Saturday, January 08, 2005

tackling the weight issue, literarily at least.

I don't know why it's so hard to find time to write here. I guess it's because it's just easier to write bullshit in LJ. I don't want to use this thing for quiz results or my thoughts on soup. I want it to be more meaningful, a place for writing down things that are important, things that I wouldn't necessarily want my "friends" to read about. but enough stalling...back to the matter at hand:

I was always a skinny kid, which is probably hard for people who know me know to believe. But it's true, until I got pregnant with Stephen I never weighed more than 100 lbs. I was also short, usually the smallest person around. Add in the fact that I was (and still kinda' am) pretty naive and you have a very vulnerable girl. Decent people wouldn't normally take advantage of that but I wasn't always surrounded by decent people and I didn't really have anyone to look out for me or protect me.

certain people in my family would tell me that I was fat. certain people who actually were fat and were probably jealous of my ability to eat whatever I wanted and never exercise and not gain weight (different story now!). these certain people (okay, my grandmother) were constantly making negative comments about everything and everyone and seemed to love to make people feel bad. since I didn't have anyone in my life to make positive comments, the negative remarks became negative thoughts, and these thoughts fed my negative self-image even more, like I really needed any help there.

so my size became a disability and in my own mind, it was the reason why bad things kept happening to me. I never thought to try to gain weight in school, instead I kept to myself most of the time and only spent time with people I thought would protect me, which usually meant hanging out with boys. most teenaged boys are not known for being in control of their hormones so sometimes this plan backfired. but I always talked myself into thinking that it was my own fault so I didn't judge them too harshly. I knew a few who were trustworthy and as I got older, I got better at finding the good guys. once in a while a few bad ones would sneak in.

when I got pregnant right after high school, gaining weight was simple. so after the baby was born, I just kept the weight on. I thought that being a little heavier would mean that I would get less attention from men, such a stupid idea really. but I had conditioned myself to believe that my size was the problem, because what else could it be, right? but it didn't change things at all really.

I had no idea how to defend myself so I just retreated a little more, put on more weight and tried to find a way to make myself invisible. I was convinced that once I reached a certain weight, people would stop looking at me. but no matter what, there would always be people that seemed to know that I was defenseless and they could tell somehow that I was an easy mark. so I worked harder at making sure they couldn't see me at all, so completely oblivious to the fact that it wasn't me, it was them.

two years ago, I had reached a place where I thought I was strong enough to handle being a little thinner. okay, quite a bit thinner. I started working out five times a week and lost about 60 pounds. I was back to the size I was after Hannah was born. working out was so great, I loved it. I loved the fact that I actually had a few muscles. it made me feel like I could maybe defend myself if I ever needed to. it made me feel like I had a handle on things, like I had accomplished something.

the punchline is that I wasn't any better off mentally than I ever had been, in fact, I was probably worse. I wasn't afraid all the time anymore, just most of the time, but I was way more self-destructive and reckless and careless than I had ever been before. I didn't really care about anything or anyone except my kids. I was spending time with people I had no business spending time with, doing things with them that I shouldn't have been doing, drinking too much, dancing too much, flirting too much. I started to realize that I wasn't ready for the attention I was getting and that I needed to stay invisible for a while longer. I quit going to the gym, quit eating right and the weight I had lost started to find its way back. in hindsight, I realize that this was not the way to go but at the time, it seemed like the best solution to my problem. I needed to get out of the mess I was in and didn't know of any other way.

that's when I met Brian. and he saved me from myself and he taught me what was real. he showed me that there are decent people in the world and that a decent person could love someone like me. he gave me love and respect and compassion and passion and laughter and life and hope and a future. without him, I would have probably made the biggest mistake of my life and would have caused a lot of people a lot of pain. I would have turned into someone selfish and disgusting, someone who would have deserved all the bad things that had ever happened to me. I owe him so much more than he even knows and I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to pay him back somehow.

he has given me the confidence to be myself, because I know that he will love me no matter what. I'm tired of hiding, tired of being afraid. I want to be free from all of the bullshit that has controlled me for so long. I want to be a whole person. I deserve that.

thanks for talking me into this, Ian.


::: said...

Well done. Beautiful post. It's fine that you don't write more here because you keep the quality high that way. :)


Chick said...

Welcome, Michelle. You seem to have quite a bit of insight into why you are the way you are. Do you know what a head start you have on most people in that regard?

Almost every woman I know has weight or body issues (myself included), I hate that fact.

Keep posting & more power to you!