There’s the mom who confessed
to loving her son more than her daughter, to the point that if her daughter died she’d be okay with it as long she could keep her son. There are the parents who confessed
to suggesting kids roll their backpacks in peanut oil to protest the “special treatment” of a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy at their school. There are confessions about incest, affairs, drug use and My Little Pony fetishes. (Don’t even ask how I found the last one and no I’m not linking it.) There’s even confessing about confessing. To say the Internet has turned into the most public confession booth ever would be an understatement. And while confession can certainly be good for the soul, it can also be good for the show.
In a world with an insatiable appetite for titillation, the search is always on for the Next Big Confession. And the ante just keeps getting higher.
As a blogger you figure out pretty quickly that one of the best ways to connect with people is to share a part of yourself. This can be a gift to both the writer and the reader. But there’s a fine line between being honest and open and being the freak show. And I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I have a hard time finding that line. I’ve shared intimate details about my eating disorders, my mental health issues, my sexual assault and even my experience with the death of my baby. I don’t regret any of this. I think – and please don’t disillusion me – that some of what I write has helped some of you. That’s my favorite part about doing this blog. (But you will notice that the unifying factor of my confessions is that they are all mine. There are several big things in my life that I wish I could blog about but I can’t because they are other people’s confessions, other people’s stories to tell. Even if they do overlap with mine, they’re not my business to share.)
One of the things I used to regularly blog about was all the crazy thoughts in my head. It felt good to get them out – unattended crazy festers faster than a corpse on CSI – and I liked knowing that I wasn’t the only girl out there with these issues. But then I slowly began to realize that my crazy was inspiring other people’s crazy. Several people wrote to tell me they couldn’t read my blog anymore because my issues with overexercise and food were becoming their issues. And that was a game-changer for me. Up to that point I’d thought that being open about my struggles was the best policy. Everyone knows eating disorder recovery is not a straight line, right? But I have a responsibility to you guys. I hate when I hurt you. Maybe I’m giving myself more power than I really have but words do have power and I have felt that psychic pull reading other people’s sites sometimes. I want to uplift and inspire not drag down, sensationalize or even trivialize serious problems.
Anyhow, after I “quit” blogging and then came back, one of the biggest changes I implemented was to stop with the crazy talk on my site. I either had to get serious about being 100% committed to being healthy or I had to quit writing. I think I’ve done a decent – not perfect – job of that. I’ve made huge strides with Intuitive Eating and with managing my exercise addiction. I’m a much much healthier person than I was two years ago, or even one year ago. I’m proud of that. And I’m honest about that. But. But the pressure of only writing about my issues in the past tense sometimes feels like too much, especially when I mess up. Especially on a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad (all my sympathies to Alexander) day like today. So where do I draw the line here? Can I tell you about my bad day? Or will that make you have a bad day too? I don’t know and right now I’m too sad to try and figure it out. [All of which is to say consider yourself warned. If you are one of those people who feels crazy reading my crazy or just hates hearing my crazy, stop here. Skip to the comments and tell me how you feel about blogger confessionals in general.]
I weighed myself.
After months of not touching a scale – and ignorance really is bliss – I now have that number lodged in my brain again. As a former scale junkie, I should have known better. I know how numbers can wreck me. It started with this:
Yes you have to wear (a supercute red retro!) swimsuit and cap even though there is no water involved. It’s strange. And cold. Also, if you laugh you have to redo the test – you know the Gym Buddies and I each had to do several redos. Except for Megan who went to her happy place and blocked us all out.
My body fat percentage readings with the calipers have been worrisome to me and so I wanted to get a more accurate reading. The Gym Buddies and I all signed up to do a Bod Pod assessment. While hydrostatic (underwater) weighing is still the gold standard, the Bod Pod is supposed to be pretty accurate too. But to use the Bod Pod you have to be weighed. I decided that I’d rather weigh at home on my own scale in my own way (read: buck naked) than be surprised in front of my friends in a public facility.
The good news: my weight is within 6 ounces of where it was when I quit weighing myself which I think is an obvious win for Intuitive Eating. No dieting, eating mostly what I want, moderate exercise and my weight hasn’t even fluctuated a pound in 6 months! Amazing. The bad news: the number on the scale is of course higher than what my mind is comfortable with. I’d been hoping that the IE would help me release those last 5-8 pounds I feel like I “need” to lose. And when I realized that it hadn’t and that it probably never would because my body is super happy where it is thankyouverymuch, well it wrecked me.
And then the bod pod came back with a number I didn’t particularly like either but for an entirely different and conflicted reason. I won’t go into all the details except to say that I’m so disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed in my extreme sensitivity to stupid numbers and perversely I’m also disappointed in myself for my inability to change those numbers at will. I’m disappointed that I backslid. And I’m disappointed that it took so little to knock me off my feet again. To the point where I actually went out and bought some diet pills and diuretics. I didn’t use them. I won’t. They’re already out of the house. I would not be writing this otherwise. But it took staring at the bottles to realize how far and how fast I was sliding.
The whole thing is ridiculous and yet… I’m just sad. I am.
Let me be perfectly clear: I know that I am at a healthy weight. I know that my “need” to lose those last few pounds is totally in my head. I am not looking for a bunch of comments saying “But you are thin!” or “You look great!” or even “You’re too skinny” because while you are super sweet the point isn’t about what I look like. The point is that all the messed-up thoughts have come crashing back and I don’t know how to make them go away. The perfectionist part of me is telling me what a failure I am and it’s really hard not to listen to it tonight.
I hope you’ll forgive me for this. I may regret this post. In fact, I’m going to sit on this one a few days.
UPDATE: I’ve sat on this post for about two weeks and I still feel like running it. One of the most surprising things to have come out of this day was how much my freak-out freaked out the Gym Buddies. Even the two that don’t normally get hung up on numbers got sucked in to the point that we all left the Bod Pod center feeling pretty awful about ourselves. It’s not worth it. We decided the next day that we’re going to lay off the body fat testing for a while so you won’t see that part included in the results of my Experiments for now. Since then I haven’t weighed myself – don’t say I don’t learn from my mistakes! – but I’m not going to lie: I’m still struggling. The body hate has ratcheted up exponentially. And I think it has started to seep out into some of my posts (for instance, the part in the Controversial Carbohydrate post where I complained about my thighs – thank you to all of you who took the time to e-mail me and lovingly chastise me) which is why I wanted to post this. NOT to excuse my bad behavior. But to offer an explanation.
How do you feel about blogger confessionals? How do you handle setbacks in your own life? Anyone else try the Bod Pod – what was your experience? Anyone else keep looking over their shoulder after seeing that first pic??