You aren’t going to believe this, but lyrics to a song I’ve listened to 1,000 times before suddenly smacked me in the face last week. One of my favorite movies is She’s Having A Baby with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern. It first introduced me to the singer Kate Bush, and I have some of her music saved to my Spotify lineup.
So let me just back up a bit. Like I started to tell you yesterday – is that I started to figure out why, when, how I overeat at times. It’s not all the time, sometimes I can go a couple weeks, a couple months, hell, even a couple years without a problem.
Long time readers will remember that I didn’t have a weight problem growing up. I was a four season athlete – fall was field hockey, winter was indoor track, spring was outdoor track and summer was softball. So it’s pretty obvious I could eat anything I wanted and maintain my weight because there was always a sport going on. Breakfasts could be Suzy-Qs, with a large Dr. Pepper. Lunch was a two slice pizza lunch with fries and two warm just out of the oven chocolate chip cookies. After school was practice. It wasn’t unusual to hook up with my twin sister and our best friends who are twins to meet at Baker’s Square and share two baskets of fries and each get a slice of pie, and then go home and eat whatever my Mom made for dinner. I weighed probably 120 pounds in that picture below.
So when I started gaining weight, I have to be honest, I didn’t really even notice. It was gradual. After leaving college after they dropped the field hockey program, I got a desk job, and well, let’s just say that any exercise I did before came to a screeching halt. Running laps and lifting weights was soon replaced with sitting on my ass and lifting cheese sticks and beers to my lips after work.
In that picture above, my sister on the left is pregnant with her son Paul who is now 20. Why the hell I thought a flowered shapeless dress could somehow camouflage how fat I had become is beyond me. I am not kidding that I actually didn’t realize how big I’d gotten (even when I had to buy bigger clothes!) until my stomach touched my steering wheel in my car, and I was the only one who drove the car.
But when I look back on it, I know exactly why I let myself get so big. I was heartbroken. Hannah’s Dad basically chose to move on with his life and we weren’t part of that life. He’s now married and has a couple kids, and hasn’t seen Hannah since she was maybe six months old when he stopped by my work and handed me $50 – he may have given me $300 her whole life. His family doesn’t even know that Hannah exists. That, is not the point of this post. (although as a weird coincidence, Hannah actually follows her half-sister on Instagram – she looks to be about 16?!). The point is that I didn’t want to get hurt again, and making myself unattractive to the opposite sex would make that easier for my life at that time. No boyfriend, no heartache. Plus I’d seen so many of my friends who were either divorced, didn’t marry their child’s father, date someone else, break up, and it really took a toll on their kids, and I vowed not to even TRY to look for love until Hannah was 8.
So in 1999, my sister and I lost 70 pounds with Weight Watchers and in 2000, the month of my birthday, I finally got the courage to put an online personal and just see what would happen. I was about 135 pounds, I felt fit, and I really loved myself, and I am convinced that once I loved me, love would find me! And you can read here to how Tony and I met a mere two months later, and married December of 2000.
But I’ve had various points in my life when I’ve gained the weight, only to lose it, and gain it again. It seems to be a never ending cycle. Over the past few weeks, without the interference of a job, I’ve really tried to figure out why I keep doing it. And it can be correlated directed with events going on in my life. Not a shocker there. But I realized that at the times that my overeating really takes over is when I am either thinking about the past or the future. Not today.
Overeating because I didn’t get to have a long term relationship with Hannah’s dad. Overeating because Tony is sick and not able to leave the house, thus cutting my social life to a halt. After he died, keeping one foot in the past and afraid to step the other foot into the unknown future of my new life without him. The times when I was successful? I was living in the present. Taking each day as it came and making the best choices. Take the summer of 2013 when I did Insanity 101 days in a row and lost 20 pounds in six months and lots of inches. That fall I had a professional photo shoot for a diabetes magazine, and I was so happy that I jumped at the chance because I loved how I looked. I know I would have declined the opportunity if I were 20 pounds heavier.
I reread through a bunch of my blog entries from the summer of 2013. Longtime bloggers, how often do you reread old posts you’ve written? I have to say I haven’t done it all that often, and it was really eye-opening to me. Granted, Tony was relatively healthy that summer, but I didn’t let anything from stopping me from doing Insanity 101 days in a row. Not working late, or going on vacation – nothing. I just made the best of each day and then the next day, did the same thing.
I think the times that I am stuck in the past, or worried about the future, I don’t pay attention to TODAY. And I am not going to say that I am not going to miss Tony anymore, or wonder where my next job is going to be. I finally really listened to the lyrics of this Kate Bush song and it helped me have closure, if you will, on Tony’s passing. I think you could interpret these lyrics any way you want, but for me, I have to let go of the “should haves, would haves.”
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I should be crying but I just can’t let it show
I should be hoping but I can’t stop thinking
All the things we should’ve said that I never said
All the things we should’ve done but we never did
All the things we should’ve given but I didn’t
Oh, darling, make it go, make it go away
Give me these moments
Give them back to me
Give me your little kiss
I was actually walking in my neighborhood when I really listened to the lyrics, it completely spoke to me. And I am sure I am reading too much into this, but it was almost as if Tony was trying to tell me that I’ve got life in me yet, and strength. It’s rare for me to cry in front of other people, still feel I have to be the strong one around everyone. I was brought back to Tony’s memorial and I met several people that I hadn’t met before, and even if they were crying or tearing up, I was the one comforting them, and looking back on it, I am sure they were thinking “why doesn’t she seem to be upset her husband died?” “I should be crying but I just can’t let it show.” I cried all the way home the last mile of my walk. I have to let go of the things that I cannot change, hoping that I said enough, we did enough during the time I had Tony in my life. And while I want it to all go away, and that I’ll wake up and he’ll be napping on his beloved recliner, I know that’s not going to happen. I still miss that kiss though!
And with that cathartic cry, I removed my foot from the past, and planted it firmly in TODAY. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow. No amount of food stuffed into my face is going to bring him back. Later that day I had errands to run. Fricken Easter candy is still on sale – I am surprised they don’t have 4th of July shit out yet! Not a week ago I would have grabbed a couple bags (now 90% off!) and thrown them into my basket without a second thought, other than I’d safely hide them in my bedroom so one one would know. But I walked right on by and didn’t even give it a second thought. And while I know that I am still going to have moments when eating a shit ton of stuff is going to make me feel better – for a split second, just knowing why I am hoping will keep me present, and mindful and I just won’t anymore.
I am really writing this post for myself – to remember how I am feeling at this point in time. A luxury of having an online diary for 7 1/2 years to look back on. Thank you for taking the time to read this if you’ve made it down this far, and if you don’t get it, that’s okay too. All I know is that I feel awake, the fog is long behind me and it feels…amazing!
And because this is a food blog, and several people asked me for my skinny pork pot stickers, here is my adaptation of Damn Delicious Pork Pot stickers.