Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coming Clean

Okay, so I didn't mean to mention the food blog thing and then disappear for a week. I promise that wasn't my intention, and I haven't been hiding... life has just been a little hyperactive lately! And by a little I mean a LOT!

I absolutely love the holiday season, but now that it is in full swing I am one busy girl. I have so much going on and about 5 blogs that I would like to post today, but this is the one that I NEED to post. I have two big things that are happening/need to happen in my life right now, and I want to be able to talk about them. I am hesitant to talk about either one in such a public forum. They are personal. Private. Two things that will, hopefully, change my life forever. And let me tell ya... change is NOT always easy for me! When I have big decisions to make I am usually so intimidated by the change aspect that I overthink things until they disappear. That's kind of why I've decided to talk about them on here. Because I'm not going to avoid these changes. I'm stepping up and I'm in it for the long haul!

What is it with your twenties? I mean, constant change, right? I think that this is where people do most of their "growing up". I started to say that 2009 was a year of a lot of changes for me, but the truth is life has been in constant flux since I graduated from college. Up until that point, I was following a plan. It's called school. I mean, school isn't the ONLY thing filling your life, but it shapes the major things because it fills your days. You follow the path that is laid out for you and then all of a sudden you graduate and...

Then what?

You live life. And who the heck knows how to do that? We all want to be successful. To be honorable and kind. To make a difference. To find love. To have a family. But the path ahead is not nearly as neatly laid out as it has been up to this point. The path looks different for every person. I recently met someone who took five years off – I repeat, FIVE YEARS – after college to travel the world. He's been all over! He would go somewhere, find some random job and stay for a while until he had enough money to go to another question. He's been all over. And he met his wife through his travels. He is from India, she is from England, they met working at the same church camp, and now they are married and living in Irving, Texas, of all places. Are you kidding me? If someone had told me that was the path I had to follow I would have wet my pants! I'm fascinated by it! And I love the idea of all of that traveling, but I am not that kind of brave. Not yet anyway. I hope to travel someday, but after I've done some growing up and are less scared of, ya know, my own shadow!!!

I realize I've already said a mouthful, and I'm just now getting to the point. Sorry about that... waited to long to post this and now I just have too much to say.

So here are the 2 things.

#1 - The food thing.

The food thing has always been there. My whole life. I have been overweight my entire life and morbidly obese for most of it. My relationship with food is completely unnatural. I use food in a way that it was not intended to be used. It is sinful, it is killing me, and I desperately want to stop.

I've tried this before. I find that most overweight people are incredibly knowledgeable about nutrition and most things concerning a healthy lifestyle. It's because we all want to be healthier. (I shouldn't say all, but I am comfortable saying most... most of us want to be healthier.) And when I say healthier, yes, a big part of that is being thinner. I hate being overweight. I hate paying a fortune for my wardrobe and only having three stores to shop at. I hate not being able to sit comfortably in my seat at the movie theater, or in a booth at a restaurant. Most of all I hate it when I get into someone's car and the seat belt won't fit around me. That's humiliating. Almost devastating. Not to mention unsafe and ILLEGAL! That has happened probably three times in my life and it is something that I would love to never encounter again.

I hate that people form such strong opinions about me, based on my appearance, before I ever open my mouth. I read an article last year discussing the fact that prejudices towards overweight people are the last acceptable prejudice that exist. Civilized people don't tolerate racism, ageism, sexism... the list goes on. But overweight people are openly judged day in and day out, on large and small scales, and most of the time, no one raises an eyebrow. I'm nice. Really I am. It's hard for me to accept when people dislike me on the spot because of my size.

Sigh. I feel like I should tell you my story, but after 28 years, it's really too long to tell all at one time. I will give you a few brief points. The first time that I ever made a conscious effort to lose weight, I was 17 years old. Prom was looming and I wanted to be thinner. I jumped on the Atkins bandwagon and it paid off. I lost 30 pounds in three months. I went from 222 pounds to 192 pounds. I was a size 18 and pretty darn cute! It is the only time that I have ever been under 200 pounds. Those were good days, but they didn't last long. College was a period of constant growth for me. All of my friends were overweight... we somehow found each other our freshman year and were an incredibly tight group. 5 incredible young women who happened to be overweight, and we loved each other, and I treasure those memories. But when I graduated, I was HUGE! My senior year I lived alone in an apartment and I formed some interesting habits during that time.

The first time that I joined Weight Watchers was about a year after I graduated from college. I think that I started at 264 pounds. I don't remember exactly, but that sounds right. 264.4. I lost 30 pounds or so before I stopped going to the meetings.

The next time I joined was a year or so later. And then a year or so after that. The most weight that I ever lost was a few years ago. I started at 284 and got down to 202. That was the weekend before Thanksgiving and the holidays did me in that year as my weight slowly started to come back on. I rejoined a year or so later with Brett. I don't remember how much I weighed and I don't remember how much I lost before I stopped going. I've been out of WW for quite a while now. I have gained 20 pounds or so since the wedding (8 months ago) and I currently weigh 242 pounds.

What I mean when I say that I use food in an unnatural way is that food acts as a sedative for me. It's like closing my eyes. When I'm eating, I'm numb. I'm not thinking about anything else and, for a brief period of time, it closes me off to the world. I don't eat until I am full, I eat until I am in pain. I extend that period of numbness as long as possible... until the pain of eating outweighs the pain of not eating. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that that is the OPPOSITE of living! My life is passing by, and I am not living it. I am escaping from it, one bite at a time.

Other than Weight Watchers, I have also attended Overeaters Anonymous. It's a 12 step program like AA or NA. I spent an hour a week in a room full of addicts. I had a sponsor. Every time I spoke I had to say "Hi my name's Kim and I'm a compulsive eater". And then we all hugged. Yuck. I learned quite a bit about addiction and I still carry my key chain with the Serenity Prayer on it. I didn't make it through all 12 steps. Those were dark days, and I don't really talk about being in the program. I don't even like to think about it much, so that is all that I will say. I just wanted to mention it because it was part of the journey.

And I guess that is the point I am getting to. It's a new phase of the journey. I would really like for this to be a permanent turning point. Every weight loss journey has ups and downs, but it's time for an up. I mentioned two weeks ago that I had found some inspiration and my switch had flipped. Well last weekend was a doozy! I had several really good food days and then the weekend went kind of crazy. My food was less good this past week, but not at it's worst. But tomorrow is a new day. I would like a new beginning. And this time, as I begin again, I am going to share the details on this blog. I have no idea what exactly that will look like at this point – I've got WAY too much to say to only talk about food – but I would like for it to be a regularly occurring topic. Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, whether I would like for it to or not, my life revolves around food. I'm an addict searching for recovery. So I guess I am saying, walk with me.

Part two of my already WAY too long blog. You're gonna want to stick around for this. I'll be as brief as possible. Ha!

#2 – The work thing.

I am changing careers. Attempting to anyway.

When I was 19 years old and they told me to pick a major I had NO idea what to choose. I went with graphic design because when I flipped through the book full of majors and read every single one, this one, graphic design (the very last one in the book under visual arts) sounded the most like me.

All of my life people told me to teach. "You'd be such a great teacher". I heard it all the time. So much that I felt like people thought it was the only thing I could do. And after 20 years of it, I was ready for a break from school. So I didn't major in art education like my work study boss strongly encouraged me to do. I majored in graphic design. And now after 7 years of being a graphic designer, I realize that teaching isn't the only thing I'm capable of doing... it's the only thing that I WANT to do. I want to be an art teacher. I want to work with children. To watch them learn and help them along the way. To be a positive influence on children who have none other in their life.

There are a LOT of things about teaching that appeal to me. And I have been thinking about making this change for years. Probably three years. But the wedding was getting close and that was already a lot on my plate. I've already confessed that I am totally intimidated by major changes. Um, hello??? Marriage!?! Yeah... big changes. In fact, all the change that I could handle at once. So I decided to wait. Wait until the wedding was over. I put that want away for a little while. But it didn't take long to resurface. A month or so after the wedding I started thinking about teaching again. And God's grace was once again revealed because, while I am still totally intimidated by such a major change, my fears have been somewhat lessened because now I have seen it done. My sister, Jenna, became a teach last year. She started subbing and enrolled in an alternative certification program and after a few interviews, she got a job.

So after a lot of time spent in serious thought and prayer, and with the support of a husband who believes in me unconditionally, I took the first step. Last month I enrolled in a certification program. My classes will start at the end of January and finish at the end of February. Job fairs begin in March. I REALLY wanted to do some subbing this year to meet some principals and gain some classroom experience, but we didn't think that we could take the financial hit. Subs don't make much. And I would have to find work to do over the summer. We decided it was safer for me to stay at my current job as I work my way through the program and we are just praying that God will lead me to the right interview with the right principal who will think that I am the right person for the job even without prior experience. And if I don't get hired to teach next year, I'm not going to panic and I'm not going to back down. At that point I WOULD sub and wait for God's timing.

I have SO much more to say on this subject, but seriously, how long can one blog be???

I will say more later.

So that's it. My two secrets. Well, sort of secrets. I am not speaking too much openly about the career change because my current employers don't know. We are a small company and losing one team member will impact everyone there. I am so thankful for the time I have had at that company. I have learned so much and grown so much. I want the best for them. But I am not what is best for them. There are hundreds of designers in Dallas looking for a job and God will bring the right person there to replace me. My Sunday school class has been praying for me and I have been sending emails to my inner circle to ask for prayer and guidance along this journey. Now I will share my thoughts here. Frankly because I have way too many thoughts to contain.

Alright. For now, that's all she wrote!


Marie said...

Awesome post! I'm with ya. We'll chat for real soon.

kittyosmon said...

Kim - I've been reading your blog for atleast a year now! And, I love and appreciate your honesty. I'll be praying for you as these changes are happening.