Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I hate to be vulnerable

I feel like I'm becoming more introspective with trying to lose weight.  Like I have the whole process down on how to lose and how to eat and how to exercise.  Yet something stops me.  Since I have the physical things down, some of it must be mental.  The whole idea of using mentors was a big thing.  I realized that I need to take the experience that others have and use it.  That's why it's there.  I'm still in the midst of reading Ashley Judd's biography and it's giving me more insights, almost as though she too is a mentor of mine, from afar.

It dawned on me (while reading her book) that I don't like to be vulnerable.  I'm the person who doesn't make really good friends, but has a lot of friends.  I don't jump in head first to a party, I hang back to see what's going on and figure out my place first.  I generally don't say Hi to people first, I let them say hi to me and then reply.  I walk with my eye's down and look up only after I've passed a person on the street.

I remember as a kid (maybe 10?) my Dad was trying to find something for a gag gift.  He explained to me what a gag gift was and that he was going to look for broken fishing tackle.  I went with him to the basement to check out his tackle box.  Nothing was broken so I suggested that he break one.  He said no and made a comment about how that would be pretty dumb.  I immediately got embarrassed and ran upstairs to my room.  When he came in I was hiding in my closet.  He explained that he didn't want to waste money doing something like that.  I remember feeling dumb.  I remember the feeling so vividly that it floods me again now, writing this.  And while it wasn't my Dad calling me dumb, that's how I took it and the damage was done.

Have I ever told you all that I was 5'6" by 10/11 years old?  I towered above the other kids in elementary school and was made fun of.  I was the first girl to wear a bra and got my first period when I was 11.  My shoe size was an 8 at 11 years old and my Dad called my feet "gun boats".  I wanted to disappear into myself as a tween.  I realize that my Dad didn't really know what to do with a tween girl or what impact his words would have on me as a tween, teen and adult.  But the damage to my confidence and self image was done.

I say all this not to imply that my Dad was a horrible man.  He cared about us, but I think that both he and my Mom were ill prepared to be parents and didn't know how to ask questions themselves.  But what came of it is that I realized as a kid and a tween-ager that I didn't like being vulnerable.  I can clearly remember thinking that I'd do it all by myself and hated asking for help.  I'd never open up to my parents about issues that I was having, I kept it inside and was very emotional as a child/teen.  I learned to hide lots and lots of things so that I didn't appear vulnerable, even if I was.  When I think about it there are examples that jump out at me at every stage of my left that support this.  I still don't like to ask questions because I may appear dumb.

How does this effect my weight loss?
1.  I don't like to ask for help.  Yet I NEED help to succeed.  The mentor thing?  I need to know what worked for other people, what didn't work and get ideas for myself since I clearly don't know the path I should be on or I'd never be this weight.
2.  I think I use my excess weight as a costume to hide within.  I'm safe from being vulnerable and out there when I'm heavy because I fade into the background.  No men stare at at heavy woman, that's all for thin women.  Employers don't expect much of me because I'm overweight.  If I was thin I'd have a lot to live up to.  Reality is that people are going to stare at certain people no matter what.  Employers don't think I'm competent based on my dress size.
3.  I don't didn't like working out at a gym or taking classes.  People stare at you at the gym.  Unlike the real world where they stare at the thin people, in the gym everyone stares at the overweight person trying to work out.  In reality, I stare at everyone at some point while I work out.  I'm bored and people watching is a way to pass the time.
4.  I don't didn't like shopping for healthy food.  Everyone stares at the woman buying the low fat/no fat items and judges you, thinking that the items must not be working.  No one cares what you eat!

I'm sure there are other ones.  I'm sure that if I sat down in a quiet place I could come up with at least 30 additional reasons. 

I'm also realizing that the inability to be vulnerable has negatively effected my personal relationships.  I struggle sometimes to be vulnerable with Pete, thinking that he would judge me harshly if I was really that open and honest.  When in my heart and my head I know that he wouldn't.  But my initial instinct is to protect myself.  Sometimes I cry when I tell him things and he smiles and tells me I'm silly for thinking that he would judge me.  Sometimes I think I test his love for me by not following through on something that I should just so I can prove myself right and say, "See you were vulnerable, look what happened."

In fact, just writing all this out makes me both anxious that I am opening myself up to the public about my insecurities.  My breathing has quickened and my heart is beating and I feel all hot and flushed.  Yet I also feel somewhat free in knowing that I will hit publish and one of my secrets is out there.

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