· Who defines you?
· Do you define yourself, or do other people?
· Do You have defined roles in people's lives?
· Are those roles you chose, or were they deferred.
· Do you enjoy those roles, or do they cause you stress?
· Is there a person inside you hide from others because you fear others would not find that you worthwhile or acceptable?
· Do you make yourself 'useful' at the expense of your health?
I have felt my whole life that I have been defined by the expectations of others: The expectations of my parents where family and religion were concerned; The expectations of my husband(s), which were overridden by the expectations of my parents, where my marriage was concerned; The expectations of my children in the role I play in their life whether those were formed by society or learned via observation of my own behaviors; The expectation of myself formed by society and my guilt to help my children in their darkest hours both financially, emotionally, and with physical needs.
The few times I have gone outside of those expectations were when I was fed up with convention and wanted to do something for ME! Or, I just wanted to do something that was NOT expected of me, if that makes sense. Those are the times I made choices that had monumental and lasting affects in my life – some good – some bad.
I have always felt controlled by my mom which I already alluded to. Controlled really is a strong word and probably not accurate, but I don’t have a replacement. The last year of her life I spent much time with her and we did a lot of things to prepare her and my father for her ultimate demise. Looking back, I realized my life only belonged to me when she didn’t need it. To be fair, she didn't ask for it. I gave it. Willingly. Out of guilt or love or both I don't know, but I knew I was where I needed to be at the time and at that time, I wouldn't have it any other way. I had some amazing experiences with her and she was my best friend. It's just that after she died I realized the toll it took on me. You have to know that I LOVE HER. With EVERY fiber of my being and I miss her terribly.
Some of those choices also led to a divorce from my first husband, who despite our differences, really is a good man at heart and the father of my four amazing children. But that choice led our little family down a road that had it's pot holes that were not always avoided and led to hard consequences for me and my children that I have felt so much guilt about which is overwhelming at times. I know they have ultimate control over their own choices but try telling that to any parent.
So, the question this week has been a very difficult one to process. I believe we ultimately define ourselves by what we allow ourselves to be involved in and what we ultimatly become. We make the decisions that lead us to where we are and many of those decisions are made during a ‘crisis’ moment that we realize we need to do something different and that is when change is affected for good or for bad. At least in my case.
I am trying to review the places I am in my life with family, religion, work, and self. I am trying to determine if I am truly happy in those places that I call home. Some of them I am not, so change has started. For example, I now go to a personal trainer twice a week. I run with a girlfriend once a week. I play racquetball with colleagues three times a week. None of those choices include my husband who has been glued to my hip since before we married nearly nine years ago and that is hard for him, but oh so good for me. He formulated a plan to exercise and asked me to join him. I couldn’t give him a definite yes because it interferes with the plans I already made for ME. I want to support him but I don’t want to in the way he expects me to. So the choice comes again. I have to keep guilt and expectations out of the equation and say, what ultimately is going to be good for me and my relationship with him? I might have to give up something and compromise for the sake of something better, but before I would give up everything to keep him happy. I don’t feel I need to do that anymore to the extent that I have been. Does that make sense?
My whole life I have tried to be a good person and be helpful and kind and Christ like in my actions. But since mom died and I had my mini-break down, I realized that somewhere inside of me there was a person struggling to get out and be free. Free from the choices that confine me and bring unhappiness and discontent. Being overweight is one of them. This weight loss is a journey for me. I don't believe there is going to be a final destination because this is a life long quest. The exercise and food choices are stops along that way. Being size four … okay size ten … or whatever … won’t bring me happiness. But I believe that if I take control and make the choices instead of allowing those choices to be made for me, I will find that happiness and satisfaction will be the byproducts and reward.
I love being a Daughter. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Employee. Boss. Friend. Aunt. Sister. But. I am learning to love myself more. I will take control of the areas I can and choose acceptance of those I cannot.
Geez Christine. I didn’t know this would be such hard work !!!