Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Begin at the beginning

So I was looking at that last post, contemplating what it would mean if all my weight problems (over-, under-, obsessions, compulsions, etc.) were entirely due to emotional issues and fears and beliefs. I started thinking about being a little kid who was fat . . . and then I realized . . . I’ve seen pictures of myself. I was not a fat kid. I wasn’t even a fat teenager (so I can’t blame puberty, LOL). I was an UNACCEPTED child, I was a kid who didn’t fit in even with the nerds, and that did its own sort of emotional damage – but I was not a fat kid.

So I asked myself, when did I start gaining weight? I started in college, I thought, my first year away from home. But the more I thought about that, the more I realized that although that’s when I started gaining weight, it wasn’t really the beginning. If I’m honest I would have started gaining while I was in junior college, but I was so physically active that I burned off everything I ate (which, ahem, wasn’t much).

I started college when I was 14. That probably saved me from far worse emotional damage, so starting college wasn’t the problem. In fact, college in itself wasn’t a problem at all. But when I started, I’d never been liked by my peers in primary education. I’d never been anything but reviled by them, actually, and I wasn't sure college would be any different. As it turned out, school was big enough that no one cared what I wore, who I talked to, what I ate for lunch. I didn't get harrassed, but I also didn't really make any friends. So after a year of invisibility (which is better than being hated, but not much), I decided I wanted to be popular. I was a dance major at first, and the dance majors were a small group of people who were always together, and fresh out of high school themselves.

Here’s the thing, and I think, the beginning: the person I was, wasn’t going to be popular. So I sat back and watched the popular girls during the fall semester that I was 15 (I’d already been there, invisible, for a year). I sat close enough to hear what they talked about, I knew what the alliances were and where the power lay in the group. I learned everything I possibly could learn by just being nearby. And during the Spring semester, I befriended one of the girls who was lower on the totem pole. I talked about the “right” things, laughed at the “right” jokes, etc, etc. Anyone who’s ever been to high school knows the drill. And I got what I wanted. I spent the next year and a half at the top of the food chain, having become genuinely good friends with the “pack leader,” so to speak. Yay. :P

But what I learned from all of that was that I was not enough. By myself, I was not interesting, attractive, smart (despite being in college at 14), funny, witty, etc. I could PRETEND to be those things, but I wasn’t really those things naturally. I didn’t know it at the time, but I would pretend throughout my college “career:” through 7 years and 3 colleges, I would always be someone else, because I never wanted to be “me” again. Eventually the pretending would become a compulsion to lie, about anything and everything, and I would be several years out of college before I was able to break that behavior pattern.

The interesting thing (at least to me) about my weight is that I gain weight primarily in my stomach: from the bottom of my rib cage, down through the bottom of my belly. (My upper ribs remain tiny all the time. It’s a little weird.) But that area corresponds to the 2nd and 3rd chakras. The 2nd chakra represents the power dynamic of our interpersonal relationships and how we relate to money, sex and power. The 3rd chakra represents our self-esteem: whether we take care of ourselves, honor ourselves, honor our commitments to ourselves.

So in my case, I have problems around my 2nd and 3rd chakras – not just weight, but back problems, stomach issues, etc. And the reason I have those problems (according to energetic medicine) is that I’m violating those two areas: the 2nd, because I’m not being honest with others, and I’m lying in order to gain power. The 3rd, because I’m denying my essential self, and denying that who I am is “good enough.” Even though I'm not lying anymore, and not pretending, I still don't think I'm "good enough," and I still haven't really let go of the NEED to pretend: just the practice of pretending (most of the time).

So now I have to work on healing that time in my life. (I’m hoping I can deal with my issues chronologically, because God knows I’ve tried just dealing with the emotional issues as they come up, and it’s been pretty hit-and-miss.)


Stephanie Quilao said...

Thanks for sharing your story MJ. The fact that you are now conscious of your behavior patterns is a huge step. You can't fix what you can't acknowledge. I gain weight in the same areas, and loved that you mentioned the chakra influences. It's so true!

~ Back in Skinny Jeans

MJ said...

Yeah, but it isn't so much a problem of knowing what the problem is - it's DEALING with it, you know? Ha! (And then not re-owning it, later. I'm the queen of that. :P)