Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself


Saturday, February 27, 2010

love and other bruises

One of the issues I'm fighting on a daily basis, having started to expose my body to another human being again, is my self-loathing, which can verge on the pathological. As lots of my readers know, I had weight loss surgery 2 and a half years ago and since then have lost 100 pounds. I still have at least 50 pounds to lose before I'm even close to "ideal weight" for my height, and sadly most of those extra pounds have formed a tight knit association with my thighs. I lost more from my upper half, especially chest region more's the pity, so now I have a disturbingly pear-shaped body. But, as I know, as I tell myself over and over and over again, it's better to be lighter and healthier and I wouldn't want to be 370 pounds again. At least it's gone, even though it took my impressive chest with it.

One of the things I find interesting and appealing about the new bloke, Lloyd, is that he had weight loss surgery last April. He's lost even more weight than I have, and is doing amazingly well and is terribly "gung ho" about weight loss. He inspires me to want to lose more, and is encouraging, but part of me wonders when it will be okay for me to just BE. To finally learn to love myself and my body, without planning umpteen ways in which to change and improve it. Where does the balance lie between wanting to be fitter and healthier and thinner and wanting to unconditionally love myself? Where does that balance lay for Lloyd?? I understand that I'm not happy with myself, or my body, so it makes sense that he would be encouraging me to lose weight if it's something I want. But what if I can't, won't, don't lose more weight? What if it's more important to put my energy into accepting myself for the flawed and fat person I genuinely am? When does it become okay to just relax and let the flab fall where it may?

I've struggled with this question so much, for so many years, but the issue is more acute now I share my physical being with another person. I suppose I open myself up to opinion, comment and yes, criticism, by bearing my body and soul to him. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't judge me or criticise my weight, and if anyone knows what it's like to be obese it's Lloyd. Which kind of makes it harder, you know... if he understands how much a person can loathe themselves, why can't he just worship me for who I am right now? To answer my own question, he does worship me, but he is unfailingly honest and upfront about everything - weight included. Would I prefer that he lie to me about my weight the way Mr Ex did, even as I slowly killed myself with food? No. No, no no.

The last week has been especially hard, hormonally challenged as I am, and I cried in front of him for the first time. He was brilliant, empathetic without being patronising, but not even being cared for in that way could ease the intense loathing I felt at the moment for my scarred and ugly body. I wish there was a pill I could take for self-hatred, a potion that could render me carefree and confident. I worry sometimes that even if/when I lose the next 50 pounds I will still feel like the fat failure. That's the problem with mirrors in the mind, I suppose.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

shiny, shiny, bad times behind me...?

In the middle of Week 3 of my new "relationship" and it seems like all is well. As well as can be expected when you factor in my general insecurities and mentalness and the fact that he is by-and-large used to his own company. I still enjoy every minute we're together, and try not to ruin every minute we're apart with my incessant ponderings/stress attacks. Being vulnerable again after a time spent solo is such a big deal, as described here in this terrific post by Ruby Tuesday. I don't think I am particularly adept at it, the raunching and relaxing with's been quite some time since I was last intimate with anyone, and 12 years since I was last with someone new. Having to negotiate the likes/dislikes and (ahem) nooks and crannies is definitely a learning curve, but I am giving it the old college try! The payoff is worth it, naturally, and I imagine that the closeness and comfort we find in each other means that the relationship is also worth it. I am trying hard to avoid Future Speculation. It's early days, and there are some fairly substantial issues we have to negotiate before any talk of Happy Ever After. But Happy Right Now - that I can do.

Doc A was surprised and happy to find that since we'd last met I had started seeing someone seriously. I saw him on Monday and he was full of constructive advice, naturally, especially about making sure that I maintain the other parts of my life that are non-Lloyd-related. He said something like "only one sixth of you is the part in the relationship, the other 5/6 are doing their own thing". Which is fine in practise but truly difficult to achieve in real terms. I have to fight the impulse that says we need to be with each other all the time, and share every damn thing. I have to curb the tendency I have to share every minute detail with him and with everyone else ABOUT him. I have to maintain perspective and rationality and composure and good sense and try to be in my Wise Mind. But part of me wants to lose myself completely and love unreservedly and dive head first. I think this is an ongoing struggle, and one I need to keep an eye on. It feels like I have to be suspicious of feeling too good, but also suspicious of the Negative Nancy voice that tries to sabotage and second guess. Yikes. It was certainly easier in many ways to live a solo, single, simple life.

I wouldn't trade him for anything, though. It's wonderful to talk and laugh with someone special, and to be cuddled by a 6ft 7 in giant of a man makes me feel like a delicate flower lol. Even if it lasts but a minute, I am happy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

you'll be the prince and I'll be the princess*

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and although I spent it in an untraditional setting, I did get to spend it with my favourite man. It's almost impossible to believe it's been just over a week since we met. Things are moving fast, but with purpose, you know? Like there's something strong at the core, and the surface is just there for it's own sake. Whether we go here or there, say this or that, the connection transcends everything. Last night he said to me it's like we've skipped the casual dating and are already close/committed. I try to hold back and put on the brakes, because that's what I'm "supposed" to do (build trust, get to understand him, delay sex, yada yada) but what feels right is to just give myself over to the experience and enjoy every minute we have together.

Whether this backfires and ends up hurting like hell, well, that remains to be seen. The way my heart works, it wouldn't matter how many hours we'd spent together or what intimacy we had or hadn't shared. If I like him, and it goes sour, it hurts. SO I may as well go with it, and risk my heart. It won't kill me! I feel surprisingly strong, too, as though a bad result won't derail me and undo all the good I've done in therapy over the last year. I haven't breached the mentalness subject except for mentioning I've suffered depression (so has he), but other than that I've been extremely honest about what I want and how I feel. It's well-received by him, and reciprocated... and I think the honest rapport we have is one of the reasons I'm confident.

It's so hard to know whether to be a romantic and just believe, or to be a cynic and just mistrust. I think a mixture of the two is probably the best outcome. I'm a bit of a true believer when it comes to love, though, and it feels SO AMAZING to be at the start of something that may be worth believing in. Valentine's Day rocked this year, and it's hard to picture being happier than I was eating chocolate and watching the sunset with my baby...

(*Taylor Swift - "Love Story")

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the dizzy, dancing way you feel

Here’s the best and the worst thing about life. You never know when it’s going to surprise you, and throw you the most amazing unexpected curve ball that changes everything. This is what’s happened to me, people.

My date with Bachelor No 2 was a bit of a non-event, no sparkage and heavy-effort conversation, and he took three phone calls on his cell phone during our date, which I found a bit rude. So he went into the “no, thank you” pile. A week later, along comes a new prospect, who sounded great in his profile but you just never know. It's easy to write a great profile, not so easy to impress in person. We talked for a couple of hours on the phone and really hit it off. Then I met him for bowling and dinner on Saturday and to use a terrible pun, I was totally bowled over! Bachelor No 3, let’s call him Lloyd, made me laugh more than anyone has in years, and he’s smart and sensitive and handsome and interesting. Most incredibly of all, HE LIKES ME. He really likes me. I am trying to play it somewhat cool, but we’ve seen each other every day since Saturday and it’s progressing nicely. For the first time ever I feel coy in writing this blog, like there are details I want to keep to myself rather than sharing every darn thing the way I usually do. Suffice to say, I can’t wipe the smile off my face and the hope in my heart is stronger than ever. I’m determined to enjoy this as long as it lasts and try not to sabotage it with my crazy ways.

Thank you to the always gorgeous Joni Mitchell for today's title, it's from Both Sides Now.