February 06, 2009

February 2009

Even though the creaky bones and lack of energy melted away with the 56 pounds I shed last year, nothing makes me felt quite as old as my daughter's birthday. On Sunday, Miss Thing will be 11 years old. As you might remember, her constant reminding me of her reaching a "decade old" last year sent me clamoring for the gym and some semblance of the life I had before her arrival, at least in the body image department.

It is hard to believe she is that old. I think because in my mind she is still that little bundle I took home nearly 11 years ago. Sobbing in the back seat because I couldn't get the fucking car seat in and how the fuck was I supposed to take care of her when I can't even do that! I left the hospital feeling like a cheat and a fraud, fearing that if they REALLY KNEW how inadequate I was at this mothering thing they would have cuffed me in the back of the head and snatched her away. And I was as big as a house. Seriously. I had gained 85 pounds with my precious daughter who would weigh in at 8 lbs. 3 ozs. You do the math. My sister would likely jump in here and say that I had medical issues. That I retained water because of high blood pressure and edema. I will tell you that is partly true. And while I was being told that my 210/110 blood pressure could make me STROKE OUT RIGHT NOW! I ate A LOT! I was on bed rest for nearly 2 months and I ate my sorrow. I ate my losing my identity. I ate my poor body image.

The result was that I had gone from being 5' 8" and a very healthy 160 lbs to 245 on the day I gave birth. I wouldn't (couldn't) even tell the nurse how much I weighed in the middle of labor. I told her I would write it down because I couldn't hear it out loud and I couldn't admit it to my husband. It was pure shame. It was ridiculous, but it was what it was.

At Miss Thing's 1st Birthday, I started working from home. It was the best decision I had ever made. I missed her fiercely and every day I went to work I again felt like a fraud, unable to do any of the jobs I was supposed to do right. Mother, Worker, Wife, they all got less than they deserved and again the guilt set in. So, I had taken off nearly 40 pounds and hovered over 200 when I started my business. But that wouldn't last.

Over the next 9 years, I would steadily gain a few, then lose a couple. Life was complicated with the arrival of Lil Man, the business, and a move to a bigger, more expensive house. Working, taking care of everyone else, I lost the will to do so for myself and literally resigned myself to the Big Girl Store in the mall. Though I tried to embrace it, secretly... inside, again I was a fraud. I knew I was selling myself short and yet, it seemed like too much effort to do.

I knew that I should. I knew that I COULD. But, I didn't. Here I was a successful business woman, Type A personality, never got lower than a B+ in anything, with a big fat fucking F for fat.

Over the last three years, I secretly grew more ashamed and depressed. I had started teaching in 2005 at the Art College and standing in front of these starving college kids, I felt like I looked like I ate one or two of them. I was self-conscience every time I had to stand in front of them.

Getting ready for an event, or even just to go out to dinner, would result in tears. No matter what I tried to do, how I tried to cover it up, I hated what I saw. I would diet, exercise, fall off the wagon and put on more and more weight. I would tell myself that I was doing THE BEST THAT I CAN. But, that was a lie and I knew again that I was fraud.

August 2007 was my most shameful moment. We had been at a family picnic and I had been fairly happy with the outfit I had chosen to go in. It had been held at the beach and DH had been teaching the kids to fish. Calling out to me, I ran down to the beach (a scene I later would regret) to go join them. I caught a fish! MY FIRST FISH! They took pictures! Later, at home downloading the pictures, I was shocked at how I looked. I sobbed. My husband would come in and say (too quickly) it was his fault, it was a bad picture, a bad angle, you look great. But, I knew better. And still, I did nothing.

December 2007, my daughter took pictures of me on the couch with the cat. I looked at the digital camera screen and told her to back up a bit, she was too close, bad angle, all my chins. She backed up and snapped away and what I saw left me speechless. I didn't even know this person anymore. She sorta looked like me, but she was SO UNHAPPY. And fat.

Around that time, my daughter started to sing that little song about how she was going to be (in February) "DECADE OLD". And I would think (every time she sang it) that I had been fat for 10 years as well. Seriously. It was my first thought. Not how wonderful it has been being her Mom. Not how proud of her (of us) I was. Just how fat I was.

I watched a Dr. Phil episode that featured an overweight Mom, who had a similar story to mine. Used to be thin, tries EVERYTHING, just doesn't work for her, so sad, needs help. Dr. Phil said something I will never forget. He said that she needed to get real with herself and stop lying to herself. That she couldn't change what she did not acknowledge. And more importantly than that, that she was CHEATING her kids out of a life with their Mother, because having this demon, this issue, this monkey on her back, kept her from giving all of herself to her kids. I was just dumbfounded. I had never considered that my weight issues were affecting my relationship with my kids. But then I thought about all the times I had said NO WAY were we going to the beach, the amusement park, the (insert place I would feel insecure here). It was like I had been slapped across the face. The shame and guilt boiled up. I had been lying to myself. I really had not been honest about what I was eating. Because DIDN'T I DESERVE MCDONALD'S AFTER MY HARD DAY? I decided then that I was no longer going to be that fraud.

Throughout 2008, I chronicled my weight loss here. I successfully lost 56 pounds, just shy of my 60 pound goal. I had started out at 228 and brought my weight down to 172. I am still 12 pounds away from girl I used to be, before my kids, before my issues. I'm working on it. I'll get there. Eventually. The truth is, I still haven't told my husband what I weigh. I'm still not there yet in my mind.

But, a lot has changed. So this year, for my daughter's 11th birthday, her and I are celebrating. I am going to be able to step out confidently and unabashedly with her in grand old New York City. We're going to paint the town all the pink of the American Girl Store and everything in between. And I will show her happiness and love and give her 100% of me as I should have all along. And I am happy for the first time in a long time. Truly happy.

2009 has a lot in store for me. I am walking through it in a size 12 (sometimes 10!!) jeans and a Medium/Large top. I FEEL good. I am no longer a fraud or a liar to myself. I deserve better than that. September 2009, I will finish my Master's Degree and I intend to pull the kids out of school, hop a plane to Miami and run with wild abandon down the beach with Miss Thing, Lil Man and my wonderful DH (who honestly has loved me at every size) right after I snatch up that diploma.

I don't know what the future will bring after that. But, for the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to it. Eyes (and heart) wide open. I know I will never be that unhappy girl again. I love my family too much to give them anything less than all of me.

6 Comments:

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Lana said...

okay, are you happy? I'm all teary-eyed and so proud of you! I have been on the blogging sidelines of this journey and the little nuggets that you choose to share here and really, I am so impressed with your candor & personal insights!

As always...love you, LOVE your blog! Thanks for
posting!

FYI: The deleted comment 2 posts ago was me. I did this whole LONG comment about the post NOT being lame, blah, blah, blah, and then when it posted I saw that I was signed in with my daughters account. So i deleted it and was to lazy to re-do it. Sorry. I am the lame one. :)

P.S. Your avatar needs your cute new short hair-do!

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger MJ said...

Thanks for sharing, you truly are an inspiration.

My baby turned one a few weeks ago, and I only WISH I could work from home right now. It's in the workings, but it's not to be just yet.

Sharpie, you ROCK! Enjoy NYC and take lots of pictures!!!

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger bobbi said...

I keep coming back here, hoping to have something profound to offer.

I just wanted you to know that you have inspired me a lot this past year. I have dropped 34 pounds and stuck with it with you. I have 10 to go, and I'm hoping to run a marathon this year. It's been nice to have a "partner" in all of it...thanks for documenting your progress and struggles...

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Sherry said...

Well, shit.

You've completely blown my rule of not crying until AFTER noon on weekdays COMPLETELY to hell.

I had no idea you were so unhappy with how you looked, as I always saw this amazing, confident, funny, beautiful, talented woman no matter the size. You'll always be my hero, even if you have to squeeze into the costume. :)

But, knowing that you're so much happier, and more confident, and had the discipline and drive to make such a grand change for the better, AND to be able to see just how much more you can give your kids and family...it just makes me admire you more than I did before, if that's even possible.

Love ya like this fat kid (soon to be skinny, again...) LOVES cake.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger Not a Granny said...

I am so happy for you!!! Lots of hugs!!!

 
At 6:37 AM, Blogger Sharpie said...

Thank you everyone, for supporting and encouraging me along the way through this journey, right by my side. I appreciate that you say I inspire you. Truth is, you all help bring out the best in me and that allows me to be the best Sharpie I can.

I humbly say, thank you.

 

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