Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Inadequacies ahoy

It’s been a long time since I’ve considered writing a blog that doesn’t tell the whole truth. I could tell you how great I’m doing. I could tell you how awesome my workouts have been. I could tell you that I’m basking in sunshine and glitter and baskets of kittens.

But I’d be lying.

The real truth is that I’m struggling. Big time. And I hate to have to tell you that. But I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I hadn’t been totally honest with you. So here goes.

Last week I told you about seeing the ghost of my former self everywhere I look. She’s continuing to haunt me. And lately I just haven’t been able to shake the mean reds, as Holly Golightly would say.

I hate writing entries like this. I always debate how much to share and how much to keep to myself. But if I’ve learned nothing else from this journey, it’s that sharing is what has truly saved my life. So share I will.

A couple of weeks ago, I was crying myself to sleep for what seemed like the billionth time. What was wrong with me? Why was I so sad? Then—maybe I was praying out loud, maybe just talking to myself—I said the words that hit the nail on the head:

“I just feel so unlovable.”

And right there, that’s what this is all about. Not just my sads of the moment, but the ones that have clouded me for most of my life. The ones that began my issues with food in the first place. I’m not just talking about romantic love, either.

I grew up in a great family and was deeply loved by both of my parents. I always knew that. But somewhere along the way, for some reason, I began to think myself unworthy of love or affection. I felt like I didn’t deserve good things to happen to me. And I guess that hasn’t changed.

See, as I’ve lost weight, I’ve had little epiphanies along the way. Most of them I’ve shared with you. But I think this is the biggest—the one that started everything. Maybe when I get through this, I’ll be able to fully succeed.

One of my favorite quotes, often attributed to Nelson Mandela, is actually by a writer named Marianne Williamson. You’ve probably read it before:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

This really rings true to me right now. Am I afraid of succeeding? Am I afraid to really shine?

Two years ago, I was so miserable. I felt absolutely unlovable then. Who could love someone like me? To think that I would ever be at the place I am now—just 40 or so pounds away from my goal weight—was unthinkable.

And today, here I am. 127 pounds less than that other girl. Yet, still struggling with those same feelings of unworthiness. What happens when I hit that ultimate goal? When I really succeed? What happens when I feel rejected or lonely? I won’t be able to blame it on my body anymore. And maybe that’s what scares me.

Today I stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers and it showed a gain for the second week in a row. It’s not a major gain--.6 last week and .4 today. But it’s a gain. It made me realize I needed to talk about the place where I am. To be honest with you—and most of all with myself.

I know I’m loved. I have a wonderful family, fantastic friends and amazing co-workers—all of whom remind me of the good things about me every day.

I just have to start believing them.


Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful message. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Believe, baby, believe!


Casa de Nagel said...

On the roller coaster of life, I’ve learned so much from my bestie. One thing that comes to mind from your last post is that when things f-ing suck…you say so. You don’t try and come up with different ways to make the situation seem good or better because it just doesn’t.

The good news is that (in time) it will pass. The better news is that you have SO many people around you who love you and are encouraging your success. THE BEST NEWS is that you have faith in a loving God who only wants the best for you and you believe in the power of prayer. Hang in thre. Sending you a big hug!

Anonymous said...

oh my dear erika, how i understand. as someone with an eating disorder and horrible body image problems her whole life, i get it. I wasnt blessed with the great parents and family. I was raised in chaos with a sex addict for a father who emphasized looks and perfect bodies above all else. I have always hated how i look and tried desperatly to always be what i thought whatever guy i was with wanted me to be. i even went so far as to get a boob job. and that did nothing to help my insecurities. i get little sympathy because people look at me and say, oh the pretty skinny girl is whining. i have never had a weight problem. at 5'9 i have always had what some would call a great figure. but thats never what i see. i see inadequate, pathetic, worthless and unloveable. so just cuz someone looks a certain way doesnt mean they have any confidence.

You are an amazing woman, Erika. and i admire you so much. your honesty here is inspiring. You will have helped so many people thru your openness. I know you have helped me.

Katie "girl on the phone" :-)

Anonymous said...

You inspire me with every post. I often feel exactly the same way and I know others who also have the same insecurities. Know that you are far from alone in everything you think and feel and agonize about. We love you.

Mary Anne said...

Stay the course, friend. You are special and wonderful. You know not to be too hard on yourself.


Anonymous said...

It has been a while since I last commented, but I am still reading and loving every minute of it.

You are truly inspirational and I am in awe of what you have been able to accomplish both inside and out!

MR :)

Anonymous said...

I was just looking back at the October 11th blog entry, my dear Erica, and I have to chime in. I am going through many of the emotional struggles that you have experienced after a break up. My latest bf ended our relationship 4 months ago and I still struggle with feeling rejected and unloved despite my own weight loss, new wardrobe and many compliments. I know that my self esteem should not be tied to my weight or what man I am dating but my heart doesn't always hear what my mind is saying. I'm a work in progress on this matter and it's a daily struggle for me.

I take inspiration lessons from you as I heal from the hurt. I admire you for the candor, strength and tenacity that comes through in your posts. I know that the road hasn't been easy but you are succeeding! Therefore, I know I can get past this too!

I hope that in the time that you've posted this entry that you have truly found the one who most deserves your love. I'm holding out for the same. Keep up the good work, Honey, and keep inspiring others. You've definitely inspired me!