I feel better. Amazing what one good night's sleep can do for clarity and mood.
When I wrote yesterday about feeling ashamed when I look in the mirror, it was very helpful for me. Often when I write, it seems to unblock the dam or wall that is holding back some unexplored strong feelings. Once I 'say' it in writing, acknowledging what has mulled around in my head for so long, I am freed to examine those feelings and work on them.
When I look in the mirror I am not disgusted by the fat person I see. I know I am a good person with much to be proud of; I love myself. My mother was morbidly obese, and I never looked at her with disgust because of her appearance. I do not look at *others* with negativity over their looks, whether it be weight, clothing choices, hairstyle, birthmarks, or any other thing we call 'looks.' I always look for the real person. Not the cover. So why am I feeling this deep sense of shame when I look at me?
You know about how the people who were gushing compliments a year and a half ago have stopped gushing compliments. It went from practically everyone I knew coming up to me and telling me how wonderful I look, how healthy, how happy they are for me, how amazing it is that I lost over 100 pounds, to silence. No criticism, really, but just silence. No one says anything anymore, and it hurts. I 'know' what they're thinking. How sad she is gaining it back. How could she let this happen. Why isn't she still working on it? What happened to her? No, they're not all thinking that, but there was a time long ago when the words got back to me. It was before I weighed 278, back when I had gone up the scale from the 180's or so to about 245. A friend came to see me. The shock was on her face but she was gracious. And then she went back and cried, literally cried, to a mutual friend of ours, "How could this happen to her? What happened to her?" as she wondered, amazed, at the weight I had gained.
But now there is a whole new level of shame. When I got down to 175 pounds, I started hanging out with whole new groups of people. I joined clubs. I started going to events and gatherings. I made new friends at school with other parents. I created an entire new social group surrounding myself with people who had never known the obese me. It was like a new world. These people saw me as a normal weight average person... not a person with eating issues, not a fat person trying to lose weight, not even a weight loss success story. I never brought it up, so they didn't know. They never knew me fat.
And here I am fat again, and this entire social group of people now gets to see the obese me, the me that is in too much pain to participate, the me I had successfully hidden from all of them, the me I thought I had erased. I hate it. HATE it. I know, I hope, they don't think any less of me, but of course no one says anything. But I am ashamed, because my whole world is different now and I want that world back where no one knew I was ever fat.
So that's the core of it, really. Not the bulges or the ill-fitting clothes, although that's a pain too. It's that the image I had so carefully crafted of myself as a relatively normal weight average person is gone. Gone. They know me fat now. I just wanted to be normal without the badge of weight-loss-guru or formerly-fat-person that everyone in my old life had placed on me. And now, I have to figure out who I am again, what my self image really is and who I am trying to become. I will figure it out, with work. And knowing where that feeling of shame is coming from is the first step in helping me heal it.
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