Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Righting regrets


I've always liked that saying...mostly because we often don't realize how true it is.

There are many things I regret with my weight gain over the years.  From concerts coming to town that I had to pass up because I knew I wouldn't fit to lunch or dinner invites I turned down with people I ended up never seeing again for one reason or another because the restaurant they chose wouldn't accommodate someone my size to not being there for other people because the strain of self consciousness was too much for me to put myself out there in public.

One of my regrets was a mix of weight related self consciousness and just being young and selfish at the time.  There is kind of a gap in time between me and the two cousins of mine I'm closest to.  One is nine years younger than I am (the one who has lost 80+ lbs recently!) and the other is about 17 years younger.  Both have told me at various times I'm their 'favorite' cousin and I know what that means because I had the same when I was a kid and I'd like to think parts of my personality are like him.  I think it's good to have someone in your family you can look at and always know you're going to have a good time with them or you can look up to them or whatever.

When the one closest to me in age was in high school I was on my way back up from a weight loss and the self confidence I had gained was quickly dwindling.  I began to not want to go anywhere when he was a freshman so invites to see him play football were either turned down, ignored or put off for "another time."  As the high school years went by for him, my weight continued up until I was close to 400 lbs by his senior year.  Needless to say, we never made it to those football games.  My fear, whether irrational or not, of having some jerk teenage kid (or heck these days adults) yell something at me, make a noise or just do something to embarrass me was paralyzing.  So paralyzing I missed some of his proudest moments at a pivotal time in his life...the same with his sister.  She was very active in high school and by the time her high school activities came around, we were at our highest ever and we would've been the side show for sure.  We were the kind of big that makes people double take and sadly it wasn't until we lost weight that we realized that.  We only went to one event of hers and it was the most uncomfortable, physically taxing 3 1/2 hours of our lives and we knew that wasn't going to happen again until we lost weight.  We didn't start that endeavor until her senior year so again, we missed out.

As I get older, I think of things that happened to me as a kid or teen and ways that other people let me down.  When I was going through it with my limited life experience, it would feel like the world coming down on me.  I would think "why am I not good enough?" or "what did I do?" or "how could I change to make them want to be around me or have a meaningful relationship with me?"  When you're that age, you automatically think it's something that's wrong with you. You don't think that maybe there's something going on with the other person that they don't have it in them to give at the time.  I spent almost 30 years wondering why I wasn't good enough for my father to want a relationship with me to realize within the past 7 years or so that it wasn't me, he wasn't cut out to be a dad.  It doesn't make him a bad person, it's just the reality of what can happen when you have a child way before you should.  (I mean hey, I'm glad they were feelin' randy as teens but you know, I don't blame him that he didn't have the emotional maturity to realize what he was getting into at the time.  Now how it's been handled into adulthood on both ends...that's another blog)  But I'm getting off track to a degree.  I just cringed to think that someone whom I adore would ever think that I didn't go to something that was important to them because I didn't think they weren't good enough or didn't want to share in their accomplishments.

I sent him an apology yesterday.  I know with his weight problems the past few years he would likely understand a little more.  I wanted him to know that it wasn't him, it truly was us and we were just not at a place emotionally where we could get over ourselves and our insecurities at the time.  I felt better sending it even if he thought I was weird or maybe going through a personal crisis.  He told me he understood and felt the same when he was at his heaviest and never resented us and some other mushy stuff that made me cry.  But it was imperative to me that he know that it was my problem and I'm so glad he does and that our relationship is so close.  I wish we could all get that from people who have made us feel less than even if that was the furthest from their intent.  I think we all have good intentions and put people on the back burner because other things (some important, some not and sometimes we're just lazy) get in the way.  Sometimes we need to remember that our attention, even in small amounts, can mean the world to someone else and they don't care how big we are or how bad we think we look...they just want to be acknowledged by us to know that we think they're important.

Have you had regrets about the lack of time you may have spent with others due to apprehension about your weight or how you feel about yourself?

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33 comments:

  1. Wow. This made my tear up and think. I certainly know what it means to avoid situations and people because of my size. And at the same time the majority of my time I let it go and I do what I want when the person is important to me (or situation). But there certainly are people and situations I avoid. Glad you had the chance to apologize and set the record straight. That is an awesome thing to do.

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    1. Yeah I think we're all guilty of it from time to time but I hope I think of this the next time I'm tempted to blow something off.

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  2. Wow I am crying at work..ur so right..i went through this with my baby cousin...I was going through crap in my personal life and I didnt open up to her and she thought I hated her or something..
    and when things got better, it wasnt the same initially but then later when I was getting married and had gone to India (havent been for 5 years , coz of all the crap), she was the first person i saw in the airport..it was 3am and she had a test that morning...gave me a huge hug and was the only one who asked me " are u happy doing this, going thru the wedding and all?"...Thats when I realized her worth and I am glad we worked it out..

    I am glad ur cousin gets it and everything is fine now:)

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    1. I didn't mean to make you cry! :) I'm so glad you worked everything out with your cousin and you're close. That was sweet of her to come be there at the airport even with a test a few hours later!

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  3. When I was at my tippy-top weight, I couldn't get out of bed and participate in my life. I didn't want to see anyone. My friend invited me out to his farm to see what his new life looked like (he had been a real estate broker with me in NYC). I didn't go. He died in an accident.

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    1. I'm so sorry about the time you missed out on with your friend. Living a good life full of adventures is the best way to honor him.

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  4. Yup, I hate this. I'm feeling like you described right now. A friend, who I have not seen in a long time, emailed me and said she wanted to get together and would I like to see a new play in town. My first thought is: I won't be able to fit in the seat. And I won't, so I won't go. It makes me so mad,and sad. Now I have to make up some stupid excuse eventhough I really want to catch up. Just motivates me more to get to the gym tonight. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Can't you get together for a drink or just hang out at a park or neutral place even if it's just for an hour. You may not feel comfortable going to the play but it doesn't mean you have to miss out on time with her! ((hugs))

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  5. Boy - you DID go deep in this one...but glad you did!!! I think we all have regrets about not living life because we were uncomfortable in our own skin. Glad you were able to right yours!!!

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    1. Yes I did! :) I'm glad I was too even if he said it wasn't necessary.

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  6. Wow, that was a very moving post. Thank you for sharing that. I know you hit a chord with many people.

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  7. It's sad how much you miss out on, some of it with reason and other things because of the limitations you set upon yourself. I'm sorry you feel that you've let your cousins down--I hope apologizing was a weight lifted off your shoulders!

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    1. Yes it is and the apology has lifted a weight especially knowing he didn't take it personally. I would've felt awful if he had!

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  8. I'm so glad you posted this today. I was actually wrestling with whether or not I was going to attend my friends' wedding in a couple of weeks because I'm not comfortable with how I look in a knee-length dress and pumps yet. I would HATE to miss it, but I've been so nervous. I keep trying to figure out what would be worse: feeling self-conscious all night or letting my friend down.

    Reading your post makes me realize I'd truly regret missing it, which I already knew, but sometimes it takes hearing it from someone else. It's fall, so I can probably find a nice, long dress and dressy ankle boots. I think I'll go shopping this weekend. :)

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    1. Please don't miss the wedding. Two friends were at my wedding, both of them struggling with weight. I'm sure that was tough for them, but I can't imagine what it would have been like for them not to have shown up. I am so glad they came.

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    2. I hope you go!! Get an outfit that makes you feel wonderful and confident and celebrate your friends' special day. She won't remember what you wore that day or even if you did the robot on the dance floor but I guarantee she'd remember you not being there and it would hurt.

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  9. This is a tremendously personal and wonderful post. I can count 2 specific instances when I allowed being self-conscious about my looks/weight interfere with a good time/family event. What a shame. I am so happy that I have (1) gotten to a really healthy point and (2) just plain stopped caring so much about myself and others. I never thought to talk about that with my spouse (the one who dealt with this behavior several years). Maybe I'll do that.

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    1. Thank you! It does feel kind of silly when you look back on missing out on family time or events but when you're going through it, it makes all the sense in the world, doesn't it? I hope you do talk to your spouse, I think it's a good conversation to have!

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  10. BTW -- I like that you can preview your comment.

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  11. Wow! What an accomplishment to be able to admit your faults not only to your cousin, but also to your readers as well. This is one of the reasons I love your blog so much. You are honest, thoughtful, and responsible and aren't afraid to call yourself out. I'm sure your cousin truly appreciated your letter, and I feel honored that you shared your story with us too :)

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    1. Aww, thanks Amber! If nothing, I try to be real with myself and if I feel I've wronged someone, I want to try to make it right. If someone else out there can learn from my mistakes, all the better!

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  12. This is true with all of my children. When they were in school I missed countless concerts "because I had work to do" when in reality I was afraid I would not fit into the auditorium seats. If I did fit, it was sideways with the arm cutting into me and it was never certain that I could make it through the performance. I also skipped plays, concerts and sports events for the same reason. Time for me to get in shape before I miss it all with my new grandson too.

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    1. You get to it girl! You want that beautiful grandson of yours to have the support of his grandma and be able to thank you for coming to his baseball games or in his school play to cheer him on.

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  13. Wow, are you telepathic? Because this is some Miss Cleo stuff right here (at least to me it is!!) These EXACT thoughts have been running through my mind all day...today was my 29th birthday. I can so identify with the thoughts/feelings of regret - I have missed a lot of my life because of my weight. My twenties have been a very lonely decade. I push relationships of all kinds away because I feel like everyone hates me and judges me regarding my weight. I did miss several GOOD friend's weddings, all because I was a size GASP 18 - in fact, one friendship ended due to my absence. So, I've made a resolution - no - a PROMISE to myself that this is going to end, this stupid weight garbage. I've always felt that 100 lbs. (which is what I need to drop) is an impossible amount to lose, that I can't do it because I've never succeeded before...and you prove that it's all just excuses. You and your husband have done it twice and are now on round 3 - you are such an inspiration, I don't even think you realize how much of an utter BEACON of hope you are! I look forward to reading your posts so much because every success you have is a much needed counterpoint to the millions of articles, studies, "scientists" and naysayers that only talk about recidivism, that it can't be done - you are living proof that it can. So, I'm going to quit waiting for mountains of "motivation" and letting my life pass by, and (like you advise) just do it - make the right choices, make amends, just do better. Thanks again for this birthday present of a blog post, and I'll keep you posted on my progress.

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    1. First let me say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Secondly, thank you for the sweet words. I am grateful that anything I write serves as something you can take inspiration from and I hope I can continue to be that beacon as we trudge forward. Catch this now before you find yourself saying the same about your 30's as well. There is nothing worse than giving away life experiences because of being self conscious. (I'm still learning myself!) Most of my friends have told me when I showed them pics of me at my highest after having lost 100 lbs that they never saw me/us that way. I guarantee your friends feel the same!

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  14. I have missed many things because of my weight. I still don't want to do things now b/c of it. I have started working out and eating less, but when you have so far to go, it seems impossible sometimes. Of course I know it isn't impossible, so I'll continue on this journey. When I think of the things I've missed out on because of my weight, it really makes me feel mad and sad. On the other hand I know that people can definitely be cruel which is why I've missed out on so much. A long time family friend of mine passed away from cancer a few weeks ago. I almost did not go to her funeral b/c I hadn't seen some of the people I knew I'd see in a few years, and I didn't want to hear anything about my weight. This one lady tells me, "Ooh, you sure have gotten big since the last time I saw you!" It was shameful, hurtful, uncomfortable, etc, but I tried not to let that one person take away from the reason for me being there. I really would like to live life on my own terms.

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    1. It is a shame that we allow ourselves to miss out on so many experiences due to our weight. We need to take a deep breath and know that the worst that can happen is regret looking back on an experience missed. People like that witch who had the nerve to say something have something they hate in THEMSELVES that makes them say stupid crap like that. People who are right with themselves are normal, civil people. People who attack someone for sport are trying to prove their superiority by attacking something obvious. Oooh, how original of them. Asshats. You were there to pay your respects and that's what you did. My rebuttal probably would've been "ooh, you sure have turned into a bigger b!tch than you used to be but that doesn't surprise anyone either." (Okay I probably wouldn't have said it in that setting but you get my drift.) Be proud of the progress you've made and don't let some jerk like them have any power over your thoughts. Living well is the best revenge!

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  15. I can't say that I recall ever missing out on something because of self-consciousness about my weight or just because of my weight (although DH and I both missed out on parasailing because there wasn't enough wind to lift him and I wouldn't leave him on the beach while I did something he wanted to do). BUT, there are many reasons we miss out on things that we later regret, choices to do THIS instead of THAT. And some choices that are forced upon us. My biggest regret is that DH and I let our preference to read and watch football or basketball on tv interfere with all the many outdoor activities our kids craved. We should have taken them camping more, and fishing. Heck, we should have gotten outside and played with them. Now they are grown and doing a much better job than we did, most of them, but it's too late for us to go back and have that precious childhood time with them. As much as I enjoy hiking, I sure wish I hadn't wasted the last 30 years not doing it.

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  16. Oh yes. Certainly. and now i'm fighting back tears reading this post at work. :-( Friends who thought I was just being anti-social and/or didn't want to be around them specifically. Family members...who I didn't see again until they passed. :-( Then ended up having to face the music and see everyone in my family when I wasn't comfortable with myself. I learned my lesson and changed after that funeral. Best lesson of my life. Now I cherish the calls and invites and get togethers. I've also changed the way I take care of myself, but I'm glad I didn't continue to wait until I "got it together" to mend broken relationships.

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  17. Such an excellent blog. I think it echoes what's in the hearts of many of us. Once you've had family members know they are ashamed of being seen with you because of your size, it's hard to recover, no matter how many pounds you shed. To think that I've made other family members pay the price for that one person's calloused remarks stopped me dead in my tracks. I need to really rethink some things. My nieces and nephews may have a note coming from me, too. Thank you so much for baring your heart to us so candidly.

    As an aside, I see you replying to people here. I never see your responses. Is there a way to review old blogs? I'm betting I've missed it if you've ever replied to my comments. If I did, please know it's because I'm technoduh and not because I would ever, ever ignore you!

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    1. Well I'd say if a family member had a problem being seen with you because of your size then that's THEIR issue and speaks volumes about the kind of person THEY are. You know that saying "I may be fat but you're ugly and I can lose weight?", it applies to inner ugly just as much. Don't let others miss out on the beauty that is you just because of one persons stupidity.

      As far as responses, you just answered my question as to whether people get an email when I respond back but I do know some people will check back especially if there's a question so I try to answer them.

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  18. Hi! I just got back from vacation and am catching up on my emails. As for regrets I have a few. A major one is how many things I've missed out on over the years because I was just too big. My hubs and I would go to the water park and the only thing I could handle was the lazy river because I was too heavy for any of the rides. I've not gone to sporting events for fear of not fitting in the seats, etc.

    Another regret (which is kind of opposite of what I just wrote) is how codependent I've been over the years. My husband is not a social person by nature, nor am I. That being said, there were different events I wanted to attend (Christmas parties for example) but because he didn't want to go, I wouldn't go either. I had it in my head that because we were married we had to do EVERYTHING together. And that's just plain not healthy. I lost my identity as my own person and allowed myself to fall into "couple only" thinking. I used to try to force him to go to things with me, which was entirely unfair because it wasn't who he was. I'd spend the whole time fretting if he was having a good time or not that I knew if "I" had had a good time or not. He's never once tried to change me and here I was spending years trying to change him to suit me. I'm finally able to see things much more clearly now and have a far better outlook on things like that. It's perfectly fine for me to go shopping, or church, or to the park for a walk by myself. If he doesn't feel like going, that's not a personal slight against me. I don't have to have him by my side every second of the day in order to feel comfortable. There are plenty of things we do together that we both thoroughly enjoy, but I've stopped trying to push him into doing things with me that are just so I feel more comfortable (such as going to a store or mall by myself). So I guess the regret is that I put my own desires on the backburner and forgot that I'm a woman who is free to do what I like without having to chain my husband to me. The codependent attitude is slowly going away as I get more comfortable in my own skin. And the bonus is HE is more relaxed and is starting to be more willing to do things because he doesn't feel forced. It's a side effect that I never considered before. He's the first one to say go enjoy dinner out with your girlfriends...and now I do. Feels pretty good. =o)

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