Well there’s nothing like watching passive aggressive behaviors online as a reminder of what energy I don’t want in my own life. This past week, we deactivated our Nextdoor accounts, a “community” page for geographic neighborhoods which I’ve watched since its inception in my neck of the woods go from basic nice things like selling and donating items, getting recommendations for products and services, and finding out about local events. It became a page that exemplified “NBB” = Neighbors Behaving Badly.
From sarcastic comments to outright trolling to passive aggressive photos posted of fellow neighbor actions that someone doesn’t like (but won’t actually TALK to the supposed offender), my husband and I both got sick and tired of the many who talk a good game of tolerance and understanding but when it comes down to it, I saw a sad truth via the “straw that broke the camel’s back” commenter who said she thinks “public shaming is just fine” after a local community organizer started walking all around the neighborhood taking photos of cars in driveways that partially blocked the sidewalk and posting them online (rather than just leaving a note or knocking on their door and giving them the opportunity to do the right thing without embarrassment) with instructions on how to report them. And this is the least of it, with the “see something / say something” fast becoming an excuse for racial profiling. Feeding off and spreading unkindness and intolerance is what Donald Trump does…yet this is a supposedly very liberal area I live in. And the people who don’t like it? They keep their mouths shut. That’s almost as sad. While I understand it because when I called people out on their mean words and passive aggressive behaviors the mob mentality kicked in, insulting me with lots of “likes” on the nasty retorts chastising ME. Whatever. I’m glad I called them out, and while I could have stayed online and continued to do this, I also wanted to make a point by deactivating my account that we would not be party to a social media site (that does have a moderator in each neighborhood) that tolerates this kind of hateful behavior.
Which – long story short – brings me to the subject of this post. Resolutions. I love ’em. I’m a listmaker, and have them going all year round, y’all. And the start of the year is a beautiful way to take stock and find new ways to get towards my goals.
My husband and I talked about what we were most happy about in the past year and what we wished for in the new year. We of course want our family to finally expand and hope for good news with my 2nd round of IVF tentatively set for one month from tomorrow. I of course want to get in better shape, and my husband of course wants to continue healing after the 2014 death of his father. But beyond that, there are deeper things we discussed – who we want to be as people, what we want to achieve as both individuals and as a couple, as a family.
So I loved discovering 23 Things to do to Improve Your Mental Health in 2016. My top two?
Commit to less negative self talk.
Treat yourself like your best friend.
And I suppose they both go hand in hand, right? Beating yourself up for self-sabotaging in the past is fruitless. We all know that negative reinforcement doesn’t work – it just fucks up our mental even more. Does looking in the mirror and seeing our supposed imperfections and saying “I look like a fat pig” actually spur us on to do something about our weight, for example? Nope. In fact it often just exacerbates hopelessness – and often ironically drives us TO the fridge to self-medicate.
When it comes to the traditional health-focused resolution, I talked to my husband about it. Sounds not-so-unusual, but one thing that is so different about our relationship than what I’ve had in the past is that I know I can share every deep dark hidden insecurity with him. This is a man who fell in love with me when I’d already become more curvy than in my younger years. Unlike my ex-husband – who I distinctly remember waxing nostalgic about my figure from when we’d first met (I was 16) and thereby making it impossible to ever compete with that past – Dan loves my booty, my tummy, my chin, my everything that wraps up who I am on the inside. I think he actually PREFERS my curves. 😉 So the only person I’m really working on impressing? Myself.
What’s nice about this is that I can tell him when I’m ashamed of my slip-ups, when I’ve self-sabotaged, when I need his help when we are out. If I want to order dessert, he knows that suggesting we share instead of getting our own is much more effective than a direct “do you really need that?” (which as anyone with food issues knows, when we’re emo-eating will often encourage us to be more defiant and eat it).
Something I shared with him as well is what goes on in my head when I’m trying to get motivated. Being a person who hates extreme heat and cold, I’ve usually done my best work on myself in spring and fall. Days like today with an 18 degree dew point don’t get me rarin’ to go, nor do any temperatures that go past the mid-80’s. Honestly, I prefer 70. What a lovely warm-but-not-too-sweaty temperature.
But hey, I don’t live in Santa Barbara. That was 3 years of utopian weather as I affectionately term that part of my life 🙂
So anyhow, what I told him was about how I was feeling conflicted this year about how I exercise. Having bought a car in December, it has allowed greater access to places I hadn’t gotten to in so long, and with that I thought, “wow I could rejoin the gym across town because it’d be super fast to get there now!”. After all, believe it or not, I have fond memories of the gym – step, zumba, body pump, hip hop, and other fun classes. Yes, I’m a class gal – I don’t mind the elliptical either, but choreography is where it’s at. It may be 25 years after I left the dance team but the dancer is always inside of me.
The problem has been that working from home with no car, getting to the closest major gym with classes that fit my schedule has been a way longer commute and therefore more time away from my work day.
Yet also there’s part of me who’s enjoyed NOT being in the gym. Taking long walks with the dog, hiking in the forest with my husband, biking in the spring, summer and fall around the neighborhood. Why should I spend the money when I have all these free options, I keep asking myself…?
But the truth is this – you have to do what WORKS. I could say over and over again how I wish I could be and hope that I can make those changes – or I could just do what has always worked for me in the past to lose weight efficiently.
And so, with that pretty black car now in our driveway, I am now free to invest in me again. AND enjoy our weekly hikes outside of the city. AND bike with my husband to work when the weather warms a bit. It doesn’t have to be either/or – why did I think it did? Who the hell knows.
So, yep, I’ve signed up with a gym that offers mid-morning classes, something that sadly few have beyond “silver seniors” type classes, or yoga. (I love my yoga, and will return to that as well, but I’m not paying for an entire gym membership without serious ass-kicking aerobic options.)
While the Weight Watchers thing doesn’t gel with me (I tried the online membership, which is basically paying to do a food and weight diary – NOT cost effective, especially with my Samsung smartphone having a nearly identical version built-in), I am digging seeing Oprah inspiring folks as their newest spokesperson. You see, I love my curves but I don’t love how I feel lately after beating myself up with food this past year (infertility binge eating was definitely rock bottom for me), and I don’t love how I’ve lost my endurance or how my plantar fasciitis and back pain have flared up so much more since these extra pounds were put on. Like Ms Winfrey said:
Inside every overweight woman is the woman she knows she can be. You look in the mirror sometimes, don’t recognize yourself because you’ve gotten lost, buried in the weight. But nothing you have been through is ever wasted. So every time I’ve tried and failed, and every time I tried again, has brought me to this most powerful moment to say IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
In the weight loss journey, we all want to LOOK better, and the secondary reasons often feel obligatory but not deep within. You know, the Be Stronger, Have More Endurance, Be More Energetic, Feel Healthier answers to the survey at the gym that ask us each time, “what do you want to accomplish?”
For the first time in my life? I want ALL of these equally. And it’s not going to be about dissing myself along the way. Effective immediately:
If I indulge a moment of ice-cream comfort, I will not tell myself I’m an asshole.
When my husband grabs my ass, I won’t wonder how he could possibly think it’s all that nice.
On those moments I spot my reflection in the mirror, and see the chin I’ve never been fond of, or the dimples on my thighs, or the belly fat I’m not enamored with? I will remember THIS:
And that, my friends, is a resolution for the ages.