Let the Light Shine

I failed. I failed at being patient. I failed at being understanding. I failed at controlling my temper. I reacted to a comment and before I knew it, was neck-deep in a war of words with my husband.

Twenty years we’ve been together. Twenty years and we still have moments in which we act like spoiled kids and throw insults at each other. I should have taken just one second to evaluate what it was he said to me, how he said it, and whether it was frustration directed at me or just frustration in his voice, directed at no one in particular.

In hindsight I saw clearly that he was not directing any animosity toward me, nor was his frustration because of me. He simply made a comment and I flew into a rage. I was convinced he was attacking my character.

What had begun as a beautiful, fun day, full of hope and love, was at once turned to darkness. I singlehandedly darkened the entire world around me.

If only I had controlled my temper. If only I had taken just one moment to be sure I was reacting appropriately. It’s so difficult for me to admit when I’m wrong. It’s paralyzing. To have this one person in my life that sees me at my worst, best and all the adjectives in between and loves me all the while is really something, isn’t it? To know without question that someone in this world will accept us when we aren’t lovable to say anything about likeable, this is the fabric of life.

To be loved means you must love. To find acceptance you must be accepting. To be seen at your most vulnerable allows a loved one to see you authentically. We race through each day and show our smiles to passerby’s, maybe we gaze downward to avoid eye contact in an attempt to keep to ourselves. We tell those who ask that we are well even if we are crumbling inside. We as humans lie daily in our quest to be accepted.

I can’t hide from my husband. He sees and I believe, feels my moods as they change. He can anticipate a good day on the horizon. He can anticipate a storm before the clouds even fill my sky. He can also tolerate all that I am. It’s not easy to see all and still love someone completely, without condition, yet he does just that. He loves me for all I am, and in spite of all I am. In my husband’s eyes I am flawed, damaged and beautiful. His love stabilizes me. He is the glue to the fabric of my soul.

I couldn’t say why I have been blessed with such love. I can’t say that I am to him all he is to me. I hope to be, I try to be, but I know he exceeds and surpasses me at every turn. My husband is everything we should all hope to be. Tolerant, loyal, forgiving and honest.

I failed in a moment, but I triumphed in life. Today I will attempt to be a success in regard to my treatment of others, of my husband, and my children. It isn’t easy loving me. It isn’t simple. I came into the world as a complicated soul and I believe that is how I’ll leave it. I don’t apologize for my misstep, an apology is usually (in my experience) a short-term solution and a way for the assailant to excuse their behavior. Instead, I admit to my wrongs. I own my actions and get up and try again to be a better me.

I thank God and all the energy in this world for finding me the one soul I would need throughout my journey here. I give thanks for being so lucky as to have found this love, this friendship so long ago. My husband is my light and his light shines endlessly.

 

 

Chasing Chubby

DISCLAIMER: I in NO way think that a “skinny bitch” is actually a bitch. You (if you are thin and don’t try to be) are called a bitch because you know not the struggle of the scale, the battle of the bulge, the combat of the chunky. We don’t hate you, we merely are not able to comprehend you, therefore we give you a name. It’s more an honor than a slur. We’re jealous. Period.

I have been blessed with the struggle of weight since I was nearly 12 years old. I was teased for being bigger before that age, but looking back at photos (trust me, I’ve scoured looking for that fat girl of 10 years old) I wasn’t an overweight child.  I was not only average, I was taller than all the boys. Although I was bigger than the other girls, I was thin, healthy, normal. I believed that I was chubby before I even was! Isn’t that an indicator of the influence others have on our self-image? My father, God rest his soul, would often say to me when I was eating: “Be careful or that will slip down behind you where you can’t see it”, oh thanks, I hadn’t considered that before! I never was angry or hurt by his comment, as Dad was a member of the chubby club too. A lifer, at that.

I thank God for being given the gift of fat. Yes, you read that correctly. I am delighted to know that because of my extra pounds, I easily have empathy for others. I don’t judge people based on size, social status, faith or profession. I learned early in life to appreciate kindness wherever it came from, albeit not quite early enough (shout out to those I bullied to feel stronger as a kid, I’m so sorry!).

You know who the kindest people are? Those that have struggled. Poor people, old people, those labeled as nerds, freaks or otherwise. The ones that have experienced torment, judgment and have been blackballed due to no fault of their own.  I am a member of that elite group.  It was through this membership that  I fundamentally learned the importance of offering a smile to strangers, especially those with a sadness in their eyes. If not for my struggle with the bulge, I could never have recognized the faces as easily as I do.
I’ve been called many names as a result of my heft, mostly in high school. The most memorable yet scarring of which has to be Goodyear, as in the blimp. Now I know this name was not warranted by my size in school. Throughout my entire high school career I never went bigger than a size 14. Goodyear. Really? Although I must admit, the originality was off the charts. I could have been called Thunder Thighs or a cow or many other boring, overused names. Thanks go to my tormenters for keeping it spicy.

I have been known as the chubby sister, a big boned girl (which a physician was kind enough to shoot down and inform me I am actually small framed-Awesome), the hefty one, big, heavy, heavy-set and any other adjectives associated with being overweight. I am heavier than some, lighter than others. I do not see myself as obese, although P!nk and I both seem to fall into this category.

I think know that being the heavy one in some ways gave me thicker skin. Quite early in life I was able to put on a tough front and became a tyrant to in order to thwart any subsequent bullying.  For the most part, it worked. The flip side of my tough exterior was the disturbance my image as a tough-girl had on my education and home life. I was an obstinate child.  I learned how to stifle my emotions publically to ensure no one ever knew that they caused me pain. At home I was an emotional, out-of-control, defiant kid. Amongst my peers I appeared indifferent, strong, and in control.  I made damn sure no one could see how I truly felt about anything. I see that this was an entirely thwarted effort on my part, as I developed some serious anxieties related to my self-image.

Cut to adulthood-

I had 2 children by the age of 25. I recall once receiving an anonymous letter that was a full-page Sunday edition, newspaper “fat ad”. Someone actually wanted to hurt me enough that they took the time to cut it out, find my mailing address and send to me. I was astonished and bewildered and clearly very hurt. I was a new mom, I wasn’t some morbidly obese individual in danger of losing my life to obesity. This is the life of the heavy girl. Some time later I decided to try shedding the protective layers I’d been carrying. I found a diet I liked, decided to become active and lost about 80 pounds in just over 8 months. I was thin, young and sexy. I began to get noticed and found the attention humiliating. Yes, humiliating. People I’d known since childhood suddenly found me interesting and this only made me want to punch them in the face. Where was this support when I actually needed it? Why was I only now worthy as a thin person? I learned another lesson here, people can be so very shallow and appearances clearly do matter.

There were many personal victories for me as a new found skinny bitch. I had energy for my young kids and indulged in fashion in ways I’d only dreamt of before. I enjoyed moving and found exercise to be a release for me. I wore a two piece bathing suit publically.  I became obsessed with eating in new and “healthy” ways. I was however, definitely a bit obnoxious in my quest for thin. I recall one family cookout in particular where we were all eating and I heard myself repeatedly announcing how many Weight Watcher points were in this, or that. I was becoming that person. I wanted to tell myself to shut up and eat some chips. I felt bad for putting my new obsession on my family, but yet said nothing to the effect. I was a skinny bitch and that now bothered me.

It took about six years to do, but I found the weight I had lost, and a little extra just for kicks. I had started a new job, a desk job. This led to lack of daily movement, which led to excuses in my head which led to pounds on my ass. Slowly yet surely my weight climbed the ladder to obesity and here I am! I am back to where I once was over 10 years ago, this time no scale is needed, it’s all about the clothes. I flip and flop with a 20 pound flex, at times I’ve lost even more. Stress is a great diet, although not one I recommend!

At this point I’ve learned that no one has the power to make me feel anything about my weight. That lies solely on me. I control this. The weight, the feelings of inadequacy due to my weight, and the happiness I lack when I’m feeling too heavy, are all mine. I don’t need judgement from anyone else, I am my own worst critic. I took the power away from others long ago. No one can make me feel less than because I weigh more. I feel so grateful that my husband has never (thin or heavy) made me feel anything less than beautiful. He sees me, the me I’ve always been, the me I had hoped to reveal to the world when I initially peeled away the pounds. He has never judged me, tried to hinder my weight loss, or implied that I should diet. He loves me, and because of him I know I’m good enough, no matter my size.

I hope to lose some of me again soon, and this time I hope my maturity allows that I will maintain without self-sabotage. I will continue to outwardly show no feeling and have decided that I’m okay with that. The world doesn’t need to know my heart or see my weaknesses. I will continue to smile and show courtesy to others and hope for the same in return. And lastly, to all the big girls out there: Embrace your sensual selves, have the cake if you want to and know that you deserve just as much as the next skinny bitch.

 

 

Caught and Released

Have you ever felt trapped in your own existence? Paralyzed by your own intellect? They say when you know better you do better, but what if you don’t? What if you know better and still you stay true to the darkness. Prisoner to the obscurity of your mind.

I have lived nearly 40 years and only in the last year did I take the time to discover my crippling anxieties. The revelation of my own anxiety came to me after a near break-down brought on by my own actions.  I spoke of my disbelief towards anxiety for years, told those suffering that I just didn’t get it. Denial? At it’s finest.

Only now am I discovering that anxiety creeps into every facet of my life. Not only in my adult self, but I can recognize its presence existed in my youth. How is it that this quandary eluded my consciousness for so long? Simple. I allowed it. I allowed it to fester and flourish without worry of its inevitable rupture, hurling my realities into oblivion.

In the last year I have seen the murky depths of depression and anxiety. They gripped me and I succumbed to their clutches. I cared not for the love that was offered me, the patience displayed by loved ones. I wallowed and lingered in sadness, despair and fear. Even though I was fully responsible for ending up where was at that point I still couldn’t accept or voice aloud the disappointment I felt in myself. I believe this is what awakened my anxieties and allowed them the fuel to develop into the colossal villain they became.

I couldn’t leave my home, couldn’t breathe without a paper bag to decelerate my breaths. I found myself checking and re checking my bag as I left the house or office. Did I turn everything off? I over-analyzed conversations on the daily. Did I say something wrong? Did I talk too much? Not enough? I broke out in hives, my vision blurred.  I was destroying my family one moment at a time. I couldn’t see the selfishness they saw, couldn’t take any form of criticism, couldn’t see any good in the world. All I saw was dark. All I felt was shame, the depths of which knew no end. No end at all.

My antidepressants at this time decided to send me on a roller-coaster thrill ride. They stopped working which thrust me into a premature withdrawal. There was dizziness, loss of appetite, a feeling of numbness, bouts of sobbing that lasted for days, weeks. I was losing will to survive, succumbing to my own demise. My instincts gripped my psyche and instructed to detach. I was no longer capable of reason, I was believing all hope had disappeared. My purpose had been removed from my life.

I looked for God, and to be completely honest, believed Him to have forsaken me. I was completely rejecting the idea that I was responsible for my own free will. Where I was standing at that point in time was a direct result of choices I had made, choices only I was responsible for. God had not forsaken me, He just couldn’t help me until I was ready to help myself.

Without support I wouldn’t be writing this today. I don’t believe I wouldn’t be here, just that I wouldn’t have the secure footing I feel I am attaining now. Anxiety is with me, always has been I now realize and knowing is controlling for me. I am unable of preventing the attacks entirely, but now I can see them for what they are. I am beginning the tedious work of self-acceptance and allowing myself to forgive my past mistakes. Everyday I try to be an improved version of myself and some days, I fail this miserably. Some days I am angry for no apparent reason, some days I succumb to my tears.

We are, all of us, flawed individuals. We have all experienced, to some extent, indiscretions and lapse of good judgement. In this we are all alike. The same and altogether contrasting at the same time. Where one errs, another flourishes and where one is weak, another is stable. Those of us that are broken often recognize that healing must come forth from within.

I’m ascending from the bottom and have only up to travel. I’ve seen the bedrock of my soul and wish to never return. I must make conscious efforts daily to be kind, patient and humble. I own my faults, recognize my deceptions and have sought forgiveness from those I’ve mistreated. I cannot undo my wrongdoings, they are my reminders of a past I left behind. I can only move forward, however slowly and greet my future with a renewed hope of acceptance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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