The other day I looked in the mirror and felt frustrated, as I have for the last two years. Twenty pounds of extra Cathy was spilling out of my pants and I wasn’t happy. In fact, I felt defeated. It seems that no matter what I do these days, the weight is quite content where it is.
I moved on with my day as one must do, but at some point my memory was jogged. Years ago, I felt that same defeat with my joints. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the pain to go away. The pain seemed quite content to stay in my body.
My journey with rheumatoid arthritis has taught me more lessons than I can count, but they have all been positive life changing lessons. When I thought back to how I felt when the pain in my joints just wouldn’t disappear, I remembered the steps I took to drag myself from the feeling of defeat. I visualized myself doing the things I wanted to do but couldn’t: ride my bike, jump into a pool without an attack of Rayaund’s, lots of hair again, hugging my family without pain, and waking up and jumping out of bed. There are days now when I find myself amazed that all of the things I visualized myself doing are happening daily now. My rheumatoid arthritis is in a happy place. We went for our first bike ride of the season two weeks ago and I didn’t struggle one bit as we climbed hills and rode over nine miles.
That memory of where I once was with my rheumatoid arthritis motivated me to make some changes with my body weight. I decided not to use visualization this time because visualizing myself 20 pounds lighter only seemed to focus on who I was in the past. Instead I created a mantra for myself, “This is me today. Be proud of who you are and all you have accomplished.” Wishing I was the weight of a person I no longer am doesn’t serve me.
I can’t say there has been a 100% change in how I look at myself in the mirror, but there definitely has been a change in the right direction. I haven’t given up on losing the weight, but the simple act of repeating the mantra as I look in the mirror has helped me to accept who I am today. Today is all that is important. Tomorrow I will be a new person and need to accept that person, wherever and whoever she is.
When my daughter was young, she used to ask about the stretch marks on my stomach from pregnancy. I chose to tell her they were trophies of what I had accomplished by bringing her and her brother into the world. It is what I believe and when I see other women with pregnancy stretchmarks, I feel pride for them. Moms are awesome. With my new mantra guiding me, I am looking at the extra weight as my trophy for surviving all the stress that has come the last several years of working more hours, transitioning to being a mom to teens rather than children, long hours sitting in the car, periomenopause, and much more. My weight is here for a reason, just as I believe my rheumatoid arthritis is a part of me for a reason. It is my job to figure out what it needs from me before it can move on and I believe it will move on when the time is right. For now, I am going to continue working on nourishing my body with healthy foods, thinking positive thoughts about myself and others, getting good sleep, exercising, and finally buying clothes that fit around the waist rather than expecting the weight to magically disappear. This is me today. 🙂