“What made you change? Was there an event or something that made you make this transformation?”
I have started, stopped, and then started this post again and again on paper and even more so in my head. This question mixed with the holiday season and an upcoming new year has led to much reflection.
So answering the single question as to whether there was an event that triggered my transformation isn’t but possibly a paragraph or two. The conundrum is not how to answer that question but how to leave out so many other important pieces that played into that point in history.. And possibly more importantly the ensuing fallout which led to further and even more significant transformation.
So much of my story is intertwined with a “childhood secret”, bullying, self-confidence issues, a struggle with opening up and letting people get close, relationships.. and quite possibly a skewed view as a result. It may be difficult to separate all of these but you will get my best shot of telling my story.. one chapter at a time. I will begin with what is most pertinent to this particular question.
The person you read about here has been an evolution and continues to evolve.
I will start by telling a quick story. During a very amicable split with my ex-husband, we were sitting on the couch just talking about our marriage, us, etc. He said to me, “We have been married 15 years and I still cannot get past this wall you have built around yourself. I know you will never let me that close.” Hard to hear? Yes. True? Certainly. Moment of awakening? No, not yet.. Thought-provoking and telling? Very.
I am a woman who has not always been open (understatement of the year) and to communicate emotions in a healthy manner or to say “I love you” was very difficult.. again understatement. Expressing emotions and love.. I believed it was interpreted as weakness (as I shared in Saturday’s Reflections). I am logical dammit.. Feelings only get in the way! I was a screwed-up sort of independent.. “You may have a place in my life.. but you won’t really ever know you have a place in my heart.”
So as you can tell, the person you see here who more freely tells people she loves them and openly expresses herself.. is an evolved Maribeth. A Maribeth who is still learning. Those who know me personally also know that I still struggle in face-to-face situations to express myself. I do feel strongly and I have a longing to express those feelings. Although the desire is strong, my brain is stronger. My brain will run interference with my heart and my emotions. It will remind me.. “don’t be emotional and don’t appear weak.. don’t let anyone get close.. then no one can hurt you.”
I laugh as I tell you.. what then comes out of my mouth can be a completely jacked up mess of starts, stops, starts, awkwardness, and then often just a “oh, screw it” and stop. I am forever a work in progress. If you happen to be one of the people who gets to the next layer of MB then I say to you.. I love you for creating a very safe zone for me. I recognize it and appreciate it. Thank you for your kindness and patience as I continue to become the me I wish to be!
The event.. The wake up call for the beginning of this particular transformation was the moment of learning my husband had an affair.
When I heard that the person who was my best friend and I had been with for 15 years had been intimate and shared himself emotionally and physically with another woman.. shit got real.. real quick. This felt devastating. The feeling of betrayal, embarrassment and disrespect was indescribable.
It also came with guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and a huge spotlight on each possible mistake I had made in the relationship.
It led to much questioning about every part of myself.
I look back a the pictures that I share as my “before” examples with a sense of shame and embarrassment. I feel as if I let myself go.. I felt “frumpy” and I felt terrible about myself because of it.
That is the superficial view of it and although true, I now have more clarity on other important facets. My ex-husband was/is a good man in many ways. I have come to realize that more than my outward appearance.. he wanted to feel close to someone.. he wanted to feel loved, respected, and appreciated for who he was. He spent a great many years without receiving that from me.. I am sad to say.
As I always say, people are human; therefore, we are flawed.. All.Of.Us. I will not own his behavior.. that is his. We were in a relationship, however, and I have to own my behavior. Behavior that would contribute to a degradation in the relationship. I would have probably never found out had it not been for him telling me in an attempt to save our marriage.
What ensued afterwards were all the emotions that go along with weight loss associated with a “divorce diet”. So after many years of crying, moaning, and complaining about my weight.. After trying every terrible diet, following every fad, and believing every myth.. my greatest successful “weight loss’ at that date in time happened during a marital crisis. Although this worked for pure weight loss.. i.e. numbers on the scale this was not transformation or even close to it.
If anyone reading this was at the same place I was during those years of just wanting to lose weight, then your mindset would be similar to mine.. “I don’t care how it comes off. I just want it OFF and I want it off as quickly as possible so I can go about my business but as a thinner person.”.. I hear you! And that was exactly what I got. I would not necessarily recommend this way for many reasons but it happens to be the jumping off point to an evolution of Maribeth.
I have always considered myself a fairly intelligent person but in the area of change, this road has been long and arduous. There was much more I had to learn.. one being that I will forever have much to learn in all facets of life.
At that time, however, along with some feeble attempts to learn better communication and relationship skills.. I began making changes so I felt attractive again including working with a personal trainer. See how I am kinda missing the mark here?? Anyhow on the subject of weight loss.. I learned to work-out in a different way, started seeing things my body could do, and became confident enough to go to gyms on my own and not feel like an outsider. I didn’t understand the importance of nutrition and what I was eating (and not eating) even though Tonya often tried to work with me. In turn, I did see positive changes as far as weight loss but I hadn’t full embraced the concept of what changes were really necessary for long-term success and real transformation.. which is far, far beyond the physical changes I was making back then.
The marriage was irreparable.. obviously. It had probably been on life support for a while and we are both better now because of our split but most likely our time together, as well.
Simon, Gracie, and I set out to make a whole new life in a whole new city with a whole new job. It was a new adventure and it was exciting.. yet frightening at the same time. Although I had begun to make some positive changes.. I was ill-prepared for the ensuing chapter of my life from which I feel the greatest evolution and emergence of Maribeth then took place.
But that is another chapter.. 🙂