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Life After Weight Loss

Taking Back More Than My Run

Six months ago, in the beginning of April I told you that I was breaking my silence and returning to blogging. Alongside that, in the “This is #MyBariLife” blog, I announced that thanks to the good folks over at BariLife I was going to get the opportunity to not only find my voice again, but to try to gain back something else that I had lost over the course of the last year and a half, my love of running.

Motivation is a strange thing. Different things motivate us at different times in our journey. There was a time that running was like therapy to me. It provided me an emotional connection to my father, it provided me a way to release emotions that I didn’t know how to deal with. It provided me moments of quietness and solitude that allowed me time to process my emotions and work thought them. Moments that I rarely remember to take and often underestimate the importance of.

Even on some of my worst days, I had the motivation to run.

Because any time I ran, I felt better. But, then that changed. The time, money and solitude that running provided me became the source of drama and confrontation in the relationship that I was in, and slowly, because I started associating negative things with running, I became less motivated to do it.

When BariLife came along and offered to give me a redo by allowing me to go back to Paris and gave me a second opportunity to participate in the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend event, I found that some of that motivation again.

As I said motivation is strange. It changes. This wasn’t the same motivation I once had. I wasn’t really motivated to run. I was motivated to try to find my motivation again. I was empowered by the opportunity to go on an adventure where I could try to find what I had lost.

I was inspired by the fact that I had the opportunity to travel to a different country and run a half marathon there instead of just running some local event in town.

I found inspiration and hope in the fact that I had a chance to redo an experience that hadn’t turned out quite the way I wanted it to the first time.

I felt driven and compelled by the fact that I had the opportunity to share this adventure with all of you. I was moved by the fact that sharing this adventure might help inspire others.

Motivation is a constant internal conversation with yourself.

I’ll talk about that more in my upcoming race re-cap. The little conversations you have in your head when you must convince yourself to keep going even when your body is tired and you’re struggling. Those internal conversations with yourself are literally one of your most powerful self-motivating tools.

It might be the conversation you have with yourself at mile 11 when you’ve hit a wall and you’ve got to push to finish. It might be the dialogue you have with yourself a 6am when you don’t want to be awake, you don’t really want to go for that training run and you must talk yourself into doing it and remind yourself of why your there.

The way you speak to yourself, the conversations you have with yourself during your training and during your runs, are important. These moments, where you are the only one that can say the thing you need to hear to help yourself keep pushing are the times when you must be your own biggest fan.

Those conversations my friends, that is the stuff that motivation is made of.

I have learned something through this return to running that I want to share with you. I had lost my motivation to run because it had lost so much of the positivity that it once had in my life. But, I allowed that. I allowed negativity into my head space during my runs. I decided what I was thinking about and what I was feeling. I decided what conversations I was having internally when I ran.

Motivation has two i’s in it.

I’ve learned that when it comes to running and my own personal motivation to do it, I must own those two i’s.  I must remember that this is something I want to do and that I am the one who controls my experience. Those are my i’s. I want this. I control this.

If I focus on the negative things going on in my life when I am running, then I can’t blame anyone else but me for the negative things I associate with it. But, if I focus on the positive things, remind myself that this is about me, about me living the best version of #MyBariLife possible, then it can be what it once was, a time of respite from all the negativity. A time of escape where I focus on myself and what I am going to do to continue making my life after weight loss the best that it can be.

I’ve always said, tell yourself you can’t do something, and you won’t. Tell yourself you can, believe in yourself and do everything you can to achieve your goals and you won’t be saying “I can,” you’ll be saying “I did.”

At every single Disney run event I have ever done, I’ve purchased the souvenir t-shirt that says, “I did it.” Every one of those shirts has signified that I accomplished the distance.

This time was different. Every run before this, I had the passion and the love of running already inside me when I started training. When I reached the finish line, the celebration was in the fact that I had accomplished the distance or put another half marathon on the books.

I didn’t know it yet, but this was about way more than running.

As a sexual abuse survivor (see my previous blogs in which I discuss this) , I have lived a great deal of my life telling myself that I won’t allow what others did to me to be what defines me. I’ve worked very hard to make sure that the life I live is mine and that I do not give them the power of allowing their abuse to be a determining factor in how I love and in how I experience relationships and intimacy. Some days that is harder than others.

What I realized, in the last five months as I tried to take back my love of running, was that I had to apply the same survivor mentality. I had to stop letting the last year and half define the experience for me. I had to stop letting what I had gone through influence how I experienced something that should be good, healthy and positive.

It was about how I define myself. It was about how I talk to myself internally. It was about breaking out of the victim head-space I was stuck in and living the life of a survivor again.

I thought I was going to Paris to take back my run. I thought I was on a mission to experience the joy, positivity and emotional high that running had once offered me. But this was about way more than running. I was going back to Paris to take back my control. I wasn’t just looking for my love of running again. I was looking for that part of me that refused to let negativity and past experiences control my life and define who I am. I was looking for the “You can knock me down, but I get right back up,” inside me.

I’m very happy to tell you that I found myself again. I even know the exact moment it happened. I’ll tell you about that in my race recap. But I did it. I found my internal strength. I found the “I am the author of my own story. I decide how this story ends,” in myself again.

I know that for so many out there, something similar happens. You have weight loss surgery, you change your life. You make healthy lifestyle changes that work for you. You’re happy. You’ve got life by the balls. You’re thriving. Then something happens. Life smacks you right across the face. You feel wounded. You feel beaten. Right there, in that moment, it’s hard to find the inspiration to get back up. The longer it takes you, the harder it gets.

But I’m here to tell you that just like my story, yours doesn’t end there. Each one of us has that come back in us. Sometimes it is hard to find. But it is in there. Inside of you. Just like it was inside of me. Whether your bounce back is in nutrition, fitness, or emotional wellness is irrelevant. You’re stronger than what life has handed you to deal with. You can change the end of this chapter. You can write a happier ending. You are the author of your story.

Through this opportunity I found the I in my motivation again. The “I did it!” shirt and the medals from this event, mean something even more profound to me than any other’s before. I found my run in Paris just like I wanted to. But, I found it by finding myself.

Every time I see the medals and the “I did it!” shirt, I see that accomplishment. I took back #MyBariLife and I really hope the message you hear in all of this, is that no matter where you are right now, #YourBariLife is yours to do what you want with.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Make #YourBariLife the best it can be.

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Sex Love and Obesity – Part 20

In Sex, Love and Obesity Part 19 – I had gotten in my car and drove away. Have you ever dated someone who brings out the worst in you? It’s like a strange chemical reaction that you can’t explain. It’s like having two typical household items underneath your bathroom sink. Bleach and Vinegar. Singularly they are both safe, non-toxic products.  But mix them together and now you’ve got a dangerous chlorine gas that can cause serious respiratory damage. That is what dating Peter was like for me. No matter what I did to try to change things, with him, mixed together we were toxic, and I was the worst version of myself.

It was interesting really. I spent the next month staying at Clark’s house while I tried to figure my life out and start to try to put things back together. The change in my actions, behaviors and my emotional and mental ability to deal with things was astounding.

From the moment I walked in his door I was calmer and more collected.

I stopped drinking right away; in fact, I didn’t have a drink again for almost an entire month and then only socially during my California/Portland trip. I stopped smoking weed within the first week of being at Clark’s house. Suddenly I didn’t need all the vices I had been using to escape the constant confrontation.

Once Peter had realized I had left, he called me on the road, crying, begging me to come back, telling me how much he loved me. I ignored the calls. By the time I had gotten up the next morning there were several voice mails about how he was going to go back home, his parents were going to come get him and he’d be leaving within the week. So, if I wanted to fix things, I needed to make that decision fast.

There was also a voicemail he had meant to leave for the friend that had walked me through getting out of the house. The voicemail expressed how sorry he was, and how he only wished the best for me and how I was haunted by my past and how I needed help.

I didn’t disagree that I needed help, in fact, I immediately started looking for a therapist in the area that had some experience with dissociative identify disorder. If I was going to stop disassociating and be a cooperative multiple again I was going to need someone who had experience with my diagnosis, not someone I had to teach about how my mind worked in fragmented states. Within five days I had found a therapist back in Wilmington and started driving three and half hours each way to see her every other day to start to address the crisis mode that I was in mentally.

What I should have done at this point was break off all contact with Peter.

I should have not talked to him, not responded to texts, not listened to voice mails. But I didn’t do that. You might be wondering why. Well, there were several reasons.

First, I wasn’t sure what was happening. I knew that I felt like there was emotional and mental abuse going on in the relationship. But, I wasn’t sure if I was right. Every time I said words like that around Peter he deflected it and turned it around. If I accused him of being controlling, I was the one that was controlling. If I accused him of being a narcissist, then I was the narcissist. My mind was so broken and fragmented at this point, I really didn’t know if I right or if every negative thing he said about me was true and I was a horrible human being.

Secondly, Peter was good at saying things that would get me to respond. Whether it was intentional or not, there would often be that one little thing he would say that would elicit me to break my silence.

As an example, when he started talking about how he had called his family and they were going to come get him and he was going to be leaving, I was completely okay with that. In fact, that is what I really wanted to happen. But when he added in the fact that he wasn’t going to have time to sort through things as he packed and that he’d have to take some of my things with him but would make sure I got them back after he got settled, that instantly prompted me to engage.

He had specifically mentioned the Christmas items, which it had taken me two years to get shipped to me from Oregon when I left them behind there. This included a whole bunch of TinkerBell ornaments that I had been collecting for the better part of 15 years. I wasn’t about to let him walk away with them and worry whether I’d ever see them again for a second time, so of course, I texted to say, “No, you can’t take my stuff with you, that is not okay.”

Lastly, I was in love with him. I’d walked away from a few relationships at this point, but by the time I had walked away my heart wasn’t in it anymore. I wasn’t in love with the person that I had to walk away from. In fact, by the time I had walked away, I was already in love with someone else and that had made walking away much easier. But with Peter it was different. I couldn’t deny that I loved him, I did. I was absolutely, unquestionably in love with him. Whether he realized it or not, leaving was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do. It broke my heart, shattered my spirit and crushed my soul.

Each time I talked to him, even though we would argue about the situation, what he communicated more than anything was that he wanted to fix it. He wanted to be a better man. He wanted to make things right. He was sorry for what he had done to me. He never meant to hurt me. I was the woman of his dreams. He couldn’t lose me. These are all the things you want to hear in a situation like this.

When you love someone like that, no matter how bad it is, you hang on to this little shred of hope that maybe somehow it can get better. I still had that little shred of hope. I thought about when things were good. I missed the way he smelled. I missed his arms around me, holding me tight. I missed those moments of intimacy when I didn’t know where he ended, and I began. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision in leaving. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back or not. I was still in this frazzled head-space where I couldn’t make any real decisions.

I knew with certainty, that for me to figure it out, I needed to stay away from him.

For the first couple of weeks I made sure that I didn’t tell Peter where I was. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if he found out I had gone to my ex’s that he would explode. I wasn’t ready for that. I had to figure out what I was going to do first. I made sure that I didn’t tell anyone that would share the information with him where I was. I made sure people knew I was safe. That was all I would divulge.

I knew that he would reach out to his friends online telling them that I had left, that he didn’t know where I was and that he was concerned. I made sure not to talk to anyone that would talk to him. I removed myself from social media completely. I only communicated with a very small circle of my nearest and dearest friends and made sure they knew not to tell anyone where I was in case the information leaked out.

Peter had never hit me. I’ll say that very clearly. He had never lifted a hand to me. But there had been a moment in the middle of all of this, that I honestly worried I was going to hit him.

I was so full of anger and rage and I was so much on the defensive after he had goaded me into admitting my relapse into Dissociative Identity Disorder to my friend on the phone that I had lost my ever-loving mind. I was in his face, yelling, screaming, my hands were balled up into little fists beside my head. My knuckles were white from the clenching my fists so tightly. I think we both knew that there was a high possibility that if pushed much father I would start swinging.

In that moment, he had goaded me again. With me right there in his face, ready to explode he asked me, ‘Are you going to hit me? Is that what you’re going to do? Are you going to hit me?”

The ugly truth, as dark as it is and as ashamed as I am to admit it, is that at that moment, I wanted nothing more than to punch him in his face. I really did. It wasn’t a pretty Pandora moment. But, I didn’t hit him. Not because I didn’t want to. Not because I didn’t think he really deserved it. Not even because I thought he would hit me back.

I didn’t hit him because I just knew if I did, his response would be worse than hitting me back. I pegged him more as the type that would pick up the phone, call the police, file an assault charge and my stupid ass would land in jail for punching a well-deserved asshole in the face. I just knew that if it came to that,  I’d end up being the one with the domestic violence charge.

At this point I was scared. Actually, I was terrified.

Rational or not. I was afraid of him. I was scared that if I was in a room with him, he would charm me into staying and trying to work things out.

I was afraid that if we were in a room together, things would get ugly, and I might do something I would really regret.

Then there was a part of me that worried about what he was truly capable of when faced with the fact that relationship might truly be over.

Whether what was going on in my head was possible or not, when you hear a story on the news about some woman who was killed by a man who was obsessed with her, it’s never someone who everyone thought would do something like that.

When you read a story about some guy that went all “If I can’t have her nobody else can,” it’s never the guy that had a track record for something like that. No, it’s the people who you never thought would do something like that. It’s the guy that everyone thought loved the girl so much.

I had seen things get ugly with us. I had seen Peter go to new depths of lows. When he had pushed me to admit my deep dark secret to my friend that night on the phone he had rationalized it to me in a “You were about to ruin my life, so I wanted to ruin yours back,” way.

So, whether my fears were founded or unfounded, and I’ll admit now, they were probably very unfounded, I was terrified. There was a very real fear in me that he might hurt me as I tried to escape the relationship.

Now that I was out of the house, away from the arguments and not drinking or using drugs to escape the reality of what was happening the internal struggle with the emotions inside me had shifted. I wasn’t angry anymore. I was scared. You might not know this, but, fear is one of he most powerful emotions out there. After all, it was my fear of death that had finally led me to conquer obesity.

Stay tuned for Sex Love and Obesity Part 21 – Dissociative Emotions, Feelings and Actions

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
Please take the time to visit their website and check them out!

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