I was reminded yesterday, by my wonderful Mastermind ladies, to take a moment to consider where I am.
It’s not original advice. My mind conjured up old schoolroom posters telling me that It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. A phrase that’s become a part of our language, a well-worn truism. I’ve never really liked it. To be honest, I was tempted to ignore the words, this time. The only reason I thought twice about them was the respect I have for the people who offered them. I’ve learned that sometimes, they know better than I do.
So: where am I?
The Road Behind
At the beginning of this journey, I was focused on what was behind me: where I was coming from, all the pain and failures and everything that had driven me to that point. It was embarrassing, and a little bit depressing. There were things there that I did not want to relive.
In the end, though, I was glad I did it. It was necessary, like all the other preparation I went through. A rather unpleasant necessity, more like taking before photos than like buying pretty journals and drawing up neat checklists. But it was therapeutic, and it gave me a place to start.
The Road Ahead
As time goes on, though, I become more and more focused on where I’m going. Very naturally. I’m done with the darkness and bondage; I want the sunshine and the freedom. And it’s important to have that goal, to know that the road I’m on will get me where I want to go.
But I have a long way to go. I’ve hardly made a dent in the distance: 5 pounds, to be exact. With 68 to go to my initial goal of 150. I take those numbers and I try to calculate how long it will take me to get there and it hurts my head thinking about the months ahead of me. It’s just… so… far. So I try to figure out how long it will be till I feel somewhat comfortable in my body – and it’s still more time than I want to contemplate.
Even more frustrating, is the knowledge that these calculations mean almost nothing. I know, from experience, that my body does not work the way I expect it to. I’ll lose weight, eventually, but the rate at which this happen will happen is not predictable. Last week’s progress does not translate into next week’s. Sometimes the scale jumps, sometimes it crawls, sometimes it stalls – like this week. With very little rationale.
So I really cannot predict the length of this journey. The best I can do is know that I’m heading in the right direction. That – if I live long enough – I will get there eventually.
I don’t like that.
I am not a good traveller
I want to be there. Now. I don’t want the waiting, the plodding, the struggle to get there. I want to have done all that, and be in that bright and shiny place already. The place where I will finally be happy. Where I will finally feel like me again.
I’m like a child on a road trip. Except I was never this impatient on any road trip – not that I can remember. My parents taught me early on to be patient. And they did it with the same suggestion that my Mastermind group offered this week: look around you. Enjoy the view, because it will be gone before you know it. Appreciate where you are, right now.
I learned that lesson quickly. I looked out my window, and I came to enjoy the changes in the landscape, the familiar landmarks and the brand new sights. I became a good traveller. I strained my neck in anticipation of my favourite places, prolonging the fleeting glimpses as we passed them by. To be fair, I also did a good amount of reading, in between. You can’t spend every moment noticing your surroundings. But I never became so engrossed in the fictional worlds that I completely forgot where I was. I grew to love travelling.
I have not yet learned to love losing weight.
It’s an uncomfortable journey. Like being stuffed in the back seat of a car with a hot sun beating down on the back of your neck. I feel heavy, and nauseous, and none of my clothes fit quite right.
It’s longer than any real trip I’ve ever taken. Measured in months, rather than hours or days. It feels like it’s never going to end, and each delay seems to take forever.
And, perhaps worst of all, I’ve never actually reached the destination. I’ve been on this journey before, and turned around. I’ve tried different roads that promised to get me there, but I couldn’t stick with any of them. I’ve been back and forth so many times, without getting anywhere, I am sick of it. I’m out of patience.
Being on this Road
I need to learn to walk this road with contentment and patience. To keep the destination in front of me, and push through the rough parts, but also to notice the good things about this place, and be grateful for them.
This is a better place than where I was 1 year ago.
I think I actually weighed less at this time last year. I thought I was in a good place. But I wasn’t. I was on a road that was never going to get me where I wanted. I fought my way forward, but it was an effort I couldn’t sustain. That road went nowhere. I was doomed to failure.
I’m not going to say this road is easy. It has its challenges, despite the promise of becoming easier. But it’s not like the others. It doesn’t require constant, white-knuckled effort. It feels sustainable. When SPT tells me I can do this, I believe her. Or at least, I believe that this is my best chance. It speaks to the issues that I used to think were mine alone, and makes sense to me in a way that no other diet ever did. This road accepts me as I am. As if it were designed for me. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not in order to travel on it.
And, perhaps most unexpected, I’m not alone on this road. I’ve never had company, before. I’ve had books. I’ve had websites. I’ve even had the occasional healthcare provider. But I’ve never had other people going through the same thing. I’ve never before been able to talk about my problems and know that someone understands. It’s an amazing, surprising thing to me, still.
And every day, it gets better. Whether I lose weight or not. Every day I am learning something about myself. I am discovering my strengths and weaknesses. What I can handle, and what I can’t. Why I am the way I am. Every day, I feel stronger. Every BLE meal tastes better. Every day, I heal a little more.
It’s not much. This journey is sometimes agonizingly slow. The road can be monotonous. But there are points of light along the way. And it’ll get me there.