Support Group Time: Do you know who you are?
I've been away visiting family for the last week and a half. Before we left, I thought I knew who I was. A calm confident woman who was working to get healthy. A decent mom, but not great. An ok wife. A great cook. Pretty good at farm life. Not too bad of a writer. A good friend to those who need it. Huge sensitive heart who cries at the drop of a hat.
But hadn't really cried in quite a while.
As I write this, I've got buckets coming down.
When I got around family, I wasn't me. I became the kid again. And I took on the personalities of people around me. I became insecure, trying to find my voice.
One relative: She's always talked with a particular lisp, and been self-absorbed. Over the last 10 years, she's succumbed to a disease that wouldn't have been bad (I have the same one), except it got her hooked on pain meds and is exacerbated by insulin-dependent diabetes. Now she 5'8", shrinking, and about 100 pounds, if that. She's a skeleton with skin. Her teeth seem shorter, her hair is limp and she walks like she's 95 (and she's only 50). But I ended up, after just the first 20 minutes, talking and gesturing like her. (Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly.)
Who am I?
Another relative: He's a very strong man. Always in the right. Confident. Has known who he was ever since I can remember. But his birthday was a big milestone this year, and doesn't move extremely well any more. Hasn't changed him except physically because he doesn't let anything change the inside of him. He's always been overweight (over 300 probably) but is gradually losing and is looking better. Except for the walking. After one day with him, I was gesturing like him, and finding similar phrases coming out of my mouth. And loving / missing him even more.
Who am I?
More relatives: Saw a cousin hadn't seen in 20 or so years. Same person inside and out, but kicked a few addiction problems WITHOUT changing the wonderful core of who he was. Amazing. Then at the big family reunion, I found myself becoming 12 again. Gangly. Awkward. Afraid to say anything for fear that my voice wouldn't be heard, or I'd say something stupid. Hell, my Hubby and Kid did better than I did at this thing!
A shrinking violet, someone once called me.
I felt so left out. Like the family I'd grown up with moved on, leaving me behind. People told me they admired my weight loss and the way I live my life, out in the country with our little farm, but I didn't feel it was genuine. After all, I'm 12 years old again, right? Just a stupid kid with braces, acne, a controlling insane mother and aspirations to become the youngest opera singer at the Metropolitan Opera. Genuine admiration for me? Giving up all of my dreams and just sitting around all day on my butt, collecting eggs, milking the goat, killing my fruit bushes and homeschooling my sweet but weird kid? Genuine admiration?
But it probably was.
Don't know anymore.
I had been doing well with my eating up until this point, but as soon as I left them, I binged. Pigged out. Got white castle cheeseburgers and big red (cream soda) that I'd always loved and got whenever I went back home. They didn't even taste that good this time (hell, I make better burgers than those!), but still, I didn't stop at just one. Afterwards, I ate a big bowl of cereal and had leftover b-day cake and doughnut and ... yep, I ate. Because I was a 12-year-old kid with a big fat slice of DENIAL.
Who am I?
I'm thinking that if I'm so easily influenced by people I haven't seen in years, and if I'm reduced to tears because one family member loves another one more than me, then my own personality and sense of self must not be very strong. That I haven't figured out the "WHO AM I?" part yet. I haven't done my work ... who I am, what I feel about me, or how I relate to the world. Or to family. Or me.
If I had, then I wouldn't have merged personalities with others, right?
So who am I?
Over the next few days or weeks or months, I'm gonna explore who I am. And I'm gonna blog about it. I need to write about it.
Hope you don't get bored.
But ... don't feel sorry for me. Please! This is a good thing. I'm feeling positive!
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