I feel as though I was headed down a path of unnecessary self-destruction.
I was basing my self-worth on things and people of little significance in my life. I needed to take a step back and really think about what being healthy was for me and how I could achieve happiness and acceptance.
What it comes down to is this: I grew up in a home where my emotional needs where not met. I constantly felt invalidated, unimportant, and disposable. This is the basis of my becoming overweight in the first place. I used food as a crutch, as a way to hide, and become the invisible person I thought I was. I was always successful in school and in other things such as dance, but I have always had trouble accepting compliments (many other people with disordered eating habits can relate to this).
I worked to overcome these feelings when I began my weight loss journey in 2010. I felt completely invisible. And I resolved to find a way to over come it. I lost a bit of weight, started exercising, counting points, calories, grams of protein and fiber, you name it. I did all of the physical work necessary to change my life. What I failed to look at was the emotional aspect of my health. I sacrificed my relationship with Matthias. I continued to engage in a turbulent relationship with my mother. I made poor boy choices. I was still self sabotaging other areas of my life to validate the underlying feeling of never being worthy of success.
So I grasp for anything I can control. And that happens to be my food intake. And I slide from one scary extreme (bingeing) to another (restricting). I get to a place physically where I felt I looked fucking fantastic. 120lb. Surely this is success. Surely I had found it now and could be happy. Well no. Instead I found gripping fear. Because I hadn't dealt with the underlying feelings of unworthiness I was so so so afraid to gain back what I had lost. I was bound to be unsuccessful because of my biological mother and my father. They made me right? They are both pretty crappy people, therefore I must be a pretty crappy person too.
It wasn't always that obvious and it wasn't ever right there screaming in my face. It was always this feeling of underlying discontent. Like people were going to realize any minute that I was a fraud. I had the realization that I self sabotage when I broke up with Paul. It made me reflect on the reasons for originally ending my relationship with Matthias and how those behaviors were spontaneous but necessary in the end. It was a huge life lesson for me.
So Matthias and I get back together and I end my awful relationship with my mother. I resolve that I will be happier and more stable with her out of my life. And you know what? It worked. Not being afraid to answer the phone when a Private Number called me. Scared she was drunk and mad at me for god knows what. It really empowered me and made me feel like I was different from her. That I didn't have to be that kind of negativistic person.
At this time, I began communicating with my biological father more. I wanted him to know I was different from her. I hadn't talked with him or seen him since I was 6. Yes, 6 years old. So this was a big step for me. I thought I had overcome the anger and pain that I experienced when he decided to not be a part of my life. I thought, subconsciously, that maybe I would relate more to him, because I surely didn't relate to my mother. After I graduated nursing school we continued to email back and forth. He told me about his young daughter, his wife, and his life.
Reagan (my sister) had a brief month-long stint of living with Matthias and I. She isn't making very healthy decisions right now, and this has every reason to do with not having her emotional needs met by our mother. Of course Matthias and I couldn't fix Reagan or give her what she needed, but it is still extremely hard to watch someone I love destroy their future based on a terrible woman who doesn't even see the pain she is causing. It really upset me, and angered me. I felt hate and resentment towards my mother. Sure, I made it out alright, but now Reagan was not, and it was because of her. I have carried this anger and hurt until very recently.
In early October, after Reagan had moved out of our house, my biological father and I met. I was terrified. I wanted to really prove it to him that I was different from her. So we go for coffee, and I was totally overwhelmed. A few days pass and I realized I needed to tell him how I was feeling and why. I wrote him a long email, detailing what had happened between us from my perspective and how I felt. I read the email to Matthias before I sent it to make sure I wasn't being rude or mean, because that was the last thing I wanted. Well, a week passes and I didn't get a response. That hurt. I felt unimportant, invalidated and disposable all over again. I sent him another email asking to get some contact information for my grandparents, just to tell them that I was alright and a successful human being, and nothing. Not a single word. Silence. Which screamed louder to me than anything he could have said.
I thought I would relate to him more, but he turned out to be a coward. Someone who can run away from their responsibilities, abandon a 6-year-old girl, and then turn their back again at the age of 22. I let him take my emotional well-being and stomp on it. I let a man, who knows nothing of my success, my perseverance, my kindness, my good heart, and all my other strengths, use silence as a way to shatter my emotional stability.
So although other aspects of my life were going excellently (work, wedding, Matthias, friendships, ext...), I was left feeling emotionally broken. Why was it fair that I had a mother who was self-centered and mean and a father who was self-centered and able to just run away? That clearly meant I was going to turn out like that as a parent. That I came from failures, so I was going to be a failure in my relationships as well.
I became apathetic to wedding planning. My relationship with Matthias wavered because he wasn't giving me the emotional validation I needed and we weren't speaking the same love language to each other. I turned my focus to my weight, and how it had creeped up. To my pants and how they didn't fit any more. To the increased cellulite on my thighs and butt. To the tightness of my watch. To the now discomfort I felt not only emotionally but also physically.
I felt so up and down with my emotions every day and I was at a loss of what to do, so I turned to the professionals. I needed some kind of outside perspective to help me make sense of the way I was feeling and acting. My first 2 sessions with my counselor were basically hour-long sessions of me crying.
At about this time, my friend Annette recommended a book to me, called "Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride. This book. I don't even know what to say. It provided me with the strength to heal. It explained why I felt the way I felt, and why I acted the way I was acting. It explained my constant feelings of worthlessness, despite so much success. It explained why my mother acts the way she does. It provided me with the exercises I needed to do to work through my emotions and heal. I was able to apply it to my biological father as well. I can't say "This book saved my life" because I am the one who saved my life, but it definitely pushed me in the right direction to figure out how to do the saving.
After working through the grief I was able to identify some things:
- I am better off without a relationship with my mother and biological father. I do not need them in my life to be a successful person and their life choices do not have to be my life choices.
- I am more than the number on a scale or the size of pant that I wear. In fact, these numbers are so miniscule in the grand scheme of who I am and what I am offering the world. I don't weigh myself any more and I don't measure my inches because I don't want the stress or the comparison.
- My body is different and different is not bad. I am obviously not 120lb any more. I am not even 130lb or 140lb. That doesn't mean I am a failure or a fraud. That means I am learning. I am absolutely perfect right now, as I am, extra cellulite, bigger pant size and all.
- I am physically healthy right now. I have low blood pressure, I no longer suffer from hypoglycemia, I am strong, I can run long distances, I eat moderately healthy, I don't drink or smoke or do drugs. Physically, I rock.
- Emotional health and happiness are a choice that I am making. They need to be made a priority. I am choosing to be happy. I am choosing to surround myself with people who support my emotional health rather than hinder it.
- I really can do anything I put my mind to.
- If my wedding dress doesn't fit? So what. Fuck it. I'll get it re-sized. Matthias loves me because I am me, not because of a dress I am going to wear on one day.
- By eating whole foods, limiting processed foods and refined sugars, I will naturally be whatever size my body is meant to be. I have never been a stick, so I don't expect to become that way. I trust myself and my body to do what they gotta do to look good and feel good.
- I found my sunshine again. I am back. I am in control.