I’ve been exploring this recurring pattern lately:
I do something, experience something, decide something, then later feel like it’s all tainted because it becomes apparent I was doing it because of some external expectation. More often than not, the expectation was never even spoken to me.
I assumed it.
This has happened with various choices in my life:
- having children
- marrying the nice boy I dated in high school
- losing weight
- going to Disney world.
With almost all of these things it appears in hindsight that part of my process is to doubt and sometimes rail against, before coming to a place where I can see that choices are complex, that in each of them there was also deeply embedded a kernel of my own desire. It turns out they were sound choices that I could trust.
(Well, with the Disney world thing maybe not as much.)
Who’s really looking anyway?
The latest thing that I’m getting into perspective is the whole weight loss/exercise thing.
I’ve talked before about losing a bunch of weight and keeping it off.
When I wrote that post, I was in a desperate state of worry about not losing ALL the weight. I didn’t spend much time reveling in the accomplishment of losing more than 10o pounds. I was also heavily relying on external validation about the size of my ass, even though I couldn’t admit it and spent the whole time thinking and saying out loud the right stuff. I want to be healthier, live longer, etc.
Over the winter I gained about 30 of those pounds back.
Shock, horrors, dismay.
Yeah, there was some of that. However, as with most other things in my life, I had to sort of be removed from them in order to see that it was ME who wanted them all along.
See, I was raised up indoctrinated with the practice of doing things that I didn’t want to do because bigger people wanted me to do them. They got me to do them in sneaky ways.
We’re not talking about eating Brussels sprouts because they were good for me here, people. Much of my childhood was ensnared in doing things that not only I didn’t want to do, they were really bad for me and I did them out of fear.
So, no wonder that I worry everything I do is somebody else’s bidding? No wonder that I try to throw things away and only then can I see what part of it I really wanted.
When I was at my lowest weight I could not see the sneaky stuff underneath that was really motivating me to lose weight. Looking back I can see it was still all about making other people like me more. Now that I’ve come away from that, I can see where I stand. I can see that I still WANT it, just for me.
Interestingly enough, there hasn’t been anyone that noticed that my ass is bigger. I just got a compliment this weekend about how great I look. However, now when someone says something like that, it’s not a NEEDED stroke to my feathers. I can smile and thank them, but inside I feel like I have this little funny secret.
(No, silly, not the secret that I gained 30 pounds and can get away with it.)
The secret is I already know that I not only look great, but more so that looking great isn’t what it’s about. I’m great no matter which jeans I fit into.
Now I can come back to the things that I know make me feel good and are part of caring for myself well. I’m realizing that I wanted them all along, but was pushing against them because I was doing them for other people before, no matter how much I could lip service the “right” reasons.
Lest you think I’ve got it all figured out.
As with all life lessons, not all these pieces are perfectly in place everyday. It’s like putting together a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle that a toddler visits often. It takes time and frequent re-doing; perhaps some fervent hunting for lost pieces. However, the picture continually becomes more clear by regularly returning to the puzzle.