Two weeks or so ago I wrote about how I came to terms with being sorted into Slytherin, which you can read here. But before that nasty little business with Ravenclaw (see the previous post), the real story that I wanted to get to about embracing being a Slytherin is that it might be saving my life.
That last sentence was only a little bit hyperbole.
After I got married, I slowly started to put on weight, as I think is pretty common. But after my daughter was born, I gained weight more rapidly. This is something that did not happen overnight and there are a thousand different factors, but one of the main factors is that I always put myself last.
I was so busy taking care of all of my external responsibilities- making sure I was the BEST mother, the BEST wife, the BEST friend, the BEST therapist, etc, etc, that I forgot to take the BEST care of me that I possibly could. I didn’t listen to my own advice to others- that if I didn’t take care of myself, I couldn’t do my BEST at anything.
I passed all of the usual indicators that make people take notice and take action- numbers on a scale, BMI, moving from regular clothes stores to plus sized clothes stores, taking medication for high blood pressure, taking medication for high cholesterol, seeing multiple family members go through major heart surgeries. None of those did the trick.
What really got me was that the pain in my lower back was so bad I couldn’t do simple things like walk to the end of the block so my kid could ride her bike without excruciating pain. That and the humiliation I felt when I was too big to ride several of the rides with my daughter at Legoland. What got me is that my health was impacting my ability to fully engage in and enjoy the world with my daughter.
But still. I felt powerless over this element of my life. I have never had a healthy relationship with food or exercise- not even when I was thin and LOOKED healthy. I have been very successful in many things in my life- but never that. And I felt afraid of change.
And then one day in September last year, when I was trying to figure out WHY I couldn’t get a handle on this, I said, “Fuck that- You are a Slytherin. There is NOTHING you can’t do if you don’t put your mind to it.”
And so I did.
I called my doctor the next day and made an appointment. I have been taking medication to help, but more importantly, eating healthier and exercising. Little lifestyle changes that are becoming bigger. In 5 months I have lost 40 pounds, which is great- but what is better is that I FEEL better. I have energy. I can do things again. I can walk miles now- much father than the end of the block. I enrolled my daughter and myself in martial arts classes. Last week I even started bringing my walking shoes to work with me in case I am able to slip away for a bit.
By taking care of myself, I am being a better mother, a better wife, a better therapist, a better friend- a better me- and hopefully one that will be around for a long time.
When I start to get frustrated or disappointed, I use a little self-talk and remind myself that I am a Slytherin- that I can do this. You just watch me. But- when I indulge- which I do on occasion and without guilt (this is a lifestyle I’m living- not a diet) don’t even think about saying anything to me or raising an eyebrow. Remember- I am a Slytherin- I will bite and I have sharp fangs.