Just briefly I want to note that this coming Friday, I am going to have to weigh myself. And I am afraid. Of three things. Gaining weight. Being wrong about my metabolism kicking back in. And having to admit to you that I was wrong. I am afraid of being fat again. And that the idea of me starting to get smaller is all in my head. And what you will think of me if it is. And not just you. Everyone I have told. I worry a lot about being wrong. I always have. I used to lie and manipulate to make myself seem less wrong. Now I don’t. But it still makes me feel oogie.
The truth is that my metabolism may have kicked in and I still won’t have lost any weight. Rational Kate knows that after a person quits smoking, their metabolism slows way down. Then it speeds back up again. That it is simply a matter of time. And waiting. And for me that means waiting without crossing my food boundaries. But Rational Kate hasn’t been given the floor too often lately at the committee meetings in my head. So she just sits there. And occasionally makes an objection when Bulimic Girl, and Sugar Addict Girl start to get unruly and insist that it’s time to do something (drastic, most likely futile, and certainly unhealthy) before I get FAT! Rational Kate is biding her time. She knows this, too, shall pass. And that when it does she’ll get to be in charge again.
But what I really want to talk about today is change. Because I am different today. Different than I was just a few days ago.
When I was growing up, I believed in predestination. And I didn’t even know it. When, in High School, I was reading American Literature of the Puritanical variety, I would have told you that I believed in Free Will. That a person had the opportunity to make of their life whatever they chose. I would have told you that I believed in the American Dream. That if a person who lived in a free country was willing to work and strive, he or she could do or be or make anything.
But I didn’t really believe. I believed I was broken. I believed I was genetically, and irreversibly fat. I believed I would be “ok” without ever having to do much because I was born smart and capable. Born to smart, capable, middle-class people. I unwittingly believed that with some minor potential variations, my life was already set in stone.
There were so many things that seemed either inevitable or impossible. I believed my fear. I never thought anything was worth taking a risk. I “had to” eat compulsively. And I could never ever give up eating sugar.
But somewhere inside, there was the wish to be free from being fat. And even more importantly, to be free from not being able to stop eating. (Or at least it would eventually become clear that dealing with the uncontrollable eating was more important. I am sure at the time, I thought being fat was the bigger problem.)
It was such a conflict for me. To want so much to be able to eat in a way that was not embarrassing. To be able to manage my weight. But God, sugar was my best friend. Sugar made life bearable. (It also made it unbearable, but it made bearable in the short-term, what it ultimately made unbearable in the long-term. It was like paying off a credit card with another credit card. Needless to say, it was bad economics.)
And then I stopped eating sugar.
What I learned from quitting sugar is that my life seemed to be set in stone because I kept making the same sugar-induced, fear-based choices over and over. And that having this commitment to abstain from sugar, no matter what, changed the course of my life.
When I say it changed the course of my life, I mean that the path I chose was more than just “no sugar.” I chose to be present and honest and growing. Continually. So I have been constantly changing for the past seven years.
But sometimes that growth comes in a big spurt.
In the past four days, I have been told repeatedly that I am a different person all of a sudden. That my energy is different. That I am more free. But also that it has manifested physically. Not just that I am more beautiful. (Though that has come up. It really never gets old, people…Feel free to keep saying it.) But that my face is different. My skin. Did I change my hair? (No.) “Since I saw you last week.”
I’ll tell you what I think it may be. I think that maybe I am available to fall in love. Not just wanting and willing but able. In a way that I have never been before in my whole 35 years. Because for the first time ever, I can say my truth to men. I am willing to be rejected as a burden. I am willing to be disparaged for my intensity. I’m starting to understand that I have been afraid of scaring men with my big feelings and my big energy and my big heart. And I’m starting to understand that there are men in the world for whom my intensity, integrity, and power are a thrill, and a gift. An asset. That there will be men who think that these traits are what make me a catch. But no, it won’t be all of them. Some will indeed be scared away. And have opinions. And things to say.
But my job is not to win over men who think I’m too intense by being less intense.
In one 24 hour period this week, I was given a powerful opportunity to communicate with 3 significant men from my past. One from my fat and food addicted childhood when I was invisible and believed that I was destined to be alone. One from when I was hot and sexy, all face and body, but everything substantial was unavailable and protected by my invisible fortress (as opposed to my fortress of fat). And the one that made me realize for the first time that I wanted something more than to be a face and body in a fortress. That I wanted to do the work to dismantle my fortress and be intimate. (I would venture that he’s also one who would probably like me more if I weren’t so intense…)
In that 24 hours, I said things that I was afraid to say. Things that six months ago I would have refrained from saying. For fear of being considered selfish or obnoxious. Or just too much. But I think that’s why it all happened at once. Like God ripped some sort hole in space-time for me so I could get a composite view of my life with men up until now. And understand that it was time to start using my voice to let them know who I am. And know that it is not just ok to express myself, but necessary if what I want is love. I got to say what I needed to say, without regard to how it was received. I got to experience the importance of speaking. Not just talking. The kind of offering that is vulnerable and intimate.
After I gave up sugar and got control of my eating, it took about a year and a half to get clear-headed and confident. And to believe that I was not actually born to be fat. That it was possible for me to reach and maintain a healthy weight that made me feel good about myself. And to know that I don’t have to be out of control with food as long as I don’t put sugar in my body. And to realize that I am really beautiful. But it took seven years to get here. Ready to take a look at love. But really it’s bigger than that. I believe…No, I trust that God would not have given me so much love if He never expected to give me the opportunity to use it. Maybe He’s been waiting for me to get out of my own way. Or maybe He hasn’t been waiting at all. Maybe God thinks seven years is warp speed in human terms and while it has felt like an eternity to me, maybe God thinks I’m right on time…