Work started today. There aren’t any kids in class or anything until next Wednesday, but we are back. We are gathered around tables in the library debating schedules, sharing summer stories and laughing- lots of laughing. I think I landed in a pretty wonderful school. As for my classroom? I keep plugging away at it and keep leaving for the day feeling like I’ve made little progress- though I can rattle off the myriad of things that I did accomplish today. My room just seems a mess, still, and forget about curriculum. I have a big weekend ahead of me! That said, I know everything is fine and will be fine next week, it’s just a matter of getting this big list accomplished!
I wrote this several days ago, and keep second guessing whether or not I should post it. I’m embarrassed that people will think I’m crazy, but that very thought is what is making me post it. I know it is helpful for me to hear other people’s experiences reflect something like I have is helpful. Hopefully this might be helpful?!?! This day manifested a nasty anxiety/depression reaction for me that I’m fully over now. I think I was a little worried about a few things and a small thing triggered me.
I’ve spent the last, several years trying to shift the things I say to myself in my head. Of all the things that are a challenge in this weightloss project, the words I speak to myself are the hardest to get over. I possess a mind that is brilliant at oblivion and naïveté. I am like Joey, from Friends, sometimes. Like, it takes me a little longer to arrive at the punchline for some jokes, but it’s usually because I wonder if I’m thinking the right way! I just don’t see things and I usually assume the best of people until they show me, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are scoundrels. Because of that, I think I’m often blissfully ignorant of the things that people have said or looks that I may have received… But I can’t be ignorant of the things I make myself say to myself.
It’s horrible. At my lowest moments, I’m the one saying that I’m not good enough, that I’m not special, that I’m genetically predispositioned as an unconventionally attractive (read: weird-looking) person. I ask my self who I think I am and why I think I deserve the things I try for. I’m ugly. Fat. Lazy. Terribly awkward, terribly un-funny, I try too hard, I take it too far, I say the wrong things. I’m hopeless. I have a huge horse-head and flab everywhere. I’m a liar, I’m dishonest, slow, unintelligent, confused and a ditzy airhead. I’m not ‘adorkable’, I’m just a dork. I tell myself that everyone sees and knows all of this and they befriend me out of pity.
But the worst is when I tell myself I’m not special. Usually this is done through tears- I literally bully myself and make myself cry as I repeat it like a mantra, looking directly into my own eyes: you’re not special. You are not special. You are not special. You’re not special, at all… And I trade places, emotionally, as my eyes squint, meanly, like a bully, then widen in shock, as the victim, and fresh tears fall as I continue this sick game with myself. It feels strangely good to hurt myself deeply like that, something I don’t understand.
I hate when I get into a cycle like that, and sometimes it’s really hard to stop it. Like, right now, I’m in this cycle. I had a hard, hard, f*cking day, today. I got a professional haircut- the first pretty much since I’ve been with Bradley (he usually cuts and colors my hair) and it just resulted in a barrage of insecurities raining down on me. I hated on myself viciously, I told myself I’m not special, and right now, I am a willing believer. I believe all of those lies and I know they are lies. I also know that I have a strategy to chase them out.
You see, over the past few years I’ve been doing this to myself in another way. When I feel good, really good, I allow myself a selfie photograph. I allow myself to look long and hard at myself saying that I’m worthy of the challenge I’m giving myself. If I don’t try, I fail by default. I’m generous and caring. I’m actually smart, quick and clever. I’m successful, funny, likeable, honest, warm and kind. I tell myself I’m a great teacher, a good mom and a wonderful wife. I allow myself to marvel at my mermaid hair, make duck faces, kissy faces- any faces I want and let myself be charmed with what I see. I tell myself that I’m beautiful, I let myself be surprised at how pretty I am and wonder if it’s a trick, briefly, before I let myself blink back into a place where I’m enough. More than enough. A place where I matter. Where I’m special. Where I stand out. Where I’m more than adorkable or even more than a non-standardly beautiful woman. When I feel bad I try to replace one repeating negative loop with another, and it’s getting easier, but it’s still hard. I didn’t even want to write about it here because I knew as soon as I started writing about it I would have to put the strategy into practice.
And I did. I told myself that it’s ok to get new hair. That it’s ok to spend $100 on a cut and color. I’m worthy of having hair that has been treated with kindness. I would never say I deserve it or am entitled to it, but as a treat once every 16 years, I think it’s ok.
I feel a little better, now. I began this post, went and saw the movie Maleficent, with my family, and a little distance from reality was helpful. Realizing I haven’t posted any comparison pics in ages, I looked through my photos and lined some things up to post here, and saw the difference I have made in myself. I saw the strength I have laid out in photographs before me. I saw the evidence of my power as a woman and human being. I remembered possibility and began to come back to earth again. I forget how far I’ve come, sometimes. I made myself see it. It was a good thing to see, tonight. I needed the boost.