Brenda Battles the Bulge: WAKA, WAKA, WAKA – Week 6By Brenda Welch
Beeep. Beeep. Beeep.
I hear the noise, faintly, as I do every morning at 5 a.m. I’m 99.9 percent sure the muted alarm comes from a wayward watch, buried beneath one of the three mounds of laundry that need to be sorted and put away. I just can’t find it.
It’s loud enough to wake me, but soft enough so that it doesn’t cause me to rocket out of bed in a panic like the other three alarms I have set and strategically placed around the room.
Beeep. Beeep. Beeep.
This week has been craptastic. I’ve been mustering a positive attitude for a good portion of the time, but I’m losing steam. To be fair, the past few days have yielded a decent harvest of good feelings. I rolled out Operation: Move It, Move It (think of the movie Madagascar, then think of King Julian singing, “I like to move it, move it”) at work, and about a dozen co-workers enthusiastically volunteered to participate. I sent out two snark-soaked emails Monday through Friday, each detailing a get-your-blood-pumping exercise or stretch that only took a few minutes. I’m doing this every work day until September ends. At the end of week one, everyone is still giving a thumbs up to continue with Operation MI, MI.
I did well with working out and tracking my food daily, and I’ve lost five pounds in a week.
Also good stuff.
Other than that? Crap. Tas. Tic. Emotionally draining. A fresh slash from the claws of a family member draws blood from an emotional wound that never has enough time to heal. I watch my son’s innocence and feelings of self worth become more tied to the opinion of his peers. Our cat dies. I witness a huge part of my childhood—the Jersey Shore’s Seaside Park boardwalk—grow tall with smoke and flames, then fall with ash.
I feel like I’m Ms. Pac-Man, trapped in the corner, and flanked on all sides by those damn hungry ghosts who are hell-bent on stealing her yellow soul. Typically when I feel this way, I become the hungry ghost. I feel like eating all things glorious that come in circle form and are cut into triangular pieces to consume—pizza, pie, cake, Ms. Pac-Man, etc.
As a child, I remember one summer in particular when I spent many quarters and hours playing Ms. Pac-Man at an arcade on the Seaside Park boardwalk. I learned that when I paid attention, noted my many missteps, figured out a strategy, and gobbled up power-boosting cherry clusters, I didn’t get trapped as often. I become stronger, generated more lives, and the ghosts didn’t spook me as much. I became a more confident player. It never dawned on me to give up and never touch the game again.
This past week, as all of the nonsense was going on, and I felt the ghosts drawing closer, I made haste to my real-life cherry clusters. I reached out to Lacey and shared some of what was happening. As always, she listened and kept me on task with exercising and tracking my calories and eating habits. I talked to friends, old and new; leaned a bit more on my husband; communicated with my son’s teachers; and bid our cat a fond farewell. The family member drama is thick and deep, well-rooted in vines of mental illness. I used to think that being strong meant outwitting the family member’s illness, and that a “good” daughter doesn’t jump ship. It finally dawned on me that I don’t have the perspective or depth of knowledge as that of a professional, and it’s not about outwitting so much as understanding. I now believe that being strong means giving myself permission to jump ship until I am better equipped to deal with the situation. I am doing just that and made an appointment with a therapist. I firmed up plans for a quick and rejuvenating weekend getaway with friends who make me laugh until my stomach hurts.
Despite doing all of this, I knew as soon as I heard the quiet-yet-ever-present Beeep. Beeep. Beeep. at 5 a.m. this morning that I would have to dig deep to get my butt out of bed and remain focused and resolute against falling back into unhealthy habits that I have been working to change.
Then, like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds, it dawned on me that it is Saturday. I smiled to myself, covered my ears with a pillow to block out the insidious noise of the watch, and headed back to dreamland for a few more hours.
Ms. Pac-Man SCORES and lives to tell the tale!
Read more of Brenda’s Journey here.