right back up again.
    3795 days ago
  • ERIN1128
    Keep plugging, babe - you know you're on a good road, and I know you have the strength to stay on it! Hugs.
    3795 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3543611
    We push ourselves so hard every day and don't recognize that the hardest thing we do isn't physical: Forgive yourself and move on! You can do it!
    3795 days ago
    I am so excited about the new things you're going to do this year! AND about Logan, the natural at basketball! We are all a natural at something & sometimes it takes a while to find out what...but when we discover it, nothing's going to stop us!

    so what's a little meltdown? Just part of the process. You go girl!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3795 days ago
    That's right- funny blog topic, as I have very similar thoughts sometimes about having missed my "potential" as I call it. What have I done with my life after all? And forgiving yourself- that's very, very difficult for myself, because oftentimes I feel if I go easy on myself, I give myself permission to lower my standards and that would be a negative. But, the more you do it- the better you get at it. So just keep trying to stick to the plan and the plan will start sticking to you. Usually a real tranformation is suddle to me- one day I wake up and notice that all those improvements, attempts and restarts are actually making a difference and changing me for the better.

    You ARE beautiful!!! Embrace it!
    3795 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4429274
    Oh, my friend. All those old negative tapes playing in your head, no wonder you can't hear the sound of how awesome you truly are.

    Follow your plan. And forgive yourself when it goes a little sideways, as things like that always do.

    And love yourself no matter what. Because at the end of the day, you are a person worthy of love and of being loved.

    3795 days ago
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