Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I love me, I love me not............

This is the tug of war that goes on in my head over and over. One minute I feel I am finally rounding this corner. The next, something happens and I feel like I haven't even gained an inch on this struggle. The loving myself is such an integral part of going forward with my life. I know that if I don't achieve this, no relationship I could hope to have will ever succeed. I am not willing to spend the rest of my life alone and lonely.

My body image is terrible. It is distorted and skewed. As I sit here, I feel okay with how I look. I know I am not perfect, but I feel okay. Until I look in the mirror. I see that spare tire around my middle, and I hate myself for it. I have these feelings of self loathing. Like if I love myself or want to love myself, I should want to do something about that. And then the feelings of disgust at not having the willpower to actually accomplish this. Then I do either one of two things....I refuse to eat anything all day, or I just say fuck it and eat everything. Neither being much of a help in the situation.

Emotional eating has always been a part of my life. I have had several periods of depression, treated and untreated in my life. Food was my medicine. Exercise not something I ever did with much regularity. There were a couple of times during my life that I tried to incorporate exercise into my day....but it seems the depression would soon override the desire to become healthy, and the exercise would fall away. I have now come to a point where I just can't bring myself to it. I know that sounds like an excuse...and it is. I won't be able to get myself past that until I start to feel like I am worth it again.

One thing, even though this journal sounds very dark and negative, I am not in a state of depression anymore. The lack of exercise and emotional eating have become a habit now. My depression has been in check and I am carrying on a functional life again, without medication. I was treated for a long time, and with the encouragement of my doctor and my family, I did a trial of getting off of the medication. It worked. That was 4 years ago. I no longer have feelings of harming myself or wanting to hide in my bed for days at a time. I no longer rage uncontrollably at my children. In those respects, my life is good, and I am happy. Even with the recent dissolution of my common-law marriage, I have not spiralled into a depression, and that is very big for me. To have enough resolve to not allow it to consume me. To know that it was for the best and it was something that needed to take place to prevent a breakdown in my mental health, that is also very big for me.

I want to find my way to a healthy balance between mind and body. To look in the mirror and see a body that my mind does not abhor. I am still not sure which one needs to be fixed........the body or the mind. I think a bit of both. I know I deserve to have peace in myself. I know I deserve unconditional love, I know I deserve to be happy, I need to find a way to accept those things in my life in the skin I have now, and stop believing that those things will only come to me if I am in a size 6 dress.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I was sent an email. In this email I was .... well, accused sounds so harsh but I guess that is what it was, of posting this blog to just gain a lot of "warm fuzzies" and have people tell me that I am perfect the way I am, that I am beautiful, etc. And it made me take pause and ask myself, "Why am I posting this blog?"

First of all, any of us who publish a blog are looking for some kind of recognition of our existence to others in this world. One does not put their thoughts and feelings into a public forum and then not want anyone to see them. If you don't want them seen or commented on, write in a journal you keep locked in a box under your bed. So the accusation of me wanting to be recognised here, yes, that is valid. Do I expect everyone to just tell me I am pretty or smart or attractive. No, that I do not. I know most people who have posted have not done that, with exception of one person. But that person and I know each other in real life, not just here. Most have commented on my honesty, and the rawness with which I post these true feelings. Most of the emails I receive also are along these same lines. I have not had any negative ones. If there were a negative comment, it would stay there as well. I do not believe in censoring any ones thoughts, unless they are considered inflammatory, racist, or things along those lines. I have that right here, this is my space, and I don't want it to be taken up by garbage. If you have a particular beef with me, I have no problem, if you have a beef with an entire group of people just because of their race, religion or creed, then we have a problem.

Another reason I am posting this blog is because I know that there are many many other men and women and young people out there that are experiencing the same feelings I have felt and are still feeling, at 40 years old. My hope is that someone will read something I have said and glean from it something that will help them along their own journey to acceptance of self. If even one person finds something helpful here, I have done a good thing. The ripple effect of touching one life can be amazing. I want there to be good ripples from this.

Further, I am writing this as a catharsis. For as long as I can remember, I have felt that I didn't quite measure up. I am not sure where that started from. Kids in school, siblings, TV, .......... but I was never able to really expose my feelings. As a child, I didn't know how. As a teenager, if I tried to talk to a friend about it, it would fall on deaf ears. My father always told me I was pretty, but I feel he was disappointed when I gained weight. Not that he loved me less, but he worried about how I would be perceived, or for my health. I remember my mother telling me to "watch what you eat" when I was gaining weight in high school. I know she meant it lovingly and because she too worried, but in my already convoluted thought process, I didn't hear that. What I heard was, "You are fat, do something about it" I stuffed a lot of feelings down, deep. And I covered them with chocolate. I do not mean that to be funny. I became an emotional eater. I ate to celebrate, ate to console, ate to alleviate boredom. Now, I need to purge those feelings. I can't let them eat away at my self worth any longer. And that is a major reason I started this blog.

As I said in an earlier post, I have failed at three major relationships. I have always felt that "I" failed at them, not really giving much credence to the other party's role in it. I know that major problems stemmed from my lack of self worth. I do not intend to be alone in this world. I intend to find a partner who is loving, caring, nurturing and free of any constraints, either self imposed or imposed by other, that will keep him from giving himself fully to me. I have to be able to do the same. I realize that for me, the only way I can do that, is to heal my injured, mutilated sense of self worth. This journal, blog, whatever you want to call it, is one of several steps.

So to defend myself to the person who felt I was just trying to fill my comments page up with undulating praise of ME, that is just not accurate. To fill my mind and my thoughts with undulating praise of ME, yes, that is exactly what I intended to do. And, I am doing it rather eloquently, if I do say so myself.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Do I have to be thin to be beautiful?

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be thin. I used to be, for a few minutes in high school. This picture is of me in grade 11, when I started dating my first husband. No comments about the mullet, okay? It was the style WAY back in 1982. Anyway, I look at that picture and think to myself, "I sure was a pretty girl" and I can appreciate that I was pretty, I was attractive to boys, I was popular. I was thin. I wasn't Kate Moss thin. But, I was thin. I could walk into any store and buy any clothes I wanted, and I looked good in them. I could wear a bathing suit and feel comfortable. I want to be able to find that comfort zone again. I wonder if I can actually do it in this body.

The men in my life have always been attractive. I have been legally married once. After that I was unofficially engaged to a very hot, younger man. And then most recently, I was living common-law with a tall, dark and handsome man. All of those relationships failed, I believe, largely due to lack of self-esteem. The first two, my own, the last one, his. Hard to believe someone has a feeling of less self worth than I do. I can't help to think though, that if only I were thinner, I would be happier. But how far am I willing to go for this?

I have tried the diets....no matter which one it is, they don't work for me. I rarely shed a pound. I have tried (though not that whole-heartedly) exercise. I really hate it, and feel so self conscious in a gym with all those skinny bitches pinching an inch of fat. I have considered the unthinkable....finding a website to teach me to become anorexic. They are out there, but, I am a nurse, I need to be above that. I have researched Bariatric Surgery and actually am considering this option because of other health concerns I have and family history. I am 40yrs old, and my healthy years are numbered if I don't do something to get this weight off.

But here in lies the rub. If I go through with such a drastic measure, find the body I have been searching for, will I be happy then? I have already decided that if I do the gastric bypass surgery, I will need to have a tummy tuck to get rid of the apron of fat/skin that has been so lovingly granted me by my four babies, two of which were too stubborn to come out the "right" way, causing c-sections which just compounds my problem. I will also need to have my breasts reduced, lifted and the excess skin removed, since being heavy usually endows you with larger than normal breasts. Will I be happy after all of that? Will I start to see more wrinkles and be unhappy with those? Where does it end?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Slow slow process....

I didn't fool myself into believing that a few posts about my self esteem issues would magically make them disappear. I know that this process will be slow. I know that I have to stop the negative self talk that I berate myself with continuously. But knowing it doesn't make it happen. People telling you to stop doesn't make it happen. One has to learn to stop it as it starts. Nip it in the bud. And replace the negativity with positivity. I believe eventually the mind will do the automatic flip and all the negatives are replaced with positives. At least this is my hope.

For myself right now, as I sit here typing, it is easy to be strong and commit myself to loving myself more. I will even carry that with me as I go about my day... and then, an offhand comment by a stranger, a co-worker, whatever, and I start to second guess my own self worth. Just last night in fact, I was driving my son and his two friends home from a movie. I was just driving, not participating in the conversation. They were talking about a young woman who was working in a store they had been shopping in. One said something about the girl flirting with the other boy....the other boy, horrified it seemed, blurted out, "UGH, she was fat and ugly"...... I immediately projected that comment onto myself. Thinking, "they must see me as fat an ugly too". Not that I want 15yr old boys to think I am hot, I don't.

It is those projections of myself into other people's minds that I think hold me back from realizing my own self worth. I cannot read their minds, therefore I do not know what they are thinking, yet, I seem to believe that I do. The worst of that is, if I see someone much like myself, I find myself thinking those negative thoughts about them....and that is troubling to me. Perhaps because I am the shallow, self centered bitch that I am, that is why I assume everyone else is as well. Maybe once I learn not to judge others.......but am I really judging others? I am not a racist, I am not the type to discriminate against anyone...... perhaps I am only judging myself in comparison to the people that I feel resemble me in one way or another. I certainly hope this to be true, because casting my negativity onto myself is one thing, projecting it onto another human being, who feels and hurts and perhaps is struggling with their own issues, is completely unacceptable.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mission accomplished..........

I did get the camera. And after working to get my Internet connection running again, I ended up talking with my friend. He didn't scream in horror, though his computer crashed a couple of times, he assured me that had nothing to do with my image.

I was self conscious at first. Fretting about the light, the placement of the camera as to not show off my double chin or dark eyes. But after a while, I forgot about the camera, just talked, became more myself, and it was fine.

Now my next step will be putting up a picture on my profile here, for the whole world to see...not just someone who thinks I am already beautiful, because he knows the inside me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another small step....

There is something I have been wanting to do, but fear has been holding me back. A fear of rejection .... or reaction maybe more appropriate. I am getting a web cam....... ACK!!!

A very dear old friend of mine has been encouraging me to get one. He wants to be able to see me when we chat. We have known each other for years, and it isn't like he doesn't know what I look like.....he just says he likes to look at me. Hey, that is okay with me, I like looking at him too. I have been reluctant though. I always put my best face forward. I don't allow photographs of myself unless I have done the makeup, hair and completely scrutinize the picture before letting it be seen by anyone who may pass judgement. I am not sure why I felt that this dear friend, a man I adore, would pass judgement on me.

He tells me I am beautiful and that I should not be afraid. But it is truly fear that has held me back. It is time to relinquish my fear....and take this step. And not because someone else wants me to, but because I need to do it for me. I need to stop being afraid of myself. That has to be a first step in loving myself. I need to allow others to see my vulnerability as well. It is so easy to sit here and hide behind a computer screen.

What is really funny is that I assume that people online would reel back from the horror of a picture of me. Yet, in real life people do not run screaming from me, little children do not hide behind their mothers when I am around. So why am I afraid to bare myself (no, not naked) to those online. Especially to a man whom I was once intimately involved with. He obviously felt I was beautiful then, and he tells me I am beautiful now. I do not understand why I do not believe him.

I need to trust him. I need to trust me. I need to let go of my fear.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A healthy dose of honesty

A couple of days ago my son brought some old pictures up from a box in the basement. He is doing a photo essay for school and found an old picture of me. I looked at that picture and smiled. I loved the way I looked in that picture. I laughed and asked him if he knew who it was. He gave me a funny look and said, "Mom, that is you". I laughed again and said, "Quite a difference, huh?" Then he said to me, "You really don't look much different" That statement blew my mind.

I looked at the picture a little closer. I was a few years younger, I believe it was almost 10 years ago. It was taken by a friend of mine when she and I had gone on a Not-the-Momma vacation to the Florida keys. I looked much more closely at that picture. I realized that I was not all that much thinner then than I am now. My hair is slightly different, but no real major difference. Obviously I hadn't had any cosmetic surgery done then that I have since had reversed. Then it dawned on me.

In that picture, I was happy. I had taken some time away from an abusive and dying marriage. I had been getting some much needed sleep. I was visiting with a lot of Internet friends as well, who all were so happy to see me and who all thought I was pretty important. I suppose I was feeling very good about myself in that photo. That is the key.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The first step.......

Why would someone want to love me, if I cannot love myself.

If I see myself as less than worthy, less than intelligent, less than beautiful, how can anyone else see me differently? The image I portray to the world is the one in which I see myself. I am starting to come to those realizations.

I may NOT be the most beautiful woman by the standards set by fashion and society. But, I am beautiful. I am beautiful because I am real. Unlike the pictures on the magazines or on television or in movies, I am not airbrushed.

My eyes are real...they have cried real tears, seen real miracles, witnessed love and hate and indifference. My lips are real....they have spoken words of love, of anger, dissappointment. They have kissed away the pain of a child. They have kissed a friend to let them know I am close. They have kissed a lover to bring him pleasure. My arms are real...they have cradled my newborns, hugged a loved one, comforted a scared patient or a family member of a patient who was very ill or dying. They have held that patient as they died. My shoulders are real....they have carried many burdens, both my own and other peoples....and yet, remain broad and strong.

All of these things are what make me beautiful....and there are people in this world who see that beauty in me......and want me to see that beauty in myself. This is my first step........

Friday, November 10, 2006

What is it you see, when you look in the mirror?

Looking in the mirror is a difficult and daunting task. I see the lines that are starting to form at the edges of my eyes. I see the dark circles from many nights of sleep lost. I see the gained weight from years of not having time for myself, or not having the willpower to demand that time. I see the blemishes and each and every one taunts me. I see the crooked smile, the less than sparkling white teeth. I see eyes that are too far apart, hair that is not perfectly styled.

I look into those too far apart eyes, and I see a woman. A woman who has failed at marriage, twice. A mom who loses her temper. A nurse who is less than confident in her abilities. A daughter who doesn't spend enough time with her mother, and who abandoned her father at the end of his life. I see a little sister who, after years of being told to get lost, seems to have done just that.

I see a woman who is determined to look tough to all those around her, yet is terrified of what is to come. I see a person who doesn't want anyone to know that she needs anything. Is afraid to ask for what she needs from the years of having those needs rejected by those who were supposed to love her. I see a woman who feels she isn't worthy of the things that all humans need.

I see me.