Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Have you seen a year and a half? I lost one.

A friend asked me the other day which was worse, quitting cigarettes or quitting sugar. I must have looked flabbergasted. I felt flabbergasted. In my mind it’s so obvious. I forget that to most people, food is innocuous. That when you say you’re addicted to sugar, they think it’s a cute euphemism for liking dessert. Like “I have a sweet tooth” or “I’m a chocoholic”. Yet there are signs and public service announcements everywhere exclaiming the risks and hazards of smoking. If you are wondering which I think is worse, sugar. Sugar withdrawal stole a year and a half of my life.

My life got incredibly small from January of 2006 to June of 2007. It had to. I couldn’t do anything but protect myself from food. And feel feelings I had been eating my whole life. I couldn’t handle much of anything. I felt like I was walking around without skin. I felt dazed and stupid. And erratic and unhinged. The best way to describe it is “emotional free-fall”. Nothing about my life was familiar. Nothing felt comfortable or normal or safe. I had just made a commitment to give up the very thing that I had always used for comfort and a sense of safety and normalcy. Life had suddenly become terrifying. Filled with uncertainty. I felt unfit to be in the world. I needed to avoid food. I needed to avoid being upset. I needed to avoid most interactions. I spent a lot of time alone. Doing weird, obsessive things that were not eating.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time cooking. Preparing food for the future. I would cook for weeks and weeks ahead of time. I made fancy, time-consuming things. I got recipes for how to make all sorts of mock desserts and dishes. Things that were like the foods I was used to eating, but without sugar, flour or starch. And I made up my own recipes. I experimented and I labored. I obsessed over cooking and preparing the way I had over eating.

I watched the same anime series on 3 DVDs on a loop. As soon as the series ended I put the first episode back on. By the end of that time, the shows didn’t mean anything anymore. The funny parts weren’t funny. The sad parts weren’t sad. The romantic parts weren’t romantic. But it was familiar. And comforting. And it kept me oddly centered. It was another something to be obsessed with besides eating.

The only time I would want, really need, to be out in the world was at night. I would get restless and want to eat, so I would run out of my house, sometimes in pajama pants and a T-shirt, to the book store that was open until midnight. I would sit there reading manga and drinking coffee until they closed. And then I would take my time getting home. I did not want to be home alone at night.

Nights were so hard because nighttime and binge eating were specifically tied together in my mind. I ate all the time when I was eating compulsively, but the ritual of bingeing myself to sleep was particularly ingrained in me. Sometimes getting out of my apartment was both absolutely necessary and incredibly difficult. All I wanted to do was get enough sugar to make me totally numb, climb into bed, and eat myself into a food coma. If you are not a binge eater, you may not understand what “enough to make me numb” means. But it’s a lot. It means eating several of “the whole thing”. The whole box/bag/container.

When I was eating compulsively, I am not sure I ever fell asleep. I basically just ate until I passed out. Every night. Like an alcoholic. That is not an exaggeration. Frankly, it’s why I was such a bad bulimic (thank God!). I would start a binge with the intention of eventually going to purge, but so often the binge would get so out of hand that I would pass out before I could get to the bathroom. I don’t know that I would have looked for a solution to my food issues if bulimia had kept me thin. I may have thought that making myself throw up was the solution.

It’s kind of interesting to me that my friend asked me which was worse. Asked me to compare sugar withdrawal to cigarette withdrawal. Because they are comparable. Quite similar, in many respects. Since I quit smoking, I have had a few emotional flashbacks to that year and a half that I first gave up sugar. A lot of the same feelings have come up and have brought me back to that time. Whereas before I quit cigarettes, I had probably not thought about that time of my life in years. In fact, when I try to recall it, it’s kind of hard to remember. It’s a blur and the days seem to blend together. All 520-something of them. 2 Winters, 2 Springs, a Summer and a Fall. That’s a lot of time to lose.

It was my 30th birthday that I looked up and realized I had room in my head and in my life. That I didn’t have to be obsessed with not being obsessed with food. That the cravings and the craziness were gone. That maintaining my boundaries around food was a muscle I had successfully built up. Of course, I knew I still had to take it seriously (just like I do to this day, six and a half years later), but it was not so precarious. I could actually live my life. A life so much bigger and better than the one I had had when I was a slave to food.

I have been walking around all pretty and happy for a while now. But I generally remember where I come from. I haven’t forgotten that I was fat. And crazy. And that food and sugar ruled my life. And I know that I don’t ever want to be fat or crazy or enslaved again. But I don’t always think about what I went through in the beginning to come out on the other side and get this happy, pretty life. I feel like I should acknowledge who I was then. What a hero I was for myself. I walked through the fires of hell, and I made it out whole. Cleansed. I am careful about pride and hubris. But I also want to remember that I am capable of honor and commitment.

So yes. Quitting smoking has me in a bit of an emotional free-fall right now. And I have let my life contract a little. I’ve slowed down and taken on less. Avoided things I know will upset me. Because I know that if I let my life be smaller right now, and if I’m gentle with myself, on the other side life will be better and more beautiful than it was when I was smoking. And that less will upset me in the first place. But the truth is, I still have a pretty full life right now. I don’t need to lock myself in my house and obsess about not being obsessed with cigarettes. My years of keeping my food under control have taught me a lot about trusting life. And living with uncertainty. And being uncomfortable. And letting that be ok. I’ve gotten pretty good at the free-fall. I trust that my chute will open. Or maybe I’ll just learn to fly. Whatever.

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Should I be worried? Meh…

I’m feeling sort of out-of-body lately. So if this post seems weird…well, you’ve been warned. I have had a surreal week. But really good. The one word I can think of to explain it is “surrendered”.

I have been very calm. Inside. I am pretty sure I occur as a bitch to the outside world. But inside there is no malice. I definitely do want to be left alone. But I don’t have the energy for many words of explanation. To let you know that I’m touched that you want to help me/talk to me/be neighborly, but that I don’t want to talk or be neighborly. That I am declining your help. So I don’t use a lot of words. Or give you a simper and put my hand over my heart and praise you for your generosity of time and spirit. I just say no. And I feel like it keeps coming out wrong. At least not how I mean it. I don’t mean it to sound harsh. But it keeps sounding that way. And I keep not caring. And I keep not explaining myself. I have zero desire to smooth everything over. And make you feel good about me and yourself and our interaction. I could not give any fewer shits, frankly. And I’m wondering who this woman is. She’s not Kate the “good girl”. And I really like her. She’s easy for me to be with. She’s easy to be.

I have noticed several other things too.

I have been harder to ruffle. The other morning, I was on the train to work, when it stopped at a station. There was an announcement that the particular train that I was on had a technical problem. Everybody was told to get off and wait for the next train. This is normally the kind of thing that shifts my stress levels to high. Uncertainty about how long I will have to wait for the next train, the potential to be late for work, the knowledge that the next train will already be filled with its own passengers, and may not have room for all of us from my broken train.  That I might have to wait for more than one train. And even if it does have room, it will certainly be uncomfortable. And yet, none of this phased me. I got off the train. I waited. I got on the next train. I went to work. I cannot tell you how long I waited. I do not recall how crowded the next train was. It all escaped me. It did not matter.

I’ve been sleeping a little more. Nothing crazy. I’m used to sleeping 7 or 8 hours a night. And because I regularly sleep enough, my body will often wake me after 7 hours. Sometimes 6. Tell me it’s rested. And for the most part, for the last year at least, setting an alarm has been a precaution. (Because, as I already touched on above, I think being late is possibly the most stressful thing in the world.) But on the days I have set an alarm, I have been waking up to it, not before.  And the days I haven’t, I have been sleeping 8.5 – 9 hours. I don’t mind. I think my body is healing. That my brain is processing new things. That my soul is catching up. But I think it’s worth noting. So I am.

I have been remembering dreams. Now the way I understand it, everybody dreams, and some people don’t remember their dreams. And I am one of those people who almost never remembers her dreams. But recently, I’ve found myself going through my day, and all of a sudden I will have a feeling, and that feeling will remind me that I had a dream. And some odd snippet of the dream will come back to me. Sometimes a dream I had days or weeks ago. For me, dreams are visual, but the most important thing about them is how I feel in them. The most vivid part of any dream (that I happen to remember) is the emotional landscape. What I did or said or saw in a dream is secondary to that.

And I have been doing so much nothing this week. Just being. I’m not even talking about thinking. I have even been thinking less than usual. I have been spending less time on the internet. I have not been reading. I have just been sitting quietly. And I have not been bored at all.

I feel like the primary excuse I have had (in my own head, for my own benefit) for all of the things I have ever done/used/abused, was a fear of “being bored”. That life would be unbearably dull without sugar, caffeine, alcohol, pot, drugs in general, cigarettes, TV, staying out all night, staying up all night, etc. And instead, I have been…I don’t even know what the word is. Content? Unhurried? Uncluttered? Not bored!

Also, I am wary to use the word peaceful. For me, peace has a connotation of happiness. Of quiet joy. The corners of my mouth turned up and every exhale a little celebration. Peace has a kind of energy of its own. A sense that all is right with the world. But this week has not been that. It’s not that all is right with the world. It’s that it doesn’t matter if the world is right or not. That it is what it is. And that I am fully surrendered to what is so. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. It is not apathy. Or resignation. It is just easy. Calm. Unencumbered. It has been great. Just not peaceful.

I don’t know what is going on with me. And that’s ok. I don’t expect it to last. Like everything else, good and bad, this too shall pass. But I have a feeling that my life has officially changed. In ways that are not yet clear to me. And I hope that this is an indication of the direction I’m headed and the path I have set myself on. Because I do not expect life to be easy. But I would like to spend more time taking it easy. To have more surrender in my daily life. To spend more time being and less time…well everything. Doing, worrying, fixing, explaining, whatever. And for now I am enjoying this interesting little pocket of surrender. Because life has a way of happening.

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Stupid Mirror! I said fairest, not fattest!

In my post several weeks ago I said that I was worried that quitting smoking would make me gain weight. And then I said that I was being a whiner. That 2 or even 5 lbs was not worth considering. Well since I quit smoking, I gained 3 lbs. And I’m going to admit it. I am upset. Not just upset. It’s making me crazy in the head.

It’s all mixed up with feeling fat, hence feeling ugly. With being obsessed with what I look like.  And with analyzing what I am eating to decide if it is making me fat. In other words, I am having a body image disorder attack.

I want to say that the 3 lbs is probably water retention. That is one of the side effects of quitting smoking. And the only part of my body that is noticeably bigger is my stomach. (I should say the only part noticeably bigger to me. Because I don’t know if anybody else has noticed. But in my head, everybody can tell. And they all think it’s disgusting…Because people have nothing better to do than take note of, and pass judgment on my body. Obviously.) If it is that I am bloated, it will go away. It has only been 6 weeks. I am trying to remember that that is not a long time. That my body is going to be adjusting for a while yet. That just because my brain has stopped thinking of me as a smoker, doesn’t mean my body is done dealing with the change.

I have had this “big belly” for about 6 weeks now. And it has annoyed me. But my face and skin look great, so in general I had been feeling pretty damn beautiful. Sure, I have been dressing in a way that I think hides my belly, because I have been a little embarrassed. And a week ago I told a friend over the phone that I look six months pregnant, and she laughed at me and said, “I’m sure you don’t. Your eyes are broken, sweetie. Remember?”
And she is right. My eyes are “broken”. From time to time, and to varying degrees, I cannot see myself clearly. Even when I am looking in the mirror. When I am having a body image disorder attack, my brain will distort how I see myself. For me, it’s one of the other issues that comes with having eating disorders. So that attack happened to be mild. And in that moment, I agreed that I probably didn’t actually look six months pregnant. And we laughed. And I remembered that, all things considered, even with the belly, I really was looking fantastic, and I went on with my life.

And then two days ago, it hit me that I am so incredibly fat. Grotesquely fat. Jabba the Hut fat. I have cried over how ugly I think I am. How distorted my body looks. How ashamed I am.

I am having a severe body image disorder attack. And when my body image disorders flare up, they often get tied up with food.

There is a restaurant here in New York City that makes deep-fried onions. No breading. Just onions cooked in the deep fryer. Totally within my boundaries. So incredibly satisfying and delicious. And a huge part of my food life. For years now I have gone there at least once a week. Often twice a week. And even occasionally, three times a week. For years!

I went there this week. I ended up bringing home some leftovers (again, a very common occurrence) and they started to make me crazy. I looked in the mirror and saw myself as a disgusting blob. And then I thought about the onions in the refrigerator, and I started to obsess over them. Wondering if they were the real reason I gained 3 lbs. Wondering if I would get fat from the leftovers. I couldn’t stop thinking about what eating them would do to me. To my body. To my stomach. So finally, I had to throw them away. I had to get them out of my house. I had to get them out of my head.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that I did, indeed, actually gain these 3 lbs because quitting smoking slowed my metabolism. Let’s say fried onions are the culprit in my weight gain, and not water retention. Perhaps you are thinking 3 lbs, Kate? Really? You used to weigh 300 lbs, and now being 136 instead of 133 is making you crazy?
Yes. The answer to that is absolutely yes. I am not saying it makes sense. The truth is, I have been 141 lbs and totally happy in my body. And I am 136 now and could not be more miserable. My brain gives rational the middle finger when it comes to weight and my body. There is no rhyme or reason to why I feel about my body the way I do. These bouts of body image disorder can come from out of nowhere.

Let me explain to you what rational Kate knows. I have not broken my food boundaries. I am not eating more or heavier within those boundaries than I have in the past. In fact, I am probably eating lighter these past few months than I have in a couple of years. There is no way that I will get fat from eating the way that I eat. Even if quitting smoking has slowed my metabolism. Even if I eat deep-fried onions and bacon twice a week. And I don’t even think it’s true that quitting has affected my metabolism! I really think it’s water. I really think it will pass in time. And I weigh 136 lbs and I am 5’6.5″. I am not fat. I am not even chubby. At absolute worst, I am just not skinny.

Now let me explain to you how knowing this rationally helps with my eating disorder brain.

IT DOESN’T! It doesn’t make me see myself clearly in the mirror. It doesn’t make me love my body. It doesn’t make me compare 136 to 300 and thank God. It does not help to know!

I feel like there is an expectation by society for an intelligent, beautiful woman to be able to see herself clearly. To be able to think critically and rationally and “snap out of it.” Or maybe that is just my projection. Maybe it’s that I think that I should just be able to snap out of it. But I can’t. I am sick. All I can do is sit tight and wait for it to pass.

If I give up control of my food and go back into my eating disorders, I can expect to live in this place where I think I am gargantuan, until I eat myself back to actually being gargantuan. But as long as I keep my food under control, I know that this will pass. I have been here before, and it has always passed. If I maintain my food boundaries, I will eventually go back to looking in the mirror and thinking I’m a knockout. And being so grateful that I am beautiful. And being vain. But for now, this sucks. And hurts. And it’s no fun. And there is nothing to do about it but wait…

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If you take your toys and go home, there is nobody to play with

In my last post I went on and on about how I have all of this self-confidence and self-assurance. So obviously this week life slapped me in the face and reminded me that I’m an insecure fat girl. You saw that coming, right? (I didn’t. Could you give a girl a heads up next time? ‘Preciate ya…)

I have mentioned before that for most of my life, I shut my heart down. Even with my food under control, I didn’t let anyone into my fortress. When I lost my fortress of fat, I still maintained a fortress of bitch. Over the years, I have mostly given that up. (Mostly.) It makes me feel bad to treat others badly. Protecting myself at the expense of someone else’s feelings makes me want to eat a chocolate cake. So I try to be gentle. To have room for other people’s humanity. To remember that they are just people in the world doing the best they can. Same as me.

But I also have another fortress.  This one is hard to let go of. Because it works so well. It keeps me so safe. It is a fortress of indifference. Of untouchability. It is an amazing ability I have to stop caring. Really. If I feel like you are going to hurt me, I can stop caring about you in an instant. I can turn it off and shut it down and put you away like an old shirt I don’t wear anymore. I call it “taking my toys and going home”. And I have a promise with God that I won’t do it anymore. Especially with men.

There’s this man that I like. We’re not seeing each other. You know, it’s complicated. It’s totally impractical. So technically, we’re friends. (I think.) But I have been thinking that maybe eventually we might be more than friends. Because as impractical as it is, I think he may be worth navigating the complications and the trouble. And I thought he was interested in me too. Which is hard for me to admit to you right now because I have Carrie’s mom doing that kaleidoscope thing in my head. The one right before Carrie goes all telekinetic. They’re all gonna laugh at you. They’re all gonna laugh at you. Especially because of the next part of the story.

I was on Facebook the other day. And there was a conversation between him and a friend of his. Was it any of my business? No. But it was out in the open on a social networking site. And I read it. And it made me feel awful. At first I didn’t register why. All I knew was that I wanted to go smoke a cigarette. More than that, for the first time in almost a month, I actually considered smoking a cigarette. But I don’t do that anymore. (Stupid promise with God…) So I had to look at the awful feeling. And I realized that it hurt because it sounded like the way he saw it, there was no room for me in his life. It made me feel invisible. Unseen. Like he didn’t even know that I existed. So I wanted to shut off my heart. I wanted to stop caring. I wanted to take my toys and go home. But I don’t do that anymore either. (More stupid promises with stupid God…) So I had to ask him about it. And in asking, I had to admit that I thought that he was interested in me. That I had entertained the notion that I might be good enough for another human being. One that I think has a lot to offer. And that was hard to do. That was frankly terrifying. But I did it. (Stupid God.)

The truth is, I still don’t know where I stand with him. And I don’t love that, but I can be with it. That’s between him and me. (And it is, by the way, between him and me. The purpose of this post is not to solicit love and/or dating advice. Especially from “the internet”. I have friends for that.) And what I decide to do about my relationship with him, for myself and my own life, is between God and me. The purpose of this post is to talk about the part that’s between me and me.

I was not wrong about my self-assurance in my last post. I was not exaggerating about my confidence level. When it comes to my integrity, I’m confident. When I ask myself if I’m the kind of person I want to be, the answer is definitely yes. If I ask myself if I like and respect myself, there is not a doubt in my mind that I do. I even think that I would make somebody a good companion and partner.

The insecurity that this brought up is about the belief that I have that I am fundamentally unlovable. Fundamentally. Like I’m broken. Damaged. Faulty.  And not that something happened to make me unlovable. But that I was made that way. Born that way. That never being loved is my inescapable destiny. I have held this belief for as long as I can remember.  It is not rational, of course. But is not meant to be. It does not even masquerade as rational. It lives in me like survival instinct.

To dare to like someone is shameful. To expect, or really even to hope, that someone would be interested in me feels unforgivable. But to have someone find out that I was so presumptuous as to believe that they would think I was worthy of being loved sets off warning signals in my brain. Danger! Retreat!

But here’s what else I know. Until recently, I never let any relationship with a man come to its natural conclusion. Until recently I never just went along and let myself feel about someone the way I felt about them. Or let someone feel about me the way they felt about me. I never just let myself be hurt if I was going to be hurt. I never risked the humiliation. At the first sign of trouble, I always took my toys and went home. I never stopped to face the danger.

When I was the one who walked away, I took the power away from any other person to hurt me. But I took the power away from them to love me too. So I didn’t get love. And I didn’t get companionship. And I didn’t stop being lonely. Instead of getting hurt by someone else, I suffered at my own hand. I fed that thought that says I’m broken. I fed that belief that says that I will be alone. Forever. That it is my destiny. (Yes. It’s totally in The Emperor’s voice, in case you were thinking that.)

See, I have all of these promises with God. No sugar. No cigarettes. No drama. No lying. No taking my toys and going home. No trying to escape life. No trying to escape being present. No trying to escape personal relationships. I have all of these promises with God that I will actually be in my life. But God has made me a promise too. A promise that’s scary to admit to you. Because what if I’m wrong. And what if I really am broken. But He promises that if I show up for love, that he’ll send me love. So here I am. And here are my toys. And I’m ready to play.


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Well, that was unexpected

The post I want to write today is about quitting smoking. And I’m having issues with that.  I keep thinking, “I don’t want this to turn into a quitting smoking blog.” But the truth is that smoking and eating have a lot to do with each other for me. I did them for basically the same reason. Because I don’t like to feel my feelings. So I am going to write this anyway.
There was a good reason why smoking took the edge off of the food cravings when I stopped eating sugar. It numbed the same feelings that sugar did. Actually it numbed some of the same feelings that sugar did. Over the past 3 weeks, which feelings those are has become apparent to me.
Before I get into cigarette feelings, there is something I want to explain.  When I stopped eating sugar/eating compulsively, I got this profound level of self-assurance. It did not happen overnight. It was a long and subtle process. But getting control of my food eliminated nearly all of my self-doubt. I have come to understand from looking back on the past 6 1/2 years, that it is the result of a combination of things. The rigorous honesty that I began to practice, first with my food, then with everything else. My commitment to keeping my promises. (Again it started with food and extended into all other areas of my life.) My willingness to be responsible for all of my actions, good, bad or indifferent, which I had to do because not doing so gave me feelings I couldn’t handle without eating cake. And finally the mental clarity that came from not being high anymore. All of these things came together and gave me a new relationship to the truth. Not just my honesty and my own truth, but to the truth in general.
When I was eating compulsively, I was a liar. And I was easy to lie to.  You know that saying “You can’t kid a kidder”? I think it’s wrong wrong wrong…It was like my own lies muddled up my brain and muddied my thinking.  They kept me from seeing reality. You could tell me something that obviously didn’t make sense, and I would notice, but I would always have to question myself. I always had to question my own thinking. But when I stopped lying, that stopped.  Also, I wasn’t high anymore. On either sugar, or the obsession with food. (Yes, for me the obsession was its own kind of high, related to, but not the same as, the sugar high.) I had a clear head, and I was telling the truth. It slowly but surely became clear to me that the truth was obvious. That it was silly to question myself.
The same thing happened with my own bad behavior. When I was being an a**hole, I had a hard time distinguishing bad behavior in others. The kind of actions that now occur to me as red flags, would totally escape my notice. But when I started treating myself and others with respect and honor, disrespect and dishonor became glaringly obvious. Sirens and flashing lights.
Getting control of my eating also had me become a person I liked and respected. So there was no question in my mind anymore that I didn’t deserve to be treated badly. That I deserved honesty, honor, and respect. It wasn’t that I never did anything wrong. It was that I knew when I did something wrong and when I didn’t.  And that when I had done something wrong, I was willing to own it and do the right thing. I stopped questioning myself. I stopped thinking myself in circles. I got an incredible confidence in my own judgment.
So back to cigarettes. And what kinds of feelings I used them to numb. They were “Good Girl” feelings. They were feelings about not being good enough. About wanting to be liked. About not wanting to do anything wrong. And not wanting to upset anyone.
Here is the pattern from when I was smoking. I would do something that seemed to me to be totally normal and not particularly worthy of notice. Someone would offer some subtle hint of disapproval. Subtle. Easy to pretend that I was not affected by it. I would tense up. I would not look to see if it had any merit. I would hold it in until I had a chance to smoke it. I would pretend it did not happen and I was not hurt.
The first time I went to the grocery store after I quit smoking, I left the store and immediately wanted to light a cigarette. I realized that I always lit a cigarette as soon as I left the store. I realized that I have been denying the fact that the checkout women at my grocery store are mean to me. The ways they show it are easy enough to ignore. If I can go smoke those feelings as soon as I’m out the door.
So that first time I had to face that those women are sneering and unpleasant with me, I cried. And then it hit me that I have been going to that store for years. And that I get a little panic and a little dread every time I go to check out. And that I have been doing all sorts of things to make myself more accommodating to them. And less annoying to them. Doing things to get through the checkout line faster. And that I have been stressed out about it. For years.
And when I couldn’t smoke it, and I had to face it, I finally thought, Why do I give a sh*t what these women think of me? I am giving their store my money. I’m not there to be liked. I’m there to do business. And I did, indeed, stop giving a sh*t. I stopped dreading. I stopped taking actions to make my shopping easier on them. I stopped stressing about checking out. I got peaceful.
I live in New York City where the streets are filled with people whose job it is to solicit donations for not-for-profits. I used to get really uptight when I would have to pass these people on the street. I would get edgy and stressed out wondering how to get past them without them talking to me. How to not make eye contact. How to look busy. How to look rushed or focused. How to get by unnoticed. And all of a sudden I am so calm when I walk by. I smile. I tell them I am not going to talk to them. I just say no and keep walking. No big deal. Just no.
These are seemingly small or trivial examples of the kind of shift that has gone on for me this past 3 weeks. But the peace and confidence that I’m describing does not occur in my life or my head or my heart as small.  Some parts of it make sense. Not smoking has meant I have had to look at things I was able to avoid by smoking them. But other parts of it don’t make rational sense to me right now. The generally being more calm and worrying less. I mean, isn’t that why I smoked? To calm down?
Maybe it’s being more present than I have ever been in my life that has me so self-assured. Maybe it’s that following through on my commitment has given me more self-esteem. Maybe, like when I stopped eating, as time goes by, the how and the why will become clear. But I like this whole happier, saner, more serene life. I am grateful I decided to quit smoking. I wish I could say I would have done it sooner if I had known it would be this emotionally freeing. But I know that’s not how it works. I know it’s everything in its own time.

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