Inner Child

Hello Madeline, meet Trixie.

Oh, you know each other already?

Hmmmm….

So work with my therapist has begun on my inner child. Basically, learning how to like and accept that young wounded girl and then learning how to re-parent her.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about this work. I don’t like going back to revisit difficult things and I am a champion at forgetting bad things – also known as my stellar behavior to crucify myself on a daily basis.

A friend said to me: what you have been doing and how you have been doing it isn’t working, why not try another way? Open your mind and listen.

Because this is my nearest and dearest friend whom I trust the most, I agreed to try something different. This also includes a therapist who is also non-secular. I promised, while begging for life in Mexico, that I would try and turn to God. More on this piece to come at a later time.

This post is simply to introduce the idea of my inner child and how she will help me learn why my behaviors, especially my bad behaviors, have become my ultimate coping mechanism.

We spent a little time talking about my childhood and my parents. If you asked me, I would say I had a very good, and happy, childhood. That’s only partly true. I was a very dissatisfied child, worse so when my younger brother came on the scene almost 6 years later. I actually no longer dwelt on the cards I was dealt as a child, I thought – and still think, to some degree – going back to explore these issues doesn’t hold and value on how I choose to live today. I am aware of the things I was uncomfortable with in childhood, but prefer not to dwell. Further, I’ve been taught that it just sounds like privilege complaining. People had it way worse than me in their lives, my parents tried their best, my mother is no longer alive, and my father is nearly 82. What’s the point of reliving painful memories that can stir up old feelings of anger and sadness (amongst many other feelings) when I have moved past all of that?

Or, have I?

I am willing to explore it and think about it. Try to learn what I don’t love about myself that I allow so many others to determine my self-worth. And then learn how to love and accept all of me, so that I may share myself fully with others.

I will start with my adoption. I may have told the story in a past blog somewhere, but I’m going to write again. I will walk through some childhood memories and try to think about why my inner child is so unhappy and feels so unwanted. I think I have many answers already but I want to do the work in writing.

I feel a need to apologize to my mother in heaven before I start this work:

Momma, I love you more than anything and I’m sorry I was never the daughter you needed, but I loved you fully and know you would be so proud of the woman I’ve become. I know you won’t like this….I need to explore what’s making me so unhappy in my womanhood that must be stemming from my childhood. I no longer blame anyone, it’s only a process of realization. I know you didn’t like so many things I’ve done in my life that must have felt like direct attacks on your parenting, but you always, ultimately, supported me in the end. We were always uncomfortable together, you and I. It was never a fully harmonious relationship. We always questioned one another. I wish I understood you sooner so you could have felt more love from me than you did, but believe me, it was always there. You have, and always will be, my first love and number one. Please support this hard work I have to do. I don’t want to remember things that hurt because you are not here with me anymore and I feel it’s unfair, but I believe it can help. Please continue to stay by my side throughout. I love you.

Clean-ish Bill of Health

4 surgeries and 3 months of brainless-ness later, here I sit pondering the meaning of my life.

Since I don’t have any insight or answers, lets talk about my health.

I really liked my US surgeon, he is a good man and a great surgeon and always spoke to me with kindness, empathy and in a way I could understand what was happening with my body and why he was making the decisions he made.  He also saved my life, so there’s that.  Oh, did I mention he’s also super cute like in a Hospital Drama kind of way?

My last weight recorded in the US was 218 pounds.  I am 5’8″  That’s not my heaviest weight, but it was my weight as of April of this year (Fuck you April, just sayin’).  Todays weight was 167 with clothes on.  Almost exactly 3 months post VSG (Vertical sleeve gastrectomy) and he was super happy with the sleeve itself and my progress.  That’s 51 pounds gone forever.   Honestly, I was worried I didn’t lose any weight this month and he said that’s fine considering the wound, but I need to continue to work towards my goal weight.

How does it feel to be (sort-of) instantly thin – pretty fucking amazing if you ask me.  Would I do it again?  The surgery?  Maybe, but here in the US.  Maybe the same thing would have happened, even here.  No one knows.  I was a risky candidate to begin with.  I don’t know what choices I would make if I wasn’t in such a dark place.  But, since I did do VSG in Mexico, and I did lose 51 pounds, I DO feel pretty amazing!

That is, until I get undressed.  It’s really unattractive and I am going to have serious issues with getting undressed.  At the moment, I would pretty much eliminate any casual sex – I couldn’t manage my own anxiety about what they think.

So, that puts the weight loss in a very strange place.  I cleaned my closet and attic and have enough clothes to get through the winter.  I still had my “goal” clothes from my weight loss challenge with Bobby – clothes I never fit into as I don’t think I ever dropped under 180-185 pounds.  And they would have been a bit tight then, even.  I feel good in clothes, I look great.

Luckily, I don’t have the hair loss that many experience and my hair looks gorgeous as it’s longer than ever.

My boobs fell,  but due to a breast reduction when I was about 24, they still face forward! They fit back into my smaller bras, but I can see losing more weight from them unfortunately.  My band is back to a solid 36 from a 40.  I was a 36-26-38 at my lowest weight now 120 pounds at age 24-30.

My ass is gone and flat!  Yikes! Less worried about the ass and legs as they will be the first to come back IF I exercise.  At the moment the skin literally hangs around the bones and it looks old and yucky.  I need to fix that.

My underarms are officially chicken wings.  I downloaded some exercises for them.  I have more creases at the upper arm/armpit due to loose skin.

My son mentioned my neck looks older and he’s right.  I lost quite a bit in my neck and have to get my everyday necklace shortened as it now hangs too low.  Speaking of jewelry, all my rings are now loose and swim on my fingers.

And…..I did email Peloton to restart my subscription today….so that counts as a CHECK!

Weight loss after trauma is just weird.  It’s like I woke up and it was gone.  A lot of that has to do with all the surgeries post the VSG – so I almost forget about the VSG as it was simple compared to what followed and the trauma I endured.

I also can’t decide if I am going to tell or not?  I have told many people, but not all people.  Would I have told if I just lost weight and no trauma?  I don’t know.  People are so judgey.  There is NOTHING easy about weight-loss surgery.  It’s not an easy way out of anything.

I joked with the surgeon today about how I traded one beauty for another.  I look good when I’m dressed up, but underneath the wrappings, nothing is what it seems.  I asked him how many lives he’s saved where people come in worried about their vanity months later and he realized I was making fun of myself.  I suppose I need to be in good humor considering I had a death wish.

I sit and wonder how a man like Tony would view my scars….and how my future men will view them.  Its going to be very, very difficult to embrace certain positions, that’s for sure.

I’ve got a clean bill of health from the surgeon, excluding the possibility of a hernia in the next year.  I will take it.

Therapy is another story entirely.

I’m still working on the therapy part and I do my homework, sometimes.  I liked the relationship book she directed me to and I feel I have completed as much of the work in there as I can up til today.  Next is embracing my inner childs voice.  I do worry about continuing therapy in the New Year.  I will have to start a $6000/year deductible again with no job.  I will have to decrease the frequency of the visits if I continue to not work, and that worries me a bit.  I also need to get my kids in to her over Christmas Break.

My body is ready to get back to the work of living, now I just have to convince my mind.

Intuition

We have spoken about intuition so many times on our blogs. Women have especially keen intuition when they learn how to listen to it. Mine has certainly taught me much over the years.

We also know I actively ignore it.

It wasn’t intuition telling me not to date Tony, that was simple, straightforward facts I ignored. The intuition came into play during our relationship when I heard what I wanted to hear and didn’t allow my intuition to pick up on mild cues.

For instance, he was always actively worried about being caught post April 2017 when he spoke to his wife. That hadn’t happened in the first year. Then there were so many other cues I just didn’t pick up on as he grew tired with his situation and deceit. It was too hard on him to continue his lie and maintain the facade of “great guy all around.” That title really meant something to him. He spoke many times about his father would be disappointed in the way he handled his marital problems. Tony needed to be “the good guy” as he perceived his Dad. He needs the intact family and perception. There is value in that for him.  I feel more disappointed for him that he will always be “somewhat” happy.

The reason I am rehashing is because I wonder where my intuitive voice is now regarding Tony. It’s silent. Maybe it still believes he could be the one for me. But my brain and heart have stopped allowing it. We have accepted defeat and acknowledged its over. But I do wonder why intuition is silent on that front.  I know I am going to hear from him again.  I also know I don’t have to.  I can’t read any signs of why I still harbor any hope of any kind of relationship.

My intuition with Rob was right from the start. He likes me but he’s just not that into me. He’s not ready for me. That’s going to be ok. His communication style is so far off my own and I don’t like working that hard. I waited until today to send a text “Hey, Stranger” and got back a little bit “busy, busy, work, life etc” but otherwise, nothing meaningful.    I also get the feeling he wants me to have more on my mind….he has referred to me getting back to work more than once!

I’ve met another man online and his communication started up well immediately. Easy back and forth questions. When someone is really interested they always ask about your kids and your friends. We will see how this proceeds.  Some people are just easier to talk with I suppose.

My intuition is telling me to go slow now. I’m ok with that too.

But she’s very quiet on the job front. I have a very deep feeling things are going to net out for me because I will eventually work towards making it right again, I just can’t seem to get there yet.  I do have to force myself to focus on something (even one thing) job related every single day for the weeks leading up to January.

My intuition on my kids….well the good news is the middle child and I work well at home together. But he also falters the most when I’m not here being Mom. It makes me sad to think this child needed a mother at home more than the others and I didn’t provide that. It really hurts. I do try to do more for them that costs me nothing: breakfasts, dinners, special little treats. Mostly food. They are teenage boys.

I don’t have an excuse.  I went to the surgeon today and they cauterised my wound closed and I can go without bandages if I am comfortable.  I will always have a small pool (dip) in my belly and my bellybutton is always going to be off to the side of the scar.  They can slightly improve the appearance next year with plastics, but the damage will always remain extensive.  The good news is that (one) I am alive and (two) my surgeon is very pleased with my progress weight wise.  He released me back into “normal” life today – shower without bandages, exercise, eat well, work and play normal – don’t come see him for 6 months unless something (Like a hernia) comes up.  Ok, I was expecting all that.

Overall, I’m more determined to listen to my intuition and slow down. I also read this amazing letter written by Angela Ahrendts  written to her daughters and it includes advice about intuition.  I worked under her many years ago and wished I stayed closer – she is now and SVP of Apple.  I found this letter to be very inspiring and spot on.

Here’s her letter:

“Hopefully you won’t read anything in this letter that you haven’t already heard from me many times before. I’ve always tried to lead by example when we are together, so I will do the same in this letter by reminding you of a few thoughts that will help you navigate your incredible life journey ahead: Always be present, read the signs, stay in your lane and never back up more than you have to.

I have always tried to be present for you regardless of how old you were, where we were, or where I was. I wanted you to know that I am always there for you spiritually, emotionally and digitally. You never need feel isolated or alone. You know I am on 24/7 for advice, love, or just to share a funny filtered photo, bitmoji or laugh (even though I know I laugh inside). Being fully present, by listening, feeling, empathizing—always holding serious eye contact, and often the touch of a hand—builds trust. Trust builds confidence and confidence enables you to look forward, dream more and focus on others vs. yourself. Being present is the greatest gift you can give another person, and the greatest way to more closely connect with them. When you are present, you are living in the moment vs in your mind. You are seeing, hearing, and feeling another person, and together you are even more empowered to do great things. This is a gift that often comes more naturally to women.

I have also tried to share with you as many of life’s precious lessons and secrets as I can so that when I am not here, you have a solid foundation of learnings and values regardless of what potholes in life you may hit along the way. Stay open; always try to read the signs as you pass by them or they pass by you. I’ve often reminded you that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens in your life is for a reason or was predestined. Every book you receive, every new person you meet, everything you call lucky is a sign just waiting to be read. It is tough when you are young and so inward-focused, but once in a while you will look back, make the connection and then be more open to and curious about those signs in the future. You see, signs aren’t blatant or obvious. You have to be open and present to instinctively feel or intuitively see them. You’ve seen firsthand, and we have often discussed, the role signs have played in my life and the incredible things that have happened as a result of me listening and reacting to them. You are blessed as sensitive women to more naturally understand this.

You are fully aware of how blessed you are, the incredible gifts you were born with that your brother doesn’t have and the gifts he has that you don’t possess. You know how happy you feel when you are doing what you love and that comes so easily and naturally to you. So please, please, please connect to your passion, and then just stay in your lane. Great athletes, musicians, scientists, etc., all have an expertise that they focus on and perfect. Don’t let anyone persuade you to do anything that doesn’t feel natural or isn’t aligned with your values or God-given gifts. You know what excites you more than anyone else. The sooner you recognize your passions, and the more you focus, the happier you will be and the greater success you will achieve. Still, don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what your lane is yet. The path will illuminate itself so long as you stay present, open to the signs, and follow your passions. It’s all related.

Lastly, my loves, never back up more than you need to, and this means in life, not just when driving. Just as you are blind to what’s behind you while backing up a car, if you keep looking back in life and focusing too much on the past, you may find yourself running things over and over in your mind,often seeing or creating things that never existed in the first place. Even worse, living in reverse blinds you to what lies ahead: Your lifelong dreams waiting to be achieved, your destiny waiting to be fulfilled.”

How To Be Motivated

I know the theory is one step at a time as long as it’s forward, but I have never been so unmotivated in my life.

My wound will heal really soon – I see the surgeon this week and expect I can be released to exercise. Not that it matters, I should have been walking all this time and wasn’t. I did not lose any weight this month so the surgeon could have something to say about that. I will say my appetite has come back and I now find myself hungry and thirsty when I haven’t been for months. The nurse said that’s because my body had to focus on the wound first and until it healed other functions may slow. Not being hungry was a good thing!

I haven’t gotten a real period since August. I bled a bit in Mexico, which they say is very common after major surgery, but nothing since. I also had cramps the morning I went crazy over Tony’s FB so I am guessing I started ovulating again – and my hormones are always a contributing factor to my level of crazy. Maybe it’s also why I’m hungry, now that I think about it.

It was even hard to decorate the house this year, I have no desire. I like how it feels when it’s done, but it was super hard to get it done. I would have even defaulted to a fake Christmas tree this year but the boys had a solid “no!” Vote against me. I’m happy they did, it gave them skin in the game and they got it up and standing by themselves. Decorating it may be another story.

I keep writing lists for myself to get things done. Then some things (like taxes or medical bills) take so long they suck the life out of you and I won’t go back to it for days. The outplacement service requires attention each week and I’m not putting any effort into that either. I want to get my resume and LinkedIn cleaned up this month. I’m not focusing on big picture items here, but I’m struggling to get through the small stuff.

I have been restless at night since Tony came back on the scene in some way. I am not dwelling but clearly my subconscious is still doing its work in the night.

I have not heard from Rob since the weekend. I am a bit bummed. I have my Match and Bumble on but don’t have any real interest in that work either.

I have done very little Christmas shopping. My kids have truly acknowledged their age and our current financial situation, but I would hate to see an empty Christmas tree on Christmas. These kids are used to many gifts. I was raised that way and have done the same with them. I would rather be clever this year and get them excited with fewer special gifts but my mind isn’t working.

I haven’t showered in 3 days. I do brush my teeth and hair and change my bandages. I don’t even wash my face.

Everyone says “this is not the Madeline I know.” But what if she’s gone – like forever? What if all that happiness, ambition, drive and determination never comes back? What if I’ve lost my defining characteristics?

What if I don’t care anymore?

I am not as sick as I was in the summer, but I don’t know how to get my life restarted. There’s a part of my brain yelling at me to stop wasting this precious time.

When that voice starts I will do something special for the boys. I made 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies and 3 banana breads today. I will probably make them meatloaf for dinner (they love and I hate! Lol). I will try and get in the back garden and prune my plants – better late than never. I know it’s something but it’s not enough. It’s not a life.

I need to get my life going again.