Friday, January 5, 2007

Pax, Domesticus

It's 9:30 at night, and I've just returned from the gym. I have a glass of water and an apple in front of me, two cats purring indolently at my feet, and a sense of overwhelming peace surrounding all three of us in my office. I am so thankful right now for this moment.

I didn't really have any intention of posting such a blatantly emotional post tonight, but I've always believed blogs suffer most when self-consciousness forces the writer to self-edit, so I've decided not to.

About two weeks prior to New Year's Eve, I had officially hit rock bottom in my life. I was surprised by this, because I was pretty sure I had already hit rock bottom in February, May, June, and twice in one week last July. Last winter I found out my husband was sending emails to women he had met on the Internet inviting them back to our house for sex while I was working late. Our troubles had started long before that, but this was a breathtakingly horrible shock to me, because if anyone in the entire world would've been faithful, it was my husband. I call this period of my life the Very Bad Time because so many awful things happened so quickly I can barely even recount them in my head. At some point in my life, I would like to sit down with a glass of wine (maybe a whole bottle) and tell one person everything that transpired, because since I kept most of it secret for his privacy as well as mine it's like none of it really happened. By the time he finally moved out in July, I was left a very sick, very overweight, incredibly demoralized person.

I thought when I moved back into my house after he left that my life would magically turn into a never-ending episode of Sex and the City. I'd have witty and vivacious girlfriends to see each weekend, I'd date and meet men who'd make me laugh and think and feel like maybe something special in my life could happen again, and I'd regain the four years I lost in a marriage that should have never happened. I tried tango lessons, yoga classes, meeting up with blind dates and fix-ups from friends. I traveled hours to meet up with old college roommates who had moved away and lost touch, and with every hour I spent trying to create a new life, my actual life was falling apart. My weight shot up--fifteen pounds in three months--and my once robust health deteriorated to the point I carried some sort of infection in me from the first week of September to Christmas. I was exhausting myself doing everything new I could think of because I didn't want to face the fact that the life I currently had was absolute shit.

I ended up dropping all those new activities because, well, I was too fat. Too fat not to feel self-conscious when I was pressed up close to my dance partner. Legs too chunky to bend backward into a camel pose in yoga. When I dated, it was with men who said a girl like me should be grateful for their attention. I wasn't sure what they meant by "a girl like me", because I had no idea who I actually was.

The afternoon of our final day at school before the holidays, I bade my students goodbye, drove home, and sat on my bed and wept for an hour...maybe two. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do about my weight, my health, my disgusting cesspool of a dirty house, nothing at all. I fell asleep sitting up that night because I was just so drained. The next morning I woke up, grabbed a sponge and decided that day would be the day I would start. Start cleaning. I didn't think I could handle much more than that at that point. Three weeks later, I was done, and as embarrassed as I am to admit I let myself get that bad, I also want you to know how proud I am of getting that part of my dignity back.

So obviously, the next little trek down the path to self-worth is the Reduxing, and I have to say my week has been scarily good. Good food, wonderful exercise, and I have to admit I peeked at the scale and I think I'll even have good news to report for my weigh-in on Sunday. But last night for some reason the depression returned in full force. I very much hope it was just PMS, but I was shocked at how low I felt, how incredibly stressed and hopeless and incapable of really making the changes I want to effect for this year. When I awoke it was gone, but I was nervous all day that it'd return with the sunset, as my depression often does.

So that's why the fact that tonight, after a great gym workout and my apple and my cats and my water and my absolutely blissful state of emotion, I am also feeling very, very thankful.


Kate said...

Hi Erin,
I have come to your site via Amanda's (what about your hips) and thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. What a hard 2006 you've had. You'll get your trip, where ever you decide to go!! 2007 is 'the year of bloggers getting to goal'
Kate :)

Lori said...

Erin, I found your blog b/c of your post to Pasta Queen which I saved. (It's about the invisibility of being fat and how you learned to see others.)

While my situation was not like yours exactly (mine was a BF who I trusted so much), It's similar enough to how I felt when I went my Very Bad Time (I like that too).

I'm glad you got yourself back on your feet. You reclaimed yourself and you're doing great. I still have moments of severe depression or sadness. Some of it has to do with him, or just being lonely or yet, PMS.

The sunset hours are when I'm more likely to be sad, even after a wonderful day. You've discovered that working out, being with your animals all bring you some peace. It does get better. I think (IMHO) for me, being fat insulated me from feeling a bit and as I lose, I'm a bit more exposed. Exercise seems to be one way to help with this.

Anyway, I hope you're feeling better. (My word verification is ironic -- it begins with oaf.)

Erin said...

Thank you both for your extremely kind words...they were exactly what I needed to hear. I am constantly amazed and grateful for the capacity of the Internet to bring people together for support they can't necessarily seek or receive in their actual lives. I'm looking forward very much to getting to know both of you through your blogs and our comments.