One of the unintended consequences of the last couple of years of change has been a continued underlying level of confusion surrounding many things that I previously took for granted in life.
It really never occurred to me when I was ‘old Davey’ that every major thought or decision that I made about anything was arrived at through a complex and all consuming collection of fears or suppressed pain (and occasionally anger too).
As ‘new Davey’ when I recently spoke to all of the various Slimming World meetings about my progress I briefly touched upon this topic. At the time I explained it in terms of saying ‘NO’ to everything purely because I’d got used to hiding the true reason I didn’t like doing certain things behind carefully constructed excuses.
These weren’t just served up for the benefit of others. I force fed myself a range of them too. They were specifically designed to convince me that I was happy with my lot in life and that certain things were unimportant to me.
Some common things I said to others and told myself were:
- Gardening is a waste of time – grass never stops growing so what’s the point? I couldn’t care less about gardening. (translation – it hurts when I do it and I get badly sunburnt because I never go out)
- I don’t want a lift. I don’t like not being in control of the driving. (translation – there’s no way in hell I’ll be able to get your seatbelt on or fit in your car without winding the front seat all the way back and looking like a fool)
- Who needs to go on holiday when you have video games? I have a virtual world at the tip of my thumbs and I can go anywhere I want without leaving my armchair. (translation – I can no longer leave my armchair and go anywhere I want.)
The list goes on and on.
I’ve become infinitely more aware of many such things like this – and irritatingly even more structures remain silently in place, hiding from view until I catch them in the cold light of day and have cause to question my behaviour.
‘Why did I do or say that? It’s not how I really feel….’
The thing is – it’s not just as simple as a straight yes or no response, and I fear that when speaking to the people in those rooms I undersold the complexity of the choices I’m faced with every day.
I had to do a personality test recently – and as I read the instructions for it prior to starting I thought ‘no problemo – this will be easy!’ I launched the process and was immediately faced with a screenful of words, all of which were either supposed to be very like me – or absolutely nothing like me.
All I had to do was choose.
However – when I’m still learning who I am, how do I answer such questions?
Am I determined? I never thought I was – but I suppose I must be. If I said I wasn’t then how do I account for my progress in life? That didn’t happen by accident. Maybe that’s who I am now?
Is the most important thing to me stability? It used to be – but then I left everything that provided it in my life behind and walked away from it (quite literally) towards something new. I’ve been doing so physically and metaphorically ever since.
Am I ambitious? Again – I could never have been accused of this in the past – but without a burning desire to be a better person I couldn’t have improved my fitness so radically, pushed my diabetes into retreat, and met target after self imposed target with my weight loss.
Then it hit me in the middle of the test.
Why am I still on my own?
The reason I became this way (I never used to be content with the silence of just myself – it was quite the opposite in fact) was because of everything I described above. It was just another mechanism for hiding from things that hurt me.
So why is it still the case?
I’m beginning to think I need to take steps to change even more radically and shift my comfort zones even further away from what they currently are. I’ve been quietly doing this behind the scenes in a couple of areas of my life – but oddly this one thing seems to be both static and unchanging.
I get to the point where I’m almost mentally there and then I emotionally withdraw again and pack it all away once more. I convince myself this is me. It’s just who I am. I’m better off this way.
Maybe it’s fear of the unknown, or fear of rejection.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve been this way for so long now that I don’t know how to be different. Maybe it’s because (and this is totally true) I feel if I’m not at my target weight that I’m not a fully functional person just yet.
I still think of myself as someone that’s going to pass unnoticed by potential partners – and (in much the same way as I feel I have been for many years) I’ve never seen myself as someone that anyone would want to be with because I was both grossly obese and incapable of so many things in so many areas of life.
None of that’s true any more though is it?
I’m no longer the freakish and immense oddity that still sits in my head labelled ‘Davey’s image of himself’. I’m someone new – both inside and out. I have different motivations, and different perspectives.
I’m simultaneously stronger than I was and more capable than I’ve ever been.
Do I know what motivates me though? Do I know who I am?
No – not yet internet – but I’m determined to find out.