Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Princess Discovers a New Relationship Tool: Communication

One might think the significant others in the lives of obese people would be thrilled/overjoyed/totally supportive when their inner-toxic-waste-challenged loved ones embark upon life-changing journeys toward recovery. After all, they have been negatively affected by the weight gain, too, so naturally the weight release could only reverse those effects, right? Not necessarily, my precious flowers. Frequently, they develop their own fears about what their loved ones, once released from poundage prison, will be like. Will they be the same, predictable, comfy partners? Will they still want and need the significants when the obese ones become thin? Will the significants still love them? Solutions on how to deal with these issues need to be developed early on, before secret fears start to manifest real problems. Major conversationage might be called for.

Right before virtually shipping out to Raw Food Boot Camp, I secured a verbal promise, and signed agreement (in accordance with the rules of the program) of support from the primary significant, in my case, Ossie. But, being hypersensitive about his prior decade-delayed reaction to my weight gain (I know, I know…I was responsible for the gain, not him, but if he'd kept his mouth shut about it for a decade, couldn't he have just...), and about the whole weight issue in general, my fat-dar was on Red Alert. From day one, I thought I noticed a certain mopiness when it came to me not eating with everyone. A certain miffedness, when I showed no interest in the nightly, detailed announcement of what he planned to prepare. I even got a sauce-laden wooden spoon shoved in front of my face one evening, the usual proffered pre-dinner taste for homemade spaghetti night, and a display of total disbelief that I wouldn’t partake.

Well… what can I really expect from someone who has sat by and watched me, time after time, fail to persevere with any one of a myriad of manic weight loss attempts? Watched me start to scrabble up that mountain of dietary dilemma, only to repeatedly lose purchase and slip back to settle uncomfortably into the valley of dietary despair? Yeah, yeah, try living it, Oss.

Anyway, here's the thing. I learn about this talking it out thing, and I think, novel idea. Talk about it, huh? You mean, face to face? Could I just send him an edict in an email? Apparently, no, the idea is mutual, real-time communication. Huh. As it turns out, the few times I have experimented with this technique, results have been nothing short of amazing.

For instance, after one little ‘talk’ I discovered he was feeling guilty about eating around me! This led him to feel uncomfortable about replenishing the specific groceries that he and born-second son--and his various friends who drop in-- eat. That could have been a big factor in the grouchy attitude I thought was directed at me. This revelation came about when he came to me, apologizing for caving in and buying meat. Then I had the chance to tell him it didn't bother me one whit, but if he could cut back on his nightly effusiveness over how tasty every single morsel of their meal was, it would be appreciated. He looked surprised, then sheepish, and said, oh-- yeah, you're right-- alright, I won't do that.

So, we seem to be going forward with a better understanding. I admit, I was a little surprised at his forethought, and sensitivity to what he imagined I might be tempted by---albeit mistakenly--- that led him to not buy himself any meat products for a week and a half so as not to impede my progress. You'd have to know him, to realize what a big deal that was...the man is a carnivore extraordinaire...if you cut him, he bleeds steaks.

I felt a little bad myself. Here I'd been so focused on my fruit I never even noticed the presence OR absence of meat and eggs. I told him that his having a chop or a ribeye, or any of the various animal protein he loves to eat, is not affecting me if I don't let it... and so far, up through today, I'm not letting it. I also told him that, to be very truthful, I wasn't that crazy about those foods before I went raw, so they weren't big temptations for me now. He is having a hard time fully believing that, because I apparently did such a smashing job of sublimating my real feelings for quite some time. Guess I can’t blame him, though sometimes I catch myself still trying to. We had gotten into this rut, so sharing food became one of the major daily events in which we bonded. By doing this talking thing everyone is so insistent upon, I found out it was more important to him than I had imagined. I think in his eyes, that was a togetherness time, and evidently that remains important. Double huh.

And again this morning… when I returned from my daily weigh-in at the gym, he was sitting on the front porch, and says, "Look at this! Here is a flyer from Fresh Market, and we can get the whole Thanksgiving meal... [he reads all the different items]... and it feeds six to eight. We just go pick it up at the deli or have them deliver it! Isn't that neat? And it's less time and trouble...then 'we' won't have all that mess either!" WOW...he was thinking about me. Again! Because I always make this huuuuuuuuuge spread, have to start cooking the day before for hours at a whack, get up at the crack of dawn and cook for several more hours straight, and then everybody descends like vultures and it's over in 30 minutes! Except for a couple more hours of cleanup and storing 838 pounds of leftovers.

Here's the other thing. I've made somewhere in the realm of 25 Thanksgiving Day 'feasts'...making sure every one got their favorite recipe, making sure to carry on the generational resurrection of my mother's recipes that her mother used to make, that her mother used to make, that HER mother used-- you got it. Every Thanksgiving, I've approached the day with anticipation and excitement. It is my lifelong favorite food holiday. This is the first year in over a quarter-century, I was not looking forward to it. I hadn't even admitted that to myself. But as soon as Ossie offered, it hit me like a bolt...the relief, and I suddenly thought, I'm free, I'm free, free at last! And Ossie is my redemptor! Oh, hooRAW!

I may want to prepare it again next year, or I just may want to start a new tRAWdition. The important thing is, Ossie is trying to be supportive. He doesn’t know it, but with just these two baby steps, he’s already on better ground with me. OOO-raw, Ossie.

I wonder what ground I’m on with him. Maybe I'll try some more of that new communication thing, and see if I can find out.

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