One of my biggest challenges after all these years is letting go of the past. Letting go of the regrets. I’m sure we’ve all had our share of regrets and for those of you who have been able to let them go, well, kudos to you!
I’m getting there. It’s not easy, for sure. But one thing I’ve found by constantly questioning what I’ve done, haven’t done, could have done, or should have done in the past, is that all I’m doing is punishing myself NOW for something I can’t change.
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Pal. <John Sullivan – Frequency>
So how does someone move past their regrets of the past and live in today? I have no idea at the moment. That’s not to say that I won’t be able to move on or I haven’t already started to, but I simply don’t have the magic formula on how to go about it. Maybe it’s because I’m stubborn or I’m a sucker for self-blame, or something completely different that I’m not even aware of. Regardless, it has been a big issue over the years for me. But I’m working on it. Because really that’s all any of us can do to avoid being swallowed into a black hole of gloomy regret.
I’m 49 years old. When I turn 48, I swore I was going to lose all the weight I needed to lose before I turned 50. And all I’ve mostly lost in those 475 days (yes, I did the math), is well, 475 days give or take 10 pounds. When I turned 49 earlier this year, I reflected back on the year prior and immediately the regret and awareness of failure hit me full blast.
Worse still is that no matter how much something might be of a motivation to me, it eventually fails to continue to be so. But more on that later.
So similar to that year-long regret of not losing half of the weight I had planned to be well on my way to my goal, I’ve pretty much spent all of my adult live filled with regret on not doing something about my weight. Long before now. Before it was so out of control.
Quite honestly it made me feel like such a failure for not doing anything about it back then. Or anytime over the following 30-35 years. A failure. A fool. And more so than anything – utterly stupid.
I mean, by my mind, how can anyone who is seemingly so intelligent, simply NOT just do what they need to do and fix the problem?
I still fight these feelings of failure a lot but no where like I used to. I’ve worked on trying to let go of the past and give up the regrets. But goodness, that is so hard.
Because there is no one I can blame for how I am today. No one, but myself. So how can I not berate and be so thoroughly disappointed in myself when this was all on my shoulders to do. It was within my power to do it. And I let it get out of control to where now it is an even bigger uphill climb. I’m older. I’m more out of shape. My body isn’t always willing to cooperate.
So by not being able to blame anyone but myself, and I can be pretty damn high with my expectations of others, you can imagine the expectations I had in myself. and ergo, the disappointment.
But one thing I’ve found out recently is that I have been valuing everyone else above myself. So while I might have higher expectations of others, if they “failed”, that was okay. They tried. I still loved them. I loved them more because they tried. Because they didn’t give up. I wanted them to succeed and would do anything to help them so do.
But never with myself. Never did I give myself a break, admit I tried and told myself it was “okay” and “to keep going because you can do it”. All I would do to myself is place blame. To the point of some serious feelings towards myself.
I hated myself.
And yes while I say “hated” in the past-tense, I still struggle every day to not have those feelings resurface. To fight my own self every day to give myself a break and keep trying.
I’m not at the stage of loving myself. I hope I will be someday. Dr. S said I should, for now, just concentrate on reminding myself that “I’m okay” and that “I’m doing better” and that eventually when I get to the part of telling myself that I love myself I will eventually believe it. Right now, I have doubts but the realist part of me knows it’s true. I liken it to the poor wife whose husband continuously berates her and tells her she’s ugly and stupid, and she eventually believes it. While that’s an opposite message to myself, the result is the same. Tell yourself or someone something enough and they eventually will believe it.
So for many years I have suffered with the idea that I could have done something about my weight and didn’t. And that just because I didn’t do something about it before, that I’m not a stupid person. That I’m not undeserving of happiness and love. And as I said, I still struggle almost daily to suppress those feelings and push them away from myself. Because it’s so much easier to focus on the past “what ifs” than to concentrate on the “what can I do now?”
When will I look at myself in the mirror and not involuntarily cringe at the reflection staring back at me? And not once have the thought, “God you’re ugly” Or when I pass a reflective window or door and am “reminded” of my size and how out of shape I am? How “ugly” I am on the outside?
It’s not as if I’m unaware of my size. How could I not? I don’t need a mirror to tell me how big I am. I can tell by the size of my clothes. The struggles I’ve faced trying to find clothes that fit me. That I can’t go into any clothing store I want and just grab something I like and it’ll fit. But more than anything else, I can tell how big I am because I CAN FEEL IT!
I can feel the weight of the fat on my stomach and abdomen on my upper thighs when I’m sitting down. The extra weight of my hips and the pressure against the chair or couch I’m sitting on. Even still, I can feel that stomach and abdomen fat hanging down when I’m standing up or walking, it often jiggling and pulling my center of gravity forward to where I end up with pains in my lower back.
And I certainly don’t need a stranger telling me I’m fat as if I didn’t know. One thing that happened to me many many years ago (you know, back when I was heavy, but less so than I am now, and could/should have done something about it then, but didn’t…)…my mom and I were out for a walk for exercise. We want to go to Olive Garden for dinner so we decided to walk from our house to the restaurant, which was probably a little less than 2 miles away. About a quarter of the way there we were stopped at a street light waiting to cross. Across the street from us on the corner was a Timmie’s (for non-Canadian’s that is Tim Horton’s donut store). Moments later a car passed our corner, making a left and the guy yelled out the window, “Yeah you look like you need a donut!”.
I’ve never forgot those words. I was hurt, sure. But I was angry too. That asshole didn’t know me. He just saw my size and assumed my destination was Timmie’s. He didn’t know I was actually walking for exercise. He didn’t know that I was a nice girl. That I was kind, considerate and could be an exceptional friend. He didn’t know any of that.
He only “knew” that I was fat and I was apparently hitting the donut shop.
I’ll be honest. That comment affected me enough that I didn’t work so hard after that to do anything about my weight. I probably resigned myself to also being that girl who the guy thought saw.
The saddest part about all of this. The regrets of my inactions (or actions) and all the years I’ve presumably “wasted”, I have had so many motivational instances that should have kept me going. On the right track. Wanting to prove to myself that I could do this. And yet, the motivations never last long.
I’ve talked to Dr. S about this before. Why something that so obviously slapped me in the face and screamed “Snap out of it!” <Loretta Castorini – Moonstruck> didn’t “remind” me each time I slipped up, got complacent or apparently completely forgot that I was battling obesity. It blows my mind when I think about all the times that I’d forgotten what I was trying to do until the next slap in the face. You’d wonder how I’d forget every time that until the nest time I stepped onto an airplane and had to fit my big body into a seat, or every time I struggled to put on some clothes that didn’t quite fit, or any time I would walk a short distance and be winded, or up a short flight of steps and be really winded. Oy vey. I could go on and on at all the times when I’d somehow forgotten my struggles. Dr. S said it was “selection amnesia”. Me? I just called it denial and stupidity.
But an enormous amount of feeling that I’m simply not worth it.
So while I’m far from on the right track now, I am farther than I have been before in both attitude and aspirations.
But that motivation to keep going. To feel that I’m worth this. That I’m worth of anything. That’s the bitch. That’s why I’ve been so adamant that I have so many of you with me on this journey. And for your continued “pats on the back”. Because I need that motivation that I get from your support, kind words, friendship and love to feel WORTHY of this journey. That I can do this.
This pic was taken in December 2014. At that time, it was posted in a FB group I’m in where we had to give one word to describe how Sean Patrick Flanery (an actor to whom the group revolves around due to his inspiration to better oneself) made you feel with all of his support of the group. Because Sean often posted words of encouragement and support for all the struggles the members of the group went through, many of us felt that he made us feel worthy.
That’s what I feel so many of you bring to my life. My sense of worthiness. That I’m not a waste of air.
That I’m so much more than just that girl on the corner that the guy “saw”.
I suspect that even when I lose all the weight I want to in order to be healthy, I may never be able to look in the mirror and think, “You’re beautiful.” I hope I am able to, I really do. But I also hope that if I can’t see myself and think “You’re beautiful” that, at the very least, I will never again think “God you’re ugly.”
That I posted that pic above is hugely important on this journey because I can’t stand pics of myself, except from my childhood. And I hope to continue to post pics as I go along so everyone can see my progress.
I wish you all a safe, blessed weekend filled with much love and happiness. xo