October 2, 2016

The last chapter

We've had a pretty busy couple of weeks. My husband came for a visit with our son, and while he was here I pushed the lawyers to get everything done so we could get it all signed and taken care of before he left town again. Having to mail everything out of state and wait for responses has stretched this process out far longer than it needed to be. But he signed it last week, I will sign it later this week, and then we have the hearing and it's done.

I'm ready. This whole process has consumed my thoughts and dominated my anxieties for the last year and a half. Even though the divorce is just a piece of paper, having a period at the end of this sentence will bring incredible relief.

I got a little taste of the relief last week when I finally managed to sell my wedding ring on eBay - that was one of my New Year's resolutions for 2016, to get rid of that ring and use the money to get something with my son's birthstone in it. I loved the reasons why he picked it for me, but I never liked the ring itself, and I like it less now knowing how it all ended up. He left his wedding band with me when he left, but I didn't sell that - I figured I will save it for Noah for some day, maybe it can mean something better for him.

I don't know what the next step is, besides vaguely saying "recovery," and referring to many areas of my life. Being able to breathe about finances will help with getting fit again - not having to stress about grocery bills will be great, and for a divorce present, I'm thinking about getting a bike again. I've missed that feeling of freedom and mobility, and hopefully I could get Noah excited about staying active with a bike, too.

At the same time, though ... I'm tired. Of all of it.

I started focusing on (and writing about) weight loss six years ago, committed heavily for a year, maintained for a year, steadily regained for two, and essentially maintained the regain ever since. It's been a frustration, a fixation, an obsession ... and I don't know how to let go of it. I don't know how to make consistently healthy choices without letting the choices consume my thoughts and dictate my moods.

I lost a lot of weight once, but I never fixed the real issue of my relationship with food - the weight has always been a symptom, a side effect from not treating a larger issue. I tried therapy right after my husband left, and ended it when I could no longer afford it - right as we made a giant breakthrough and I remembered something intense from my childhood. Leaving that wound open and uncared for has certainly added to the difficulty of processing things this last year ... maybe once the divorce is done and I finally can get financial assistance, I can take what I spend now on childcare and use some of it for therapy again.

I don't know if I'll keep blogging.

I don't feel safe here anymore anyway, since I know my husband is stalking me here - he never cared what I thought or felt during the relationship, which makes the obsession with my writing even more painful. I can't share the heaviest burdens on my heart because of his incredibly fragile ego. He isn't reading to see how I am doing, or how his son is affected by having an absent father - he just cares about how he is portrayed to a few hundred strangers across the country or around the world. He's not a celebrity - no one cares about the juicy details (not that there even are any). There's just mess that I am trying to sort through, to clean out my mind and reorganize my life.

And - this isn't the blog it used to be. I don't have thousands of followers anymore. Many reached their goals and moved on, others shifted their goals and moved forward in new directions. I'm still here, digging deeper, but not getting anywhere. The people who are still here aren't here for the weight loss - or they are, still hoping that someday I'll get it together. People only care about a weight loss blog if the person actually loses weight, actually exercises, actually accomplishes things. People never tire of saying "you look great, keep it up!" - but there's a limit to how often someone will say "it's okay, keep trying, you'll figure it out soon."

Congratulations. The one safe space I ever had, the place where my first steps toward recovery happened ... it's been invaded and stolen. Everything I had a few years ago - the confidence, the progress, the community - it's gone. I'm far from my friends, far from my family, with no help and no relief except for the 5-7 day visits three or four times a year. I'm alone, with literally nothing now.

And - it just isn't the motivator it once was, either. Once, I shared my stories here, relishing every comforting "yes, me too" as I pushed through the first of the difficult journeys I've experienced in the last five years. But now, I feel like I check in every now and then, share how I've just maintained by repeating my same dangerous binge/restrict pattern, up and down the same 5 pounds for two years. In 2010, I was single, without a kid, and could make fitness a second full-time job. Now, between a full-time job, a part-time job, and being a single mom, I struggle to find the time to take care of my most basic needs like showering, let alone luxury time like going to the gym.

I'm turning 30 in a month and a half, and I'm ready to close the door on these chapters of my life - the marriage, the public struggle with weight loss. I spent so much of my 20s hating myself and my body - I succeeded, for a while, in overcoming that, but the confidence disappeared as quickly as it came. I want better for my next decade. I want radical, revolutionary confidence and self-care that includes using food as nourishment instead of punishment or entertainment. I want to move my body in ways I enjoy, not to try and replicate my life from years ago, but to make the most of the life I have now. I want to be a good role model for my son, because I'm the only one he has here, and he's always watching and listening. I want my 30s to be full of forward motion, in positive directions, towards my best self.

September 21, 2016


I know a girl going through a divorce right now. It's not a particularly messy one, though it has its moments.

She and her husband could not be more different - all of the similarities, interests, and goals they shared during the relationship are increasingly harder and harder to recall, as the fond memories retreat into history and the present is full of animosity on bad days, indifference on the best ones.

Throughout the marriage, she often commented (to him, and to others) about the difference in their respective relationships with media. She was older by only a few months, but was a class year ahead in school, and in terms of technology, those few months made a world of difference. When she started college, there was no Facebook. Social networking was done almost exclusively offline - in dorm room common areas, in the school cafeteria, in the hallways on campus. But for her future husband, it was different. He started school with the ability to reach out to roommates and classmates digitally, which shapes relationships with an entirely different dynamic.

That difference has continued into their separation. Almost immediately, she cut off all social connection with him, wanting to focus on her healthy relationships instead of fixating on the dying and the dead. But he, even now, well over a year removed, pursues her - not her, but information. He keeps tabs on certain accounts, screening occasionally for any mention of him.

It's a little bit sad, and it shows a deep immaturity. The relationship is over, but he follows her still, disregarding any information about her and scanning only for hints of himself in her day.

Of course he's on her mind. It wasn't a long marriage, but it was a marriage, and even the most amicable split comes with baggage. The problem is, the immaturity is blinding, and he doesn't understand what she's actually talking about when she talks about him.

Even when she talks about him, she isn't talking about him.

Even though he's had a significant role in her life's story, he's not the main character. The story is still hers - past, present, future.

Strong women (or, I suppose, strong people in general) who share their stories are not doing it so that the audience can pass judgment on whoever wronged them, but rather, so the audience can observe the strength she is now able to radiate after having walked through the dark alley portion of her life's journey. It's not about "hate him for what he did," but "love me for who I became because of it."

When she talks about abuse, she's not asking for hate directed toward the abuser, but rather, love and support for her as she processes and moves through a difficult recovery.

When she talks about disappointment, it's not a judgment of him and what he failed to offer, but more of a commentary about herself recognizing what she now knows to prioritize in future relationships.

When she expresses frustration at past or even present actions, she's not gathering angry villagers to attack him with pitchforks - she's talking through a situation with the hopes that someone who's been in her shoes can offer empathy and advice -  she's not looking for vengeance, she's looking for comfort, to not feel alone in all of this.

It's not "look how he stunted me then," but rather, "look how I've grown since."

It's not about encouraging a public to look down on him, but imploring them to look up at her, to see how she was able to rise above and move forward even with everything she was dealt. She's not defaming him, but rather, complimenting herself - marveling at her progress on the journey back to her authentic self, her recovery from the most painful broken heart of her life.