4.07.2008

I'm done with over-doing

Despite its negative connotation, I, for one, believe in being a little self-indulgent. On occasion and when it doesn’t hurt another being, indulging in your desires, passions, and whims without restraint can be a therapeutic experience.

I remember with great fondness the period in my life after divorce, when I let my pendulum unabashedly swing left for about a year in order to bring myself back to center.

My 10-year marriage had been incredibly difficult. Dean, my husband, slowly and inexplicably developed mental and emotional problems, which, after year 8 of marriage, was finally diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. In periods of mania, Dean would go on wild spending sprees, racking credit card debt in the tens of thousands of dollars on trivial things like baseball caps and psychology books. Moreover, his aggression came out in many ways. He totaled his car, he lost three jobs, he’d would disappear for days on end without explanation. After 9/11 Dean flew to Ground Zero without my knowledge and was arrested for criminal trespassing. And, when he finally came home, he threw me out of the house and called his mother, a registered nurse, who promptly had him hospitalized.

Life was horrible, to be sure. Yet, I never seriously thought of leaving my husband. I could no more divorce him because of mental illness than I would for a physical one. After all, what kind of person would that make me? It didn’t matter that I did not love this man as my husband any longer. Dean hadn’t touched me in five years, and the loneliness was palpable. Still, I believed in the guiding principle of agape love, a godly, self- sacrificing love, which told me to stay in my marriage because it was the ‘right thing to do.’


Even after he was correctly diagnosed and properly medicated, my husband did not return to me. And after a few more years, of Dean going on and off his medication, I inadvertently discovered he was having an affair.

The discovery offered me the greatest relief. I could finally justify to God and my family grounds for separation and divorce. And after all the years of pain and struggle, my husband and I broke up on good terms, remaining friends to this day. Every time we speak, Dean thanks me for what I did to support him during our marriage, and tells me, if the situation were reversed, he could not have done the same for me. But, I already knew that.

In the wake of separation, I started to become resentful of all the years I had wasted because I had foolishly equated putting one’s self first as being selfish and ungodly. Subconsciously, I made it my aim to right the imbalance that had been my life and spent a year pursuing my desires.

I rented a room from a girlfriend, paying her a year in advance. Then, I spent every penny of income and every moment of life pleasing me. I went to five countries in one year, acquired a wardrobe that would make Paris Hilton envious, regularly visited the day spa, dated whoever and did whatever I pleased. This was my year of saying yes, without restraint, and it was the best time in my life until I met Max.

Even though balance has returned to my life, there are still moments and areas where I am self-indulgent. Over the last few months in Germany, back home in the U.S., and during vacation in Italy, food has been my vice of choice. And just as was the case during my year of saying yes, I haven't regretted one delicious morsel or minute. However, my ever-expanding waistline tells me that it’s time to say good-bye to self-indulging and say hello to self-denial if I am ever to get into any of the clothes from my fabulous wardrobe again. And even though I have yet to step on a scale, I guess I have about 15 pounds to lose.

That’s right, people. I’m talking the dreaded four-letter word

…D-I-E-T.

The self-indulgent party is over and the pity party has just begun.

Ugh!

20 comments:

running42k said...

I must say I learned a lot about you in that post.

Don't give up on food! Buy a bike or some running shoes and just wear off those calories instead. Have your cake and eat it too.

Charlotte said...

I'm with Running! I like food far too much to diet (plus I've learnt through sad experience that diets don't work). I'm now a gym bunny, something that I do For Myself and No-one Else, and am loving it.

I loved the photo of Max and you in your last post. You look so happy, and it sounds like from your post today, that it is well-deserved. I'm so pleased you found your soul-mate.

traveler one said...

Trust me-- diets don't work! Just move more!!

And that was a very open hearted post- I really appreciated it.

AmyD said...

Uh oh...this is never fun, but the weather will be nicer, so that should help you along the way! Good luck and just make sure to do this the smart way. I LOVE the South Beach diet...it's like dieting without feeling like it. Either way, hang in there and lean on us (hehehe...Ilene!) if you need to! (((HUGS)))

The Grunt said...

Growing up I had to deal with a father that had mental and physical health problems, so my heart goes out to you for what you had to endure in the past. As for the diet, best of luck!

utenzi said...

Mmmm. Food is wonderful--but like you I have around 15 pounds to lose, Diane. However, unlike you, I don't have the determination yet to lose that nasty weight.

Andrea said...

Don't diet just change your habits. It sounds better that way and might be eaiser to do if it's taken as a lifestyle change rather than a nasty diet.

Thanks for being so open in this post. I can't imagine posting it or those years of life were easy. But it looks like life is pretty darn good now if your pic below with Max is any indication!

ms chica said...

You can simultaneously indulge and take the pounds off. IT means restraining yourself, not denying.

Your support of Dean says a lot about your strength as a person. Max is equally lucky to have you in his life.

Charlotte said...

OMG, hon, I've been in the same situation--my fiance, who then asked me to cancel our wedding almost two years ago, had the same symptoms (even while he was on medication). Except for the cheating with another woman, that is.

As to diet--nah, not worth it. Step up your exercise a bit (it's spring, after all) and increase your veggie intake during meals. This will make you eat less of the fatty or meaty stuff. ;-)

LZ Blogger said...

Diane ~ Ah ha... now it all makes sense! No not the marriage situation and NO NOT THE DIET... but rather why you are standing behind Max in the photo on the previous post! A little self-indulgence is good for us all now and then, but when it becomes more NOW and LESS then… it adds up to... oh say 33 kilos! ~ jb///

egan said...

If you didn't indulge while in Italy I'd be concerned. I'm with most of the commenters above, screw the diet and just get out and about more.

kenju said...

I need to lose at least that much and probably 5 more, but I am terribly self-indulgent, especially when it comes to food. Good luck to both of us!

I think you should pat yourself on the back for standing by Dean through his troubles. I know it was hard, and you think it was lost time, but it has contributed to who you are today - the woman Max loves.

JuneBug said...

first off..your post reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love. the book.

second...girl its all ok honey...D I E T is not a bad word. you have what it takes.

and also, i made my blog private. I dont have your email anymore (not sure why)...so if you want access shoot me an email at txmusicbug@yahoo...

hugs!!

V-Grrrl said...

wow. what a post. i can understand having a sense of frustration and regret about those 'wasted' years but they weren't wasted at all. your marriage failed but you and your ex-husband made it to a good place. you learned to indulge yourself and recognize when you'd gone far enough. and you found another man to love and a marriage to enjoy.

the pounds? that's your expat fat! it'll go. just keep moving.

Cheryl said...

Me too. We can do an online support group.

Essentially Me said...

Wow I'm so sorry to read about your situation. That must've been so hard for you ... I am glad that there was a silver lining and you ended things amicably.

Don't even get me started with diets!

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

You have an incredible story to tell. And it's very admirable that you stayed with your first husband as long as you did...obviously character and commitment are big piece of who you are.

Now, as for self-indulgence through food, I completely understand! Hope the d-i-e-t goes well :)

zerodoll said...

thanks for such an honest post. do what you need for your health, not for clothes. you look wonderful in the photo with max, and it's not just your weight...

karey m. said...

heartbreaking and lovely, all at once.

Dan-E said...

15 pounds? that's nothing. i ate 15 pounds for lunch today. and i don't know about max but i don't mind a girl with a little junk in her trunk. and if max isn't complaining, don't sweat it so much.

don't get me wrong, i can understand wanting to fit into some of your wardrobe (i have some favorite t-shirts that i kept on the bench) but i've seen pictures of you and anybody with a face and smile as nice as yours can relax. you have absolutely nothing to worry about.