cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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On a typical day, I get up, feed the birds, brush my teeth, make myself look relatively presentable and head to work.

I work in a job where I am ‘on’ from the minute I get there until the minute I walk out the door.  I work with some very high level people and part of my job is to schmooze and make nice-nice with the people that come in.  We host meetings, special events, medal ceremonies – you name it, we’ve done it.  And, I can say with great confidence that I SHINE in most of these situations.  You would never know in a million years, that underneath the professional, witty and hysterically funny woman, is a little girl who is just wanting to be liked.

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The silly thing is that people DO like me (insert Stuart Smalley reference here).  I think I’m a pretty good person, I have some really wonderful friends and would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it.  I’ve an acerbic wit that has gotten me in trouble more than a few times, I will bend over backwards to help you – I will even let you share my bag of Doritos (that’s the biggest honour I can bestow upon you).

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So, you would think that I would have all the confidence in the world – that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, take on a bully, stand up against injustice (thank GOD for news websites that I can rant on) – even show others how to be a confident woman in this world.

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Sadly, I do not.  Have self confidence that is.  Okay, in *some* instances I do, and I get a real charge of positive energy when I am up in front of others, talking about something I’m passionate about.

But it can just take one comment, in one wrong moment to make me want to crawl up into a ball and wait for it to go away.  It’s as easy as someone ignoring me or not answering my email or phone message.  I revert back to the little girl, who never really got any positive reinforcement as a child, but the negative comments came fast and furious.

As that kid, I was trained to be my mother’s slave.  If I disappointed her, I was punished with silence and harsh, abrupt words.  To a little kid, it was pretty confusing, after all – I was trying to do what she wanted me to do, but it was just never right.  I didn’t clean the bathroom properly.  I didn’t wash the ashtrays (yeah, okay, I SO wasn’t going to do that anyhow).  I didn’t make her bed properly.  I didn’t remember to take out the garbage.  The list goes on.  So, as a grown adult, when I feel that I’ve disappointed someone in some way, I go out of my way to make amends.  Now, there is a little voice in my head that says ‘SHUTUP, DON’T MAKE IT WORSE, IT WILL BLOW OVER.”  But I’m also not very good listening to myself, so I ignore it and go ahead and indeed, make things worse.

And, this week – it did just that.  I had called in sick to work because I was having a horrible fibromyalgia pain day – I could barely move.  Now, I’m one of those people that will go to work even if I’m bleeding from an eyeball with pneumonia.  I feel guilty and even while I’m lying there wishing for death, I feel the need to connect with my work place so they know I’m not in Mexico drinking tequila out of some pool boys’ bellybutton.  But they don’t think that.  They think ‘hey, she’s sick, carry on.’

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So, basically I made a bad judgment call on Friday and wound up – what was perceived to be as ‘pestering’ my boss.  He was annoyed, I was freaked out because of his slight and fretted about it all weekend.

I should back pedal a bit by explaining that earlier this year, I needed to take a stress leave.  When I came back, he bent over backwards to accommodate me and our working relationship has grown in leaps and bounds (there are really only two of us in our office).  For the most part, we get along very well.

It’s been a couple of days and things aren’t much better and I’ve apologized for my end of things, which is all I can do.  My insecurities reared their ugly head and now I’m suffering the consequences.

A friend of mine told me today that I’m a very sensitive person and I should learn to not take things so personally – this was said with love, because I know this friend will always have my back.

She’s 100% right.  I need to let the guilty feelings that I grew up with go.  Let the insecurities I have about not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, funny enough – go.  My mother might have been the best travel agent for guilt trips, but she’s gone now, and I think I’ll make my own travel arrangements from now on.


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TRUST…WORTHY?

When I was young, I trusted EVERYBODY.  I took everyone at their word and never once did I even consider that someone was being less than truthful with me or wanted to hurt me.  I was an open book; my mother used to tell me that I wore my heart on my sleeve.  You always knew where you stood with me – why would I lie?  Why would I hide my feelings away?

Thanks to lying, cheating men, friends who stabbed me in the back – I have done a complete 360 – I trust NO ONE.  It borders on paranoia.  Someone says something to me, I immediately think ‘can this person be trusted?’ – or, ‘is this true?’  Even people that I love – I have a hard time completely believing them – and believing IN them.  It’s not a conscious decision, rather something that has become ingrained into my psyche.

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If I were to write out all of the relationships I’ve had over the years, I’d have Hollywood writers knocking down my door, because NOBODY has the kind of luck I’ve had with men and this stuff can’t be made up.  From being in a long term relationship with someone who was engaged the whole time (this is where that ‘trust’ thing came into play; I had no idea) – to the guy who was married (yep, didn’t know that either – dumb? trusting?  stupid?  all of the above? – I only found out when I went to change my bird cage and saw the birth announcement of his daughter in the paper – seriously, no word of a lie – ha).  How about the guy who, unbeknownst to me, had hepatitis C and failed to inform me?  The only way I found out about that, was through a colleague at work (we all worked together) who had seen it in his file.  I had to go through the whole process of shots and updates for years.

Now, the occasional white lie – when appropriate – is okay.  I’m talking the ‘yes, you look AMAZING in those skin tight, white pants and no, I can’t see your happy face underwear through them’ kind of white lie.

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But soul destroying lying – whether it is outright – or lying through omission – is NOT okay.

I have developed a very cynical attitude towards most people.  I question people’s sincerity.  I question their motives.  I question their moral compass.  I feel – subconsciously – that I can no longer trust anyone for anything they say.  If someone says something nice about me, I shift into ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?” – I can’t even accept a proper compliment without getting the shifty eyed ‘you’re lying’ look going.

If someone tells me something that just doesn’t sound right, I don’t say much of anything.  However, I have the memory of an elephant for lies – and if you are lying to me, I WILL catch you.  Imagine how exhausting it is to be suspicious of almost anything anyone says.

I never used to be this bad – it’s only been in the past 9 years or so (since my father died).  I’ve always had a wall, but his death made me build a wall AROUND the wall, put barbed wire up, build a moat with sharks in it and guarded with a fire breathing dragon.

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As you can imagine, this has caused many a rift in friendships.  I have a small handful of people that I call my friends and each one of them is very special to me and I hate the fact that from time to time, I question what they tell me – or what they’re not telling me.

As I continue my journey into healthier living – inside and out, I’m desperately trying to not question what people are saying and/or doing, NOT question their motives and NOT think that they have an ulterior motive when they say something kind to me.  Because – I’m learning that these people are in my life because they give me something – love, friendship, honesty and kindness – and I hope (and I’m not going to question this either) that they think the same of me.

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So, I had a wee meltdown earlier this week.  Actually, it was bigger than wee, more of an intense 3 hour meltdown.

I had another meeting with Weight Wise, first thing on Tuesday morning (yah, who books a Weight Wise meeting the day after Thanksgiving? – me, apparently).  I always get myself into a state of anger before I go.  Why?  Because I’m pissed off that I have to be there in the first place.

I got off the elevator and walked into the waiting room and just stopped.  Dead.  The whole room was filled with morbidly obese people.  I’m talking people in wheelchairs, people who needed walkers, those that could only wear sweatpants because that would be the only thing they could fit into.  Part of me was horrified; another part of me felt anger.  Horrified because I couldn’t imagine ever being that large, anger because I felt lumped in with these people – there is no WAY I could relate to any of them.

That sounds horribly judgmental of me, doesn’t it?  I think what it boils down to, is that I abhor in others what I see in myself.

After finding a place to sit, in the back of the room, I seethed with loathing.  A woman sat next to me, who breathed loudly through her mouth and kept belching, and if I’m going to be completely honest – she had the odor of unwashed feet.

OMG, WTF am I doing here?  I don’t belong here!  I’m nothing like these people!

Oh.  Wait a minute.  I guess I am, or I wouldn’t be here.  I have a weight problem.  Some of it is medically related; some of it is my own fault.  While I’m not as large as some of these people, I am considered morbidly obese.

That brings tears to my eyes.  My mother was obese, my father was overweight – the only one that lucked out in the family was my sister.

I dress well.  I have nice clothes and I always put in the effort to look presentable (by that, I mean wearing clean yoga pants instead of paint stained ones in public 🙂 ).  Part of the reason I was so angry at the people in the waiting room, was because inside I was yelling ‘I understand that you’re overweight, but why have you given up on yourself?’  I saw people in stained sweats and t-shirts, people who looked (and smelled) like they hadn’t showered for a month and a man who was wearing cut off shorts.

I realize that this sounds judgmental, and maybe it is.  I believe, however, that these people have just decided that they’re fat and therefore, they aren’t going to put any effort into their appearances whatsoever.  But – maybe this is just my issue.  Maybe I need to cut these folks some slack.  Maybe, just maybe – they’re not as wrapped up in what they look like as I am.

Maybe – it’s not all about looks – and more about health.  Feeling better.  Being able to walk pain free.  Not having to use walking aids to get around.

I need to get to that place.  I need to accept that I need to learn to love my body, fat, warts and all.  I need to find a place of peace in my soul that allows me to feel calm and accepting of who I am, right this very minute.  Does that mean I’m fine with the way I am?  No – what it does mean, is that I can be okay with my body at this moment, but only I can make the appropriate changes to improve it.  Which I fully intend to do.

My sister and I were chatting last week and we both realized that our dad had teased us mercilessly as kids.  Now, I KNOW he never meant anything hurtful by it – it was never intended to be malicious – but in speaking with my sister, we both understood that his taunts were a part of why we both grew up hating our bodies – we both have SERIOUS issues with how we look and are both very critical on our appearances.

So, my sister and I have signed up for a course called “Be Your Own Beloved” – a course which involves taking a picture of yourself every day during the month of November.  I despise having my picture taken because of my size, but I’m embracing this idea and am going to open myself up to try to see myself as others see me, not the distorted, sad and angry person I see when I look in the mirror.

Wish me luck!

(If you’re interested, here is the link to the online course:

http://www.viviennemcmasterphotography.com/be-your-own-beloved/


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About a month ago, I met with the psychiatrist in my Weight Wise program; a lovely woman named Margaret.  Determining my mental health (or lack thereof) is a crucial part of deciding whether or not this program is for me.

Margaret was wonderful.  She was easy to open up to and asked what I considered to be very relevant questions.  I told her my tales of being overweight since I was a kid, how I use food for comfort, the usual things.  It was very refreshing to speak to someone about my weight who wasn’t telling me that I need to eat more vegetables.  Who understood that my weight issues stem from my BRAIN and not necessarily what I put into my mouth (I should also explain that I have a number of physical issues that contribute to my obesity; not the other way around and it makes it twice as hard to lose weight).

I told her the regular ‘as a kid, I didn’t get (insert emotion here) and therefore I turned to (insert vice here).’  And, that as an adult, I still find great comfort in a bowl of potato chips while reading a book just before I go to bed.

I’ve since seen my case worker, who is also fabulous and she has asked me to track my food/exercise intake so that she can take a look at it the next time I see her.  I grudgingly agreed to do so – why grudgingly?  Because I’ve been down this road before and it’s not ended well.  I become obsessive over every single calorie.  It turns into a full time job just remembering to log that extra teaspoon of ketchup.  If I go over my calorie count for the day, I consider it a huge failure and I get very upset. Putting it in writing means that I have to commit myself to something and that’s not my strong point.  Like an ex boyfriend said to me years ago – “you want a commitment?  I can’t even commit to owning a goldfish.”

So, as of last Monday, I’ve been writing down what I’ve eaten.  Now, I don’t know what exactly is happening in my head these days, but to be blunt – I’m a pig.  I can’t stop eating.  I don’t care what I eat, what I drink or how much.  I liken it to a Roman feast (sans roasted peacock or stuffed door mouse).  Even during my worst times, I wasn’t eating like this.

I guess the big question is why?  Why am I feeling so out of control?  I’ve also been feeling very angry lately (I’ve actually had the same dream of chewing my mother’s face off several times over the past few weeks – let me tell ya, that certainly needs some analyzing).  I’m irritable.  I’m belligerent.  I’m mad at everyone for no good reason.  I’ve even apologized to my body for treating it so badly.

I’m existing blindly, without thinking, without feeling.  Because if I stop to think about the challenge ahead of me, I might just fall apart.  Or even worse – fail.

I found this in an article sent to me this week:  Sense of Failure – Many people can stake their happiness on the achievement of a specific goal, such as achieving exam results, earning a certain amount of money, or progressing a certain distance in their career. If for some reason they do not achieve this goal, they may believe they have failed in some way. This sense of failure can increase the likelihood of experiencing depression (http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk).

Interesting.  If there is one thing I hate more than anything else in the world, it is failing at something.  My mother had the Homer Simpson parenting manual, which states “If it’s too hard to do, don’t bother.”  So, when I did try something and failed, I either got the ‘told you so’ or the ‘it’s not worth it’ speech.  That’s sort of been my subconscious motto since I was a kid.  I’ve only recently come to understand it.

Basically, I’M what’s holding me back.  In as much as I want someone to come and fix this for me, it ain’t gonna happen.  I have a lot of people supporting me and want to see me succeed – but I can’t seem to find that support for myself.  If a friend is trying to accomplish something, I’m the first one in with my pom-poms and bullhorn cheering them on, but when it comes to cheering myself on, I’m sadly lacking in the pom-pom department.

Hmm.  Maybe it’s time to try a different cheer?

 

 

 


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Well, my 46th birthday came and went with very little fanfare. I spent some time with friends and family and it was all very nice, indeed.  But, I did something a bit different this year. You see, last year, I started taking on a ‘fear a year’ – where I would do something completely out of my comfort zone.  

I have many, MANY things that would take me out of my comfort zone.  The list is endless.

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I am very fortunate to work next door to our Provincial Museum.  Over the years, I’ve gotten to know my neighbours very well, to the point where I can come and go freely within the building.  It’s a pretty nifty place, filled with history, exhibits of all kinds and…a Bug Room.

Yes, a Bug Room.  An enchanted place where you can see live and in person, bugs of all shapes and sizes – everything from stick insects to a mammoth bird eating spider.

Maybe enchanted wasn’t quite the word I was looking for.  Hmmm…let’s go with terrifying instead.  Yes, that’s better.

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You can literally hear them scuttling about, you can watch cockroaches crawl over each other and you can even view a millipede (this one looks like it’s on steroids).  But the worst thing?  The spiders.  All different kinds, shapes and sizes.

I hate spiders.  Hated ’em since I was a kid.  I remember once when I was little, playing in the basement, I saw a spider (which at the time – to me – was the size of a football), so I started screaming ‘SPIDER!  SPIDER!  SPIDER!’ at which point my mother came running down the stairs with a bucket of water – she thought I’d been yelling ‘FIRE!’

Now, as a grown woman of 46, I can still scream like a little girl when I find one in my house.  I’d never kill one; in fact – I would scoop it up into a glass and toss it over my balcony (which is 12 storeys up, so I’m not sure if they ever make it or not).  Those little black ones that run across your ceiling like Ben Johnson with the shits – I HATE those!

(You might have an inkling where I’m going with this).

I mustered up the courage to contact the guy who runs the Bug Room, Pete.  I explained why and what I wanted to do and he was more than happy to accommodate my request.

So, at exactly 3:00 pm on my birthday, I made my way over to the museum – shaky, a bit queasy – but kind of excited at the same time.  I met Pete in the bug lab, where they grow all of the bugs – imagine the Smithsonian Institute – but with containers of insects – row upon row of them.  I made it in the front door and just sort of stopped.  I’d been in there before, but this time it was different.  I was gonna do it.  YES, I WAS…

I WAS GONNA HOLD A TARANTULA.

Pete is amazing.  He loves these creatures like they were his children.  He was thrilled to be able to help me overcome my fear (now, at this point, I wasn’t sure if I was going to throw up, wet my pants or possibly just pass out).  Very gently, he took Rosie from her house and put her on his hand.  I stood about 10 feet back, just looking.  Then, I slowly made my way over and took a good look at her.  Yep, that is one big, hairy spider.  Looked at her for a couple more minutes.  Then, I very tentatively touched her.  OMGOMGOMGOMGITOUCHEDIT!  But, wait a minute.  That wasn’t so bad.  As a matter of fact, she’s kinda fuzzy.  Like a pipecleaner.  Pete then asked if I wanted to hold her and I drew in a deep breath, and said – sure.  Very slowly, Pete placed Rosie in my hand.  Watching her, each leg moved with exact precision as she adjusted to my hand.  She was so delicate in her movements!  She just sort of sat there, not moving much.  For about the first 30 seconds I stood there in shock…THERE IS A GIANT TARANTULA ON MY HAND.  Then I took a really good look at her.  She was sort of cute, in a giant, hairy spider sort of way.  And very light.  Then I smiled – this wasn’t so bad!  This was really cool!  She started to move a little bit, which for a millisecond threw me off, but then it was neat how she sort of tickled my palm with her movements.  I was smitten.

I held onto Rosie for about 10 minutes, looking at her with complete awe.  What an interesting creature.  Pete explained the misconception regarding tarantulas and how they’re much more afraid of us than we are of them.

I allowed Pete to put Rosie back into her house.  I was beaming from ear to ear – not only because I found her fascinating, but because I did something that in a million years, I never thought I’d be able to do.

I stepped out of my comfort zone in a big, BIG way.  I overcame a fear.  Now, I’m not about to start collecting spiders as pets, but in the future, I will look at them in a completely different way.  

Next year – ‘a fear a year’:  Gonna go on a date with a nice guy.  Of course, I have to find one, sedate him and brainwash him, but I think I’m up for the challenge 🙂

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