Monday, August 18, 2008

My own Independence Day

I started this journal over five years ago now with a primary focus of losing weight and finding happiness (because, of course, it only happens in that order). I was so deeply sad, and angry, and lonely, and empty, and I didn't really know what it meant to keep a journal online but I was too lazy to write it out long hand and I knew I needed to get things out of my head.

Since then, I've had ups and downs (both on and off scale), and this journal has been here with me through it all. Sadly, I think the best writing I've done has been while I was successfully losing weight...so happy at the prospect of restricting my food and pushing my body to move harder and faster. And I thought I'd found the magic pill or button or mindset or whatever it takes to be perfect with my eating and my exercise. I just knew I'd never gain it back because this was a lifestyle change, not a diet.

But, of course, they're always diets, no matter how you market it or how long you hold it together - even forever! - because you can never loosen your grip on it, never let yourself contemplate eating an entire plate of fajitas even though they look yummy and your stomach isn't full, because that's "out of control" behavior and that way leads to madness. In terms of exercise, I loathe sweat and my lower back aches when I walk but I did it for 60 minutes each day because that's what I was supposed to do. It hurts, but I'm doing it for my own good? Wait a minute, does that sound right to you?

I've been tossing stuff around in my head for a long time now, shedding a lot of my old ideas about what's healthy and what it means to love myself, but all the while there's a drum beat in my head telling me that I'd be happy if I just lost weight...if I just stopped eating so much...if I just walked 60 minutes every day. If, if, if.

And then one day, and I'm not even sure when it happened, I had this thought: Wait, but I'm already happy. There's no more, "You'd be so happy if only you'd...," because I'm there, I'm happy. I have a good job with people and work that I enjoy (more days than not). I have volunteer responsibilities that fulfill me in ways I couldn't have contemplated when I started this journal. I have a great relationship with my parents. I am married to a wonderful man who loves me as I am and always has. We own an amazingly beautiful townhouse together. I can decide on a Wednesday that I need a spa day and be pampered for four hours of bliss that weekend. (Seriously, worth every penny I paid!) I am living the proverbial American Dream, people, and I'm wasting time worrying about how fat I am? Really??? Is that the best way to spend my time? I think not!

So on Saturday, after I did most of my normal Saturday chores, I took a deep breath, walked into the guest room, opened the closet, and pulled everything out to the bed. There, in front of me, were the Ghosts of Diets Past...beautiful, sumptuous, stylish clothes that were all at least four sizes too small for me. The beautiful, hand-made Italian suit I had made while I was in Toronto in 2002. The thin-as-tissue silk blouse with the beautiful ruffles at the wrists. The formals that I wore to company parties in the years I was dieting (no pictures, of course, because I was still fat...God forbid). I picked them all up, carried them downstairs to the garage, and loaded them into my car.

Later today, I will stop at the Goodwill near our house and hopefully make someone less fortunate, less blessed by Fate than myself very happy by donating these clothes to charity. I have to do it because keeping them hanging there is a reproach. It's saying that I'm not good enough yet, that I will only be good enough once I've lost weight and can wear them again. And I'm not accepting that anymore. The tyranny of the scale, of societal expectations, (of my OWN expectations) is over.

And so, friends, I am declaring today, August 18th, my very own Independence Day. Our Founding Fathers put it this way:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

I say: "My name is Denise, I'm 40 years old, 5'3" tall, I weigh 260 pounds, and I wear a size 26 US."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some happiness to pursue!

6 comments:

Lori said...

You are awesome!

Nell said...

You can't fix what you don't acknowledge.
~Dr. Phil

Go Girl!

lisah said...

Fabulous!

AlwaysVirginia said...

Truths like this make me soooo very glad I found your blog 3 years ago! You Rock!

Ms. Flusterate said...

LOVE IT! I, too, have given up trying to be thinner...I have a wonderful husband who thinks I'm sexy even after I point out to him all my bodily flaws. He's not just saying it, he means it! I know I shouldn't use that as a guide but if the man I love and adore thinks I'm great just as I am, who am I to say I'm not? I mean really. We women really need to just love ourselves as we are.

Dad24Cats said...

Yes my wife come this realization as I am back in port doing my workout routine. She laughs at me becuase when I was with the fit fantic's, Marines, I hardly worked out. Now I have nothing better to do so I workout.