I posted on FB this week, “I have gained weight, I’m loving it and have been very happy.” And I know a lot of people don’t understand, so I’d like to explain why this is such a good thing on so many different levels. But before I get started, I want to thank all of my awesome friends and family who showed nothing but love, support, and a sense of humour! LOL!
I had posted about Depression a couple of times in July. (Twister: A Description of Depression https://deanitalianoblog.wordpress.com/2022/07/18/twister-a-description-of-depression/) Of course, this caused concern, BUT! I had a plan as we moved toward August. I was in CONTROL OVERLOAD. My OCD was cranked and high revving. I was going to overcome Depression, and I had it all laid out. I was going to go to the gym at least three times a week, and do a clean bulk (which means only clean, healthy foods to build muscle). I was going to go out to events, see more friends, read more, paint more, maybe get back to writing. I was going to spend more time outside, and and and… you get the idea.
It was going to WORK, dammit. I was going to destroy depression!!
And then the knee. Oh the innocent moment of having fun around the campfire with kids and friends. Dancing that evening and hitting uneven ground, going down like a sack of bricks. A sprained ankle (again, didn’t know), a small tear along the shin? Two fractures on the upper rim of the tibia, bone swelling, and a high-grade 60-70% ACL tear. When you don’t slow down for life, life will take you out at the knees.
I will spare you the rage, frustration, Fibro flashbacks, and moments of self-pity. All of my plans were knocked down so hard and fast I could hear the bowling ball smash the pins. But the flashing sign didn’t say “strike!”
It said, “You don’t control a goddam thing.”
I sat with that for days on end, weeks, even. I sat while my fabulous husband did my laundry, made meals, did fun things with the kids who also felt bad for me and tried to help as well. No gym schedule, no events, I was happy to get to the bathroom. (Which in itself is quite humbling.) No control.
So I said fukkit. I’m going to gain weight. Part of this statement was just a fact. No gym, couch time, unless I got really strict with my diet it was going to happen.
I stood on the edge of my control cliff. This cliff, this set of self-imposed standards and rules and “goals” that I have to achieve to be deemed acceptable. These heights I always, ALWAYS, had to strive for so that I would not be a complete failure as a person, were heights I could never reach. All my life, I was always failing. So I jumped.
G and I talked about how I was going to swing hard the other way, obliterate the rules. (While staying healthy.) No weighing, no measuring, no counting calories, no old Anorexic rules that still pop up in my brain like Whack-A-Moles. That leftover pizza slice that I wanted? Not only did I ignore the first “no”, I skipped past the “should I?” and went straight to “you have to.” This is what I want. Not because I’m being acceptable or unacceptable, not turning into a failure, just having what I want. It sounded ludicrous to me.
I’ll pause to include what I wrote years ago in a blog that included: “…I never liked being SMALL. To be described as small, tiny, frail, wispy, bony, skinny, little, slim, etc, have always had negative connotations for me. (Your mileage may vary!) Being small has made me feel childlike, dismissible, beatable, easily overpowered, easily moved out of the way, weak, and a victim. During the times when I battled Anorexia it also meant I felt sick, depressed, out of control, wanting to disappear, incompetent, and worse. But I got more compliments. People didn’t know what I was going through, and I was obeying social rules and expectations, right? Strive to be smaller at any cost? But, I never liked being small.”
I’m going to gain weight. I tell you now, it’s one of the best fucking things I’ve ever done for myself. And I didn’t realize how much it would affect so many other aspects of my life. Keep reading…
Every time I looked at the scale and didn’t get on it, I felt a little surge of freedom. Joy even. I started saying yes, yes to pizza, yes to seconds, yes to a little more cream in my coffee. I told the kids with far less detail, I was “not going to stress” about my weight or the gym and simply be happy.
I don’t have to do anything to deserve it.
I talked to my therapist about this turn of events. He has never seen me so calm. Ever. He loved that G and I had created this behavioural conditioning on our own, and that it was working so well. Essentially what was happening, after jumping from my Control Cliff, was that I had not turned into an automatic failure. It was not black or white, Cliff or Death. There is no drop, and I had a LOT of space in between to discover. He was excited and literally on the edge of his seat. “Tell me more!”
As I told him more about my “reckless abandon” I began to understand.
I can stop constantly analyzing everything I read, and I can just read for fun. I don’t have to use a timer when I sit outside (yes, I do that) and I can just enjoy the sun. I can throw out the small mountain of socks I’d kept that were still good. I can leave the linen closet full of unfolded things. I didn’t have to always do things “a certain way” because I always have. I was stopping and looking at things I was doing. Did I have to always fold and keep and count and control? No.
I didn’t die, I didn’t become an instant failure. I was…okay. I was better than okay. I felt such freedom, such joy, I was almost tearful at times. I was discovering a part of me that could function on a different level, and be comfortable. I was even a little shocked at the thought that this was how some people live all the time, and how wild is THAT?
G took advantage of this and opened up the storage room doors. We donated and gave away a LOT of stuff. Stuff that was still good, stuff that wasn’t. I opened my closet doors and did the same. I was reading just for fun. I could finally be comfortable eating. I sat outside and smiled as I enjoyed the warmth. I even wrote two poems.
I feel a deep soul calmness I have never felt before. The ripple effect was both shocking and amazing. The boys have told me how much happier I am, relaxed, laughing more, singing more (for better or worse), smiling more, but… more importantly, not frowning when I’m not smiling. The boys are also benefiting from shopping in my closet and taking all the cool shirts that are now too small. LOL!
I’m going to be 49 in December, and I’m fat and sooooo happy. A newfound Fat Dean who’s enjoying life in a different way, and calm with a new understanding of what my “reckless abandon” has really gifted me. I hope I can keep it, as time goes on, that I don’t forget this lesson, and don’t lose this place in my heart and mind.
All it took was a smashed knee… and that will heal.