Polar Bear

Polar Bear
My Boy

Friday, January 28, 2011

Regrets and Acceptance-longer post

A trend I have seen lately on many blogs is forgiving yourself your transgressions.

Of those I have many...but there are a few steadfast regrets that won't be releasing their clutches on my brain anytime soon.  I'm talking about bad things I have done.  Not like going into an interview and when asked for a negative quality about yourself you say that you work too much.  This isn't like saying I work out too much...no positive negatives here.

Do I think these regrets kept me from being skinny?  No, my own hand to mouth did that to myself.  But these things did help me hate myself beyond the crushing obesity.  And of course I self medicated those bad feelings away with food I'm sure.

So, yes, I am my own worst critic, and honestly I'm not sure I will ever love myself no matter my weight.  These regrets are the 'staring at the ceiling at 2am' kind of regrets.  Do you have frequent memories that you cannot scrub from your brain, that make it almost impossible to love yourself?

Here are mine.
1.  My Uncle Eddie.  My favorite uncle, second only to my parents in how I felt about him, and that was a close second at that.  He was a joy to everyone he met-had the kind of sense of humor that made people gravitate towards him.  Smart, witty, dry, and so caring.  I was the daughter he never had.  The last time I saw him was when he came down for my high school graduation.  They told everyone beforehand to hold clapping until the end.  So what does my crazy uncle do when I receive my diploma?  He stands up in the middle of the church and claps as loud as he can.  Did I mention he hoots and hollers, too?  He and my Aunt stayed over for my party, then went to leave the next morning back to Pennsylvania.  I heard them packing to leave, I heard them saying goodbye to my parents in the driveway, I just decided not to get out of bed to say goodbye-I was wide awake, decently dressed. Two months later he dropped dead from a heart attack in the middle of his usual workout at a Bally's gym.  I never said goodbye, thanked him for coming, gave him a hug.  I was one of over 1000 people at his funeral.
2.  Skyy.  One of my rescue dogs, a lab mix that I saved the day before her euthanasia date at a high kill Georgia shelter.  I picked her based on her picture.  She didn't disappoint, she was as sweet and gentle as can be.  When the other dogs played, she stood next to me as if to say 'look at those asses running after that tiny round thing'.  When fiance #2 and I broke up, and I had to move back to Texas, I found homes for the rest of my fosters, but knew Skyy would be ok with my ex.  While he was an ass to me, he treated the dogs pretty well.  So I left her with him.  This was a once in a lifetime dog for anyone, and she loved me the most.  And I left her.  I have tried searching for my ex, only to ask about her, I have searched in petfinder for dogs with her name.  Yes, she was just a dog, but she was MY dog, and I let her down and left her.
3.  College.  I apply for alot of grants, and I often get rejected (as is the norm with grants).  But one of the common reasons reviewers remark on is my undergraduate grades.  I often get asked about them in job interviews, too.  Something that happened over 10 years ago.  See, I was a classroom screw up.  High school was too easy for me, and I never learned how to study.  When I went to college, I figured it would be much of the same.  But this time Mom didn't shove me out of bed, so I never went to class.  I can honestly say that I went to about 20% of my classes.  I passed many by the skin of my teeth, probably because I was an athlete.  For over 10 years, this damn GPA has defined me, caused me to be stereotyped against, cost me money and jobs, brought me ridicule.  I should have gone to freaking class, I have the brains to have done well, but I slept.  I slept my life away.  Would this be such a strong regret if it didn't keep rearing it's ugly head all the damn time?  Probably not.  But it does, and every time I want to punch myself in the fucking face for blowing all that time on so little effort.
4.  Polar.  Many of you know about him, but may not know how he got hurt.  I went out of town, left him with my cousin and the dog sitter.  Turns out the cousin was hooked on prescription drugs and booze, and the dog sitter enabled her.  So they were drinking and tried to be tough and daring-and tried to cut his nails.  A 175 pound dog...they didn't think about the fact that when they tried to cut his nails and he freaked out, which they knew he would do which is why we told them just to leave him be, that this huge dog could very capably hurt himself in his fear.  So they sneaked up on the deaf and partially blind dog, tried to hold him down, and attempted to cut his nails.  He fought to get up, spun quickly, and ran head first into the wall, breaking his cervical vertebrae, damaging his spinal cord irreparably, and starting his decline towards his eventual paralysis and death 6 months later.  I hate that I left him with them.  I hate that they did what they were told not to.  Most of all, to be honest, I hate that I did not hurt them just as badly for what they did.  This regret still makes me feel violent-so much it scares me.
5.  Carol.  This was a girl I went to most of elementary school and all of high school with...she came from a really large family, was one of the middle kids, and EVERYONE liked her.  She was everything I was not-perky, petite, cute in a doll sort of way, and very popular.  This made me irrationally hate her, though she had never been anything other than nice to me and everyone else for that matter.  When we were freshman in high school, we were on the cheerleading squad, and somehow she got named one of the captains, even though I knew me and another girl had the highest tryout scores.  From then on I detested everything about cheerleading, including her.  Next year I chose to run cross country winter track rather than cheerlead.  Yes, apparently there was a time when I hated something more than running.  She came up all bouncy and shit, and nicely asked if I was going to do cheerleading again.  I said, and I quote, "Oh God NO, I have much better things to do."  As soon as I said it I felt bad, but also more powerful-I had put HER down.  And her face was stricken, not angry, but hurt-cheerleading was all she did.  This was my tipping point-from here on I held vendettas and was very 'honest' about what ugly catty bitches all the perky popular girls were.  This incident bore my mean streak.  I think about this often-especially when I matured enough to realize that the reason people liked her so much, was because she was truly a NICE person.  I knew I could never go back and readopt that persona, and I was forever the bitch I still am today.  I was never mean to anyone but those popular girls, even though I myself was popular-I was a fucking hypocrite and lord only knows how many people I discounted because they made me feel small just by being liked more than me.  From here on I was always suspect of those who seemed too perfect and were too nice to me, which probably resulted in my long string of dating total assholes. Karma is a bitch alright, but I deserved her.

So while these regrets may have kept me fat and hating myself, and while they will not go away anytime soon, losing weight this time has shed what I deemed the ugliest part of me-my fat-and this has brought out certain things that I can no longer deny about myself-strengths that I had that were buried because being fat was all I saw in the mirror.  I call these recent 'findings' acceptances.
1.  Smart.  I may have been a complete ass in college, but that GPA doesn't define me now no matter how pissed it still makes me.  I am intelligent, am a great analytical thinker, and can hang with the best nerds around.
2.  Funny.  When I was that huge bridesmaid in my best friends wedding that I told you about a while back, I remember that everything I said brought everyone to laughter.  At the time, I thought they were chucking at or sympathetically humoring me, since I had just broken up with ex #2 and was tearing the seams of my size 20 dress.  But now that I am thinner, people don't have to laugh at me anymore, and yet they still do.  Apparently I have a good sense of humor.  Who knew?  So glad I don't have to flash my boobies for attention anymore.
3.  Giving.  I have a bleeding heart for everything and everyone.  I am especially drawn to those who have less or a harder time than myself.  I like this about myself because I don't think it is something that can be taught, and I was lucky enough to get compassion and empathy in my toolbox.  Sure this could be a flaw-lord knows I have donated more money, provided more free labor, and rescued more dogs than five people should-but I like helping, and if I didn't fear the repo man, I'd give the cards out of my wallet in addition to the shirt off my back.
4.  Resourceful problem solving.  I am great under pressure, can adapt quicker than most, and have turned into the go to person when someone has a problem or dilemma.  Sure I don't get paid to be a therapist, or a problem solver, but this is worth it.  I like that I am independent and don't need anyone for anything (except housework, thanks hubs!).  I am getting to where I don't need others approval for my own self worth, too, but this is still a dependence and a work in progress.

So if you have made it down here, then tell me what your regrets and acceptances are...


Waisting Time said...

What an amazing post. I applaud your honesty. I hope that just putting these stories out here brought you some small measure of emotional relief.

Teresa Mof said...

Wow - what an amazing post - I am just kind of speechless now; but you have made me think. Thank you. Polar had a really great amazing Mom who is learning a little more everyday and even though we have big regrets - there are even bigger lessons for all of us if we choose to see them.

The Merry said...

It's SO much easier to forgive someone who hurt me than it is to forgive someone for hurting my dog. I imagine a child would be the same.
Good post.

Lifeinblubber said...

What power you just gave yourself! Amazing! What inspiration you gave me! Brutaly honest and poignant. Thank you for sharing!

Bethanny said...

Love it! Poor Polar! Those people deserve a harsh punishment!!

Stephanie said...

I commend you for opening up and being so honest. *Hugs* I hope it's brought some type of "relief" in doing so, as I know it does for me. Our pets become our family, don't they? I can understand how angry you feel over what happened to Polar. I would be too. People who do such things to our furbabies deserve the harshest of treatments. *Hugs* and love to you.

Baby Stepping said...

Well, I'm sitting here bawling my eyes out. We are so much harder on ourselves than we are to others. My "middle of the night" regrets revolve around not doing more for my kids. Not always being there for them. I remember one time my son said, "Mom, would you mind making sandwiches for the wrestling team?" No, of course I didn't mind. Then I found out that all the other boys on the team had moms who routinely did this, but I never had. I never thought to do it. I cry now thinking about it.

Jennifer said...

This post in AMAZING. I am so sorry for what you went through with Polar. Althought, it was NOT your fault. I just loved this post. We seem to have a lot in common girl!


Patrick said...

Honest and empowering; honesty often is... I hope you've reconciled with yourself here and moving forward with a more positive sense of things each day.

Natasha said...

Wow, awesome, honest post! Brave of you to share your stories, although know that we all have regrets, many of mine are similar to yours. When I was a little girl I my dad gave my cat a beating for peeing behind the TV. She was nursing kittens at the time and could barely move after. I was screaming and crying for him to stop but was powerless. I relive that often and can't forgive myself for not finding away to stop him. She was my baby. I understand that pain.

I hope putting it out there brings you a sense of peace.

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Thanks for sharing Polar, I relate to this post quite a bit. I relate feeling the pains of regret, and boy can they be bitter. I have been haunted by my regrets and heartaches for TOO long and there comes a time when I must choose to either forgive myself and let it go, or continue down the road to discouragement and misery. I love how you express the good and admirable things about yourself. It's not easy to do that when you self-loath so much, but when we can focus on our good qualities we can build on them too. "Stop nursing old wounds" I remember reading somewhere and I think of that often when I start feeling regrets or remembering past heartaches. Learning from the past and keeping my sights focussed forward is my constant aim nowadays.
Anyway, I'm rambling... I hope you have a great week!

Rock Paper Tree said...

Thank you for sharing so much. Your courage and honesty are amazing, but more than that, the fact that you have awareness of these things at such a deep level is truly amazing. You're never going to let yourself get away with anything, that's clear.
I'm glad you also know your strengths.
I hadn't read the story of Polar before... I'm so sorry for that pain and grief you feel. I felt it as I read too and I'm sending you a virtual hug and a nice big snuggly scratch for Polar.

Call me Ishmael said...

Oh. Oh. Oh. Wow Polar. What a post. There's so much I want to say I could go on forever, but the most important thing to remember is that Polar loved you, no matter what. To err is human, to forgive canine.

Lanie Painie said...

I don't know what to say. I'm glad I'm not popular, though. Cuz you would be caustic to me!

Be kind to yourself.

Shannon B. said...

I thought I was a blog follower and I wondered why I hadn't read any posts lately. I was on another blog and saw a comment you posted and I clicked to see your page only to realize that I was not a follower and I've missed so much!

This post makes me so sad (Polar) that I could cry. I am an animal lover through and through.

I applaud you for writing this and being so honest. You are an amazingly inspirational person and I am so glad I clicked on your site!! I became a follower and will play catch up this week!