Thursday, February 9, 2012

193.8. Christines Question #2 Answered.

·         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 !!!



  1. now there it is...and you are teetering on a precipice of really grasping the whole of it....can I just stand on the other side of it and tell you it's great over here?! I used to do the same things..I once wrote a post a few weeks into my weight loss journey about the fact that my husband wanted to exercise with me...and I said "yes, if you are willing to do it at such and thus a time..if you aren't I am going anyways." Because whether people realize it or not, their loved ones can and will sabotague their efforts. Because the status quo was working for them...and it is so uncomfortable to turn from being everyone's rock to your own go from the life of reacting to people's needs to being proactive about your life. If, before the time ever got there, you make principled decisions about your makes the saying no so much easier. Always always always put on your own oxygen mask first. You can't make anyone only control you. You can't give what you don't have. Once you realize the locus of control is in you...that you can react however you wish to whatever you will begin to feel empowered. Once you realize you can set goals in every aspect in your life, be honest about them..and the people who love you will still love you even if you don't make your whole life about them...the feeling is very freeing. If it's this hard, the reward is going to be that much greater at the end. This so far, is the most honest and best post I have seen. This is exactly where I wanted people to go.

  2. Julie, thanks for posting on this. I couldn't do it. I have given it a lot of thought, and have journaled some points, but not put it into anything anyone would understand. Clearly, you spent a lot of time on this, and I believe that is Chris' goal - to make us look inside ourselves. Good job, and again, thanks.

  3. The danger in not including your husband in your fitness is that you are doing something you can both do together, but you are saying no, you're going to do it separately. This is a big difference from having separate interests and pursuing them on your own. If both people like the same thing, then you should really be doing some of them together.. otherwise, what is the point of being together?

    However, if he asked you to change your already established plans for him, then that is different.. So many people complain on the blogs about not having help or support from their spouses so it is strange to see someone write about not including them. Maybe you are and I just reading it wrong.. but I can't tell you how much I, and many others, would love to be on this journey with a spouse etc.

    However, I agree with what you are saying overall about needing to do things for yourself. Absolutely.

  4. Great questions and very thought provoking and thorough answers. I can relate on many levels and respect you very much for the journey you are on.

  5. Thank you for your comments and support and encouragement.

    Chris - I can't wait to see the other side. I'm working towards it even with my setbacks. I'm determined.

    Jo - this question sucked for lack of a better word. It took me a week to finally write what had been rattling around in my head and it took a toll on me to think of these things but I'm glad I did.

    Bybyee - to clarify a little bit, I adore my husband. We met at work. We work together, we drive into work together, and home together, and have lunch and breaks together. We don't have social couples. We are together all the time. We have shared in the weight gain becasue we love to eat and what one would so would the other. The thing is, that when I started exercising, he didn't and wouldn't. I will play RB with him several nights a week but he wasn't interested in doing so until I had started playing with a friend that started working here. That is frustrating to me. I begged him to. I asked him to. Work was always getting in the way or he would suggest going to a movie or dinner or something else instead. So, I took matters in my own hands and set times to exercise that would not interfere with our time together. But now, he wants that time as well. I can't exercise at 5am, play rb in the day with friends, play rb with him at the end of the work day, then go running when we get home. Physically I just can't. But like I said, I will look at what he needs, what I need, and find the compromise that will help us both reach our goal and keep our marriage strong. He is also dieting with me - but that is the difference. He calls it dieting. I am in it to change my life. I won't cut him out completely, but I am ready to fight for myself and what I need for a change. I have invited him every time I go to the trainer - but he won't get up early and go with me. I feel bad but he also has to find what is best for him. I do love him and am so glad for him and his encouragement. The best and worst thing he tells me is that I am beautiful just the way I am. I don't need to change. I'm not changing for him. I am changing for me.

    Stormy - Thank you ...


    1. Of course, the devil is in the detail :) I understand completely where your coming from. Sounds like you have approached this the best you can considering everything. It shows a great spirit to getup and make change on your own :)