Saturday, January 25, 2014

I hate FEAR! It is crippling and sabotaging.

As I mentioned in a post a week or so ago, I have begun the process of getting rid of the clothing that I can no longer wear by selling some items on EBay. I knew that this was going to be a lot of work. The time it takes to launder, describe, photograph, list, and mail the packages sometimes makes me wonder if it’s worth it, but I know that it is time to let these things go.  What I didn’t know is how emotionally difficult this would be. For several days now, I’ve been struggling and dealing with emotions that I didn’t expect. 

It was easier with the first batch of things I listed and sold because I didn’t have any emotional connection with them. Many of the items were things that I only wore a few times or things that I never wore at all.  Last weekend I brought a few bags of the largest items, 5X 6X and beyond, and began to sort through the items. As I inspected each garment, it seemed like there were so many memories attached to them. I admit that I am WAY TOO emotional about things. I remembered times I wore the item, especially the nicer things that I wore to work. I remembered the pain, the sadness, and the difficulty that I buried deep inside. I remember how hard it was for me to go to work, to get around, to attend meetings, to be seen by my peers in that motorized wheelchair, wondering how many of them were casting judgment on me.
Today I went through a bag of more casual clothes; things that I remember vividly wearing to the college when I was an unemployed student. I remembered the struggle of school and unemployment. I remember how hard and embarrassing it was to be the biggest student in the room, mostly likely the entire student body. Not all the memories of those days were bad; in fact, many were great, happy moments, especially those around my time as a student at MMCC. I smile now when I remember how the “fat old lady” in the class scored the highest grade on the test. I remember how that “old Theresa in advising” felt when she was able to help a student succeed. I remembered the times that I wore the dresses and skirts that are now listed on EBay and the happy occasions that were celebrated.  I know that I am way to emotional....but certainly writing about and facing those emotions in this venue is a lot healthier than “feeding them” as I used to.
The biggest emotion I am dealing with this week, and especially today, is FEAR. That ugly, horrible, emotion that can (and for me, did…..literally) cripple us.  Fear was my stumbling block then. I lived in fear…of failure, of rejection, of trying something new. It kept me from trying to lose weight. It kept me from dealing with grief.  It kept me from making commitments to things….and relationships. It kept me isolated and alone.  I hate FEAR! I don’t think anyone likes it.  
Today, as I sort through these clothes, I’m not afraid of exactly the same things as I used to be, but still I am afraid.  Mostly, I am afraid of letting go of these clothes because I remember how difficult it was to find them, and I’m afraid I am going to need them again someday.  That horrible fear of failure….what if I gain my weight back?  What if I let you all….and myself…. down? What if I’m like the 95% of people that  can’t keep the weight  off?  What if I can’t do it?  What if…what if….what if…..  Absolutely, positively TERRIBLE, thoughts to even think!!!  I must get rid of those thoughts very soon.
As I was trying to talk some common sense into myself a while ago, Oprah came on. She was doing a special episode called “where are they now” and one of her guests lost more than half of his size (about 250 pounds). He appeared on the show in 2009 or 2010.  Today, they brought him back and interviewed him, and he has gained every pound and then some back. He said that he now weighs more than 500 pounds but he doesn’t know his exact weight because his scale only goes to 500 pounds. This was not what I expected …..and certainly NOT WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR!!!! 
SO…… How am I going to deal with this?  How am I going to process this ‘garbage” in my mind that is threatening to sabotage me?  Well…certainly not the way “Old Theresa” would.  She would have taken the bags back out to the garage and just “not dealt with the emotion at all.” She would have denied them, hid them, and ultimately drowned them out with an entire bag of potato chips, a 2 liter bottle of Faygo Peach Soda, and a half of pack of chocolate chip cookies.  Geez….no wonder I weighed 428 pounds!     New Theresa is dealing with it a little differently. 
The first thing I am doing differently is that I’m acknowledging the feelings. I’m being vulnerable and sharing them even as irrational and foolish as they sound. I’m accepting the emotions as part of me, and not being too hard on myself for feeling them. Remember what I said before…..feelings are neither right nor wrong; they just are. It’s what we do and how we act on those feelings is what can be damaging or freeing. 
Secondly, I am realizing that my fear is unfounded.  Yes, I know that people gain weight back. Yes, I know that it’s going to be hard. Yes, I know that is QUITE POSSIBLE that I might need those 6X clothes again. It is POSSIBLE….but It’s NOT going to be my reality.  Why?  Because I am NOT “old Theresa” anymore and in three years there has not been even one slip-up, not one bite of ice-cream, not one potato chip.  There is not any evidence that should make me even think that I will fail. I don’t live in that world anymore.  I have been set free by God.   I  have changed my way of life; I didn’t go on a diet.  I also know how to do it; I know how to make good choices; I know what I need to do to maintain this lifestyle; I know that with God’s help, I can be successful.  I also know that I am a miracle….and the choice is mine each day….each hour….each meal whether I want to live like this…… or like Old Theresa. The best thing….is that all of this is POSSIBLE for you too!
TODAY….I am making a decision that I’ve had enough of the fear.  Enough of the doubt. Enough of the excuses about why I need to keep this stuff. Enough of the “what if’s” and “I might.”  Enough of the shame.  I don’t want to carry these thoughts in my head any longer; I’m letting them go.
I shared this “stuff” today because I wanted you see how easily our thoughts and feelings can sabotage our efforts to change our life; how easily we can talk ourselves into failure; how easily we can slip into our old ways.  I also wanted you to see how “human” I am and to realize that I’m just like you in many ways and I struggle with some of the same things that you might. I wanted you to see that “stuff” doesn’t go away when you hit your goal. I wanted you to see WHY I am so adamant that you spend more time being concerned about changing your mind and heart because that is the place where true transformation begins.  
I know that I will get through this day without binging and I know that you can get through whatever it is that might be troubling you today.  Not by ourselves….but by the Grace of God.  Don’t give in to the emotions. Don’t give in to the Fear. Don’t’ give in to the doubt.   I CAN…and I WILL continue to walk in victory and freedom….and YOU CAN TOO! 
Thanks for letting me vent and be vulnerable!