The primary source of my self-worth has been a number on the scale…or a size in clothes…for as long as I can remember. It started when I was a 9 year old little girl being made to stand in front of a mirror in a dance studio while my intimidating, 40+ year old male dance teacher pointed out all the parts on my little body that were too fat. By the time I was a pre-teen, he was publicly humiliating me at the dance studio in an effort to bully me into losing 5 pounds. By high school, it was 10 pounds. I eventually quit dance, at which time all hell broke loose on the scale. But the founding message in all of this was…I am nothing because I am fat. I am a 9 year old fat person. That part of my brain still exists.
I used to think I needed to banish that, but honestly I can’t. And the reason, I think, is because there was never anything wrong with that 9 year old little girl. She was awesome. I can’t banish her. She’s part of me. And I love her.
I’ve paid so much money to therapists, talked and talked and talked to friends, read countless books on emotional eating, loving myself, children of alcoholics…you name it. And still I’ve spent my entire life evaluating myself on what the scale says and what the tags on my clothes say.
A little over two years ago, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I was so ready. I’d spent a long time speaking out against surgeries because I’d seen so many friends do it and gain all their weight back. Sometimes more. But what I didn’t realize is that, even though they thought they were, they just weren’t ready.
I wasn’t sure how much weight I would lose after surgery. I was amazed and grateful and elated that I lost 116 pounds. But I had 220 total to lose…and after I had my gallbladder removed, things really screeched to a halt. Why? Well, there’s only so much weight that you can lose by nutritional changes alone. I hit that threshold.
I can lose the rest of the weight if I exercise, but I keep hitting a wall. I keep pushing against the wall. Sometimes it seems to budge, but it never really does. In my head, it’s all about the weight. The tags on my clothes. The number on the scale. So I push. Nothing happens. Then I start to think “My God, Dianne, let’s go. Let’s do this! Let’s finish it.”
And nothing. Again.
There’s some stress going on at home right now. Nothing to do with HMH and me, but another family member going through something and we’re caught in the wake. There’s an end to it on the horizon, so I’m thankful for that – but it’s been a little tumultuous. And you’ll remember…I had gastric sleeve surgery, not brain surgery. When stress hits, I want to eat the universe. I just can’t anymore.
If you follow my Facebook fan page, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting a lot of needlework project updates lately. Quite simply, needlework is my replacement for binge eating.
One of the things I noticed about all my friends who had surgery before me and gained it all back is that they never found a substitute behavior for eating. Well, let’s say they never found a healthy substitute for eating. I saw that I needed to do it. I was determined that it would be something that was purely selfish and just for me. The natural choice was needlework. It makes me count. It requires focus and skill. And I can’t do it with Cheetoh dust on my fingers.
I’ve been doing a lot of needlework lately because I’m under stress. I’m worrying a lot. And I want to eat. All. The. Time. And I’m not going back down that road. That road sucks ass. So I stitch. Carefully. Skillfully. I stitch.
All of this stitching has brought my thoughts back into my head and away from my mouth. And I’ve slowly realized…I’m done. I’m fucking done.
No, I’m not done losing weight. And I’m not done with my story. But I am absolutely done being evaluated by my size. I’m done letting others do it. I’m done letting myself do it. I’m done.
It’s taken me what feels like a million years to realize that I don’t deserve this shit. At all. And I’ll tell you what: it’s pretty freeing. LOL. It’s fan-fucking-tastic is what it is.
I totally want to get to goal weight. I want to drop more weight for my health. Hell, I even still want to make exercise a habit! But I’m done letting all of this define whether I’m a successful human being or not. I’m done.
Feeling like I must lose weight to succeed has even subconsciously kept me from writing more in this blog. I realized that I’ve been avoiding writing here because I had no fabulous weight loss news to report. And so I’ve avoided it…like you avoid an old flame when you’re not wearing any make-up and you see him in a grocery store. No, no…I have to wait until everything’s fabulous before I can speak up.
No I don’t!
There are so many other things I want to write about (like tea bags for the vagina, hello!) and I’m going to write them. I’m done waiting for a number on the scale or a tag on clothes for me to be able to talk about anything else. And you know what? I’m amazed at how awesome I feel about all of this.
My dance teacher was an asshole. And he was wrong. I don’t want to carry that around in my head anymore. I know I’ll never forget it. I know it’ll always be part of who I am, but he was wrong. And for the first time since I looked in that mirror through my 9 year old eyes…I know he was wrong.
I am not a number on the scale. I am not the size of my clothes. I am a beautiful, hot mess. And I’m proud of myself…whether I ever lose another pound.
Much more. ♥