Monday, August 13, 2012

A Utopic thought: Accepting and loving rather than berating and hating

Well today has been interesting. Not at all eventful, yet I feel like it is far from a wasted day of summer. I have done lots of thinking. I have been asking questions like each one is my last.

I spent the morning journaling, reading, and tumblr-ing. I decided to go to the gym this afternoon to run. I went downstairs to see my family for the first time all day, and as I was about to leave my mom asked me (jokingly, I hope) if she could pay me to have her keep my puppy while I'm away at college. I replied, "No, Mom! You can't buy my love!" 
We all giggled a bit, and then she whined, "But Haley, Riley is helping me with my sobriety!!" 
My response: "Uh, you don't think Riley is a big part of mine, too? She's been with me through so much."
My dad laughs and, loaded with sarcasm, says, "Yea, I can totally see how Riley has helped you.. Let's go to the fridge for proof." 
He points at several pictures of me on the fridge while giving me a look of total mockery and disbelief. He 'jokes', "Hmm.. huge failure here. And here. And here..."

I immediately start tearing up. I have gotten so much better about appreciating my body and realizing I am so much more than outward appearance, but I still struggle with pictures, especially. I choke back the tears, grab my dad's keys, quickly brush past both parents, and slam the door behind me.
I can't hold it in any longer. It's been building up. All the stress, drama, anticipation, worry. I bawl like an idiot in the middle of my driveway.

My mom came outside a couple minutes later saying that my dad was not referring to my weight gain. He was talking about my 'drinking'. 
One of the pictures he pointed to was taken at my best friend's 21st birthday dinner with her parents. We are holding up girly mixed drinks and smiling. My cheeks are chubby. My arms are a little flabby. But I am happy. Let me reemphasize this: BUT I AM HAPPY.

Of course I don't believe her. My dad has made hurtful comments about my weight gain since last summer. I don't expect this time to be any different. I am always on guard for his sharp stabs, painful reminders that I am not the once great runner, and by extension daughter, that I once was to him. 

You see, my dad didn't take the news of my not returning to the track team very well at all. He argued that I'm throwing away my chance of a free college education. He said that he knows that I am going through stuff, but I am ruining the chance of a lifetime. People everywhere wish they had my talent or even the opportunity I was given to run at the college level. 
I see behind all of his arguments, though. I know that he is scared. He has always been known as Haley's dad, the proud parent of a strong, fast, dedicated student athlete. 
Of course I've had tons of other things going for me, but my dad has always been most interested in my sports.
He has never missed a gymnastics tournament, basketball game, soccer match, or cross country or track meet unless he absolutely had no chance of getting there. He has traveled countless hours to watch me compete. And he has paid a good bit of his hard-earned money to watch me succeed. It's his way of connecting with me.

I hate to let down my father and everyone else, but I was just not happy. I am so much more than a runner. I wish some people would open their eyes and see that.

Anyway, apparently my father worries I have a drinking problem now. Although I understand his concern to an extent since alcoholism is quite prevalent in my family, I still find it totally absurd that he would actually think I have a problem. Sure, I have had more alcoholic beverages this summer than ever before, but 'ever before' included never drinking.
Now, ocassionally my friends and I will go out or have a party or go to the lake, and I'll have a couple Blueberry Lemonade Smirnoffs or maybe some chocolate wine. But this by no means indicates that I have a problem; they need not worry.
I don't know why I'm explaining myself here. I know I shouldn't. There really is no need. But yea..

I guess this is all to say that it is interesting how I assumed my dad was referring to my weight- just like I assume anyone who has not seen me in a while is going to be totally shocked and repulsed by my softer, curvier body. Obviously I still have much to work on in terms of insecurities and caring about other people's opinions, especially the negative ones.

Later tonight, my dad came in my room and said that he was not referring to my weight in the pictures. He meant that Riley had not helped my alcohol sobriety. Although I am only drinking in one picture, he says he knew I was drinking at my best friend's wedding, of which there is a picture of me and a fellow bridesmaid beaming while holding our bouquets.
He claims he has never thought I have any sort of problem with alcohol. He knows I am just young and having fun... So I don't know what the deal is. I guess it doesn't matter. I'm leaving soon and won't have to deal with all of this anymore.

It does make me question my logic, though. I worry over a perception of my looks but I don't care so much about someone questioning if I have a problem with alcohol? Kind of messed up.
Seriously. I think, 'Who cares what dad thinks about my drinking? I know I don't have a problem and it really doesn't matter if he agrees.'
I wish I could be so 'screw you' when it comes to my body image. Really though, who cares if I've gained some weight? I've battled two (TWO!) eating disorders and have come out stronger for it.
I wish people's thoughts and words did not affect me. But they do, and I worry.
So in response to that, I will share the words of the astoundingly brilliant Eleanor Roosevelt: "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

We are all so caught up in our own actions, thoughts, and feelings, especially the negative ones. We find it hard to see the good in our own person. But for others it is just the opposite. If we could all just take a step back and see ourselves for what we truly are the world would be a much happier place.

I'll leave it at that. Except I'll add this link. It's a beautiful article written by a strong and brave woman. I was inspired. I hope you will be, too. CLICK HERE!


  1. Have fun at school and enjoy being young. The rest will fall into place.

  2. Thank you. All of this really spoke to me. You are beautiful, thoughtful, and brilliant.

  3. Had a rough body image day today and then I thought of this post and how you're embracing your new "softer, curvier" body and I was inspired to do the same :) You are amazing

  4. I am so proud of you for standing up for what you know is best for YOU right now. Your dad saying that you were throwing away a chance of a life time must have made it so much harder for you but right now you really need to take the time away from running and learn to love it again. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder.

    Weight is a touchy subject, eh? I have gotten to the point where I don't care what people think of my body because it works just fine and I'm happy. Happiness is the most important thing right now. Our weights go up and down (it's a part of life - weight gain/loss is never permanent!) but confidence in ourselves is forever. If we can find confidence and love for the little things about us, we will survive this world :)

    So proud of you lovely!