Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the month “September, 2022”

I put on my big girl panties even when I don’t want to

Tomorrow I drive six hours to my new apartment in Upstate New York. I. Not we. Because my husband has to stay here in New Jersey in a hotel for another week. Still on the night shift. This does not thrill me.

There are things about it that I am cool with. I will be happy to be back on daylight hours. I like the idea of setting up our new place so it feels like home when he finally joins me there. I like the prospect of my whole kitchen for meal prep. And a dishwasher again finally! But mostly I hate being separated from him.

When I was in the food I was very bad doing what needed to be done. I was bad at doing my homework. Bad at waking up on time. Bad at paying my bills. Bad at anything I didn’t want to do. 

In getting my eating under control, I learned to do the drudge work. For one thing, I had to make all of my food. And I had to make it in a timely manner. It was the first step for me in honoring my commitments. Or at least the annoying commitments. (You want me to learn lines and choreography for a stage play? Yes! You want me to write a paper with references on a historical figure? Not so much…)

So here is this thing that I have to do: Be separated from my husband. And I will do it. But I can only do it with any grace because I have tools. Tools I got from putting boundaries around my eating. Things like remembering that all things are temporary, and this too shall pass. Things like doing one thing at a time and resting when I need to. Things like making set plans and creating structures for myself so we can talk and FaceTime while we’re apart. Or whatever I need to make it through with peace and good humor.

But one of the most important tools I have is the ability to feel whatever I am feeling, and not have that get in the way of what I am doing. I didn’t know how to get any kind of delayed gratification when I was eating compulsively. I didn’t know how to not do what felt pretty good now, so I could feel amazing later instead. Working out certainly sucks in the moment, but feeling strong and capable and not getting winded when I run up stairs is pretty spectacular. Not to mention feeling like I am aging gracefully because I am relatively fit. An old friend who passed away not too long ago used to say “discipline is just remembering what you want.” (Though admittedly, the rewards here are money and my husband still having a great job, which is not as motivating to someone like me as, say, figuring out a design aspect of a new crochet project, but as long as he’s happy…)

Today I will cook my meals for tomorrow and the next day, and pack up my little car. And tomorrow I will get up early in the morning (actual morning!) and go meet with the leasing office to pick up my keys and start the move into our new place. I’m going to put on my big girl panties and take care of business. Even though I don’t want to.


Setting myself up

Thank heaven for all of the structures I keep in place for myself. For example, just a minute ago my alarm went off. The one that goes off every Sunday morning asking if I posted a blog. 

Today I am in Chicago for a couple of days, so I am not in my usual routine. And I had not only not written a blog, but I forgot about it entirely. So when my alarm went off, I had to stop crocheting and write!

When I was younger, I not only thought I had to do all of the things I wanted to do, or at least thought I should do, I thought I had to keep all of it in my head. I wanted to do things “the right way” but ultimately, I was setting myself up for failure. And more often than not, the thing I wanted to do perfectly, didn’t get done at all.

Now I keep alarms for everything. I will set an alarm to remind me to turn back on an alarm I turned off.

One thing I see a lot in knit and crochet forums is new crafters asking about stitch counts and how to keep track of complicated patterns. And the advice that comes from long term crafters is usually something like “use stitch markers, and use as many as you need.” Stop trying to keep everything in your head. Put structures in place. Even if you think it looks ridiculous. Even if it does look ridiculous.

Getting my eating under control taught me my priorities. But it also taught me to set my self up to succeed. Because wanting to do a thing is not the same as actually doing it. And to get things done, I need to do things like plan ahead. Prepare. Put my self in a position to get it right.

I am not saying there isn’t some gold in knowing how to go with the flow and succeed in the face of absolute chaos. But success when the odds are stacked against me is exhausting. It’s a moment of triumph, but it’s not sustainable. It’s a once in a while exercise. Not a way of life.

Ready to go

Ok friends, shortest blog ever.

Today I move out of the frying pan (crappy apartment) and into the fire (tiny hotel room.) But all of my meals for today and tomorrow are cooked, portioned, packed, and ready to go. Because that is my first priority. 

I did most of the packing and cleaning for the move over the last several days. So today is really just packing it into the car and doing the last minute stuff, like the wiping down the bathroom after we both shower, the refrigerator after it’s empty and to vacuum the carpet and swiffer the kitchen floor on our way out.

It’s easy because we’ve done it a lot. We’ve moved so many times it can be hard to keep count. But it’s also easy because I know how to prioritize my time. And I actually know how much time things take. And I know that because my eating boundaries are the most important thing to me. And I have had to get realistic about time to make sure I had enough of it to have and cook what I need to eat.

The kitchen in between

On this coming Friday, the furniture rental people are coming to take back their stuff. On Sunday, we will pack up and move out of here. But we won’t have an apartment in Rochester NY until the end of September. And that means 2 weeks in an extended stay hotel with a kitchenette. And that means 2 weeks without all of my kitchen comforts, and most of my favorite foods.

I will survive I don’t doubt. With my eating boundaries in tact I also don’t doubt. But it won’t be possible to make a lot of my go to foods. There won’t be an oven to bake bacon, so if I want it I will have to make it on the stovetop, which takes forever. So I probably won’t. (Maybe I won’t. Ok, I might but definitely not as often and I will feel the right to complain about it.) And my guess is the freezer won’t be cold enough to thoroughly freeze my ice cream making bowl, because they often aren’t in places like that. And I am already cataloging the handful of kitchen items I will need to bring with me, like a coffee cup because the ones they provide are so tiny, and a good frying pan because the ones they provide usually have the Teflon so scratched and warped I want to call poison control just from looking at it.

There are many things I love about traveling, but these in between times are not one of them. This is the closest I come to camping, and I don’t love it. 

I will take care of myself. I will love my food, whatever that takes and whatever that looks like. Even if it’s not the way I am used to. But I do have to brace myself. Be prepared in both the practical sense – like pack my coffee cup and my frying pan in an easily accessible crate in my car – and the emotional sense. But I will be prepared. And then pretty soon, I will be back in an apartment, with an oven and very cold freezer, and a chance to get to know a new place.

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