So its been a really long time right? But every now and again it seems like its good to get things off my chest, or to just write instead of micro-blog, which I do all the time on Tumblr, or to get distracted on Facebook or whatever it is that I'm normally up to when I should be in school and keeping on task. Fortunately for me, Kitten wanted to go to the library this afternoon to do some stuff for work and that leaves me here, in the library, on a snow day with not much to do but reflect. Its almost like its 2008 again....And since I had some recent food for thought...well, here I am. Again.
hello, old friends.
So we went to lunch with a friend of ours today and we were talking about working out at the gym. We're all pretty frequent work out partners, so its not uncommon to talk about it. We've started some new classes with them and I find I am much more challenged than I am by the other ones we're taking (not that my water classes and my cardio classes aren't killing me...I just never wish I was dead halfway though in them....) Anyway, the topic of what we think about while we're working out came up. Our friend was in the military and she said she always hears her drill instructors in her head. Kitten said she hears music- whether its what's on the radio or whatever she's earworming. She uses the beats to push herself. When the topic of what I heard came up, I answered, entirely honestly, that I hear myself. I've got a picture in my head of what I want from me, and I hear myself, over and over, saying that this- what I am now- is not good enough, its not what I want. It pushes me.
I was a little taken aback when our friend suggested that I might need to get help because of it. Her position is I'm like this all the time, with everything and it indicates I might need to get psychological help to fix it.
I want to preface this with what will seem like excuse: I don't think how I feel is unhealthy. I don't hate myself. I like myself better now than I think I ever have. But I want things from myself- a better, healthier body, perfect grades, a Masters in the next five years, a farm, a fistful of friends that care about me. I want to be more compassionate, more feeling, more humble. I want to be less angry and less afraid. I know myself. I've given myself too much slack, too much room to pity myself and too much time to wallow in my shortcomings. I don't think its wrong, now, to push myself as hard as I can. It makes me better.
Some people might see that as going overboard- but I know what I've accomplished. I've got perfect grades. I've been invited to join the honors fraternity, which was my goal last semester. I won our public speaking forum because I pushed myself to stop being afraid, to never rely on anything but myself when it came to my speaking ability. I'm at head of all my classes and I am learning, quickly, to love the subjects I feared. I'm in a degree program I started out knowing almost nothing about, and I'm already making huge leaps towards my career goals. I have a great marriage. I'm good at my job- hell, I'm good at every position in the restaurant I work at. All of them. The only person better than me is Kitten- and I'm never going to cook the way she does. I'm at peace with that. I've lost 12 pounds since December. I'm almost to the point of putting back on the muscle weight I'll need. That's huge. I'm not afraid to look in the mirror when I wake up anymore. Its because I'm doing the best I can for myself- and it has nothing to do with hating who I am. I am holding myself to my standard: to give myself the very best I can, including total commitment to being 100% honest and accountable to myself, all the time. I don't look at that as something that I need to fix. To me, its not weakness, is strength.
But all of that, all those things, in the light of who I am now may seem extreme. Because she's a new friend, I haven't had the time to tell her all the things that you know about me. What I know about myself. But if I did, I would have told her of all the progress I've made.
I don't see my body the way I should. I know that. But I've overcome my eating disorder. I know what I see in the mirror isn't real. And I know that I'm always going to struggle with my weight, and my looks. But I also learned to set reasonable goals, to know what's healthy for a woman my height and age. To know what I want from myself and to learn to love and accept what I see. To accept the love that everyone around me gives me- just because I see something different doesn't mean they're wrong. And in spite of some of the terrible things that have happened to me, I don't see my body as damaged goods, or unworthy. I can see myself of something whole and beautiful and worthy of love and perfection. That's a gift only I can give me. And I know, always, that anyone who is allowed to see any part of my body is being given a gift from me.
I'm clean. I've kicked my addiction. That was a struggle, and every time I think of how I am not strong enough, or not good enough, I remember coming out of it and how hard it was for me. I remember how sick I felt, how afraid I felt. I remember feeling weak, pathetic. I'm not that person anymore. I'm not a slave to anything in my life. That's a lot of freedom to give yourself.
In spite of that fact that I have what most people would call a terrible self esteem, I don't hate myself anymore. I've forgiven myself for my mistakes. I realize that I can't blame myself for everything that's happened to me. I also know that when I have to accept the blame for a bad decision, that doesn't make me a horrible person. I don't punish myself for things I've done. I don't allow myself to dwell on the past- as much as I possibly can- and I've finally stopped replaying in my head every mistake I make and every failure I've experienced as I go to bed each night. That's huge for me. I don't believe I owe anyone any part of who I am. I believe I deserve better than second best from anyone. Once, I would have accepted friendship and love that was half-assed or inattentive, thankful for anything anyone gave me. Not anymore. And I've stopped making apologies for who I am and what I love. No one gets to determine what's worthy of me but me.
Most of all, I know I'm capable of love and compassion. For most people, that wouldn't seem like much of an accomplishment, but because of who I am, I know that's huge. I've faced the darkest parts of who I am and I know, in my soul, that part of me is very cold, very calculating. I know there's a detached, angry woman who lives inside me and I have to take her and use her to be stronger. I am better than the manipulation I am capable of. I am more than the motivations of my fear and anger. I have learned, finally, as a result of my former self-loathing, how to spot it in others, how to see the needs of the people around me; and I am able, now, to hurt and feel for people in a way I never was capable and really never wanted to. I'm not afraid to give myself away anymore, and I am capable of accepting love and compassion for others without the fear that I am pitied or thought less of.
I fight myself for control all the time. I know that. I push myself hard, maybe more than most people. But after all this time, after all I've been through, don't I deserve that? Don't I deserve to give myself, to demand from myself, only the very best? I don't want to let myself down. I want to be proud of my accomplishments. I want to be remarkable, because I am capable of it. I don't like failure but I can accept it- the only thing I cannot accept is that one day I will look back and see I didn't give myself every possible opportunity to be the most whole and happy person I can be because I didn't try hard enough. There's so much to this world. I want to see it all, I want to feel it all. I want to know everything there is to know. I won't get there by taking it easy.
After all this, though, I see that I am capable of forgiveness too. Because I inherently think if she thinks that, it could be true, right? I need to fix myself, right? But I know me, better than anyone else. I can forgive myself for the strain I feel. I can forgive her for hurting me by saying that, because it did hurt. But after all this time, I know, just the way you do...I'm much more. I've come so very far, and its not something that she can see, because she doesn't know that me yet. She hasn't seen me in that light. That, on its own, means I have to let that comment go and forgive. It does, though, give me a chance to see and reflect on my own progress and abilities and be thankful for what it is I've become.
I'm never going to be perfect, but I'll never stop trying. I don't think knowing I'll fail makes me foolish in pursuing that which is futile. I feel braver, stronger, knowing that I'm going to give myself the chance to be more than I ever thought I could be just a decade ago.
I'm worth that.
I love you. I'm glad you came by to listen. You're always welcome here.