Big question with a long answer….
I’m Kate. I’m in my 40s. (EARLY forties, thankyouverymuch)
I have happy, smart, well-adjusted kids. I have a devoted husband. We both have stable, steady jobs that we don’t hate. No one has a troublesome illness, police record, or embarrassing YouTube videos. So everything is wonderful…everything should be fine.
But it’s not. And it’s a shame, because this should be a wonderful life.
Don’t get me wrong – I do appreciate what I have. How could I not? But I’d like to enjoy life more. And I think I COULD, if I could just get rid of all the noise in my head.
So what exactly is the problem here? I hate to spell it out, because it feels so trivial in black and white. But I need a safe place to talk some things out and unload the weight of the thoughts that keep me from seeing the sun in all the places it shines.
I want to find my joy, but I struggle.
I struggle with my relationship with food and my weight. That began when I was ten. Until that time I had no idea I was fat, or really any sense of how I looked at all. Until one day, during a school assembly as I sauntered to the front of the gymnasium to accept some geeky award for math or spelling or some such, my brother’s friend told him that I was getting as fat as he was. And of course my brother told me, and POOF, I was suddenly fat, and have been ever since. My weight’s gone up and down a number of times since then – I’ve been 65 pounds heavier and 15 pounds lighter – but I’ve always been too fat.
The trouble with food issues is that it really isn’t about the food. It’s about a convenient thing to be upset about so you don’t have to think about whatever it is that you’re REALLY upset about. In other words, the size of your thighs can be easier to fret over than the stability of your marriage, or whether your kids love you, or why your mom doesn’t really like you all that much, or when your boss will find out that you’re really a poseur and have NO idea what you are doing, or why the heck you’re on this planet in the first place and is there really any point to life? (Side note – I’m not in the market to off myself. Just don’t feel like I’m doing much more than existing sometimes.)
To add to this, my husband has been stretching through some sort of spiritual mid-life crisis. Spiritually, this has been a challenge. To be fair, when we met, I knew we approached religion from different angles – I identify with Christianity, while he is agnostic. This has mostly worked just fine for us, and we’ve explored some ideas together and kept it respectful.
However, as of late, he’s been on a mission – he wants to be the Voice of the People for atheists everywhere. This has involved ripping apart the Bible and buying in-your-face blasphemous T-shirts. I’m all for freedom of religious expression, but it’s hard not to find his behavior hurtful. It’s hard not to take it personally. Yes, I know a lot of wars have started over religion. Frankly, I think God hates that. I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea that everything associated with Christianity is automatically bad. People can be very bad, religion can be very political, but that’s not its intent.
I could write a lot about that, and I might later. But that’s one of the things that brought me here – my husband says he loves me, but when he goes on these anti-religion rants, I feel like he’s wrenching my heart out. I feel like every harsh, angry, derogatory thing he says reflects how he really feels about me.
So it all came to a head last December, when my husband was at his peak vitriol and my dad suddenly had a heart attack and life just got really dark really fast and I no longer wanted to eat anything at all…and I decided that enough was enough and I’d better learn to handle this better. I decided I needed to attack this thing and address the noises in my head.
I need to cope better and not be so darn hard on myself. So this year, I’m working on getting well.
I started therapy. (I’ve only gone once so far. But making the appointment and actually showing up is a big step.) I’m trying to learn to meditate. I’m trying to get regular exercise. And I’m trying to be gentler with myself.
I’m hoping that getting my thoughts out here will help me better deal with them. I’m hoping this can be somewhat of an online journal to assist me with the process of therapy.
And maybe if I post things out loud, maybe it’ll help someone else who wrestles with this mess to walk just a little bit closer to wellness.