I am definitely the kind of person that internalizes things, pushes them down and just, in general, tries to not deal with or face things that are difficult or uncomfortable. It's always been "easier" for me to just pretend like difficult stuff doesn't exist. Then I don't have to face it.
That's what got me to the point I found myself in January of 2013. I used food to medicate and make myself feel better whenever I was struggling. One of the realizations I came to over the last week is this: "I don't really know who I am if I'm not struggling with my weight". That may sound crazy. And believe me, it's taken me a very long time to come to that realization. Weight has always been a struggle for me. It has defined my life for as long as I can remember. I was on my first "diet" when I was 11. And, I was successful at losing weight. But, I never stuck with it. After all, how does an 11 year old stick with a "diet"? And, so, I gained it all back plus some. So began the lifelong process of yo-yo diets, losing weight and feeling good about myself, gaining it all back (plus some) and being mad at myself, etc. This cycle has continued for 20 years.
When I first acknowledged that there was a significant issue that I actually needed to address, I felt lost. I didn't know where to start but I figured my health and weight were a good place to begin. Having someone from the outside step in, take an interest in me, my health and my goals and actually ask me about more than my weight was the first step. But, as I usually do, I was immediately focused on the weight piece. Because, it's something I can see, progress is easy to define and I don't really have to do anything too scary to work on it. (Unless the grocery store counts...) I can't count the amount of time Renee' spent pushing me to do things I didn't want to do. Well, I think, deep down, I wanted to do them but was scared to death. Finally understanding, accepting and believing that I had people to turn to made it just a little easier to take those steps each time.
And, although, I've made more progress than I could ever write about, I'm still struggling. I need to figure out who I am without weight issues. What defines me. I got lazy the last couple of months. And, deep down, I was probably sabotaging myself in some way. Going back to what I've always done. Even though I don't want to go backwards. I needed a kick in the ass.
Ask and you shall receive. Just maybe not in the most up front way. People can be tricky. In good ways. If I want to be healthy, I have to do it for myself. No one can do it for me. For me, being healthy is both the physical and the mental/emotional. I need to find something that defines me. I have several things that I love about my identity but I feel like there's something big missing. Something that is just me. And I'm not sure what that is or could be. So, I've decided that is my next goal. To figure it out. To take small steps that require me to step out of my comfort zone even more than I already have. One of my biggest struggles has always been believing I have something to add to a friendship, relationship, etc. I've never believed in myself or what I have to offer. So, that makes it difficult to find your place in the world.
As a good friend said this week, "I get exactly what you're saying. You've conquered the weight loss, now what?". Exactly. Maybe that would include selling something, trying to figure out a way to use the personal training certification I worked towards to help others. What else could it be? I have no idea. But, I do know I am so much more open to things than I was a year and a half ago.
15 years ago, I never would have dreamed that at the age of 34 I'd still be figuring out this thing we call life. Just goes to show you that you grow and change throughout your life. My aunt is one of the smartest and most intuitive people I know and I am so lucky she is my family and one of my best friends. And, when she said to me earlier this week "Have fun and be happy. You are special! One day, you'll believe it. You are loved by many and we can't all be wrong", it was exactly what I needed. It's going to take me awhile to completely figure myself out. And, I will need some help along the way. But, there's nothing wrong with that. If you're afraid to ask for help or guidance, you may never find all that's available in the world for you to experience.
Life is scary. But, when you accomplish things, it's an unbelievable feeling. One that I want to keep experiencing.
You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you.
- Mister Rogers