This very slow process calls for attention to detail and being conscious. It calls to me to be patient- ha! That’s not one of my strong suits which is apparently why I’ve been blessed with this opportunity. Yeah, I’ll admit, there’s some sarcasm dripping from that last sentence. There are days when I don’t want to fully embrace the blessing of this struggle. I’m sitting here trying to work but distracted for my need to share one such insight that came about from being conscious.
Last week I was getting some left overs to eat. The container I took out had enough for several servings. I grabbed a bowl to warm some of it up and as I did, I looked at the container debating whether to put the whole thing in to warm it up. Then I became present to the voice “You don’t NEED all that!”. Oh, how glad I am that I heard her. I heard her venom and disgust. I heard her judgement. I heard the nasty, food controlling, dieting, restrictive bitchiness about her. I heard her and I smiled and I said- “actually, I don’t WANT all this and there’s a difference.” and I smiled. Truly I smiled. Standing in my kitchen I grinned like I’d heard a great joke!
I smiled because I heard her. You know she’s been following me around since I was told “but you have such a pretty face”. She’s been following me around since I was put on my first diet at a young age. She’s been there for every failure; perceived and realized. However, she’s been in the shadows. Kind of like knowing there’s something in the fog but not being able to clearly see it so you feel it’s in your imagination. HA! She is in my imagination but she showed herself. She showed herself and she was exorcised- and she will be exorcised again and again and again and again. Each time she shows up and I’m conscious to notice I will tell her to be gone! The next step is telling her with love to be gone. Right now I feel anger about the nastiness of the voice. I could lie about it but that does no good. I know she had her time and her purpose. I just know that she’s no longer needed. I have other ways to cope and do what needs to be done. I know that this is just a shadow as I head towards the light of recovery.
My growth partner has shared the words of Geneen Roth with me many times. The basic meaning of what she shared is that you eat how you live and you live how you eat. I’ve heard her (my growth partner) say this to me many times in the past year or so. I got it intellectually but this past week I GOT IT in my bones.
I’ve been in the inquiry about the men I choose to let into my life and date. I was questioning why I’ve chosen who I’ve chosen in the past 10 years or so. Why do I keep choosing men who are unavailable in some way: distance, emotionally or they just plain don’t want a relationship beyond FWB? Last week one of my friends commented that I have men who treat me like shit. Another friend shared she really feels they are men who just don’t give back. These comments and my own thoughts were brewing for a few days. Then I was in the shower and I had a BFO- a Blinding Flash of the Obvious. Holy crap. I choose my men like I choose my food. They might look good, they sound good, and even taste good in the moment but they give me nothing of value in return. One doesn’t feed my soul and the other doesn’t feed my body. I choose to continue to put empty in my life which is why I am never full. I stood in the shower and cried with that realization. Yes. I got it. I eat how I live and live how I eat. No value in those relationships. No value in the foods I choose to eat. I’m not sure where this realization will lead but it’s just another layer that I’ve peeled away.
This journey with my relationship with food and myself has seemingly taken many side roads and the reality is I’m right where I need to be. I’ve been quiet lately because there are times when the work feels too cumbersome to share. I also select what I share because for the past year or more I’ve wanted to censure the types of comments I get back. You see- this journey is not about food even though it’s about food. What I mean by that is when I’ve shared my challenges I’ve gotten comments back from others about trying different diets, food plans and exercises. Those comments were such emotional triggers for me that I did my best to avoid them and that, at times, meant not to share. This road I’m taking is about looking in at me and who I am to myself and for myself. The food I choose is indicative of the love I feel for myself. Therefore, points, calories and restriction won’t change a thing.
A few days ago, I figured out how I could ask people to support me on this journey if they felt to inclined. That’s simply to ask- how is your journey going? You see- there is no destination. This has been a life long journey for me and it will continue to be so. I hope that the words that I share make a difference for you in your own journey.
I’m wondering when I learned to settle for the crumbs in life. The thought came in the arena of dating and men and that thought was like dropping a pebble in a pond; it rippled out. When I look back at my dating and love life, I’ve settled for men who couldn’t or wouldn’t be fully present. I settled for what I could get- the crumbs. That thought begged me to look at my life as a whole.
When did I decide or believe or learn that all I deserved were the bits that others left behind or could offer? When did I choose to start allowing myself to settle for just what I could get rather than demanding and dreaming of a full, rich, passionate life? From the outside looking in, my life is great. Let’s face it: my life IS great. AND there’s a level of settling that happens. I don’t know exactly when I chose that route. I’m writing this entry because it’s the start of this thought process.
You might be wondering- What does this have to do with food and disordered eating? The connection I see is that the processed, nutrient deficient food I choose to eat is like settling for crumbs. It doesn’t nourish or do anything positive for my body. At some point, way back when, I started to use these foods as a compensation for what I wasn’t getting. I’m hoping in this journey I get to the point where I can access that little girl who made those decisions and figure out her thoughts.
As I type, they are starting to shine through like rays of sunshine through clouds. I get glimpses. Except they feel more like a darkness because sunshine brings smiles and I don’t feel like smiling about this. I have few memories of childhood but ironically I remember a lot of moments of soothing myself with food. One in particular that’s coming up as I type this is of my father’s second marriage. I snuck into the kitchen to eat some of my grandmother’s Sweedish meatballs. I felt so out of place there in a room full of happy, celebrating adults. I’d like to think it was a happy occasion but I know my mother wasn’t happy about this and had unwillingly let me go and participate. I can only imagine that I’d felt stuck between my mother’s happiness and my father’s happiness. My mission as a little girl was to get their love. Sometimes they were the crumbs of love in the midst of what was happening in my families’ lives. (I’m using the plural considering my father one family and my mother another.) Ah yes- here it is- the tears have arrived.
Wow. I needed that cry to feel the compassion for my little girl who just wanted to be loved. I was and I was loved by two young parents who were still growing up themselves. In that situation, I did the best I could picking up the crumbs of what I could get as they lived their lives and gave me what they could. I’m totally aware that my parents did the best they knew how. I believe people do better when they know better. I, too, did my best. I found solace in the cookie, the cake, the chips- any foods that were salty or sweet.
I’m no longer a little girl at the mercy of what others can give me. I’m an adult who can choose and choose I will. When I know better, I do better. Thanks for reading.
Life is pretty interesting. Actually- it’s VERY interesting. There are times when I just don’t know what my insight will be and when it will show up. After writing that, I realized I NEVER know when they will. As a single person, I think about dating and why I’m single and all that kind of stuff. When someone asks me why I’m single, I have my pat answers. 1) I was taking some time to heal and grow- ok- a long time to heal and grow. 2) I’m not interested in settling. and 3) There are fewer men interested in larger women than smaller women. Those were my stories and I was sticking to them.
Last night I had a realization about judgement- my OWN judgement. I say that there are fewer men interested in larger women BUT what hit me upside the head last night was that it’s my judgement about it. I think-” what would a well built, hot man want in me- a fat chick? He’s obviously interested in physical fitness. blah, blah, blah.” I started to cry when this voice came to me. Yeah, I’ve heard it before and I BELIEVED it before. I’ve been believing it FOREVER and saying it to myself for just as long. Yes, with that language and language that’s worse or even more judgmental. Ever since I read those girly magazines at 11-12 years old and saw that men must want women built like that. All the name calling in school. All the “but you have such a pretty face” comments. ALL of that has just fed that belief. (ha ha- pun was not intended) The tears were of relief that I didn’t have to buy into this story anymore. The tears were for a sadness that I’ve believed this story for 35 years. We actually live in a commercial society that upholds these beliefs so just unearthing them won’t necessarily have them go away. So, I created a list.
I won’t bore you with the list of my virtues and stand out qualities- I’ll just say that I created it because the reminder will do me good. There are a LOT of reasons why I’m a worthy partner. In fact, most of you who read this so far are friends and would probably add to the list and say things of which I’m not aware.
As I write this I feel like I’ve had this ah ha before- or something close to it. This time feels a bit different though. I feel it at a deeper level. I think each time I remember, regain, strip away or have a new understanding I get closer to merging all my splits and bringing me back to whole- bringing me back to peace. Big sigh.
I’ve been feeling stagnant lately in my work with my disordered eating. Yeah- I’ve been reading lately and I LOVE the term disordered eating rather than eating disorder. When I first read the term used by Anita Johnston in her book Eating in the Light of the Moon, I said to myself “ooohhh there I am!”. You see, I can eat just fine so my eating is not a disorder. However, the reason why I eat is not in order. Ok- I digress here in what I want to say.
On one hand I believe I’m right where I need to be in my healing. Perhaps there is such a thing as a plateau? I’m pretty sure there is. My mind, body and soul need to get used to the growth I’ve made. On the other hand I feel like “hurry up already!” It’s a very uncomfortable place to be for me because I feel no forward motion and I struggle not to judge or harass myself about it. It’s the not judging that’s the hardest because, like all of you, I have that voice that judges, judges, judges what I do, say and how I be. The good news is that I catch her somewhat regularly now and I often find myself being more gentle than judging with my actions and self talk.
I think one of the reasons for the stagnation is fear. I know the next step for me is facing some emotions. Although this journey has brought me more in touch with my emotions than ever before, these emotions feel as though they might be dark. Funny part is I don’t know because I’m scared to go there. Let me explain what I mean. When I go to eat when I’m not hungry (disordered eating- doing it out of order), I will ask myself “what is it you don’t want to feel- or what is this food about?” I am CONSCIOUS of the fact that I say “I don’t know and I don’t want to know this time- maybe next time.”
Perhaps that is the growth I’m seeking. Knowing that one of these days, I’ll be willing to face what I don’t know. Peek in and see if it’s the big bad wolf I’m envisioning. I know that, in life, there are times when I’ve often thought things would be bad, or hurtful, or painful and they weren’t. Maybe it’s just about allowing myself to go there once and gaining some strength to go there again and gaining some more muscle to go back again until my feelings come first and the eating is back in place with hunger and nourishment.
Perhaps, when I write again, you’ll all find out.
I’ve had so much happening in the past weeks that I want to write and I don’t take time to get here. Today I’m here in hopes that my fingers on the keyboard will help to unravel something that keeps eluding my consciousness.
I’ve found a few times in the past days that I’ve known when “that last bite” is. I know the bite in which I’ve had enough to eat. You know when you watch babies eat and they turn their head when they’ve had enough. I experienced that. It was new to be aware of this- or at least newly new for me to be aware of this. I actually spit out a mouthful of food the other morning because I was clear that bite would be one bite too much. (I’m laughing at myself because I just found myself shaking my head in dis belief as I typed that.)
This morning, again, I knew when I swallowed that last bite BUT I still had half of my bowl of food left. I sat there staring. I was transfixed by the good food in my bowl and the call to eat it even though I was sated with what I’d eaten. As I sat there I pondered why I’d want to continue to eat even though any more food would make me uncomfortable. I came up with no answers only a desire to put in another mouthful of food. I decided against that and put the bowl in my refrigerator.
It’s not true to say I came up with NO answers. I came up with the pat ones of “better get it now because it might be gone later”. That doesn’t ring true though- I’m the only one going to my refrigerator. It might have been a young conversation, a habit, a way I’ve been doing things for 40 something years. As I type this, I’m physically aware that my stomach has had enough. I no longer feel hungry. I feel good physically by the nutritious food I chose to eat. All that being said, I’m aware that what was left in my bowl is still sitting in my refrigerator. No- I won’t throw it out. Those roasted veggies are too good for the garbage. (laughing).
I wonder, do I need to know why I wanted to keep on eating. I feel that I do. I feel that it’s a door that, once opened, gives me greater in-site on this journey. However, I think that because I can count three incidents in the past few days where I’ve stopped at “that bite”, the answer is getting closer to the surface. Perhaps that answer lies beyond this next “last bite” or maybe it’s the next one. I don’t know but I got what I came for in writing this- an answer.
You might be curious what the answer is since you aren’t in my mind. I now see that the answer is coming. Noticing this three times in just a few days means it’s getting ready to be revealed. Patience grasshopper.