Month Of Me. My Path.

Yesterday’s post was hard to write. It felt good to get it out of my head and put into words. I’ve shared this writing with only the closest people in my life. I can count them on one hand. This was a big step for me because I’ve managed to hide all of this from them. Why? I guess because I don’t want to let them down. They tell me they love me and think I’m strong. I wish I felt that way. And having their love and support means the world to me. I want to silence the voice in my head that says I’m undeserving of it. I don’t think I’m a good friend, or daughter, or sister. I know these posts are hard for them to read. But it’s important I be honest with them and with myself. It’s the only way to face these challenges head on.

Now it’s time to spin it into something positive. Something I can look at and make goals so I can keep focused on what’s important. I’m going to narrow down these thoughts, criticisms and overall areas I want to improve and start to work through them one by one. I do plan to look at this as a to-do list of sorts, but I also don’t want to put unrealistic expectations on myself. Again, one month is just the start. But if I can do just a little bit every day, I think it can make a difference.

1. Make peace with the mirror. This is probably the hardest of the goals I’ll need to accomplish. And it won’t come just from losing weight. I want to be able to face myself. To feel confidence in the woman smiling back at me. It will come from taking care of myself both mentally and physically so I can see the progress happening and feel GOOD.

2. Set small goals for weight loss. I think I’ve put too much emphasis on the scale. One pound up or down, and I’m feeling a roller coaster of emotions. I think I need to weigh myself less often and focus on the actions I’m taking in my life to be a healthier and fitter me.

3. Work for the body I want. When I see a photo of a woman who’s fit, I usually feel a bit of contempt. Jealousy. A sense of hopelessness. I’d like to change my perception of it into a goal.

4. Add a little fairy dust. I think there are some very easy small things I can do to just boost my self-esteem. When I leave the house feeling pretty, I feel more confident. This will be about skin, makeup, hair, clothes, jewelry… all things I need to start treating myself to.

5. Make me time. I’m so used to the long hours, working through lunch and ordering dinner at 9pm when I get home. I need to start making time for the things that matter for me. Sleep, meditation, cooking, primping — just setting time aside for me.

6. Listen to my thoughts. In my mind, I tend to swirl around in the hurt. Things like ‘How can I trust someone else when my own Husband, whom I loved and trusted more than anyone in the world, can betray me’. Rather, I need to focus on the things that made it what it truly was. I didn’t deserve what I got. He is the one who lied. Who cheated. He’s on his third wife now. It’s me who doesn’t want to see him for what he was. I can’t help but think of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I want to work at identifying those moments where I blame myself for things that I cannot control. And work through them. I need to be able to reassure myself that it’s not my fault. That it’s ok to feel sadness, that it makes me human. Just don’t let the sadness take over. I won’t be a victim to it. I am in control, not those who have wronged me.

7. Change my relationship with food. I know now that when I dig a spoon into the Ben & Jerrys, I’m letting the hurt, anger or fear take control. My psychotherapist has helped me with an approach here that seems to be working so far. He asked me to identify my biggest fear. For me, it’s being vulnerable. I don’t like being open to hurt, or not being in control. So when I reach for that [insert non-healthy food item here that I’d eat until I’m ready to vomit], I remind myself that I am in control, and I am not going to allow myself to feel vulnerable. I don’t eat mindlessly anymore. When I’m eating, I’m making conscious decisions and if I’m treating myself… I enjoy it. Savoring each bite, more like a reward, than drowning my sorrow.

8. Take one step at a time. No leaping. If I focused on everything at once, I will get nowhere. I need to take each step in due time in order to make them life changes, not temporary fixes that lead to some immediately solution. And I need to celebrate those small steps. Every milestone is significant, no matter how small an accomplishment.

9. Let the world back in. I know I’m not going to start hanging out at bars again, or hitting the clubs. I just need to expand my horizons beyond the walls I’ve chosen to hide within. I need to let me friends back in. I need to start feeding my creativity again. Read some magazines, go to a museum, start to draw, go out for dinner, call my mom… I need to stop pushing everyone away and allow others to help me. I have shared this writing with only 4 people. If I’ve shared this with you, please know that you mean the world to me and I’m sorry I haven’t let you help me. I do need you, and I will lean on you and ask for your understanding, your advice and your guidance.

10. Step out of my safe place. This final step is one that will come in time. Once I’m ready, and not a moment before. When I look in the mirror and see myself smile — both on the inside and out — I will move on. I don’t know what that means yet. And I won’t until I get there. I know I’ve got a long road ahead and I’m gassed up and ready to go.