Rainbows, unicorns, and 300 cupcakes

Sunday when we had dinner with my son and his fiancé, K was telling me about the cupcake meeting/tasting and their plans for cupcakes in lieu of a wedding cake. Just talking about all that sugar made me gave me something akin to a high. On cupcakes that normally have white frosting it will be dyed to match the same teal selected as their wedding color, the chocolate and brown frostings will be their natural color, and all will be arranged in some sort of wedding cake-like display. I am looking forward to seeing what their vision involves. I just hope by September the idea of being in a room with 300 cupcakes does not make me break out in a sweat of blissful anticipation.

I have had a weird, disjointed, surreal sort a day, and for whatever reason thinking of cupcakes make me smile. Rainbows and unicorns … definitely feels like an appropriate description for my mixed bag day.

My anxiety over things going too well returned with a vengeance. Visions of things I could have forgotten or overlooked started dancing in my head, which tends to distract me from business at hand. Thankfully work today, this week is pretty low-key and I can use a quarter of my brain and use the rest of obsess and worry about irrational thoughts and ideas. I was starting the spiral down the rabbit hole of insecurity, fear, anxiety. Over nothing in particular, other than everything else going so well.

Then there was an exchange with a couple of friends that sent me swan diving down the rabbit hole of self-loathing upset.

When the kids were in school I made friends with other parents. Many of those friendships fell away as our kids went off to college and our common ground ceased to exist. But a couple of the other moms kept in touch, and we ended up being hang-out buddies and friends. We do coffee or meals together a few times per month, or we did until about the last year or so. Life changes – new jobs, new boyfriends, new directions.

Earlier today I got an invitation to get together tomorrow night for dinner – 7:30 in a nearby town. I had to decline, because it would turn into a late night and I am trying to stay on track with my early morning gym practice.

I guess my inability to commit to join them tomorrow night made something snap within them. The text replies I received were that I am no longer fun to be around because with my dieting and exercising I am sucking the very air needed for life out of the room. Thing is, I just saw them after the first of the year for coffee, except I was drinking a cup of tea and not eating any sugary treats. At the time they made what I thought were funny, teasing, joking comments about working too hard at the gym and surely a single slice of banana bread will not completely derail my efforts. Because I thought they were genuinely concerned and being thoughtful toward me, I explained to them how I had to be gazelle-intense in my focus to ensure I stayed on straight and narrow with regard to exercise and eating. I guess my explaining my thinking and actions constitutes talking nonstop about my training and practice? Because that is something else that was said today about my monorail for a mind.

Kind of like being back in high school and be outed by leaders of a clique.

My weekend experience with other people’s reaction is still very much on my mind, and to my credit I called both of them out on their mean comments. Apologies were issued, but damage had been done. The explanation was they are tired of trying to get me to go out with them like we always have, that I am becoming someone else, and that they are not certain my obsession is altogether healthy. We left the text exchange unresolved, because I am still unable to join them for a weeknight dinner and they are choosing to not accept my reasons why or are incapable of understanding just how important this quest is for me. If it were a particular occasion – a birthday, an anniversary, a celebration of some sort – then of course I would make an exception to attend and just work out Friday night instead.

Anyway, the rabbit hole had me wondering if I am becoming inflexible and rigid and unpleasant in my need to cling to routine to improve my overall health. And it was really upsetting to have ladies I have thought were good friends react that way toward me. As per my ingrained habit, my immediate and lingering thought is the problem must lie with me.

I had been doing really well there for a few days, being happy and feeling so positive about the steps I am taking. Poof! Blown up with just a few harsh words. Did I feel pleased or proud of myself for calling them on their behavior? Not really. Mostly I was sad that there is something so skewed in our friendship that my altering my habits for good and valid reasons would send this type of ripples through it. I still do not understand it, still do not know how to handle it.

Into this weird soup of emotions, an acquaintance reached out to me this morning to ask me if J has ever worked with clients who have had gastric bypass surgery. Nothing more – just has he ever worked with anyone who has had gastric bypass surgery. So I asked him, and when I replied to her email that yes, he has, she invited me to meet her for coffee. Part curiosity, mostly concern had me agreeing.

Elyse (I have permission to use her name) and I met through one of my private clients when she interned for him a few years ago and have kept in touch sporadically through the years. Our paths cross a few times per year at conferences and training courses, and she has been email following my blog for a while now.

She is 20 years younger than me and nearly double my present weight while an inch shorter. Elyse, like me, is type 2 diabetic, suffers from high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and a variety of other obesity-related health problems. She has been in the process of preparing for gastric bypass surgery for several months and has been scheduled for the procedure in March. Obviously her doctors have put her through extensive screening to determine that she is an appropriate candidate, because it’s a very serious surgery and life-changing alteration.

And she’s scared to death. She lives in fear of being incapable of changing her eating habits and lifestyle afterwards. The required therapy has helped to a degree, but she’s still cheating and eating junk and not making better progress on her pre-surgery weight loss.

Why she came to me is because I seem to be succeeding where she feels she is failing. I get it and she has my sympathy.

I wished I had wise advice to share that would help her make better choices now and feel surer about going through with the surgery, but unfortunately I did not and still do not. Mostly I listened to her talk about her fears, anxieties, self-hatred, and desire for a better or different life and lifestyle. I handed her kleenex as she cried and tried to think of what to say that might make a difference.

In the end, I told her the same thing I said in my own posts – change comes when we want something else far more than the food we want to eat or the exercise we hate. If the process were easy everyone would do it, and none of us would be overweight and suffering from complications related to obesity. For me I am pursuing better health, and that means dramatically increasing my physical activity and radically overhauling my eating habits. For Elyse, I’m not sure what she wants most, what the solution is, and unfortunately, neither is she.

But maybe a first step is being completely honest with herself and the medical team treating her conditions and recommending her for gastric bypass surgery. Until this morning I knew very little about the procedure and the process, and now I know more than I ever desired to know. It’s terrifying, yet so are the alternatives Elyse faces. There are no easy choices in her situation.

I often view this blog as my own little piece of real estate to sort my stuff out, and sometimes my issues and first world problems strike a familiar note with other people and makes them pause and think or inspires them to share their own experiences and ideas. If and when that’s the case, I’m grateful; it seems a shame to waste such navel gazing on just me.

Unfortunately, I am not 100% sure I feel better. I want to help this young woman and am truly not sure I can or if just listening was enough today. She is in my thoughts and has all my hopes and prayers for peace in whatever choices she makes.

It is so perplexing to me how people react to changes, or maybe I just have no clue about what makes people value friendship and community anymore. Maybe this is the world we live in now and I am the one out of sync with this new reality. The relationships I value are because of who the people are on the inside, the quality of their character, not the shape of their bodies, the position of their hairlines, or the thickness of their wallets. I have always strived to be someone who supports those I invite into my life, not someone who throws up barriers or tosses obstacles in the path to keep them from pursuing their goals and succeeding at their objectives. I truly do want people to be happy and content in their own pursuits.

But dang … thoughts of 300 cupcakes is amazing and does make me smile. Especially ones with chocolate cake and something other than a shade of frosting not found in nature.

 

12 thoughts on “Rainbows, unicorns, and 300 cupcakes

  1. Hi Janelle, this isn’t in response to this particular post, but just a general thank you for sharing your life, thoughts, and experiences through your blog. I have been reading for a few years, but don’t think I have ever commented. I’ve been rooting for you through your journey with J and with changing your eating and exercise habits. I have just had my second baby and am finally ready to start getting my old body back (I didn’t feel like doing anything between kids because I figured I was just going to gain 60 lbs again so what was the point – like you wrote, you’re only ready when you’re ready). Reading your posts inspires me to get going. So, I guess what I wanted to say was that even though some folks in your day-to-day life might seem unsupportive of the changes you have been making, ,know that there are probably more folks like me, who read, but don’t comment, who think you are doing awesome.

    • Marcella, welcome and thank you for taking a moment to comment. I know you must be tired and overwhelmed with a new baby and another underfoot, so I’m touched and hugely flattered that you’re reading and following along on my journey.
      While it’s unfortunate that just the naysaying came out, there are so many others who are supportive and encouraging from all over the place. It’s just the discordant notes are so close to home and so surprising; I guess it never occurred to me that doing something so good for me would be such a negative experience for someone else.
      But oh well. Onward.
      Congratulations on your second child and please be kind to yourself as you start thinking and then implementing the changes to drop the baby weight and transform back to where you wish to be. If I can be of assistance or you just need a sounding board to commiserate with, please feel free to stop by anytime or drop me an email. Best wishes and again, THANK YOU for following and reading.

  2. wow. I couldn’t imagine saying something like that to a friend who couldn’t make it to a get together. You have an early start to your day and don’t want to stay up late, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s for the gym or an early day at work. If that was me, I’d be pretty miffed. Probably why I don’t have many friends. haha!

    • I’m starting to feel that way as well, OneFamily. A few years ago we had a bit of a dust-up because I was no on Facebook and had no intention of joining and there was several months of pointed no contact. That blew over, and perhaps this will as well.

  3. Cupcakes!!! Or as I like to think of them a frosting delivery vehicles!
    Your friends don’t like you upsetting the status quo – sad but true. You aren’t filling the same role you used to. I hope they can let go of their issues.
    I am so worried about your friend and the surgery. I understand why she is considering doing it but I know a number of people who have done it without changing their habits and they put weight right back on. The surgery is not foolproof. I hope she is honest with her doctors and delays the surgery until she gets the eating under control at least. Poor thing.

  4. you are reaping life changing benefits. Now Elyse has to decide if she can (or even wants to) tackle those issues. Your friends’ too don’t want the change. You’re different now … your priorities have changed and they are having difficulty accepting them. Give them time to adjust. They’ll eventually understand

  5. WP screwd this up. Let me cut and paste back in what I was trying to say … I love how you come at the “change problem” from so many angles. Yours, Elyse’s, and your friends’. As a species we are always hesitant, it’s our natural ‘go to’ thing. You have made huge changes in your life, and you are reaping life changing benefits. Now Elyse has to decide if she can (or even wants to) tackle those issues. Your friends’ too don’t want the change. You’re different now … your priorities have changed and you are reaping life changing benefits. Now Elyse has to decide if she can (or even wants to) tackle those issues. Your friends’ too don’t want the change. You’re different now … your priorities have changed and they are having difficulty accepting them. Give them time to adjust. They’ll eventually understand

    • Thanks for that wonderful perspective and analysis, Marty. Blogging, I find, is enormously helpful in sorting and processing my stuff, with the added bonus of other people’s ideas and opinions and viewpoints enlarging my focus. Change is hard, for everyone it seems. Patience sometimes seems even harder, and I will just have to keep working at it. 🙂

  6. We already texted about this so you know how I feel. But I do love that they are doing the cupcake cake…I love cupcakes. And I dislike mean people. Hmmm might be time donuts tomorrow but only half of one I promise

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