Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “June, 2015”

I don’t want Kevin Bacon making choices for me.

Slow week for eating disorders in my house. How nice is that?

What has been on my mind is letting people make their own decisions. How other people’s decisions might affect me, and yet I still have to let them make them.

For me, autonomy is a gift of having my eating disorders under control. I have mentioned before that I remember when I first intellectually understood that I was responsible for my own life, no matter what happened to me or who did it. It wouldn’t be until after many years of being sober from sugar that I would understand how to implement that knowledge. But I still recall grasping the idea that even if someone were to “blame” for something, they could not be responsible for how it affected my life. Even if they wanted to take responsibility. Even if I wanted to give them the responsibility. 

It’s a free way to live. Scary, but also much more peaceful. Life is scary. Less so when you stare it down, rather than blinking. Or, eating a chocolate cake and passing out in a food coma.

When I got my eating disorders under control, so many people wanted me to do it differently, or not at all. They thought it was extreme to do what I do. Or unhealthy. Or that I was going to miss out on things. Some of them were subtle. Some of them were blatant. But it made a lot of people uncomfortable. And they wanted to make sure I knew it.

When I do something for myself, it makes it easy to do it for others. I don’t know how it works. But because I was willing to ignore other people’s opinions and make my own choices, I am able to let go of making judgments about other people’s choices. Even if they affect me. 

We all affect one another. We are all connected. Life is just a big game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. And I don’t want Kevin Bacon, or anyone else for that matter, trying to make my choices for me. 

And I don’t want to make choices for him. Or you. Or the people I love. Or even the people I thoroughly dislike.

The addict in me always wanted to make all the decisions, and pass off the consequences. The addict in me never stopped to wonder if that were even possible. The sober woman I get to be a day at a time, knows that it’s not. Life happens, you accept it, readjust, and move on. Sometimes (usually) the life that happens is rubbing up against another life. Doesn’t matter. Same rules apply.


I’m just going to sit here and be anxious 

Living with anxiety is an interesting thing. Sometimes I get anxious because of specific events. But sometimes I just get anxious. Now I just live with it. But I used to eat it. Numb it with sugar.

That made it worse. I didn’t know that at the time. Sugar sure did feel like it was helping. But it really only made every feeling bigger, closer to the surface. Coming down made me edgy and cranky. More raw.
Living with anxiety, as opposed to numbing it, is not so bad. It’s not great. But when I’m sober, it doesn’t matter that I’m anxious. It doesn’t mean anything. Being sober makes it just an experience. Not an omen. Not a sign. Not a truth. It’s just a feeling. Feelings pass.
Even when it’s triggered by something real, it doesn’t have to mean anything.
I will be starting a new job soon. And that’s great. But it makes me anxious. It’s not surprising. Any kind of Change does it. Especially one where I have to prove my merit.
But I like myself. I know that I am an asset. And when it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter what happens. Whatever it is will be the right thing. So maybe I’m a little tense, having uncomfortable feelings. I’m just grateful that I can be still and let it be. 

Egos or I go. (Yes, I am aware of how bad that pun is.)

I had another week of intense feelings. They are still not my favorite. I didn’t want to eat this week.

I ate my meals. Because it’s part of my boundaries. It’s how I roll, if you will. But it was not easy. It was not fun. I did not enjoy it.

As a compulsive eater, it is rare to not want to eat. I usually love every bite of my meals. Sometimes I’m even a little sad when they end. But just like how I feel doesn’t change whether or not I eat more, it doesn’t change whether or not I eat less either.

My boyfriend had some things to point out about me and my behavior this week. He wasn’t wrong. And it was hard to hear.

Look, I know that I write a lot about making changes to myself and being a part of the solution. Yadda yadda yadda. Of course, what I write is true. But for the most part I am writing about it after the fact. After I have already done the hard part. That might make you think that kind of thing is easy for me. Perhaps you are under the impression that I am naturally humble.

I’m not. At all.

I do the things I do because I want things. I want peace. I want to be in a great relationship. I want to be a person I like and respect. I want to sleep easily at night.

But I have an ego. And it really wants to argue. It wants to make excuses. It wants to manipulate and put others on the defensive when it feels threatened.

It is work not follow my ego. It is painful. It is uncomfortable and humiliating. I do it, even though it is not easy, because I want to be happy more than I want to be right. Or seen as right. Admitting I am being a jerk sucks. And I will have to do it again. And again. Until I’m dead. Because I don’t imagine I will ever entirely rid myself of jerkiness.

I only know what I want because I have my eating disorders under control. Because I am sober from sugar. Because I eat my committed meals, whether I want to or not. I only have the ability to keep my ego in check because of this. I can only look at myself honestly, as painful as it may be, because of this. And I can only change myself because of this.

Putting boundaries around my food took a specific kind of honesty. And keeping my integrity around my food requires me to bring that honesty to all areas of my life.

For a long time, I ate compulsively, and it fed my ego. Here is the irony. It is my vanity that has me check my ego. It is my desire to be, and be seen as, my authentic self, that allowed me to put my ego in its place.

There is a saying (you know how I love my sayings): You can’t save your face and your ass at the same time. My face is always just fine. It’s my ass that sometimes needs saving.

It turns out you won’t bleed to death from wounded pride.

For most of my life I ate my feelings. I do not recommend this. It didn’t work particularly well. I could only stuff them down so long before they burst out in unhealthy, unseemly, and uncontrollable ways. But more importantly, eating, instead of feeling my feelings, kept me stuck. In ways I didn’t really understand until I stopped eating and started feeling.

Now, I don’t really have any alternative to felling my feelings. The escape mechanisms I have, and use, are tame. Healthy. I read books. I watch movies. I crochet. In moderation (sort of.) I still manage to get stuff done. I am not paralyzed. Nor am I too high to care about my commitments or my integrity.

I am having a lot of feelings lately. Difficult feelings. The worst kind. I have a lot of shame and humiliation popping up.

I still don’t have a job. And it is hard for me to find peace around it. I have applied to a bunch of places, and I have had almost no response. That is beginning to affect my self-esteem. I know that I am not only a capable employee, but a desirable one. I have a fantastic work ethic, and the highest level of trustworthiness. Not to mention the fact that I am highly intelligent, a quick learner, and experienced in a wide variety of fields. When I think of myself as a worker, I can see that I am a catch.

I had this experience as a woman before I ended up with my boyfriend. I knew that I was the kind of person I wanted to be. And that I was the kind of person I wanted to be with. I had done a lot of work on myself to get to that point. And I knew that I wanted to be the kind of person who would continue to grow and get better. So why was I still single? I started to wonder if I was wrong about myself. If there was actually something wrong with me.

Of course, now when I look back on it, I can see that I could never have imagined how happy I would be with my boyfriend. I hated waiting when I didn’t understand that what was coming was worth the wait. I want to trust that the same applies to me and getting a job.

And there is something else that I really don’t want to talk about. But I am going to. Because this blog has taught me that keeping secrets only makes me more ashamed. Telling the truth, ugly or embarrassing as it may be, is the best way to get those painful feelings out. It is the opposite of eating them. It is the step after feeling my feelings. It gets me unstuck.

I have been applying for jobs on the internet as well as in person. And I was offered a job the other day. But it was not a real job. It was a scam.

First, let me assure you that I realized what was happening before I did anything that put myself at risk. And I turned over all of the information that I had, and all of my correspondence, to people who have launched an investigation with the FBI. The only harm was to my pride.

But that is a pretty big wound. I have a lot of pride, not only in my intelligence, but also in my savvy. I lived in New York City for almost fifteen years. I like to think that I can smell a rat a mile off. And I was tricked. And I am deeply ashamed of that.

I will tell you that I cried quite a bit over this, and then talked about it with friends and people I trust. I have come to the conclusion that my pride is not doing me any good in this situation. This experience doesn’t mean anything about me, what I deserve, or who I am.

I had to feel my shame because I refused to eat it. And it didn’t kill me. More importantly, it wasn’t that bad. I used to eat my feelings because I was afraid of them. But the fear of them is so much worse than the reality of them. And stuffing them down only allowed me to stay afraid. Telling the truth, shame and all, gives me freedom. I get to move forward without being shackled by my embarrassment.

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