Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rented Space - Weight Struggles

[It seems like this whole "Space for Rent" idea was long-overdue, as a number of people have approached me since I first wrote about it. Frankly, I'm thrilled to be able to help, so by all means, if you want to use the space, it's here for you. Anytime.

With that, please offer your support to this anonymous writer, struggling with some tough issues of her own. Thanks in advance.]


Today, I decided to go purchase a swim suit. Missy and I were talking on the phone and she directed me to the Sears site where they had 2 piece swim suits for plus sizes. She told me when she went in the store that there was quite a selection. At that moment, I decided to go to the store.

When I got there, the escalator wasn’t working. I was offered the elevator by a sales associate, but I said, “No, I can climb.” And I did, but when I got to the top, I was winded. It was sad. Very SAD. I walked around the floor hoping that I would catch my breath after a while. I didn’t, so I went over to the bedding section and sat down for a few minutes. This was embarrassing. Very embarrassing. I don’t understand how I could teach a class in this condition. . .

I finally found the bathing suits and Missy and I made several selections for me to try. In the fitting room, I sat down. . . my back was hurting and I was depressed just by thinking about all of this.

I started to try on suit after suit. . . and it went from bad to worse. It was grossly apparent that I would need to wear a girdle and bra with my swim suit. Who in the world wears a girdle with a swim suit? No one I know, but I feel like I need to because my body is that out of control.

I snapped pictures with my phone and sent them to my best friend. She was nothing but encouraging, but I kept looking at myself thinking, “when did it get this bad?” And the reality is, I kept putting things off and off because of my schedule—sounds like another excuse. I would say I’m going to the gym after school tomorrow and then I’d stay at school late and would be too wiped to go there. And finally, I just said I’d wait until the summer, but here summer is and I’ve yet to do ANYTHING!

I am SO embarrassed about all of this. How did I let it get this far?

Anyway, one of the goals I had for the summer was to doing things that would rebuild me like exercising and resting. Part of taking care of me is addressing this issue of my weight. How can I be a good example to my students like this? I don’t know if I’d respect someone in leadership that looked like me. I am barely taking care of myself and here I am trying to take care of someone else’s child.

I think a lot of my insecurities are wrapped up in my weight. Even though I’ve had students and administrators and colleagues who have told me what I good teacher I am, I still find it hard to believe. One of my students says that my class was the best class that she had all year and she really did learn here. It meant A LOT to me. Her mother is a teacher at an alternative school. This student said that after her mother saw my syllabus, rubrics and other assignments, she modified them for her classroom. I was shocked and honored by this. But sometimes, I still find it hard to believe that I’m any good in the classroom—worrying that my mistakes are sometimes stronger than my day to day teaching.

But back to the root of this posting, Missy encouraged me to try the South Beach diet that she’s been doing for the last few months. I admit, she has seen results, I can see her results. But I saw results on WeightWatchers, I just got tired of counting points. At the time, I wasn’t sure if the payoff was worth all the hassle.

Here is what I have resolved after all of this:

ü If I want to be respected, my outside has got to start matching my inside.

ü This didn’t happen in a month and so I can’t expect mega results within a month. I’ve got to be patient and invest the time and effort.

ü I’ve got to approach this like I approach teaching and school—giving it my all, getting over my mistakes and trying again.

ü It will be painful. My first year of teaching was painful. . . I cried. So I’m sure I will cry with this.

ü I’ve got to deal with all of the emotional issues that resulted in this. I know there are some. .. there is no way you can get to be this damn big and not have some emotional issues. . . but I’m too embarrassed to go through these issues on my own blog . . .

I made these resolutions and felt pretty good about them. But this weekend, I found myself sitting in my car and sobbing. I wrote the following on a piece of paper:

I feel the most miserable I've ever felt in my life. I went to the Olive Garden to eat. I was to eat South Beach style, but I didn't see anything on the menu. Everything was pasta and potatoes. I sat there alone at my table. ALONE at a table for four. Five minutes passed and the server had not come to take my order. It is hard weighing almost 300 lbs and sitting at a table by yourself to have dinner & there is no one to talk to. I looked at the clock again. By this time, I'm angry because I can't find anything to eat on the menu and she hasn't taken my drink order. I get up and storm out of the restaurant. She comes running after me asking, if she'd done something wrong and true to my disgusting self-one who doesn't want to rock the boat & wants to be completely invisible-I say "no" and keep walking. She says "are you sure?" I keep walking.

When I get to car, I start crying. I am crying because BFF said she wanted to go out, but she didn't call or text. I am crying because I had to sit at a table alone. I am crying because I am alone. I am crying because I am so fat and I don't know how to fix it. I am crying because I want to binge and I don't know how to resist. How can I resist the food and coma it puts me in. I feel so much better that way. Full & satisfied. But it is killing me, it is isolating me. So, now I'm just sitting here and I don't know what to do. Should I go eat? Should I call my mom? I hear a voice telling me to pray.

I did pray and I didn’t feel better that night. I went home and binged . . .M & M’s were my friend that night. I was like a crack addict getting my next hit.

The place I am didn’t happen overnight. However, it is indicative of the chaos my whole life is in. Yes, I smile on the outside, but on the inside I’m in turmoil . . .utter despair. And I have no solutions. I really don’t know how to fix me. How do I fix these things? And meanwhile, I just keep getting bigger. When will I get fed up (no pun intended) and conquer this? How can I be so dedicated and good at some things and then suck at dealing with my life, most specifically my weight?

Thanks, Lara for letting me talk about my emotional lows of being Morbidly Obese openly.


Ashley // Our Little Apartment said...

Chin up. You've taken the first step and that's so admirable. :)

Good for you.

Still Jill B said...

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I am in the same boat, and one thing that you said has been something that I have come to realize as of late.

"I was like a crack addict getting my next hit."

YOu hit the nail on the head, my dear. I truly BELIEVE that fat people have an addiction to food (and I most certainly include myself in that group). Sure, it might start as emotional issues, but it quickly evolves into an addiction and spirals from there.

THe problem with this? We need to eat. We cannot survive without it. Can you survive without alcohol and drugs? yes. Food? no. This does NOT minimize those addictions by any means (I don't want anyone to misinterpret my words and meaning).

I know there is Overeaters Anonymous. Perhaps they would have some support and advice?

So the question becomes how do you maintain an addiction, but in moderation?

If anyone finds that out, you will be a millionaire.

Lara, thanks for offering this space for people. The fact that this person has their on blog, but did not feel like she could share on that site- well, I am so glad you have this "confessional" going.

Teacha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
michelle said...

Sharing is the best first step and you have taken that here. You are so right about so much of what you say especially "not getting here over night" and it taking time to fix. Weight may not be the nemesis I deal with but I know all too well that chaos on the inside can wreak havoc on us. Mostly I wish for you to be kind to yourself and find someone to talk to no need you should do this alone. If you want a strager to vent to - stop by my blog anytime....

brooke said...

Good luck. I struggle with a lot of the same issues.

flutter said...

me too honey, me too

Hil and Bob said...

I had a similar day yesterday, in agony over recent weight gain. You aren't alone, and all you have to do is keep making small steps in the right direction.

Trina said...

Having the courage to realize you're unhappy is the first step toward fixing the problem. I found myself in a similar emotional state for different reasons not too long ago, and finding someone to talk to about it was one of the best things I ever did. Not only did my counselor offer a safe place to share the darkness that had taken over my heart, but she gave me tools to help myself get back on the right track. She taught me how instead of simply listening to the automatic self-absuing voice in my head,"You're never going to be good enough" I should question it. Question it, and then come up with reasons why it was wrong. "I am not incapable of success, damn it, and here's why...."

No one should feel that alone. Needing help is nothing to feel ashamed about, we all need it sometimes. Take small steps. If you can say no to that "one last handful" of M+M's you are one step closer success, and one decision more confident in yourself that you CAN do it. It's taken me two years to lose 20 lb. and there have been a few weeks along the way where I totally blew it. But a few small changes every day, 5 minutes more of exercise, taking the stairs, parking further away, having a piece of fruit instead of five cookies, and it can pay off.

I don't know you, but anyone who can express such difficult feeling in such a clear and powerful voice is certainly capable of great things. Love yourself just as you are now, with the extra weight and all, and find something in yourself that you're just crazy about, even if it is something as small as the shape of your fingernails. Revel in your success, pat yourself on the back as often as you need to, find a friend to share in the journey and to encourage one another when the going gets tough, and forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for all the times you gave into food, forgive yourself for sometimes not knowing the answer, and forgive yourself for finding your weight as equal to the quality of your being. You've got one more person cheering you on and sending up the random prayers for your success. :)

gnomesque said...

Oh, gosh. That is rough. No one should ever have to feel that miserable. But you've taken the first steps, and I'm sure you'll make it. Just keep thinking positive, and with a little work, the rest will follow. You can do it. :)

Sending lots of virtual hugs your way...

BetteJo said...

I haven't seen some old friends in a very long time because of the weight I've gained. It's sad.
And it's so damned hard!
Courage, lady. Praying is a good first step. :)