I have been involved in a major love triangle. It has gotten the best of me. Even though I have tried to get out of several times and have been successful in staying away for short periods, I always go back. I am so dependent for the validation it seems to give me and yet when I am not treated right, I fall to pieces and do myself more damage by doing things like exercises obsessively or eating to cope with my misery. As I sit here typing, I cannot even remember how it all started. It was almost as if I woke up one day and there I was, having to have daily interaction with the Tin Man.
This picture was taken the first day I returned to teaching after I had had major surgery. My doctor had advised me to wear an abdominal wrap to keep things in place (no, I didn’t have a tummy tuck. If I did, this blog entry would be obsolete. :)) I have never published these pictures because even though “I” know that’s the wrap sticking out, to the person just “looking” at the pictures, it looks like my stomach is probably leaning over my toes and that’s a no no, especially when everyone had been complimenting me on how much weight I had lost before I had the surgery. I had been down seven weeks WITHOUT exercise. How small did they expect me to be when I got back? More importantly, how small did I expect myself to be when I had gotten back? And what in the world does this have to do with an affair?
The “Tin Man” is that worthless piece of crap we hide in our bathrooms and pull out every time we want to validate or undermine the hard work we are doing or not doing in the gym or with our forks. No matter WHAT kind of effort we have put forth, if that scale doesn’t say what we want it to say, the world falls apart and the stock in chocolate rises because we commence to eating our misery away (which, of course, is a temporary fix). My friend and dietitian Tammy Beasley just did a guest post on my friend Joe Martin’s (we are all connected :)) blog about how the smallest thing can make our weight fluctuate. We can have all of the information and yet we STILL give this contraption all the power in the world.
I knew the scale had control over me when I could remember how much I weighed when I went on every trip I took last year, how much I weighed before every surgery, every event. My life was being dictated by numbers. What people didn’t know, pre-surgery, was that I had lost quite a bit of weight because I was sick. I was able to maintain the weight loss because I worked out so hard but I would never wish such pain on anyone and I pray that no one ever thinks that illness is a cool way to lose weight. I literally could not eat. As a person who loves food and as a person who has starved herself before to lose weight, it was a very bad position to be in and I never want to go there again.
Nor do I ever want to have my worth or mood defined by the Tin Man.
This morning, I got on the scale. I am one pound away from my pre-surgery weight; the closest I have been and my surgery was in July. I got this close two weeks ago and then got back on the scale to prove that my hard work was paying off and I had gained two pounds overnight. It was a bad day. After I got off the scale, I looked in the mirror and noticed that the indentations in my waist were coming back. Now I am one of those people who had a perfect Coca Cola bottle figure at sixteen but it’s been sort of iffy trying to identify the shape my midsection has taken on since having a couple of kids and being, oh I don’t know, almost ninety pounds heavier than I am now. I thanked my body for putting up with my madness, for allowing me to do what I do and I put the scale up. Yesterday, I got to celebrate the 60th birthday of one of my Zumba students and when I say she is the true definition of “FIERCE”, I mean it. What I didn’t know about her was she is a Cancer survivor and has been for almost half of her life. I look at her in the gym, taking two classes back to back (including Body Attack which I can’t handle so you go, girl!), I see her smiling all of the time, enjoying life, giving back to her community, teaching other to love their bodies and I realized that if we were all living our lives to the fullest like Ms. Cynthia, we wouldn’t have time to be defined by anything. We’d be defining our own lives.
Forget Mr. Tin Man. I am going to eat me a healthy breakfast and head to the gym later. I want to feel great. And that has NOTHING to do with a number.