No mama

He found me crying in the bathroom yesterday. It wasn’t that I ever truly believed I could be pregnant, it’s just that I spent four days working it all out in my head and two days hoping with all my might that it would happen. It was the first time in my life that I thought I might be pregnant and actually wanted it to be true, without a doubt.

He asked why I had kept it to myself for a week, why I hadn’t shared it with him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to know what I was going through, it was that I wanted to go through it, I needed to go through it. One final chance, one last dream that it could be true, without all the reasons why it shouldn’t be, reminders of all that could go wrong, all the difficulties it would bring.

He wanted me to stop crying but I needed to let it out, needed to go through it. I needed to mourn and feel, so I could let go and move on. I hope I will be a mom someday, I still believe it might happen. But I know now that true happiness comes from being open to either possibility so that I can want what I get, because I can’t always get what I want.

Mama?

Could I be pregnant? It’s possible, yes. All of the things that need to happen have happened. But I’m 45 years old and I have never been pregnant. My period is only five days late, it is rarely a day late. I have no period symptoms. I am old enough that this could be pregnancy or menopause. If it is menopause I welcome it because it will take the other possibility off the table and, quite frankly, if I am indeed never going to have children of my own, I don’t need this monthly gift and all the crap that comes with it. However, if there is a baby, I am in for one hell of a rough ride in so many different ways. And if I am to be honest with myself, I welcome every fucking moment of the hell. I’m probably not , though, right?

Drugs, and then more drugs – Part 2

Taking a pill every day did not take away my misery – in many ways it exasperated it. Recognizing a chemical defect in my brain did not give me instant happiness – it simply showed me that I didn’t already have it. And, having spent a lifetime blaming other people and circumstances for my problems, it was hard to come to terms with the fact that it was in me. That meant I couldn’t break up with it, I couldn’t leave it, I couldn’t yell at it or sell it or quit it – I was it.

In the early days I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself to kill it. I was a ticking time bomb, and there was no way to know what would set me off. It was like I was great, I was great, I was great, and then a wave of emotion would hit me in the face and I would go down. Once it was in the parking lot of a bank, in a movie store, at work, in the middle of breakfast, on a date. (I was single again by then – Mr. Everything-I-ever-wanted had run for cover long before all this went down… he still came by for sex from time to time, though.) Luckily a couple of trips back to the doctor to adjust dosage helped get me back under control. Sort of.

The most difficult part, however, and the part that took years to figure out, was that I had lost my one coping method. My whole life when something went wrong I would go to bed and wait it out. When I was a teenager I turned the heater on my waterbed as high as it would go and slept complete days away. Mom too was busy furthering her career to notice my suffering; Dad was just like me and probably didn’t even realize my behaviour was odd. Although Mom has told me since that he said he was worried about me several times. She didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about so she left me in my bedroom with my fantasies of shoving the barrel of a gun down my throat instead of asking if I was okay. (The tears pouring down my cheeks right now tell me I’m still just a little bitter about that.)

Eventually when I recognized a trigger or felt the waves of anguish rise I would go into my bedroom, close the door to make the room dark and get under the covers. I remember just lying there, waiting. But nothing would happen so I’d get back up and go about my day. I dealt with the loss of my one coping method by trying to feel nothing at all. It kind of backfired and changed everything.

Anyway, all of this happened over a decade ago and it took me nearly that long to figure out my shit. It’s still a struggle some days but that is life. I’ll probably tell you all about it at some point but over the years I basically put my life on pause and went back to scratch to teach myself the things I had missed. It was during that time that I really got into the “more drugs” part of my little life soliloquy but something else is on my mind right now so we’ll get back into that some other time.

Drugs, and then more drugs – Part 1

When I tell people about the changes I’ve made in my life and the things I did to turn my misery into happiness, I rarely tell them that I take anti-depressants. This is because, while the drugs gave me the ability to get up off the floor, they did not teach me what to do when I was up there.

Back in the day, my understanding of “depression” was feeling a sadness that was unlike your normal self. If you asked me back then I would have said I never felt a sadness unlike my normal self, but I realize now that I thought it was my normal self. Sometimes I stayed in bed for a days on end, I wouldn’t answer my phone and generally disappeared from life from time to time. It didn’t seem odd to me; that was just life.

My older sister started taking anti-depressants as soon as they came on the market; I considered that a major cop-out. I wholeheartedly believed that if you have a problem, you try to figure out what the problem is, you don’t take a pill and expect it to make everything better. Because it just doesn’t. My sister was living proof – she bitched and complained as much on the pills as she did before she took them. What a joke.

That wasn’t my way; I fixed my problems. I moved across the country, I got a new job, I fell in love, I moved to a new town, a new house, lost 30 pounds, gained 40, lost 20, then I got another job, then another job and another, then I left my boyfriend and bought my own home in a different town, and then I got another job that was better suited to my abilities, I started dating several men, revitalized my self esteem, then I fell in love with the man who was absolutely perfect for me, that would surely make me happy.

I remember lying in bed one morning, next to the man who was right for me in every way, and was shocked to realize that I felt the same sense of rage/frustration/irritation/hatred/discomfort/disillusionment that I’d felt with the man who was wrong for me in every way. I had an overwhelming urge to jump out of bed and pull my hair and scream and jump up and down and punch the wall until my knuckles bled, but I barely had enough energy to roll over. In that moment two words came into my head that changed my whole life – it’s me.

The problem was me, it was always me. I was blaming outside influences but all the changes I made changed nothing. The hopelessness and self-loathing my mother told me were simply growing pains when I was 15 were still with me at the age of 32. The moves, the jobs, the men all came down to one common denominator – me. And I decided it was time to make a change, another change but a different change.

I applied to post secondary school and started a couple of courses. I renewed my lapsed gym membership. I started taking swimming lessons and jumped into the deep end of the pool for the first time since I had a panic attack when I was eight. Things were looking up. But somewhere along the way, I stopped going to the gym again, I didn’t finish the courses, I found better things to do and didn’t make it to swimming lessons. It didn’t matter, though, I was fixed. Everything was going to be okay.

Not long after I started feeling really ill. My friend had mono so I realized I’d caught it too and told my boss I wouldn’t be able to make it in to work for a few days, told my boyfriend not to come over. I felt horrible; my symptoms were different than my friend’s but it was definitely mono because I had no energy and couldn’t get out of bed for days on end. I went to my doctor but he said I didn’t have mono so I figured it must have been the flu or something.

A month or so later I went back to the clinic because there was something wrong with my heart, not long after that I was certain I had some other disease or illness. Finally he sat me down and gave it to me straight – he wanted me to try anti-depressants. That wasn’t going to happen. If there was something wrong in my head, I wasn’t going to start taking a pill and pretend that nothing was wrong. He gave me two choices, anti-depressants or therapy. I chose therapy.

It helped. Talking to someone that wouldn’t be affected or hurt or disgusted by the things I had to say made a difference. I didn’t have to worry what he thought of me, it didn’t matter if I said something wrong or out of line because I was paying him to listen. We discussed my weight issues, my self esteem, my upbringing, my relationships; and his insights brought some things to light that I couldn’t see on my own. After three or four sessions, I was cured.

And about a month later I was literally on the floor again, seriously considering giving up this fight that I surely couldn’t win. I had been in an accident that left me with a concussion and banged up right side. When I accepted that I was saving my pain killers so I could take the whole bottle at once, it was time to decide once and for all if I was in or out. I went back to my doctor and he wrote a prescription for anti-depressants. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the hardest part was still ahead of me.

The friend inside my head

Have I ever told you about my old blog? The one I was using when I was figuring out my life and stuff? Well, there were several. I used to spend a significant amount of time writing and reading, considering and questioning. It’s pretty amazing, actually, that it landed me here… the person I want to be.

There was a long time, though, that I didn’t like who I was but I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be. I would discuss things in my head, kind of like “what would the person I want to be do in this situation.” In fact, I remember the moment of what was possibly the first time I did it consciously. I was washing my hands in the bathroom and I looked into the mirror and said “how would a thin person handle this?” And then I laughed, rolled my eyes and told myself I was an idiot.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I had a quick logical conversation with myself that ended well. I had a particularly busy and stressful couple of days at work. The event I hosted was a complete DISASTER. It didn’t go the way I had planned, people were frustrated, several were actually pissed off. But I did good, I was really impressed with the way I handled things and was able to turn them around somewhat.

On the way home, I was trying to decide what I wanted to have for dinner but was far too tired and hungry to cook (I didn’t have a  chance to eat today, either) so I decided to go to McDonald’s for a Big Mac, my comfort/celebration/punishment food of days long gone. I actually turned the car and started driving in that direction, and I heard myself tell myself that I “deserved” it.

“Go ahead, me”, I thought, “you worked hard, no one would blame you. You deserve it.” Then I realized that what I really deserved was to eat something healthy, that was good for me, something that would give my body fuel and energy, not some crap that would be sloppily put together, disappointing and unfulfilling, and cause regret and indigestion later. So I decided  that what I really deserved was to buy myself a nice salad. And that’s exactly what I did. Then I got on my bike for 80 minutes and I ended the day with a great big fat pat on the back. And some chips, but that’s another story for another day. 😉

 

That being said

I kind of regret making the first post of this blog all life-is-wonderful-and-sunshine-and-rainbows-and-flowers-and-kittens. I mean, everything I wrote here was and is true, but life still has it’s hardships. It always will. That’s one of the things you have to accept if you’re going to be happy.

That being said, I’m struggling with something I want to think out loud about right now. It’s what is on my mind today, and has been weighing heavily for the past week, and has been a thorn in my side since I was about five years old.

Fat.

I remember being very proud and grown up to move from size 6 to 6x. I was finally out of the little kid section of the store and able to wear clothes from the girl’s section (I can’t be sure but I’m going to guess that this was probably the section my older sister’s clothes came from at the time). That might have been the last time I was proud of my size.

I’m 44 now and, long after I moved away from home, my mother sent me a project I did in Grade 5. I was an “all about me” thing we did in class, who I am, who I want to be. Littered throughout the damn thing is comments about me wanting to lose weight.

Want to hear some more weight related childhood memories? My mom was making cookies and I asked if I could have one; she said no, but if I lost 20 pounds she would make a whole batch just for me. I asked my mom if I could take ballet lessons because I thought I was a really good dancer; she said no, because none of the boys would be able to lift me. We were all talking about what we would do if we won a million dollars; my mom said she would send me to fat camp so I could lose weight.

I could go on and I have in the past, but at this point the voices in my head tell me two things: 1. that’s why you’re so fucked up about food, and 2. you’re 44, motherfucker, get over it already.

An important life lesson I learned many years ago is that “why” doesn’t matter. Whether or not my brother called me names, whether my parents kept our food pantry locked, whether I hid junk food wrappers so I wouldn’t have to deal with the shame and disappointment they brought, the fact is I can’t go back and change any of these things. And maybe in the grand scheme of things growing up overweight made me a kinder, more tolerant person. However, while the “why” doesn’t matter, I’m still sitting here crying about being fat.

Maybe I should focus on “why” I want to lose weight, “why” I still feel I should lose weight if the very thought of it causes me so much pain. Here’s the thing, though. I don’t fucking want to lose weight. I don’t want to diet. I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to care. I don’t want to feel guilty for eating a cookie, I don’t want to rebel and eat hamburgers and chips and chocolate constantly now that I’ve decided to try again when I was perfectly happy and satisfied to eat salad last fucking week.

Okay, I want to lose weight because my clothes are tight. I could buy bigger clothes. But it’s embarrassing. Squeezing into a plane seat, uncomfortably shifting at the theatre, wearing shitty old clothes because I’m unwilling to give up the possibility that I will fit into the pants I wore a year ago or the shirt I wore five years ago. And it’s dangerous. I feel my body labouring more when I’m bigger, my extremeties go numb when I’m not giving my body the fuel it needs to work properly, I know the dangers of heart disease and diabetes and all the other bad things that being fat can cause.

Why does it have to be so damn important? Why do people always have to say something? Why does the mere act of declining a cookie at work cause people to tell me it’s okay to just have one, and that I shouldn’t feel bad about it, and diet diet fucking diet. Why is everyone always talking about losing weight, not just in reference to me but for themselves? Why do larger role models, big women who make a name for themselves in spite of being large, suddenly lose weight after they become famous? Why is every role for fat actors about being fat? Why do I still get so fucking worked up about this??

I am happy, I’m in a good place, my confidence is strong and it is good. For the first time in my life, I am in a relationship that has absolutely nothing to do with my weight. He doesn’t love me in spite of my weight and he doesn’t love me because of my weight. Although, if I were to be honest with you, I do think he would struggle with a lot of insecurity if I were to lose weight but that’s his problem, not mine, quite frankly.

So I thought I had it all figured out, I thought I was past all this. I promised myself that I would lose 60 pounds this year. It’s March, I’ve gained 2. I decided that I would talk to someone about this because I don’t know where to go with it anymore, but then I figured what could someone tell me that I don’t already know, what could I try that I haven’t tried before? I asked my little sister/best friend/confidant for support and that is kicking me in the face like a sonofabitch.

I don’t want to try, anyway. I just want to be. I don’t want to work at it, I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to care, I just don’t want it to be a part of my life anymore. It makes me mad. It makes me rebellious and disappointed and ashamed. I wish I could stop eating for fuel and only eat for pleasure, the way I smoke a joint every now and then, or have a bottle of wine on the weekend. I wish it didn’t matter if I exercised or ate healthy or…

But that line of thinking isn’t going to help. It’s out there, I can’t avoid it. Maybe I should talk to someone about this. Or maybe I should just buy some bigger clothes and shut the fuck up about it already. But then I’ll never get past it.

Want to know something funny? A large part of the reason I started and continued this search for internal/eternal happiness is because I thought if I was happy, I would no longer be fat. I have since learned and accepted that one has nothing to do with the  other, but I still hold on to the hope that some day my fat will disappear and I will be thin and it won’t matter. Good luck with that, me. Fool.