February 19, 2011


For the past few weeks, a small group of students from one of my classes has been asking if I would go with them to go see a French movie that would be playing at the art cinema downtown. These are some of my best students to begin with, and add in the fact that they're seeking out culture outside of my requirements? This is a dream! I told them no, then maybe, then no, then we'll see. Back and forth for weeks. Finally, the movie showed last night. As they were leaving class in the morning, several kids said "Bon week-end! See you at 6, Mademoiselle!" - to which I just smiled and waved. Because even yesterday morning, I wasn't sure what I would do. an old classroom of mine - the one now has no windows. i like it better without windows!The thought of going to the movies with some of my students wasn't what bothered me - it was the thought of going out at all.

After hours of intense worry and nervous nail biting, I made a decision. I did not accompany my students to the film center, but rather, I spent the evening doing dishes and playing online Scrabble - some of the same solitary activities that completely made up my life a few months ago. I'm ashamed, and I'm already dreading their reactions on Tuesday. It's not that I didn't want to go, but that I felt physically unable to. Something was holding me back. The thought of going made my stomach turn and filled me with anxiety.

I'm in a really bad funk right now. It's strange because I'm still eating well and exercising, but it feels like my emotional progress is relapsing. My social anxieties are creeping back - I was honestly shaking on the bus yesterday afternoon while thinking about going downtown for the movie, and I've already tried talking myself out of going to the zoo today. It's a free zoo, in a great city, on what looks like it will be a lovely day. So why am I stalling?

This past week was extra tough for a couple of reasons. First, because of my father's health situation and how closely related my body and self-image issues are to my relationship with my family. lighting candles at notre dame de paris, around 320 poundsIf I go home now to see my dad, I'm already almost 25 pounds lighter than I was the last time he saw me, and since it was him trying to emulate my "plan" that may have contributed to his current state, I know I would feel extra guilty.

And second, because over the past week or so, my best friend Jill and I have spent an awful lot of time reminiscing over old photos of our trip to Paris in March 2008, and I can't help but get very sad when looking at those pictures. Or any pictures of myself, my friends, and my family, to be honest. The last time I got in a funk like this was right before my birthday in November (remember when I broke down crying in the middle of an Apple store?), so I think it may again have something to do with physical body transitioning. My figure is constantly changing but I don't usually notice, so every now and then it catches up to me and I have a hard time recognizing myself. I only feel like the same person when I close my eyes and relax my limbs so that I cannot connect my emotional feelings to my physical ones. I look at these old pictures, and I don't recognize that girl anymore - yet I am not quite sure who the girl in the mirror is, either. I'm not with my friends, I'm not with my family, and I'm somehow not even with myself. i absolutely love this shirtThis is a really scary kind of loneliness, and I'm not quite sure what it will take to get me out of it.

I'm sure the feelings brought on by the latter reason are a little exaggerated because of those related to the former one, but still, these are concerns of mine in the back of my head right now. In the front of my mind, though, I know what I need to do. I cannot stop. I cannot backpedal. I can't let situational depression win. I can't revert to what used to be familiar just because I'm horribly lonely right now and aching to feel connected to my family and friends.

Even though braving the zoo feels incredibly difficult right now, I know it's exactly what I need. I think need to treat this little trip like a long run: yes, it's going to be tough. Yes, I'm going to want to dig in my heels and mentally resist a little. But I need to understand that it will be satisfying - crank up the tunes and just power through it if I must. I need to trust that afterwards I will feel refreshed and glad that I did it.

Accountability check: tomorrow, with my weekly recipe, there *will* be zoo pictures on this blog. That is a promise!


jayme @ Losing Half My Weight said...

mary, you've changed so much in such a short space of time - i think the issues you're dealing with are completely natural, particularly given the current pressures related to your family/dad's health. are you still seeing your counselor/therapist?

there's something else that i think is rarely talked about among those who are on our journey - grief. anything lost (that includes change) that played any sort of role in our lives has the potential to induce grief. loss = grief. weight loss isn't any different. that person we were - the person you don't recognize in the pictures anymore - is gone (or going). who we thought we were in that skin, in those sized jeans, ceases to exist to some extent. it is a death (even if it's one we sought out)....and it's something i'm starting to recognize.

plus, the drifting feeling of not knowing who you are anymore can be super-scary. take a deep breath, lean into it, go to the zoo, and be/do the best you can. that's all anyone can ask for. and it's enough.

hang in there!

Life as a Caterpillar said...


I feel like this sometimes too, but probably not for the reasons you do. I put my weight on v quickly, so i don't recognise the girl i see now, cos i am used to seeing her a lot smaller. Sometimes that makes me stall before i start, but i'm feeling much more positive at the moment.

I hope you ahve awonderful day and i will look for your piccies tomorrow

Amy said...

I really hope you end up going!

It's so easy to get stuck in our head sometimes, but most people don't even think twice and just wallow in self-pity. You are acknowledging it, seeing why it's there and moving on.

Now I'm about to talk about Grey's Anatomy... but there was this scene last season or something where this patient was feeling sad and their family member wasn't allowing for it and telling them they had to be positive. The doctor told her that she was allowed to be sad...because sadness is part of being human. Nobody expects anyone to always be happy and positive... that's not human. So sometimes we have to accept our negative feelings... not succumb to them... but acknowledge them too.

TMLfans.ca said...

Sometimes getting back on that bike and riding isn't always so easy. It sounds like you're wanting to though - and I bet you can! Enjoy getting out to the zoo! Cheers, Rick

Jules said...

I only feel like the same person when I close my eyes and relax my limbs so that I cannot connect my emotional feelings to my physical ones. I look at these old pictures, and I don't recognize that girl anymore - yet I am not quite sure who the girl in the mirror is, either.

I SO understand that feeling! Been there a million times in my weight loss life! And I GET the not wanting to go...For me, its been about taking care of me...getting to know me...because if I go out around others..I might lose me once again... Hang in there...It's OK that you felt like just staying home...those social anxieties will pop up as you get healthier..AND you will learn new ways to deal with it too.....