Friday, December 29, 2017

I'd Rather Be Fat Than Crazy: A Farewell Note to 2017

For 8 months I had mostly refused to buy myself any clothes.  The days and months after having a baby are full of change and uncertainty.   I had been down this road before and my bulging closet was proof of the varying sizes I had been over the last 7 years.  Why should I waste the money? I had lost weight before and would get where I wanted to be eventually.  What I had should cover my needs.  But my little race car's pregnancy was almost entirely different than the others and that included my weight gain.  I carried him differently and thus gained more weight in certain areas and not as much in others.  Plus, he was 10 pounds!  That meant more skin stretched further and more time for it to return to 'normal' if that's even possible!  Weight-loss this time around was more complicated because of stress, more physical healing, and three kids!  Tired of my fits of frustration while getting ready to go anywhere, Mr. Butler finally insisted that I go buy clothes that fit and would make me comfortable.

So, as I tried on clothes in the dressing room of Kohl's, I found myself repeating, "I'd rather be fat than crazy.  I'd rather be fat than crazy." over and over in my head.   Everything was either too big up top or too small on the bottom so dresses seemed to be out of the question. My pride screamed at me that I should be further along than I was in my weight-loss and recovery, but if there is one thing I gained this last year it's perspective.  About a year after miss Z was born, I physically and emotionally burned out.  In a nut-shell, I was overcome with sometimes immobilizing and unreasonable anxiety.  I remember being so afraid that I would never be able to enjoy my kids or even be up to having another one because of the hold it all had on me.  Fast forward 3 years and through the year we just had - full of stress, loss, challenges, but nothing like the problems I had before - and I can see things much clearer.   

I hate being uncomfortable in my own skin.  The extra weight just serves as a  reminder of the unhealthy side effects of stress, sleep deprivation and life changes.  All of this can be such a tool of the devil in my life.  I think all the insecurity of life that most people can feel is the devil's biggest tool sometimes.  But in the day to day, satan is defeated with perspective. Yes, I couldn't fit into things the same way yet, but I wasn't terrified of getting out of bed.  I was able to enjoy my kiddos and think clearly and sanely.

This year gave me the most fun, lovable, and good-natured little boy I have ever met.  Seriously, my race car is always looking for someone to smile at!  Not only that, but he is 100% healthy after a scare early on.  I survived the death of one of my dogs.  Not a big deal to most, but it was a day that I had dreaded since we brought Grace home almost 11 years ago.  This year was a huge financial burden, but it could have been so much worse.  I wish I was skinnier.  I wish we had never had to spend the second week of the race car's life in the hospital.  I wish my dog was still alive and chasing frisbees.  I wish our savings were built up rather than being drained by medical bills and car purchases. But I'd rather be afloat, than drowning in debt.  I'd rather be grieving a sweet dog than causing her pain and suffering.  I'd rather have an emergency room experience than risk the health of a fantastic little soul. And yes, I'd rather be fat than crazy!

Our perception (and opinion) of ourselves is such a complicated and fleeting thing.  In some ways, it just doesn't matter, but in other ways, if it's not satisfactory, it can change the course of our life.  I found clothes that fit and that made me more comfortable.  So go me, I guess, but more importantly it allowed me to recognize how we cope with the ugly and hard things in life.  There are days, months and in our case years of life that are full of exactly what we never wanted.  So then what?  We can quit and let the devil ruin the good gifts the Lord brings.  Or we can be thankful for what is and wait patiently for the good the Lord is bringing through it all.  As 2018 closes, I think of it like that high school nemesis that was always beating you out of things.  2017 was just wretched to me, but without it, there are so many things I would not have gained.  So for that, I say a fond farewell to 2017.
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