Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weight Part 3

Today was my weekly visit to my shrink. It was not as gut-wrenching as the past couple, but it was interesting. At the very least, going to her sort of has the effect of going to Weight Watchers -- a place where you go each week and report in on your progress, talk about what else needs to be done. Although with her, it's a little more intense.

I ordered a mini-exercise bike -- just the pedals, actually. You're supposed to be able to do it under your desk while you're working. So if I can't force myself to go to the pool, maybe I can force myself to pedal! Progress.

I cooked again last Saturday. I made it a little different this time. And I missed a couple of dinners -- not hungry Saturday night, got home too late from a memorial service last night. I will eat tonight and grocery shop tomorrow morning, although I probably won't need to buy the whole 9 yards with what's in my refrigerator. But the food situation is becoming the norm. Progress.

That memorial service, though. I've never seen anything like it. There were hundreds of people -- every elected politician (on the relative left, of course), union workers, advocates, family and friends. There was singing and a candlelight procession into the garden at Elizabeth Park. There were tales of Nancy's community organizing, her gardening, her marriage to John. And then there was a portion called Hero. And that's where I lost it. (Yes, this is relevant to my weight.) A wonderful song abut heroes accompanied by a slide show of heroes -- ML King, Rosa Parks -- you get the idea -- and then a picture of my beloved hero Ruth Pulda, whom I miss terribly. Her picture up there took me totally by surprise and so the tears came. And then Nancy.

I want to be a hero. My friend Gretchen says I am one, and I suppose anybody who does what they can to make the world a better place ought to be somebody's hero. But I will never have a memorial service like that. My family wouldn't have a clue who to invite or what I would want. And it's not the same if you have to plan it yourself. And really, I want to be a hero because I changed the world, not for a memorial service. After all, I will be dead, so the memorial service won't mean much to me. I want to be a hero because I touched YOU. Because your life is a little better for having crossed my path. I want to have mattered.

Is that grandiosity, ego speaking? Does everybody want to be a hero?

I take care of so many people. I am just now beginning to learn how to take care of myself beyond just caring for my illness, beyond being in therapy, but taking full responsibility for what I put in my mouth, how I look, what I weigh. I have recognized my mother's role. Now, it is time for me to focus on my own.

It is time to be my own hero.

Part of me feels that any session with my shrink that is not gut-wrenching is not fully productive. I should be making measurable, noticeable progress every week. I should be breaking through some barrier, some piece of my unconscious. I am afraid that, if I back off, I won't follow through. And so there is the truth of today: I do not trust myself to follow through if I ease off even the slightest bit.

And then my shrink sort of amazed me. She asked if I trusted her. Of course I do. No, she said. It took her 15 years or so to bring up the subject of my weight. She knew I was waiting for her to do so. I told her in our first visit that I had interviewed two women therapists. One was fat; one was thin. I chose the thin one because I thought the fat one would never be able to confront me about my weight. So I as much as told her that I expected her to bring it up, and she never did. So why now? I said I'm scary. She laughed and said yes, that's part of it. I am scary. But it's also where she was and where she is now. It felt weird that the conversation got to be about her. But she needed to sort of apologize. She said she had been remiss. I'm thoroughly convinced that issues get raised in therapy when we're able to deal with them. I am ready for this now. I wouldn't have been ready before. Each time I go back to therapy, I peel another layer off the onion. Trying to peel more than one layer at a time doesn't work so well. But she feels remiss, and I had to allow her that.

I need to trust myself. I will not turn back. And she needs to trust herself. She will not let me.

I am ready. And it's okay that this week wasn't that intense. I can trust myself. I can trust her. We are ready. And we are going down this road together. Jennifer


  1. Jen,

    I am so proud of you for taking on your weight and family issues. I am joining you in your battle. I don't think I ever told you, but I too have Crohn's (completely managed with meds though), Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglicerides, fibromyalgia, blah, blah, blah. I have good days and bad days.

    I had to have my knee replaced (May 11, 2010). My doctor told me if I didn't have the knee surgery and start moving I was going to have a stroke. I lived with pain everyday for years so I felt it was okay to sit down and eat half a cake, a pan of brownies, or a box of Girl Scout cookies. I felt I deserved it. Also, through therapy I realized my Italian mother used food as her way of showing her feelings throughout my life. (We have similar issues, although mine are not as severe.) So one day, I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself.

    I weighed 236 lbs when they weighed me in at the rehab hospital after surgery. Today I weighed myself and I'm . . . wait for it . . . 200.5!!! We'll get there, you and me. It will just take a little time.

    Love you.

  2. Jen, you and I have been through tougher things together. We made it this far; we're not going to stop now. Congrats on the great start with the weight loss. I'm just getting going. I hope to do as well as you are.

    Love you, too. J