April 26, 2012

Aftermath

I knew there would be reactions to my last post, but I never would have guessed how many, or how loving and supportive. Between the comments, the Facebook messages, the e-mails ... I'm feeling incredibly strong as I begin to figure out my new transition. I can't begin to thank you all enough - for the support now, and always. I've said it countless times before, but it never seems to be enough: I owe so much of my success with weight loss to the incredible community I've found here. This blog has been my safe space, my one little corner of the Internet where I could share my stories and find people who not only want to listen to them, but who understand the experiences first-hand and can share their own wisdom, anecdotes, and advice. It's certainly been a huge part of why I haven't entirely lost my mind in California, that's for sure.

Since making my decision to turn down the renewal of my current teaching position, I've been amazed at the feeling of serenity in my life. I don't cry eight or ten times a day. I've been sleeping better. The urge to binge is gone, and the scale is back down to my not-thrilled-but-comfortable-for-now maintenance range of 190-192. The immediate change in my physical and mental state was one of the first signs that this was indeed the right choice.


Within a day of making the decision, I received (a) my parents' blessing (b) news about an apartment and (c) contact from a former employer saying I could return to the company. So, things are on the right track. The job isn't teaching, but it's work, and I'm happy to have something to keep a roof over my head. Adjunct teaching positions are often contingent on course enrollment, so even though I have contacted a half dozen colleges and universities so far, I might not hear back until mid to late August. (I got three job offers in the few weeks following my arrival in California.) The apartment is where my friend Lorelei currently lives - she is moving in with her sister and a friend, so her roommates are looking to rent out their third bedroom. It's in a good location, very convenient, and I already know and get along well with her roommates, so I'm feeling fairly confident with that situation. And I had good conversations with both my parents about the reasons behind my choice, and they understood, which I am intensely grateful for. My mom is working it out with her work schedule to fly out here, rent a van, drive to Chicago, and then fly back to Connecticut; my dad said he's proud of me for choosing to do what's right for my health and sanity, and that's more important than being able to say that I'm a professor.

So, I'm breathing a lot easier than I was a week ago. But that doesn't mean my problems are completely gone, that everything is cured - or that anything is fixed at all. Even when I get back to Chicago, I won't be picking up exactly where I left off.

I'm moving back to the city I love, a familiar place, but in a lot of ways, it's going to be like I'm starting from scratch. I'm not living in the same apartment, or even the same neighborhood. Unless something opens up, I'm not working at the university where I spent two years as a grad student and one as a lecturer. I know a lot of people, friends and family alike, but I still am nervous about transitioning back into my role as a local friend versus a long distance one.

And, of course, there's the post-California damage control that needs to be taken care of. I may not have regained all the weight this year, but I've suffered some major emotional setbacks. My confidence is shot, my self-esteem is awful, my compulsive eating has returned with a vengeance. Not to mention the untreated emotional issues I had before I even left Chicago in the first place. There's a lot that needs to be sorted out with an unbiased neutral party, and I hope to get that taken care of right away. My mom reminded me that there have been so many major life changes in the past two years - losing almost half my body weight, moving across the country, huge changes with personal relationships - and since we have a history of mental illness in our family, it's best to take care of these things with professional help and not try to just tough it out.

I'm really looking forward to getting back to Chicago and establishing a new version of my old normal. Using public transportation again. Going back to the gym where I sweat off my first 150 pounds. Having better access to food, in terms of variety as well as price. Knowing people to run with, to cook with, to spend time with. Having people around in general - my existence in California has been very solitary, I miss the noise of the city. Even when you're alone there, it never feels lonely - at least not the way it does here. It will be nice to set up new routines in a familiar place, and I hope that being back in a place where I felt successful, with people who inspire and encourage and motivate me, will help me get back on my path to recovery and weight loss.

In the meantime, there are 65 days of life in central California I have to survive. 65 days between now and the day I turn in my keys and we hit the road. Just about two months. They will be busy, with the end of Spring semester and my intensive 6-week summer course, not to mention the packing of my belongings and selling the furniture and appliances I acquired here. But still challenging. I have to stay sane and focused and keep my eyes on the prize, so to speak. It's much easier already, knowing the clock is ticking on my time here.

25 comments:

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

LOVE a good countdown! Crossing off each day on the calendar when a new one dawns...

Hyla said...

You rock Mary! Keep on rockin it!

Karla said...

Where in California do you live? What city? I am in the Los Angeles area and if you are close??? Maybe we could have a blog lunch before you leave for Chicago? I am off June 3, 4th and 5th (start of my vacation) with no plans if you are up for it? Let me know

(((((((hugs)))))))

Iamkarlam@yahoo.com

timothy said...

so so happy for you and now at least you know where to focus on, and two months will FLY by especially with everything you have to do you'll be back in the windy city before you know it! xoxoxoxo

Bailey @ Onederland or Bust! said...

I came across your blog after your guest post on Runs for Cookies. You're so inspiring! It sounds like you're headed in the right direction and things are falling into place :)
Good luck with this new transition!

Kelliann said...

OMG. This whole post just breathes a sigh of relief. I can feel it through your words. It sounds like this was the best decision for you and it really shows. Congrats to you! 65 days and counting down!

KathyM03 said...

I feel I have some things in common with you. I struggle with emotional eating. It has been worse since I left the military. What was your "Enough is enough" moment and what were your first steps?

KathyM03 said...

I am not sure if my first comment saved. I also high 5 you on your journey to health. What inspired your decisions?

Caron said...

So happy for you and for the decisions you are making. Keep us posted. We don't want to lose track of you! :)

Amy said...

I'm so glad you made the healthy decision for you.

I think you'll get back to your groove very quickly in Chicago!! Also, I think once you're back in Chicago, you should look into the Body Talk I was telling you about, you'd be amazed by how much it helps with the emotional baggage you're carrying around. I'm sure there are some really great practitioners in Chicago. To me, it's like a body-mind connective therapy, and the impact it's made on my life is outstanding.

Let me know if you have any questions!
http://www.bodytalksystem.com/practitioners/index.cfm?os=&oc=&country=US&state=&city=Chicago&name=

Jen said...

I am so excited for you and inspired by your decision to say goodbye to a life that is making you miserable in search for better.

alimoll said...

Best of luck to you! Thoughts and prayers going your way as you journey though the next 65 days and your return to Chicago! You are very inspiring! Have a FABULOUS day!

Serena Michelle said...

I didn't get a chance to respond to your post about all the changes, etc... but it was a very powerful, raw emotion post!

Although I'm a new follower (found you through RunsForCookies/Katie's site) - I connect with your words, thoughts, feelings, etc...

I'm excited to hear things are quickly pulling together for you. I've had my own fair share of setbacks... it's hard, but tune out the little lying demons in your head! You're a fighter - so, hold your head (and fists) high and rock this world girl! You've got this!!!

HUGS! Serena from SurvivingMadness.com

Renee said...

(Virtual high five)....i dont think people high five enough....im bringing it back!! Glad you feel a tiny bit better today!!! 65 days is nothing! You got this!!

CarolineCalcote said...

I'm glad that you made a decision that you feel good about. It's all going to work out the way it is supposed to. You can do anything!

Ann said...

Okay, lady, here's the shortened version of my long comment -

I 100% support you, and I 100% know how you feel.

After college, I picked up and moved across the country (from Minnesota to South Carolina) for an amazing job opportunity. I met the love of my life and was enjoying the sunshine, the sand, everything. But there was a horribly deep void that was missing. I had an offer to move to North Carolina and did, because - heck! Why not? I ended up miserable beyond belief. I ate myself 50-75 pounds heavier in a year and a half and cried constantly.

In the parking lot of the ColdStone (believe it or not), I told Jay that I couldn't stay ANOTHER DAY in North Carolina. That week, we both gave notices in our jobs. Our rental house went into foreclosure (the fault of the owner, not ours), and we got to opt out of our lease early - a MAJOR blessing.

We relocated back to Minnesota and I was INSTANTLY happier. I knew I belonged in Minnesota. I was with family and friends. And although I had (and still HAVE) a lot of issues to work though, that horribly void, empty, anxious, depressed LONELY feeling was gone. It's so hard to explain that "I just don't belong here" or "this just isn't home" but that's THE TRUTH. And sometimes your heart is where your home is. And sometimes your heart is where you have decided "home" is. (for you, Chicago)

But feeling that sense of peace and calm after making the decision was EXACTLY how I felt and I can tell you - firsthand - it will only continue to improve from here.

You made the right choice, Mary. And I couldn't be happier or more proud of you.

Bluezy said...

Su relief es mi relief. Everybody in Cali knows how to speak Spanish lol. Windy city happiness to ya!

marisol said...

I can't add any more wisdom since it's already been said but I am extremely happy for you.

Denise said...

I am so, so proud of you. It's difficult to make a decision that leaves so many unknowns out in front of you, but things have a way of working themselves out. I'm glad you are regaining your life.

jumpstartingme2 said...

Mary, I just started reading your blog only a week or two ago. Your story is inspiring to me. I live in Chicago! I too moved very far away from home and returned to Chicago 2 years later. It was the right decision. I am also one of those professional unbiased neutral types - but that's not why I'm commenting ;) I just wanted to support you and say Cheers! for your big move and staying present for your last 65 days in California. 7 years ago I dropped 100lbs and settled right around the weight you are at - the down side of the story is that since then I neglected to care for myself and put it all back on. So I've just begun a blog and the process to take it all off - again. I'm definitely looking for support from the blogging/online community and would love to add you to that, especially since you're moving to Chicago!!! All the best!! Megan

Tammy said...

I'm glad that you're feeling better since you have made your decision. I'm also glad that you have your parents support. I know how relieved you must feel over that. I'm always freaking out about letting someone down...namely my mom. Seems like I do a lot of things that don't make her too happy with me at times.;) So two months...it will fly by...hang in there and know that I'm here for you.

Joy said...

Sounds like you made the right decision. Take good care of yourself!!

Keep focused!!

Jitterfish (WJW) said...

I'm really glad to read how things have progressed. And that you're feeling better emotionally because of it all.

Tim said...

The great thing about reading this post 4 days after you wrote it is that i can say:

61 days left!!!!!!!! :D

Ellen FatGirlWearingThin said...

Mary, The love and support I send over the Net cannot be felt by you, so I hope my feelings adequately translate into words:
I've followed you for a very long time now and have shared your ups and downs, felt lifted by your successes and gripped with sorrow when you've been in distress. You will survive this I know. Because you have. Living your life moment by moment, it's so hard to see that sometimes. And even though you must put one foot in front of the other and make these hard choices yourself, your strength will carry you back to Chicago where I know you will once again thrive. Your heart is there, and in 2 months you will arrive back with at least one new perspective: the realization that you KNOW where home is.
Much love and peace to you, Mary. And the biggest hugs I can muster.