It kind of sounds like a superhero, right? Or at least an X-Men character. It’s not though, because the self-punisher is me. Right now, I am probably the most unhealthy that I’ve been in my whole adult life. I’m heavier than I’ve been, ohhh…ever. I have zero lung capacity. Oh yeah, and my brain is doing a metaphorical slow-crawl out of the very depths of misery. In the last few weeks, I wake up every morning and lie in bed for 5-35 minutes (5 minutes is a very good day) going through the list of what I have to do before I get in my car to spend a day at school, then psyching myself up to do it. Take the dog out, try to be patient as she barks furiously at anyone who dares to walk up the street or stand in their own driveway, pick up her steaming dump in a lovely scented bag I have attached to her leash and toss it in the garbage can, feed her. Make a protein shake, make coffee. Shower. Choose an outfit that will hide me, but still be relatively stylish so I recognize myself. Clean up my room. Make polite conversation with whoever is in the house who happens to be awake before me, even though I have no desire to speak to another person until maybe noon. Check my school bag to make sure I have everything I need. Text my husband. Check my facebook.
These things are normally no big deal, but they are right now. I can pretend to not know why I’m having a hard time at the moment, but that’s a lot easier when I’m not around my Mother. I was talking to her the other day about how pissed off I am about the weight I gained since last Spring, and how I can even pinpoint the time when I started binge eating: it was when I realized the new job I’d gotten in Edmonton was not going to make living in Edmonton better for me, and I realized I was trapped in a place where I had no family or friend support, married to a man I’d basically just met. So I ate. a lot. And I sat around. All day. See, I know what I did, and I know I needed something to make me feel better. But I’m not stupid, I know that no exercise and tons of food equals Brianna no fits her pretty clothes. I know it. So it makes no real sense that even though I was in a bad place emotionally, I would sabotage my life like that.
Or does it? Enter the self-punisher. My brilliant Mom thinks it’s pretty interesting that when my little sister is unhappy about something, she punishes everyone around her (boy does she, I’ve felt the sting on and off for years), and that when I feel bad, I punish myself. Hmm. So I got to this place in life where I felt like I’d figured myself out, I knew who my friends were, I knew what I wanted in life, I knew where I wanted to be and what my purpose was. And then I met Jeff. And WOW, that was a gift I did not expect. I am still so grateful every day that a) he exists, and b) he wanted to be with me until forever! When we got together, I felt like I had everything. So I picked up and left all the stuff I’d gotten in order: my work, my friends and my family, and went to live with him. And it was so great for awhile, like another dimension. And then after about 6 months, it was life again and I had needs outside of him. And no matter what I tried there, I could not fill them. And I got sadder, and he got worried. The woman he married became someone else, and both of us were at a loss as to what to do about it. I started to feel like I screwed up, because no one in Edmonton reacted to me the way I was used to. His family was so different from mine, and I felt like no matter what I did it was wrong. The friends I met were used to the same stuff, day in day out, and I couldn’t relate. And I felt like I was suffocating. I knew I was failing, and someone had to be punished. How could I justify taking chances if they didn’t pan out? How could I be an after-divorce/death/business failure/life disaster success story if I was miserable? It’s true that we judge ourselves more harshly than those around us, and I was making sure I suffered for this error in judgement. I should have known what I needed, and not left everything I’d built. Time for the punishment: have some more ice cream Brianna!
And so. Last month at this time, I was in this. Now I’m out, waiting for my husband to join me. I feel terrible for leaving before he could, but I saw where our marriage was going if I didn’t feel better soon, and that terrified me. If you’ve never been divorced, ignorance is bliss, but both he and I have experienced how quickly something can unravel when emotional needs aren’t being met. So now I’m home. I thought I’d feel better by now, but it’s slow going. I’m just realizing the damage I’ve done to myself and how long it’ll take to undo. I will undo this misery, don’t get me wrong. But maybe I shouldn’t compound the hurt by demanding a quick recovery from myself. My family keeps telling me to chill out, they know I’ll get better soon. I’m in a place now where I have history, and that makes me feel a million times better just knowing that I’m not being judged anymore by that one statement or action, but by what I’m expressing tempered by who they know I am. They know me. They know me.
Now I can rest.
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