Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Past & Present Colliding

I had a lovely long weekend and hope everyone else did to. I kicked it off by visiting friends in North Carolina. I got to meet their new baby Natalie who I am now madly in love with. She is adorable, and she taught me some good stuff this weekend. 1. Babies are not so scary, 2. If you are ready for babies they are a pretty amazing thing, and 3. Wanting to have kids and wanting to be a parent are different.

I expected my friends to look shell shocked and like they had been fighting some sort of war. They really did not. Natalie is a mighty 8 weeks old and they kept saying well we've had 7.5 weeks to adjust. Uhm...that's nice but I was thinking more of a 7 year adjustment might be realistic. I have known Natalie's Mom since we were 12 years old. She was my first friend when I moved to England. We've watched each other grow up, I was her maid of honor at her wedding, and now I get to see her as a mom. It's pretty cool. She is a great mom already and it was touching to see this transformation in her. Her husband who I also adore is hilarious and tries best he can to be supportive and helpful but he's also working on getting his MBA. This is not an easy household to bring an infant into the mix. Listening to them and learning about how their lives have changed and just catching up overall paralleled the work I am doing in therapy.  

I could not get enough of hearing what they are hoping for with Natalie, or want to teach her, and what was amazing is they did not make these grandiose statements they would have to eat down the road. They had plans, partnership and ways in which they wanted to do these things together and as a team. Something I kept thinking, seeing, and having shown to me is how much of a team they are together as a couple and as parents. They are committed to the same ideas, goals, and hopes, and have an incredible open channel of communication. I am 99.9% sure they know it all about one another, and exactly where the other stands on any given topic. They have looked at their own childhoods and parents and thought about what they want to do differently. They know their strengths and weaknesses as people and where they want to play on those together as a team. It's pretty amazing. This is what happens when two ridiculously smart people have a kid. Their ish is together. I love though that Jaime, Dana's husband went to Iraq and was shot, yes shot, and yet this tiny little 8 pound nugget can reduce him to panic. He genuinely wants to be a good Dad, and very much wanted a daughter, which is super endearing. We spoke briefly about the roles of Dad's with their daughters and I loved how he knew the importance of that, and valued it. Granted it's 2011 and we know more now about how kids develop and the do's and don'ts and I imagine that down the road it will all change again but it's pretty awesome to see people you have known a long time and love dearly be off to such a great start. They are going to be great parents, because they already are. 

What I really came away with when I mulled things over during Monday therapy is my parents really wanted kids, but had no clue how to be parents. They both had crap role models. My Dad's mom walked out on him when he was 8 years old and his father was pretty evil. My mom's mom was incredibly damaging, instilling a lot of terrible lasting self esteem issues. I think she kept my mom from really valuing herself until now. My Mom was tremendously close to her father, but that was not without some serious dysfunction.

 A huge part of my childhood and my early adulthood was completely overshadowed by their pasts and their reconciling it. My Dad never really did. He never dealt with anything at all. My mom learned skills but again never really dealt with it either. They were always in survival mode. There was also this everlasting and to this day competition, well at least I never did this my mom would say blah to me, or at least you never had to deal with x. It can be infuriating, and it definitely makes me want to start listing the BS of transgressions past but who does that benefit? Plainly put, I love my Mom, and loved my Dad, but they were just not the best parents. They understood parenting on a very basic level. They played to generalizations and stereotypes but did not understand really how to nurture, guide, teach and well, be parents. 

So what does all this mean to me now? Most of what I am dealing with right now is the childhood I have never really wanted to deal with. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great. There was a lot which happened that put into place habits and coping mechanisms I use to this day which are no longer really working for me or healthy and conducive to forming healthy relationships with others, and fostering a healthier relationship with myself. Food is/was one, and so is disassociating. I put things into boxes and then shut the lids and put them on a shelf, never to be really felt, dealt with or looked over again. If they are in the box then I am safe and can remain in my bubble and keep up the veneer of having things under control. 

In losing a huge amount of weight walls had to come down. I sort of thought the lion's share of the work was done, but really the work which was most simplistic and safe was done. I had to first allow myself to grasp and feel any emotion by removing the binging.  I think the hardest work which I will benefit the most from long term and allow me to lead a mentally and physically healthy life is in front of me now. Part of what holds me back losing weight is there are a lot more walls which need to come down and as Marisa says, "my body is the keeper of my secrets." I still rely on my weight to keep me safe, shape my identity, and suppress how I feel. Things will come up in session, or pop into my mind at random and it's weird because it's still so abstract. Marisa and Christina urge me to keep going, hold on to that keep going, or how did that make you feel, or your voice changed why, and it's really challenging to be so exposed and be called out, and urged to keep going when you want to call end scene. These are memories, feelings, and sometimes just impressions I am to keep pushing and running with. I can not always grasp on to things because it's like a game of hot potato where I in no way want to catch the potato. In some ways what I have come to accept is you can only run for so long. I have run long and far but can run no more. For the changes I want in my life and weight I have to stop running, continuing thinking, feeling and connecting. It's completely terrifying but I am scared less of examining the past then I am of continuing to tarnish my future with it. 

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