Big Girls Don’t Cry

My heart hurts so much lately.

 

Sometimes I feel selfish because amidst watching my brother battle cancer, I’m wallowing in my own self-pity. It’s a never-ending battle for me to remember I am lucky not to have to face the things he’s facing right now versus feeling sorry for myself for so many reasons. Nevertheless, I’ve never been very strong, and I’ve often viewed myself as selfish, so here we are.

I hate having to face all this stuff alone.

Loneliness is the best depressant I know. Now, I know that most of you are going to respond by saying “You’re not alone! I’m always here! Just call me!” and I know and appreciate that fact. But the loneliness I’m referring to is not having a partner to share my life and subsequent sorrow with. Having to come home and cry silently to myself on the couch or in my bedroom because there’s no one there to talk to or just hold me until I fall asleep from exhaustion. The loneliness that haunts and breaks my heart day after day, never ceasing.

I have this innate need to care for other people and my whole life I’ve clung to those who needed me in some capacity to fill a void. I enjoy being the rock that others can stand on for support. I have never needed to be cared for myself, so much as I do right now. I just wish I had someone who wanted to be there for me. Someone who loved and cared for and chose me. It utterly breaks my heart not having someone, now more than ever. I worry so much that because of my weight, because of my depression, because of my inner impulse towards self-destruction, and attraction to men who will never want me, that I will end up alone, forever.

I’ll pause here briefly to say – I know. “No one can love you before you love yourself” or “It will happen when it’s meant to happen”. These are nice sentiments, and they may be true, but that doesn’t take the ache away. That does nothing to help me get through the next night that I cry myself to sleep or the next time I attend a friend’s wedding alone, watching everyone I know find their forever partners.

I think some of my fear stems from the fact that my aunt has been my biggest role model my entire life. I’ve never met someone I admired so much as her. I am an asshole and I find fault with everyone relatively easily and it was always hard to find with her. Most of the faults I found in her were selfishly driven — things like, she didn’t spend enough time with me or prioritize my graduations over her church functions. They were never about her character. She was such a strong, confident, genuine, LOVING, and truly special woman. Like me, she had been overweight her entire life, but I had never known anyone more beautiful than her. I used to love watching her get ready, curling her hair, doing her nails and makeup. I was captivated by her and everything she did.

She was not alone in the world and she had a husband who she loved with every part of her soul. I remember times that I would cry over boys who didn’t love me, and she’d tell me that God would give me someone, just like he gave her husband to her. She’d comfort me telling me how similar we were and that she knew what it was like to be overweight, but she knew how much her husband loved her. I think even though I’ve pretty much disliked her husband my entire life, I wanted to believe that could be true for me too because she was the person I wanted to become when I was older. I watched their marriage for years as an example of someone who looked like me finding “true love” and happiness.

To sit here now, a mere 7 months after she has died, and see that her husband has totally rid himself of her memory, their marriage, her belongings, their home – I’m left feeling so hollow. She passed away in January and I got a phone call in April that my uncle had feelings for another woman. He spent 45 minutes trying to convince me this was ordained by God and asked me to still love him, and I said maybe 4 words on the phone before he hung up. He hasn’t spoken to me since that day. A few days later, he left his wedding albums and my aunts wedding dress on my uncles’ doorstep without a word to anyone. He’s since become “Facebook official” with his new girlfriend, a woman who was not only married, but knew my aunt and called her a friend, and has plans to marry her from what I’m told.

What makes this all worse is to hear him speak about my aunt now. He has told her best friends that this all stems from the fact that he’s a man and he has sexual urges and because of the issues my aunt had (her cancer was originally some type of cervical/pelvic/ovarian cancer, though thanks to his manipulation and censorship I still don’t truly know which one) it had been a while since they had sex and so he needed to move on to fulfill that need. He would later go on to tell her friends that he only slept with my aunt of “duty as her husband”, not attraction.

To hear these things come from the man I watched my aunt devote her entire life and heart to is so painful I don’t know that I can even describe it with words. The love I have for this perfect woman knows no end and I am breaking apart to think of how she would feel if she heard him say these things. It’s sickening and beyond appalling. This is a man who claimed to be devoted to her, called her precious, and had the world convinced he found her to be beautiful and loved her. Here he is now, speaking the truth of his ugly, manipulative ways and showing the deceit that these words were.

Aside from the anger and pure heartbreak this gives me, it leaves me with fear and sadness for myself. If my aunt, someone so perfect, kind and beautiful, inside and out, could be fooled and discarded this way, what does that leave for me? People have told me to look up to her as an example, including herself, because of the love she shared with her husband, so what am I supposed to do now? Is this what overweight women deserve? Someone settling for us because of where we can take them in the world. To be discarded when we’re through providing service to a man who never really loved us but used us for what we gave?

When I think of everything that’s happened since her death, I am just left so defeated. I have never liked my uncle, and he wouldn’t be shocked to hear that. I’ve always found him to be arrogant and self-serving, and his views about people and the world have always gone against what I know to be true in my heart. But I loved my aunt, greatly, and I saw him as a father figure because she has and always will be the mother I didn’t deserve. It’s hard to explain how it’s possible to hate someone and love them at the same time, but I did, and his behavior hurts me as the daughter he referred to me as when he spoke about me in public. I’m not sure I ever believed that he thought of me that way – I think so much of what he said was a lie – but even as a niece, to watch your uncle discard your family so quickly is painful. Maybe it’s selfish or dramatic to extrapolate this situation into my own self-pity or sorrow, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t have an impact on me and my view of the world. It’s a crushing blow and I’m running on empty lately,.

So, I’m sitting here tonight. Sad and angry and alone. I’m making plans to visit friends in October for their wedding and though I’m so excited for them, I teeter on the edge of trying to run away from going because I don’t want to have to go alone, again, to another wedding, and watch everyone with their partners and pretend like I’m happy. I’m not happy. I’m terrified that if I don’t lose weight, I will spend the rest of my life alone or left with someone who settles for me and chooses me out of duty, not love. I am scared that I will always be second choice for someone. I have feelings for someone who isn’t married, or my best friend, or horrible for me for the first time in what feels like a lifetime and they weren’t interested in me and found someone else. I sit and wonder how much of that is because of my outward appearance? It seems like I always have such great personal chemistry with people but I’m never the girl they choose. I wish I knew why  – why am I never the one people want to love? Why am I always the one people want to talk to or laugh with, but never, ever, love.

When I think about this, I’m just so overwhelmed with emotion and everything else going on. I am scared for my brother’s future and wish I could hug my aunt and ask her how to get through it all. I am tired and broken and so incredibly alone for all of it.

And I know, I have the best friends in the world, who support and love me despite all my depressing posts and words. I have parents who’ve helped me move and take care of my brother and co-workers who’ve done so much for me.

 

But despite it all, I cannot escape the loneliness.

can’t sleep.

I can’t sleep.

Not surprising given my mind is running a mile a minute with thoughts and yet a bit surprising given the fact that I went to bed at 6:30 pm yesterday and slept through the night until work this morning.

I’m exhausted but I think my body is on its own schedule right now, so I suppose I’ll use the time I have wisely and try to process through some of this mile a minute thoughts (if only thinking burned calories, amirite?)

My last post had the highest views my blog has ever had. People seem to have a lot of thoughts about it and a lot have reached out to me in various ways to offer support, encouragement, advice, etc. and I appreciate all of the effort on everyone’s part. It means a lot to me. One of the biggest pieces of advice I continue to get is to go talk to someone so I suppose I will use this space here to address that in a broader context so that I don’t have to continue saying the same thing over and over again. So, here we go!

Honestly – I don’t want to.

I know that sounds like I’m being a brat but it’s true. Counseling is an intimate thing for me and I had the same counselor for 7 years while I was at Brockport and it took probably 4 years of me seeing her for me to actually trust her enough to show up consistently to work through my shit. Even after that, I would say 90% of our time together was me complaining. I’m a firm believer in counseling, I think it’s a beautiful thing, I encourage everyone to try it, and I know that it can be incredibly helpful. I literally became a counselor because I believed in it so much.

The problem is that in order for counseling to work you have to be willing to do that work, and I’m just not right now. I’m fucking exhausted. And honestly I’m sick of always having to go to counseling. I have gone for so much of my life because bad shit happens over and over and over and honestly I’m at the point where I’m just sick.of.it.

It seems like these two mindsets are conflicting, and they probably are, because HEY! I’m a gemini, that’s what we do – but in all seriousness, I don’t want to pay money to go talk to a counselor who is going to tell me things I already know and help me put together the puzzle behind why I’m feeling the way I am right now.

Let me break it down for you –

I have an incredibly deep rooted negative self-image, the product of childhood friendships that were toxic, an unhealthy and at times emotionally abusive relationship with my father, sexual assault, toxic relationships, medical issues, family trauma, medical trauma of my own and various other life events all wrapped up in a nice genetic predisposition for lack of serotonin production.

I have always felt this way about myself/my life/my achievements/my worth. I’m just usually a lot better at covering it up so that none of you worry about me and I don’t have to explain myself.

The problem is that I am utterly drained by grief right now, to the point where I am exhausting all of my energy just to get out of bed and go to work each day since losing my aunt. Thanks to a shitty guy, I was so wrapped up in bullshit when she died that I literally didn’t even mentally process her death and now I am slowly losing my mind at the thought of life without her. Because of this, I quite literally CANNOT keep up appearances and pretend that I love myself/have positive aspirations/believe I have a good future etc. I just can’t. I have no energy left to give to devote to that and so what the world is seeing is the full force of the inner thoughts I have had time and time and again for as long as I can remember.

I am not kidding when I tell you I do not remember a time when I loved myself. I do not remember a time when I believed myself to be worthy of love. I do not remember a time when I thought myself worth anything.

What I remember are times when it didn’t consume me. Thanks to medication, I’m able to go about my life and not have this become something that runs my day to day in a full force way.

Right now, is not one of those times.

And I’m not saying I’ll never go back to counseling or that I don’t think it will work for me – I’m sure that I will at some point when I’m able to. But I’m saying right now I am fucking exhausted and sick and tired of feeling like this day in and day out and I don’t want to have to go to another doctor and pay another medical bill to hear all the ways in which my thinking is distorted. I know it is. I know it’s me. I know that ‘only I can change how I respond to situations’ or whatever but my god can’t I just get a break from it every now and again?

I feel like there’s more anger coming through than anything else when in reality I’m just tired. I’m fucking angry too, but I’m just exhausted and I can barely get up in the morning let alone “look for the positives”. It’s a lot easier to say to people than it actually is to do sometimes.

Maybe it seems dramatic to some of you. Maybe it feels like I just want attention (to those who think that I say a big fuck you) but the only reason I’m even talking about it online is because this is the only thing I have the energy to do right now. I know that if I started talking about it in person I would actually lose it and scare everyone even more and I don’t want that so this is my solution. I am not physically capable of crying and breaking down in front of people in person because the shame of that feeling may actually destroy me. It’s hard enough facing people in person who’ve read this. No one has to read this. No one has to say anything but at least I can get things out of my head and put somewhere for a time. This is my temporary fix.

While I’m being honest, I just want to say that I know – I know I need help. I know I could make small changes. I know that being depressing and negative gets me no where and attracts no one – I know. But it’s all the more frustrating when the rational side of who you are knows those things and the irrational side has taken over and you can’t stop yourself from feeling or thinking a certain way. I know that the way to catch a boyfriend isn’t by telling the world how crazy I am but at the same time, do I even want someone who doesn’t know who I really I am? cuz this is it. 
And it sucks even more when you know you’re letting everyone down while it happens, too.

I’m even questioning my faith which I know is upsetting like half the people in my life and would completely upset my aunt, but again – I can’t help it. How am I supposed to believe in an all powerful, healing God when I watched her faith remain strong and unyielding in every dark moment of suffering, just to watch her die in the end and not get the healing she’s promised? She spent her whole live devoted to God and what hope do I have if someone like her wasn’t able to beat cancer (or even got it in the first place).

On top of that – I just sit and think about how I have wasted SO . MUCH. TIME. Going to school for a career that literally threw me away when she was diagnosed. Spending years romanticizing a toxic relationship into something I believe resembled love when it was actually the complete opposite. Sacrificing my time and energy into all these things that just blew up in my face leaving me with nothing but time spent – all time I could have spent with my aunt.

Time I could have spent finding the right career that would have let me have balance or the right relationship that would have let me get married and have her officiate my wedding and see me walk down the aisle. Things that would let me get healthy enough to actually have a baby and have her with me in the delivery room to hold her the way she held me when I was born.

But I can’t go back. I can’t get any of that time back. And now she’s gone, and I am still alone. Still lost. Still depressed and still trying to make sense of what the hell it’s all supposed to mean. And I know that feeling this way and being this negative won’t further me to anything in the future – but I don’t even care right now. I can’t care. I have no energy left to care because it’s all spent. All of it.

I want to be the person everyone says they know I can be. But I honestly don’t know how.
I appreciate everyone saying that I matter, or that I’ve left an impact on them somehow. It’s nice to hear. I think we don’t do enough of that until people are gone or hurting. We don’t tell them what they mean until it’s too late and I appreciate everyone who’s done that. I love you all so much and so deeply and I’m sorry that I’m not able to put that into words right now.

But I can’t pretend to not feel this way. I can’t pretend like I’m okay because I’m not. I can’t pretend like I want to go to a counselor because I don’t.

What I want, is to know what it feels like to be happy and not have to utilize medicine and therapy to get there for a change. What I want is to stop letting people down by feeling the way I do all the time. What I want is to sleep and wake up not feeling tired. What I want is to come home and have someone to share my life with. What I want is to have someone hug me and let me cry until I fall asleep and have that be okay.

Thanks for reading – Even when I don’t respond, I’m paying attention to what you say.

Body Image and Alllllll the Baggage it Brings.

If I’m being honest with  myself, a lot of my self-loathing is centered around negative body image and all that it brings with it. I’ve had a horrible relationship with food my entire life and some lousy genetics to go with it. On good days, I don’t actually think about what I look like, how big I am, or whether or not others find me attractive. I can go about my day to day and not feel like I’m burdened by my size or appearance. The problem lies in the bad days, which are far more frequent than the good. Those are the days where I feel utterly crippled by my size and completely disgusted with my appearance so much that I typically make matters worse by seeking comfort in my favorite foods.

Body image is something most people, particularly women, typically struggle with so I’m sure it comes as no surprise that it would be one of my biggest battles. What I think people don’t realize is the depth that my insecurities go when it comes to my day to day interactions. There are things I replay over and over in my brain on a loop that sometimes drive me absolutely insane and it becomes exhausting. When you struggle with disordered eating habits and negative self-image, you also feel an intense hatred and shame towards yourself for enabling the destructive behavior you hate. For me, that materializes in binge eating and making constant jokes about  my overeating, general slovenly nature and desire to be the “fat and lazy” person I assume people think me to be based on my appearance. So, let’s start at the beginning, folks….

I have struggled with body image my entire life. High school was utter hell for me trying to navigate how to be the kind of girl boys wanted to talk to and date, despite the fact that I wasn’t a size 2. I’m naturally a goofy person so I typically leaned into the humor thing to cover up my shame but it all came to a head when I was about 15 and slowly stopped eating normally and focused my attention on athletics to try and shed some weight. This is when my battle with food really started and I remember how amazing it felt when I lost like 45 pounds and guys suddenly paid attention to me, girls complimented me and I had to have all my marching band outfits taken in. (Marching band was cool – COME AT ME). I joined the field hockey team, didn’t eat breakfast or lunch and ate only peanut butter toast for dinner most nights after getting home from my games/practices/work/rehearsals etc. and suddenly I was wearing size 8 pants and feeling like I might actually be attractive.

My confidence was short lived, however, because like most young girls come to find out, I still wasn’t good enough for myself or for other people. I was a size 8 but not a size 4. My stomach wasn’t flat. I really couldn’t run without wanting to die (I have asthma, and heart complications I discovered late in high school) and despite being a healthy size, I had a group of friends who constantly teased me about things and called me names like “Big Hoss” and “Hoss the Plump” (now – your instinct will tell you to be mad at these people and say ‘they’re jerks!” and you’re not wrong – they were – but they were also 15 and idiots who hadn’t grown up yet. We were all idiots and jerks back then so go easy on them) and I can remember distinct moments that ultimately led to me having a more strained relationship with food throughout my time in high school.

I remember being so excited to wear a bikini one summer because I finally lost enough weight and wasn’t afraid to show my stomach and one day my friends and I all went swimming and we played chicken — you know, that game where the girls are lifted on the guys shoulders and fight till one drops — and when I got put on someone’s shoulders, another one of my friends was on the deck of the pool shouting “no God, my eyes” and making fun of my size. That was the first night I went home and tried to make myself throw up after eating. I remember crying and realizing it was too loud to hide from my parents so I cried myself to sleep and just hoped I could do better at not eating the next day.

The second time I tried to make myself throw up was after my boyfriend and I had gone shopping. We got home and laid all our clothes out on the floor to show his mom (because apparently that’s the cool thing to do) and he compared my polo shirt to his because his was a small and mine was a large and made a comment about how I weighed more than he did (I will remember our weight at this time until I die because this moment is so engrained in my memory – I weighed 142 pounds at the time, he was 137). I left his house that night and tried so hard to find a way to become bulimic, silently, so I could stop gaining weight and become a girl who wore a small t shirt size.

Me at my smallest weight
(One thing to note: I thought I looked fat in my senior picture…but I also thought that flipped out blonde hair looked good so what do I know?)

 

 

Fast forward and I got into a healthy relationship, found my first experience with what I would call my first love, and my battle with food was set aside for a while and I had started to gain a little more weight again. I didn’t care as much because I was happy and felt loved, but I did notice some stuff changing with my physicality and my gym teacher noticed too. That was when I discovered some issues with my heart and my doctor ordered me to stop doing extracurricular physical activity so that I could figure out what was happening with those. Turns out, I had some weird murmur thing and some issues with a signal, had to wear this freaky monitor thing blah blah blah but I ALSO had polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism which are notorious for causing weight gain and can run rampant without physical exercise to keep them under control. My first semester of college I gained like 100 pounds and my relationship with food got even worse. I couldn’t binge and purge because the purging part was too loud and difficult for me to accomplish (and if you don’t believe me, ask one of my sorority sisters what I sound like when I vomit – it’s insane how loud I am) so I fell into a depression about it and began to cope by binging all the time.

Since the beginning of college, I’ve had a binge eating disorder that I have struggled to cope with. I had these tendencies even as a kid, though. I remember my parents cleaning my room and questioning why I had all these spoons hidden near my bed because I ate peanut butter by the spoonful at night in secret. It got so bad once that I got the flu shortly after and threw up peanut butter and couldn’t eat it for like a year.

I eat horribly as it is – and I will be the first to admit that – but somewhere along the line my relationship with food became this toxic, shameful thing that I would use to cope with my loneliness, frustration, stress and sadness. I can remember times during grad school where I would eat an entire pizza and then instantly get sick not because I wanted to purge but because I physically made myself sick by overeating and I couldn’t stop. It was horrible and upsetting but I couldn’t bring myself to stop doing it, and it was only exacerbated by the fact that losing weight was much harder for me as someone who had a genetic predisposition to weight gain.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make by telling you all these stories? I’m glad you asked!

Body image is a horrible, horrible beast that has hung over my life for as long as I remember. Because of the way I struggled when I was younger, and a size 8 (and a gorgeous girl, if I might add) I look at who I am now, and I cannot even fathom how people could tolerate the person I’ve become let alone find it to be something worthy of love. If that girl got made fun of and had a hard time finding people who found her attractive, what hope does the woman I am now have?

(The woman I am now)

 

This is the way I think. Every. Single. Day.

What’s different now is that people are nice enough not to mock me to my face or tell me how they really feel because they recognize it’s probably rude to call someone a “pink whale”, regardless of how rooted in truth the statement is. My weight and subsequent shame surrounding my weight has held me back from SO MANY THINGS I would love to do, and I hate it so much.

When people want to go to shows, or concerts, or theaters, or theme parks, I have to worry about whether or not I will fit in a chair. Like – what? That’s insane, but it’s a very real concern I have now whenever I do an activity and it’s even more embarrassing at the event when my whole body is uncomfortably spilling over the sides of chairs and touching everyone around me and I’m hot and sweating and just generally a monsterous beast. I have to worry about how much I’m going to sweat if we walk around a lot, or if I’ll be in pain because I’m not used to doing that much physical activity. I hate it so much because when you’re with a group of other people you never want to be the one that holds other people back, so I have adopted this philosophy of just not going to avoid ruining the good time for others. If I don’t go – I can’t feel ashamed by the fact that I can’t fit in a chair. If I don’t go – no one has to go slower so I can keep up.

But in adopting this philosophy, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much and I’ve gotten in this cycle of just not doing anything. I don’t have fun at events because I’m so anxious about what will happen, or I simply don’t attend at all and feel isolated and alone. It becomes this vicious cycle, too, because I think about trying to meet someone or go on dates and realize I’m a really boring person. Not because I’m actually boring or want to be, but because my weight has literally isolated me from being able to experience life the way others do. I do the same, boring things, day in and day out, not because I necessarily want to, but because physically I am limited in what I am able to do comfortably. And don’t get me started on what my weight has done for the idea of sharing intimacy with another person…

Well, fine, since you asked – how can I possibly date anyone if I’m so ashamed of my body I don’t want to be seen in public let alone intimately? That fear has basically stopped my dating life in it’s tracks. You see, I’m not the girl who gets noticed because you find me physically attractive – this I know – but I am someone people generally like talking to and interacting with because as I mentioned before, I am privileged in that I’m smart, talented and humorous (I’m also SO modest) so I can be quite engaging when you get to know me. At any rate, despite the fact that people like to talk to me and find me to be interesting, I’m never the girl people want to date, and I believe a lot of that is due to my body image. I don’t look like the girl you want to bring home. I look like the girl you want to ask for advice or tell your problems to before you call your girlfriend to go out that night.

But more importantly – even if I was the girl you wanted to bring home – I wouldn’t be able to believe you. I wouldn’t know how to trust that you were genuinely attracted to me because I am so disgusted by myself that I can’t fathom someone else may have a different opinion than mine. And my body image has left me with such negative self-worth and isolation that I’ve inherently cut myself off from attracting other people. There’s nothing attractive about someone who’s self-conscious and self-deprecating. People aren’t attracted to the girl who’s always putting herself down. But I don’t know how to be anything else. I don’t know how to change my own opinion.

How do you learn how to love yourself?

I’ve never been able to answer that question and I think it’s ultimately led to a big hole in my life and is the fundamental reason I’m not happy.

Now, the response I will get here is likely “oh my gosh, you have so much to offer though! You’ll find someone. The right person is out there who will love you for you!” and I’m not saying that those aren’t kind things to say, or even false things, but also – it doesn’t make it suck any less.

I have not been in a relationship in like 6 years. I have developed this sarcastic, hilarious exterior that talks about how much I hate cuddling, and I don’t want your hot breath on my face when you sleep next to me, boys are too demanding, I don’t want to compromise my wants and needs to take care of someone else – and honestly, those are actually all true things – but it’s not representative of the way I truly feel towards relationships, it’s just easier to say all of that then be the pathetic single friend in your group of all married and committed couples who are buying homes and having kids together while you’re going home every night and re-watching the Office for the 13th time alone while you eat pizza and troll Instagram.

What I want, is to start a family and share my life with someone who is genuinely interested in me. I want to have a partner to grow with. Someone to invest my time into and support while they do the same for me. I want to be loved in a way that only a relationship can give (I know I have a lot of people who love me, and I’m so grateful for that, but this is a different need). I want to trust that someone truly wants me as their partner and loves the person that I am.

What shatters that whole desire is my body image. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to trust that someone could love me for me. Can they love my personality? Sure. That’s easy (until I become irrational and start tweaking out for no reason other than I’m a girl and the wind is blowing outside- that’s for another day, though). I don’t know that I’ll ever be happy with how I look and feel. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to make fun plans and not start a long chain of endless thoughts on the “what ifs” that will come with me doing that activity.

I just don’t know.

And I hope that someday this will go away. But for a girl who’s overweight, this is the biggest obstacle in my path right now. This is something that plagues my thoughts every single day in almost every activity I do.

Some days, it’s just really freaking hard to deal with.