Time, dating, calendars... they are all arbitrary. You know? It could just as easily been the new year three or four months ago... as it was according to the Jewish calendar, for instance. It seems so funny that we make the fuss we do over the turning of a page, the inching forward of a second hand, when even in our day many cultures keep different calendars and engage in different ways of marking time's passage.
I must assume there is something deep in the human psyche that desires-- needs-- to mark time, and so we do. With the rest of the world, I acknowledge: it's a new year! Yay for that.
But I am approaching this new year very differently than I have many in the past. A few years ago I stopped making new year's resolutions, essentially because my inability to do the one that mattered most to me seemed impossible, and after a while, continuing to put it on my list seemed like... masochism. I refer, of course, to my weight. For more than 20 years I was more than 150 lbs overweight. It's shocking to write that, it's probably shocking to read it. Beginning when I was a young mother, I began to pack on pounds at a prodigious rate. No: I can't let that idea stand. I began to anesthetize myself with food, and to use it as my pharmaceutical of choice for absolutely every contingency, every symptom, every joy, every sorrow. Food and its ability to alter my mood (and, I presume, brain chemistry) became my friend, my lover, my confidante... my god.
For the last several years something radical has begun to shift. It all started with entering into a relationship-- with Beloved-- at an all-time high weight for me, well over 300 lbs. For years I'd reasoned-- in therapy, in private conversations with friends-- that one "reason" I kept myself at a high weight was that it kept me safe, sexually. As someone who was married to a (good) man, and who continually was falling in crush and in love with women, it seemed best to cut off my options. No one would fall in love with me at that weight, I rationalized. (Meanwhile, please understand that there was nothing like a logical argument taking place between the impulse to eat and the fulfillment of that action: it was an addiction. But like all good addicts, I had my excuses.)
Then: I found myself divorced, and I found myself attracted to Beloved, and I found... WHAT??!??!?... that my feeling were reciprocated. So much for the "safety" of being fat.
About a year into the relationship we had our first serious and somewhat difficult conversation about it. "I waited my whole life for you," she said. "And I don't want to lose you." She was concerned for my health. I, who had been incredibly lucky-- good knees, good back, excellent bloodwork every time-- began to see signs that my body wouldn't take the abuse forever. It started with slightly elevated blood pressure.
For several years I "tried" several things, but food always won out in the end. Beloved and I had many hard conversations in which she told the truth and I dodged and lied and evaded and tried to wriggle out of things. An addict, you see. Finally, last April 21 I walked into a 12-step meeting.
To be continued...