Friday, 2 January 2009

Baring my Soul

We spent New Year's Eve at my sister's with my brother, my daughter and her boyfriend and my parents. A seemingly quiet evening. Fun and laughter. This is me and my mum with my daughter and 2 little nieces.

Played games including a Disney party game that my 2 yr old niece thoroughly enjoyed as did we all.

Oh and then went snowboarding on the Wii.

Hysterically funny. At midnight we all ran out the front banging pots and pans. Again, 2yr old niece thought this was fantastic. Make as much noise as you want!! What 2yr old wouldn't enjoy that?!

Steve and I crawled into bed finally just after 3am and didn't surface again til 1pm the next day. Whoa! Just slept and slept. Guess we really needed it. We spent the day watching dvds cuddling up on the sofa eating sweets, chocolates, satsumas and just really enjoying the moment of quiet togetherness.

And then in the evening Steve cooked us a beautiful meal. Roast chicken and all the trimmings. It was our quiet Christmas and New Year's Day meal just for us. Very romantic. Special. Enjoying great food and each other's company. We opened a bottle of rose pinot grigio which was delicious. Just a lovely time on our own.

I should've ended the evening at that point as it went downhill pretty fast after that. I decided to go on my computer to check my email and sort out some files ready for work next week. Oh and to download photos from our New Year's Eve evening at my sister's. Big mistake. This might not make sense to anyone but I need to write about it. I need to be able to read about it here in the future and know that I've moved on. That I'm healed and whole one day.

I've always had a low self-esteem. Although I kept my weight under control until I had babies, I've always had a weight problem. Overweight. Ugly. Overweight. My teens were plagued with constant dieting and bulimia. I was athletic. A dancer. A gymnast. A netball player. And good. But struggled so much keeping a sensible weight. I'm only 5ft so even the smallest of weight gains showed. I just seem to put on weight so easily. So quickly. Once I had children, it all went mad. I couldn't fight it any more. I put huge amounts of weight on and that's how I've remained since then. Overweight. Obese. Ugly.

And so when I saw a photo of myself, I somehow went into an emotional meltdown. Shock. Do I really look that ugly? Is that really me. We don't have mirrors in the house. I know that sounds mad. But we don't. Something I'm going to change soon though. More about that another time.

The thing that shocked me the most was that Steve married me. Steve loves me. And yet how could he? How did he fall in love with me? I couldn't believe he finds me attractive. All these thoughts were swirling round my brain and I couldn't seem to get rid of them. I tried to logically think about it. I knew beauty was more than the shell that is our bodies. But no matter how much I thought about it, I spiralled downwards. Was he mad? Was he honest to goodness out of his mind? When he first met me, why didn't he get back in his car and drive home? Why did he continue to pursue me and ask me to marry him? None of it made sense.

I need to talk some more about being overweight and the myths that surround it. I'm not unhealthy. I'm not hugely healthy either. I eat well. I eat healthily well. I'm not greedy. I'm not lazy. I don't sit around doing nothing all day. I love my exercise. I love going out for walks. I don't always to stick to my routine. I don't always get as much exercise as I'd like and know I need but it's not bad either. I do need to make changes and I would like to be slimmer. Healthier. The healthiest I can be. Fitter. As fit as I should be for a 44yr old. So much to say about it all.

And then there's emotional side of the problem. The low self-esteem. The sad lack of self confidence. The thing that got me last night. That pursued me to the point that I told Steve he needs to leave me. Leave me so I can be alone. So he doesn't have to look at me. I went to bed. Steve was already in bed. For a long time I couldn't talk. My throat seemed to seize up. I felt choked. I knew I was going to explode in a torrent of tears.

Silent, quiet tears fell down my cheeks. Still couldn't talk. Steve was gentle. He didn't patronise me. He quietly told me how much he loved me. He told me what beauty was to him. He talked about my spirit and soul. He told me what he found attractive about me. He told me that he would love me whether I was stick thin or big as a house. That he loved me. Me. Who I am as a person. He said a lot more. Too personal to talk about here. Suffice to say it made me cry more. Tears that washed away my irrational thoughts and negative emotions. Slowly. Very slowly I started to talk. I told him about things in my past that affected my self-esteem. Nothing major to other people. Probably insignificant to others. But they had profound affects on me. And I've carried these things into my adulthood. I need to be rid of them now.

We talked into the wee small hours. And he held me tight. He reminded me how alive I've been since we met. How much healing I've already had. And I knew he was right. Since being with Steve I know I've changed. I know my confidence is returning. I know I'm free to be who I am. To be Diane. I had totally lost sight of that having married my first husband so very young and then immediately had four children. Only to divorce 20 yrs later. And the divorce was riddled with huge self esteem issues for me. About my femininity. About being a woman. A wife.

My ex-husband wants to be a woman - he's transgender - the main reason for our divorce. My world was thrown upside down and inside out during the years of our "separation" and then divorce. Time spent trying to figure out what I'd done wrong. And at some point during that time my ex suggested that my being fat and not wearing the right kind of clothes made him want to be a woman!! Ugh! Lies. I knew logically this was untrue and he apologised to me later about it but it left a scar. A huge scar. I took these things unwittingly into my marriage with Steve.

Thank God for this man. Steve. His patience with me. He's steadfastness. He's love. He's gentleness. Eventually I fell asleep. I feel better today. I know I have a long way to go. I know there are still demons that need exorcising. That's why I often talk about living in the moment. That's the reality. The now. The moment. Yes, I do want to lose weight. Yes, I know my fears were irrational. Yes, I believe Steve loves me and wants me no matter what I look like. Yes, beauty is skin deep. It's in the eye of the beholder. It's not about the shells that are our bodies. And yes, I do want to lose weight. But I can't lose weight in the hope that that will solve all my self-esteem issues. I have to lose weight because it's the right, healthy thing to do. My emotional and self esteem issues need to be dealt with now. As I am.

Do you know how strange this is? To have a wisdom about a problem and yet not be able to apply it? I have understanding and wisdom about my issues and yet I'm still somehow trapped by them. I'm going to keep praying for it all to be slowly chipped away. Layer by layer. Slowly. Gently.


Renee said...

Dear Diane:

I wrote a letter to my belly and the post is dated April 10, 2008 if you want to check it out.

Your ex did a terrible thing buy saying that to you. I looked at the pictures of you and I think you look beautiful in each one. I know it doesn't really matter what I say, but also don't judge yourself on one picture (taken at a horrible angle, etc. etc).

I never resolved the weight issue but I did resolve how I deal with it, as now I have stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer and the weight seems like a waste of my time.

I understand though and take care. Remember to be as kind to yoursel as you would to others and I know that you would be kind.

Love Renee

mystele said...

oh my goodness. our core hinderances are very similar, different reasons but very similar. di, i've been feeling so much the same lately. your man makes my heart melt. i am so thankful that God put him in your life.

you are such an endearing soul, so lovely. fill up your heart with truth. and thank you for being so honest in this post. my heart needed this today.

Sarah said...

Hi Di, Well done for writing your feelings down so clearly.I think writing things down gets rid of them to a certain extent or at least lets you distance yourself so you can take stock. It is easy to know what we should do but oh so hard to do it. I think at least if you know what you need to do then you have got a good chance though. Self-esteem is such an easily damaged thing,and it is impossible to keep the doubts at bay all the time. You have a beautiful loving family and that is fantastic. I hope you feel a bit better today.
Here's to 2009 being a great year. Happy New Year!

Heather said...

oh sweetie, I hope you're feeling better! We ALL go through this...these damn cameras and their unflattering angles ;) Im so happy you have someone there who loves you for who you are, we all need an angel like that in our lives~

Deirdra Doan said...

How wonderful to have a beautiful husband like yours....God is so good.

I have been reading a new encouraging...I will be blogging about it....It is so might enjoy it....

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul
John Eldredge, Stasi Eldredge

Lynne said...

Hi Di,
I found you through Sarah's blog and just had to look back through all your posts! What a lot you have been through, but you are a survivor. Not only that but you clearly bring happiness to others. Your warmth shines through your blog.
Wishing you all that you wish for yourself for 2009.

Anonymous said...

Hi Diane, you have recieved a fab blog award! Thank you for sharing your blog with us. Pleae visit my blog. All the best and blessings! Julie-ann

Mandy said...

I would definitely read the book captivating as someone suggested in the comments here.

Also, I don't think it's strange at all that you have the wisdom for what you need to do and yet you feel trapped. I feel the VERY same way in my own hang-ups and habits and hurts in my own life.

I've been reading a book called Life's Healing Choices, and it has helped me process some of this. It's what I'm loosely basing my Angry Homemade Noodle study off of. Anyway, I'm knee-deep, or perhaps shoulder-deep in trying to change some deeply rooted hang-ups in my life as well, and it is in NO WAY EASY.

I'm so glad you have Steve. I hope these comments from other women are encouraging and I pray that God will heal you and help you make the changes you so desire. You are indeed beautiful. It shows ever so clearly in your writing.