entertainment

UBC 4/20 Day 19: “When is ‘I love me’ enough?”

I don’t know that it is possible for the average person to have never heard of Demi Lovato. However, just in case you’re an extraordinary person who never saw Disney’s “Camp Rock” movies or missed her performance of “Anyone” at the 2020 Grammys, she is a pop star, song-writer, and an addict who keeps working toward recovery, despite relapses.

Despite the fact that she’s nearly half my age (I’m 50 and she’s 27) her music is hitting me to my core. Her song, “I Love Me,” is very powerful, in how it so accurately describes my relationship with myself…especially the first few lines. She’s describing the struggle between body-image, identity, and mental/emotional health. The video does a very good job of illustrating the inner struggle that I, and probably many others, experience on a regular basis.

I’m in that kind of struggle right now. There’s the “enlightened me, who has been through six years of therapy and a lifetime of various forms of counseling, in addition to concurrent spiritual growth. This “me” says that my worth and value have nothing to do with my physical appearance, my weight, or my body size. This “me” tells me that I have much to be proud of: the hard work I’ve invested in myself, my mental health recovery, and the repair of relationships I wrecked prior to my diagnoses and treatment. She reminds me that I have gifts and qualities that matter in the world: intelligence, my writing ability, my EQ, my compassion, and my empathy for others.

Then, there’s the insecure, uncomfortable in her own skin, self-hating, self-saboteur and her minions: depression, anxiety, self-doubt, and exhaustion. When they get going, it’s like listening to a discordant dirge. They characterize me as lazy, weak, powerless, and unsubstantial.

The first is the intellectual me and the second is the mental me. You’d think both would get through to the emotional me. However, that’s not true for me. My intellect dissociated from emotions in order to survive and move through the various traumas I have experienced. The mental me is the one that was changed by the traumas and has genetic differences which activated into depression and bipolar disorder. Mental me seems to be in charge of the emotional me, who often totally ignores intellectual me.

Why am I breaking this all down?

Because I have spent the past three weeks on a “self-improvement” spending spree, which began slowly with a nail polish or two here and there. It was put on the fast track with the stimulus payment, a couple of smaller payments received, and getting hired for the new job. I bought clothes, shoes, makeup, more nail polish & accessories, and special personal hygiene supplies. I also paid a couple of bills, helped buy groceries, purchased a few small gifts for family members, and take out food. Finally, I purchased auto insurance for the car some friends are giving me. Basically, I’ve spent close to $1,400 in less than a month.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot of money to some people. Many people I know pay that for rent. However, I’m pretty sure that all together, the money I’ve received in the past six years is less than that. But, I digress

Initially, the nail polish was something to do to pass the time, teaching myself a new skill, and celebrating the fact that I have miraculously stopped chewing my nails. Then, I needed clothes for my new job. Lastly, I bought makeup. I’ve basically gone 14 or 15 years without wearing makeup. Why the hell do I feel the need to buy it now? Especially during social distancing. I mean who will see it?

I felt good about the nail polish. However, once I got to the clothes, that good feeling went away once I tried them on. The last time I bought clothes, I had gotten down to a 2x, occasionally a 1x, from a 3x. Now, a 4x is tight in some places and a 5x is a bit loose…and the scale announced that I am almost 300 lbs. I think that’s when I decided to get the makeup. It may be a type of armor. I really don’t want to be seen right now. Maybe makeup will distract people from my size if I do it right. Finally came the membership to another weight loss program, online this time.

I want to leave diet culture behind. The last two times I managed to lose 20-30 lbs I ate healthy, followed a loose meal plan, and exercised. The last time, in 2018, I attended Weight Watchers for about six months. I treated it a bit like a 12 Step program – I did 90 meetings in 90 days. It wasn’t a nonsensicle, unrealistic eating plan. The app was amazing. The people were real and honest. The curriculum was really based in psychology and used what I call DBT-lite strategies to adjust thinking and responsive behaviors that drive overeating and weight gain. Yet, I couldn’t sustain the changes. Turns out that it takes more than 60-90 days to create a habit or replace an old one, for me.

michelin manI want to be body positive and accept all of me…love all of me. But, I’m not and I don’t.

I’m bothered by the “curves” in all the wrong spots that make me look like the Michelin Man. I’m bothered by cottage cheese like bumps on my stomach that push against any fabric, large or small, that lays across it. I’m bothered by the carry on size overlap. I’m really bothered by the verticle ceasarian scar that bifurcates my lower stomach and makes it look like I have a butt on the front. It’s also very frustrating to know that the natural side boob is made larger than what’s on the front.

So, long and flowing tunics and leggings to hide my body and makeup to hide my face – body armor and a face mask. I’m camoflaging my inner emotions and thoughts about myself behind the superficialities. I’m ready to go to battle.

“I Love Me” by Demi Lovato
Flipping through all of these magazines
Telling me who I’m supposed to be
Way too good at camouflage
Can’t see what I am
I just see what I’m not
I’m guilty ’bout everything that I eat
(Every single thing)
Feeling myself is a felony
Jedi level sabotage
Voices in my head make up my entourage

‘Cause I’m a black belt when I’m beating up on myself
But I’m an expert at giving love to somebody else
I, me and myself and
I , don’t see eye to
Eye, me and myself and I

Oh, why do I compare myself to everyone?
And I always got my finger on the self destruct
I wonder when I love me is enough (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
I wonder when I love me is enough (Yeah, yeah, yeah)

Why am I always looking for a ride or die?
‘Cause mine’s the only heart I’m gonna have for life
After all the times I went and fucked it up
(All the times I went and fucked it up)
I wonder when I love me is enough (Yeah, yeah, yeah)

I wonder when I love me is enough
I wonder when I love me is enough

Haters that live on the internet
Live in my head, should be paying rent
I’m way to good at listening
All these comments fucking up my energy

‘Cause I’m a black belt when I’m beating up on myself
But I’m an expert at giving love to somebody else
I, me and myself and
I, don’t see eye to
Eye, me and myself and I

Oh, why do I compare myself to everyone?
And I always got my finger on the self destruct
I wonder when I love me is enough (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
I wonder when I love me is enough (Yeah, yeah, yeah)

Why am I always looking for a ride or die?
‘Cause mine’s the only heart I’m gonna have for life
After all the times I went and fucked it up
(All the times I went and fucked it up)
I wonder when I love me is enough (Is enough)

I wonder when I love me is enough
I wonder when I love me is enough

I’m my own worst critic
Talk a whole lot of shit
But I’m a ten out of ten
Even when I forget
I-I-I-I
(I’m a ten out of ten, don’t you ever forget it)

I’m my own worst critic
Talk a whole lot of shit
But I’m a ten out of ten
Even when I forget

Sisterhood of the World: Catching up and paying it forward

When I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge in July, I was honored to receive a boatload of awards and soon discovered that I wasn’t able to keep up with making acceptance posts, so I kind of “parked” them onto my Awards Cornucopia page and subsequently did a post to pass on the awards by having my readers DIY the awards in the Award Yourself post.

My blogging stalled out after the challenge due to a variety of factors and has been spotty and inconsistent since then.  As expected, readership dipped low and leveled out.  However, some faithful readers who are fellow bloggers and are becoming friends have continued to visit, comment, and let me know they have nominated me for awards.

It honors me and is something I am grateful for because one of the primary factors for my infrequent posts is the fact that the depression has been dulling my ability and desire to write, read, or reach out to the lifeline that having this blog has been.

Thanks to invasive technology and Apple, my phone tells me when someone has taken the time and made the effort to comment.  Having these intermittent reminders that what I have written and said touches others and contributes to their journeys in meaningful and significant ways, combats the negative and apathetic voices in my head that say I have nothing of value to say that is of value to anyone other than myself and what value it is to me is debatable.

So, this is me expressing my gratitude and honoring those who have chosen to honor me:

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the giver.

2. Post 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award to other bloggers and let them know of their nomination.

4. Include the logo award in a post or on your blog.

My thanks for this award go to several lovely ladies I have been blessed to meet in the blogosphere: Emily from My Inspired life with FibromyalgiaJamie from Grandmother Musings, Sara from Recovery Corner and Kathy from Bipolar and Breastless.  Each of these women are inspiring, wise, and strong in their own ways and what they have to offer is so much more than I can describe here.  Please go visit and see for yourself.

My nominees are:

  • Angie-Hottentots-Laurel of The Daily Hotentots. Here are her own words to describe herself and why you should read her blog: “I am a Libertarian Socialist, activist, silent film fanatic, and a bit cracked in the head . . . If you like music, quotes, and old movies (especially the silents), you might be interested in dropping by and staying a while.” She’s one hottentot chick, go check her out.
  • Mary from My Electronic Jukebox. I love this woman.  You never know what you’re going to find playing on her jukebox. Oldies, Metal, Madonna, LL Cool J, Schoolhouse Rock, and Disney to name a few.  The best thing about what she posts is how she shares her thoughts on the current events in her life or in the world that reminded her of these YouTube videos she links to.  Even if you are like me and tend to avoid listening and watching music videos online (what can I say, I’m a bit odd) the content is easy to read and relate to.  This middle age, middle class, white woman from the suburbs” has got it going on.
  • Diana Schwenk from Talk To Diana.  This caring and classy lady has taken it upon herself to be one of the encouraging and supportive voices that counter the ones in my skull and she does it publicly and consistently.  I appreciate her kindness and her commitment to her belief, “I believe we owe it to the world to courageously step out and do our part.”

Now for seven things about myself. I don’t know what I haven’t already shared in all my previous posts.  So, I’m going to confess the details of my television addiction.

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with television.  I hate that it is my current substance of choice when numbing out from the depression and fatigue.  That being said, it has also been a wonderful tool for me to stay current, connected and engaged with Luna as we watch Disney Jr. shows together.
  2. One of the best things about being a 40 something mom of a preschool girl is the fact that I can watch all kinds of fun, animated, musical shows and not only enjoy them myself, but experience her fascination and enjoyment.
  3. The money-grubbing, soul-sucking cable company has created a dastardly service where I can access complete collections of tv series and watch episodes, in sequence from Pilot to Series Finale throughout the seasons. I now understand the convoluted relationships of the various Heroes and villains. Lost may be next.
  4. I like sci-fi, fantasy fiction and really like watching it on television.  It doesn’t have to be wonderfully well produced as long as it’s decently acted and written.     So, yes I watch Lost Girl, Warehouse 13, Alphas, and Doctor Who. I enjoy Grimm and am looking forward to new efforts of old shows on the regular networks.
  5. I am laughing and crying my way through Private Practice.  It’s kind of a cathartic process for me. I’ve never really wanted to watch the medical melodramas, but something about this one has definitely captured my interest.
  6. Now that Jerry is home full-time again (oh yeah, I have a LOT to update you all on) Nostalgia TV is the order of the day: The Rifleman, Mod Squad, Emergency, and Remington Steele have been some of the most recent to occupy the screen.
  7. The Disney Jr. app on my phone has been used way too much to manage Luna’s public outbursts and keep me sane in a moving vehicle.