OK, so it took 40 years, but I think I may FINALLY be coming to fully realizing this fact. I'm not my weight. Gaining weight doesn't mean I am immoral. Losing weight doesn't make me virtuous. This is something I've known intellectually for a while, but it's taken my heart, soul and guts a lot longer to get the message.
I am who I am. I can (and have) change my behavior, my beliefs, and the way I react to the world around me. I can also change my weight. (Of course, that last one gets harder and harder to do as I get older. ) But losing weight won't change the fear.
The fear that I've held onto for so long: that I'm not good enough, that I never have been and never will be, no matter how thin I get, how successful I become, how much money I make, or how "talented" I am.
The deep-seated, up-until-recently mostly unconscious fear that I am un-loveable and will ultimately be left alone.
I've done a lot of digging, soul-searching and therapy, and I understand now where these feelings come from. I'm learning to let go of the anger at the people who helped put them there, because I now know what they DIDN'T know, and they couldn't help it. They did the best they could. Now it's my job to understand, forgive, let go, and move on.
I've got my own life to live, and my own kids to nurture, support and, yes, worry over.
When I look over the weight patterns over the course of my 40 years, I notice that I get chubby or really thin during difficult times. Seems obvious now, but at the time it REALLY wasn't, lol!
I got fat during high school. I HATED high school (surprise, surprise), and got thin during college, when my acting professor took an instant and deep disliking to me and made my life hell. Took a year off from NYU, went to Boston University for that year, became bulimic, stressed out over the path my life was taking, and put on about 30 pounds. Went back to New York, lost 20 pounds. Went to work at a Shakespeare festival in Massachusetts and lost 30 pounds in a very stressful, ridiculously low-paying (but still enjoyable) environment. Fell in love, got my heart broken, fell into a deep depression, lost more weight.
Then grad school. Started out thin, started having anxiety attacks and got REALLY thin, went to therapy, put some weight back on. Moved to L.A., put more weight on 'cause I HATED Hollywood (shocking, I know, lol!). Got married, had baby number one, huge strain on marriage, went back to therapy, put on antidepressants, lost a ton of weight. Marriage back on track, baby number 2, eventually lost weight. Hubby went on tour for nearly a year, leaving me home alone with 3 yr-old and 1 yr-old, both diagnosed with Autism. More marital strife, more weight loss. Hubby came home, marriage back on track, we moved out of L.A.
HUGE weight gain!!!!! Cannot figure out why: marriage great, kids great, living in our dream city.
Then, finally, I realize that no matter the external circumstances, I cannot run away from myself. 'Cause wherever ya go, there you are, right?
It doesn't matter how many hours I work out or what I eat. OK, yes, that matters, but in terms of coming to terms with myself, it's MUCH deeper.
I started this realization a couple of weekends ago, during my yoga teacher training. And after reading Charlotte's post a few days ago on how yoga saved her life, I am reminded of not only how much I enjoy yoga and how good it makes me feel, but how good it is FOR me. For my mind, my body, my spirit and my soul. That the things that are valued so often in this life are meaningless. The things we take for granted are to be cherished. And this body, MY body, is one of those things.
This is who I am. I am a mother, a wife, a teacher, a student. I have a goofy sense of humor. I'm a 12 year-old in a 40 year-old shell. I love and am loved. I am NOT alone. Iam NOT "bad" or "unworthy."
ANd anyone who thinks I am anything less than awesome can go to hell.