Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crazy(ish) no more...

An eavesdropping fly on the wall one week ago might have heard the following snippet of conversation:
Me: I've been thinking that I don't need to see you as often anymore.
Therapist: I think you're right.
Well bring on the propeller hat, rainbow wig and bright orange rain poncho (which I assume is standard attire for such an occasion) because I've officially graduated from crazy school!  
Well, that's how it feels anyway.  
I've spent my Thursday lunch hours discussing the finer points of my emotional well-being with a therapeutic professional in a year-and-a-half long quest to find out just what the hell is wrong with me.  And to my great surprise, I think we did just that.
It was a personal crisis of epic proportions that led me to her in the first place. I walked into her office full of plush furniture, eclectic decor and shelves stuffed with self-help literature without knowing what to expect.  All I knew is that I felt broken, like there weren’t enough king's horses and king's men on earth to put me back together.  A lifetime of cartoon images of bespectacled, clipboard toting men asking patients lying in prone positions about their mothers didn't prepare me for the soft spoken, scarf wearing, easy smiling, kind eyed yet sharp tongued woman who introduced herself as Cynthia when she invited me to sit down anywhere on her cushy furniture and tell her all about it.  
There was no in-depth analysis of my dreams or dramatic recounting of childhood traumas.  There were no shock treatments or repressed memory discoveries, or creepy attempts to reenact my birth experience.  Instead there was conversation.  There was advice.  There were sometimes tears, but also a lot more laughter than I'd expected.  There was talk of the fat, but there was more talk about all the other things I am.  And--to the great delight of my inner nerd--there were worksheets, handouts, diagrams, and homework.  And, most importantly, there was progress.
Therapy gets a bad rap sometimes, I think.  The red-blooded American pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality that runs deep in our collective veins can sometimes mistake reaching out for mental health support as evidence of a weakness of character, a convention of a modern age that relies on science and medicine to cure what a good kick in the ass should be able to knock out of us. After all, people have survived for thousands of years without therapy and antidepressants, why do we need them now all of a sudden?  That argument is short sighted at best.  People lived without antibiotics for thousands of years to...and they died of ear infections and strep throat.  If I had cancer, I'd get chemotherapy.  I had a case of the crazies, so I went to therapy, and I'm so glad I did.  The hardest work may be over, but I'm not done yet.  
I am the same woman who walked into that office for the first time, but I am not the same person I was that day.  That girl was so lost in her fear and despair that it makes me ache to remember her.   But the woman writing this?  Her I like.  She’s strong.  She’s resilient.  She knows where she's going, and she’s tough enough to keep working to get there

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scared Straight

Scared Straight
Yesterday I did something momentous.  If, that is, one defines “momentous” as “something I’ve done like a thousand times since the age of 12”.  
I rejoined Weight Watchers.
If you’d like me to spend oodles of time and space explaining the particulars of just why keeping my ample buttocks on the proverbial wagon on a permanent basis is an impossibility, you can drop me an email and ask for a dramatic recounting of my numerous climbs onto and spectacular nose dives off of said wagon.  
Or you save me a lot of time (and fritter away a bunch of yours) by going back and reading my archives. I did just that recently and have realized that something I’ve said before in the last few years happens to be true:  
The longer I do this, the more convinced I become that this journey is essentially an endless series of beginnings, of moments when draw a fresh line in the sand and start over.  Sometimes the fresh start comes from a place of zen, a calm acceptance of the infinite struggle between ourselves and a lifetime of obesity.  
But there are other times when we see a moment in our future where we’d just really rather not be quite so fat, thank you very much.  Like, say, the prospect of wearing a big white dress in front of your friends and family while pledging eternal love and faithfulness to a man just crazy enough to love you.
That’s right, friends.  Tim and I are engaged.  A year from now we’ll be dressed in our best and saying I do.
(Shout out to the citizens of hell who are all enjoying tall glasses of ice water today—You’re welcome!)
The quest for the dress and a body that fits into it begins today.
Let the adventure continue!