Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Exit closed due to relationship

Remember how I said last week that I didn’t need to wish for drama because life has a way of making plenty? Well, yeah. Got some.

And real drama. Not petty bullshit about how I don’t like the way you looked at me. Or some other such fabricated nonsense. But important stuff. Life and loss and pain. Real drama. Frankly, trauma.

Thankfully, I am separated from the trauma. It only affects me indirectly. And it only partially affects my boyfriend. But it does affect him. And that affects me. And for a time I didn’t know how severely it would affect him. And that, the not knowing and the waiting and the uncertainty, did a number on me.

When I got my eating under control 7½ years ago, I started a process of eliminating people and situations from my life that made me crazy or anxious or unhappy. A lot of them were people I loved. Most of them, really.

Jobs, bosses, friends, family, groups, activities. If something or someone took up room in my head with worry or anger or resentment or fear, I walked away. There was always an EXIT sign.

Even when it came to real life, trauma not drama, if it wasn’t mine, I stayed detached. I learned to keep my eyes on my own plate. And my own life.

I was single. Independent. I was the only person I had any responsibility to.

And now, I am not single and independent. I don’t stand alone in the world. And that is scary. Really, much scarier than standing alone.

Because I have made a decision to weave my life in with another person’s life. And there are people and situations I can’t walk away from anymore. They are not mine. Whether they are drama or trauma, I’m bound to them because I am bound to him.

And I learned something this week. Worrying about someone else, this man who I am so in love with, had me more in danger of eating sugar and carbohydrates than anything else ever has in 7½ years.

More than being homeless and sleeping on people’s couches. More than being jobless. More than being sick and not having insurance or being able to go to the doctor. More than being afraid that my neighbor was going to be a stalker. Even more than knowing that my Gram was dying.

When I didn’t know how my boyfriend was going to be affected by this traumatic situation, I realized that this kind of worry was a brand new experience for me. And that I could very seriously be in food danger. I sat down and asked myself what I would do when the worrying about him got so bad that eating sugar seemed like a viable option and a good idea. I knew that I had to have a plan and be prepared. So that I could stay within my food boundaries. And stay sober from sugar.

Because no matter how bad things can get, losing my food sobriety would only make everything worse.

Thankfully, none of my fears came to pass. My boyfriend is well. And I am well. And though all is not well for everybody, it is well enough for him and me to move on and live life.

I am starting to see, as I write this, that I fear not being in control of situations in my life. Not being able to keep my relationships and experiences on a short leash.

But I should remember that every time I have released another inch of control, and surrendered to Life and God, and every time I have let go and begun to trust, I have been given a life that is richer, happier, sweeter and more beautiful than anything I could have imagined for myself.

So I guess the next step is to learn to find peace where I am. Wherever I am and whoever is there with me. Because I know that I always have choices. But standing by the man I love is a choice I made. And want to continue to make. And that’s going to mean a lot more people and situations I can’t walk away from.


Breaking news! This just in: I’m cold

It’s a slow news week here in eating-disorder-land. Or, you know, under-control-eating-disorder-land. Lots of grocery shopping and cooking and general food preparation. Lots of sitting on the porch crocheting. Watching the lizards and the birds. As I write this, there are four hawks circling above me.

For a New York City girl, I sure do love the big, open sky. And the total lack of urgency. The quiet. Except for everybody else’s air conditioners running all the time.

The weather down here is hot. And I love it. No, seriously. I love it.

People don’t believe me. Think I must be exaggerating. But I love the extreme heat. When I say everybody else’s air conditioners, I mean it. I don’t like a/c. And my boyfriend is incredibly generous with me. He let’s me live in an a/c-free home.

We live on the first floor, our windows face east, and we keep the blinds drawn. So our apartment is generally 10 degrees cooler than it is outside. But for most people, that’s still hot.

When I was fat, I was hot all the time. I sweated all seasons of the year. I didn’t wear a coat in winter. In Chicago.

And then in the summer, there was the heat. And then that added heat. Because I had so much shame around my body. So I wore lots of clothes. Dresses and jeans together. Over-sized shirts over tank tops. Always pants. Always. If there was air conditioning, I wanted to be in it. Or really needed to be in it. I hated being outdoors. (Which may shock you if you met me within the past 7 years, since it’s my favorite thing now. In New York, if I wasn’t wandering the city, I was on my roof. Here I’m on my porch, or laying out in the sun.)

Now, I rarely sweat. I am always somewhere between cold and comfortable. In fact, every year I don’t eat sugar, grains, or starch, I get colder.

I’m at the point now where if the temperature is below about 73 and the sun is not directly on me, I’m kind of chilly.

I bring a sweater with me everywhere. I never know if I’m going to end up in some air-conditioned place and be incredibly uncomfortable.

The truth is that it’s a problem I have now. Maybe the biggest issue going on in my life here. That I need to bring a sweater to the grocery store. That if I’m going to have my super yummy, home-made frozen smoothie for breakfast, I have to wear sleeves and drink hot coffee or I get too cold. In other words, my biggest problem is a luxury problem.

Obviously, I was being serious. It’s a slow news day. That’s the best I’ve got for you this week. And I won’t even lie and tell you I hope I have something more exciting to write next week. Life usually has a way of furnishing some form of drama. Eventually. I don’t need to wish for it to come faster. I promise to write next week. About something. And if it’s peaceful and unexciting…well, hooray for me!

Sometimes less is more. And sometimes it’s just less…

When I stopped eating sugar, grains, and starch, I did a lot of things to get by. I chewed packs and packs of gum. I drank coffee and diet soda constantly. I put artificial sweetener in everything. I didn’t just put it in my coffee. I put it in my salad dressing. And on my fruit.

It helped. All of those things took the edge off. I don’t think I would have gotten through the beginning without the caffeine and the sweetener.

But after a while, the need for those things lessened. I haven’t chewed gum in about 5 years. For the past few years, a diet soda is a rare treat. I now use about a tenth of the amount of sweetener that I used to. And a couple of years ago I stopped drinking caffeine after noon. I might still have a decaf between noon and 1. But after that I stick to herbal tea.

And of course, a year ago I quit smoking.

I like living this way. I like not being a slave to things.

Please don’t misunderstand. I love artificial sweetener. I love coffee. I don’t plan on giving them up.

It has happened before that some person who is over 100 lbs overweight will tell me that artificial sweetener is bad for me. That it’s healthier to eat real sugar. And I nod and smile. Sometimes I tell them that I can’t eat sugar. That I’m allergic. That it makes me sick. Which is true. Just probably not in a way they understand “allergic” or “sick”. But it’s none of their business. And I certainly don’t mock them. Or shame them. But I do sometimes wonder if they see the irony. I mean, I’m in a healthy body with beautiful skin and clear eyes. I radiate “healthy glow”.

But then this week, I got mad at myself. For having another coffee shake. (Black coffee, ice and sweetener in the blender.) 3 instead of 2. All before noon. After I drank the 64 oz of water I drink every day.

I don’t know why I got so judgy. But I didn’t like it. That is not the kind of person I want to be to myself.

It’s true that I don’t want a love of indulgence to be the center of my life. But it’s not! And I don’t love “restricting” myself. It’s not about restriction. I mostly love the way it feels to live in a body with less junk in it. And I love “not needing” one more coffee, more than I love “not having” one more coffee.

But this is what occurs to me. This is some incarnation of my eating disorder brain. And it’s one I never thought I had. Anorexia. I never starved myself. I could never go long without eating. But just like the bulimic girl, and the fat girl, and the good girl who live in my head, there is an anorexic girl. And I don’t know that I have ever distinguished her voice until now. But she is harsh. And judgmental. And disgusted by my weakness. That I folded to the temptation of another coffee. When I should constantly be trying for less, not more. She wants progress toward perfection. Perfection is the goal.

And there is one more important thing I am hearing from her. Not important because she is right. Important because I need to distinguish her sickness. She tells me happiness is of no value. Peace either. Perfection is the only goal. To be attained and then maintained at all costs.

This is what I want to say about that. You don’t get a say, Anorexic Girl. You are not the kind of woman I want to be. Your desire for perfection does not impress me.

I want happiness. And peace. I want to enjoy my life. And the fluidity of it. The dance. And I don’t want to focus on what I can’t, don’t or shouldn’t. I have my commitment to my food boundaries. And to never eating sugar, grains, or starch. And I even have some guidelines around coffee and artificial sweetener. All of these things enhance my life. These things make my life bigger, not smaller.

Someday I might decide to stop drinking coffee. Or using artificial sweetener. (I said I might!) But if I do, it will be because I want to give myself something. Not to take something away.

Now that I have everything I ever wanted, I guess it’s “back to the ol’ drawing board”

This past Thursday, I turned 36. It was fantastic. Best birthday ever. Didn’t do much out of the ordinary. Got a few hours of sun. Did some laundry and grocery shopping. Ate like a queen. (But I always eat like a queen.) Got a fancy diamond necklace. (Ok, that was a super-exciting-out-of-the-ordinary-big-deal.) And watched some Walking Dead.

But my birthday brought something to my attention, as I am one who likes to take inventory at times of ending/beginning. I do it at the New Year, too.

I started this blog in a new year. Jan 2, 2012. Because I was tired of being alone. And lonely. And because I had spent my life as a sugar-addicted-binge-eater hiding. Unwilling to take risks with my heart. Terrified of rejection.

That day, a year and a half ago, I knew that I was beautiful. And likable. Smart and funny. And that I was a good person. Honest and honorable. Kind and loving. And working to be more every day. I knew intellectually. But I lived in an old conception of myself.

I was absolutely, positively sure that I was destined to be alone. That I had been fat because I was broken. And that being broken made me unloveable. Or I was unloveable because I was broken. Either way, I more than “knew” that nobody would ever love me. I existed in the reality of it.

And somehow, in January of 2012, I knew that I wanted out of that reality.

So I started writing this blog. To get the demons out. And get the crazy out of my head. And try some new thoughts. And some new actions. And to stop living like I was still the girl I had been. Not just fat. But miserable. And crazy. A liar and a cheater. And incapable of stopping eating.

Because I had stopped eating! And stopped lying! And stopped cheating! I had learned how to live with integrity. How to honor my word. I had learned how to be a person I liked. And loved and respected.

So I started writing this blog to give myself a chance to fall in love. Because I was pretty darn sure that falling in love, (and being in love, and staying in love) was the most important thing to me. That it was what I wanted more than anything else in the whole world. And I thought that saying out loud, all of the thoughts that lived in my head, that I was afraid were true, would prove that they were not monsters under the bed. Just dust bunnies. I thought that this blog could be the flashlight. If I would just have the courage to look.

And it worked. Holy sh*t! It actually worked!

I am madly in love. With a man who is madly in love with me. And I was right. Loving this man, and being loved by him, is the most important thing that I have ever done in my life. It is actually bigger and easier and more special than my fat, food-addicted, miserable past-self could ever have known to wish for.

But this blog is still not over. It’s not done. And I’m not done with it.

I don’t know what comes next. What the next goal is. The next wish. The next dream. But there must be one. Because it never occurred to me to be done. It merely occurred to me that I got exactly what I asked for. Only better. And more quickly than I could have imagined.

So I’ll keep thinking about what I want next. And in the mean time, I will keep writing to you every week. And keep you posted on what it’s like for me to be a woman who lives with eating disorders.

I’m like a super hero. I’m so fast, my own body has to catch up to me.

So it’s weigh day. And for the second month in a row I lost weight. (Yay!) I’m down another 1.4 lbs. I’m at 158.8. It’s good. I’m grateful for it. I’m trying not to wish for it to go faster.

I have done a pretty good job of not focusing on my body. (Except for my tan, anyway. I have spent a lot of time focusing on that.) I haven’t been eating “lighter”. I have not been choosing “diet” foods. I have been eating plenty of bacon and cheese. Always, of course, within my boundaries. But I have not been trying to help the weight loss along. Or hurry it up. I’ve got enough to process without also trying to manage my weight.

Eat within my boundaries. That’s all I have to do. It’s enough.

Also, I have been very emotional lately. Very emotional.

Yes, I am happy. Still. More happy every day, really.

But I forget that the kind of life change I just made, accompanied by a physical move half way across the country, is traumatic. That it would be for anyone in the world. And that love doesn’t make it not traumatic. It just makes me forget that it’s traumatic. But even if I forget or fail to notice that I just jumped into a new life with no preparation and almost no time to adjust, my body has noticed. My heart and soul are overjoyed. I know that I am in the right place. With the right person. But my body is letting me know that it has to deal with the upheaval.

There are two things that are happening that have me understand that my body is in shock. I have a stress-related form of eczema. I have had it most of my memorable life. And I am having a particularly severe outbreak right now. And on a few occasions now, I have found myself crying over silly things. Irrational crying. In other words, I am having feelings that I can’t explain and I don’t know how to manage.

And I don’t get to eat them.

These kinds of feelings and experiences are why I ate sugar. Why I was a binge eater and sugar addict. Because sugar got me crazy high. Anesthetized. So I didn’t have to deal with feelings. And I didn’t have to deal with discomfort. And the not dealing occurred like managing.

But that was not the reality. I was not managing. The thing about not dealing with feelings is that they don’t go away. They just become dormant. Until they’re not anymore. Until they come back with a vengeance. From out of nowhere. When I least expect them.

So I’m not eating over my irrational emotions. And I’m not trying to hide or stifle or contain them. I’m crying when I feel the need to cry. And honoring what is going on in my body. And letting it be what it is. Because it is what it is. And carbs and sugar and binge eating won’t change that.

And then I’m trusting. That everything is going exactly the way it should be going. And that life is giving me the right things at the right time. And that as long as I keep my food under control I can come from a place of love. And that when I come from love, I can’t do it wrong or mess it up or fail. Because I know I’m where I want to be. And where I’m supposed to be. And with the person I’m supposed to be with.

I have heard it said that the only way around is through. So I’m going straight through. Right through the center. Because when this adjustment is done, I want it to be really done. And when I have moved on, I want to really be moved on.

I like to live clean. Honest, with integrity, and in the present moment. And I can say at this particular present moment, as I hit the “publish” button to post this, that I am well and happy. And that there is nowhere else I’d rather be.

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