8.23.2009

who are you...really.

Hello all,
Back from memory lane to deal with a specific weight loss subject. Fear of success.
I was reading (as I do daily) Jack's blog. He was discussing his propensity to lose weight and then regain what he lost and then some. "Why?" He wondered. I think Fitcetra hit the proverbial nail on the head. Who am I if not _______? Whatever it is that your fat means to you. For me-it was the friend who listens to others burdens, but rarely shares shared her own, the wife who never complains, the self sacrificing mom who put her kids ahead of everything, even her own health and sanity. The non-threatening woman in every crowd who is the shoulder to cry on, the wallflower who makes wisecracks while hiding the fact that she feels fat and unattractive, so instead aims for matronly.
Who am I when I lose my fat shield. Who am I when I become attractive? Will I be deemed a threat by all the pretty (but insecure) women who used to think of me as a sounding board instead of competition. Not that I am in competition for men, I AM married after all. But some women aren't competing for men, they are competing against everyone and everything to see if they can be the best. What happens when they can no longer keep their feeling of smug superiority? Well, as Merry from a Merry life found out, the claws extend and the cat fights begin.
Except, I have never played that game, even when I was much thinner.
At the time, I had self esteem issues and was very afraid of confrontation (high school and so on) I didn't join in, so they wound up either ignoring me, or simply making snarky comments. I have dealt with many of these self esteem issues. Now, I feel pretty good about myself apart from my weight. I have never been both emotionally and physically healthy, this is uncharted territory. I have never been there and don't have a map. I think alot of people who are losing weight feel the same way.
We have dreams about How It Will Be When I Am Thin. For us it's as hard to fathom as winning the lottery. Many seem to reach goal and realize that while thinner, they aren't any happier. Healthier, yes. Able to do more, absolutely. But things didn't magically morph into a delightful wonderland of candies heels, bikinis and hot dates with Mr. perfect.
They are still in their lives, however they may be. But now they are dealing with people who deal with them differently simply because they lost body fat. It can be at once heady and disheartening. Heady because you were able to succeed, disheartening to find out people really are that shallow. Wonderful cause you are healthier, disorienting because you have to find a new role in the world.
Are you scared because of the number of times you repressed your rage at how you were being treated? The times you covered it over with a smile and people marveled at your 'even-headedness". Do you know deep down that many times you are nicer than you want or ought to be, because you were attempting to compensate for your weight. Did you compromise in your relationships, take less than you ever wanted, because you were afraid to ask for more? As you lose weight, are you judging bigger people because of your own self loathing? Are you afraid that, in the end, you too might be a skinny B*tch?
These thoughts and feelings have often pushed me back into my fat shell. It was too big, it was too much, it was too hard. My husband liking my thinner self had made me both happy and p*ssed beyond belief. I think we want the illusion of a love that is unconditional. Apart from a mother's love, I am not sure it exists. You wouldn't leave your child if they end up promiscuous, but you would leave your husband. Maybe losing fat is like losing your fantasies about how you wished things work. The fantasy that I am a mother earth sort who has endless patience. The type of person who never gets angry or upset. The kind of person who is endlessly understanding. the person who makes self deprecating remarks, who lightens things up, who smooths things over.
To find out who you were wasn't reality, but a pretense you maintained to fit in can be embarrassing if you prided yourself on being up front and real.
The reality is, I ate it. Literally. My self-martyrdom came at a high price. Maybe we are afraid of confronting who we truly are, the relationships as they really are and the emotional toll it costs us to maintain them. Knowing that to stay healthy, we are going to have to tell the truth to ourselves and the people around us. We are going to have to tell our mothers to back off or shut up. We are going to have to deal with that period of time when we were..abused, raped, beaten, left. We are going to have to accept that our husbands are attracted to us not only by our character, but by our physical appearance as well. We are going to have to face off with friends who don't truly wish us well and will attempt to sabotage our success. We are going to have to face ourselves down and realize that our fat is doing something for us, or we wouldn't have it. I don't have all these issues, but I know there are people out there who do. Losing the weight isn't just about the fat, it's about finding out who you truly are. You have to be willing to do that, or you won't succeed. Not only find out who you are but also learn to either love yourself or take the time to fix the parts you don't. I am posting early so don't have my calorie total. Today I weighed in at 228.
I hope everyone is doing well and making progress.
Hugs,
Chris

7 comments:

Hanlie said...

Another truly insightful and honest post!

I have never been the prettiest girl or the sexiest girl around, even when I wasn't fat, so I am under no illusion that anyone will see me as competition when I lose all my excess fat.

A good friend of mine lost a lot of weight about a year ago after being obese for 20 years. She says this past year (post weight loss)has been one of the toughest in her life, because she's had to forge a new identity for herself while not having her fat to hide behind and blame for everything that went wrong in her life. It's still worth it though, because in the process she has learned to much and let go of so much more than mere weight.

Interesting and very valid subject!

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Sometimes I have to read your post to see what I really meant in my post. Excellent analysis. I appreciate you delving a little deeper than I managed to. Very insightful.

*Fitcetera* said...

Exactly Chris ... who are we? who will we be?
I'm hoping I can find that out long before I arrive at goal so it isn't as frightening as it otherwise could be.
I do not plan on failing this time ... my focus is on complete and lasting success!
Thank you very much for the mention in your post.
I'm flattered that something I said may have helped to inspire part of this post.

I'm Canadian ... I live in Windsor, ON :D
I noticed that too ... I sound like I should be in Fargo ... I never realized it before ... too funny.

Have a great week.
Great post!

Amy said...

I'm on a diet, but I don't *want* to be. I'm not really doing it for me.... Who am I if not the baker of wonderful desserts, shared with friends and family over cups of hot coffe? Meh.

Rehoboth said...

This was powerful, Chris. It must be something in the air because I am dealing with some of the same issues about who I am, what I am really supposed to be doing, and learning to speak up when I should. I'll be 57 on my next birthday, so it truly is time as in now or never perhaps. Thank you.

Susan

seattlerunnergirl said...

Chris, what an eloquent and TRUE post. The last time I was at a healthy weight, I was in high school. I have no idea how to live as an adult in a healthy body! Even if the learning curve is that simple, rather than about emotions and safety and friend-sabotage, it's a big curve indeed.

Patty said...

Just read the last two posts and you are wise beyond your years. I guess with everything you have been through, you should be, eh?

LOL @ Jack, as usual. :-)