Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mean Words - Writer's Workshop

This is a Writer's Workshop topic from a while back:

Share something mean someone said to you once, why has it stuck with you after all these years?

There was a lot of good topics to choose from for this week's Writer's Workshop but this one stuck out at me. I immediately knew what that something was and thought it would be good to finally analyze why it has stuck with me all these years. Let's do some self-analysis!

The words themselves are not that mean. They are more along the lines of common sense, but before I get to that, here is some background:

I was 13 or 14 at the time. The dark ages, if you will. Puberty had hit with all the angst and feelings of resentment that life had to offer. I had a substantial weight gain just as I was outgrowing the whole "tomboy" thing, and life could not possibly get any worse. As I began to feel more feminine and acknowledged my growing attraction to boys my body did a complete mutiny. I, apparently, was not destined to be skinny and popular. I felt gross and disgusting. Looking back... I wasn't even that big, but at 14 every flaw is magnified and way out of its correct proportion. Soon my mother got involved. Back at that time she was getting into fitness and had joined a gym. She would always be telling me to come work out with her and that I was gaining to much weight. I remember shopping for clothes with her one time and she refused to buy a pair of pants for me in a certain size because it was a larger size than she wore and she didn't think that I should be bigger then her. The problem, however, was that I was bigger then her. I was 4 inches taller, 2 shoe sizes bigger and probably 25-35 pounds heavier. The more my mother would nag or hint around the subject that I needed to lose weight, the more I wanted to stuff my face with fattening foods and sweets. It was an eating disorder playground.

My dad was tall and skinny which I attribute to good DNA and lots of discipline. My younger brother took after my dad and then there was me. My mom would actually give me smaller portions of food at the dinner table. We would sit down to eat and my mom and I would have one size portion and my dad and brother would have a much larger, different size portion. It didn't really matter though. When I would do the dishes I would just eat whatever was left over or any snack foods that were in the cupboards. At one of my low points I remember opening cake mix and eating the powder with a spoon.

One day, my mom made an appointment and took me to see my pediatrician about my weight. I don't remember to much about the visit or even if it was a complete physical. But I do remember the words he said to me that day. I didn't know what he was going to say, but I thought it would be medically sound and maybe even somewhat profound. I thought it would be from a place that the rest of us ,who didn't go to medical school, would be able to chew on and pontificate a bit about the wonders of the medical profession and how advanced the knowledge was compared to my own limited exposure.  In other words, I had higher expectations. These were his exact words: "Why don't you try eating less?"

OMG. And that was it. What? Really? Eating less? That is all I have to do? So simple! So easy! Why hadn't I thought of that while I was stress eating my way up to 160 pounds?

Now. Why has this stuck with me all of these years? I believe as I have dealt with my food issues, weight gains and weight losses through the years, I come back to those words to realize how far I have come since that time. There was such an ignorance about proper nutrition, food addiction, triggers, body image, etc. Just the whole emotional turmoil of adolescence swirling around food issues. It was not a good combination for me. My mother was caught up in it and in turn brought me into the fold. But for whatever reason, "try eating less" was the best "professional" advice at the time.

Thanks Doc. I'll get right on that. Just as soon as my mom goes out so I can raid the kitchen in private and eat my feelings.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What Do I Want?

Me? What do I want?

No one ever asks me this question unless I yell for one of my kids or am ordering food. But, it is a good topic of discussion amongst the active voices in my head. So, have at it. Only those answers that serious and well thought out will be considered by management. *imaginary groan*

Most of us (the voices) want the same things. I want to be physically and emotionally healthy. I want to be able to come home from work and get things done around the house instead of sitting on the couch, eating unhealthy food and drinking the night away. I want to enjoy planning and cooking meals. I want to have healthy meals prepared my husband to take for lunch to help him with his diet and help him kindle his healthy lifestyle. I want to get up early and go to the gym before work. I want to come to work with a healthy attitude and be productive. I want to find a better job that pays more. I want to be able to go on vacation. I want to be able to save money instead of living paycheck to paycheck.

I want to be a positive role model for my kids. I want them to know and feel the unwavering love that I have for them.

I want to go on amazing bike rides and hikes on the weekends. I want to go on day-trips on Sundays with my husband. I want to go wine tasting and learn as much about wine as possible. I want to be joyful. I want to be positive. I want to be helpful. I want to be patient. I want to be kind always.

I want to read amazing books and watch brilliant movies. I want to travel around the world and photograph everything. Every last thing. I want to write witty and colorful commentary. I want to learn how to play the guitar. I want to learn to play the piano as well. I want season tickets to the Earthquakes, Sharks and 49ers. I want to go to every single game possible and give tickets away to deserving people at every opportunity.

I want to endure and stand tall through strife. I want to appreciate with a humble heart when things are going well. I want to overcome weakness and to never give up. I want to have the courage to imitate strength and resolve in my dark moments when I am convinced that all is lost.

I want to be the person that my adorable puppies think that I am. I want the chance to talk to my grandmother again. I want to not want for anything.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What Do You Want?

I posed this question to my soon-to-be 18-year-old son the other day as we were driving home from Juvenile Hall where he had spent a weekend sanction for not following the rules of his probation. Surprise, surprise... he didn't have an answer. He wasn't even sure what I wanted to hear, which is how he answers most questions that I pose to him. What I wanted to hear was simple. Anything. Anything at all close to resembling a sentiment that he wanted to straiten out, stop smoking marijuana, start thinking about his life and what he wanted to do with it. Words that expressed how he wanted to get his High School diploma, that it was important to him. I wanted to hear something that showed the slightest bit of excitement or drive for something positive. A job, an activity, an interest, a sport. Anything.
As it stands it is my goal and my priority to see that he graduates from High School. Somebody has too. It certainly hasn't been him. Graduation time for the class of 2013 has come and gone. He is still short on credits. Even with summer school he'll still be short.  I have made it my duty to be the sole bridge that gets him to that age where his brain has finished developing and he can distinguish that there are consequences to his actions. The only thing standing in my way is that magic day that takes place in two weeks. That date that has been looming over my head since he was 14 and started getting into trouble. The day he turns 18 and society considers him an adult. What's going to happen when he's 18? My husband wants to kick him out. There are times when I do too. The lies, the behavior, the disregard, the arrogance all begin to weigh on you. Even the one person that will love that child forever, no matter what he does or what he becomes has her breaking point. Believe me, when I say, I have reached and gone beyond breaking points that most mothers can't even fathom. A part of me is broken inside. That boy was the light of my life. He was my reason for breathing. Now, it seems that I breathe for the both of us. Every time he is out of my sight the breathing gets labored because I just don't know if he is going to make it home or he is going to be arrested again or found dead somewhere. It is a daily ordeal. In fact, both times he was in the Hall for a weekend sanction and the time before that when he was in for 12 days by husband and I both agreed that it was a relief because "at least we knew where he was."
 Somewhere along the lines a light turned off inside of him and a dullness set in. Logically, I know it was the drugs. Everything he does revolves around getting high. He was arrested for breaking into someone's home. He was there with three other "delinquents" to steal items for money. Money he could use to buy pot. Now, he can't even follow a simple program where he gets tested 1-2 times per week for THC (marijuana). He either doesn't show up for the testing (lies to me about going) or tests positive.
So when I ask him "what do you want?" I'm not really waiting for the words to come anymore.His silence speaks volumes. "To get high," he is thinking. "And to be left alone."