And doggone it, people like me. Right Stewart Smalley? 🙂
I’m a big fan of worthiness and being open to all the good and wonderfulness that the universe sees fit to toss your way, but I don’t follow my own advice as well as I should. I’m better now, I think, but I can still catch myself sometimes thinking that I don’t deserve something. What the hell? We deserve anything and everything wonderful that comes into our life. Things happen for a reason, right? Unfortunately, it took a while to get here.
When I was in elementary school, I was an incredibly weird kid. I mean, I’m weird now, but socially acceptable weird. I had literally NO experience around kids my age until I got into kindergarten. I somehow fell in with a group of friends that had known each other way longer than me, one of them I called my best friend. Sure I had other friends, but she was one of the “cool” kids. She tolerated me, I think, maybe even liked me, but the rest of the group for some reason didn’t like me at all. For all of elementary school, we’d hang out sometimes, when the rest of her friends weren’t around. We’d trade babysitter club books and play barbies and climb the roof and generally have fun, but I always felt sad when she and her other friends would play and I couldn’t come along, but I just didn’t think I deserved any better. She was at least better than the kids who said they’d be my friend but only if I gave them my carebear.
Then, we went to middle school. One of the first days, I went over to hang out at her house, and we got in a argument and I pushed her – didn’t mean to do anything but give her a tiny shove, but she toppled off her bed and landed on the floor. She told me to get out and we never really talked again. I don’t even remember how I met most of my middle school crew, but I remember I met Kelly on the bus when I was lonely and we sat together and then by 7th grade I had this great and expansive group of friends, most of whom I still keep in at least pseudo-touch with via facebook or myspace. I probably would have never befriended these awesome people if circumstances hadn’t rid me of the people who I hung out with and made me feel unworthy. I definitely learned my lesson there – if people treat you crappy, don’t give them the gift of your friendship.
Then, I moved to Reno and got seriously into gymnastics. What a shock, going from the YMCA happy-fun-everyone-is-awesome classes to training with elite level or elite wannabe girls who have made this their lives. I come in the first day in shorts and a t-shirt, and get yelled at for my lack of adherence to the strict leotard only rule. I spent a lot of time proving myself because I was the oldest for my level, the biggest, and the least “cool”. Everyone else had fancy leotards and I had the kind that went up my butt because I bought them at the store and they weren’t handmade. Everyone else had 6-packs and I had some belly fat from spending the summer eating pizza and chips and drinking sugar-y soda with my friends. They were a little clique and I was the black sheep, and I wasn’t worthy to be their teammate. Ever seen Stick It? Wasn’t too far from the truth. I wasn’t quite Haley but I certainly saw a little bit of myself in her.
What did I do? Well, I worked my butt off. I ate better, I worked out more, and though I couldn’t change the fact that I was 5’3″ to their 4’8″ and had a Mary Lou build to their Shannon Miller builds, I lost all the body fat and got super buff. I trained twice as hard as the rest of the team and learned how to lose my fear instead of letting it hold me back. I challenged myself to be better every day. I came in 2 hours early and did optional workouts on Saturdays when only the little kids came in and spent Sundays doing push ups and crunches. I never became one of them (I’ll have to grab the picture of my team and scan it – I am heads, shoulders, boobs, and at least 2 years above the rest), but I did earn their respect and admiration. For a while it was, “Heh, Leah is trying what on beam? Hope she doesn’t kill herself…” and then “Oh crap, Leah’s doing the same tricks I am…” and then was “Leah’s challenging me to do the thing I’m afraid of, and she’ll do it too even if she’s totally not ready for it”. For better or for worse, I put so much into it, I burnt myself out and just quit during the off season one year because I was 16 and wanted a life. I definitely learned a lot about not letting fear hold you back, the joy of doing something everyone else thinks is impossible, and that sometimes, seeing it through to the end is not always the best option. My body was already giving out on me at 16, imagine if I would have pushed it through college…
Then I learned about worthiness in love. After a lot of lack luster love interests that were either flaky, unrequited, or just plain wrong, I met this guy, went head over heels loopy, and we were together on and off for 3 years through high school and the beginning of college. I wont deny that there were a lot of good times, but he also cheated on me when I was faithful as can be, took drugs behind my back after blatantly lying to my face about it, and we argued ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I was not the best person I could have been – I was always nosey, clingy, and trying to stay one step ahead of him to make sure he wasn’t lying to me. I was playing what I thought was the game of love. We’d break up, but since we had a lot of the same friends we’d still hang out, we’d start doing whatever it was we did, and then we’d figure, “fuck it, might as well be together again”. Rinse and repeat. I saw happy couples, I’d have fits of jealous rage, but think that it was something that other people have, and I didn’t deserve anything like that.
Then, after a particularly nasty argument and some contemplation, I decided that it was over, for reals, and the only way to really do it right was just stay away from him. I didn’t return his calls and hung out with my own friends and met other people and lo and behold, he wasn’t the only guy ever who would be interested in me. Within that few months, I actually ended up (re) meeting Zliten and over 9 years later…here we are. I learned that I was worthy of love, true love, like the movies, like in my wildest dreams. Someone who adores you and wants to be with you every moment and does cute things like buys you flowers for no reason and wears a shirt that sorta matches yours on purpose and that you trust completely. You together are so much more than the sum of your parts, you are like two balloons floating up away together. You just have to find that person, don’t let go, and slowly let your past baggage float into the ether.
The next thing I tackled was work. I was not only competent enough to climb positions quickly, I was deserving of them. I may not have had the experience, but I had the work ethic to not give up until I was easily doing a job I was previously unqualified to do. For a long time, I didn’t feel like I was worthy of approaching the people who could help me or identify my talents (I have to thank many years of selfish and crappy management for that, but it was also my insecurities). Once I figured out how to break through that, it was like a huge weight lifted off me and I was free to soar.
Then, the journey I’ve let you in on here on this blog, losing the weight. I had a lot of issues feeling like I deserved to be thin – simply because I had let myself go and wasn’t currently thin. Seems silly now – I mean, one of the basic principles of what I do is if I screw up, I forget it and move forward – one day is literally not enough to cause a blip on the radar. I just didn’t know how to do that. I’d try to eat healthy and exercise for a little while, miss a day at the gym or eat half a pizza, and then just give up because obviously I wasn’t strong enough or dedicated enough or perfect enough to lose the weight.
Then, I finally subscribed to the “everything in moderation” theory and my life got better. Mess up and eat something I shouldn’t have? Just get back on it the next day. Miss a workout? Make it up or write it off – but resolve to not do that again. Make a bad choice? Strive to make the next one better. The only rule was no guilt. Hell, this morning I ate candy for breakfast instead of oatmeal (stupid coworker bringing in stupid HOMEMADE candy that’s stupid delicious – I passed up the Kripsy Kremes no problem but HOMEMADE candy? Oy vay.). Two years ago, I might have freaked that I am a failure, but now, I just realize I’m eating a healthy lunch, an apple for a snack later, and skipping my oatmeal this morning and it will all work out.
One thing that took me a long time to realize that there was no reason to limit myself to wanting to look good “for my age and lifestyle” (aka sedentary gamer geek office worker). Once I hit 240, I felt and looked so much better I almost just coasted instead of getting back on the wagon. I figured I wasn’t *as* fat, so that was good enough – and it took me a few months to decide that that was hogwash. I was worthy of so much more. As if the moment I turned 25, I was no longer able to be (or want to be) muscular, athletic, strong, thin, or sexy – that’s some happy horseshit right there. I thought before if I hadn’t gotten it together by now (then) I didn’t deserve to have it. Imagine writing yourself off like that! I’m so glad I changed what was in my head. It took baby steps, but I absolutely believe that I deserve to feel and look as good as I want (depending on the effort put in, of course).
I still have friends that tell me they think I’m crazy for wanting to lose more weight using the “for a woman of your age” mumbo jumbo. Well, there was an olympic gymnast this year in her 30’s and a swimmer in her 40’s, they looked amazing, and there is no reason I can’t look amazing too. Not just good enough, not just better, but amazing. While I’m not going to be trying for 8% body fat, there is no reason I couldn’t weigh within a few lbs as I did when I was 14 – I was a healthy weight, I wore a size 7, I ate plenty of healthy (and not-so-healthy) food to maintain that weight. I think I can do it again. It’s only about 30 lbs away. I’ve still got plenty of inches to pinch.
Overall, the best thing I’ve realized is that when it clicks, when I realize I AM worthy, it is so freeing and opens up so many doors in my life, I don’t have those conscious negative thoughts anymore. Of course I’m worthy of anything and everything wonderful in my life and anything that comes my way in the future. Where I run into trouble is that nasty ol’ subconscious. I always wonder if I don’t want to do something, or I really just don’t feel deserving of it. Am I lazy, or just fearful? These are things that plague me and keep me indescisive, I think sometimes it’s not that I don’t know what I want, but I’m fearful or feel like I don’t deserve what I want.
With New Years Resolution time coming up, definitely some food for thought.