Friday, 18 March 2016

Managing expectations

This week I've been thinking a lot about expectations. Not just the expectations a person has for themselves but for those around them. The general feeling I've managed to come up with is that we all just need to be nicer; to ourselves, to the people around us. To people we know and those who are just strangers on the street.

I went to visit Lucy on Monday and as I was sat on the monument inside seven dials in London dreaming about the oishii buns I would soon be gorging myself with I had time to do some serious people watching. I had been mean to myself pretty much all morning and I was being less than generous to the people around me. Overhearing parts of phone calls and imagining the most recent domestic they'd had with their partners, judging their choice of lunch when one chap with a (particularly delicious I'll admit) thai green curry sat down next to me, picking on people's clothing, the sound of their voice, the music they were listening to too loudly on their MP3 devices. And then I stopped, I looked up at the glorious blue sky above me with the fireball that had returned temporarily to confuse Londoners on their lunch breaks. I looked at a girl across the street from me hang up her phone call and could see what was the beginnings of tears forming as she hid beneath sunglasses and I thought 'everyone is fighting a war about which you know nothing'. I had been expecting things from people who were deeply at war and I was blaming them for that. Moreover, I was expecting things from myself that I just did not have the energy to provide and I was beating myself up about it repeatedly.

I went back to my first Weight Watchers meeting since October and I had expected my leader to have binned my card. It had been well over the 12 weeks 'lapse' period that leaders are meant to employ. I scoffed to my friend Elspeth, 'we'll see if Sue still believes in me by whether or not my card's still here'. I got to the box of cards and, what a surprise, my card was not in the box. I felt an instant disappointment. I was disappointed in myself, in how far I'd come and how far I was guaranteed to have slipped back. I laughed it off with the receptionist and got to the front of the queue fairly quickly. The first thing I said was 'I wasn't in the box...time for a fresh start I suppose!' I was NOT expecting Sue to turn around and say 'your card is in my car. I just had a feeling today when I was clearing them all out.' With that, she believed in me again. I believed in myself again. Got on the scales and, whilst I HAD gained weight since my last meeting, I'd lost three pounds since I'd last weighed myself. There is plenty to do, there can be no denying that, but sitting in that meeting being reintroduced to people who did not recognise me and being called upon to tell my story to those people I had yet to meet was the catharsis I'd needed. I vented my spleen, I confessed my sins and emerged ready to step up to the challenge ahead of me.

And yet, I still expect too much. Lucy tells me, and she's right of course, that this is because I'm an overachiever. I have always wanted to be the best at something. To be the one who is known for X and I am used to people celebrating my achievements as a result. And recently, I've had to take a step back from that and accept that I am not the best and that that is okay. That it's alright to not have control of my emotions 24/7. That the veneer I'd painted on of having everything together all the time does nothing but cause pain in the long run and that I am incredibly fortunate to have so many people that I can fall back on when I need to be supported. There is no weakness in asking for help. There is no weakness in admitting that everything is not perfect, far from it even.

Learning not to expect too much for myself is going to be a long, hard process. What I can do now is manage my expectations of others. And so, I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I didn't let you in or if I made demands because of my needs, my wants without accepting that that may not be what you needed or that you were giving all that you could at the time. I am sorry that I am selfish and occasionally unkind and that at times I am guilty of being very much blinkered by my own tunnel vision. Going forward, I intend to be very much more forgiving of the individual battles we are all undertaking at any one moment. I promise to be more accepting of my own failings but to stop letting those failings hold me back. Today, I looked down at the arrow tattoo on my wrist and remembered that I have overcome far greater obstacles than the challenges I currently face but that the key to all of those victories was my own positivity, my personal belief that it could be done.

And it can be done.
Everyone is fighting a battle:

Sunday, 13 March 2016

'In Search of Self'

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with depression. I started seeing my therapist, Christine, and over the next year and a half of my life my weekly sessions with her would see me talking through everything.  Mean girls at schools, boys, my weight, boys, my family life, boys. Together, I got my life back together and was (generally) happy. I've revisited her a number of times as I grew from a teenager to a woman and needed a little guidance and a push in the right direction. The reason I'm thinking about Christine is that she gave me a book when I finished working with her in my teen years. The book was called 'Dibs in Search of Self' by Virginia Axline. To my discredit, I never read it. Today, I found the book whilst I was sorting through some old things. With a deep sigh I thought 'I have lost myself recently'.

The reasons for this unfortunate statement are numerous and there is no one thing that can explain it. In terms of weight loss, which is the primary reason this blog exists, I have completely lost my way. I say that with some shame, with a good deal of pain and with a very 'anonymous' attitude that the only way this can change is for me to accept that, acknowledge it and (critically) move forward. Coming back to my blog is a way for searching for the self that I have misplaced- temporarily. The way is not shut (sorry, Lord of the Rings reference that had to happen- my fingers just typed it, honest) there is ALWAYS a way back to yourself and there will never be a reason for me to give up on who I am and, importantly, who I want to be.

So, who do I want to be? What do I want to be?

I want to be:
Secure in myself and my abilities
Progressive (I never want to stay stuck again)

I have spent many months, too many to count or to even be sure where my loss of self started, thinking 'you've done so well, it doesn't matter that you're just staying where you are'. That attitude turned into a 'you've done so well, what does putting on a couple of pounds mean in the grand scheme of things?' Neither of these statements are a bad thing, far from it. I'm thrilled that even though I've been up and down and up and down since...October?..I have not gone so far off the rails that I do not feel capable of pulling myself back. But, what neither of these statements focus on is the importance of moving forward. This is not just about my weight loss. Staying static for a time is not bad, but allowing that status quo to continue for too long is unacceptable. I had become uninterested in progress at my running, in the gym, on the scales, hell my love life if we must. With that status quo I have become more and more lazy and lost more and more of my get up and go attitude, my tenacity and my determination. I knew that things had gotten bleak today when I walked out of Hotel Chocolat with an Easter egg that I intended on eating...two weeks before Easter.

So, moving forward I need to make a few declarations of my self to find my way back to the road I was carving out for myself.
I go back to my first Weight Watchers meeting since October (I cannot believe it's been so long) on Wednesday. I need to go and air my grievances and recommit to myself and my group.
I recommit to Heather (if she's talking to me). That hasn't been too long (two weeks I think...maybe three) but I'd stopped going to the gym between sessions and as such, little progress has been made.
I recommit to making my fitness about my happiness. The weather is finally changing and I can go run (jog, fatgirl, run) outside just for the enjoyment of using my damn legs and breathing in the fresh air.
I recommit to tracking. EVERYTHING.
I recommit to my jars. I have been so remiss on my jars, I was 22 pebbles out of date...
I recommit to myself. Full stop. End of sentence. That is all there is to it.

And I read that book.