Mistakes & Lessons

There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. A lesson will be repeated until it is learned.

I have two kinds of pants. Maybe you can relate. I have pants that are slightly too large and pants that fit correctly. The latter are what I wear most days; the former are for really just there for days I need to wear something a little more loose, a little more comfy, a little confidence-building when I look down and see them sagging a bit. I put a pair of these slightly too large pants on Monday morning and was distressed to see them cinching the cellulite on my upper thighs, too snug for the first time since I purchased them. I was distraught.

As I wrote in my last post, I need to move on from a place of strict calorie counting and obsessive weigh-ins for my mental health. I struggle with finding balance between my weight loss efforts and being able to enjoy life and this struggle always culminates with weight gain, depression and despair.  While my mental state lately has been vastly improved, my physical one has deteriorated in-kind. Balance simply doesn’t seem to exist, rather, I careen wildly between two extremes.

Yesterday, still reeling a bit from Monday’s big, tight pants, I was talking with a coworker and I remembered a phrase I’d learned years ago while undergoing treatment for my eating disorder. The quote originated in Robin S. Sharma’s book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” and was expanded upon by my therapist. She said, “There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. A lesson will be repeated until it is learned.” Remembering this phrase, speaking it to my coworker, I suddenly felt awash with nervous energy – the quote was resonating with me like it never had before.

Is that why I lose and regain weight this way? Is that why I feel doomed to repeat myself, to start over time and time again? Is that why I get on a roll, get so close to my goal only to start sabotaging myself an backtracking? Is it because I haven’t learned whatever lesson lies within my obesity? I’m not writing this entry because I’ve had some epiphany, I’ve stumbled across long-elusive, profound answers to my questions. Quite the contrary – all I have found are questions. And, yet, I feel that finding these questions may be a beginning. My questions go something like this:

Did I learn the lessons at some point? Did I forget the knowledge gleaned?

Did I never learn the lesson at all?

I feel, on one hand, that I may know what the lessons to be learned from my weight gain are: lessons in empathy for others, lessons in loving oneself and caring for oneself, lessons in making yourself happy above all others. Then again, I don’t know that I have ever actually learned those lessons or if I have just faked it – like when you know the answer a teacher is looking for, regardless of whether or not you truly understand the material. Was I winging it, bull-shitting my way through life?  When I think to the moments of self-righteousness I have felt amidst my weight loss success; the judgement I’ve felt when I saw someone who was in exactly the same situation that I was once in and I thinking about slapping the Venti Caramel Frappuccino with extra Whip out of their hands “for their own good”; when I have regained 30 pounds but still find that voice in my head being preachy to others on what they should eat, how they should exercise; when I internally smugly relish in the weight gain of someone I don’t particularly like  … when I think of all these things, I think it is quite impossible that I have actually learned a damned thing other than how to be a conceited, holy-than-thou bitch.

Then again, maybe the lesson is something completely different from the one I’ve assumed it to be. Maybe it is more about finding the balance I so blatantly lack. Maybe it’s something I haven’t yet thought of. Maybe it’s all of the above. I don’t know. I feel like I don’t know anything – but I suspect that I am repeating this lesson once again, like having to take college math for the third time after dropping and failing twice in the past. A lesson will be repeated until it is learned.