Wednesday, October 26, 2011


What defines a failure?  There's a poster on Pinterest that says something cliche like 'You only fail if you don't try'.  Okay, that's straight up bullshit!  I mean, yes, if you don't try, then you fail at what you want.  But what about people that try EVERYTHING and nothing works?  Does that not make some of those attempts failures?  What if you stick to the one thing and go on and on, trying to FORCE it to work for you?  Is that better than giving it up?
This thought came about yesterday when I burst into tears in Whole Foods.  I went there with a friend with the intention to buy a 'treat'.  My self esteem and my self love and self worth and every other 'self' thing was on the ground getting a stomping and I wanted something to make me feel better. Well, there's also a poster on Pinterest that says 'Don't reward yourself with food.  You are not a dog'.  I think there should be one that says 'Don't console yourself with food'.  My friend mentioned that she had signed up online for weight watchers and was having success with it because she felt that if she had to write down what she was eating, she would make sure she wasn't ashamed of what she was writing.  She mentioned that she thought that I was doing such a good job on my zone plan and eating breakfast and lunch and not eating out, giving up coffee etc... I said that yes, I did try that but it doesn't seem to stick... and she said something that made me cry in Whole Foods.  'Maybe you're not ready.  Maybe you've come out of something so traumatic that you're not ready to make more change.  Maybe you should just be happy that you're where you are now and not where you were four months ago'.  So what I want to know is 'When are you ready'.  When does it stop feeling like you're in quick sand?  I feel like in the last few weeks I've been transported back to the sad and dark place that I banished months ago... I had such a beautiful small window of time in the summer that I was unstoppable.  I was happy, content and comfortable.  Did that not really happen?  Was that fake?  It didn't feel fake... But what I feel now doesn't feel fake either.  I feel like there's a lump in my throat the size of a baseball all the time... I don't want to get out of bed, I'm unimaginative, despondant, disinterested... all those things that remind me of being in a very dark and unpleasant place.  Does this make me a failure?  I've been given (or have taken for myself) a new path in life... I'm only responsible for myself and I don't have the responsibility of managing someone else and my own self in a way that makes managing the other person easier... Sound confusing?  Try living it!  Anyway... it's difficult to not feel like a failure... My sister took her life and turned it around when she was unhappy and made herself healthy, happy and thriving...  She kept going even through possibly the worst year of her life.  My friend Tara is a force to be reckoned with.  She makes time for herself within a household of two toddlers and a difficult situation... She keeps pushing and perservering to get what she wants.  My friend Sharon surivived last year when her dad died tragically and she's still going, still pushing, still making her life what she wants it.  I"m surrounded by strong successful women and I can't get it together enough to not want to cry all the time... feels like failure to me.


Tarable said...

I will guarantee you that Shannon and Tara and Sharon ALL had setbacks. (If any of us say we didn't, then we're lying.)

Each one of us, through our journey to make change, have all hit a spot much like the one you're at right now where you're not feeling like a rockstar and you want to curl up in bed and give up.

It sucks ass.

Personally, I think it's ok to wallow in it a bit. But only a bit. Let yourself feel whatever you're feeling - because that's valid. But while you're feeling it, try to be aware of how it came about and how it feels. Then, pull your shit up and get back on track. Maybe the same track, maybe a slightly different one, maybe a totally different one altogether.

Just keep going.

I happen to know that you are a smart, determined, vibrant woman who WILL be successful.

You've been through something really big and getting past it is going to be equally big.

chemicalika said...

'Does this make me a failure?'

Pretty sure it makes you human, sweetie.

The good times were real. Doesn't mean what you're feeling now is any less real, just means you can be fairly safe in the knowledge that what you are feeling now is not going to last forever. You've had a hardcore kinda year and it's going to be tough to deal with all the time. Taking a few steps back is not the end of the world when you think about the leaps forward you have already made. Think about the things that managed to pull you out of this last time (relying on friends, keeping busy, starting a new hobby etc etc) and see if you can recreate some of them to see if it helps. But don't punish yourself if you don't feel up for it just yet or it doesn't work immediately.

As for knowing when you're ready? You won't. Something will just click. I've been battling with my weight for a long time - when I'm happy I eat and get fat, when I'm not happy I starve myself and get thin - it's not healthy. Somewhere a few weeks ago, something just clicked and I'm eating, but healthily and I'm loosing weight and it's not hard right now. Is it going to last? I don't know. Will I punish myself if it doesn't. In all honesty, probably, because I'm human. But I'll survive it. And you will too and people will be amazed by how you've done.

PJ said...

I have a serious problem with the phrase 'Don't reward yourself with food. You are not a dog'. Humans, in every culture, for thousands of years, have celebrated with, for, and because of food. When we first started out, the reward WAS the food that was tracked and hunted over the period of days. Not only is it trying to override a basic human instinct (hey, animal instinct), but it is subconsciously removing the joy from food, by not allowing yourself to celebrate with it. When are you supposed to have food? Only when you're sad, upset, lonely, bored? That's far more dangerous.

There is NOTHING wrong with saying "I'm really proud of how hard I worked on that project, I will stop by my favorite bakery after work." Just like anything else, all good things in moderation. Rewarding yourself by eating 13 cupcakes? Not good. Thinking you deserve a reward every time you do the most menial task? Slow down. Telling yourself "no, I'm not a dog", what a sad, pitiful way of looking at your self. You deserve better.

Shannon, Your Sister Who Loves You! said...

Dude, woah down. You are not a failure. You're still living life and getting up every day and making a mark in the world. Maybe it's not the mark you wish to be making right now but that doesn't make you a failure! You're not failing at're living life...and no one, not one time, not ever, said that it was going to be easy.

Furthermore, in the worst year of my life, I did not keep going. I sat. And snacked and cried and then got up and went outside. I walked the dog and cleaned the house and did all the things that you do every day (minus the dog, of course). When the skies cleared a little I took the opportunity to push like crazy to gain a little back. And then I crashed again (literally this time, hit the dirt) and everything came to a halt again.

It's what happens. Tara can probably say exactly the same thing. The nuts and bolts of it are that my year kicked the living shit out of me....but what choice did I have but to keep going. It didn't feel good every day, some days felt like death. Just. Like. Yours.

You just keep going and make the best of the situation and treat yourself right as often as you can.

If it's weight loss you're most concerned about, if that's how you wish to reshape your life right now....perhaps it's time to shelve the Zone and try something else, something that works with you instead of you trying to work it. If you want my WW membership (the online app) on your phone, I will keep paying for it on my credit card and you can pay me back.

Like Tara said...feel whatever you feel, recognize it and validate it....but since you are a strong successful woman surrounded by the same, you then pull your shit up and get going. It is NOT going to be any easier tomorrow.

Shannon, Your Sister Who Still Loves You But Now Has To Get To Bed said...

PS. This comment you make here: "What if you stick to the one thing and go on and on, trying to FORCE it to work for you? Is that better than giving it up?"

That is the definition of crazy. Why would you stick to something that isn't working and try to FORCE it to work for you? Why would you keep doing the same thing over and over when all signs point to the fact that it is no longer effective for you?

Find something new! CREATE something new. Don't try to force what worked in the past to work for you again, it's possible that that door is closed. Find a new door.

It is not reasonable or concievable that you are destined for complete life failure. As in, will never succeed, doomed forever, can never have what you want.

I guess if you quit trying that's what you get. But you take a break, catch your breath and then PUSH. Don't break for too long, just long enough to muster the energy for another push.

Too use a spinning crank up the resistance until you almost can't push the pedals. It's heavy and it's hard and it seems impossible. And then you take a deep breath, dig deep and give it a burst of power and pedal faster.....and you know what? It gets easier. Momentum, darling. Big breath, burst of power, pedal faster. Break and breath, repeat. Same with life.

citizen jayne said...

ummmm.... I have one word to say (to start anyway, lol)on this.
change and struggle are about grief.
Your summer elation? real. the dumpy dumps you feel now? real.
as we move through experiences and arrive at the other side, we immediately try to re-orient to the new reality. We create unrealistic expectations and hold our selves to impossible standards and we forge the first rule of self: compassion.
if you make a decision (i.e. A Zone Diet or Bust), and it turns out to not be the right decision.... bingo bammo, you can make a different decision.
You are the expert on you. You know all your dirty tricks, you know what makes you smile inside with joy and pride (yes pride, NOT a dirty word btw).
Seek the places you are most creative and DO YOUR ART. whatever that is (knitting, blogging, you get the picture) and EMBRACE it.
the mere act of CREATING, will propell you forward in the direction you are meant to be travelling.
Back to the grief thingy. its kinda like the saying "where ever you go, there you are". the only way through is.... through. I know, who made up that dumb rule eh?
Even if the dramatic change you went through was a positive one (yes, oh yes it was!) you will still grief its loss. Know each tear you shed (in whole foods or your pillow) is one less you are keeping inside to roil and rage against your keen spirit of courage.
peace out.
sorry if I sound crazy. I had my flu shot today. Probably mercury poisoning.