My mum often quotes the movie Pollyanna, in particular, the Pollyanna principle. If you cast your mind back you can probably remember what it refers to. In the children’s novel (and film) the young orphan Pollyanna plays – what she calls – the Glad Game, which involves finding something to be positive about in every situation. Though I don’t remember the movie/book well, I do recall her positivity being tested, but (of course) in the end her optimistic nature prevails.
My mother has been dealt a number of challenges over the past 10-15 years in particular. My father has had a cardiac arrest, followed by a heart transplant. On top of this, the life-saving operations and medications he is on have awarded him vascular dementia (he has no short term memory) and now a rare type of cancer attacking those with suppressed immune systems. They are staying with me at the moment while my father undergoes radiation therapy for his cancer. I can see my mother is exhausted – physically, mentally and emotionally. But, she is a Christian woman (unlike her heathen children) and resolute in her faith. And… she tries to play the Glad Game. In fact, she often apologises for her very understandable down-times or her ‘Pity Parties’, a term she gleaned from her many readings on dementia and those that care for sufferers.
I, on the other hand, am full of self pity (and self loathing). Although I have a good life – okay job, nice apartment, relatively okay health – I focus on the negative. I hate my job; others have done better career-wise than I have; I can’t lose weight and I’m tired of trying (note that I do recognise that my problem is motivation and commitment, not some medical condition!); I am tired of paying off a mortgage and dealing with bills on my own; I am tired of being single; and I cannot believe I may/will not have children.
I am excellent at playing the victim. Poor me. I rant and rave so that my friends sympathise with me, or feel sorry for me. But I always wonder what next? Sure my final two best friends to pair off must realise how hard it still is for me being single, but what else do I expect from them? And, sure they know I want a partner and a family but if / when they become pregnant, do I really expect them not to be happy because they are achieving something I have long wanted but not been able to achieve myself?
I blame my weight for many of my problems, but I do realise I may have similar problems even if I was slim or even less-fat. Perhaps I would still be single and childless. Perhaps I would still be unhappy in my job and wonder why I haven’t scaled ladder to the heady heights of success like others I see.
In my last posts I talked about my resolution / goal to lose weight and not spend another year SO overweight. Very cliched I know, cos frankly who doesn’t have that as a resolution in some guise?! But, as it happens, my weight issues are integral to the rest of my life so it needs to remain in place as my primary focus for the year ahead (again).
But, I am on track though I have really struggled the last three days to refrain from consuming carbohydrates. And, I have had alcohol – which I know is pure sugar. But, my weaknesses are potatoes, rice and pasta (I don’t like bread) and I have had none of those. So… so far so good, although I will have to resist the temptation to ‘relax’ my dietary behaviour over the weekend (and New Year’s Eve).
I was reading over a couple of older posts before writing this one today and am horrified at my negativity. Not just in a ‘poor little me’ way, but I can sense the undercurrent of rage simmering beneath the surface. I jokingly talk about myself as a pessimistic cynic or a cynical pessimist and I pride myself on this. I am always prepared for the worst and not surprised when things work out badly. But, is that who I really want to be? If the rest of my life is fucked, do I really want to be such a misery-guts as well?
I know suddenly becoming more zen-like and evolved is a tall order, but like the life coaches and therapists who promote positive self messages / self talk, I will start by being less negative in my posts. I will attempt – at least while posting in this blog – to play the Glad Game. Having said that, part of me already worries about being perceived as overly confident or self-satisfied when writing about myself and my behaviour in such a positive light, but I will have to stifle those concerns as I think of happy and optimistic things to say.
That New Year’s resolution will start now.
I get a big tick for two days of low-carb eating and a big tick for attending pilates (successfully) this morning. And… I should congratulate myself for signing up for two lessons next week also. Although I haven’t done any cardiovascular exercise, I will contact my walking buddy next week to see if she wants to restart. And, though I am not looking forward to my return to work, I will acknowledge that it is much easier to stick to healthy daytime eating and minimal evening alcohol consumption when I am busy at work and needing to be alert(ish).
There you go, look at me – a veritable Pollyanna. I’ll be inserting smiley faces into my posts before I know it.