May 20, 2015
Maybe it's silly to have ever thought this was possible: I thought I could be a fun enough or awesome enough or cool enough mom for my kids to never notice this. I thought I could make up for some huge flaw of mine by being amazing and exciting and super-loving. Yet I've learned that I couldn't. My child still saw me.
I knew this day was going to come. I should have expected it. But I was caught off guard and going through my morning routine when out of the blue, those huge words were spoken and they knocked the air out of me just like I always knew they would.
We were having normal morning conversation. Talking about school and breakfast and the silly dream I had the night before about Ironman. Todd was putting his shoes on in the living room and I was making my salad to take for lunch at work.
"That Ironman suit would be too skinny for you mom."
"What?" I said, not completely hearing or understanding what he said.
"That Ironman suit would be too SKINNY for you. I mean, you still look like you're pregnant."
And in a matter of seconds, my heart felt like it had shattered all over the floor. I felt embarassed and angry and so hurt. I started crying and realizing that these tears were going to be exponential, I ran to my room and sobbed everywhere. I could hear Todd scolding Tommy for his words. And all I could do was cry.
I remember wondering a long time ago what it might feel like to have my own child, my own flesh and blood, say something negative about my size. I have known that if and when it ever happened, it would devastate me which is why, just as I have my whole life, have been trying to get this whole weight thing under some kind of control. And it continues to be an exhausting battle and a thing I can't seem to get rid of. I am beyond frustrated and angry with myself and my body and with God about all of it I could scream - and sometimes I do.
Most of the time I feel shamed and misunderstood and judged by others. I feel like I have let others down because I have been a disappointment - unfixable by any help they ever tried to offer. I have changed here - so much - yet my body doesn't reflect those changes. I have seen a doctor about it recently and the diet I tried was the WRONG one and I haven't had the guts to seek out another doctor because I've been sitting my feelings of failure here. Just as I have every other time I have tried anything new.
I feel so exposed to the world. YOU can see my struggle. YOU can see what I hold and carry. YOU can see that I have a problem. And because YOU can see it, you often try to fix it or help or something. And I am really only left feeling wounded by YOU. And the One person who I have turned to again and again and AGAIN doesn't seem to hear me. Or help me. Or give me whatever strength it is I need to stick to a healthy way of living. And my stupid RA has slowed me down and ravaged my body and made exercise more than difficult.
There is so much anger here. Mostly at myself, but perhaps equally, with God. I am pissed at Him. For giving this thing to me. For letting me be set up to have it in the first place. For not helping me overcome it when His scripture tells me that I'm more than a conqueror and I'm free and all of the things that says we don't have to live stuck in a place like this. And I'm really pissed because of His silence. He doesn't speak to me here.
For the last few months, I've been ignoring Him. Being silent back. Because I just don't know what else to do anymore, and I don't know what to do with a God that doesn't help me with something I keep bringing to Him. I've been discouraged in my faith because I've let this shake some of the things I believe and I feel like I've failed somehow as a Christian.
On a regular basis, I talk with Tommy about how different people are. How some people are tall or short, big or small, different colors, or in a wheelchair, or wear black lipstick. And how we don't want to say anything negative about people's differences because really, we are all the same. We are all human and we have hearts and we all feel and we all desperately need Jesus. And there is no reason to be afraid or hateful or ugly about how anyone is different than we are. We talk about the importance of being mindful with our words so we don't hurt anyone's feelings.
Even in these conversations, I know I was trying to prevent his words from ever hitting me. Trying to make sure that he would never point out what makes me different. What I'm teaching him is true, but I have been trying to protect myself in the midst of it.
I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that my son wasn't trying to be negative. He is very logical and blunt and I think he was stating something that felt like a fact to him. It wasn't until he saw my reaction and received a talking-to from Todd that he realized what he said was "bad."
And more so, he learned that there was something "bad" about my body.
Tommy came back to my room to talk to me. He was crying too, devastated that he had hurt my feelings and not knowing that he had. I tried my best to cover his little heart. I tried to say all of the things that he needed to hear. I told him it was okay. I told him I know he didn't mean to hurt my feelings and that I know he loves me. I told him that the size of my belly was something that made me different, and because of it's size, it's something I don't like about myself. I told him that when he said what he did, it reminded me how much I don't like how big my belly is and that's why it hurt my feelings. I told him I loved him and that nothing he could ever say would change how much I loved him. And that he was a kind boy and I knew he didn't mean to hurt me. I grasped for all of the perfect words because I didn't want him to feel like he had to carry any of my shame or struggle or feel guilty for any of it.
He didn't say anything that wasn't true. I would not fit in the Ironman suit. And the size of my stomach does make me look like I'm still pregnant. He was right.
And sitting there crying with my almost 6 year-old, I felt so incredibly exposed and vulnerable. Having to admit to him that there was something about myself that I don't like. And now he knows what it is. And my head began reeling with the thoughts of what he could be gathering from all of this.
It was hard to bounce back that day. I still haven't completely recovered from it. If anything, I'm only angrier. And it's clear, that anger is getting me nowhere.
I'd like to say that this story has a happy ending. Or hearing these words from my son was the motivation I needed to get my ass in gear and stick to a diet program. But, it hasn't been that.
If I have any hope (and hoping in this place feels almost ridiculous) it is that I could grow from it. To realize that I can't really love my boys by hiding the things from them that I don't like about myself. That I need to be more honest and transparent and real in this place to my children. To encourage them in healthy ways of living that I wasn't pointed to. And to take the best care of myself that I can so I can continue to be here for them.
As for God, I want to not be angry anymore. I want to make peace with Him here and let go of all of the things I am blaming Him for and where I hold Him responsible. Because maybe that's the problem. I'm holding on to so much in this place, that there is no space left to receive anything, not even a word or His voice. I wish I could figure out how to let it all go.