Sunday, December 20, 2015

Age 29

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to gain and lose. Society is always telling us to lose weight, gain muscle, lose wrinkles, gain confidence, lose the negativity, gain the positivity. In March of this year I "lost" my fiancĂ©, and by lost I mean that I finally had the courage to end a relationship that I knew was not healthy for me.

Let me start from the beginning. I was heavier when my ex and I started dating. He didn't mind. I actually felt pretty around him. We started as co-workers, had known of each other for a year, and it was after a professional development day that he bought me a movie ticket when we went with a few friends. It started fast, like a roller-coaster. We were friends, and then all of a sudden he was going home with me for Christmas, going skiing with my family and I over New Year's, kissing my cheek when we were just sitting there with his friends. I literally told my friend in the school hallway at work one day, "I feel like I finally know what people mean when they say they are on cloud nine." At this point in my life, I had just survived a horrible car accident, run my first half AND my first full marathons within a few weeks of each other, and felt better about myself then I had in years. I stopped taking antidepressants and started living the life that I wanted to live. And, even though I saw red flags, I was in a relationship that I wasn't ashamed of - something that I had wanted for a very, very long time.

With a combination of healthier eating habits, continued workout routine and active lifestyle, and no more drugs, I started losing weight. Over the next year I lost over 20 pounds and 3/4 dress sizes (depending on the dress, of course. I hate sizes.). I also caught my ex dirty texting with multiple people. Healthy body: check. Healthy self-esteem: not so much. I felt that it was somehow my fault. If I could look better, work harder, be nicer, cook better, really just be PERFECT, then he would stop doing those things. Our good moments were so good. Our bad moments were so bad. He commented on the outfits I wore. Commented on lingerie that I picked out for him. Got frustrated when I would wake up early to workout. Wanted me to rush home fast to get my workout done after work. (All this time he would never actually workout with me.) I didn't see it then. I didn't see that he was slowly taking every bit of self-esteem that I had (and it wasn't very much) and tying it to himself. His mood, his reactions, his everything. If he responded well to me, I had the best day. If he was displeased with me, I felt like my whole world was caving in around me. If I did something wrong, he shut me out. If he did something wrong, I was supposed to say, "It's ok," and go back to normal. I was losing myself.

Over the next two and a half years, I lost many friends, lost a little more weight, lost a job (but got a new one), lost my close relationship with my mom, and lost my self-respect. I had also said yes to this manipulative man when he asked me to marry him, so - stay tuned - my parents and I also lost money. So, even though in March of 2015 I was the smallest I had ever been, the words "lost" or "lose" were not positive words in my vocabulary.

Finally, in March of 2015, after spending an emotional but amazing time in NYC with my mom, aunt, and cousins, I came home and called off my wedding. It was awkward and difficult. I wanted things to be different, but they weren't. I will be discretionary here, but I finally told my family all that my ex had done to me - how he had betrayed me - how I, in turn, had betrayed him - how lost I felt, and the people that I hadn't lost came along side me and helped me get out of a very unhealthy situation.

It has been almost nine months since we called off the wedding, eight months since I ended the relationship all together. In the past eight months, I have put on about seven pounds and a dress size. Lately, that fact has been all I can think about. It was consuming me until, last week, I was running one morning and realized how fast I was running. I had to get my run in in the morning because I had a Christmas gift exchange dinner with some of the most amazing women you will ever meet that night. Yes, in the past few months I may have over indulged more often than I usually do. And I may have missed a few workouts. But I missed those workouts because I was traveling with people that I love around Europe. I over indulged because I was enjoying the moment with new found, and old found, friends. I have been so broken at times, but I have been surrounded by people that don't make me feel the need to prove myself. I have gained honesty. I have gained lifelong friends. I have gained new memories and moments that now define the life that I once almost gave away to the wrong person.

I am by no means perfect - ask anyone that has allowed me to open up to them this year - but I am me. 100%. I used to try to deny that. To change that. I am done trying to be someone else. Ten pounds heavier or ten pounds lighter, I'll own it. Because I am strong and brave. I took back control of my life and no one person and no one ideal will ever again take that away from me.