January 29, 2016


I maintained this week, which is a bit frustrating, but I understand. I definitely had trouble with snacking too much - then I got my period, so it suddenly made sense. I always get hungrier right before it starts. And, in a way, that's an NSV too - I got my period when I was supposed to, a sign that my body is starting to work right again. For the last few months, it's been incredibly irregular.

I also didn't do very much exercise this week. Usually I walk on the weekend, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but we had bad weather last Saturday, so we stayed inside. Sunday we went for a walk, but Tuesday and Thursday I made appointments that took a good part of each day.

On Tuesday, I went with a realtor to look at a condo.

On Thursday, I went to the bank to talk about a loan.

It was two stressful days, for sure. I've moved five times in the last five years. I am so eager to lay down roots and just stay put somewhere. The condo is in the complex where I am currently renting, so I know I love the area and how convenient it is for work/Noah's daycare (and schools, eventually). With all the issues I've had dealing with my out-of-state landlords this year, it would be nice to be able to be in charge of my own home.

And ... I'd love to feel like I am home, too. Especially in this condo, which is covered in their art and full of their furniture. It feels like I am staying in someone else's house - which I suppose is true, but I guess my point is, it feels so different than other apartments I've rented. Those spaces I could at least customize a little to suit my own tastes.

And I guess part of it is envy, too. I feel so embarrassed by how much I still compare myself to my friends, but I see their meaningful relationships, their lovely proposals, their dream weddings, their fulfilling jobs, their planned pregnancies, and their new homes, and I feel like such a failure. I have a good job now, I have a fantastic son. But I'm here, feeling profoundly alone and unaccomplished, and very ashamed of my weight regain and my failed marriage, so I guess I'm trying to fill that need for visible success with a home.

It reminds me of when I was in high school and college, and I used to dye my hair a lot. I felt like so much of my life was outside of my control - I was obese but didn't think I had it in me to change that, I was deeply depressed and struggled to see a way out of that place. So I exerted control where I could. I couldn't lose 150 pounds overnight, but I could go from brown hair to red to black to blonde to any color I could ever want. People would see the pink hair, the teal hair, and they'd talk about how cool it was, and how they wished they could do something that daring and bold. And it made me feel daring and bold, even though changing my hair was absolutely a front for the qualities and the changes and the life I ached for so deeply.

Thursday night, I barely slept a wink. The whole whirlwind of the week made me feel strange. I mean, it was nice, seeing the condo and meeting with the loan specialist. But it felt a lot like pretending. It didn't feel like my own accomplishment, it didn't feel hard-earned and independent. Because, well, it isn't. I don't have the money for it, at all. I would need to borrow extensively from my family, and even that wouldn't cover all of it, just the down payment - what I would have used for closing costs, etc., is currently being used to retain a lawyer.

The condo might look like it was mine, but it wouldn't feel like it.

So I don't know what my next step is with this. Probably more of the same: forget it happened, renew my lease here in June, get through another year, and assess where I am after that. For a few days, though, it was nice to pretend that my life was happening the way everyone else's seems to be. It was nice to try on a life that felt close to normal.

January 28, 2016

Secret admirer

A little while ago (before Thanksgiving even), there was a really interesting exchange with the woman I share my office with (I'll call her Lucy). Lucy kept asking me if I'd seen another woman in our department (I'll call her Sally). I said no, I hadn't, and I was pretty sure Sally was out of the office for a week anyway. But Lucy kept asking, kept asking.

On a Friday afternoon, we met with our other colleagues for a department meeting, and after, Lucy sent me a text message asking if I'd had a chance to talk to Sally yet. I said no, again, and wished her a nice weekend - I was headed to go get my son from daycare and go home. I was starting to get a bit irritated by this point.

A few minutes later, she made just a quick comment: it's about someone who likes you.

And immediately, I lost my maturity and composure.

My mind immediately got dizzy, and not in a sweet or adorable way. More like panic, and anger. I don't like surprises to begin with; given the subject matter here, I was a mess.

Lucy wouldn't tell me any details, saying she shouldn't have told me as much as she already had - because the guy is a friend of Sally's, and Sally had wanted to be the one to tell me.

There's a lot going on here.

The laws in South Carolina are incredibly conservative. My husband moved a thousand miles away over eight months ago, but we can't get divorced until a full year has passed. So even though the relationship is completely over, it actually isn't over at all, from a legal standpoint.

Which means that in the meantime, we can't date other people. (Or at least, theoretically, we shouldn't. We are a thousand miles apart, I can't police his behavior. I can say, though, that I'm staying on my best behavior to make sure his lawyers have nothing to use against me.)

Not that I'd even have the time to anyway.

And ... it's not just that I can't, but that even if I could, I don't want to. Even though I initiated the divorce, I'm still grieving. There are so many big feelings in all this. And ... I have enough of my own mess to sort out right now. It's not the right time to introduce someone else into the mix.

And then, there's the part that stood out to me the most when she said it.

I don't know Sally that well. When I ended up talking to her about him, I held back from some of the bigger questions - like, how did I come up in conversation? And ... why me?

Because - and I don't know if this is well-founded or paranoia - but my immediate assumption is, he mentions liking bigger girls, and she mentions knowing one. The only attracting factor right now is a preference for my body type.

I'm sure that there's someone out there who likes people for who they are and not just the shell that houses their mind and their soul. But in my experience, I haven't met men like that. I've met mostly jerks, and I've met a lot of ... chubby chasers. Guys who have a specific preference for big girls. And at least the way I've experienced it, it's not the same as liking a hair color or an accent. It's been predatory. I wasn't a person to love, I was a body that satisfied a fetish. And I was deeply hurt, and greatly taken advantage of, by guys with this preference.

Was I at fault, for being naive? Were they at fault, for seeing the innocence and exploiting it? It's a tough situation with no easy answer.

The resolution: I told Sally, you know, he seems nice, but I'm still married right now, and after the tumultuous last few years I've had, I'm not looking for anything right now other than my old self. She understood, and it hasn't been mentioned since. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of taking the time to fill in the cracks in my broken heart all by myself, instead of looking to food or to another man - the Band-aid solutions I have sought in the past.

January 25, 2016

Just what's here

I hope that anyone who got hit with snow this past weekend is safe! We got about three minutes of light flurry, not enough to stick but enough to see (and enough for Noah to press his face to the window and sing "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?")

We had rain on Friday and cold-enough-for-flurries Saturday, which meant that we were cooped up indoors a lot - for a 2 1/2 year old with a ton of energy and his exhausted mama, it was a rough couple of days. We woke up Sunday and did a pinky promise that "today will be better - Noah will be a better listener and Mama will be less frustrated." It was still chilly, but not impossibly cold, so I bundled him up and we went to the park so I could walk and he could run all over the playground.

We both needed the fresh air and the change of scenery, I think.

I really struggled with my eating on Saturday. I was in a snack-y mood all day, and when Noah was acting up, it's hard to not take my frustration out on food. It's easy to take a bath or paint my nails or read when he's asleep and I'm bored or anxious and trying to stay out of the pantry. But in the afternoon, when he's awake and I can't leave him alone to go sit in the tub for half an hour ... my first instinct is to take out my frustration through chewing.

Even when I am focused on staying on plan, I struggle with my binge eating tendencies. Sometimes the urge is louder than others, and sometimes it is easily quieted and tucked away. On nights like Saturday, I repeat to myself: just what's here, just what's here. I eat more than usual, but I don't leave the house to buy food or order anything to be delivered. My logic is, the damage won't be as bad if I can contain it to just what's here in the house, because there's not really anything unhealthy in the house. Eating too much still isn't ideal, but it's better, I think, to have a few bags of 100 calorie snacks or a couple of popsicles than to order a pizza. Saturday night, I ate two Balance bars, and felt lousy - but the two bars have fewer calories than one slice of a pizza, and goodness knows I wouldn't have stopped at one slice.

I went to bed feeling upset but not defeated, which I think is a strong sign that I'm back to doing things My Right Way. It wasn't a great day, but I let it end that night. Sunday, we woke up, had a healthy breakfast, and went to the park for a 3K walk and then playground time. On plan the rest of the day, and more activity at night when we went to Quidditch practice. (Noah ran three laps around the pitch - unsurprisingly, he fell asleep very soon after we got home!) I ate 100% on plan, and this morning, the tiny regain was gone, plus some.

It's huge progress for me. I spent so much of last semester in a carb fog, just one binge after another for months. I felt like a horrible mother as I loaded Noah up into the car to go shopping for a binge. I would eat myself sick, and cry myself to sleep at night, angry that I'm really the only parent he has and I didn't feel strong enough to be a good role model for him.

I feel stronger now. To be able to stick to just what's here is big for me. It's not perfection, but on my particular path to recovery, it's pretty darn close. And to spend the next day eating well and being active - I'm being a better mom, too.