As I was going into weight loss surgery I had only one goal in mind – I wanted to be able to cross my legs again. I mean, there were a few other goals I had identified like being able to hold downward dog without breaking my face, not dying and not offending anyone in a post-surgery, anesthesia-induced haze… but the leg-crossing “thing” really stuck with me. To me it wasn’t just about crossing my legs – it was about regaining my femininity.
And I know that is going to piss off a bunch of people because it kind of pisses off the feminist in me too. Just remember, it’s not the point of this story and if you get stuck here, this isn’t a story for you. Now, onward…
The thing about crossing my legs was that I had done it before. I knew how it felt. And post-surgery the feeling kept coming to me - lift one leg up… place one knee on top of the other… rest. I practiced doing so, lying on my back in bed in the morning where gravity could help. I even dreamed that I crossed my legs and in that dream I felt what it was like to “sit like a lady” and no longer have the fat of my thighs force me into a masculine posture.
And then, one day, I felt unquestionably compelled to do it while riding in a tricked-out pink jeep en route to the Grand Canyon. I lifted one leg up… placed one knee on top of the other… and rested. It worked! I was so elated that I wanted to cry, but held back the tears for the sake of the people surrounding me – strangers who would have no way to comprehend the victory that had just taken place in their presence. I wanted to take a picture, but worried that everyone would assume I was some pervert taking a selfie of her crotch.
I should have gone for it anyway – at least I wasn’t photographing their crotches.
Since the Grand Leg Crossing Victory of 2015™, I have been in a mental stall on my health journey. I’ve tried to force myself to get back in the game promising I’ll eat better… drink more water… walk 10,000 steps daily… make a deal with the devil if the scale will only move to the next set of numbers. The next set of number is going to be a really big deal – it’s a set I haven’t seen in over two decades after all.
None of it works though. I’m sneaking food I shouldn’t be eating. I forget to take my water bottle with me to work in the morning. If my pedometer says I’ve walked 7,000 steps at the end of the day, I’m okay with it because it is still more than the average American. So, after a three week hiatus, I plopped myself down on Jillian, therapist to the stars’, couch yesterday and let my frustrations flow for 15 minutes straight. “What the fuck?!” I whimpered as I finally came up for breath. “Why can’t I get it together?”
“What’s on the other side?” she asked.
For the next 20 minutes we had a discussion about whether or not I was scared of what is on the other side, about annihilating my “former self” (two year old Ursula – she’s so cute and we’ll talk about her another day) and about what got me to where I am today, and then it finally hit me…
I don’t know what’s on the other side. I don’t know what the other side feels like. It’s, largely, unknown territory.
I know what will get me there – the food, the water, the exercise – but those are behaviors, not the motivators. Those things don’t feel like anything to me, neither does a number on a scale but, crossing my legs – that physically felt like something. I could visualize it, internalize it, practice it, own it, desire it, chase after it…
*Le sigh* I peaked way sooner than I thought I would and I need to find a new motivation to keep going.
For a while I’ve had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I needed to accomplish something BIG - like a 30,000 step day – to get me going again. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time beating myself up over the feeling. Why does everything have to be so BIG? Why can’t I be happy with sustaining a status quo? I was really starting to question if there was new kind of broken inside me that needed to be fixed.
I know now that the desire to take a 30,000 step day is because I can visualize it. I’ve done it before, I know the feeling when I’m done – the exhilaration, the accomplishment. It’s something I couldn’t really do just five months ago, at least not without a TON of effort. Now? Still takes an effort, but totally doable .
Of course, with my schedule, a 30,000 step day isn’t exactly in the cards these days. More than that, it is too easily accomplished in one day and, once I did it, I’d find myself right back here again.
What I need is a vision – maybe a physical feat, maybe not - that I can work myself towards now. And just like crossing my legs meant so much more to me than the simple action of doing so, this “thing” has to hold a value to me more than itself. I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out what it is, but I’m at a loss at the moment. It came so easy the first time around, but just knowing the elements of what I need makes me feel so much better already.
Until next time, my precious snowflakes…