Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Looking in the mirror and wishing the reflection was different

I wish an entire day would pass where every time I looked in the mirror I would be happy with the reflection staring back at me. Most of the time I almost don't look at that person in the mirror because I don't like what I see. Usually the person staring back at me has chipmunk cheeks, a double chin, thunder thighs, and a pudgy stomach and the person I wish I saw, the cute, tiny girl with the 6-pack abs, is no where in sight. Even more painful than looking in a mirror is getting on a scale. Every time I do it my heart feels like it's about to beat out of my chest and I turn purple from holding my breath because I'm so scared of what the numbers are going to read.
It's amazing how much I think about my weight. If I could change anything about myself, the only thing would be my weight. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is look in the mirror and see what the damage from yesterday's food has done to my reflection. I then find an outfit that is least likely to show that I have a stomach. Throughout the day, every time I eat when I'm around someone I get self conscious and I feel like they are judging me. The worst is when I first meet someone and tell them I'm a runner. If they are surprised I automatically assume it's because of the way I look. I'm tired of the negative weight thoughts continuously cycling through my mind. Why can't I be happy with the way I look and why do I feel so much pressure to be stick thin?
I believe that a lot of that pressure comes from a combination of my sensitivity and growing up with and extremely athletic family. Both of my mom's brothers and their wives race in marathons, triathlons, and adventure races. As if just doing the race isn't studly enough, they generally place. My uncles are tall and slim and my aunts are teeny tiny, so it definitely shows how active they are. Before I see them, I always feel extreme pressure to lose a bunch of weight just to gain their acceptance. The only time I felt like I measured up to them at all was after my first season working as a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park. After that summer, I was 10 lbs. thinner than I am now. In my 3 1/2 months working in the Rockies I hiked 350 miles on top of running regularly and eating very little. I remember getting off of the plane and my aunts and uncles were actually impressed when they saw me. It felt so good to finally feel like I was one of them.
I also have a lot of pressure coming from my dad. Every time I see him he always makes a comment about my weight, if I'm exercising, or what I've been eating. It hurts when your own father tells you that it looks like you've gained some weight or you are going to get fat because you're not working out. After enough times of hearing it, I can't help but start to believe it.
I've come a long way from a few years ago. I broke the neck of my femur from over training and not enough nutrients (after my summer in the Rockies), which forced me to re-evaluate my exercise and diet habits and come to terms with not being able to exercise for a few months. I am happy with the way I look sometime and I try to find things about myself that I do like. I also try to appreciate all the things that my body does for me. I am healthy and I can run, climb, do yoga, and hike. I just wish the little voice in the back of my head nagging me to be skinnier would disappear forever. One day I'm hoping that I will wake up and never be unhappy about my body again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fighting the Inner Battle

"Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We wouldn't be as strong as what we could bave been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets." -Unknown

For the past 18 years my life has had a clear purpose. Every fall since I was four years old, I have packed up a backpack with books, pencils, and paper and spent the following nine months in a classroom taking notes and studying subjects from art and music to science and math in persuit of a college degree. Now that I have that 9x12 piece of cardstock with "Aubrey Nicole Tamietti Bachelor of Science in Biology" printed in bold lettering across the center of the page tucked away in my closet, the question I keep asking myself is what is my new purpose?
I graduated this spring with big plans for adventure and dreams of bringing good to people in need. A week after graduation, I hopped on a plane and spent a month backpacking and sea kayaking in the Alaskan wilderness doing a little soul cleansing before a 27 month assignment teaching science with the Peace Corps in Africa. I was set up to come home from Alaska mid-June, have a few weeks of recovery time, packing and goodbyes and then was schedualed to leave mid-July for Africa. If there is one thing that I have learned in life, it is that you can't always rely on plans. Natural disasters are unpredicatable and uncontrollable and can break down the sturdiest of plans.
My natural disaster came in the form of federal budget cuts. A few days after I got back from Alaska I got an email from the Peace Corps placement desk saying that due to a lack of funding my program had been cut and I wouldn't be able to leave until January of 2012 at the earliest. I had no reinforecement or flexibility in my plan, so when the natural disaster hit I was thrown into a deep, dark hole with no sense of purpose.
Now, I am stuck in this hole trying to find my purpose to shed some light on the way out. It's a lonely place down hear since my Flagstaff friend base has diminished significantly since graduation. People have moved away, are still in school or they have moved on with their lives, so I have found myself alone a lot trying to figure out how to get out of this hole and fighting an inner battle with my emotions. Tears have become my steady companion and will join me unexpectedly during a run, while I'm biking home from work, or even at the grocery store.
Even though the battle is hard and tears aren't my most valued companion, I know that this emotional battle won't last forever and eventually tears will not show up so regularly. I have a firm belief that things happen the way they're suppose to and when the timing is right adventure will come for me. There are obviously still experiences that I need to have here in this hole before I can find my way out. When the day comes when I can climb out of this hole, I will be a stronger person and have learned the lessons I need to help me tackle whatever other natural disasters come at me.