Tuesday, May 18 2004
View LYNNABEL's food & exercise for this day
I am so restless today – am having a very hard time buckling down at work. There isn’t a whole lot to be done today, so I should be catching up with the ongoing to do list. I just can’t focus this morning. I remember a biology teacher in 9th grade who told me that busy people get stuff done. His point was that people who are busier often get more done than those who aren’t because they have to manage their time better. Perhaps that is the case here. I remember being unimpressed with that biology teacher because he was essentially trying to console me for not getting the best grade in the class – swim season was over and I had extra time to study, but it wasn’t showing up in my grades. Of course, I was disappointed at getting A’s instead of A+’s. I’ve had a lifetime of high expectations for myself. I miss school.
I have had what feels like many days off – being at the conference last week and then taking Monday off. I should be raring to go – I had to force myself to get on the Elipse this morning, it was very hard. In fact, I was tempted to call in sick. I hope that by taking a moment to journal, I’ll be able to refocus.
I have so much to do before Memphis – shopping and packing. Perhaps I need to get myself organized and the anxiety will abate.
S and I had a conflict on Sunday. It came to head on Sunday, I guess, but had been building. I knew that he was upset with me – on Saturday and Sunday he was less than enthusiastic about my presence. On Saturday we were working in the back yard and in the course of the day, he become more and more distant. At some point I asked him he was ready to seed the back, and he said, “Well, that’s something you can do yourself, isn’t it?” I said yes it was. I was taken a back and decided not to pursue the subject. We barely talked after that for the rest of the day. I did end up seeding that lawn, which was enjoyable. He had discovered a long deep wall buried in the bottom left corner of the lawn and that he was curious about and dug a huge hole to investigate. I had asked if he wanted to seed because id didn’t know if he wanted to do more digging, not because I couldn’t do the seeding myself. I didn’t point that out because he body language was pretty clear that he was fed up. Later one that evening he suggested that we not go to La Crosse since it would be raining. I was fairly sure he didn’t want to go not because of the rain, but because of whatever was bothering him.
Sunday morning, he got up early and was watering the lawn. I came out to the deck and he was talking with T, our neighbor. T invited us to CapitolView for breakfast and we accepted. It was really nice to walk up there, have breakfast, and walk home. T gave us a tour of his house and its improvements.
When we got back home, I sat on the steps while he worked on staining the dining room table. I was silent for a while, figuring out how to approach him. He came and sat down by me, and I asked him what was wrong. It took some teeth pulling, but he had been harboring what seemed like a huge amount of resentment towards me for not doing enough around the house. His feelings (he stated it as fact) were that he was doing a disproportionate amount of work and that I was not noticing or being appreciative. He said he had tried to hint that he wanted me to do more, but that he felt he shouldn’t have to hint for those kinds of things. I let him vent for a while, and it was hurtful. I then asked him to please let me know when he wanted help or when he noticed a task that needed completing. He didn’t like that request, restating that he shouldn’t have to point those things out. I told him that that was very unhelpful as I already spent a good amount of time guessing his thoughts as it is. His frustration had been building – he said some very hurtful things. He said he realized that I just wasn’t as clean a person as he and that I had been complaining about the creeping Charlie in the lawn since “the first day we met, literally.” That I was capable and he didn’t understand why I didn’t do some things for myself. He mentioned the state of the house when he moved in. I knew immediately that there was some truth to what he was saying, but I hardly expected him to do all the cleaning. He just does a lot of it before I get to it. Period.
As was to be expected, his tirade left me feeling guilty and stupid and my instinct was to flee, as it usually is when I feel that way. I told him that I would try to be more sensitive to that and that his work is appreciated. I also said, “I’m not comfortable going into it right now, but there were things going on in my life before you moved in that affected the state of the house. I’m not saying it would have been pristine otherwise, but those things made a difference. For the record.” I went upstairs and because I felt like such a moron, starting cleaning the bathroom since I hadn’t been doing enough. And of course, I cried the whole time.
A while later I went downstairs to put some photos away and S came in and came over and hugged me and told me he was so sorry. That he knew his communication skills weren’t very good, that he was like an elephant in a mine field. He said that he didn’t want me to do anything I didn’t want to do around the house. That he loves me so much that thinking he hurt me breaks his heart. And he started to cry. I’ve never seen him cry. We hugged and I told him that I didn’t want him to feel badly for telling me something that had been bothering him. Which is true – I don’t want to ever punish him for being honest. I might wish he expressed himself a bit differently at times to save my pride a bit, but I didn’t want him to keep it bottled up. It was a very sweet and healing moment. I was concerned (to put it midly) at how much he seemed to dislike me over the past few days and during the “discussion” so it was comforting to hear how much he loves me. Later he asked if he could just ask me for help or have me ask him for help whenever either of us needed it. I said that that was a great idea. I’m going to be very sensitive to this, though. I don’t think anyone thinks of themselves as self centered, so it is humbling to have someone else point it out self centered actions/behaviors.
I am much more aware of my internal dialogue lately. Its very interesting. I used to think that that it would be “faking” it somehow to rephrase/redirect ones internal conversation – my thought process being that if you create artificial dialogue (“I love my body”) you weren’t being authentic – ie the dialogue should be un-edited and you could only hope it was positive. I was assuming that treating the symptom wouldn’t affect the underlying disease, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. After all – smile therapy works. A smile creates the same brain chemical reaction whether its faked or genuine. So why not tamper with my internal dialogue? I’m just beginning to do that when I can remember to catch myself. I hope that my acknowledging my frustration that my anger will not play such a huge role in my days (“I know you are frustrated and resentful about xyz. Are there other ways to either express this feeling or to redirect your thoughts?”). Sometimes acknowledging the feeling is very helpful and sometimes it doesn’t do much – when I argue back that “of course its frustrating, what @*#$.”
I went clothes shopping at lunch today for my upcoming trip to Memphis, and much to my delight and validation, I'm fitting very comfortably into size 6's right now. I'm thrilled. It was just the shot in the arm I needed to continue the battle. Obviously I'd rather be mostly internally motivated, but for right now, I'm not going to turn down a great perk like fitting into 6's as a source of motivation/inspiration/reward. And for the first time since I began this in July of last year, I can very clearly see the benefits that working out regularly has given my body. I imagine that the results were there before (after all, its been 9 months of hard work), but perhaps the extra pounds hid them. My legs are shapely, my rear end is firm, and my stomach is curvy in a very nice way. I don't ever remember just standing naked in the dressing room admiring myself. Admiring!