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

(Ghandi)

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.

9 comments:

Kate said...

Lil - this is a sad post despite your new-found happiness. Self-acceptance is indeed a rare gift but it's one we must strive for over and above transitory acheivements such as weight loss, cosmetic surgery and so forth. If we can't be happy inside our own skin then no amount of modifying will change that. I'm a tiny 118 lbs (and 5'7")yet I still feel repulsed at times by my own flesh. I haven't been in an intimate situation for years now and frankly, it scares the hell out of me - having to disclose myself in every sense to someone else.
I think it's great that you've found someone who empathises and understands what you're dealing with. You just need to tell oneanother whenever well-meant encouragement becomes pressure. I'm sure Lloyd loves you just as you are yet is supporting you with the weight-loss because that's what he thinks you want (or maybe because it was what he wanted and acheived and thus wants you to share the same satisfaction). Try not to dwell on it too much and just enjoy things for what they are.
K.x

Elizabeth A. said...

And one cannot forget how great it is to have someone who won't enable you. When my husband wakes up and wants a pizza, I doubt I'll argue because I suck and just not strong enough for the weight loss of two.

Here's how I don't hate my body. Girdles and push up bras. Straight up. Get everything nice and smoothed, pushed out and tucked in and then get my favorite clothes on and so what if everything isn't in the same place (I lost 25 lbs at the ripe age of 24 and boobs fell waaay down, sad)And I look in the mirror and think, "That's not bad, not bad at all."

Wandering Coyote said...

I so hear you on this one, Lil. I have huge body issues, too, and have no idea how I'd handle intimacy again (if I ever GET to handle intimacy again!). Though I feel a lot better about myself now, there will always be that tape playing in my head, telling me how ugly & fat I am. I don't know how to get it to go away completely...

I'm glad to hear that Lloyd is supportive, but in the end, you have to be the one to make the decisions around weight loss for yourself. If you feel you are done, then you are done. And I hope he is OK with that.

Sairs said...

I agree with Kate, I am also small, but I am filled with self loathing about my body. I hate it. I don't know that I will ever be happy. I've been overweight and very underweight and now a normalish weight, though still small. It doesn't matter where I am in the spectrum of weight, I don't like my body. I think I could now be any weight and hate it.

I really think learning acceptance of your body is really healthy. If you're happy with who you are, you seem to regulate to what is healthy for you. The other thing is that you need to decide what you want. You are the most important person in the world for 'you'. I hope you are able at some point to find peace, I know I'm certainly looking for it and I am not going to leave any stoned unturned.

Sarah

BiPolargemin8 said...

Remember this everyone wishes they could change at least one thing about them self. As you read in one of my recent posts...you know mine lol. Seriously you have come this far, look at the things you like excentuate those things and feel good about the things you like. As for the rest give it time, and even if it doesn't all go away just remember what did change for the better and thats always better than nothing.

Ruby Tuesday said...

((hugs))
I'm in a rubbish mood today, so am struggling to know what to say that others haven't already pointed out. You know that I can relate, given my similar situation! This first, new relationship is bound to have its difficulties. I hope that you and Lloyd can both reach a level of acceptance, but without the weight/weight loss thing being the main focus of the relationship. He sounds like a good guy and you are so good as you are, the rest will come in time. Like BiPolargemin8 suggested, even everything that has happened so far is a step in the right direction. Take care xx

arifaery said...

Hi Lil,

I'm sorry you're feeling so bad.

I do understand that it's a hard balance between wanting an ideal weight and loving yourself. I have always been on the thinner side, which probably had a lot to do with my eating disorder once I started gaining weight. I now can't allow myself to weigh myself unless I'm at the doctor.

The truth is, I still don't love my body but my husband does. And that helps a little. I'll get to work on that "love thyself" potion. I'll let you in on the patent.

On the positive side, it's much easier to find smaller cups and bigger bands than it is to find larger cups with smaller bands (I've learned from experience). The truth is there is no "ideal weight". Everyone has their own unique body type. My husband is considered medically obese, but he's healthier than anyone I know.

Okay I'm rambling, but I do hope you realize you are a wonderful person, body included.

Borderline Lil said...

All - these comments are amongst the most special and treasured I've received in my years of blogging. THANK YOU for your understanding and support, thank you, thank you, thank you. It means everything to know that you guys get where I'm coming from xx

Alison said...

I think it’s understandable to have some issues about your weight especially surrounding a new relationship but it sounds like your man has accepted you for what you are. Losing the weight you have is an amazing achievement and one you should be proud of and I am sure you are. I’ve lost 74lbs but I have a lot more than 50lbs to lose, I still lack confidence in buying clothes and prefer to cover up even though I see a difference. I am desperate to put myself out there in the dating scene and it’s something I’ve talked about with my psych but I’m so scared of going for it because of my weight issues, it’s always been a big fear for me, finding someone who will accept me for who I am, yet I’m lonely and really feel a relationship or just some fun would be nice now and again.
I think you’re a fabulous person who has achieved a lot and I wish you lots of luck on losing those final lbs and in your new relationship!