Friday, December 30, 2011

I want to make 2012 my year. I never make new years resolutions, because if you want to vow to do or change something about yourself, you can and should do that any day of the year. Maybe it's coincidental that all of my recent revelations have come about at the end of the year, I don't know. But I've realized a few things over the past few days, and it overwhelms me to even think about some of these things, but if I run from what's right in front of me, I'll never get anywhere. I've been sick with some gross bug since Tuesday night, so I've had all the time in the world to lie in my bed and sleep. Sleep off and on, that is. When sleep is "off," my mind is on, and that's when the wheels start turning. There was nothing to distract me from my thoughts for the past few days, however.

Realization #1: I am, and have been, in total control of any weight loss that I want to tackle. I found myself googling whether or not the HcG diet works (evidently, it doesn't), and calculating the cost of diet programs in the area. Then, I realized something - it's not as if I eat healthy, exercise, drink plenty of water and still can't lose weight. I've yet to even dedicate myself to trying those things. I don't need to join a dieting program or anything like that, what I need to do starts from home and is free. In fact, it will end up costing me less than I already spend on food and drinks now. My issue is this: soda. The calories in liquid pile on a million times faster than the calories in food because you don't even realize how much you are consuming. I don't even eat a lot throughout the day, and when I do, I have generally small meals. I do, however, drink at least a half of a 2-liter of mountain dew every day. HELLO!? If I could gain the self-control I needed to stop that, I probably wouldn't even need to change any eating habits, and I could simply incorporate 20 minutes to a half hour of walking into my day every day and I would see results. No personal trainer necessary. This is a no-brainer. But this leads me to another realization of mine: I am definitely an emotional eater. Yes, I've become one of the girls who sit at the 'girls who eat their feelings' table in Mean Girls - the table no girl ever wants to have to sit at. Actually, I've sat at a lot of hypothetical tables that I never thought I would be found sitting at in the past couple of years. Anyway, I used to be the exact opposite of what I am now, when it comes to my emotions and eating. For the first 22 years of my life, when I got upset, I refused to eat. Maybe even for days. My first memory of this happening was in the third grade, when I came home from school to find out that one of my rabbits had died. After I cried for an hour or two, my mom made spaghetti for dinner and put a plate in front of me. The smell of the food (which was my favorite dinner) made me feel nauseous and the thought of eating it, when my rabbit was dead and could never eat again overwhelmed me with guilt (oh, the logistics of a nine-year-old). I can also remember, over the years, when I'd have an argument with my mother, I wouldn't want to come out of my room and eat. This intensified a thousand-fold during my relationship with G. Whenever I had that gut feeling that he was lying to me about something or he was keeping something from me, the thought of food repulsed me. Whenever we would fight, I would come home, go right to bed, and even if I hadn't eaten at all that entire day, my stomach wouldn't even feel hungry. It was like I zoned in on feeling upset and could concentrate on nothing but that until that sick feeling I had in the pit of my stomach passed. I did this every. single. time. we had an argument. Which, for a year and a half, we had none. After that, we had a few. Maybe once every couple of months. Then once every couple of weeks. Then once a week, then a few times a week. It wasn't healthy (not only for my body but my mind), but what I do now isn't either. Ever since the adoption, I've put on more weight than I ever have in my life. I weigh more now than I did when I was pregnant, and mind you - I lost nearly 40lbs between having my daughter and then having my gallbladder surgery. So I've gained that back, and then some. I've created the most vicious of cycles - I feel sad (for obvious reasons), I feel lonely (for even more obvious reasons) and I'm bored, so I eat. It makes me feel better for the five minutes that I have a bowl of ice cream in front of me. Then, I look in the mirror or just plain feel uncomfortable in my own skin, and get upset with myself all over again for eating. So, to cure that feeling of sadness that I just created for myself all over again, I eat again. I'm not even hungry! I do this to myself. I know it, because when I'm at work, or out with friends, or just plain busy in any way, I don't even think about food. I honestly don't.
I don't know where I'll go from here, but at least I've recognized and admitted what I'm doing wrong and what I need to do to fix it. I know I would drop the weight like magic if I stopped drinking so much soda and iced tea. I have to somehow commit to drinking only water for a long time. I don't even dislike water; but why would I choose water when I could have something that makes me feel 'happy?' I put the word happy in quotes because I know it's purely psychological. I tell myself that food makes me happy so I can fill a void, but in reality, it doesn't do anything but make me feel worse and the void is still there afterwards. Food will not replace my child, no matter how hard I try to make it happen. My child will still be with her family, and the only change will be in the size of my jeans.

Realization #2: I was begging, begging, BEGGING for a dog for Christmas. Not even necessarily a puppy, even a one or two year old dog from a rescue shelter would be nice. Actually, that would have been even better. I've heard it said that those dogs appreciate you more and you can just tell that they adore you, even more than a puppy you've raised, because they sense that you have 'saved' them. I believe it. Anyway, for the longest time, I've wanted a blue-nose American Staffordshire Terrier. Maybe my fascination with them occurred after watching Pit Boss for months on end, I don't know, but nevertheless, I was dying for one. Working in a veterinary hospital, I know the work required to care for a dog. I know the time, dedication, and love it takes to care for a dog, and while I know it's not the same, I've realized that it's similar to the dedication, time, and commitment it takes to raise a child properly. Again, I know it's different. We're talking about the quality of life of a canine versus the quality of life, finances, education and family for a human being. But what it comes down to is this: I realized that I wanted something to take care of. I wanted something that would depend on me, and only me, to feed it, walk it, and spend time with it. I needed something to project all of these pent up motherly instincts I've held inside me for the past year and two months, since my little girl was born. I can't fill that void with a dog. In fact, it would only make it worse, I'm sure. I would probably treat my dog like royalty because of this strong need I seem to have to bond with something that will love me back and need me, but at the end of the day, a cute little four-legged creature who relies on me is not the same as my beautiful, two-legged daughter who does not rely on me, and thus will not make me feel any happier. I still want a dog, don't get me wrong. But I want to wait until it's the right time. I want to get a dog purely because I want the dog, not because there's some underlying need to nurture anything that needs nurturing just because I have an overload of it in my system right now.

Realization #3: This one is sort of the bow on the box that I've wrapped those last two realizations up in. This wasn't some shocking idea that came into my head or anything like that, rather it was something I've known all along. My daughter deserves the world, she deserves the best of the best, and I wouldn't stand for her having any less. The reason I am writing this one down is because, while I obviously knew that, or I wouldn't have placed, I seem to forget it during my moments of selfishness and jealousy and regret. I don't regret the adoption. Not even for one second. But saying that doesn't mean I've picked up the pieces of my life and moved on and I am happy as can be. One big thing that 'outsiders' (people who have never placed, or people who are not involved in the adoption world in any way) don't seem to realize is that being a birth mom is like riding on the world's biggest, fastest, scariest roller coaster ride that exists. Think of the scariest ride at Six Flags, and magnify it 99 times. That's the ride I'm on right now. It's contradictory in every way possible.
Yes, I go out with my friends and I laugh and I have a genuinely good time, but that doesn't mean I'm "over it." Inside, do I feel guilty that I am not at home, caring for my child, changing her diaper and feeding her? Yes. But that doesn't mean I "regret it." This is impossible to explain. I feel like all I do is confuse people. Sometimes I think that if I could see peoples thoughts across a board the way you see the airplane takeoff and landing times at an airport, I would see 'why is she so moody and upset today, she was fine and laughing all night last night,' or 'why has she been so's been a can't still be her baby making her feel sad, can it?,' or 'wow, she's happy for someone who doesn't raise her child.'
I've worn many masks over the past year, and that's not to say I'm proud of it. I don't know what else to do. I can't talk directly about the adoption without breaking down into tears. If someone asks, I can somehow turn my emotions off like a robot and answer with a few words, but that's it. As soon as I open my mouth to say anything else, it's as if the floodgates open and I have to use all the strength I've got to keep the tears behind my eyeballs rather than pouring out from under them. Then there are times where I'm beaming with pride over her and want to acknowledge her and talk about her and show my friends photos of her.
When I'm alone, I force myself to process these thoughts and feelings, but I can't. I can't even cry. Like I said, I don't regret the adoption. But lately I have felt so downright angry about it that I've become immune to it. I'm not angry at her parents, not angry at my parents, not angry at myself or even G - just angry at the idea of the entire situation. Angry that I don't get to decide what my daughter wears for the day, or where she goes or who she spends time with. Angry that I don't get to take pictures of her whenever I want and send them to my friends who don't live locally. That's why I need to remind myself of the fact that she is happy, loved, well-taken care of, and has everything I wanted her to have and then some. When I feel angry, the happiness can't help but crack through the surface when I think of how happy she is. How can I be constantly sad or constantly bitter and angry when there's a little life, a little part of me living and breathing out there and she is happy?

I know I confuse people with my emotions. But guess what! I confuse myself, too. I've been confused since I found out I was pregnant, and it's only gotten worse since then. So please, bear with me. This robot version of me, who finds happiness in next to nothing other than thinking about my child, is not really who I am. I will find happiness in the things I used to again, it will just take time. Right now, I can barely see a shadow cast from the light at the end of this tunnel, let alone the light itself, but I trust that it's there. Everyone grieves differently and at their own pace, and I am only just beginning my journey. Grief and I will develop a very familial relationship before I'm done with it, I think.

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