I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong, on audible. It’s meant to build upon her other works, but I think you could still read it as a standalone piece. It focuses on acknowledging the fact that as humans we will fail and owning that failure- owning the disappointment, heartache, and struggle- telling our story without fear or feeling ashamed- really embracing everything that comes with falling flat on your face and being stuck in rock bottom.
I’ve never been one to shy away from truth. Brown’s encouragement for us to own our story is something I really identify with. I think it’s so important to be honest about what’s really going on in our lives and not ignoring the bad stuff. I usually resist opening up right away- wondering if me talking about whatever it is I want to talk about is too much or if anyone would care. But I eventually get to the point where I basically feel like I’m going to implode if I don’t say what I want to say out loud. And then it all explodes out of my heart into words that the whole world can read.
As I sit up now at midnight, unable to go to sleep per usual, my mind is zeroed in on the elephant in the room that I’ve been ignoring for the past several months. My weight and how uncomfortable it makes me.
I know what some of you are thinking, weight is nothing, don’t let a number control you, your size doesn’t matter, you’re beautiful no matter what, beauty and worthiness have nothing to do with how much you weigh, etc. etc. There is so much truth in those thoughts. But that doesn’t change that fact that my current size does bother me. It bothers me a lot.
I’ve learned over time that the more I try to understand exactly where the feelings I’m feeling are coming from, the more at peace I can be with them. The more I can understand why I feel so negatively and disappointed by my current weight, the easier it is to get past those feelings so that they can stop controlling my life.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my weight right now bothers me so much because it is the physical representation of my failure.
My failure to stay thin. My failure to be at a healthy weight for more than two years. My failure to actually get healthy despite trying my hardest. My failure to manage my stress. My failure to understand my body. My failure to love my body. My failure to listen to my body. My failure to find a sustainable and livable healthy lifestyle. My failure to figure out my hormonal imbalance issues. My failure to take care of myself. My failure to have a fulfilling professional career.My failure to stay conventionally pretty and attractive. My failure to continue to lead an impressive life. My failure to live up to all the advice and wisdom I spewed out on my old healthy lifestyle blog.
The current state of my life feels like failure because I’m unhappy with so many facets of it. I no longer have a job that makes me insanely happy and I don’t know where to go next. I don’t have a daily routine that I feel comfortable with. I don’t feel like myself thanks to my hormonal imbalance issues and crazy low cortisol. I have bad dreams every other night related to my Mom because of where our relationship stands these days. I can’t save a dime for the life of me and am living paycheck to paycheck. I feel very isolated most of the time. I lost all of my athleticism that I was proud of. I can’t sleep like a normal human being. I spend way too many hours in the middle of the night cradling my head in my hands as I sit hunched over on the toilet. I’m in the process of being forced to move again.
My weight is the physical representation of all of this. It’s a big mass of stress and anxiety and worry. It’s what I can direct my anger toward and be mad about when really, I’m mad about so many things. I can ignore emotions- deny the power that they have over me- but I can’t run away from the extra weight on my body and the weight I’m carrying. I can pull on my belly and pinch the fat on my back. It’s a daily physical reminder of everything I’m upset about and angry over.
I’m back at the weight I was before I lost it all four years ago. And that scares the living shit out of me. Mainly because this time, losing it is going to be way more complicated.
I didn’t have a wicked messed up view of my body or food back when I lost weight the first time. I lost weight to look better and be a little healthier. It was all about lifestyle habits and food choices.
Now I have the lifestyle habits down pat. I make really good food choices all the time. It’s not about those things at all. I’m not the heavy weight I am now because I eat junk and don’t take care of myself. I eat really well and am a more active person than I ever was before. I could eat nothing but vegetables for every meal and still be gaining weight steadily every week because of the issues going on with my hormones.
My body is so run down from the years of chronic stress I put myself through (from family related stuff to financial woes to food obsession and an eating disorder to over exercising and beyond) and now i’m paying the price. I’ll only really achieve health this time if I believe that I deserve it, show myself utmost compassion, shower myself with unconditional love and understanding, and eliminate the negativity and stress that plague my existence. But those things are harder to do than eating more vegetables and not sitting all day long.
We all love the fairytale story. Someone goes through a hardship, but then they rise up and live happily ever after. I love these stories too. But as Brown writes, we don’t talk about the hardship enough and what it actually entails to get back up. I’ve been avoiding talking about all this because the inner dialogue in my head has been saying okay so you’re not doing too great health wise right now, you hate your physical appearance, and you’re obese again- but you’ll get back to your old self soon- you’ll get back to your fighting weight and your optimum health- don’t show your body until you’re back at that point- until then, you can’t be a health expert or healthy lifestyle advocate- you’re not worthy. Once you get through this journey THEN you can tell your story because it will have a happy ending and you can say SEE I told you if you just do x, y, z things, you too can heal and get better.
But all of that is foolish. And I don’t know when I’m going to get out of the pit I’m in. I’m in a pit. I’m trying to climb out but my happy ending isn’t anywhere in the near future. And I’m tired of putting my value, self-worth, and story on hold until I get that pretty bow to tie up my life in. I’m a mess. I’m uncomfortable with the way I look. The state of my health annoys me. And I feel like a failure in so many ways. That’s where I am. I owning it.
The day will come when I rise strong and I’m sure as hell not giving up, but right now, I’m getting the lay of the land over here at rock bottom and learning more about myself than I ever have before. I’m seeing what my perceived failure can teach me and hopefully teach others by sharing my story.
Hopefully some of this made sense. If not I blame the fact that I wrote this in the middle of the night like a crazy person.
Add onto these personal issues everything else going on in the world (Brexit, forest fires, flooding, gun control shenanigans, you the rest) and you’ve got one angsty girl over here.