Sunday, May 28, 2017

Today, I am Sad

Today, I am sad. I'm not so sure why, but I am. I have been sitting here in front of the computer for over an hour trying to figure out what to write this week and nothing has really come to me besides this overwhelming feeling of sadness. As I sit here at my desk looking out the window, I have a view of the pond with the fountain, some nice big trees and lots of green grass. The sky is that perfect shade of light blue, with white fluffy clouds floating in the air. It is in the mid 70s today, and is quite nice now that the rain has moved on.

I met up with a friend Friday afternoon and we talked a little about finding some way that I could make a beginning at being more active. She wanted to "do the math" and figure out how many steps a day I'm getting in so that I can set a goal to strive for. I hem-hawed around that one, embarrassed to acknowledge how few steps a day I really get in. She offered to be a walking buddy sometime and as I sat there listening to her say those words, all I could think about was how I used to power walk four miles a day after work and now I can hardly walk 100 feet, and I felt crushed beneath my weight.  Again. This morning I went to church with my parents. I was out of breath. Not just a little out of breath, but huffing and puffing out of breath by the time I went up my six stairs and walked  down the sidewalk to get into the car. I try not to make it so obvious that I'm winded by trying to breathe deeply, in through my nose and out through my mouth, but there is no quiet way to "suck air".

I wish that I could be out there, enjoying the fresh air, walking through the grass with my dad's dog Max, watching the geese at the pond. I feel as though my world is closing in on me with each passing day. My life is quickly passing me by. I feel trapped inside my body, limited by what I can no longer do. I wonder how I must look to others, even though I "shouldn't" and I want nothing more than to be able to shrink down in size or fall through a crack in the Earth.  I'm becoming more and more socially isolated because I now have to consider whether or not restaurants and theaters and coffee shops will have chairs that I can sit in. And if I fit, will it hold me? Picnic season is upon us and lawn chairs are not designed to hold someone who weighs 408 pounds.  I can't even sit on the porch swing at my mom's house right now.

I know that I have people out there rooting for me and supporting me. But right now, that doesn't change the fact that I feel so helpless and alone. I think that it is important for me to acknowledge my sadness and to allow myself to feel it, rather than trying to push it away or minimize it. I am hurting, and that is okay. I am now acutely more aware of all of the things that I took for granted when I was smaller (like fitting in a chair or putting on my shoes) and it stings and I'm going to have to work through that. I just wish that hurting wasn't part of the path on my journey towards healing.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Let me start off by saying that I hate grocery shopping. I absolutely hate it! First of all, there is the arguing with myself over what I am and am not going to buy to eat for the week. After all, if I don't buy CRAP, I won't have CRAP in the house to tempt me, right? So, I stick to the perimeter of the store, forgoing the Froot Loops and the cinnamon raisin bagels in favor of the spinach, kale, and fresh raspberries, all of which I do just so happen to like anyway to begin with. So what is the problem, you may be wondering? Well, you see, I'm lazy. Sloth lazy. With Froot Loops, you just open the box, dump them in a bowl, and drown them in milk. Voila! Dinner is served! Creating meals with fresh "ingredients" takes effort and I don't wanna do that. I like the end result, but don't want to put forth the effort to get it. If it sounds like I'm whining, I'll admit it, I am. And I struggle with valuing myself enough to invest the time and energy into becoming a healthier me. But I'm getting there.

Last Wednesday I was unloading my groceries. Again, because I'm lazy, I was determined to carry them all in from the van in one trip. I loaded up my arms, shut the back end with my back end, and headed for my apartment. I knew that I was off balance but thought I could make it up the three steps to the landing okay. I was wrong. I fell forward and to the left, landing in the bushes, on top of my groceries. Dammit to hell! Yogurt had exploded. Strawberries and raspberries were smashed. My knee was throbbing. And there I was, lying there on the ground, huffing and puffing, feeling like a giant lard ass.

Two people saw me fall. One was my neighbor from the apartment next to mine. I'd put her in her mid twenties. She watched me fall, then stepped OVER me and kept right on going, laughing as she walked past me. The other was a young man, probably in his thirties, who lives upstairs. He was so kind to me! After asking if I was okay, he rebagged my groceries for me and carried them to my door. Then he helped me get up off the ground. He again asked if I was okay. I was brushing myself off, mumbling about how embarrassed I was when he said the kindest thing. He said "there is no judgment coming from me".  I was so much more worried about how I looked lying there on the ground than I was about my knee and he wasn't even judging me!

It took me several minutes to collect myself once I got into my apartment before I could sort through the groceries and assess the damage and put everything away. As I was putting things in the refrigerator, I started to laugh. It dawned on me that salad mixes, fresh fruit, and meat broke my fall. Not Froot Loops. Not Ding Dongs. But kale! I wasn't at all embarrassed by what had spilled from my bags. In the past, I would have been worried about being judged for what I was eating. But I had made good choices at the grocery store on Wednesday. I let my pride get the best of me when I decided to try to haul all of those bags in at once, all by myself. I let my pride get the best of me when I was lying on the ground spewing self-disparaging remarks at myself for having fallen down. I was so flustered that I don't remember my kind neighbor's name but I'll never forget how he treated me with dignity and respect. And I'm going to keep right on doing my part by making good choices for myself and holding my head high!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I Can't Breathe

I'm just getting back in town from a weekend away at a women's retreat. It was so wonderful to get away and spend some time with 60+ women all walking a similar journey together. I was a little, okay, a lot!, anxious as Friday afternoon rolled around and the time came to go to Camp Tecumseh. Even though I've been to these retreats before, I'm never fully prepared for all of the feelings and emotions that might arise during the course of the weekend,

The opening night activity was just sort of okay for me emotionally and I was having a hard time envisioning how the theme of the retreat was going to connect for me as the weekend progressed. I think that part of my "problem" was that the theme was tied to the Wizard of Oz and I really do not care for that movie. But, I went along with it. I muddled through the small group activities and free time on Saturday afternoon and I found myself feeling, well, just sort of meh. I toyed with the idea of going home early, but this little voice inside me said "Stick it out", so I did.

The Saturday evening speaker's story was powerful. Her words reached me in the depths of my soul. She spoke of fear. I know fear. I'm introduced to someone new and I'm afraid that they're judging me by my fat before they even hear me say my first name. I'm walking to my mailbox and I get so short of breath that I can't breathe and I'm afraid that I'm going to have a heart attack and die in the parking lot. I'm afraid that my obesity is going to shorten my lifespan.  I'm afraid that I'm dying. She spoke of looking at her reflection in the mirror and seeing dead eyes staring back at her. I have those eyes. Hollow. Empty. Distant. Cold. And as I sat there listening to her speak, choking back the tears, I was fervently praying "Please tell me that there is hope. Please. This can't be it!"

And then our speaker got to courage. Courage to give up the fight. Courage to let go and let God. Courage to ask for help. She got to compassion and I heard her say to allow others to love me as I am, and to keep loving me even when I don't love myself. Finally, she spoke of wisdom, wisdom to make the right decisions and to do the next right thing with guidance from God and the love and support from all of the people placed along the path to help me. And then it happened! I got my lightbulb moment. I'm suffocating because I'm still trying to do this on my own! I'm not allowing God to love me and I'm not allowing you to love me because I don't love me. Once I realized that, I was able to begin to breathe again, through my sobbing. My story doesn't have to end here. Tonight, I'm making the choice to take care of myself. Tonight, I'm making the choice to breathe!