I haven’t written in quite some time. The absence is the same as they all have been for what feels like a long time: I want to write about weight loss/health success. The truth is, I have failed miserably in this arena. I have told two different friends about how much weight I’ve gained in this past year and a half or so, and both have had the same horrified/shocked look on their face. The look is quickly replaced by pity and then, most importantly unconditional love and questions. I could write a laundry list of reasons (or excuses if you will) on how this has happened, but that doesn’t change anything. I would say the biggest gains have been since surgery, although I’d already started gaining before. Post-surgery, I really had good intentions of getting stronger. My body had been falling apart, and now it could get better. I walked when I was totally drugged up in those days after surgery, when it was essentially shuffling my feet. To pushing myself and going miles (very slowly), but I was doing it, for a short time. In looking back at it, there was this little flame (like on a small candle), and lately I’ve been thinking of the moment it was blown out. I remember the instance and the thoughts that went through my head, and I knew the moment was significant, but I could never have imagined I would not have returned since. I know the fault, really isn’t in that moment, because if something is that fragile, it would have been something else. I was fighting against the depression with everything I had, but eventually it won. In the grand scheme of things, it is still winning.
If it weren’t for the weight, I would absolutely think I’m beating depression. I win a lot of battles. I’ve finally won battles, I’ve had my whole life with it, but I know, I would not be eating like I am and being as non-active as I am – if I were not losing. It’s such a frustrating feeling, knowing I put all of this work into getting better, but I’m still losing to the current. I’ve felt like a different person for quite some time now. For as long as I can remember, I love being in an airport bar. I’ve met such great people and heard such wonderful stories from people I never would have met. At the very beginning of writing my book, I spent a couple hours chatting with a woman who had just published her first book – yes, in the airport bar. I recently went to Alaska, and Brian and I were in the bar and someone sat down next time me, and I remember thinking, in anxiety filled way, please don’t talk to me, please don’t talk to me. I then became panicked about going home. I’m not me, how I am I going to be able to talk to people? Look how much weight you’ve gained….everyone is going to talk… I was not physically or emotionally prepared for that trip. But really, going home was one of the best things that could have happened. I immediately felt the love, not only being around family but being around people I hadn’t seen in nearly thirty years. It’s like this weight was just lifted off of me. I could talk to anyone – anyone could talk to me. I missed that feeling, and it made me realize just how far off I’ve been.
For the most part, the weight wasn’t in the forefront of my brain while in Alaska, but it was still there. I told myself, I wouldn’t let my weight stop me from anything and did a couple of canoe races. I have no upper body strength, and it will never be (even when I get in shape) close to what it was, and then you add A LOT of fat – it’s not a good recipe for climbing out of a canoe and onto the dock. I knew I could not pull myself up, and I did not want anyone having to try and pull me up. So, picture the fat chick, barely throwing one leg over the dock and then pulling her body and rolling onto dock. I pictured how many people had to see that – how they had to be laughing at me. Still, I raced a second time, going through the same anxiety once again. I was not going to let the weight win. Again, I won the battles, but my knees were wrecked on the trip. It was 14 hours of travel to get there, then tons of walking up hills, etc, and my knees were absolutely shot. I was in pain the whole trip and a couple weeks after. I was unable to hike – the thing I looked most forward to. My weight stopped me. The weight also won, in family pictures. I come from this really attractive family. I’ve always felt so out of place in that way – like I don’t belong. Nobody in my family would ever make me feel like that – it’s just how I’ve felt. When I had lost weight, I didn’t think about it. I didn’t hate pictures. But here I was again, seeing myself, surrounded by people I love and thinking, I don’t belong. It’s a shame, I feel that way. It shouldn’t be. So, there were definite feeling of insecurities and reminders of how out of shape I am, but at the same time, it was mostly good. It started to bring me back to me.
A friend and I went out of town last weekend, to see Brandi Carlile (for God’s sake…not the Go-Go - Brian won’t stop with that joke and the fact that most ppl thinks that’s who it is, doesn’t help), and for the first time since coming back from the trip – a month ago – I felt like myself again. I chatted up strangers at the concert, hotel, breakfast, wherever, and was even sought out by people I didn’t know. I was with a friend I met last year, so she has only known me – as the person I’ve been. She just kept bringing up like really nice, positive things about how engaging I am with people. Like, really….said some of the nicest things I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t until after we got back, I thought – yeah, she just knows this version of me, that I’m not proud of. It does say a lot, though, that even knowing me like this, we have become great friends. That is not always an easy thing to find in your forties.
Since returning from Alaska, I’ve worked even harder on getting back to me. I’ve spent more time with friends in this last month, than maybe I had in the previous 6 months or so. I make myself get out there, even when there are many days when I just want to stay in bed. I have even forced myself on my family – haha! Teenage boys don’t really want to hang out with their mom, but I keep inserting myself into their daily lives.
As my weight will show, I have a long way to go. There’s a lot of work to do, yet. I could be in Vancouver (my second home) right now with Brian and Cal (Ryne already had other trip planned with friends during part of their trip), but I was out of vacation time and didn’t want to go negative (as it turns out I used my last vacation day to drive them to airport – so not well thought out), but mostly – I didn’t feel in a place to go home. I want to have more energy. I want to be fun all the time. I’m having my moments, but I’m not there yet. At the same time, I’m sorry I’m not there. I miss so many people, and it would have been wonderful to see them.
The other day, I was upset with someone I love, because they have shown total disregard for what a surgeon told them. I started in, trying to get through to them after something happened, but I had to stop myself. Who in the fuck am I to try and fore someone to treat themselves better, when I haven’t been able to do it for myself? Just last week, my doctor (who I love), tried putting some fear of God into me. Have I changed my eating habits much since then? No. I have given a lot of thought to the person who needs to take their health more seriously and to mine. I am a little neurotic sometimes when it comes to the house being clean. I haven’t always been this way, but I certainly can be, as I’m getting older. I thought – you care so much about a clean kitchen, or everyone having clean bedding – but you can’t put that same care into your own body? Like….that obsessiveness is going to things that aren’t nearly as important as my own health. I’m hoping all this thinking things through, writing today, and of course the smudging 😉 is my returning point. This is where I start to put it together. God, I pray it is.
Enough about the weight stuff….I’ve talked a lot about the depression, but I must tell you. It doesn’t own me. Like I said – I win a lot of battles. I do things every single day, to make me happy. From buying new underwear, to taking a long bath. I love the feeling of cooking something everyone in the house likes (not an easy task), taking Jesse for a walk – soaking in Brian’s joy at hitting a huge goal on the bench press- to having my Vita Mix fixed (she needed minor surgery). I consciously make sure to feel the joy in all of these things and more – Oh yeah, can’t forget the Jersey Shore show. Look, watching that is both enjoyable and makes you feel like you really have your shit together – a friend of mine was recently fretting about still being a “work in progress” at her “age.” Listen my dear, watch the Jersey Shore, and you will feel like you’re bathing 1000.
Lastly, I recently also did something for myself – that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I did 23&Me. I had always been scared but so curious in a lot of ways. I’m glad I pushed past those fears, even though it really wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess I thought I would learn more out of it, but I did do the health part of it, too. I ordered this, as I was waiting for ultrasound results – that had been done after a 3D mammo. The 3D the year before had been good, so I was a bit freaked out about coming back to have something looked at. It is good, just needs to be checked in another 6 months. The 23&Me also did not have me down with that cancer marker, so that made me feel some relief. (again – someone going through that should have gotten her health together right….) Anyway, I did have an Alzheimer’s marker. It runs in my family. It was definitely not a surprise but nothing anyone ever wants to see. It does not mean I’ll get it. There’s just that chance, I guess. It sucks that we are getting older. We are thinking of a lot of things we’ve never had to before. I had to laugh in Alaska, when I’m sitting there with friends and we are talking about who are kids would go to if we die, wills, surgeries, etc. Boy, have topics of conversations changed as we age! We need to go back to the days of playing f/marry/kill. We have now seen so many go through so many terrible things, either directly or to those we love. I’m going back to health things, as it has been permanently imprinted on my brain lately- I ask that you take care of your emotional and physical being. I know, the Chick who has been rambling on and on about not being able to do it- is asking you to put yourself and your health first. I will, if you will. This I promise to you. Here’s to making our own destiny and not what any dumb marker says. Let’s be healthy together.