Monday, November 15, 2010

Grieving skinny pants and lost selves...

Skinny Pants...for my readers that do not battle weight issues, let me explain this concept.  When people gain weight, they will often hold on to their previous clothing.  They do this because letting go of the clothes means letting to of the dream of getting back to that weight.  I used to be guilty of this myself...until I finally learned to tell myself, that when (it helps if I say when not if) I lose the weight, I will celebrate with NEW skinny clothes.  That helps because who doesn't love buying clothes in a smaller size?!

It may be stretching things to make a point (sort of like when you lie on the bed and try to zip those pants...don't try to tell me you haven't done that!) but I think that holding onto the skinny pants is a form of grieving.  Grieving your thinner, healthier self.  It doesn't seem like such a stretch if you notice how quickly we throw out those "fat" clothes when we lose weight. 

As I work on what I hope will be my Healing Journey, I am grieving for my "skinny self".  Not skinny in a literal sense, but skinny in that I liked the old me a lot better than this new one.  Well, that is not entirely fair...I'll explain.

The old me : BAT....before awareness of trauma self...(how do you like that acronym?) many times I have said to my Therapist, "Since I have been in therapy I have been (fill in something negative)...."   And he says, "So therapy is doing that to you?"  or something like that.  I smile and say, "No, I mean since before the memories started coming back."  I can never quite figure out if he is teasing me a little (my therapist does have a sense of humor) or if he really is just clarifying if I think being in therapy has caused these feelings.  Anyway...

BAT...I was different.  I tend to immortalize that part of my life in the same sense that we immortalize one who has died.  You know what I mean, once someone dies we tend to forget all their faults and shortcomings and think and speak only good of them.  That is likely appropriate.  However, to immortalize my BAT self, is not entirely fair.  I think of that me as being happier, more at peace, more spiritual, more...insert anything good here.  And yet, in my new awareness of self I have to wonder, was the BAT me even real? 

What I mean is, now that I am becoming aware of this tornado of feelings and nightmarish memories that I have lying below the surface of consciousness, I have to admit that BAT me was a "false front".  Someone I created to deal with the world, and to hide the pain at all costs.  Thus, I waver between idolizing the BAT me, and thinking that perhaps BAT me was some sort of "Stepford Wife".  (If you haven't see the movie, you MUST...I can't do it justice here.)  But if BAT me, was not real. . . then who am I really? 

This question scares me. 

Perhaps it wouldn't be so scary IF like an old pair of skinny jeans, I let BAT me go, and allow the healing process to unfold.  Is it possible that healing will bring a new me that I will shopping for new skinny clothes?

Perhaps...but I can't let go without a little more grieving time first.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

People are stupid and NONE more so than I

An e-mail that I sent to my sister today...with a few changes for clarity or anonymity:

Favorite Sister,

I just tried to call you, but no answer and your voice mail is full. I hope this e-mail addy is still good.

I just wanted to say hello and I love you. AND I am sorry that I have not "been there" for you these past couple months since Beloved Nephew's [fatal] car accident. I was just writing an email to a friend venting about I wish people would just take a moment and ask me how I am doing and a couple other related issues  (I'm going through a difficult time, and have been since before the accident...but I don't want to talk about that now...let's talk about YOU.)  After I had vented plenty about how stupid people are, I realized I AM STUPID. I haven't done those same things for YOU.

Little Sister, I am so sorry...sorry I believed all those lies people tell themselves when someone they love is hurting.

1. I don't know what to say
2. We're not THAT close, they have other people closer to them that will help.
3. I'm busy and my loved one is too.
4. Anything I say or do won't make that much of a difference.

There are probably more if I think about it. Anyway, I am sorry that I have not been more of a support to you. I am going to do better...whether you want me to or not, LOL!

I do love you. And I do love Beloved Nephew. Like most of the population, I am just stupid.


With the caveat that I have erred in believing these myths myself, I would like to talk about them.

1. I don't know what to say. 

You really don't have to say much...start with "how are you?" and let the person know you really want to know...then listen.  Listening is SO valuable.  If you feel like you have to say something, validation is great.  Validation means "You have a right to be angry about...."  or, "I would feel sad too..."

2. We're not THAT close, they have other people closer to them that will help.

When I have talked to people that are in pain, whatever the reason, they have one thing in common...they feel alone.  I don't think there is such a thing as "too much love and concern".

3. I'm busy and my loved one is too.

I work full time and have 5 kids. My sister also works finding a time to call and chat is difficult.  BUT it only took me a few minutes to write that email.  It only takes a minute to leave a voice mail (and if you call me, you will likely get my voice mail because I am busy, but it would touch me that you called and left a voice mail.) 

4. Anything I say or do won't make that much of a difference.

I think this one is the biggest lie that we tell ourselves.  I can't speak for my sister, but I know for me having someone say, "How are you?" when I feel they are sincere, means the world to me.  If they say, "you have a right to be angry about what happened to you"...Balm of Gilead.  "How are you?" and "I care about you", "thinking of you"...never underestimate how powerful these things are.  They are powerful!

YOU are powerful...don't underestimate the power you have to help others.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing or Lessons I Learned Over the Weekend

Saturday: After the yearly church Halloween party, I was taking the kids home. Apparently, the extra load of candy was too much and we blew a tire. Wouldn’t you know, this was the one time I left the house without my cell phone. Fortunately, we were reasonably close to the house and one of my teenage sons was in the car. Run, boy, run.

Lesson #1 When you forget your cell phone, a teenage boy will do in a pinch.

Sunday: With the “donut” spare tire, I loaded up the family to go to church. This time we were carrying the Halloween candy internally, but still it was too much. The donut blew! Once again, I didn’t have my cell phone (I know, I know). Sent teenage son home to get “Dad” who was coming to church in another vehicle.

Lesson #2 Never trust a donut (tire or pastry), and always carry a teenager for emergencies.

Monday: Teenage son rolls old tire down the street to put in the van with bad donut. He lets it roll ahead of him and it lands in a huge puddle. Teenager wades in after it, muttering "hey you!". Mom laughs very hard.

Lesson #3 Teenagers can be great entertainment

Called AAA to get towed to the tire store. A delightful young man with an accent I didn’t recognize came to rescue me. I wanted to ask him what his native language was, but wasn’t sure if that would be rude. Maybe he gets asked that all the time and is tired of it. “Impulsive” is my middle name, though, so I ask, “Would you mind if I ask where you are from? I love your accent.” I really did! He rewarded me with a handsome smile, “Russia.” This led to a very delightful conversation, for both of us, about his home (8 hr train ride from Moscow!) and his family.

Lesson #4 You really can’t go wrong asking people to talk about themselves if your interest is genuine.

In summary…ban Halloween, ban candy, ban donut tires. Embrace teenage boys, and nice young men from Russia (especially if they are cute like my Russian tow truck driver was). Oh, and beware of crazy moms who might turn your life into a blog post.

Thanks for all your help this weekend, Son!