*** I have been working on this blog entry all week, it felt incomplete and would not settle for me. I finally realized it is because I was not writing about the hard part, the part that I most needed to let go of…I am grateful for pushing myself to figure it out. In the end the only way to truly let the hard things go is to acknowledge that they are still a part of you.
I have been thinking about this past Saturday for a few days now, and it occurred to me today why it has been on my mind. A Doppelganger is simply any double or look-alike of a person. It also describes the sensation of having glimpsed at oneself in peripheral vision, in a position where there is no chance that it could have been a reflection.
I am going to tell you about my day on Saturday and then I am going to tell you what a day like that would have held for me before I started the dog-lbs project.
Saturday morning I met Lindsey at the gym around 9:00am, we got a good workout in then met up again a bit later to drive the two hours to Louisville with my dear friends Nikki and Lora to see a concert we had all been looking forward to for quite sometime. We were meeting other great friends, Mel and Bob for an early dinner before going to the concert. I had picked the place some time prior and sent the link to Linds, we made sure there were some healthier options so that there where no surprises when ordering. I am not going to lie, it did not hurt that Linds was there, (riiighhht next to me with a sharp fork in her hand) but I do believe that I would have made good choices regardless because I knew this could have been a social caloric catastrophe. When you go to Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, it’s not exactly a dream for the diet, but it is an incredibly fun place, with great food and I would like to think even without being surrounded by the amazing support of the people sitting around me that I would have made good choices. I had worked out that morning, ate a very healthy breakfast of fruit and oats with a little almond milk, the day was already set by the good choices I had made. What did I order? Well I went with…
Smokehouse Grilled Chicken Sandwich—A grilled boneless chicken breast basted with
housemade Cheerwine® barbecue sauce and smothered with melted Swiss cheese, grilled red onions and thinly sliced city ham, smokehouse bacon. Served on a whole wheat Kaiser roll,dressed on the side, with sweet potato fries.
EXCEPT….I ordered it with no ham, no bacon, no grilled onions(because they are cooked in butter), barbecue sauce on the side and NO SMOTHERING NEEDED…just one piece of swiss, lots of tomato and lettuce. I cut the sandwich in half when it arrived knowing the one half would go into the cooler I brought with me. I did indulge in some sweet potato fries but I counted out 15 fries (out of like 200!) and put a small piece of lettuce to mark the place on my plate and when I hit the lettuce mark I was done with the fries. I ordered Iced tea to drink, “Do you want sweet tea?” You KNOW I do lady, but the reality is I ended up ordering half sweet and half un-sweet. I had made a choice last month that I would not be drinking alcohol during the month of August, and someone I know (who I will not name, but makes me run around in circles carrying weights on my head) graciously gave it up as well in support. I knew drinking was simply off the plate, so to speak when the option presented itself several times throughout the day. I have to be honest the drinking thing is less tempting than I thought it would be, so it was not that big of an issue. My “indulgence” was allowing myself part of the bun and having something a little sweet in going with half of the sweet tea. It’s not about not being able to have anything, it’s about knowing what moderation means to each of us.
Off to the concert we went, I abstained from ice cream, the icy cold beers and slushy booze concoctions that looked great for the hot summer day. I did not seriously think about having a homemade root beer float they were selling nor did I get anything other than a bottle of water. We went to our seats in the third row, on purpose I did NOT buy an aisle seat. I told myself when I ordered the tickets, you do not need it any longer, trust in that. I bought tickets smack in the middle of the row.
This is the part that I had left out previously, the post felt incomplete and I could not put my finger on it and then it hit me like a stinging slap to the face. I had seen Brandi Carlile in Louisville before at the Brown Theater downtown. An old stunningly beautiful theatre that was built in 1925, and while the seats I am sure had been replaced at some point, they were never meant to hold the likes of me, not my girth and certainly not all my shame. I took the usual precautions when ordering seats to anything, I called the venue directly to see which seats would be the roomiest, making up stories of knee problems, back issues, and saying that my companion was a very large and tall gentleman. I asked for an aisle, and I prayed as I always did that I would fit in the seat. Imagine being with the love of your life, the person who hung the moon for you, only to be mortified at the sheer sight of the seat, that feeling of instant nausea knowing you were going to have to sit there next to this person and endure the pain, embarrassment and shame for everyone around you to see. I am stubborn though and I had a way of making it okay, self preservation comes in many forms. The opening act had not even finished and I knew I was already bleeding, the wooden arms of the seat had already begun to cut into my flesh. Pride is a very powerful thing and my ability to ignore reality and push the pain down as far as it would go was a spectacular display of just how unconnected I had become to my body. I had such a deep rooted hate, that in some way it seemed a proper punishment for being so disgustingly obese.
In a moment of panic, those memories came flooding back, washing over me as I stood looking at how we had walked into our row of seats, Lora, then Nik, then Linds and finally me. I could tell you a hundred stories involving my fear of seats. Stories of airplanes, and movies, broadway shows and the mortifying day a seat completely collapsed under my weigh as my entire high school watched. I looked at Lindsey and I looked at the empty seat, that would eventually had a stranger sitting next to me. My heart raced and I felt the sweat bubble up on the back of my neck. I blurted out to Lindsey and asked if I could sit between her and Nikki, I am pretty sure she had no idea why I asked, but of course she agreed without any hesitation. I lowered myself into the seat and was shocked at how much room there was, I fit with room to spare, I did not spill over into anyone else’s space. I did not touch anyone else and…AND….I could even cross my legs as I sat there!!
The concert was a rockin celebration of all that is still right in the world of music. Imagine someone who has a spectacular voice, who needs nothing more than a mic, a band that actually PLAY their instruments with such passion and love, write their own songs and have the class and heart to be thankful and so so gracious to their audience. Brandi Carlile is worth the drive anywhere, any old time. Check her out if you don’t know of her….and NO she did NOT used to sing with the go-go’s! Her music has pushed me through this year several times and she dominates my running playlist. The food, the drinks the temptation, the toxic habits of the past were overpowered as the real nourishment for my body, mind and soul which came from the connection to the lyrics, the music and the healing offered to up to me in one heaping portion, on that big platter of a stage in front of me.
After the concert we stopped at McDonald’s because I needed coffee for the drive home. My choice was a medium iced mocha, no whip cream, no chocolate drizzle and was made with skim milk, 150 calories. Linds had oatmeal, who knew you could get that at midnight! Lora and Niki, I love you both and will not divulge the information of what you ordered, no judgement from me! 🙂
If I am honest with myself and you as well, this is what my day probably would have looked like a year ago if the same day had played out….
No workout, not a walk, not really much of a a thought given about moving my body before going to a concert. I might have made pancakes or french toast drenched in syrup, or a cheesy omelet with some biscuits and coffee to start the day. At lunch I can already tell you what I would have gotten at Lynn’s because I have gotten it before…..
Fried Green Tomato BLT —Four fried green tomatoes hand- breaded with Cajun-spiced cornmeal and stacked on toasted buttermilk bread with crisp peppered bacon, leaf lettuce and Parmesan garlic mayonnaise with beer battered onion rings, and a side of their baked mac and cheese. I would have probably had a beer or two…..and dessert…a bourbon bread pudding or something just as sinful.
If that caloric intake has not hit 3000 for the day so far it’s very close. The concert would have seen a few more beers or cocktails, maybe a pretzel with cheese or nachos and the stop after the concert would have seen me order a whole other meal. I would have ended the day consuming between 4000-5000 calories easy. I would have gone home and felt sick, and not slept well if at all. The next day I would get up and make the same bad choices for myself because that had become routine, stopping the pain with shoveling in the food.
Other than terribly missing that familiar southern voice I hear in my head and heart that I still somehow find myself searching for, there was nothing hard about what I did on Saturday. There was no “sacrifice” , I did not go hungry or feel deprived by the experience. I had a fabulous time with friends that know me and love me despite my struggles. They stand by, they watch, they listen, they are silent, they are loud and boisterous with support and strength when I need it. I love them, they are my family. This is my life now, making choices, setting limits and enjoying everything about it. There is a very big difference in watching life pass you by and standing in the middle of life flowing through you.
This is not a diet, or a phase, or a way of life until I hit a certain weight. I have done and continue doing the very hard work needed, living my life and figuring it out one day at a time. Addiction will not run my life any longer, I acknowledge it , but no longer fear it, knowing that the key is to honestly face the truth, love myself through it and ask for help with I need it. I am learning who I am and letting go of the past. That person who for so long looked in the mirror with such pain, hatred and shame, is simply not me anymore. When I arose from my seat to leave the concert Saturday night, as I walked up the stairs I took one final look back seeing in my minds eye the vision of the old me, cloaked in shame, stuck in that seat, but desperate to come with me. I walk on.
“Turn to light or fade to black
Don’t look back, no you don’t look back
I will always remember you”
I truly believe that with each thing I overcome, each success, each stumble,falter and small setback I am surround by the amazing people in my life that are meant to be with me in each specific challenging moment. Thank you to Linds, Nik, Lora, Bob and Mel in the moments that are the hardest, even when I don’t say it out loud and you may not know it, I lean on you. The journey continues…..