Will I ever be good enough?

I stole a book from the library called “Will I ever be good enough?”. It’s about healing from the emotional wounds of having a narcissistic mother.  (spoiler alert: I will never be good enough in my mother’s eyes- but I must learn that I can’t define myself through her eyes- because she has the permanent opposite of beer goggles.)

Since my daughter was born, I’ve made great strides learning about what a ‘normal’ mother is- what a loving mother feels, says and does. Through blood, sweat and anti-psychotic medication, I think that I’ve finally become a loving and responsive mother.

There is another item in my never-ending attempt to figure out how the world works, that I have been feeling needs to be addressed: What does a real woman look like? What does a healthy mother look like? Does she have a six-pack (abs) and run half-marathons on Sundays? Does she skip dinner only to eat chocolate bars once the kids are asleep? Does pick at a lettuce and celery dinner each night? Is it okay if her thighs jiggle a bit when she dances with her kids? 

Is it enough for me to make a fool of myself at an adult dance class once a week and try to eat healthier choices and smaller portions (to save up for a cupcake)? Is it enough if I only go to yoga when I’m not exhausted? or if I just do a few pushups at home instead of a crossfit workout? Or should I push onward until I can fit myself into a cardboard cut out of my ‘pre-kids’ body? or better yet, my post-kid, meal skipping, processed food fearing, OCD exercising body?

Now, context is important, last year I was clearly overweight (not fishing for compliments). I was eating all of my emotions and then having dessert too. I was also on meds that helped me gain extra weight and was generally unhealthy. I was also depressed. I mean manic. I mean depressed. I mean… 

So, I don’t propose that my efforts this year to get healthier and fitter and lose weight have been excessive or disconnected from reality. There is reason for my efforts towards a body goal. The problem is, how will I know when I am there? How do I know when I’ve succeeded at getting control over my body weight?

I guess this ties into a larger issue (of course) of me figuring out who I am emotionally and also physically. If I am unstable (in body and mind), is that okay? Can I be healthier some weeks than others? How do I know when it’s been enough hunger? enough exhaustion? enough unhealthiness? How do I know when I’m skinny enough? when I’m fit enough? Will people tolerate my presence if I stop shrinking? 

I watched Lily Myers’ poetry slam video, Shrinking Women (I’m clearly too busy at work) and this line really struck me. I hadn’t thought about how much guilt is wrapped up in food:

 Nights, I hear her creep down to eat plain yogurt in the dark, a fugitive stealing calories to which she does not feel entitled. Deciding how many bites is too many. How much space she deserves to occupy… a circular obsession I never wanted.

I’ve found a photo that captures the moment the sun literally set on my youth…

Full disclosure: I’m eating a piece of 2 week old birthday cake while I write this post. xoxo

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One thought on “Will I ever be good enough?

  1. I hope that you’re eating that 2 week old cake while your on the toilet.
    Not plugging this in but the book I’m in The Good Mother Myth is all about what a mom is NOT….and what women are. We are all human.
    I understand where you are coming from only I’m on the opposite side of the spectrum. I obsess about my weight and even more so now since I’m on all of the notorious offenders that put pounds on your thighs. I too struggle with balance…like when will I accept myself? When will I feel healthy? Is it the number on the scale? Or is it the deeper issue…me…
    It’s all about chi. When one thing wavers on the balance beam, everything is rattled. Being bipolar, you know that. It’s a tricky tricky life.
    I love you babe.
    Now get off of that toilet.

    Like

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