Thank you, Jenni. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Just talking with you helped me beyond measure. From our conversation I gained clarity, a vital understanding. I gained peace and acceptance.
I'm writing tonight to remember. I don't want to ever forget what I learned today.I'm writing tonight solely for myself. I've been beyond frustrated with my work towards weight loss and health. I've finally come to that place of deep desire that I needed to find in order to get healthy. But there was something blocking me from putting that into action. Today, I found it.
Let me connect my first paragraph and that last thought: for the last two weeks I've been feeling what I didn't allow myself to feel for an entire year. This past year was something straight from hell, even worse for me than the year my dad was sick and when he died--yeah, that bad. Before you crucify me for saying my daughter's first year of life was hell, let me explain. I worked for years in therapy to come to know myself, let myself feel and show emotion (instead of eating...keep that thought in mind), and have confidence in the choices I make and ultimately who I am on a daily basis. 6 years total of extreme hard work, digging down to places I had buried for so long...then, I lost it.
I lost myself, who I had worked so hard to become. Right after I had Laura, when I was in the throws of postpartum depression, someone said to me, "The old Katie is gone. Dead. Done. You have a new identity now." That scared the hell out of me. I didn't want the old Katie gone. I liked her. I LOVED her. I had worked too hard to find her and by God, I wasn't letting her go that easily. So I fought tirelessly. I tried to keep working and have that anchor to who I was (though I didn't realize until recently that work was not the anchor to myself that I needed). I faltered under the weight & responsibility of this new thing called parenthood. I didn't trust myself to make good choices for my family. I didn't give myself permission to feel scared or stressed or angry or sad. I denied myself entirely. Needless to say, parenthood did not come easy for me. I was lost, utterly lost, trying to be teacher and mother & wife...and Katie. I was in a constant state of overwhelm (remember that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Cameron goes catatonic...yeah, like that).
Just within the last month, as the stresses of trying to working stopped, family stresses stopped, and we've become adjusted to being home...I found me. That strong, independent, confident, funny, calm, peaceful, happy, & playful Katie that I worked to find. The sensitive, actually FEELING (in the verb sense), person that I fought so hard to keep was still there. Enter the desire to take care of myself...blogging, asking for time to myself without sweet Laura, and...you guessed it, getting healthy physically.
This was a tremendous and joyous discovery on my part. (I realize some of you may have absolutely no idea how to relate to what I'm saying and I'm totally okay with that because this one's all for me :) What I didn't plan on was a back log of emotions coming up and subsequently out (see first paragraph). For all the times I've told people over that last 6 years that stuffing emotions doesn't eliminate them, you'd think I would've caught myself. Oops. The unjust judgment I have been beating myself with over that this last month is utterly sad. I've been angry at myself for losing track of me in this thing called motherhood. I've been mourning the non-existent death of myself because I didn't allow any sort of time for me to feel sad during this past year. My stuffed (under loads of food) emotions are coming back, rearing their powerful heads.
One of my favorite authors on the subject of binge eating, Geneen Roth, puts it this way:
"At every moment we are either choosing to reveal ourselves or to protect ourselves, to value ourselves or diminish ourselves, to tell the truth or to hide." I have spent an entire year of my life reverting to hiding myself out of fear. Fear that I wasn't fit to be a mother, fear that my child wasn't going to survive, fear of losing myself completely, fear of the unknown, and fear that I couldn't possibly be ME and still be a good mother. Fear overwhelmed every aspect of my life. And instead of facing the truth, valuing the person God made me to be, revealing the creature Christ loved...I hid...under food, lots & lots of food. I reverted back to the Katie of my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, the pre-therapy, pre-healed Katie.
And now, the crux of my current problem. The healthy, REAL Katie is back on the inside in my feelings & thoughts, and on the outside in my words & actions. BUT, when I look in the mirror, I'm faced with the consequences of being not me. This beautiful, loved by God person, is temporarily trapped in the body of a woman who was faltering & barely surviving. When I look at myself, I don't see a reflection of how I feel, but who I was for this past year. I don't see the healthy, vibrant, CONFIDENT woman I know I am. I see buried sadness, anger, frustration, and fear.
The best part of this is now I can truly move forward. I've faced the demons I pushed down for an entire year. I've felt the feelings I stuffed for 365+ days. They're gone. They don't control me anymore. I'm back.
So now the game plan is simple and clear for me. I will be kind and gentle with myself. I will not look in the mirror and think of what I wasn't for a whole year but who was still there. I will see that soul that Jesus loved enough to die on the cross to save. I will work hard to get my physical body to match the Katie I know is inside. I will allow myself to feel again...and I won't let those feelings, however strong, scare me. I will be myself, the Katie I worked so hard for, and still be an amazing mommy...all by God's grace.
He alone brought me through this dark time. He alone saved & shielded Laura during this year. He alone gives me the strength to forgive myself and move on. He alone will give me peace. What amazing goodness & grace.
Thank you, dear Jesus, for never leaving me. Thank you for carrying me through the toughest of trials. Thank you for giving me a friend who never fails. Thank you for Jenni. Bless her and keep her close to me. Dear Jesus, you have given me so much time to reflect your love. Forgive me for not recognizing those times. Give me strength & patience & gentleness for myself. Keep me from losing sight of the person you've made me to be. Keep me from losing focus on you.
In Your name, Amen.