Monday, August 12, 2013

Own worst critic

I've been MIA for longer than I wanted.  I think I just needed some time to process the last few days and sort of regroup. When last I posted, I was going to head out to Vegas for a final mini vacay before heading back to work from the summer break.  It was both a great time and not at all a great time.  I always drive to Vegas since it's just five hours away.  This time I went alone and was going to meet some friends there.  The plan was to stay at the Venetian for two nights and then head back home.  My mom was really anxious about me driving out by myself and kept asking me if I was going to be okay.  She's a worrier, so I did my best to assure her I would be fine.  Besides, I have my cell phone so I was confident I would be okay.  Just as I was beginning to head up the Cajon pass, I saw flames shooting out of a mountainside on the right.  I knew it was going to be bad.  In a matter of minutes, this is what was in front of me on the freeway:

What this picture doesn't show is the helicopter that was literally right above us dropping fire retardant on the mountain to the right.  There were about 20 fire trucks that came in front of us, forcing us to a dead stop on the freeway.  We were stuck there for at least an hour and it got to the point where I knew the names of the people who were driving next to me because we were all out of our cars.  It felt pretty surreal.  After we got on our way, I encountered three accidents on the road.  So a five hour ride turned into a nine hour nightmare.  By the time I checked in at the hotel, I was done.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done!!  When I called my mom to let her know I arrived safely, she burst into tears.  It turns out my grandmother, her mother, died.  My mother was so upset I told her I would check out of the hotel and come back home so that I could be with her.  She refused to let me do that, telling me instead to have a good time.  How am I supposed to do that exactly when that happened? 

Worse still are the circumstances behind my grandmother's death.  The short story is that they were having a huge amount of rain in the Philippines where she was.  She walked everywhere she went, that's just the sort of place it is.  She went to my uncle's house and he and his wife refused to let her in because they called her a "witch" for getting their children sick.  The last couple of times she came to visit, the kids ended up sick so they think the reason is because my grandmother was visiting and she had some sort of evil spirits with her.  I know, it doesn't make sense but that is what happened.  She was visiting on foot, having walked from her home to theirs, and so she turned around and tried to walk back but by this time the rain became dangerous and flooding occurred.  Since they refused to let her into the house for shelter, she had no choice.  She had to find some sort of shelter from the downpour.  She was 83 years old and her little 90-pound body could not take the weather conditions.  She fell in the water, couldn't fight the currents, and died.  They found her the next day.  It's one thing to die of natural causes but the callousness of the family members is incomprehensible to me and it just hurts my soul every time I think about it.  Someone please tell me how I'm supposed to have a good time in Vegas with this sort of news.

I did stay and tried to make the best of it, checking on my mom several times to make sure she was okay.  I stayed in the most gorgeous room.  It was pure luxury, that's for sure.  It had a full living room, dining room, remote-controlled drapes, three TV's including one in the bathroom - it just was heavenly.  Here's a couple of pics I took the first day (I didn't take more because I was beginning to feel very touristy):

While my surroundings were to die for, I became very lonely.  I was in a relationship that ended two years ago, one that ended very badly.  For the most part, I'm doing so much better than I was at the time but I have my moments were the deep hurt I felt at the time surfaces.  He absolutely broke my heart and it has taken a long time to pick up the pieces.  Of the times I think of him, which is much fewer and far between than before, is when I am in a hotel room.  Over the years, we traveled a lot or would meet in a city between the both of us when we were apart (we dated long distance for quite some time).  No matter what the situation is, if I'm in a hotel room, I think of him.  It always felt like we were on a honeymoon in those rooms.  Don't worry, I'm not going to get graphic here but there was just a very strong connection between us.  Being in that sublime king-sized bed made me feel very small and it hurt from a deep part of my soul.  It didn't help that I got hit on while I was in the casino level of the hotel because I didn't want to do something stupid that I would regret later.  Besides, I know it would make me feel lonelier so I didn't need that.  While there, I was definitely doing a lot of comparing of my body to these girls with fake hair, fake boobs and fake everything.  I just felt so inadequate - I guess that's the right word.  I know I have no business comparing myself with other people, especially the fake kind, but it's what I did.  Even when I saw overweight people I wondered if I looked as big as they did. 

I've been back at work for a couple of days now.  Today we had summer registration for our seniors, so I saw a lot of parents that I haven't seen in a while.  And, unfortunately, I saw the looks they exchanged when they saw me.  Last year at this time, I was at almost my lowest weight and it was very evident that I have gained a lot of the weight back.  Not all of it, thank you Lord, but a significant amount.  I held my head high as I walked in front of hundreds of people today but it was extremely difficult for me to do.  Honestly, there was a huge part of me that wanted to just hide away.  It shouldn't matter what other people think but the truth of the matter is that the very things they think are the things I that I think about myself only ten times as worse.  I'm very well aware of the fact that I have gained weight.  I feel like a failure in that respect because there's a big part of me inside that feels like I just couldn't cut it.  Seriously, how hard is it, right?  You just eat less and move more, right??  Perhaps for some people it's as easy as that.  For those of us with an addiction to food or emotional issues that we deal with through food, it's not a simple proposition in the slightest.  I mean, good Lord above, I spent 10 months I think it was purely on Optifast products to lose weight.  I had absolutely no food to speak of for all that time, being 100% compliant on the program.  I was taking in about 500-600 calories a day through the shakes, something like that.  It was crazy, especially with all of the medical issues I was having as a result, but you do desperate things when you are in a desperate situation.  At 420 pounds, I was absolutely desperate.  Other people might not have the drastic consequences that I did on the program, and good for them if that's the case, but it was not good for me in the end.  However, the positive thing that came out of it besides the great friendships I developed with other people going through the same thing was that I recognized I am capable of having a smaller body size.  So I'm working on getting there again through healthy eating and exercise.  The difficult part is that I am in a lot of pain, especially in my legs, so the more I exercise the more pain I'm in.  I'm trying the best I can to push through it because I know things will be better all around when there's less weight on my body.

Ugh.  I wish I could just click my heels together three times like Dorothy and - poof - be in another time and space where I am in a different body.  Yet, I am a faithful person and I am trusting that God is having me go through this time and this difficulty for a reason.  He's loving and a I absolutely know that, so I'm just trying to put one foot in front of the other and do the absolute best I can in this very moment right here.  In the process, I'm trying the best I can to be as loving as possible towards myself.  I need to be able to look in the mirror and honor the person staring back at me.  A lot of people love her, so the least I can do is try to do the same.  I need to be less critical and know that things will come together in due time.  There's a reason I'm not with my ex right now.  Frankly, that &*%! jerk did not deserve me, and so I need to work through those lonely moments and know that this, too, shall pass.  And the times when I'm being critical of my body have to be times where I don't shy away from the mirror but love and accept myself where I stand right now, in this very moment.  It won't be this way forever and if I do the work, it will get better and better each day.  Perhaps there will be physical and emotional pain that comes along with that, but this, too, shall pass.


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