There are so many wonderful things to be said about these people, and about this project that I am so amazingly lucky to be a part of. But at the same time, a few things about it make me a little nervous.
My initial concern was weight-related: with the exception of a few days earlier this month, I haven't left the 190s since leaving Chicago. I know that with marathon training - and once I get out of California and back to a place where I feel more at home - things will be better. I have done a few races since moving, but haven't trained (properly, or really, at all) for them - that simply cannot be the case for the marathon. I have my sights set on a 4:30-4:45 finish, and I'm determined to make that happen. Along with proper training, continued weight loss will help with my speed.
My biggest anxiety, though, has come from the notion that my online and offline support systems would finally collide. The page and the photos have received "Likes" from my siblings, the boy I love, my colleagues/former students from Chicago, childhood friends ... even my high school Spanish teacher. My family and some of my closer friends knew that I have a blog, but for the most part, I haven't allowed them to read it. Now, though, the link is out there, and knowing they're a few clicks away from some of my deepest secrets ... it's a little nerve-wrecking.
Needless to say, the finished post about the specifics of the Justin situation/my anxiety about letting down my father because my happily-ever-after with the handsome psychologist didn't turn out quite so perfect ... taken out of the scheduled queue and back into the graveyard I'm accruing of undeveloped posts.
I'm perfectly alright with spilling my guts to strangers.
But being honest about my struggles with my friends and family is a whole nother story.
When I hit rock bottom, I didn't want to talk to anyone - family and friends included. I was so ashamed of the extent to which I'd let myself go, how deep I'd dug what I assumed to be my grave. Plus, everyone I knew had the usual 10, 20, 30 pounds people say they want to lose - no one could possibly have understood what I was facing - needing to lose 200 or so. Having to let go of more of myself than I intended to keep. I eventually started writing this blog because I knew I couldn't go through this alone. I needed to know my struggle was common, even if the specifics were unique.
At 345 pounds, it may have seemed obvious that I was battling with something. What was less apparent, though, is what exactly I was struggling with. Everyone's demons are different. There are some people who become overweight or obese because they like, or even love, food. I was not, and still am not, one of those people. Food was the drug I found myself medicating with in order to cope with my parents' divorce. It was my coping mechanism, and as my life carried on and my struggles changed - college stress, then grad school stress, and all of life's issues in between - it was the one way I knew I could find comfort.
It's hard to let the people you love know you're struggling.
And it's especially hard to "come out" to them as an addict, as someone in recovery from an eating disorder - particularly after a month that can only be described as a complete relapse into my old way of life.
So, in a way, I'm glad for this experience for giving me a means to expose my struggles to my offline support system in a way that makes sense to me. Writing has always been a strong suit of mine, and it's the easiest way for me to facilitate conversation. And I'm so lucky that the response so far has been nothing but supportive - both in one-on-one interactions, and their online comments:
So proud to be able to say that Mary is my older sister. She's such a great inspiration to our family and to so many others too...
can't be more proud of my daughter...
... So proud of you and your accomplishments!!Even if nothing comes of the film, I'm already grateful for this.