Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “drama”

Putting the ‘fun’ in functioning like a normal human being

This is the first weekend in long time (6 weeks? 7?) that my boyfriend and I didn’t have any obligations to take care of. I didn’t have to jump out of bed and get ready for the day. I got to lay around until whenever this morning. (Whenever was about 7:30) I had a leisurely breakfast. I took my time cleaning up the kitchen. I threw a couple of loads of laundry in.

The last couple of months have been exciting. It has been great to travel. It has been fun to see friends. To celebrate life and love. To dance. To experience new places and things. I have enjoyed it very much.

And I am also positively loving this lazy day at home with my boyfriend.

One of the best parts about having my eating under control, is that I can enjoy just general life. (Frankly, the very best part about having my eating under control is having my eating under control, but anyway…)

I was basically unhappy when I was eating compulsively, but not just about being fat, and food obsessed, and ashamed. I was also never satisfied. With anything. I would have been easily angered and frustrated by all the traveling I enjoyed so much this past month. I would have been devastated by the smallest hiccup in any of the plans. The truck breaking down. My flight from New York being delayed. I would have been so worried about embarrassing myself and trying to be, look and act perfect that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the wedding.

And then this morning, I would have been some nonsensical mix of anxious and bored. Or I would have spent my entire day doing nothing (high on sugar), and then have been humiliated at night when I did nothing all day.

The other thing that I sometimes forget is that when I ate compulsively, I never slept at night. I stayed up until at least 1 or 2 in the morning, if not later. If I had to be awake in the morning, I often overslept. If I didn’t have to wake up, I would easily sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.

I hated the daytime. People were doing useful and productive things in the daytime. I wanted to eat and smoke and read comic books and not have anything be expected of me.

I am so the opposite of that now. If I am up past 10 pm, I am exhausted! I love the morning. I love breakfast and coffee and sunshine and making the bed and straightening up the house from the night before.

When I was eating compulsively I lived in terror of missing out on all the fun. But I never really enjoyed the “fun”. Now, I show up for what is going on, and I usually have fun, whatever that is. Whether it’s driving for 12 hours, dancing at a wedding, or laying on the couch reading and drinking coffee.

And finally, there is one more thing I want to talk about today. At the very end of September, I spoke to my friend who helps me make decisions about my food, and she recommended that I stop weighing myself on the first of the month for a while. She understood that it was torture for me. She said that as long as I was keeping my boundaries around my food, I was doing the right thing. And that there was no reason to punish myself by weighing myself. This is what I’m doing for now. The time when I begin to weigh myself on the first of the month will probably begin again at some point, but that point is not now.

Well… since I stopped weighing myself a little over a month ago, my clothes have been getting bigger. Around mid-September I bought some new jeans. One pair that I bought was a size 8 and fit. One pair was a size 6, and I could get them on, but they did not fit. Last week I noticed that the 8s were falling off of me, and today I am wearing the 6s.They fit.

Everything in me wants to get on the scale. Wants to see the number. Wants to see exactly how much weight I have lost in the past 2 months.

But the truth is, that will only lead to eating disorder thinking and I know it. I will not be happy with the number. Whatever it may be. I will want to lose more. More quickly. Now.

And the other truth is that I do not think it is a coincidence that I started to lose weight after I stopped weighing myself. I have not been eating any lighter. (If you didn’t know, I got a deep-fryer!) I believe that fear of my weight kept me stuck. I believe that the obsession with my weight wouldn’t allow me to release it. In other words, I couldn’t let it go until I let it go. I don’t want to think about my weight any more than a body-dysmorphic girl with eating disorders has to. And insisting that I get on the scale, when I have been given a loving suggestion not to, is to go looking for pain and drama.

I don’t want to care about my weight. Yes, I want to be healthy. Yes, I want to be sane. Yes, I want to be in a comfortable body. But I want to be free to be comfortable in the body I am in…


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.

Pick a panic, any panic

There are only 2 feelings that I have ever been comfortable with. Since I got control of the food, I get whole washes of peace. Sometimes for days! I treasure those days. I can be with peace. Peace, I like. The other is resignation. It is the same resignation that I had when I was eating compulsively. It is the feeling that made it easy to lock myself in my room with boxes and bags of things to poison myself with. It is the feeling that let me keep my life as small as possible. Nothing good was ever going to happen to me. I should just enjoy my cake. (Of course, I didn’t enjoy my cake! I didn’t enjoy anything…) I can be with resignation. But I do not like it.

I have written quite a bit so far about how I ate my negative feelings. My shame and pain. But I also ate my good feelings. My joy and excitement. My happiness. This may not make sense to you. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I didn’t even know I did that until I stopped. But real joy is intense and confusing to me. And I have never been good at riding the waves. It is easier to be numb. And I am never numb anymore.

When my feelings get unmanageable, I have generally had three strategies. The first, which I no longer utilize, was to eat. Sugar. That would get me numb for a while and then make me feel bad about myself.  Problem with joy? Problem solved. The second, which I am doing less and less lately, is to make a rash decision and take a drastic action. Specifically, to make a big ol’ mess of things. Then there is no need to deal with that feeling. There are too many things to do in order to get my life square again. And the third is what a friend of mine calls Pick A Panic, Any Panic. (I can still get stuck in this one. Baby steps, Kate.)

Pick a panic has the advantage of providing all of the drama of making rash decisions, but without all that mess. I can keep it contained enough to only hurt and torment myself. This eliminates a lot of the guilt associated with lashing out at others. But it’s also harder to distinguish. My panic occurs to me as real, not like I fabricated it. Pick a panic is very close to the highs and lows of compulsive sugar eating. I’m guessing that’s actually where my brain learned it. And did it so often and so regularly that it doesn’t even need the sugar anymore. Pick a panic is useful if your goal is to get worked up enough to declare certain doom unto yourself, quit, and return the damp cocoon of resignation.

So let’s get to men (ok, just one man) and my heart. And happiness. I asked the man I like if he liked me. (See! I did take a risk with my heart!) And wow, did he give me a response! He positively touched me. I felt so incredibly honored and appreciated. The whole thing left me speechless. It made me really really happy!

Which makes me really really uncomfortable.

So I want to pick a panic. Any panic. About all of my faults and flaws. About not being pretty enough. About fucking up. About time and money. About logistics. About how many beautiful women there are in the world and where they are located. About the uncertainty of the future. Really. Any one will do.

While I am letting my panic blossom and flourish, I am never thinking about where it will ultimately lead. But panic is a straight line to resignation for me. It is the first step down the short, desperate road to…well, anywhere but here where I’m uncomfortable. Where I have to deal with life, and other human beings. Or, God forbid, joy!

So what’s the remedy for panic? Now. Here. This moment exactly as it is. Being still. Being quiet. Not panicking.

I am responsible for my thoughts. And I know what it takes to change my mind. And not just on a particular subject or issue. I know what it takes to change my thinking. Meditation. Standing still. Taking in. Being.

And it turns out I like these practices. They take the pressure off. They remind me that I am not in charge of the world or anyone in it but myself. That I have only one responsibility; to live. To be in the place and moment that I am in. To do the next right thing.

Basically, I think the cure for panic is surrender. And I believe that surrender is a grace. In other words, you don’t work at it, you receive it. I want to keep myself open. Eyes, ears, arms, heart, and mind. I want to be available for grace and peace. I want to be available for this moment. Whatever moment it is. And if it’s joy, intense and confusing, may I know how blessed I am.

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