This whole getting into shape thing kind of sucks ass. I mean, seriously, it's hard. And sweaty. And even though I actually kind of enjoy tracking my food with Weight Watchers, that's the easy part. I don't mind not eating a ton of junk food and paying attention to what I put in my body. What I mind, is the risk factor. Here I am, age 34, and I am terrified that I will fail at yet another thing in my life. That I will stay on track and go to the gym and count my points but that nothing will come of it. Waiting for results is hard. Really hard. Because I'm constantly waiting for something to happen. Saturdays are my weigh-in days and I in equal parts look forward to and dread them.
For a person who can honestly say I have achieved amazing things in my life so far, I can also say I have failed spectacularly and publicly. Masters degree? Check. Successful private practice? Check. Awesome husband? Check. Adorable furry children? Check and double check. (And um...add like 6 more checks because we really do have a menagerie up in here.)
I get that without my failures I wouldn't be the person I am today but that doesn't make staring down the barrel of the weight loss gun any easier. Losing weight is tricky. Everyone is thrilled for you when you do it but if you put the pounds back on you can't hide it. It's just there. In your fat pants. Mocking. While everyone looks on, feeling sorry for you.
"Poor girl, she just can't quit the Yodels."
All my other failures were fairly easy to hide. Clients didn't know I was going through a divorce unless and until I chose to tell them. In 2009 I went through a divorce, foreclosure, got sued, and filed for Chapter 13 (bankruptcy - thanks scumbag ex-husband!). Guess how many people knew what I was going through as it was happening? Okay, you don't have to guess. Mostly because I don't actually know but I'm pretty sure it was under 10. Thankfully, I managed to meet my husband at the beginning of 2009 so I had somebody to lean on but that's an awful lot to ask of one person you've really only just met.
Growing up, the bottom line my parents gave us was "What you do reflects on us." Suffice it to say, when I was going through all of the above, parental support was...limited. Friend support was minimal as I didn't want to share much. Even my siblings didn't know what to do, they were freaked out that not only was all of that stuff happening, but by the fact that I'd gotten into a serious relationship before the divorce papers were signed. Never mind that I had been virtually alone for my entire marriage. Physically and emotionally. To my family and friends, everything looked fine. I didn't complain, I wasn't desperately unhappy. I had a full social life and put everything I had into building my practice. That's what I was really married to. Work. But nobody could see that because I refused to see it myself. I didn't want to and denial is just about the most powerful force on earth next to fear.
But then the house of cards began to fall and bit by bit it all came apart. And the only thing my parents really saw was that I had a boyfriend and it upset them. A lot. I think it mostly scared the crap out of them because they didn't want me to get hurt again. They didn't know this guy, it looked like I was moving alarmingly fast, and when people are scared they act out. We all did. I definitely did. It's part of being human that we all react out of fear at times of change.
At the time I couldn't understand their behavior was coming from their fear for me. I shut them out and disappeared from my family almost completely for over a year and a half. We are not the most communicative of families. We love each other but sometimes we may as well be from different planets our languages are so different.
(*If you are a family member and reading this, please don't freak out. I love my parents, we're just very different people with very different views. Mom and Dad - I'm 90% sure you're not reading this but if you are, I'm sorry, but this is something I need to talk about and heal from. Please respect that this is not in any way intended to hurt or upset you.*)
All of my parents (and my own) fears were being confirmed - I was bad with money, I made bad decisions in relationships, I had gotten myself hooked into an evil private practice owned and run by two of the greediest, narcissistic, horror show human beings on the planet. The fact that they are allowed to practice therapy on actual humans is terrifying. I was stuck with a 200-year old house I couldn't possibly maintain or afford to live in. I was forced to hire and pay for lawyers, vacate my home, and basically, throw in the towel and start over. I am sure this was terrifying for my parents to watch. They had no choice but to stand by and watch, there was nothing they could do They're not millionaires who can just pay for everything and I was 30 years old. Asking my parents for money was out of the question for me. No way. Eventually I stopped telling them things because I couldn't stand to scare them anymore.
Needless to say, public failure in the form of divorce alone is enough to make most people want to hide under the covers. Let's face it, I put on a beautiful white dress, threw a huge party, and promised in front of my entire family and all my friends to love that jackass forever. No matter how right divorce was, it's still humiliating to have your dream wedding then be forced to admit I was wrong. What am I supposed to say? My bad? That doesn't really seem to cover it but seriously, it does about sum it up.
So this whole Weight Watchers/exercising thing, while being somewhat exciting and invigorating (and icky, and sweaty), is also terrifying. What if I lose like, 30 pounds? YAY! But...then I have to keep that weight off. Forever. And I've met me. I really do love Yodels. And ice cream. And chips. And sandwiches of all shapes and sizes. I'm cool with moderation but the fact that my metabolism has slowed to a crawl puts me at a distinct disadvantage. And not for nothing, being a larger size allows me to be less noticeable. I get to be somewhat invisible and people don't automatically hate me just for being thin. Don't deny it. You know you do it. I do it. I'll own that shit.
So if we so happen to cross paths and I look extra svelte and sassy, by all means, tell me I look good. But if we cross paths again, and I've got a little more to love on these hips? By all means, tell me I look good. Because that's when I'll really need to hear it.