I was 44 years old. I had a great life, great family, beautiful mid century home, nice cars, nannies, a housekeeper, and amazing storybook vacations. From the outside I’m sure it all seemed incredible, like a dream life.
That is, unless I let you peek inside my head.
The truth is that my mind was filled with endless self criticizing thoughts and self shame.
It was my mind that allowed me to be in a verbally abusive marriage for 14 years. Because of my mind, I’d been taking diet pills since I was 16 years old. I lived a life of constant deprivation and wondered why everything seemed sad.
At the very core of me, deprived is what I was.
You see, I have always been sensitive, affectionate, loving, kind and any friend’s loudest cheerleader. However, as soon as I was alone, the self judgement would kick in and with it came the feelings of not being enough, being fat, having freckles, having red hair and worse, red pubes!
I was filled with remorse thinking about how I’d have sex way too easily out of fear that, if I said no, the men would never call me.
And because of my negative feelings, I’d allow my ex-husband to beat me down so low with mean words and shaming looks.
In truth, I felt lifeless and hopeless.
Well, I woke up.
I wish I could tell you that one day I woke up and said to myself, “This doesn’t feel right and this isn’t what I deserve.” No, in truth I woke up because I realized my 6 year old was witnessing this verbal abuse. She saw me as a depressed victim and she watched me criticize myself.
FUCK NO, I finally decided. I’d be damned if I would allow this sad, lonely, self-hating history to repeat itself.
So I got help. I began to see a great therapist who kept me accountable. I surrounded myself like a tight cocoon with my loving, supportive friends who held my hand through this.
Was it a happy ending? Not yet.
There I was, I had a beautiful apartment, great friends, my daughter was thriving. This new super skinny me had even started dating.
But, wait what’s that?
That mean voice was still there.
That alien that would appear in my brain when I was stressed or having uncomfortable thoughts, spurring me into a food frenzy. Compulsive eating became my preferred method of calming my nerves, to shut out all the fears and all the questions, all the uncertainty.
I thought for sure that, when I left my marriage, that mean girl in my head would stay there in the past.
Then, 2 years later I met my soulmate: the man who changed my life and my entire perception of men, the man who you dream is out there waiting for you.
So was it time for my “happily ever after” yet?
Though I knew I was supposed to “get it” by now because this was my dream, what I knew would make me whole and complete, the damaging behavior continued.
Finally, one day, I caught myself while I was getting out of the shower saying HORRIBLE things to myself as I looked in the mirror.
My words were far worse than any mean boy in high school, far meaner than my ex husband.
As this reality hit me, I just sat and cried. Tearfully I realized that this is where all of my trouble began, inside of my head.
And so here, inside my own head, is where it needed to end.
I asked myself, “How can I possibly expect to heal when I hate myself on such a deep level?” I realized I would never speak to someone I love so bitterly. This sadness and feeling of emptiness washed over me.
So finally, with this realization, my journey could truly begin. Yes, this was in November 2014 at the age of 51 years old.
Fast forward to today. Am I tempted to binge? Yes, but not as frequently. I can see it coming and 95% of the time I can sit and see what the real craving is, what exactly I am needing in that moment in order to truly fill my tank.
Have I lost weight? Yes, but it is a slow, healthy process. I am someone who craves quick fixes, losing 5 pounds a week and starving myself.
But, this time, I am focusing on the big picture.
I now replace those mean words with loving words. I replace mean thoughts with gentle, kind thoughts. Before, when I would get sad, fearful & anxious, I would stuff my feelings down with food. Today, I replace that habit with mindfulness, lovingly listening to my body for answers.
Do I slip up? YES, I’m human! But do I punish myself or shame myself? NO, because I’m proud to say I am pretty okay with loving my “imperfectness”.
And the best part of this whole story is my daughter. She is such a kind, beautiful, positive 15 year old. She has a wonderful self-image and a beautiful relationship with food. We talk about everything and there is nothing better than this.
I did it: I stopped my history from crippling her life. That to me is one of the best things I have done in my life so far!
You see, we must all stop waiting for our lives to begin.
Instead, let’s start showing up, enjoying, celebrating, and being grateful for our amazing lives.