This has potentially been the greatest and hardest summer of my entire life. With E's new found independence, Hubby and I have gotten to spend a lot more alone time together. We go for walks on the beach almost every night, stop for a drink occasionally, take showers together in our outdoor shower. Couple things. Things that I couldn't do when I so keenly felt my daughter's need for mothering. I could never stop being a mother and just be a wife. I could never stop being a wife and just be me. E went away for a week to camp and Hubby and I spent a lot of time just being together. What I discovered is that I really do like the man I married, and he really missed the woman he married.
The summer has been a sea of calm. We have had no illness, no horrible bills suddenly arising, no gut-wrenching struggles with the church, no mean school parents for me to deal with, no drama. It is the first time in years when we have had several months of just being allowed to catch our breath. The thing I've discovered, however, is it is in the down times when the demons arise. Those moments when you are not fighting someone or something else and you suddenly have to acknowledge yourself and your issues.
These are the things I have discovered. My husband hates that I became a woman who wears granny panties. He never said word one about it. It's really not the panties themselves as much as the symbolism. I have such body shame that I felt the need to cover myself as much as possible. I aged myself. When I lost weight, granny panties became uncomfortable and I had to switch to bikinis. My husband, who has never said word one to make me feel bad for gaining so much weight, saw me the other day putting on a pair of granny panties (laundry day) and actually snorted at me. He was having none of it. And I don't blame him. We have spent this summer being open and honest with each other and he doesn't want to see me slide backwards.
I have also discovered that my body image distortion is so bad I am unable to realistically see my daughter's figure. She weighs 123 pounds, is 5'7" and wears a size 2, but I can't accurately gauge if she is a healthy weight. She bought new jeans the other day and apparently I kept mentioning she was a size 2. I wasn't saying it to make her feel bad, I think I was saying it to try to jar something in me so I could realistically understand what she looked like. When she pointed out my comments I so badly wanted to deny them and say she was wrong. But that is what I lived through and I didn't want to do that to her, so I told her about my issues, my struggles with food and that I had never been a size 2. It wasn't a long, woe is me, drawn out kind of discussion. But I wanted to be honest with her and let her know that I don't want my issues becoming her issues. She totally got it and now knows she can call me on it when I seem to be obsessing about size.
This summer I have had to come to terms with my parents. I have had to fully accept that they were not who I wanted them to be (or to make them out to be) and that I do not want to make the same parenting mistakes they did. As they are aging the things that most hurt me as a child are becoming repeated more and more. I hear the same negative talk and watch them become more and more miserable. I am not them and I am trying my hardest to breakaway from the person they created.
Lastly this summer, I have become much more honest with my husband about my issues. He has always been able to read about things on my blog, but lately I have been taking the time to try to fill him in on the circular insanity that goes on in my head. I have made him privy to just how crazy my internal conversations are and instead of frightening him away, it has given him an opportunity to take time to talk to me about his demons as well. We have an office painted in soothing green with an old second hand brown couch. At night when I am working on the computer, he will seek me out, lower the lights and sit on the couch and talk to me. Really talk to me. And listen...
The thing about my husband, is there is something about him that has always been able to soothe my soul. When I had my first miscarriage I just laid on top of him and cried for hours while he stroked my head. No one could talk to me or comfort me or even get near me, but he could. He gets me the way no one else can. This summer he has learned that my internal craziness really scares me, and now, instead of poo- pooing it, he acknowledges it and lets me try to work it out. I have never been good at sharing these things, but I am trying. Having someone acknowledge these issues helps me much more than someone who says, "Oh, that's not true."
I have been hesitant to share all this because I have so many friends going through so much right now. That and it is kind of boring. The thing is, I have not been able to lose any weight this summer. In fact, I have spent the entire summer battling three pounds that come and go. I have made so many discoveries and dealt with so many personal issues, I have been soothing myself with food. I know this is what I am doing, but food addiction just doesn't go away and I never learned as a child how to soothe myself with anything but food. I have watched my very unhappy parents do nothing but eat this summer. They don't have anything in their lives but food and my family. I fell into a trap of my own making. I am hoping sharing it will help me turn the corner.
So the meaning of putting all of this out there is that in the end I have discovered that crazy people need to share and be heard, and the other crazy people sometimes need to know that they are not alone. I have spent this summer holding the mirror up to myself and not always liking what I see. BUT, and this is a big but, at least what I am seeing is more truthful now. Somehow I must now learn to acknowledge my good and bad parts.
As Tennessee Williams once said, "If I got rid of my demons, I'd lose my angels."