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'Cause It's so Easy to Say that You'll Forget Your Past

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't panic; the song isn't about Mr. J and me. Rather, it's about my original running sneakers and me.

I ran an incredibly rainy 5K 10 days ago. So rainy, so wet, so icky that I ended up with moldy sneakers.

No amount of washing seemed to be able to fix them, so out they went. The replacements aren't so hot so I will buy the absolutely correct New Balance number and not vary again, ever, under pain of death.

God help me if they ever retire that number, 758.

But I'm okay for now.

Anyway, I wanted to really write about forgetting your past.

Or, rather, not doing that, if you can.

I think photographs are astoundingly important, particularly the bad, "before" shots.

So many of us have so few of them. We gave up on our appearances. And the people who loved to photograph us gave up on doing just that, too.

Invisible, we came out briefly for major parties and then turned turtle and retreated to our caves. You know the cave. It's the place with the Pringles and anything made by Hostess or Little Debbie.

Caves. Quiet. Dark. Damp. Musty. And the best word of all: dank.

There's nothing nice about dank. It's chilly and moist and smelly and just plain awful.

And we lived there, in those dank surroundings, and we self-medicated with food and inertia and we sat in the dark and wondered why no one ever came over to switch on the lights for us.

Because, you see, we simply could not do so for ourselves.

And then you fast forward, and you hit today, and things are different, and the cave is a distant memory and you meet someone new and you find yourself playing along with their belief that you were always this way. It was ever so.

And if someone crosses your paths who is overweight, and your new friend says, Oh, I could never be like that, you nod involuntarily. No, not you. That could never be you.

Oh, but wait, it was. And that person, that nameless person, looks out to you, and their eyes reflect the cave.

If you are honest with yourself, you bring yourself up short. That cave. You've been there. You know it. You've lived there.

And if you are really honest, you tell your new friend, I can understand, because I have been there.

Last week, I went out to lunch with a friend I had not seen since before I started my journey. We had a lovely time, and after the initial "You look great!"s by her, she told me something I never knew about her before.

She had not always been thin. She had been heavy in High School, and had ended up with an eating disorder. It was a long time ago. She was better now, healthy and happy. And felt even better to be able to tell one more person.

Because bulimia was her own personal cave.

The amazing thing about the caves is, if you bring them out and into the light, they lose their power. They become just another place. They loosen their grips and become just another phase of your existence.

So you need to acknowledge them, to remember them. To tell the world: this was me. I wasn't always like this. And I remember and I acknowledge and I embrace it because without it I am not here today.

It's so easy to say that you'll forget your past.

But you shouldn't.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What a great blog. You very much hit the nail on the head. I don't want to be in this place anymore and am taking steps to seal it up!!

    4020 days ago
    Onward and upward into the light.
    Shadows are part of it ...we need them to remind us which way we are going.

    4020 days ago
    That's right - remembering in order to PROGRESS is a fantastic idea. There are other ways to not forget our caves, destructive ways, that we can avoid too!

    You're so insightful Janet!
    4026 days ago
    Still in the cave... I'm going to get fresh pictures taken this week. I think that might be the way out of the cave...

    4026 days ago
    Another good blog
    4027 days ago
    This is a great blog -- I can definitely relate to not having mnay "before" photos -- I wouldn't let anyone with a camera near me, and always played the photographer role, so that I could hide behind my own camera. I HATED the me I saw in pictures because the camera didn't lie, but I was lying to myself everyday. I'm not sure that the cave metaphor works for me, but I understand it. I was the "victim" in so many ways and when I started losing weight, running, setting goals and meeting them, I took charge of my own life in so many other ways. Sometimes I see people I want to coax out of their own "caves" but I know that they need to do it on their own time and in their own way!
    4027 days ago
    Never gonna forget. Never going back into that dank dreary cave. I have a few dark corners still, but some of those are homely and cosy and I don't mind those. Simply brilliant, my friend. I adore your blogs! emoticon
    4027 days ago
    Wow! Great post. I understand that cave; been in and out of it several times now. But this is what I had to do to get where I am now! No more dark and damp for done with that!

    Best to you!
    4027 days ago
    Awesome post! You are right, we can never forget that "other" person we used to be. To forget the past is to repeat it in the future.
    4027 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4749243
    It's true, we all have caves as DMPRIDER notes. Some, I venture to say, have even been nice places in some ways---not always dank but filled with amazing corners and lovely stalagtites--but still places we shouldn't have been and don't want to go again.

    Here's to new sneakers and new insights! emoticon
    4027 days ago
    I've actually started carrying around "before" pictures along with my spark cards, because people glaze over when it comes up in conversation that I've lost 149 lbs. It happened just yesterday in Walmart when I was shopping for a couple new bras, with the lady giving out the numbers and unlocking the cubicles...

    And Saturday the woman who cuts my hair and has known me for at least the last 5-6 years showed she's already forgotten how big I used to be, because we were talking about kayaking and outdoor activities, and she asked if I'd tried the climbing wall at Cornell. WHAT?! I just spun around and looked at her and said, "You cut my hair last December, so I KNOW you know what size I used to be - I was over 300 lbs... There wasn't any way I was doing any climbing!"

    How soon we forget...
    4027 days ago
    Nice blog! Thanks for sharing!

    4027 days ago
    Simply GREAT blog. I carry a before pic with me everywhere I go. Remembering my "cave" keeps me motivated to move forward and not go back.
    4027 days ago
    Great blog. I have a similar attachment to my dance sneakers. Bloch better not ever retire that model!
    4027 days ago
    Wow, great blog. I think we can have caves of many kinds, not always related to our appearance. I'm still working my way out of mine. Thanks!
    4027 days ago
  • KARBIE18
    Great blog! I have no doubt that I will NEVER forget. I have been very sneaky about avoiding the camera, but the few "before" pictures I have make me very proud about how far I've come.

    Thanks for sharing. You definitely have a way with words.

    4027 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3248497
    Again a great blog. You know I don't let myself forget. This year has been sO hard for me with my journey. And in June, I just forgot and let myself go. Gained tons of weight, & then this fall I was like "EB, what's wrong with you, you are not happy. Did you forget all the hard work you put in, how you used to feel, how heavy you were?" And of course I "forgot", or more like push it in the back of my mind. But now I remember & always remind myself that hard work may never end.
    4027 days ago
    Oh Jespah, this blog is so full of compassion and understanding. It takes a lot of courage to shed light on our caves, I'm not completely out of mine yet. Working on it though. And your reminder of other caves in my past gives me hope I will get out of this one. Thanks.
    4027 days ago
    I so needed to read this today! I have been spending my weekends with cookies and ice cream and it isn't any fun!

    I am coming back out of the cave today!!!

    P.S. I wear 749's and if they discontinue them I may just cry!

    4027 days ago
  • KARVY09
    Beautiful blog, Jes. I'll never forget where I've come from because it makes me stronger. And with every 5K I run, I'll remember the girl who could barely make it up the steps to her apartment without panting.

    Thank you for this!

    4027 days ago
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