Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Day 1: Facing My Trials with Confidence

Trials in life are inevitable.  Money, power, status, beauty.....none of these can escape it.  Religion can not stop them just as much as no religion can. Yet we spend so much time and energy trying to escape them.  Like we are trying to trick life  in a way that we might not have to endure it's torturous ways.

As I reflect on the past, I can see that I am one of those always searching for an escape.  When I was in elementary school, I would dream about running away from home and getting as far away from my family as possible.  Then, of course, all my problems would be solved.

When I was a preteen, I could not wait to get out of school, so much so, that I packed my class schedule to ensure I would have enough credits to graduate High School mid semester of my Senior Year.  I needed to escape the pressure and feelings of failure associated with school as soon as possible. And once I was 18 and had my diploma, I would be free from my family.  Only then, could I be at peace.

I wanted my first pregnancy to disappear....the stress was so overwhelming and overpowering, it dragged me down to the depths of depression, feeling as much despair as a 17 year old could.

My marriage has been a looming for 20 years, as day by day, I wonder if I can flee it's clutches, that I might be free from the pain, heartache, betrayal, inconsistency, anger, sadness and hopelessness.

I feel imprisoned by my jobs and church work, even every time they change, because I feel forced into these roles that I do not enjoy and  can not accomplish well.  I always feel I am lacking. and wonder why I have to do them at all.

Life in general is spelled S T R E S S and I acknowledge and accept that.  But there are times, more often than not, that I can't handle it anymore.  It has gotten so bad that daily I feel overwhelmed and out of control and  so unhappy that I want to run and hide from the world.  But I can't. 

So I eat.

It's a distraction.  A moment in time, I can enjoy something and not think about all of my problems.  They for sure are still there when I finish my ice cream, bag of chocolate, fast food, coke, chips.....you name it.  All those problems are there.....and now I've created a new problem.  I'm overweight.  I don't feel good about myself.  My clothes don't fit.  And I'm ill.  My body is not functioning properly which makes the rest of life that much more frustrating.

I've known this about myself for quite some time.  But how do I fix it.  I don't have the willpower.  I have the shame and the self hatred, but with that comes depression and a lack of will to keep up the fight.

A few months ago, I decided to give myself a break from worrying about food....what kind of food to eat and how much of it and when to eat it. It's an exhausting mantra that has made it's home in the forefront of my brain for as long as I can remember.  The past year and a half has been particularly trying, so I just gave up and ate what I wanted and how much I wanted and whenever I wanted. 

When it came time to prepare for a funeral, I found myself without appropriate fitting clothes.  When shopping, I had to purchase sizes 2XL and 20.....and when I checked the scale, my weight had skyrocketed to 230 lbs. 

I thought about the signs of my health decline I had been ignoring; swollen legs to the point of barely being able to bend at the knee and periodic tightness in my chest. 

You would think that this would be the time in the story that I would change my life around.  But you see, I've been struggling with being overweight since I was 10 years old.  Hating my body.  Hating myself for over eating.  Hating myself for being weak.  And to this day, it is no different.

I attempted once again, for the hundredth plus time to start a new "diet" to get myself back on track to a place where I was mindful of my eating habits.  But of course I failed again.

My stress level since the funeral has only increased, and as I lay awake at night thinking about all the people who could be helping me in my life that don't......and all those who were never there for me......and all the people who have let me down causing me to have trust issues.......

Then it dawned on me.  As I sit and blame everyone in the world for their thoughtless, careless treatment of me.....I realized, I treat myself  the worse.  I don't care for myself like I should.  I don't love myself like I should.  I don't take care of myself.  I let myself down most of all by giving into weakness.

Starting at 8 am today until 8 am on Thursday the 24th of May I am giving myself 30 days to focus on taking care of myself.  NO ONE ELSE WILL.  AND, it's my responsibility anyway as an independent individual.  Now this doesn't mean I'm selfish and put myself ABOVE everyone else, but what it does mean is that I have a responsibility to myself.  How can I agonize over how everyone else treats me when I don't treat myself with love and respect.

That is where true happiness lies.  Not in the junk food or fast food or sugar.  That is fleeting happiness.  That is escapism, which is only temporary.  There is no avoiding the trial, really.  There is only being as prepared as possible for the trip.  If I prepare properly, I will reach the other side, with lessons learned that will give me the points I need for exaltation.  If I avoid what is in front of me, I will only make the same journey, unprepared, weak, scared and end up defeated in the end, spending my whole life wondering why God is so cruel.  It is a choice I have to make as I proceed into the future.  I choose to be strong.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to be prepared for the trials of life and face them head on, so I can feel wisdom and accomplishment at the other side.

What will you choose?