onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “November, 2015”

All there ever is to do is what is in front of me 

I don’t think about sugar and carbohydrates very often. Or I should say, I don’t think about specific items of sugar and carbohydrates.(Obviously I think about it. I’m constantly looking for it on ingredient lists and explaining that I can’t eat X, Y, or Z because I have an allergy to sugars, grains and starches.)

I don’t think about what it would be like to eat bread or cake. I am not actively worried about sugar. I don’t expect it to jump into my mouth, and I am not afraid of putting it there myself. 
But I know that it is still a danger to me because I still have pretty much all of the things I used to eat over. 
I still have fear and anxiety. I still worry about being wrong and messing up. I still question if I am good enough.

I am being looked at for a writing job I really want. And the process is slow. It can go long stretches without my hearing any word about it. That’s really no big deal. Except that I have a mind that can create doom and gloom like nobody’s business if I leave it unchecked.

See, if I go through the list of what I am afraid of, it’s all false. It’s a mind game I play on myself. I am afraid I am not a good enough writer. I worry that I won’t be able to manage my time properly. I’m worried I am too lazy. I’m afraid I will mess up irreparably. I am afraid I will give up and let everyone down.

All of these fears are groundless. I am highly capable, a hard worker, punctual, honorable, honest, and responsible. When I look at these fears, they seem silly to me. I have flaws, but they are not these things I spend so much time worrying about, oddly enough.

My addict loves drama. She always has. And she is still using the same fears to drum it up as when I was an elementary school student. They are all about how I am not worthy.

When I add food to the equation, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I become lazy, unable to manage my time, irresponsible, dishonest, and ultimately a quitter. My addiction made sure that I had an endless supply of drama.

But I took food out of that equation 9 years and 11 months ago. It’s funny how that kind of thought pattern will stick with you, even after it’s obsolete. 

So for now, my job is to be patient and peaceful. To trust that everything is going exactly as it should. To remember that I am sought because I am qualified and desirable. And to put my faith in knowing that whatever happens is for the best. 

One of the most important skills I have attained in the past 9+ years is the ability to give up attachment to an outcome. 

Of course I want this new job. I won’t feign indifference. But any time I have wanted something and failed to get it, what was in store for me was so much better than what I lost.

So I keep my mind from wandering into Doomsville. I focus on this day and this moment. And I take the next right action. Because that is all there ever is to do anyway.

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To hang out in the uncomfortable unknown and trust

First, for those of you who were wondering if that internal growth spurt I mentioned last week meant I was pregnant, I am not.

I was referring to a spiritual/emotional/personal kind of growth spurt. I am talking about getting better and better. I mean becoming more and more my authentic self.

Perhaps it does have some similarities to being pregnant, though. Like in how I forget the pain and I get excited to do it again.

For some reason, every time I make a move and take action to grow and change, I expect it to be easy. I expect the experience to be that of getting consistently happier, and more confident, with a steady acquisition of new skills.

Yeah…not so much. The truth is, while I am in the middle of it, it sucks. It’s painful and humiliating. And before I am graceful and happy and better than I have ever been before, I have to stumble and fall, fail and persevere. I forget that, like having a baby, it takes the blood, sweat, and tears of labor.

And there’s something else I have noticed. Life will always, always, ALWAYS give me a chance to backtrack. Usually more than once. Life makes me choose change over and over again, depending on how committed I am. It makes me say out loud, ‘I want something better.’

When I made the decision that I wanted to be in a serious, committed relationship, I took actions and made different choices. And out of the blue, multiple men from my past started calling and texting me. Seriously. Guys I had not heard from in months or years decided that they were curious about me.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like such a hard test, but familiar relationships are comfortable. Even if they are bad, or mediocre, or unfulfilling, there is such a temptation to go backwards into a set of circumstances you already know. Especially if what you want hasn’t shown up yet.

I didn’t know that my current boyfriend would turn out to be the love of my life. It was an act of faith in the benevolence of Life to turn away from men from my past. But I did it. I told Life that I wanted something more. And that I was willing to hang out in the uncomfortable unknown and trust.

And here I am right now, once again in the middle of a huge transition. Learning how to drive. Writing samples and interviewing for a dream job. Staying at a job that I absolutely abhor while working my way into a bigger, richer, gooier life. And sometimes it hurts so bad that I cry. And sometimes I hate it so much that I behave badly, like a little brat. And sometimes I am terrified that I will get stuck in the middle of the transition and never reach the other side. But somehow, I always manage to make it. And I live to forget how terrible the pain was. And again, like childbirth, I have this person that I love more than I thought I could. Only, in my case, that person is me.

Having boundaries around my eating is not the reason I can change. But it puts the whole thing on a fast track. Not being able to numb my disappointments and dissatisfactions means that I either have to live with them or change them. So I usually choose change, because I am very bad at sitting in discomfort. And that is a very special gift, because it has given that incredibly unhappy little fat girl a life beyond her wildest dreams.

Enough 

Today I am grateful that I do not eat compulsively in the most simple way. Just that I don’t spend all of my time eating or thinking about eating. I am going through a painful growth spurt (internal), and I don’t want to write about it yet. Because it sucks. And it’s hard to process right now. And I’m sad, and a little embarrassed. And that’s ok. 

It’s okay because I don’t eat. 

Did you get that? That is crazy. I don’t eat. I am unhappy and stressed out and yet, I do not shove sugar into my face. 

To this day, it blows my mind that I don’t stress eat. That I don’t drown my sorrows in chocolate cake. That I don’t obsess, hunt, and sneak. I am flabbergasted that I escaped that prison. 

I have plenty of things to be grateful for, and plenty of grief and gripes. But when I think about the fact that I have not had to eat over anything, that I have peace around my food, I am overcome with relief.

I could not stop eating. Now, I can. 

So simple. Today, if it’s the best thing I’ve got, it’s enough.

Because sometimes you just have to choke it down…

I have not been hungry for a while now. Dinner has been tough for a few months. I have been trying to make it as small as possible. Sometimes, if I am eating alone because of work or just because my boyfriend wants pizza or something I can’t eat, I make this teeny tiny dinner that I can eat in 10 minutes and be done.In some ways it is nice to not care about a meal. Since I have spent most of my life obsessing over food and eating, it makes me feel almost kind of normal to not be hungry. I mean, sure, once I put boundaries around my eating I got a little less obsessive, but then I got a lot more excited, because…guilt-free eating!

I don’t expect this to last forever. I expect I will go back to anxiously anticipating every single bite again sooner or later. Like everything else in life, this too shall pass. 

But I feel like I have said the obvious in explaining how it’s nice for a girl who was never satisfied to not be hungry, so I want to say this next part clearly. It is painfully uncomfortable for me to eat when I do not want to eat. And it is scary for me make the choice each day to sit down and (on particularly bad days) choke down food that I would rather do without.

If you don’t know about my food boundaries, I eat three meals a day. No more. But also, no less. The idea is that I don’t eat based on hunger, because I don’t have that thing that most people have that tells them when they have had enough. I have three specifically portioned meals a day. That is how I know I have had enough. And I must eat every last bite. I am not on a diet. I am a person who is sick with food and the boundaries are my medicine.

It has become clearer and clearer over the past couple of months that I am going through a major life change. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this is why my appetite had changed.

I would tell you I don’t deal well with change, but if you have read my blog, you might know that to be a lie. I am actually spectacular at dealing with change. I’m a pro. But it comes with feelings I don’t particularly like to deal with: fear, anxiety, and that generally itchy-in-the-skin-rawness. And if I am going to be honest, the idea of pursuing big experiences and having a big life, which seems the direction I’m headed, is less pleasant than my ambitious friends and acquaintances would have me believe. 

I am not saying no to a bigger life. But I will say that there is something really beautiful about a smaller life of peace and quiet, a life of little joys. I have had one for a while and it suits me just fine.

Maybe when this transition slows down and I find my footing again in a new set of circumstances, I will get my appetite back. But for now I will choke it down. The feelings and the food and the next right action.

A Really Scary Halloween Story

Goodbye Halloween. I love Halloween. But it has been a while since I did much to celebrate. This year I didn’t even dress up, since I had to work.

No matter how I look at it, it’s such a beautiful miracle that I don’t care about candy. Halloween exactly 10 years ago was filled with humiliated binging, and a general sense of shame, but in a normal sized body.

Halloween 10 years ago was one of those days when I knew I was hitting bottom, but before I knew what I could do about it. It was the time in my life that I was most terrified about what would become of me. It was the time of my life when I felt the most out of control. I was barely managing to keep myself sane. I was in a regular sized body, but I could not stop eating. And all of my energy went into eating, and then trying to not gain weight from eating. 

Halloween 10 years ago was my first successful bulimic episode, where I stuck a toothbrush down my throat and actually managed to throw up. I had tried before that, but bulimia is not easy. (It turns out it’s not all that effective either.) I remember looking in the mirror and seeing how bloodshot my eyes looked from it. I remember being bloated and taking some gas medicine because of it. Gas medicine because I could not get the water pill some old woman recommend. I remember asking a pharmacist where I could get a water pill, and the pharmacist looking at me funny and asking if I had a prescription. And when I said I did not, telling me that they were dangerous and were not sold over the counter.

I remember being embarrassed and ashamed. I remember wondering if she could tell that I wanted it because I was bulimic. Wondering if it was written across my forehead. This girl is doing shameful things with food. I remember feeling crazy.

I remember that I was terrified that I was going to look fat and ugly for the Halloween birthday party I was going to. And I arrived later than I wanted because I was doing whatever I could think of to look normal. To not look bloodshot and bloated. 

The truth is, maybe I didn’t look as ugly as I thought I looked. But I was so unhappy. And I thought it must be obvious by just looking at me that I was so out of control that I had resorted to making myself throw up.

I thank God for many things about that day. I am grateful that I hit that point of desperation. I don’t think I could have found my solution for my eating disorders if I hadn’t tried something so extreme.

And ultimately, it would make for a very happy ending. Just two months later, I would find the solution to my eating problem. I would never have to worry about how to get rid of the food I wished I hadn’t eaten. 

I would get a life that was more peaceful than I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams. A life where I can walk by a bowl full of candy, and rest easy knowing it’s not mine.

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