When I started this blog, I did so for purely selfish reasons. I needed to record my journey to a healthier life through weightloss, and I needed the support of family and friends. Nothing has really changed; I still need that support. I think maybe I even need that support now more than when I started because in most cases, starting isn’t the hardest part, it’s keeping going. It’s finding the willpower to keep fighting. It’s trying to not lose faith in yourself when you have setbacks and to keep trying, no matter what.
It’s no secret that I suffer from some serious self-esteem issues. I think I always have, at least, since the weight started to pack on in my teens. Puberty hit me like a ton of lead and it never let up.
Even after meeting a guy and eventually marrying, I still never quite felt good about myself. I never felt attractive. I never felt comfortable. I was at my heaviest and he was an enabler. I’m not making excuses or even putting the blame on him – at least not for how big I was or my lack of getting healthy. We tried to diet together off and on over the years but I think I got complacent and figured that I had a husband so did I really need to take care of myself?
I didn’t see the issues. I didn’t see that my thinking was so very wrong. I didn’t see how unhappy I really was. I was sick often, stressing about this or that, while he never worried about anything. And through it all, I felt ugly. Undeserving. I never said a word about it to anyone. I didn’t even realize at the time that that was actually happening.
Then there were the little jabs. The subtle suggestions that because he had a PhD that he was smarter than me. I didn’t tie my sneakers the “correct” way. I waited to long after the light turned green to proceed. Well you get the picture.
It wasn’t until I found out he was having an affair that felt the full force of how awful I’d really felt for all those years. For all the self-esteem issues I had had, it never occurred to me to do anything about it. I settled for the status quo.
Until I was left at the curb like the garbage. Until I wasn’t even given an option to try to save my marriage even if I wanted to (I didn’t). That I was swapped out for another woman (15 years younger to boot) in less than 24 hours after walking from the house we’d shared. That he told her that he never really loved me.
It was then that I felt less than human. It was then that my self-esteem took a nose-dive. And I hated him for that. I hated him for what he did to me, sure. But I also really hated him for making me feel like the shit under his shoe. As if I’d done something wrong or been such a horrible person/wife that he couldn’t wait to replace me.
Through all the struggles afterwards, no matter how I felt inside, I held my head high and swore I wouldn’t stoop to his level. That I would behave like an adult, even if he was behaving like a love-struck 16 year old. And I did that. And I realized really quite quickly how miserable I had actually been. I realized that they did me a favor. I even joked that I should end them flowers as a thank-you.
But what I didn’t realize was that despite my stoic behavior, I was still so self-conscious of everything about me. Until last year when I hit the wall and declared that I couldn’t even stand to see my reflection in the window of a store, or staring back at me in the bathroom. I hated myself. I hated everything about myself.
I berated myself for my lack of willpower. For my lack of ability to lose the weight despite knowing what I needed to do. That I’d wasted so many years not doing anything about it before now. I would literally stare at myself in the mirror and tell myself what an awful person I was. I was fat, ugly and just simply disgusting. I felt all of that. In some ways, I still do. But I’ve gotten better. I have those moments now but they are few and far between. But I’ll be honest, that doesn’t mean that I like myself. And I certainly don’t love myself.
But I’m trying.
It’s taking me a long time to finally feel like I deserve to be happy. That I deserve to experience the good things in life. That my life is something worth living.
But the one thing that I have a hard time dealing with is compliments. I don’t care how close I am to the person or how honest I believe them to be, if they give me a compliment, it actually has the opposite effect on me. I feel as if they are lying; telling me something they think I want to hear, and nothing could be farther from the truth.
While many people would bask in compliments that they are “beautiful”, I don’t. Because I don’t believe it. I don’t see it when I look in that mirror or see that reflection in the window. So to hear people say something such as that to me, while I might be completely wrong, it makes me feel like they are patronizing me more than being supportive. Even in those times when I’ve thrown a pity-party for myself and shared it, I told them that I didn’t want their sympathies or to give me compliments. Because I wasn’t fishing for them. I honestly never am. But many didn’t listen and did so anyway. And you know what happened? I got upset and took it out on myself.
Because I don’t believe it.
I’ve come a long way in the past year. I’m not to the point of accepting compliments or looking at myself and not seeing ugly. But given where I was, I have come far. Very far. And I may never be that person. I don’t know really.
But for all my lack of wanting compliments based on my looks, I will admit that not only am I okay with accepting praise and support relating to my weightloss journey, I seem to need it. I seem to thrive on it. I’m the girl in the corner hiding her face but wants everyone to notice me – but not for the same reasons as others likely would.
I’ve been writing this blog since September and I can clearly see the correlation between my feelings and attitude towards my success and my actual succeeding. It’s almost a bit pitiable really; the need for praise and accolades. Until I realize that it is that support that is what is keeping my feelings about myself – the negative ones – at bay. The kind words, the encouraging posts, those are that things that I want. That I need. They are the reason why after all this time I am still gun-ho to do this. To succeed.
Because I realize that those words are what make me feel worthy. Deserving. That people are taking time out of their busy lives to read my blog, to post me a compliment, to even suggest that I am inspiring them.
So after all this very long-winded post, that’s what this is about. Inspiring others.
It honestly never occurred to me when I started this that I would be inspiring anyone. Then I started to get messages from people saying that because of my attitude, because of my determination, they felt inspired and wanted to succeed too. That they were on the journey with me and I was helping THEM. And I tell you, that is a heady feeling.
Especially when it really wasn’t your intention to begin with.
To have someone tell you that you’ve inspired them…well that, in turn, inspired you right back. And more and more as the weeks go by, people are not only supporting me but they’re supporting each other. They are inspiring each other.
It’s The Inspiration Train.
And thank you all for jumping on board. Thank you for all of your continued and unwavering support, even when I lose sight of my abilities and goals. Thank you for inspiring me. But also thank you for letting me know that something I’m doing has inspired you as well.
A few small words of encouragement. A gentle smile and pat on the shoulder. A hug that says, “I’m with you.” A post that says, “I see you” or a PSA interview where you’re called “brave” and “inspiring”. Those are the things that drive me. Those are the things that excite me and want me to not only keep going but to push harder.
I’ll admit that I’m scared. I’m afraid that The Inspiration Train will slow down and I won’t have the fuel I need to keep going. I don’t know if that will happen, but it is my honest fear. But for now, I’m determined to ride this train till the end. And I really hope you’ll be there at the end waiting for me.
So do what you can to inspire someone today. You never know how much even the slightest gesture can change their whole world.
Blessing to all for a safe and prosperous week.