Change sucks. To be fair, MOST of the changes I’ve had to make in my life ended up being really good for me. But those first few weeks of getting used to something new are incredibly hard emotionally, mentally and sometimes physically.
Four weeks ago Master Jason told me he was not attracted to me physically anymore. I was crushed. I know I’ve put on weight, I know I need to lose weight, but to hear it put so… bluntly… hurt. He said that my lack of motivation, my current state of depression and the added weight were causing him to seriously consider leaving me. He said that being married to someone who didn’t seem to have any real goals in life, and wasn’t working on any was “embarrassing” and that he was tired of it.
Now some of you might be thinking Master Jason is a horrible person for saying those things to me. And at the time, I would have agreed. And I still think he could have said it more gently, but then again… maybe he’d been trying to be gentle about it in the past and I just didn’t listen to him. For the past 5 years he has tried to get me to workout more, bought me a treadmill so I didn’t have to run in the super cold or super heat of New York winters and Texas summers, bought me countless weight loss programs (DVD’s, fitness trackers, random fitness gear, etc) and spent money on workout clothes, tools, shoes, etc. And every time I would get started, I ended up giving up pretty quickly. Part of this may be because of my ADHD. Part of it is because of my depression (it comes and goes, thankfully it’s not as bad as it once was but there have definitely been some dark times where I just wanted cookies and sleep instead of exercise and salads).
After telling me all of this, he left for work. I wasn’t sure if he was going to come home or not. I was devastated, broken, and extremely angry. How dare he dump that kind of news on me and then just go off to work like nothing was wrong! How dare he tell me I was failing at life! That I was an embarrassment to him! Had he not seen how much I have accomplished in the past five years?!
I bounced between crying my eyes out and being angry enough to want to throw things (but I didn’t throw things. Mostly because I’d have to then clean up those things and any mess they made along their flight path). The crazy part is that all of this came out about a week after I’d started going back to therapy. I can’t help but wonder if he understood that the meds I had just been put on (for ADHD and for depression) take about 2 weeks to work fully (at least, that’s how long it takes my body to get used to them and for real progress to be made). And in that first week I had a meltdown and confessed to him that I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere in life. In my darkest moment, he listened to what I’d said and then turned it on me and used it against me as a list of reasons he was no longer attracted to me. Fury boiled in my veins. I vowed to change, but not for him. I vowed to lose the weight, but not for him. I vowed to get back on track with school, but not for him. I was going to do all of this stuff for me. Fuck him. Fuck his words. Fuck his lack of attraction to me. I don’t need him. I need to be in a place where I can stand on my own two feet and thrive whether I’m alone or attached. I need to be my own person.
I went for a run. I had already been planning to start running again and I had already marked that day as my first day to go for a run. I took that fury running through my blood and I hit the pavement with it. I ran fast. I ran far. And then I walked. And then I ran. I did the couch to 5k day one (which is what I had been planning on doing anyway because I like how it eases me into running). I turned on a “break up songs” playlist full blast and I just ran. When my run was over, I came home and looked up various stretching routines. I refused to even log in to the messenger program Master Jason and I use to chat on while he’s at work. I didn’t want to speak to him. I wasn’t ready to speak to him.
I talked with my galpals. I called my mom. I called my therapist and made an appointment for the next day. I sat down and I drew up a list of things that needed to be done if Master Jason was actually leaving me, who I needed to call, what I needed to prepare for, etc. I emailed a lawyer friend in Los Angeles and asked for references to divorce attorneys up here in San Francisco and marriage counselors (since some attorneys have the numbers to both stored away just in case). I researched “Husband wants a divorce” and “Husband says I’m too fat” on Google and read through countless blogs from other women who were in my situation.
Because I was back on my ADHD medication, after I had finished all of this it was only 12pm and I still had several hours to kill before the kids came home and even longer before Master Jason was due back home. I called my primary care physician and set up an appointment with him so that I could make sure that whatever weight loss journey I set myself on next was doctor approved. Then I cleaned the fuck out of the house. I swept, mopped, dusted, polished, and organized until the garage door sounded and I knew someone was home from school. Then I started dinner prep. By the time Master Jason finally came home I was too tired to think straight and definitely too tired to argue. I tried very hard not to glare at him or say something hurtful and I put in my earplugs and just went to bed.
The next day I met with my therapist. We talked about my plan. We discussed my plans for if Master Jason was serious and decided to leave me and if he was just voicing his opinion but had not actually decided to leave me just yet. I made a plan to swing by the local community college near me and sign up for classes this spring (on the off chance that I’m still here in California) and I made a plan to call a couple of lawyers and get some sound advice. Then I went to my regular doctor and had a complete blood workup done. We tested for everything. He said I would get the results back in about 4 weeks (which is now, my appointment is this week actually) and he mentioned that my thyroid felt a little large and so he was ordering extra tests for that. He said that my goal to lose 2 pounds a week was certainly doable but that it would be HARD and suggested that I aim for 1 pound a week instead, but I was determined. I told him that if he was giving me his “okay” I was going to aim for those 2 pounds a week. I understood just how difficult it was going to be. I’ve been here before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this determined to lose the weight before. He asked what had me so motivated. I narrowed my eyes and sat up straighter and said “I need to prove my husband wrong.” and he laughed and said he had no doubt I would do just that.
When Jason came home from work that day we sat down and talked. I told him that if he was serious about leaving me, I needed a date of when he planned to move out. If he wanted to work on this, then I had the numbers to several marriage counselors we could go to. I explained everything I had learned from my research on divorce in California. I explained my plans (both with and without him) and I told him I was enrolling in school full time this spring, but that obviously I can’t go back full time if we’re not together. I asked that he give me one more chance. I did not beg. I did not fall apart. I did not cry. I presented what I’d learned, what I’d already accomplished and then I shut up and listened to him talk. I did not allow my emotions to control my reactions to what he said. (Thankfully, my therapist had upped my Prozac dose just a tad so that I could be comfortably numb for this conversation. I knew that being overly emotional was NOT going to work for me).
He admitted to being blunt and harsh in his comments. He said he didn’t want to give up just yet but that if I didn’t make some serious changes he didn’t feel like he had another option available to him. He admitted that I am not 100% at fault for our lack of communication lately or our marital issues. He said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to counseling together just yet, but that he would continue to pay for me to go to therapy on my own (and at this point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to marriage counseling with him just yet either. I was still mad, I wasn’t sure I could sit in a room with him and a therapist and listen to anything other than my own anger rumbling in my ears). In the state of California you have to be separated for at least six months before you can get a divorce (in most situations). We agreed that we were not financially ready for that step and that we definitely did not want to upset the children with that kind of move until we were sure this was over and since neither of us was actually sure the relationship was truly over, we decided to stick it out and figure it out for the time being.
It has been four weeks since that day. I have stuck to my guns and run every other day. The only time I skipped a run was when I was extremely exhausted and knew that if I pushed myself, I was going to regret it. I slept for 14 hours that day and then 12 hours the next day and then got back on schedule and ran the day after that.
I have stuck to a very strenuous diet. I stopped eating simple carbs (no rice, no potatoes, no pasta, and very, very little bread/flour if any at all). I aimed for and stuck to a diet goal of 1,500 calories per day. I stopped eating any exercise calories I had “earned back”. I played around with different recipes that called for mostly vegetables like spinach, zucchini, squash and broccoli. I ignored the urge to point out every little success to Master Jason. I was not sharing them with him. I couldn’t. If he didn’t celebrate them with me, or notice them on his own, I refused to be crushed by that. I made a point to be more than just civil around him. I made a point to be friendly, but not desperate. I made daily schedules for myself and stuck to them. I kept going to therapy, I stuck to taking my meds every day and I kept the house practically spotless. I filled every non-run day with enough tasks or naps that I didn’t really have free time to fall apart and on run days I was too tired to fall apart.
I read books on ADHD and being organized. I read books on Asperger’s and marriage (Master Jason has Asperger’s, I have ADHD). I read Runner’s World Magazine and their book “The Beginner’s Guide to Running”. I read about diet, fitness, exercise, healthy eating. I joined several groups dedicated to weight loss, progress photos and healthy recipes on Reddit. I took photos of my body at the beginning before I’d even gone for my first run, and again two weeks later, and again two weeks after that (yesterday). I kept track of my calories, my weight, my measurements.
It has been four weeks and I have lost 22 pounds. Master Jason says he’s proud of me. He says he’s finding himself more attracted to me now. I am only half listening though. I know in my heart that what he said to me four weeks ago will take a long time to recover from. I know that he was being honest and for that I guess I’m grateful, but it still hurts to think about. So I don’t focus on that. I focus on where I am going from here. I have a plan: get fit, get my degree, figure it out from there. Prove that I can do this, with or without him. Get to a point where I am independent enough that if I choose to stay, it’s because I WANT to stay and not because I NEED to.
I am proud of my progress. I am proud of how far I have come. I am proud of the woman I am becoming. It isn’t easy to hear that you’re not the person your lover wants you to be, or hopes you would be. It wasn’t easy to hear that I had let myself get to a point where he didn’t find me attractive any more. It certainly wasn’t easy admitting that he was right and admitting that I had let myself go. And it sure as fuck wasn’t easy sticking to a strict diet or getting out there every other day and running, rain or shine, cold or hot. But I’m doing it!
I don’t know where we will be in the coming years. I can’t really focus on that right now. I am choosing to focus on what I can change right now. So far it’s working for me.