I keep writing 2003 everywhere. I'm usually better and not doing that. I don't really have anything to say today. I slept long, but I guess didn't sleep well because I woke up feeling like I'd just gone to bed.
Dreams were odd. Eric and I were buying a house that was actually on some property in Kentucky that my grandfather used to own. The kids were waiting in the car while we went into the house and checked on some things. Somehow, it ended up that he and I were driving somewhere in relation to buying the house, then realized halfway there we'd left the kids back at the house in the car (dismissing the whole thing that we were driving in the car) and the bulk of the dream was the two of us driving the 10 minutes or so (which was taking forever) back to the house to get the kids, wondering if they were OK. I know (real life) that I've been worried about how the kids are processing all of this. Eric has been under a lot of stress and the kids are getting really fussy and out of sorts; totally different than their usual way of being in the world. I know they'll feel better once he finally gets a regular job and things are back to a place of security and routine. As his unemployment benefits have been running out and under threat due to the clerical error, we've both been doubling efforts to keep the worry bested.
I don't think the dream was about that, though. I think it's more of the weight loss stuff. I've always been skeptical of those who maintain that people who simply cannot seem to discipline themselves to lose the weight have some emotional crap keeping them back. Dr Phil is all about healing the feelings that make you want to eat and I really, really tried to sift through my checkered past and figure out what was tripping me up. I figured it was to soothe me from our financial woes. I figured it was because Eric isn't always the gentlest person in the worst when he's expressing his frustrations (he doesn't get physical or anything, he just turns into a ball of frustration and anger looking for a place to land). I couldn't really find anything substantial... until this time, that is.
At Winter Solstice, I put out my fleece, so to speak. (To read about putting out a fleece and the origin of the saying, click here) I didn't feel any different, but I knew I needed to give losing this weight another try for health reasons, so hey, I put it on the list just because I should.
When I was meditating and praying on what I should find for my focus this year, I got this image that really changed a lot of things for me. To understand the imagery, you'll need some background.
To sum it up without going into some really personal stuff, I started putting on weight at a time that I began the process of changing my life in a really profound way. It was a process of change that would get worse before it got better (like most change... as soon as you declare a thing to be so, it will be challenged hotly by life to see how much you want it and how serious you are about it) and would take a good 7 years or so to really take hold and hit fruition. For a long, long time, pretty much the whole time my first three children growing up, I was an extremely self absorbed, self involved person and I was not at all plugged into my husband or my kids. Blame it on my personality at the time, blame it on never having been taught how to plug in and really be there for my family, blame it on my age (I started having children at 16 and never took any time to learn about how I wanted to be in the this world or the consequences of my actions), blame it on too many years of dealing with an alcoholic husband who had serious mental issues of his own (we set up a terrible dynamic of punishing one another) which made me not want to spend much time at home. Regardless, I was investing heavily in a life outside my home, filled with hundreds of friends and acquaintances and activities, and the end result was that my children grew up while I wasn't looking. I can't even equate out the person I was then with who I am now. You wouldn't have liked me. I wouldn't have liked me. I was extremely superficial and fairly soulless. I adored my children, don't get me wrong. I just didn't know how to deal with them needing me and I surely didn't understand the importance of being there beyond just showing up.
At one point, I decided to change all of that. I chucked it all and started investing in my family. By then, it was in such a shambles that I didn't know how to handle any of it. Paul was drinking and being abusive on a lot of levels a good bit of the time. The kids were scared of him and angry at me for letting it continue. It was a total mess. I was resigned to not externalize myself from the family, so I ate over the pain it caused for me to be in the family. I gained about 80 pounds in a year. Paul made good on his word ("I'll leave you if you ever get fat") and divorced us and within just a few months, volunteered for a two year tour of duty in Japan, so he wasn't just gone, he was gone. That was really hard for the boys, who were only 9, 11 & 13, and I didn't have a clue how to handle their pain and deal with my own as well. I was so furious with Paul for leaving me after all I'd put up with from him. The boys were hurting from Paul's abandonment and I was a walking pile of pain. I had a breakdown that lasted just over a year. The boys pretty much took care of themselves and I went through the motions of working a job (until I was laid off due to base closure) and hiding in my room. During that time I had a baby (a little girl conceived during a relationship right after Paul left and just before I melted down) and continued to hide and let my children exist as emotional orphans. I started getting my life together again when I was offered a job at Edwards AFB, about 40 miles away. We moved and I felt the shackles of the area falling off of me as we drove away. It's amazing what a change in environment can do.
We struggled hard for a year, me working 3 jobs, Joe, poor Joe, watching the other three while he worked on independent study. Some days, I was gone from 6am until 9-10pm. Still, we weren't making it and were losing the house. Paul had convinced me that $100 per child was highway robbery for child support and that he was doing me a favor by paying it. I didn't question, didn't investigate options, just did as I was told. Our electricity would be shut off and we'd play camping.
The time passed in a blur. Two years were up and Paul was coming home. He missed his family and wanted to get married again. I wasn't doing anything better and a return to the life as a military life offered a lot of security I didn't have. We married again for just over 2 years and he left us for someone else. In that two years, he had pretty much stopped drinking, but the problems were still there. He didn't at all understand or appreciate the strength I had developed in the time I'd been on my own. He was used to me being a doormat to whatever he wanted and however he felt things should be (never questioning) and I just wasn't that any more. So he went out and found another doormat. This time, when he left, I came from a position of stronger empowerment and it was the final solidification of who I was becoming. I was taken back to the most horrible time of my life (Paul leaving) and was given a chance to do it all over again. I did it very differently. I won't say I am proud of how I handled it because I was still in pain and still did and said some things I wish I could take back. But it was... different.
Anyway, a lot has happened since all that went on. What I was getting to and what I was wanting to tell you is about the meditation, which showed me that all of this time, when I've actually been happy and in a good marriage and plugged in with all six of my children, eager to lose weight to have a more active, and yes, attractive lifestyle, I've been undermining myself. I always wondered why, when I really, really want to lose the weight, both for myself and for Eric (who has never had a wife who wasn't fat) and for my children (so I can be healthier and as now as an older mom, rather than the younger mom I always was, be there for them longer), I would always derail after I started to see real results.
I pretty much wrote it off to a lack of will power and just getting fed up with the deprivation. I talked to Dr Phil in my head and assured him that I had been all through my darkest mental closets and really, really didn't have any insipid secrets eating away at me, corrupting my success. I just liked to eat for instant gratification.
But inside, I knew that it felt more like a purposeful derailing. The meditation I had when I started this showed me, keyed by something my friend Karen said, that I was afraid that by losing the weight, I would go back to being the person I was back then. The weight is what distanced myself from that time and was the most measurable, visible difference between the me then and the me now. I pictured the weight gain as though I were on top of a hill and behind me was the thin self. If I lost the weight, I'd roll back down again to that disconnected place where I acted only on primal instincts and the satisfaction of the moment, regardless of the cost. I love my family so very much, all six kiddies and Eric, and I can't imagine risking all of that by being that person again. So when I would start to see that I was getting smaller, I had to hurry and gain the weight back so I wouldn't be like that again.
In the meditation where I saw all of this come together, I simply took the process a little further, saw myself at the top of that mountain and instead of sliding down to the old place, I went down the other side to a new place... forward instead of backward. As soon as I realized the problem and got the key of going forward to a good, thinner place rather than backward to a bad thinner place, I felt a peace come over me that was amazing. I realized in that moment that I could do it...one day at a time. Since then, it has felt almost effortless. It's been three weeks this time and I've lost 9 pounds, just from eliminating nearly all sweets, fatty foods and breads from my diet and drinking water. I've exercised some, but not enough. That's coming.
But back to the dream. At the same time I started my dieting, Eric stopped drinking and smoking completely (which is why he was in my car... we're both undergoing major change, signified by buying a new house in the dream). I think the dream is about my residual fear that we (I) will leave the kids behind in my pursuit of being better and doing better and it was a little key to make sure I'm tuned in and paying attention.
So that was a long story. :)
Take a break if you need to.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the entry, I'm tired today. The exercise I have planned will help, plus I can get to sleep early tonight if all goes well. I don't have anything planned for the rest of the week (that I can remember), so it should be quiet barring unforeseen challenges. Nathan is very relaxed and cuddly today, which is a big relief after his emotionalism of the past few days.
My goal for today, other than the exercise, is to clean my house and get a special project done for EOS. I've been planning it for a while and now the components are coming together for it. I've also been putting it off a bit because it's going to be time consuming. It will be worth it, though.
I'm behind in my reviews (I review books for a few publishers in exchange for keeping the books themselves) and need to get onto that as well. Sounds like lots of computer time in my future.
That means I should clean house so as not to incur the frowny eyes from the hubby. Also should get the exercising underway so my butt doesn't reach out to embrace the sides of the chair.
Love to all of you!