Being committed: It’s not just for institutions anymore
I’ve been a little blocked about what to post this week. Because with only subtle differences, this week is much like last week. Doing that dance with myself. Worrying about my weight. Eating well anyway. Trying to remember that my value is not the size of my body. Forgetting. Waiting it out. Waiting for my body to adjust to quitting smoking. Waiting for what it looks like to be a non-issue again. Waiting for my eating disorder brain to quiet down. And it will. This too shall pass. There’s nothing to do but live my life in between my meals.
But then what am I going to write about? Because I have a commitment to post every week. Even if I have nothing to say. So I have decided to write about that. That kind of commitment. Because that kind of commitment is how I keep my eating under control. And I apply it to other things too. Like my daily meditation. And this blog. And being committed has changed my life.
I didn’t know anything about commitment when I was eating compulsively. I knew about excuses. Sometimes I just didn’t “feel like” doing something I was supposed to do. Or I did “feel like” doing something I wasn’t. But I knew that the right excuse, a strong enough excuse, would “make it ok” in the eyes of “the world”. Whatever “it” was. Whoever “the world” was. If I could get a “who could blame you?” kind of response, then whatever I had done or failed to do was “made right”. And I could move on. This was how I thought, and therefore how I lived.
What I never understood, of course, was that I couldn’t move on. Or at least that I wasn’t moving on. Sure, my feet weren’t being held to the fire by humans with authority anymore, but my conscience actually didn’t give a shit about authority. I didn’t even understand that my conscience was my conscience. All I knew was that I was incredibly hungry. Starving! I didn’t know that that feeling was shame and not hunger. Because food made it go away for a while. I didn’t know that was numb, not fed. So I just kept making excuses and eating. Getting bigger and bigger and never ever being satisfied.
My conscience still doesn’t care about authority, by the way. Its only authority is my word. My truth. My commitments.
When I put boundaries around my food, I had a kind of epiphany. I understood that I had to keep those boundaries no matter how I felt about it. What I “wanted” was taken out of the equation. What I “felt like” eating was irrelevant. Gratification ceased to be an option. There were more important things. Honor and commitment.
In a way, of course, my boundaries are about what I want. Because the big picture is that I “want” to be thin and peaceful and sane. And not be fat, or crazy, or sticking toothbrushes down my throat to make myself vomit. But at any given moment, whether I like the way I eat, or want a piece of cake, or feel like keeping my boundaries, has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I keep them. I just do. That’s it. No discussion. No negotiation.
And what I learned from eliminating the idea of “feel like it” from my eating, is that there is value in doing things because I do them, regardless of how I feel about doing them at any given moment on any given day. That gratification is a trap. That commitment makes my life better all around. It doesn’t even matter what the commitment is.
So like I said, I have a commitment to post every week. And I don’t even know who it’s to. Myself? God? You? I just know that I do it. There are no excuses. Circumstances don’t matter. Because I almost never “feel like” writing a post. I can think of a million excuses not to post on any given week.
Unless some glaringly obvious eating disorder thing comes up in my life, I always think there is nothing to tell you. And yet I manage to get something up every week. And most of the time I think it’s somewhere between not bad and pretty good. And every time I respect myself for doing it. Respect myself that I did it simply because it is something I do.