Sunday, May 29, 2011

30DC: Day 5 (Difficult Times)

Today's post calls for me to talk about a time I felt like ending my own life.  To be quite honest, I've never really had that low of a low before because I have (thankfully) never been pushed to that point.  

That said, I have had some low points.  I think one of the hardest things for me growing up was always being single.  Yeah, it's not the WORST problem to have in life, I know, but still.  True, there had been guys who'd wanted to "be my boyfriend" and I went on dates and everything, but after my "boyfriend" in middle school I was single for almost 7 years.  That's a pretty hard thing to deal with psychologically while watching all your friends date and get asked to dances, etc.  For me, this was also made worse by the fact that I was overweight and didn't feel "pretty."  I figured it was my own fault that no boys wanted to date me because "Who'd want to date a chunky girl?"  I recognize now that my own perceptions of my body and negative self talk led me to project a negative image of myself... So, really, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.  But, that said, every time I'd try (unsuccessfully) to lose weight and fail, it just because all that more devastating because I'd managed to convince myself that keeping the weight on meant being alone and unattractive.  

I was so convinced that I'd always be alone that I even came up with back-up plans to fulfill all my other life dreams.  If I couldn't control meeting someone and having that dream, then everything else that I could control became a priority.  My big dream of being a professor comes from that.  Not that I don't still want to (or plan on) someday being a professor, but, back in the day, I figured if all I was going to have was my career than I'd better make it a good one.  I even made a pact with myself that if I turned 35 (or whatever age I deemed worthy) and was still alone that I'd adopt a baby.  I've always wanted to be a mom more than anything and the idea of not being able to have my own kids was killer.  As someone who's always been so career-minded and academically successful when I put my mind to it, the fact that we have no control over who/when we meet Mr. Right drove me crazy... mostly because I figured he didn't exist.  Or, if he did, I'd miss him due to my weight.

I recognize now that I was wrong.  Because I made weight the issue and because I was unhappy with myself and how I looked, there was no way I was ready to be in a relationship.  I didn't "attract" guys not because I was overweight, unattractive, uninteresting, or unworthy, but because I didn't put myself out there, I didn't think I was worthy of a relationship, and I didn't put out ANY positive vibes about myself.  Who's going to be attracted to that?  But, no amount of positive reinforcement from my friends and family or anyone else could change what I'd convinced myself to be true.

Even once I *did* successfully lose weight, it took a long time for those thoughts to go away and for me to get a better self image, to the point that it took me an abnormally long amount of time to realize that Jon was actually trying to pick me up and get my number when we meant.  Yeah, I met him once I lost weight, but there's NO way I would have even introduced myself to him if it hadn't been for the fact that my feelings about myself had started to change.  He's seen photos of me before and still thinks I'm beautiful... Clearly that wasn't the problem.  It's all in our heads.  Even now the negative self-talk creeps back in from time to time and I have to work to stay positive.  It's something we all go through for any myriad of reasons (weight, achievement, etc etc)

Anyway, that's a round about way of saying that my lowest point was when I finally told myself I'd never find anyone who'd want to be with me and then started to plan accordingly.  There's nothing worse that when you give up on yourself.  Ending your own life is the most extreme manifestation of this, but there are other ways we do it all the time.  Any time we say that we aren't "worthy" of something or we can't achieve something or we'd better just give up, it might not be suicide, but it surely ending any kind of growth that positive thoughts would have encouraged.  

So, there you go.  Day 5.  Quite the personal post, I'd say.  These prompts are so interesting because they really are showing me how far I've come/developed and who I am today.  What are some of your lowest points?