May 15th, 2014 An Answer To The Unspoken, Silent Plea: Why Do I Feel This Way?
I have the last three licenses and each picture shows a different stage of my transformation. The last was taken at 258 pounds. It was the first time my license reflected the truth about my weight. The weights on my licenses have always showed a number between 50 and 108 pounds less than reality. But not the last one--and I was so proud of that license because of what it represented. I was proud and confident in it and the weight displayed was accurate for a change. I didn't want to part with it today. Luckily, I didn't have to. The new photo shows my considerable weight gain and since I unintentionally forgot to remind them--they left the weight as 258. Oh well. As I once again achieve an optimal healthy weight, I'll have it redone to reflect the changes. Remember this photo?
I had a co-worker put this together for me in 2010. She is much more computer savvy than I am. She knew how to get rid of the critical information. I don't know how or I would add the new picture to these. The more I thought about all of the energy I was giving this new license thing, specifically the required photo, the more I started thinking on a deeper level.
I felt a slight twinge of shame, regret and embarrassment at the tag office today. It's lessened considerably since getting firmly back on track. But it's still there.
Then, I had an epiphany on the way to the YMCA tonight. Why in the world should I ever allow the shape of my face or the size of my pants determine my self worth? This isn't how I treat others, so why would I treat me that way?
And then I started thinking about the differences between how I felt about me at 505 and how I felt at 230 and that's when I experienced a breakthrough in my thinking. In that moment I imagined the scales of justice. On one side was my love for the non-physical parts (my mind, my sense of humor, my talents, my heart, my natural compassion for others, my ability to communicate, etc.) and the other side of the scale was my love for things physical about me.
The personal injustice has been the obvious imbalance and distribution of my love for self. At my heaviest, I had nearly zero love for the physical and what little love I had for the non-physical was small, barely existent and unacknowledged because I was too busy hating the way I looked. At my healthiest weight, I still paid little attention to the non-physical attributes because I was too busy loving the way I looked. Throughout my entire life I've largely ignored the important things that make me who I am. My most intense focus was either hating the way I looked or loving the way I looked. With this narrow minded perspective, the only source of identity and self-worth remaining relied almost exclusively on my appearance. It isn't any wonder why I've limited myself over the years. Even worse is the natural tendency to project this fluctuating self-perspective onto others, as in, if I feel this way about me, surely they do too.
When I think about my closest loved ones, I realize their perspective of me is never conditional based on appearance. When I spend time with mom, she doesn't even notice the weight gain, she just sees her son. When I pick up my grandson and he looks at me and smiles, it's an innate understanding that I'm someone who loves him deeply and will protect and care for him no matter what. When I spend time with my daughters, it's clear their love for me isn't placed on a scale, ever.
And then I realized: This is what they mean when they say you must love yourself first before you can fully experience and appreciate the love and richness of life. Oh my goodness, I feel like shedding tears just writing these words.
If I was confused before, it was very clear now. I'm a great person worthy of love regardless of my size and appearance. I have my mind, sense of humor, talents, a big heart, loads of compassion for others and so very much more. And none of it is diminished with weight gain or increased with weight loss.
I am me, always.
And my journey will continue toward a healthier weight because I want to live, I want to move easier, I want to experience the freedom a healthy body weight provides. Regardless of how this journey goes, I believe I just discovered one of my greatest personal freedoms of all.
All of this was processed over a ten minute period as I drove to my workout tonight, as if by divine placement in my brain, an answer to my unspoken, silent plea, why do I feel this way??
I walked into the YMCA tonight with a confidence I haven't felt in a very long time. I climbed aboard the orange trimmed elliptical and proceeded to have my best personal workout, possibly ever. My stride was longer. Within the mechanics of the machine, I was sprinting. And this energy never subsided. Last night I stopped ten minutes earlier than planned. Tonight, I could have easily done another twenty.
Thank you for reading,
Mom and Me-Mothers Day 2014
Beautiful. We are our own worst critics, yet we need to truly love ourselves. Why we get mixed up with the appearance of our body when it's our soul counts is beyond me. I needed to read your wise words tonight.ReplyDelete
Wow, awesome post Sean! I can so identify with the part where you talk about loving and accepting yourself. Our loved ones don't love us less because of how much we weigh that is so true. If only we could love ourselves as much and not be so critical. It's society and media that makes us feel like we have to conform to what they think is how we should look. Way to go Sean! Sweet photo of you and your Mom by the way. Take care ~ JulesReplyDelete
I love you.... very touching... im proud of you know matter what..ReplyDelete
One thing you often hear is "do you treat other people the way you treat yourself?" Do you automatically judge people's value based on their weight? I'm guessing not. This is a great breakthrough. Just as you would still be yourself if you were in a car accident and lost your legs (although it would affect your mobility, and so does obesity), you are still yourself at any weight as long as you continue to let yourself shine. I think you are lovely!ReplyDelete
How I needed to read every word of this today. Thank you Sean. Shirley from TNReplyDelete
I'm so thankful that you had this break through! And what a blessing that one of your non-physical attributes, your writing, helps you share it with us. So thankful you had this moment of grace.ReplyDelete
Sounds to me like some of your head knowledge became heart knowledge today. Beautiful.ReplyDelete
I loved this post, too. Also loved Pastor K's description of it: a moment of grace. So true, and so happy for you.ReplyDelete
Oh and for a low tech work around for when you want to post something without giving out all the info, just stick a sliver of masking tape or paper or whatever over it before you scan it. Easy peasy.
Unconditional love can be so tough to learn when it comes to ourselves. I'm so glad you have people in your life that give you love no matter what. This is a beautiful gift and when you can finally give it to yourself, it is miraculous indeed.ReplyDelete
This is fantastic sean..you do have a natural empathy for people...it's what I noticed first about you...and your love for your family....and your love for humanity...all the races you do for victims of domestic violence, that really made an impression. Thank you for swinging by my blog to check...I kept thinking you would be worried that last few days. I am okay...but I did mention you in today's post. lol. I had a big victory for me as a person as well...knowing you are lovable as you are is a huge step. I am so glad you have gotten there.ReplyDelete
I was thinking last night after reading this, that this is reflected so beautifully in the Bible when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was. The answer was that there were TWO great commandments... first to love God with all our heart, mind and strength and the second one was to love others... AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. This post was, to me, one of the most profound and important of all you've written through the years. Thanks for sharing each day of your journey with us Sean. Shirley from TNReplyDelete
I didn't go to the DMV for a new license when mine expired and I needed a new one....I just renewed On-Line. I hate the lines at the DMV and decided a new "skinny" picture on my drivers license was just not that important to me! Consequently, my picture is the same one today as when I weighed over 300 lbs. Few have noticed when I am asked for ID, only a lady at the Public School Employment office, when I signed up to substitute teach several years ago, and just recently a lady at a gift shop, who just happened to notice my license since it was behind the credit card I was using. I have used the "fat" picture ID at airports and to pick up pain pills at Walgreen's without question. Since I am almost half the person I used to, it surprises me when no one notices. I place way too much value on that number on the scale, and feel like a lesser person now that I have gained 25 pounds back. It's hard not to judge ourselves by our weight. For years I felt like a second class citizen because of my obesity. My husband never judged me, and my family still loved me, but I felt the negative unspoken opinions of the public. That's why I appreciate my pets so much....no judgement there! It's hard to expect more of the public than I can give myself.ReplyDelete
Sean, this is the exact thing I have been working on over the last year or so. Not that I don't want to be thinner, healthier and fitter but it's more important to me to just love myself. To just accept where I am at the moment. I think not being so stringent and hard on myself all the time is finally allowing me to figure out just what I need to do to be happy and healthy.ReplyDelete
My first/second (same man, it was a re-do)...told me at 200 lbs. that 'if you don't lose the weight, I'm going to have an affair.' I should've permanently kicked his ass to the curb AT THAT MOMENT, but I didn't. A few months later, after it happened, I DID. Now I'm with a man who truly loves me unconditionally. He's been here for the highs, and now for the normals. THAT is true love, and it's so sad when we accept less than that from anyone else, let alone from OURSELVES.ReplyDelete
Great Sean! This is something we forget too often, regardless if we are gaining or losing weight.ReplyDelete