This morning I was going through some papers on my desk trying to get organized and to consolidate important information written on various post-it notes and what not.
I came across the following 'poem' that I composed for my older son a couple of months ago when he sounded stressed out. I wanted to hug him but being that he's away at college I tried to do it through words:
Every time I think of you,
Tears well in my eyes.
I realize that you're on your own;
It is no real surprise.
To be a success in life,
You have all the tools you need.
The decisions you make
You must own them
From the start.
But I am here
Forever and a day.
'Cause I will always love you.
I will not fade away.
As I read it today, I feel as if the words are written especially for me. It is a message from me, written in the past, to me in the future.
As I go through my personal transformation I have to recognize and acknowledge the 'me' of the past. I had the opportunity to confront the real me of the past. It is strange and difficult to even explain what I mean as I write what happened. I was going through old pictures to locate some photos for my son's school project. Innocent enough. As I fumbled through a couple of hundred pictures I saw a few of myself. There were only a few because I am 'camera shy' because of my weight. It is a damn shame, I thought, as I rifled through the old photos of my past. In the pictures I saw my beautiful boys growing up and changing. Almost 20 years of memories. Yet, this re-hashing of the past made me sad, angry, embarrassed, and guilty.
This type of dysmorphia is like an optical illusion. It is also like a mental delusion. I look at the pictures now as a person going through change and I don't recognize the me of the past. Or, maybe I do FINALLY see myself as I truly was and I cry for her. This person that I was. Living in sadness. Living with pain. Why else would someone choose to abuse themselves so publicly? Morbid obesity is not something you can hide. It is visible, evident, and tangible. It is a free pass for strangers to make an initial assessment of that person based on appearance alone. It is the truth.
I am sad, angry, embarrassed, and guilty. I am sad at the person I was at the time. Unable to see what I was doing to myself. Unable to see how others saw me; strangers who didn't give me a chance to get to know me. I am angry that I could not see what I was doing to myself. What I was doing to my family. I was bruising their childhood memories. I am embarrassed that I selfishly walked around in public exhibiting my pain. I am embarrassed that I shamed my family. I stole happiness from my son's childhood. By making myself physically incapable of movement and enjoyment I ripped life experiences from their grasp. I am guilty that I couldn't see what I was doing to myself. I am guilty of living in denial. I am guilty of making my family victims of my selfish behavior, pain, and denial.
I want to apologize to my entire family for mistreating you the way I mistreated myself. Because I refused for so many years to deal with my pain in a different way, I robbed you all of happiness. You got sucked into my behavior and because you all love me so much made yourselves co-dependents. I understand you didn't want to hurt my feelings. You tip-toed around my moods. It is unfair that you became embroiled in my disease. And, I truly apologize. I hope you will forgive me but if you don't, please don't forget how much I love and appreciate you all. You did what you thought was best at the time. I realize now that no one else could change me, except myself!
In reading the words I wrote to my son I find that it is a message meant for me. I know that I already own all the tools I need to succeed in life. Whether or not I do it is my decision. Ultimately, I am the one in the driver seat and will be with myself until I die. I find comfort in the words as I read them today. It is an acknowledgement to myself.
How did I know that I could use a hug today? I must be psychic!