The importance of being positive – AND in acknowledging the negative.

Through out my life, I’ve been told I’m a positive person. It’s true, when things go wrong, I tend to try and see the bright side, because there is USUALLY some small, good thing you can glean from a big ole’ pile of lemons (like lemonade.) Let’s try a real life scenario from today: My debit card information got swiped at a gas pump, even though my card is safely in my wallet. Over $400 in charges were drafted from my checking account and I spent over an hour on the phone undoing it all, putting me behind in my work day. Now I have no debit card for the next week until a replacement comes. True, this is a big ole “crap on toast” scenario, but the bright side? I’m trying to save every last cent I have for a down payment on our future home. Maybe not the best savings plan, but I can either freak out and be mad, pretend nothing’s wrong and be fakey chipper, or I can be mad and quietly accept that it is what it is. I choose to accept it.

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Last Tuesday, I wrote to you how mad, sad and frustrated I was about my latest medical findings. It wasn’t just that, last week. A lot went wrong, including a dear family friend losing his fight with cancer. Last week was rough. I’m still mad and sad. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many people (and I’ve done this myself to other people – it’s human nature. We all want people to feel better when they don’t feel good.) have told me not to worry, to just be positive and that everything will be fine. While I agree and appreciate that sentiment, a friend brought up a really good point the other day — that there is nothing wrong with admitting defeat every once in awhile. Allow yourself to feel all of your emotions, even if they’re bad. She said sometimes you need time to lick your wounds. And as someone who’s usually pegged as Sally Sunshine, I couldn’t agree more. I told my husband one night when we were discussing Livergate that I just wanted some time to be pissed off. And I did, really, truly. I appreciated everyone’s sweet motivational quips, but I was pissed. I wanted to stew in my anger, to be resentful of that stupid $100 medical detox that did nothing but cause me angst and discomfort, to be irritated that weight loss seems it will forever be the elusive sparkly white unicorn. So I was angry, and I was resentful. And guess what? I’m still frustrated, but allowing myself to really FEEL those things and not repress them means that today I’m more well adjusted and satisfied than I probably would have been if I kept telling myself to cheer up and be positive.

However, by allowing myself to be mad, it helped me come full circle and truly, truly get down to the nitty gritty behind all this, mentally. I’m fatter than I’ve ever been, but you know what? I’m also fitter than I’ve ever been. Last night I ran over a mile to the drug store, without stopping. Before I started this journey, I would have rather scooped the litterbox than attempted to run a mile. I can do that now with relative ease. This journey is not perfect. It’s not a straight line to success. My journey has not been instant success, and sometimes, it feels like it hasn’t been any success at all. But there are lasting changes I have made, and things that I will overcome when the time is right.

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When you take time to reflect on a bad situation, if you really devote enough attention to the matter, you can usually figure out what the underlying fear or anger is beneath what’s going on. I want to lose weight because I want to be healthy. At present moment, the defeatist in me is saying I will never lose weight, that I’ll just keep gaining and gaining until I can’t leave the house and my life will become smaller and smaller while my body becomes bigger and bigger. But, I know well enough to put a piece of tape over defeatist’s mouth, and admit to myself that yes, this has been really, really hard, but I will get there. The sum of my parts is more than a number on the scale, and my happiness is made up of more than just how much I weigh. It is made up of my family, my kitten’s soft pink paws, the taste of cold iced tea on a hot summer day, the fantastic smell of orange blossoms in the breeze, the sound of good music, the feel of freshly washed sheets, the comments you all leave me, the feeling I get when I’m working on a project I love, the dinner my husband brings me while I’m working on that project.

Today, I choose Sally Sunshine but I acknowledge the defeatist. I choose acceptance. I choose positivity.

When something crummy happens to you, how do you react? Are you a glass half full, or a glass half empty? Do you understand what I mean about being positive but still being ok with acknowledging the negative?

Identity

We had our dear friends Jason and Juan over for dinner last night, and as we were finishing off the remains of a carrot bundt cake (there goes my ketosis (low-carb lifestyle)) (And I had been SO GOOD- we went out for mexican food and I didn’t have ONE chip. Do you know how hard that is to do?!?!?!) , I saw an article in the LA Times that caught my eye. It was called “The Fat Man Dreams of Running the LA Marathon“. I briefly skimmed over it and was enamored with this line: “If he does (finish the marathon), he says he will be sending a message to a society obsessed with being thin. “Big people,” he says, “can do the unimaginable.”

I read it out to my friends and made some sort of exclamation about how I loved that message, and our friend Juan, (a licensed therapist – a Ph. D.), said “You really identify as a fat person, don’t you?” The question set me back a little bit, but then as I thought about it, I thought, Yes, I do identify as a fat person.  He explained to me how most people he treat view being fat as a complete setback, and allow themselves to wallow in misery, but that he was surprised that I seemed to be so at terms with my weight. I definitely have my insecurities, but I’ve realized that in the past few years, I’ve really learned how to OWN who I am. My body, despite the excess weight, can do amazing things. My body wailed on a punching bag for 60 minutes yesterday in my impact kickboxing class. My body carries me through 45 hours of work a week, and then 15 hours of school. My body lives and breathes, and hurts and aches and comes back around and heals and does it all over again…. and it does this all despite the excess weight. My body is an amazing thing.

The boxing gloves I just ordered for my kickboxing class.

If I could, would I snap my fingers and turn thin? Absolutely. But that’s not possible, and as Popeye says… I am who I am.  My capacity for joy or success is no less attainable than somebody who weighs 114 pounds. And who knows – maybe because of the challenges I’ve gone through with my size, I’m apt to appreciate the smaller things more. All I know is that identifying with myself as a larger person is not a bad thing. It took me awhile to be ok with who I was, and now, there’s a tremendous sense of freedom of being able to accept myself at any weight. I’ll continue to work towards my health, but I’m no less of a person (heh, that’s punny) at 200 pounds… or 100 pounds.

Do you feel that you identify with yourself based on a size? I know I have some naturally thin and petite readers too, so don’t feel that you have to be chubby to chime in. Have you embraced yourself, size and all?