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Category Archives: fat

I’m cheating on my therapist (part 2)

You might want to read part 1 first. It’s kinda long…

Session number four (at least of the “active” sessions) started out with V talking to me about being bullied again. But this time, it was my grandmother that we were discussing. During my very first conversation with V, we were talking about those “resource” people and V was asking me about extended family like aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I told her that I loved my grandmother very much, and that she was a big part of our lives growing up and into my adulthood. But that I had some mixed feelings about her, because she was always harping on my weight.

And like some weird television show, I had one of those epiphany moments. I realized very clearly how abusive my grandmother had been to me all my growing up years. How much she had damaged me, hurt me, bullied me, abused me. There was no physical abuse. She loved me. But she hurt me so much.

She compared me to people around us, other girls, other women. She told me I’d never be happy if I didn’t lose weight. She told me that I wouldn’t get a husband if I didn’t lose weight. She took me to her aerobics class as often as she could (very often in the summer when I was out of school), where I was forced into working out with other women of all shapes and sizes. Then she pointed out how I couldn’t keep up with this woman or that woman. She compared me to her (younger) friend’s daughter, a girl who was two years ahead of me in school. Pointed out how slender and in-shape that girl was, how smart she was, how happy she was.

She watched what I ate when we were together. She pointed out what I shouldn’t be eating. She encouraged me to deprive myself, and to eat only the things she gave me. She chastised me when I ate too much, or pointed me away from the cookies or the cake that she had baked for others in the family.

I was the only girl in my family, the youngest of four. I was also the only one of the kids who was overweight. I snuck food because I felt deprived of the food. Oh don’t get me wrong, my mother was watching me, because she, too, was unhappy that I was overweight. But she was more subtle about what she did and said. And she didn’t do the overt comparisons that my grandmother employed.

I went to fat camp, subsidized by my grandparents, because I know my parents couldn’t have afforded it at that time. It was a spectacular failure. I might have lost five or ten pounds at the time–the diet was very restricted and the activities were very forced on us–and I gained it all back very quickly…and then some, I’m sure. And my grandmother pointed it out, reminded me how hard I worked at the camp, and how I was letting it all go to waste.

I loved my grandmother very much. She loved me. She had her own weight issues, her own body image issues…I know this affected her and how she treated me. I know it affected her and affected my mother as well. That doesn’t mean what she did to me all those years wasn’t painful and damaging. As an adult, I understand where it came from for her. I’m working hard to separate her as the woman who loved me from her terrible behaviors toward me. I’m trying to remember that I’m NOT damaged. I am whole and I am okay.

My grandmother is only part of the reason that I never feel like I’m enough. Good enough. A good enough daughter. A good enough sister. A good enough wife. A good enough friend. I work ultra-hard, go the extra mile, do all the little things and the big things…and yet even when people are appreciative, I worry that it wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t enough.

My mother had three boys. All she wanted at that point was a little girl. A daughter, who she could dress in lace and ruffles, who would wear sweet pink dresses and play with baby dolls, who would love her tiny tea set and be the epitome of every dainty little girl. I was none of that. I hate lace and ruffles–they made me itch–and I wasn’t overly fond of pink. I hated dresses. I never once picked up a baby doll and I totally ignored the expensive and lovely tea set that I’m told my uncle bought for me at my mother’s urging. I played with the boys’ toys, with the boys themselves as often as I could work my way into their play-time, and I wore pants and tee shirts. And I was far from the dainty little girl she had hoped for. Very very often, my mother would speak of me, and then tell people all those things…I waited so long for a baby girl, I wanted to dress her in lace and ruffles, I wanted to see her play with baby dolls and tea sets. She never wanted any of those things… Over and over my mother would tell people of my failures. My mother loves me and I love her. If you read any of my blog posts, you can’t miss that. We’re amazing friends. I’m in awe of her. I’m deathly afraid of the day I will lose her. AND she made me feel like I wasn’t enough while I was growing up. I wasn’t who she had expected me to be.

I try so hard to be enough. I’ve been bullied and abused and put down for who I was. I only ever wanted to be loved.

As we were talking about my grandmother–and in part about my mom–V asked me to picture myself as a child. I could immediately remember my little bedroom. The walls were painted a pepto bismal pink, my white iron daybed mattress covered in strawberry shortcake sheets (which were in part pink), the white dressers and desk that had once belonged to my mother, the deep cranberry wool carpeting that my grandparents had passed down to me from a previous house. The full length mirror on the back of my door. The tiny little black and white television on my dresser, under the shelves that held the dolls my grandparents brought for me from every trip they took out of the country (I had never asked for dolls, they just bought them for me). The window air conditioner an uncle gave us for my bedroom. V asked me what that little girl was thinking, and I blurted out she just wants to be loved….she doesn’t want to be alone.

In previous sessions with T, I didn’t really understand talking to the little girl that I used to be. I’m not sure why this time it was more accessible. Maybe because of the revelations I had about my grandmother and my mother. The thing is, I don’t know how to make it better for that little girl. I was alone. I felt unloved. I’m not alone as an adult. I have a wonderful relationship with my mother, I have a good relationship with my father and my brothers. My husband loves me very much. I have a very good friend whom I’ve known since second grade. And yet I still feel not good enough. I just want to feel good enough.

I don’t know what’s going to come next. I was supposed to see V again next week but I’ve canceled the appointment due to my mother’s health. That doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about all of this when I have free brain time, but I’ve been pretty occupied with my mother’s appointments, her care, and taking care of her personal and business issues. I have another appointment scheduled with V in a couple of weeks. If I can manage the appointment, I will. In the meantime, I’m still seeing T, so maybe I’ll be able to address some of these thoughts with her. We’ll have to see how it goes, considering everything else happening at the moment.

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Another detour

This trip has been exhausting and I haven’t really even left my house. Technically, I did the three hour tour, but otherwise I’ve spent most of my time housebound. Not to say I’ve been immobile because my anxiety over a blood clot has not allowed that. But walking around the first floor of my house (with Butthead following me around) is not exactly doing much of anything. I have otherwise read, watched television, or played Two Dots on Hub’s iPad.

I did make another detour. Sunday I was feeling pain in the back/side of my left calf. I was trying not to be too concerned about it, but not succeeding very well. By Sunday night, I was unable to sleep because of the fear of a blood clot. My legs have been bothering me a lot (walking around in my “house slippers” has probably not been the best idea), in all areas, mostly due to my chronic myofascial pain. But this pain I was having in my left calf felt different. It was a burning, stabbing feeling. I saw no redness, no swelling, found no heat on the skin, but I knew not all those things had to be present for it to be a blood clot. Monday morning, Hub was supposed to go to work but I made him stay home and in turn he made me call the surgeon’s office. I was considering the ER to have them ultrasound my leg, but Hub didn’t want to sit there for ten hours waiting to be seen if we didn’t have to.

So I called the doctor’s office and left a voice mail. One of the nurses called me back (they’ve all been very nice, despite me feeling like a whiny baby) and told me she’d write me a referral for a doppler sonogram of my leg and email it to me. I had to find a radiology center to go to on my own, since we’re in completely different counties. So I called the local imaging center nearby and the nice scheduling person got me in that afternoon. I went to the appointment and they took me only about ten minutes late. But the lady doing my doppler sonogram ultrasound thingy was not very nice. She seemed annoyed to be dealing with me and despite me attempting to be nice (as my heart pounded and my PVCs bumped in my chest), she had no interest in returning the favor. I’m not saying she was mean, but she certainly had no interest in being kind or compassionate. Hub reminds me later that it could have been anything–an argument with a coworker, a crappy boss, a sick child at home–but all I knew at the time was that it felt very uncomfortable and I worried whether she was really doing the ultrasound properly.

I asked politely if she could tell me anything and she said no, that they’d send the results over to my doctor’s office later that afternoon (it was 3pm by the time I left). I went home and tried not to cry, but trying to convince myself that if there was some huge blood clot, they’d be required to send me to the ER without delay. So I waited for my doctor’s office to call…and I waited…and I waited. And the office closed. And I spent the evening bound up in PVCs and fear, repeatedly looking at my calf and waiting for some sign of swelling or heat or redness.

Tuesday morning before I even got out of bed, I asked Hub for my laptop and I logged into my email to see if there was an email from the doctor’s office, but nothing. On a prayer, I signed into their healthcare portal and found the test results sitting there (they hadn’t been there the day before). There was a single sentence from the doctor’s office saying “tests came back normal”, but I opened the report anyone to read it carefully. Beyond it saying the report indicating they saw nothing abnormal, they did indicate the test was limited because of my “body habitus”. Meaning, I was too overweight for them to perform the test appropriately. I’ve have ultrasounds of my heart, of my stomach, of my pelvis and I’ve read EVERY SINGLE REPORT and never seen that phrase written before. Are my legs heavy? Yep, they are, and I am well aware of that issue. But what does that have to do with the work they’re performing? There’s no more fat on my legs than there is on my stomach, so I was kind of upset. And I know she pressed really hard on my legs with the ultrasound thingy, because later I was feeling the residual pain from that.

I’m really tired of being anxious about this shit. And I’m tired of the PVCs that are hanging around. My incision is getting slightly better, but there are ends of “fishing wire” sticking out, which I assume are the internal stitches poking through the skin. I’m able to get up and down for the most part, and I finally walked down all our steps today (thank goodness for our elevator) but haven’t walked UP them yet. My legs still hurt and that stabbing burning pain in my calf still comes and goes. On top of all that, my neck is killing me (I can’t turn my head to the right) and my back hurts and my arms are achy. I’m overcompensating for my abdomen with all my other muscles and they’re ALL complaining. I asked the nurse about going to see my massage therapist but she wanted me to wait until after my appointment next week with the surgeon.

Oh, and the headaches are hanging around, which is very frustrating. They feel like pressure headaches and I haven’t been able to get relief from them for a couple of days. That, too, makes me nervous.

Positive note, I did go with Mom to her radiation appointment today. Unfortunately, while she was in her treatment my stomach decided to be unhappy, but I managed and made it back home to rest. I had a little trouble getting into and out of their big SUV, but I didn’t injure anything, so I guess that’s good. Friday I go to see T, but I don’t think I’m ready to drive yet, so Hub is going to take me.

This has been so difficult. Even thinking I would have trouble after the surgery, I wasn’t really prepared to deal with all of this. I hope it ends up being worth it…not that I can go back anyway. I wish I knew when I’ll be able to get past these concerns over blood clots. And also, making myself go through this sort of “exposure therapy” was really rotten. I don’t like it at all.

 

 

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Decide to stop

I wish I could. I wish I could just decide to stop worrying. If I could even just decide to stop worrying about ONE THING. I wish I could.

I’m nauseous a lot these days. I thought it was the hormones that did it, but the pills are over with and so is my cycle. Why am I still nauseous? My stomach is less than happy, but that’s not terribly new for me. Today I’m sitting here waiting for Hub to come downstairs to lunch and I get jaw pain. I feel nauseous and I get jaw pain. Past couple of days my arm has been bothering me. My left arm. So we all know what those things mean, right? My heart. There’s got to be something wrong with my heart. I’ve been to the cardiologist, and he’s told me he sees nothing wrong (other than these fucking PVCs). It’s a recent visit, so what could have changed between then and now. Not much, I suspect. But still, my health anxiety ramped right up like it was never gone. Not that it was GONE, just that I’ve worked really hard to try to deal with it. I haven’t yet worked myself into full panic mode here, but that doesn’t mean feeling the way I’m feeling now is easy. It sucks.

I have this imbalance issue. If anyone has ever been on a boat and then when you get back onto land, you feel like you’re still on the boat. The ground under you feels like it’s moving and uneven. You walk like you’re drunk sometimes. For most people, their balance system readjusts soon after being on land (soon ranges in length of time, but for most people their system DOES readjust). For me, I had no boat ride, I just got the imbalance. It never really goes away, but sometimes it’s less noticeable than others. And sometimes it’s way more noticeable. Since the hormone jump, I’ve been dealing with it daily, walking down hallways and holding onto the walls. Always touching something nearby to ground myself from falling over. I don’t usually fall, but it often feels like I’m going to. It also makes me feel weak and out of control of my body. It’s not fun. This isn’t a health anxiety thing…I know what this is (or at least what the doctors tell me it is) and I’ve lived with it for 15 years. But like I said, sometimes it’s way less noticeable. Right now, very noticeable. It affects a lot of what I do and how I do it. This is really part of the reason I stopped driving, for fear that this imbalance turns into vertigo (which it has a couple of times) and for fear that the imbalance will affect my ability to react while I’m behind the wheel. I have driven the past couple of weeks, but not much. I would really hate to lose that accomplishment.

I feel like I’ve fallen backwards, both in how I feel physically as well as mentally. I know how clearly one is connected to the other. It’s easier to feel good mentally when you feel good physically. My challenge is how to disconnect the two and learn to feel good mentally even when my body doesn’t play along.

Does anyone else rock forward and back when they feel anxious? Or jitter their leg(s)? I have always rocked to try to distract myself from the anxiety. The leg jitter? That’s more to get the excess energy out, I think. I’ve been doing both more often, which is another sign that my health anxiety is getting the best of me.

Why do I worry so much about my heart? My parents and maternal grandparents have (had) no heart issues. My father’s parents both died of heart problems, but it was either when I was very young (too young to understand) or before I was born. I don’t know why the focus is there. I’ve always been overweight and I wonder often if I feel like I’m punishing myself for being overweight by worrying about my heart. Like being fat equals dying of a heart attack. I don’t know. I wish I could figure out how to forgive myself for being fat to see if that would help me let go of the health anxiety. But again, that’s something I am working on…

 

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Halter top treasure

Today was my day to see the cardiologist. Fun times!

Hub went with me. The nurse was very nice. No comments about my weight–which went up since I was there two years prior–and had a really nice, fun, attitude. She took my blood pressure with an automated unit, which of course came back high. I explained why (white coat syndrome and automated unit), and she said they would take it again. She did an EKG, which she seemed to have trouble with, then did the BP again with the same automated unit. The reading was even higher. She left us and the doctor came in about five minutes later.

He was the same nice man I remembered. Even-keeled, to the point, but listened when I spoke. He asked what I was there for and what had changed recently (like stress). He listened to me breathe, listened to my chest, neck, and legs. Then he said he wanted me to wear a halter monitor to make sure it was just PVCs happening. He also said they wanted to run another EKG because the first one seemed to have some “artifacting” on it. (“Static” said Hub.) He also said if the halter monitor said it was just PVCs, he didn’t see a reason to do another stress test and/or echocardiogram that had already been done two years ago. He also took my BP manually, and it came back closer to what I normally have at the end of an appointment (not quite as good as at home, but not as bad as when I initially arrive to a doctor’s office).

So a different nurse came in and said she was going to re-do the EKG and also do a rhythm strip (I almost asked if the rhythm was going to get me, but she didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor and Hub later said he thought she was too young to get it). I asked what a rhythm strip was, which she said checked the rhythm of my heart via the same EKG machine. So I thought she was going to do the two tests at one time, but she ripped off the EKG paper and said, “Let me go show this to the doctor!” and disappeared. I gave Hub the stink-eye and said, “She’s freaking me out, you realize that?” He told me not to worry yet, that he didn’t think she sounded concerned as she left the room. In the hallway I heard her mumbling and overheard the doctor say, “looks normal”. So when the nurse came back in she said the doctor said the EKG looked normal and he didn’t want to go ahead with the rhythm strip. But still yes to the halter monitor.

So I told the nurse, “You really freaked me out.” She told me I should have been more freaked out over the first test, which came out pretty squirrelly. FAB-U-LOUS. But apparently there was some issue and the machine reporting those artifacts. She said that sometimes happens when you move or something. Which I did not do, but whatever. She outfitted me with the halter monitor, told me to put my bra and shirt back on, then said I had to wear the same bra for the entire 24 hours. Even to bed. I nearly gagged, because I hate this bra, but I worked it because I knew they want me to take my bra off for the EKG and this was the easiest one to take off. So now I’m stuck in this piece of crap, which is uncomfortable and rubs me. Plus, the pads for the EKG leads are in TERRIBLE places. They hit my underwire area every time I move or breathe, and the one in between my breasts is kind of up on one breast and it itches every time I move.

WTF people, this thing is so uncomfortable, how are you supposed to be normal wearing this thing? Plus, I have to press a button and record information on a piece of paper every time I feel “anything related to my heart”. For the first six hours of sitting around doing not-a-damn-thing, I got nothing to write down. In the last 2 hours, I’ve had to record seven times. I find it somewhat stressful to not pay attention to the potential PVCs, and yet be prepared to grab the little unit and press the damn button when I DO feel the PVCs (or anything). I have to find the stupid little button, press it, then check the time on the unit to record on my paper. UGH.

I have no idea how I’m going to sleep. A) stupid bra and B) stupid lead wires and C) stupid sticky EKG pads. I get to wear this until 10:30 tomorrow morning, then I get to rip it off. And then I can’t return it until Friday because their office is closed tomorrow and Thursday. Sheesh. And if I don’t return it on Friday, they charge me $2000. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Yeah, so our plan of going to the doctor this morning and going to the movies this afternoon (Hub took the whole day off) was a bust. No way I was paying $10 for a (matinee) movie ticket while being all kinds of distracted by this damn machine and it’s stupid wires and sticky pads. Ech. We watched a movie at home just to try to help me pass the time, which I guess it did. But the thing is, wearing this thing makes me feel sick. Not literally as in ill, but as in there is something wrong with me. Like the power of suggestion? I didn’t want to move around or do anything, and I started feeling not so good. My stupid brain.

Did I also mention there’s a timer on the halter monitor thing? So yay, I only have 15 1/2 hours left. Woo.
(Also, I’m hella tired from not sleeping well last night, and I’ve had a headache all damn afternoon.)

 

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Still here

I’m still here. It’s been a busy couple of weeks as we prepped for our charity event. Then immediately following, I was with my Mom as she went for another appointment to find out about the results of her CT scan (good!) and to get blood work drawn for the trial she is participating in. I got to see the nurses again, and in particular give one of them a giant hug for taking such good care of my mother through all of her infusions. We were lucky to get the same nurse for 4 of the six infusions, and I say lucky because she was really fabulous. I hugged her a couple of times and tearfully thanked her, and then I gave her a hat that I crocheted for her. But I reminded her it was a winter hat, not a chemo hat…and that I hoped it would remind her of the wonderful work she does for the people who come into her care.

On a slightly more BLEH note, I’m unhappy. In therapy with T, I’m telling her that I feel stuck because I don’t want to fail. If I don’t pick a path, then I don’t have to think about failing. I’m tired of failing. I have a whole list of failures behind me, and when I think of what to do next, I just feel like I can’t take one more failure. So if I don’t DO anything, I don’t fail. T wanted me to sit and think of the good things that came from my “failures” because none of them are really failures, they are lessons learned. I’m still in a place where I disagree, so I guess I’m not ready to broach that with myself. So T suggested that she thinks I’m afraid to hope…that this is what is underlying the failure. But I don’t know what it is I’m afraid to hope for? Not failing? Ech.

Another failure is that I’ve gained a bunch of weight. From the time we adopted Butthead in May of 2013, I’ve been slowly gaining back the weight I lost when I was sick and not eating in fall of 2012. I’d maintained a 45 pound weightloss right up until we adopted Butthead. Then I was so stressed and wanting some kind of pleasant distraction from her that I ate. I slowly gained ten pounds. Then ten more. Then when I got that crappy cold a few weeks ago, I ate so much (salty) pre-made soup and broth and stuff, that I gained more weight. I thought it would ease off when I stopped eating that stuff, but instead I’ve been snacking on junk. I think it’s because I’m not wanting to deal with stuff in therapy and eating is a distraction from that, too. Plus, the release of a lot of time spent focusing on my mom’s infusions is gone, too. Now her recovery is stretched out over months and months, and I’m at a loss as to how to figure out my own life again. And I feel like crap. I feel bloated and uncomfortable, which is making me unhappy and cranky. I’m also having some pain flares, so that isn’t helping me either. Bad dreams, not sleeping. What else can I add to my list? Oh yeah, and a couple of anxiety issues, mostly overnight or late at night when I should be sleeping and instead am sitting up feeling anxious.

Hub is stressed with stuff going on at work and I feel like there is so much falling by the wayside here at home. Which stresses me out even more. So I’ve been avoiding everything. And eating. And wondering what the hell I’m going to talk about at therapy on Friday, because I have no answers. No path. No idea what direction to go in. Just stagnant and stressed.

Woo hoo. NOT.

 

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This body

Last night I was not able to fall asleep, so I started working on my thankfulness list. I don’t do it every night anymore, but I still do it when I need the reminder. Or when I need the distraction. Last night was probably both.

One of the things I decided I was thankful for last night was my body.

This body. The one I’m in right now. The only one I have. The one I claim has rebelled against me for years. That has failed me. Yes, that body.

This body, that is too round, too fleshy, too fat. Too dimply. Too hairy.
This body that requires effort to haul around, with muscles that are too tight, joints that that are too painful.
This body that has acne and scars and rosacea.
This body that has allergies and vertigo, migraines and imbalance.
This body with feet that are too big, ankles that are too chunky, thighs that are too wide. Hips that are too wide. Shoulders that are too wide. Butt that is too big.
This body that has hair that is too coarse, too wavy to be straight, too straight to be curly.
This body that has fingernails with ridges, that split long-wise when you sneeze.
This body that has one patch of skin on one hand that itches unbearably but looks completely normal.
This body that has skin on both hands that are dry and crack and bleed all year ’round, that make people ask me what’s wrong with me.
This body that has one eye that doesn’t move right, so that I can’t see to my left without turning my head.
This body that has saggy arms and saggy jowls.
This body that has a stomach that is too big and sticks out to the front like I’m pregnant, but is narrower on my sides than my hips which means I can never find jeans that fit.
This body that has breasts that sag. That don’t fit into bras properly. That need to have extra padding (that I don’t freaking need) to hide my nipples.
This body that has rolls and creases.
This body that has sebaceous cysts. Sometimes in bad places. Sometimes in REALLY bad places.
This body that has trigger points and muscle spasms.
This body that has tinnitus and ears (and cheeks) that burn and turn red-purple from being flushed for no reason (and/or because of allergies).
This body that has stomach issues. Constipation. Diarrhea, bloating, gas. A bladder that keeps me awake at night after drinking less than 4 ounces of water. Or no water at all. (WTF)
This body that doesn’t allow me to sleep. Or get rest. Or feel refreshed. Or find relaxation.
This body that houses my anxiety and my depression.

This body that allows me to help take care of my parents. My husband. My brothers. My aunts and uncles. My dogs. My friends.
This body that makes soup for my mom that is the only thing she can eat the Monday, Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday that follows her infusions. That makes ice cream which still tastes good to her even when the chemo messes with her taste buds.
This body that carries me through the day so I can crochet chemo hats for patients who need them.
This body that moves me from place to place. That gives me the ability to raise money for charities that are important to me…charities that bring help and healing to many people.
This body that permitted me to write books that touched other peoples lives.
This body that houses my brain. And my heart. And my soul.

I want to love this body, I really do. I want to ignore all the first list and concentrate on the second smaller list…I’m trying. Some days it’s not so bad. Last night when I was trying to remember to be thankful for this body of mine…in the dark of night when I’m trying to ignore how loud and fast my heart rate feels/sounds, saying how I am appreciative for this body of mine felt worthwhile and important. Today, when I’m standing in front of the mirror and I see my naked body, it’s only the first list that crowds my mind.

Without this body–MY BODY–I am nothing. I need to remember that. I need to love my body no matter its form. BECAUSE of its function.

 

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Me speaking to me

My last appointment with T (last week) was partially about Robin Williams, as I felt like it was interesting how it had affected me. RW was a part of my entire growing up years, both in film and on TV, and I was sad. Sad for him and sad for his family. But I also found it interesting how people responded–more about his life and his humanity than how it ended–so we talked about that a bit. Then we talked about how I’ve been kind of stuck on watching (or mostly listening) to Frozen. The songs seem to touch me in some way, and T encouraged me to continue to listen to the songs and “let them do what they need to do for you.” I don’t really like the animation–it in fact is rather offensive to me–but the songs are hitting me right now. So any time I have nothing on the television to watch, I put Frozen on and while I’m doing other things, I enjoy the songs. And it isn’t just “Let it go” that works for me, it’s almost all the songs…even though I don’t necessarily know why.

Once we were finished talking about that, we started talking about my previous homework. T has asked me to listen to a couple of specific Miles Davis songs, to see if that kind of music would move me, but again it was a bust. I see music so different from her (and others, I’m sure) because it’s more a “friend” or companion for me. It’s not about the emotions of the song, or even the words…it’s just about the companionship. I always have something going in the house–the TV or music–because I don’t particularly like silence. Sure, there are times when I will be in silence, but most of the time I like some kind of noise when I’m alone. I have tinnitus, and the way I chose to deal with that is that I keep noise on all the time to keep the tinnitus at bay. So television and music is just background noise…company, that is all. So finding the emotion she is looking for just won’t work for me.

We talked a little about the issues I have with eating–thinking about it so much, and how I not only pre-think it, but then I think about it as I’m eating and after I’m eating–and how that was going. I asked her if I’d ever told her about my grandmother. My grandmother loved us all, and was a huge part of our lives. Being the only girl, I got a lot more of her attention than the boys did, which was not always a good thing. My grandmother had her own weight issues, as did pretty much every woman in my family and in my life. As I was really in the hardest time of my life, pre-adolescence and etc, she was learning how to eat healthier and exercise. She went to extremes (which was “normal” for lots of people during that time period) on a low-fat diet, trying to control her cholesterol and blood pressure and weight. She went to extremes working out as well. And she talked about everyone around her, family and friends and strangers. She talked about their weight and how it fluctuated, and she talked about their size and the food they put in their mouths. And I was always overweight, so she put her hooks into me and tried to “help” me. She took me with her to her aerobics classes, and told me I needed to lose weight and eat differently. This went on for years and years. I never lost weight because I snuck food and I ate the things I wanted to eat when she wasn’t around. I hated dealing with her during those years, even though I loved her so much. I wanted to please her, but I hated that she hated how I looked and who I was. As a child, I had no idea that it was HER who had the issues and that she was projecting them onto me. At about fourteen, maybe a little younger, I was out with my grandmother and my mom. We were shopping for bathing suits for my grandmother because she was headed to Florida for the winter and while there she taught water aerobics to her elderly community every day. So she needed multiple bathing suits and she wore them out. So we went to Loehman’s, which if you don’t know, they were a discount store and their changing rooms were just a big open room where everyone could see everyone. We found her a couple of suits to try and went into the room to keep her company while she tried them on. After she bought stuff and we were back in the car, my grandmother immediately starting talking about some of the other women in the room. How heavy they were, how they didn’t look good in what they were trying on and if they just lost weight they’d look so much better.

I got so mad. I was always the good kid, I never talked back and I clung to my mother all the time. I never stood up to anyone, I never gave my opinion because I didn’t want to have a confrontation. Maybe I was younger than fourteen, maybe I was twelve or so, I’m not sure. But I was sitting in the back seat of the car and I said, “You need to stop!”

“Stop what, darling?” my grandmother asked.

I told her to stop talking about other people’s weight. Stop talking about what they look like or what they should or shouldn’t be wearing, or should or shouldn’t be eating. Stop judging them. She had no idea what I was talking about. I told her she talks about everyone like that, whether she knows them or not. And I said to her, “What if you overheard someone else talking about ME like that? That I’m too fat to wear a bathing suit? That I’m too fat to be eating that bagel? That my hips are huge and my thighs must jiggle…”

I don’t think she got it because I recall her saying, “But you just need to lose some weight and you’ll be so pretty!”

My mother looked at me over the seat back–she was driving–and I think she felt appalled. But she said nothing. I told my grandmother that every time she said those things about other people, she might as well have been saying it about me. Then I fell back against the seat and clamped my mouth shut. It’s possible my grandmother may have apologized and said she would try not to talk like that anymore, but I’m not sure if that’s real or I made that up as an adult to make myself feel better. I only know that things didn’t really change, as she continued to watch my food intake and my weight.

T asked me if I had ever told my younger self that it was not my issue but it was grandmother’s issue. I didn’t answer, but apparently I had a look on my face because T sort of smiled and said that it was clear I didn’t believe what she was saying, that it would make a difference. I asked why she said that and she said that every time she talks about being kind to my younger self, I make a face. I told her I didn’t understand how to do what she was suggesting because I AM an adult, and as an adult I understand what the issues were. And how was I supposed to talk to someone (my younger self) who didn’t really exist anymore. And she tried to tell me that younger self still lives inside me and she’s STUCK because I haven’t gotten past those traumas of my youth. I said I didn’t understand how to talk to “my younger self” in the manner she suggested. So she asked me to try to picture that day and picture all the details. Then picture myself as an adult sitting next to myself as a child. And then talk to younger self about how the things my grandmother was saying and doing were HER issues and not mine. That I’m a fine and creative child, sweet and compassionate, smart and worthy.

I could only tell myself that it was my grandmother’s issue, not OUR issue. Then I cried, and I asked T if I could go home and write this instead of saying it out loud. She said “sure” and asked me to email it her before our next session. I think mostly because our time was up. I still haven’t written it, but I will. I just don’t know how it will work for me or how it will make a difference. But I always promise to try things…and if they work that’s great. If not, I will try the next thing.

Anyone else talk to their “younger self” ? Does it help you?

 

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