Recently I was cleaning a closet and stumbled across my old journals. I started keeping a journal in college (class assignment) and have kept up the practice (off & on) through the years. I decided to type up my journals as a way of putting them all together but more of interest as a way to get me to read them.
The first entry is from 1977 (I was 16 years old). So weird now as a 59 year old woman reading the words of a 16 year old. So many entries about hating my body and my weight. So many entries about avoiding situations and people because I didn't feel good enough to be seen or heard. So much pain and sadness.
There is a very sad entry about not going to a party at the lake because I could not risk being seen in a swimsuit.
It truly breaks my heart for that young girl - she felt so alone and so scared of the world. Occasionally there are bursts of hope - she talks about wanting to live fully, explore places and ideas, wants someone to understand her.
The truly fascinating thing is that my feelings have not changed all that much. I still don't really like my body and struggle with my weight. Most days I feel that people are smarter, prettier and more entitled than am. Even though I've done years of therapy around these feelings and fully understand their history - I still feel them.
However something very different has changed - I no longer ACT on these feelings (well at least not always). These days I treat myself to social outings and friendships. I allow myself to plan vacations and to explore ideas with people. I will even wear a swimsuit in public.
How I wish that my 59 year old self could have hugged young Rosemary - comforted her sadness and filled her with courage to try different things and enjoy herself. Its in doing that we receive all of life's joys not in thinking. To quote Stephen Hayes, "Life is not something we fix its something we experience".
I've only typed up 4 months of material and I'm sure many more feelings and impressions will come leaping off the pages. For now thanks for letting me share and I look forward to sharing more with you. And for today, take a deep breath and I wonder if you want to tap into your courage and go do something that scares you - take a risk!