I recently ran into this quote from Patricia Hampl.
“Maybe being oneself is always an acquired taste.”
Reading it almost took my breath away, as it so perfectly illustrated something I had been struggling with recently. Actually, struggling with my whole life, and very specifically, today.
My Most Recent Introversion Crash: I.E. Today
I came across the quote in a book on introversion that had been recommended to me by a professional mentor. The book specifically is “The Introvert Advantage: How to thrive in an extrovert world.” If you haven’t guessed, I am very much an introvert. In tests, I often come close to straddling the line, but when it comes down to where I get my energy and what drains it…. I’m an introvert through and through.
Quick update on the last week for me. My company was doing a challenge where you could put together a project, present it, and the winning project received $2,000. To me, it was the perfect amount… after the last three years of having doled out more than $6000 in medical expenses each year and having just under $2K left to go until I am in the clear, I felt this was the perfect timing. Meant to be. And I jumped headfirst into my project. I actually had a blast working on it, and realized that I need to find a way to incorporate more writing or design or something creative into my existing workload. It was the most fun I had had in awhile.
But being a perfectionist combined with my incredible talent at procrastination, I went down to the wire, spending over 40 hours to get it ready in just 3 days. Needless to say, I overextended myself. And I knew that I was going to have some sort of crash, but wasn’t quite prepared for just how hard this one might be. During those 3 days, I ate miserably, nursing my stress with excess calories. I swear, if I could just kick that habit I could be set for life! Then, being exhausted and anxious after the presentation, I decided to bake off my stress and use up the huge pile of apples Damir had picked over the weekend. Applesauce, apple muffins, and apple pie. The house smelled wonderful! But I was stuffed, and honestly, a little disgusted with myself.
The Inevitable Crash
This morning, I woke up with proof that I had done myself a doozy. Even without the raging migraine, the thought of having to get up, walk the dog, and make breakfast was too much to handle, much less go into work. I managed to get a text off to my boss and get a meeting rescheduled, and I crashed out for another 3 hours. And when I woke up, I felt terrible. Headache hangover (that ghostly disconnectedness) plus all of my overeating in the past 3-4 days, and I felt fat, sweaty, un-showered, lazy, and pissed. I was so frustrated and miserable in that moment that I could have just cried. I then tried to feel better by eating 3 muffins. It worked for all of 2.5 minutes. approx.
Oh, and in terms of the competition, I didn’t win. I was crushed. And I still am. But, I also know that the others moving forward also worked hard on their projects. They also have just as much of a need for that income. It wasn’t meant for me. But it didn’t take away the physical effects of overexerting myself. After finally having a good cry in the shower, I came out clean and ready to get a grip. The Introvert Advantage was laying on the top of the bookshelf… a reminder that I had promised to read it in Q3. I was expecting to read a lot about what I already knew about introversion. But I wasn’t expecting that quote.
The Actual Point of this Post
I had struggled all day with my frustration at having overeaten myself massively in the past few days. In general, I really do feel beautiful. I know I am overweight. My younger self might have been horrified at how I look now. But I have come a long way in accepting who I am. I also haven’t. See, I can love the way I look, and hate it at the same time. I want to be healthier. I know that the more weight I can lose, the less weight is being carried by my weak and damaged back, and the better I will feel. But I also want to love the way I look now. I have taken huge strides in this over the summer, finally ditching uncomfortable clothes because they “held me in” or “hid the fat.” The truth is, I’m overweight, and I’m still really beautiful. I can be both. I know I am both. But I still have to work on allowing myself to feel both.
My Struggles, Another’s Journey
Its also funny, because I had mentioned that I hid out in the kitchen during my time in Pine Ridge. If you have PTSD, you know how much other people’s struggles and emotions can greatly impact your own. And the struggles out there were almost too much for me. Even hiding out, I did actually make one connection… not to one of the Native youth, but to one I was serving with.
There was a highschool girl out at Pine Ridge with me that was a bit reserved, but had an incredible smile when she did show it, and when she laughed, you couldn’t miss it. I noticed that as a vegetarian, she didn’t have a lot of food options with the meals that had been planned for the week, so I started asking her if I could make her an extra grilled cheese sandwich or pasta to make sure she had enough food.
What I hadn’t noticed immediately was that her clothes hung off her. Or that she was wearing long sleeves in 100+ degree weather. I instead noticed her quirky facial expressions, and beautiful smile. After offering to make her special meals for the week, one of her group leaders let me know just how much it meant to her. See, without my even realizing, she was a recovering anorexic, who was within 5lbs of her healthy weight. She also had a problem with her self image, and with that an issue with self harm. She had been struggling because she really wanted to get to her goal weight, but didn’t have a lot of healthy options, and hardly any vegetarian food options.
This beautiful young girl struggled with so much pain because of weight, but I thought she was so beautiful for all of the reasons people should. And here I am, struggling at the other end of the scale and I am acutely aware of how difficult that struggle is.
Maybe what I have been struggling with over that past 6 months… this weird, “I love my body but still want to lose weight,” and, “I want to feel fashionable but still be comfortable,” internal debate is just that…. I’m finally starting to acquire a taste. To accept who I really am. So maybe this is it, the Summer of Acquired tastes. The summer I started to actually enjoy dry wine, and actually started to love who I am.