Unapologetically…

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I have been using an app called Lift to set and track some goals. For the most part, these are wellness goals, in one form or another. Some of them include “go to the gym,” “track calories,” “drink 3 liters of fluid per day,” and “take vitamins.” You can choose from a list of popular goals, or you can create your own. And you can choose how many days each week you would like to accomplish these goals. I aim to go to yoga or meditation twice each week. I aim to go to the gym four times each week. I aim to count calories five days per week (I am trying to balance paying attention to what I am eating with not paying too much attention to what I am eating). I aim to drink 3 liters of fluid (this could include water or anything that can be “counted” as water…I drink a lot of double-diluted Crystal Lite) every day. I aim to blog or journal three times per week (this is a brand new goal that I set this week…this is my first time accomplishing it).

I am trying to keep a list of topics I might want to blog about, and the first thing I want to talk about is the concept of being unapologetically me. I have been living on my own now for a bit over two years, since the implosion of my (former) marriage. And even when you are the person who has made the ultimate choice to end your marriage, the act of un-coupling is really, really hard. My ex-husband and I were together for a bit more than 12 years, and when we separated, I was 36 years old. For a third of my life, I had been part of this couple, and figuring out who I was outside of our relationship was a big challenge. Relying on good friends who knew me before I met my ex-husband has helped. Therapy has helped. But I still find myself, two years later, wondering who I really am.

I have discovered a lot about why I do the things I do. What I thought was a lack of control and lack of willpower around food, it turns out, was an eating disorder. My credit card debt, it turns out, was partly the result of using compulsive shopping as a numbing behavior. The 75 pounds I lost in the last three years of my marriage, it turns out, was compulsive dieting behavior. And as I was learning these things, I let them sort of define my view of who I was. And then, one day, my therapist asked me when I could last remember being myself. SUCH a difficult question, it turns out. It felt sad to admit this (although I was pretty numbed out at the time, so I probably didn’t experience it as sadness), but the last time I remembered feeling like myself was probably the last time I spent an extended amount of time as a single person…which was back in 1999.

I have had a history of giving up all the power in romantic relationships. I am exploring why this is, but once I am in a romantic relationship, I am usually willing to morph myself into what I need to be to hang on with all my might to that relationship, whether it is a good one or a bad one. I have only ever had two non-negotiables in relationships, events that, if they happened, would signal the end for me, and one of these two things happened in my marriage. If this has not happened, I probably never would have left, although I don’t know that I would not eventually have been left.

So the last two years has been about recovery from a lot of things, and while it seemed like a crisis period in the beginning (and for quite a long time), it is settling into something different. I am enjoying spending time alone. I am still seeing my therapist every two weeks. I am spending time moving my body in ways that make me feel good and feel good about myself. I am still plagued at times with crippling low self-esteem, but I also something think that perhaps I am not that bad. I feel content for longer periods of time. I binge eat less often. My spending is often more deliberate and less compulsive (although I had a low period when I was out of work with my broken wrist). And I feel less like I am putting on an act and more like the me that everyone sees is the real me.

For the last two years, I kept my divorce and its aftermath out of my blog (except for touching on some of what I was learning in therapy), and I certainly don’t plan any kind of in-depth discussion about what went wrong or the details of the un-coupling process, but I also am living life as a divorced woman, and ignoring that means ignoring a major event that has shaped the last two-and-a-half years of my life. So this is me. Unapologetically.

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