I am writing today’s post from a plane, flying back home from L.A. where I got to see two different friends, and this whole trip has been fun and wonderful. And an exercise in trust and patience.
For the most part I get really stressed out and anxious when I fly. Because I worry about timing. And I especially worry about the TSA when I am traveling with food. And I am *always* traveling with food. Plus, I worry about the logistics of doing literally anything I have never done before. And I had never driven myself to the airport and parked in long term parking before.
And yes, on my way to Midway I missed the parking garage entrance. But I didn’t panic. Ok, I panicked a little at first, but I got it together and looped around. And it was probably easier to get into the garage from the other side anyway. Making a right is easier than making a left. So I parked. And then I got into L.A. and I got a little nervous, because I wasn’t sure how to get a ride share, but I followed the signs marked for the rides share pickup area and called a car. Ans it was easy. And again, this morning, I needed a ride share to get to the airport and the app told me there were no cars in the vicinity. I panicked a little then too. And then I asked the hotel lobby to call me a regular old taxi and even then there were none available. But I tried my ride share app one more time and got my ride. (I knew that in a pinch I could call one of my friends, who had generously offered to take me to the airport, but 5 AM is ridiculously early and I didn’t want to do that to her if I didn’t have to. And thankfully I didn’t.)
And other minor, difficult things happened. Like when I went out to to eat with one friend the waiter got both of our orders wrong. But what came out was within my eating boundaries, so I kept it and it was delicious. And when my other friend and I went to the botanical garden, they wouldn’t let me bring my own food in so we had to walk back to my friend’s car to leave my lunch there while we walked around the gardens, and then go back to retrieve it and eat out in the picnic area when we got hungry. And then when I finally got to my gate this morning, the last gate all the way at the end, and went to buy a drink, the register wasn’t working so I had to walk all the way back through the terminal to grab a coffee so I could eat my breakfast before we took off.
But none of these things ruined anything for me; not my mood, or my day, or my trip. I had an amazing vacation!
When I was eating compulsively, any little thing could shift my mood. I lived at the whim of circumstances, and thought pessimistically. In my head, nothing ever changed for the better. Things only got worse. And when I panicked, I stayed panicked. I might even say that I liked to panic. That I got high off of it. I definitely got high off of difficult emotions when I was in the food, like sadness, and anger, and most especially righteous indignation.
But in having boundaries around my eating, and in giving up my drug foods, I have taught myself – I have given myself the opportunity to teach myself – how to manage my emotions. Not to ignore them, because they are still very useful. But to use them as tools. To see what the moment’s circumstances are and how they affect me, and what I am going to do about it.
And there is another thing that has shifted for me since getting my eating under control, and that is the trust that I have that everything will work out in the end. Because I now have experienced that everything really does always work out in the end, one way or another. I could have called my friend this morning if I really needed a ride to the airport. And even if I missed my flight, there would be another flight. Neither being in a snit, or having a panic attack, was going to change anything except my own personal experience, and the experience of anyone who had to deal with my foul mood.
When I was in the food I could never think past the thing that was not meeting my expectations. I just knew that my food was wrong, or I needed a ride and there were no drivers, or that I somehow missed the parking garage entrance and didn’t know where I was. I only had room for fear and anger at how hard life was. But with my eating under control, I have the clarity of mind to stay clam, assess what I need and come up with options to bridge the gap between what I got and what I needed. And when I am calm, the gap is never as big as I am afraid it is.