What The Hell Do You Want From Me?
OMG. I’m not perfect.
Isn’t that awful? I mean, being perfect is a great goal. So many people want us to be perfect. But maybe you’re overweight like me. Or maybe you’ve done something in the past that no one will let you get beyond. Maybe you’re never going to meet society’s standards of perfection of beauty, of perfection of mind, of perfection of body.
What can a person like me do to be more perfect? How can I make myself immediately and completely perfect in the eyes of others? How can I, poor, humble me, get beyond my faults so that others will accept me?
Like, NEVER. But I hope you can teach me how to stop failing and be perfect. I’d be ever so grateful.
Carrying The Weight Of Expectation
I’ve written about unrealistic expectations and the harm they create in a previous post.
I’m convinced more than ever that the unrealistic expectation that others have of us is like a bad case of inflammation: it makes you very sore and red. Swollen and itchy, too.
As much as I think can handle good, honest and constructive criticism, sometimes my bipolar brain just can’t take it. It’s not that I disagree when people point out negativity but sometimes it’s the wrong thing to do to someone whose self-esteem issues are on high alert at the moment.
Fact: Every Day Is Not Perfect
People can’t read minds. They can’t always correctly assess your immediate mental attitude. I certainly can’t do that with other people. Sometimes criticism is a trigger that forces a snippy, nasty retort and unfortunately, today was a good example of an incident when barbed words come out of your mouth. Alas, today nor any other day coming down the pike is likely to be perfect (just reality, that, not pessimism). Let me tell you about my day.
Today started out pretty well: good news from the doctor, beautiful weather, brighter prospects on the horizon. And then:
Instant crappy attitude. How did that happen?
I have many goals in recovery. So far I can’t complain. I know just how hard I have worked (very hard!) and how far I have come (very far!) in a very, very short time. One thing I learned: changing my entire life so that I am eliminating or deconstructing habits that others (or myself) consider bad isn’t an instantaneous thing. Changes can take time. It might not be a long time for some and it could be just about forever for others but, sad to say, it’s impossible to see ahead to know how long. Success — my own definition of it, anyway — means what I think it means and not anyone else’s definition.
So, on to today’s example. I am sorely in need of some effective weight loss, a fact that is undeniable. The years of inactivity from lack of work, lack of will, lack of funds and lack of motivation aggravated by depression and inaction have turned me from a muscular, handsome man into Jabba the Hutt’s older half-brother (albeit the better looking one). It’s taken a long time for me to get this big and it’s not going to be quickly lost.
Today I spoke with my doctor and together we’re coming up with a can-do yet realistic plan of action that does not generate excessive expectation of my weight gain or loss. To say the least, it’s an ambitious plan in that it forces me out of my comfort zone, out among the populace and ignoring their imagined stares of consummate disgust, ignoring my completely unfounded fears and getting my skin to produce Vitamin D by actually going outside.
It also means awareness of portion control and taking the time to eat without bolting food. Needless to say I absolutely hated being told this and I wanted to fight it off because I am the King of Resistance.
My mom pointed out that having just informed her of my weight loss plan and goals, I immediately went to the refrigerator and made a gigantic mounding plate that consisted of a massive pile of homemade lasagna (hold the greens).
Was I thinking about that calorie load? Nope. When was I going to start being Mr. Perfect?
Not today, that’s for sure. But wait — didn’t I just outline a weight loss plan?
You see, I have to do things in their time. While I have worked very hard to be somewhat of a success with the more immediate perils at hand (like depression, suicidal ideation, hypomania, flatulence, the list goes on), overcoming old eating habits isn’t the easiest thing in the world to accomplish and it’s even harder when you’re actually hungry and not thinking about anything but the immediate end of the pangs of substantial hunger.
Yes, that’s right. I was hungry. Frickin’ sue me. I went from zero to mega-bitch and I snapped at you, my poor mother, for pointing out my foible. I didn’t believe I needed a damn lecture at the time; I needed some glucose-raisingly chewy and delicious wide-noodle pasta.
Well, yes, maybe in fact I did need a lecture — but maybe I needed only half a lecture, or perhaps a good-natured finger wagging would have been more appropriate.
Sorry About Your Disapproval
Yes, I hear you. You disapprove of the fact that I was hungry and eating right after I told you I was going to try to control myself. And you were just reiterating what I had said, true.
But you pissed me off. It wasn’t necessarily your fault. But I wanted that lasagna.
Oh, mother. I know what has to be done. I know what it means to have gravity be such an awful, forceful bitch on my body. I know how often, when and where I fail myself. I am painfully aware of it every time I have to switch pant sizes, sometimes more than once in a single day. And I’m so painfully aware of it that my immediate response was to bite your head off the instant you pounced on me for eating. That’s right. I said pounced. You know you did, and I know you did. But a lecture just then was not what I needed and I said so. All I wanted was to stuff my face.
It’s impossible sometimes for me to just say, Yes, you’re right and put the damn lasagna back into the refrigerator. Sometimes I’m just instantly irritated. And I know it is yet another failure of the many I can claim. It comes from either being a super bitch, being an unreasonable bitch or being both. Or maybe just crazy-brain bipolar stuff.
But it takes two. Just sayin’. And when one (or more) of us isn’t functioning at the optimum there’s going to be a divergence, a difference of opinion. Or cranky bitch words. Or angry stupid cranky bitch words.
I Hate Myself Sometimes And That’s Bad Enough
I have to deal with enough negative self-talk as it is. I can’t be what everyone else expects. But then again, I don’t quite know what the hell they expect. Hell, I don’t know what I expect from myself, dammit. All unrealistic expectation aside, just making it through another day is a pretty good thing and another victory for me. And yes, of course I want to lose weight, have a better self-image and attitude, win a Nobel Prize and be President of the Universe and Prom King, too.
It’s just not all going to happen today.
As much as I want to make positive changes, there’s no set way to go about changing bad eating habits. Every weight-loss guru from here to Timbuktu has ‘the right plan’, the best method, the answer. And I must remind you that in fact, I largely eat only healthy foods with the rare exception of malted milk balls, chocolate and the occasional bread pudding with caramel sauce. And gummy bears.
I know that sometimes I eat for comfort and that’s not good, but at least I know it. Hell, all I have to do is look at myself to know that. I hope you realize, though, that I cannot and will not be held back. Maybe it will take longer than I had planned, or perhaps I may be unable to make initial headway. Maybe right now I’m stymied. It may come to pass that I will be unsuccessful in the first, second, third attempts but please, have a little faith. If I can escape the deadly noose around my neck, I bet that I can get rid of the spare tire around my gut.
But what’s most important is that if I fail, it is my failure to claim for my own. And failure is part of learning.
I’ll Get There Somehow
I know that when others want to help you it’s important to allow them to try. Everyone wants for me to lose weight. Would it matter if I was not concerned about how you all feel? No, because you’ll certainly tell me whether I was concerned or not. Does it matter that my initial failures are difficult for me? No. Everyone has failures that are difficult and sometimes painful.
But you have to admit that I am learning from my failure. Remember when that was not the case? It wasn’t all that long ago (only four months!) that I wanted to kill myself. And today? I’ve got the boxing gloves on and I wake up every day with the determination to fight. I strive to do what’s right for me physically and mentally.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m going to win against gaining weight because I want it. But I can’t fight every battle all the time nor all of them all at once. Sometimes you have to choose which battle you are in the middle of at the time and pay attention to not getting an ax to the head. Battles are like that.
Well, you go on encouraging me. I know that you’re doing what you think is right and what you think is in my best interest. And you go on continuing to express your suggestions and opinions whether or not I think I need them.
(But honey, you used to think that castor oil, child harnesses and spanking were good things. Just sayin’. Think about it.)
I know what you’re doing and even if sometimes you see that I fight against my own plans please just believe that I will get to the goal somehow or other. I know I will get there. And when I’m wearing a 34″ waist pair of jeans again, I’m going to dance around in front of you with that big ‘told you so’ smirk on my face.
Then I’m going to have a sundae with a cherry and extra hot fudge. So there.
And when I’m finished my celebration dance I’m going to say to you, Thank You For Believing In Me. Just as soon as I’m done eating.