Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sorting It Out

I think losing all this weight has put me into some kind of identity crisis.

I feel like so many parts of my identity are gone or morphed into something else, and new bits and pieces and aspects are cropping up and trying to incorporate themselves into Who I Am.

As I was walking my dog to the park yesterday, I had an introspective moment. I noticed my pants were almost falling off me. I had to keep hiking them up as I walked. They were baggy. And I had this split second of "if I gained ten pounds these would fit perfectly." Crazy, right? It was almost like my subconscious talking. It just popped into my head. At the same time I felt like the fat person I have been for so long. Baggy loose pants, feeling a bit sloppy (and tired), wanting to just turn around and go home and sit on the couch for awhile.

Who am I? The tired lady in the baggy clothes? The getting-healthy woman who likes activity? A stay-at-home Mom... or not? It's unsettling enough that I look in the mirror and see someone new, even though it does please me. But I also see someone older. Someone with no little babies. Someone whose kids will all be gone to school or college full-time in a month.

My whole identity was that of Mother of Little Ones. And the physical identity was Fat Lady Trying to Lose Weight but Can't. Now, of course I am still a mother but of mostly grown children, and I think I have had a hard time letting go of that physical identity. As someone pointed out in a comment recently, if I lose all the weight, then what? That is my struggle, my identity. What will I be, then? One can only be a "weight loss success story" for so long before that, too, fades and becomes just regular life. Then what is left?

So I am trying to sort it all out. Get over some things. Let some things go. Allow new bits and pieces in, like my new dedication to dog sports and my desire to eat fresh, local, organic, free range foods. But yes, I do think I am sort of in an identity crisis trying to hang onto some things and dispose of others.

Bottom line is I think I need to quit hanging on to part of my identity that is not working for me anymore. I need to adopt new ways and patterns in thought and action. It isn't enough anymore to just WANT to be something else. I have to BE it.

I am going to the beach with five kids next week. There is something about the sand and the trees and the vastness of the ocean, combined with the peace of the forests, the exertion of hiking and the lack of television, phones, and regular chores that is ideal for introspection. I have discovered many things about myself and my life while at the beach. Something about not having a microwave or a stove and having to walk a ways to get to a bathroom... something about the environment... it's very conducive to self-reflection. I am going to be doing a lot of thinking while I am away, and I hope to come back with a fresh outlook. A new plan. A better idea of who I really am.


LHA said...

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." Henry David Thoreau

Take these words with you to the beach and see where they take you. Good luck.

lisa~sunshine said...

It sounds like the perfect place to figure out the next route of your journey.. I know you will come up with the best thing for you..

Anonymous said...

When my ex and I lived together I didn't have a job or friends in the state we moved to. I became obsessed with dieting and struggled with binge eating. It became a cycle for me as I constantly restricted and planned and obsessed and then binged and gained weight. I read some books on binge eating to figure out why I couldn't break this cycle and just lose weight and I realized that if I wasn't obsessed with losing weight and dieting/binging then I really wouldn't have anything in my life. No friends and no job and a partner that was gone sixteen hours a day. Didn't leave me with a sense of fulfillment or a reason to really want ti get our of bed.
So I understand some that sense of being lost without food and dieting and without the identity one has had for so long.
Now I don't eat as healthy as I would like (due to living circumstances) and I'm not as thin as I'd like to be but I don't obsess over food or dieting anymore and I'm happy. I moved back home to my friends and I have a job and a wonderful man in my life.
I think it'll be difficult (it was for me)but it'll get better for you as well, once you figure out what your life is without the food and dieting and who you are that makes you happy and healthy, even more than you are now.


timothy said...

we seem to be walking on the same path sweetie. i'm trying to reclaim a life i'm not sure is there anymore. trying to sort it out, let go of things/people that don't enhance me and allow myself to embrace new ones that do (terrifying isn't it?) we'll get there and if you need to vent/talk i've got BIG ears and HUGE shoulders. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Miss Erika said...

I recently went through the same round of feelings, and after weeks of depression and fear-induced binging, I decided to look at it like this. Yes, my identity is different. But hasn't my identity changed tens or hundreds of times before in the past? I've gone from underprivileged kid to angsty teen to environmentally conscious graduate. This isn't a time for fear and anxiety. This is a time for exploration and discovery, of the new you and all the things the new you can do. Be confident, be bold, be brave and don't ever look back.

Ellaveigh said...

Take solace in the thought that in the whole history of time there has been no instance of somebody just being nothing. Things will fall into place in the end.

Karen said...

Take care and safe travels. Glad you have time off the grid.

PamL said...

Have a great trip to the beach! I just got back from the beach with my 6 kids and it was great.

I've been going through the same type of thing- my youngest will be 5 in Sept. and it's so strange to think that the baby stage of our lives is over....for so many years, it's all you can do to just take care of everyone, much less yourself. Now there's actually time to take care of ourselves and it seems not so important. But it's all part of the aging process and sometimes I remind myself that my parents went through it and now my friends and I are going through it and we will discover the good about our state in life right now! So many good memories of those baby years, though!

PlumPetals said...

Going through changes can always be unsettling, but I think part of the process is coming to terms with the fact that all these changes, steps you've taken to get to where you are, adjustments you've made in your life ... they are all a part of you. You don't need to choose just one image or one type of identity. One thing I know for sure is that you are inspiring :)

Anonymous said...

I just needed to tell you that you're SUCH an inspiration!! I also struggle with weight and your blog helps keep me motivated! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! I've started my own blog because of you :)

There is not enough thanks in the world!!!

Sarah said...

"What will I be, then? One can only be a "weight loss success story" for so long before that, too, fades and becomes just regular life. Then what is left?"

Regular life is, imho, the point of all weight loss. Six years later I don't think of myself as a success story, in fact I haven't for a long time. I choose how I want to define myself. And for me that's by getting out there and living MY life. Getting another degree, having a baby... Life. You will find yours.

Anonymous said...

If you can see your way to who you are I would greatly appreciate directions or a manual of some sort. I sort and sort and then lose the piles.

screaming fatgirl said...

I'm glad you've reached this conclusion. One thing I would recommend, and feel free to ignore me, is not to move into a "healthy living" kick. Subbing in one food- and exercise-based identity for another won't be the answer. The answer lies in other pursuits - creative, spiritual, and community. The focus should ultimately be away from your body (which will sort itself out once you have your healthy habits in place) and onto your greater self. You can do this, but you may, unfortunately, have to abandon this blog when the time comes. That should be okay, because you should be ready at that point in time to live more fully in another sphere rather than as someone who talks about and struggles with dysfunction. You may find another blog which is related to a fully-rounded identity. I've already got several, and it really is good to be someone other than the fat person trying to lose weight. Good luck.