Every Picture Tells A Story, Don’t It

2001SouthBeachOR

Whenever this photo of me from 2001 comes up on our digital photo frame, my husband always says, “I love that picture of you.” I say “Mm hmm,” but inside I have a completely different dialog.

That photo was taken shortly after a really unfortunate incident that hurt me more than I’d like to admit.

A little background – The year before, I had traveled to Newport, OR to see Keiko (aka Willly, the orca from the Free Willy movies) before he was to be moved on the path towards freedom. I had a really amazing trip, got to meet Keiko and we had a wonderful day together. I wanted to do the trip again with my husband, so we planned it for 2001.

About a month before our trip, his employer was talking about layoffs. Couldn’t possibly involve us as my husband is their only IT guy on the west coast. SURPRISE! Two weeks before the trip, he was officially “dot-com’d”. We took the trip anyway, determined to have a good time, but there was some stress and worry that joined us on the trip.

We had rented a yurt at South Beach Campground and were trying to enjoy our time on the coast and in the redwoods before having to go home and find a job. The campground was busy, but not busting at the seams. There was one group of teenage girls wandering around and they all stopped to have a giggle across from our campsite. I was on alert, but my husband said, “They aren’t talking about you.” It has been my experience that at 350 lbs, you know when people are talking about you. πŸ™

A few minutes later, he noticed my mood was falling and suggested we walk out into the dunes to watch sunset. I said I’d just run to the bathroom and meet him at the trail head. I walked into the bathroom and inside was that group of teenage girls. Two were by the sinks and two were in the bathroom stalls. One girl in the stall was talking…..

MeanGirl1: (from stall)… I mean she was SOOOO fat. It’s disgusting.
MeanGirl2: (from other stall): HA HA I know!
MeanGirl3: (standing next to me and my death stare): Um.. c’mon.. let’s go!
MeanGirl4: (leaves)
MeanGirl1: Just a minute! But seriously. How can she even leave her house when she looks like that?!?! I’d kill myself if I ever got that fat. I mean, have some control. Does she just eat donuts all day or what?
MeanGirl2: (emerges from stall, looks at me, flees)

I just stood there by the sinks and MeanGirl1 just kept on talking. Her friends were making a beeline back to anywhere I wasn’t and she was alone. With me.

I will admit having some really awful thoughts about how I was going to handle it when she came out. I considered going all American Psycho on her, but didn’t. She was still talking about how disgusting I was when she opened the door and saw me standing there.

She briefly looked around for her friends and walked to the sink. I just stood there and she would not make eye contact. I’m ashamed to admit that anger got the best of me then and I said, “Seriously. How can you even leave your house with curly hair like that girl? How disgusting to have hair like that. Why would she ever make me have to look at that. UGH!!” …. and then she was gone.

I spent a few minutes trying to get myself together. I wanted to hurt her. Badly. I wanted her to feel what I had felt when she was talking about me. I wanted her to know this wasn’t something I chose or something I enjoyed, but it was my life and who the hell was she to pass judgement on me? I wanted to tell her mother to beat her with a switch. I wanted to run her and her bratty friends over with my car. I wanted them to feel my pain. I wanted them to HURT!!!

I got myself together and walked to the dunes with my husband. He was taking pictures and I just wandered around with my thoughts.
-You ARE disgusting!
-Why ARE you out in public, making people have to look at your fatness?
-Why don’t you kill yourself? You know the world would be better off without you.
-You’re just fat, and stupid and lazy and dumb and worthless and…. and…. die.. die… die……

*Snap* And that’s what that picture means to me. It’s full of shame and anger and pain and hurt feelings and suicidal thoughts all rolled into one great big story about how I am unworthy because I am fat. A story about how my worst fears have been confirmed by a 14 year old girl in an Oregon State Campground restroom. Clearly everyone’s best source for information, right?

That story still hurts, but not for the same reasons. I fell victim to my anger and lashed out at a kid (who should have been taught better, but). I let that incident stick with me for the rest of that trip and well beyond that. I let myself tell that story about how my lack of worth had been confirmed and was TRUTH. It may have been that girl’s truth, but it wasn’t mine. I was just a person in a lot of pain, trying to do the best she can with what she had available at the time.

Who can ask for more than that?

When All Else Fails, Just Let It Go

Let It Go, Tomorrow Is A New Day
Let It Co

I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Let it go. Forget about it. What’s done is done. It’s a reminder that the mistakes you might have made yesterday no longer matter. In addition, you can’t worry about mistakes you might make tomorrow as they are also part of your journey.

The only thing you can really influence is the decisions you are making right now, in this exact moment. The rest is all just mind games. Really. It’s true.

Just keep your head up and keep moving forward. You are already on your way.

Words & Language

words

One thing I found confusing in the early days of my venture into the “mindfulness community” is the wide variety of language used to describe the same idea or concept. For example, one person will use “God”, while another will say Source, spirit, the divine, the cosmos, the universe, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Xenu, etc. It doesn’t really matter to me what you call it as long as you understand the concept I’m describing.

My religious background is Christian. Church was something important to my parents and therefore, I was raised in the church. I did the whole bible study experience, but in my teens I was having difficulty with the church.

Throughout my life, I have done a lot of exploring of other religions. I found several aspects of many different religions fascinating. Buddhism really called to me, but at the time my 20 year old brain heard that part about releasing your worldly possessions, that was out. πŸ™‚ Some of the Native American practices were interesting to me too, but I’m super WASP-y, so that seemed out too. I decided to go it alone. Pragmatic. Logical. Reasoned.

However, that disconnectedness from spirit might not have been the best choice for me. Instead of that belief in a higher power who was watching out for me, I replaced it with the idea that the world is out to get you and you have to be quick or life with crush you without a second thought. That wasn’t going to work for me either.

What I found most interesting in my exploration of different religions and philosophies is the similarities between them all. There are basic rules that all the major religions seem to follow. Most of which boil down to, don’t be an asshole and help where you can. πŸ™‚ And that’s basically what I carried forward into adulthood.

I’m trying to find my way back to believing in something bigger than me. I’m not sure I’m ready to accept the idea of a benevolent father in the sky who wants the best for me, but I do feel something larger. There’s an interconnection between people and places and experiences. I’ve had magical experiences with other people and can’t discount there being some kind of something there, but I can’t yet define it. And that’s okay.

——-

The other issue I wanted to address is that I’m just a regular person, trying to figure this all out. Probably a lot like you are. We’re all on this crazy journey of life together and I’m hoping that by talking about these issues here, we can come together and find a little clarity on what is important and beneficial in our lives.

I make no claims to be some kind of highly-evolved guru or mentor. I have plenty of days where I find myself looking in the mirror and asking, “What the hell are you doing?” πŸ™‚ Clearly, I do not have the answers.

What I do have is a little bit of clarity on where I have been, what I’ve been through, what has worked and what hasn’t to improve that. As I’ve walked this path, I’ve seen signs of others. I don’t know who you are, but I feel you not too far from me, walking this same path. My hope is that I can point out some of the pitfalls and missed turns I’ve taken and save you a bit of the heartache, time and energy that I’ve spent to get where I am today.

Thanks for listening!

Inspiration

geneenroth

I love this quote by Geneen Roth. I printed this out and hung it on my wall by my desk where I would read it several times a day and remind myself of this simple fact. Despite whatever stories I’m telling myself out of habit, I’m doing better than I think I am. πŸ™‚

How are you doing this week? Any road blocks or speed bumps got your stuck? Or are you focused and mindful about your actions? Are you on your path, or do you feel lost and alone?

Why BeingUndone?

Probably a good place to start, right? There are three elements to why I chose the blog name “Being Undone”.

First, it’s an homage to one of my favorite books, “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb.

I read this quote on the book jacket: “Mine is a story of craving: an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow, in 1956 on the day our first television was delivered…”-and I was instantly in love with Delores Price. The book is sometimes poignant, often funny and occasionally a just plain heartbreaking tale of Delores’ journey. As a ‘fat girl’ I could totally identify with her struggles with body image and food, but that’s not the main point of the story. It’s about the deconstruction of all those old family dramas and stories we tell ourselves about them and her struggles to overcome her past. It’s one of those books that stays with you and draws you back time and time again to read the story.

Secondly, I find myself at a point in my own personal journey where it feels like I’m in the middle of that same kind of deconstruction. I’ve spent the last year taking apart my belief systems and daily routines when my body finally had enough and called a time-out. At 46 years of age, I feel like I’m pretty established in my ways. But this process makes you look at what you’re doing and ask yourself “Why?” and “Is this really working for me?” All of the sudden, pieces you thought were set are back in play. It kind of feels like you’re coming apart, or being undone, piece by piece. But in a good way. πŸ˜‰

Lastly, one of the things I’m starting to learn about this crazy thing called life is that we’re never “there”. There is no finish line. Other than death, I suppose, and I’m no longer in a race to get there. There isn’t any moment in your life when you get to be “done” living and then things get easy and relaxed and you can enjoy life at your leisure. It just doesn’t happen, but so many of us live our lives as if we are racing for the goal line and when we get there, we can finally relax. You’re setting yourself up for failure. The way to live your life is to just be a being, undone and perfect.

More on that in future posts. Thanks for listening!

Walking the enlightened path