I hate January. I have never really liked it. I mean, really who would? Right after Christmas, cold, and grey? Probably not most people's favorite month (and if it is, WHY?) So yeah, the January blahs are perfectly normal. But the reason I really can't stand January is because it brings back painful memories from another time in my life.
This time three years ago, my life pretty much imploded. I know I exaggerate sometimes in this blog to make my point, but this is no exaggeration. One day my life was going one way, and then the next, all that was gone. It was somewhat traumatic to say the least. This was the result of some very poor decisions on my part, and I spent a lot of the next months hating myself, asking myself how, after a lifetime of trying so hard to be perfect, could I have let myself screw up in such a colossal way? It was, without a doubt, the darkest period of my life. It is no wonder I do not like to relive those memories now. If you've read my blog before, you know what I used to do in times of stress. I ate. A lot. And so I ate my way through 2011 and half of 2012. I ate my way through all that pain and self-loathing and grief for all that I had lost. And in the end, when I saw the 80 pounds I had gained as a result, I initially hated myself even more. I looked in the mirror and all I saw was someone who was very, very broken and who didn't deserve anything better.
But then, I got some help. And we all know how very hard it is for me to ask for help. But I guess a little part of me knew even then, even at my lowest, that I did deserve better. I had spent my life up until then trying so hard to be perfect. I allowed that quest for perfection and need to do everything without help to define me. It very nearly destroyed me. And so I decided I needed to try something different. It was hard to open up and let other people see the imperfections that I had worked so hard to hide. And doing so without the comfort of food? Doubly hard. But that was what I needed to do in order to rebuild my life.
It's been said that weight loss is about more than just the weight. That was never more true than in my case. I had a bucketload of emotional weight weighing me down too. And I truly believe that if I had failed to address those issues, the physical weight could never have stayed off. When I got help for my emotional issues, little by little I stopped despising myself quite so much. I started to see that yes, I had made mistakes, but those mistakes shouldn't define me any more than my quest for perfection should. I didn't have to punish myself with regret the rest of my life. I started to believe that I was worthy of something better. With those realizations also came massive weight loss. Seriously, it was like a literal weight had been lifted off my shoulders (or maybe belly in this case).
So while this story does have a happy ending, that doesn't mean that I like January any better. The dark memories become very vivid for me then since that's when things kind of came to a head. I have all different emotions warring in my head. Part of me would like nothing better than to stay in bed with 10 million bags of chips till the month is over. Part of me wants to overcompensate for that other part of me and go through the month insisting to myself and everyone else that I am just fine, that I am not that person from 3 years ago anymore. And then the healthy part of me, the part that has gotten me through it all, knows that I should not wallow in my bed, nor should I try to be crazily perky all month. That while it is true that I am drastically different in a good way from 3 years ago, that doesn't mean that I can't feel some of those feelings I felt then. And that's okay. I let people know I may need extra support right now. I make sure I am taking care of myself physically and emotionally. I give myself permission to feel how I feel, good or bad.
Part of the reason this blog has been so good for me is because I don't try to be perfect on here. I let everyone see just how imperfect I am. That's something that would have been unthinkable for me before. But now I see that my imperfections and mistakes are some of the very things that make my story something that people are inspired by, or least I hope that is the case. I want people to know that no matter how broken and lonely and unworthy you may feel, no matter how badly you may have screwed up, you deserve better. And not only that, you have the power to make that something better happen. You have the power to fight your way to the life you deserve. I know that because that's exactly what I am doing. And if I can help other people realize that about themselves, that would be amazing. In the middle of my struggle, I came across a quote by Albert Camus that I really love. It goes, "In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer." So very true.