…there are new posts on my new website!!!
Just in case you were wondering. ;-)
So my son has been working hard getting all the kinks out of the new site and here’s what we’ve done…
You should be able to comment now without leaving your life history.
If you’d like to “follow” me you may have to manually add my new address (http://sobermomwrites.com) to your reader in order to get updates of a new post.
You can still subscribe and you’ll receive an email every time a new post is up.
Thanks for your patience.
…that I’ve moved!
I’ve moved to my new home at sobermomwrites.com
Please, please, please come and visit me (sorry – begging is so unbecoming – but I don’t really care). I love all of my readers whether you comment or just read or just occasionally click and I’d hate to lose even one of you.
So update your blogroll, change the link in your reader, or subscribe to the new home via email. Any way you do – just do it! (Sorry Nike.)
It’s ready!!!!!! My gorgeous and talented son has worked out all the kinks in my new website and it’s ready to go.
Please join me at www.sobermomwrites.com where I will continue to pontificate on sobriety, mental health and women over 50 getting their shit together. You can subscribe, add me to your blogroll or put the URL in your reader.
I hope you all follow me over – I’m excited to get started. You can also email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org .
See you there!
One of the things that I hated most about drinking was the constant chatter in my head about how much, when and where I was going to drink. The planning, the buying, the rationalizing, the guilt, the anger, the sorrow, and the shame FAR outweighed the actual act of drinking. By the time wine o’clock rolled around, my brain had already been in overdrive for about nine hours…no wonder I needed a drink!
And that doesn’t begin to touch what happened after I actually started drinking. Sure, the wine helped to quiet the voices but by the time my drinking career was coming to an end, the wine only served to turn up the volume on those voices.
It was 24/7 monkey chatter going on in this head of mine. I have to say that besides sober sleep and no more hangovers, the peace of mind that accompanied sobriety was the thing that kept me sober. Once those damn monkeys stopped screeching I was blessed with a peace of mind I’d never known. Bliss.
At least when it came to drinking.
During my therapy appointment this week, I talked a lot about yet another conversation that has been going on inside my head – this one for the better part of my life. It’s the one I’ve mentioned before, the one that is usually the last thought I have before I fall asleep and the first thought I have when I wake up. It’s the one about my weight.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve thought about what I look like to other people and what they thought of me. Since the tender age of 11 years old, my constant companion was an obsession with losing weight. My mother convinced me that I was fat which consequently made me uncomfortable in my own skin. I was never taught to appreciate myself beyond my appearance. Puberty also brought terrible acne as well which certainly didn’t help.
I had an aunt who once said to my mother, “My, Cathy (my sister) is beautiful isn’t she. Isn’t it fortunate that Sherry is smart.” I got the message that I was ugly and my sister got the message that she was dumb. Both labels stuck.
Consequently, it really has never mattered what my actual physical appearance was, the thought that it wasn’t right and that it needed to be changed has always been present. It’s the thought that if I could just look a certain way then I would be worthy of love and acceptance. I don’t think I can describe how powerful these voices are or how persistent. They are so much a part of me that they’re on autopilot 90% of the time. They just play on a constant loop. And they have POWER. They control my moods and my thoughts and my DAY. Hell, they can even control my sleep!
My husband has hearing loss that was caused by Vietnam and 70’s rock concerts that has just gotten worse as he’s aged. He hears a kind of static or white noise all the time. He’s gotten used to it but it affects how he hears (our TV is LOUD) and it can’t be fixed with hearing aids. We just deal with it.
I’ve been thinking that this is the closest he’ll ever come to understanding my inner dialog about my weight and appearance. It’s constant and I’ve gotten used to it, but it’s harmful and depressing and, so far, there aren’t any aids that have helped. No diet, no exercise, no facelift (not yet) or boob job (um…no) or nose job (I’ve had two) or capped teeth (they were capped when I was 23) are going to fix what’s in my head. I just deal with it.
Now that’s not to say that I won’t keep trying because I will. Just as we raise our voice and repeat ourselves for my husband, I will find work arounds and tools that I can use to make room for the voices while taking away their power. If there is one thing that Joe has taught me it’s to “drop the rope” and stop fighting who I am and how I am. This monkey chatter is a part of me and I need to stop trying to make it go away. Rather, I need to make it pipe down and make room for better and more helpful thoughts. Rather than evicting the monkeys from my head, I need to make a comfortable place for them in the attic where they can live – out of earshot.
So for now I’m just going to stop feeding them (ha ha…get it? feeding them! I slay me!). There will be no more counting calories. I’ll still wear my fitbit (because I like it) but I will no longer let it feed to My Fitness Pal and adjust for my caloric intake. I will continue to jump on the treadmill and walk the dogs because I love it but I will try very hard not to make thinking about it the biggest part of my day. I will eat healthy and what I want instead of “shoulding” all over myself day in and day out. I will occasionally update my 54 at 54 posts (maybe not weekly however) but it won’t be about numbers. It will be about progress in my head as opposed to my ass. I’m hoping the ass will follow but if it doesn’t, so be it.
I am also fully aware that in 2, 3 or 6 months (or weeks) I might change my mind, jump back into a Whole 30 and sign up for a marathon – I don’t think so but I might. I might throw out all the “bad” food in our house (even though there is no “bad” food) and announce that pasta has been banned (which, for an Italian is a mortal sin) and cookies are the devil.
Right now however this feels good to me. It’s like a balm for my wounded soul. I feel a deep, satisfying sigh coming on and I welcome it with open arms. I just want some peace and quiet. I just want some acceptance of who I am, just as I am.
When I tell my kids I love them or are proud of them, sometime they’ll come back with, “Why?” I usually say, “Because you breathe and that’s enough reason for me.” I want someone to love me like that and I want it to be me.
This is my favorite picture of myself of all time. Even as a child I loved it. I loved the smile and the happiness the picture conveyed. It still makes me happy.
One of the suggestions from the therapist to help me deal with, well, everything we’ve tackled thus far, has been to nurture or parent “Little Sherry”. To bring to mind myself as a child and speak to her in the way and manner that I would speak to my own children. I’m not sure why this has not only proven to be effective but has also been successful in touching my heart which, as long time readers know, is not an easy thing to do.
It’s allowed me to begin to love and forgive myself without looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you Sherry. You are kind and beautiful and gosh darn it, you deserve it,” (That’s a very old Saturday Night Live bit…sorry.) which feels disingenuous and downright silly to me. I’ve been able to embrace this exercise I guess because I’m dealing with a child and not a fully grown adult who shouldn’t need this kind of care (in my screwed up head anyway). The only word that comes to mind for me is profound.
When I began, Little Sherry always came to me with her head bowed and her hands over her face in shame. I didn’t fight it. I pictured us, side by side on the porch steps of a beach cottage, staring out at the ocean early in the morning. No words were exchanged. We just sat, together, watching the waves. Eventually she would drop her hands to her lap and occasionally let me hold her little hand.
Now and then I’m able to offer kind words like, “It’s okay. You’re a wonderful little girl and you deserve all the kindness and love the world has to give.” I’m not sure how much I believe it yet but I think I might be getting through to her. Hopefully I’m not too far behind.
On thing is certain, every time we sit together I cry. Not boo-hoo with snot and an ugly face, but tears in my eyes that sometimes slide down my cheeks. There’s just a deep sense of sadness that overwhelms me. In fact, it feels exactly the same as when my children are in pain from one of life’s bumps and I can no longer fix it with a Buzz Lightyear Band-Aid and a kiss. I have to just be there for them, guide the a little, and hope the scars don’t run too deep. Life on life’s terms.
She still won’t look me in the eye and I haven’t been able to hold her yet but I think we’re getting there. Sometimes I think I’ve lost my fucking mind imagining all of this…until I sit down to do it or it just comes over me. Then I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Quick Note: Since my website is still a work in progress, I’ll be posting both here and there for at least a little while. Thanks for your patience while we get this going.
It seems as if no matter how hard I try to be kind to myself and discontinue the use of negative self-talk, the slightest thing can send me into a tail spin and back into old habits.
I’ve been working really, really hard with the therapist, my e-course and just life in general to learn to like (and maybe one day love) who I am, just as I am because, as I’ve said MANY times before – if I don’t get the inside fixed it won’t matter what the outside looks like. I’ve been thin and thought I was fat. I’ve been told I’m beautiful but have never once believed myself to be even pretty. I’ve proven myself to be highly intelligent but believe I’m, at most, average. I have a successful career but never believe it to be enough AND I think I’m a fraud that will be found out at any moment.
I’m finally at a place in my life where I recognize that I need to change and I’m working hard to turn this ship around. I know it doesn’t happen overnight, after all, it took a lifetime to get this way so I can’t expect to fix it in a few hours. This work means undoing messages and beliefs that are rooted deep in my soul. I’m just on the part where I buy the tools, the actual excavation will take time, talent, finesse and a crap ton of patience. It’s going to be a long road and I’m up for the challenge…
…until I’m not.
I went in for my endoscopy last week (everything looks excellent btw – no cause for concern at all) and the pompous gastroenterologist that I have breezes in as I’m waiting for my anesthesia and begins to lecture me on the reasons for my heartburn and reflux. It’s not what we eat as we once thought he says, it’s our weight and only our weight that causes these symptoms. What kind of diet do you have he asks? Do you exercise? How much? We need to talk about a lifestyle change for you.
First of all, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.
Secondly, what’s this “we” Kemosabee. I’m the one laying on the table in a thin piece of cloth and you’re the one getting rich because I’m here. Please refrain from using the royal “we”.
Finally asshat, you haven’t even looked in my gut yet. How in the heck do you know what’s down there? I could be an acid factory for all you know. I could be making more acid than a hippie preparing for Woodstock. Save the recriminations until after the procedure – you know, when I’m all doped up and will likely tell you to kiss my ass.
Of course that’s not what happened. I let him spew on with a deadpan look on my face until the wonderful anesthesiologist sent me to la-la land.
Now we’re almost a week out and I can still see his face and hear his words. I wish he could hear a few of mine…
Yes dude, I know I’m unhealthily (is that a word?) overweight and that I need to turn this around or I will shorten not only my life expectancy but also my quality of life.
But what YOU don’t know is that I’m a recovering alcoholic who is working on turning an entire LIFE around. I can’t worry about the quantity or quality of my future life until I fix the one I’m in right now. Oh and by the way dude, did you know that I’m an adult child of an alcoholic father and a raving narcissist mother? Did you further know that I was sexually molested as a child and am just now dealing with it? Did you know that I have a running conversation going on inside my head about the number and quality of the calories I take in every minute of every day vs. the number I am expending? AND did you know that this conversation has been chattering away inside my head for as long as I can remember? That I was thinking these things as young as nine or ten years old?
I didn’t think so.
You don’t bother to learn the reasons why, you just need to speak your mind, stick a tube down my throat and poke around, collect your enormous fee and move on to the next patient.
Did you know that your little speech has set my progress back months? That I’m back to hating myself and saying ugly things to myself and listening to the conversation that has now been amplified by several million decibels? By the way, have you met my boss? I think the two of you would get along famously.
So I will not be returning for my four-week “checkup”. I’ll not be lining your coffers with any more money and I will not let you set me back any further than you already have. You’ve had your say now go away.
I’ve got a lot of work to do.