onceafatgirl

Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “God”

Arguing with the voice in my head 

We are finally in our new place here in Corpus Christi. And it’s mostly great. But there are still details that need to be ironed out, and everything has not gone smoothly. Which is not to say it never does. My life goes smoothly much of the time. This time is not one of those times. We had trouble with the water heater, and the internet, to name a few things. And everything we brought is all around the place in disarray. But mostly, all is well.And through all of it, the good and the bad, I didn’t have eat over difficult situations.

This morning, I was laying in bed thinking about the internet trouble, no, worrying really, and worrying about how to possibly fix it. And this little voice popped into my head, the voice that I associate with God, or Life, or The Universe. And it said “Don’t things always work out? Always?” And of course, the answer is yes. It doesn’t always work out the way I am expecting, but it always works out, and always as well as or better than I think I want it to. 

I will admit that I argued with that voice a little this morning. It took until after my husband reassured me, and a cup of coffee, for me to really relax about it. But we got there in the end. 

So it’s one thing at a time. Get the place comfortable and livable. Trust that is all going the way it should. And enjoy my life. 

My new job is rewarding. The money is a nice addition to our finances. And my new kitchen is big with a dishwasher, so taking care of my food is convenient. Which is important, because convenient or not, it’s got to get done.

So I will trust Life, and I will make a point to relax when I start to worry. And even if I do argue with the voice in my head, I know that it will always argue back that life is good, that I am taken care of, and that everything always works out in the end.

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This is where I don’t blink

So many things I want to get out and get off my chest. But this is not my diary. And you, as a collective, are not my friends. (Though obviously some of you are.)

I have to remind myself that this is a blog about living with eating disorders. And that can mean so many things for me, because my eating disorders touch every part of my life. But this is not a place to complain.

And even in those places that are places to complain, I try to do minimal complaining. Or at least minimal “all I’m doing about it is complaining.”

I am in a lot of pain lately. About circumstances. And life. And it is time to do that thing where I look at what is my responsibility, and what I can change and what I can’t, and what I have to let go of. And then let go.

And that is always wrapped up in my eating disorders. Partly because feelings are all wrapped up in my eating disorders. When I ate compulsively, pain is what I ate.

The correlation between an event and a feeling doesn’t even have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be some huge incident. It doesn’t have to be traumatic for me to be traumatized. So much of it is about feeling helpless.

This is a good lesson for me right now. I just had a little epiphany writing that. I don’t know if I have ever been able to pinpoint this feeling. I know its physical sensations. The intense tightness in my throat, like I am strangling myself with my own throat muscles. And the feeling in my arms and legs, hands and feet, like they don’t exist. Sort of the opposite of phantom limb syndrome. But I don’t know if up until this point I have ever been able to clearly note that it comes down to wanting something to be different that I have no power to change.

I don’t know the last time I had this feeling. It comes, and I let it go by trusting. By trusting that life is going the way it should. That whatever situation will be resolved and I, personally, will be better off with whatever the outcome. That has always been true, even though at the time it didn’t always seem to work out in my favor.

But the last time I remember this feeling being so terrible that it was practically unbearable, was about four years ago. I was a babysitter at the time and I could not stop thinking about the possibilities of the children I took care of getting hurt or dying. Especially when they were under my watch. I could not get these thoughts out of my head. Not matter how many times I tried to stop thinking them, they kept creeping in.

Now that I think about it, that was simply that I was overwhelmed by my lack of control over life. I was a fantastic child-care provider. I was not flighty or careless. I just knew in that moment that things happen in life, and people get hurt and it’s nobody’s fault. And I couldn’t control that. And it terrified me. And traumatized me. And it created the most intense pain.

That was when I started meditating. That was when I made an agreement with God, and then took time every morning to renew it. I agreed that I would honor what ever happened in a day as exactly what was supposed to happen. I didn’t have to like it. I didn’t have to put some spin on it. I just had to honor it. In other words, I had to trust.

That agreement doesn’t mean I always trust. It doesn’t stop this feeling from showing up. And it’s intense. But I will say that wading through it is so much better than eating it.

I used to eat all of my feelings. But I can think of growing up, and the times I felt the most crazy and out of control, and it all came down to this feeling, magnified times a thousand. Because I ate it. And then I ate it again. And again. Until eating it wasn’t going to work again. Until it had to come out. And when it did, it was all tied up in my worthlessness and my brokenness and the shameful things I had done and the shame in what I had failed to do. It was muddled and cloudy and I couldn’t see it clearly. And I couldn’t hold it in. I could eat as much cake as I wanted, but it was going to come out. And by that time it was so big and heavy and intense that it scared the shit out of me. There were times that I actually thought I might be going crazy.

There is something about using a substance that is ultimately lacking. If it weren’t, it would work. If I could have numbed my pain with food, and it had kept working, I would have done it. Eternally. Before I had love in my life, I would have gladly traded love for numb. I did, in fact trade love for numb for so many years. If only I could have stayed numb, I would have happily gotten fatter and fatter. I would have happily died of some obesity related illness. If only it had worked.

Thank God it didn’t. Now I would never trade love for numb. Even when this pain is so intense. And anyway, it passes, eventually. But first I have to let myself fall into the helplessness. I have to look my lack of control in the eye and not blink.

Just call me Judgy McJudgerson

I have been thinking lately about judgment. About what it means to be a judgmental person. And about what it looks like to live and let live, while at the same time judging.

I have written before about the difficult relationship I have with obesity and judgment. (In this post right here.) And that turned out to be a very important exercise for my growth. It was the first step in my reconciliation with the girl I had been growing up. I did make peace with the person I had been and the body I had been in. And there have been some subtle changes in my thinking since then. But some things remain true. I have been fat and I hated it. And I hated myself. And it was so difficult and painful. So I pity. And pity is a kind of judgment. And I don’t ever want to be fat again. And that is a kind of judgment.

There is this thing I hear in some of my circles and on social media a lot. It’s this idea that nobody should be judged. With an unspoken yet clear undertone that says nobody except those who judge. And those who judge should be judged harshly.

Well I am going to tell you, I judge. And I have come to realize that I like it that way. And that I don’t have any intention or desire to change that.

First, some clarification. I don’t think it is ever ok to be unkind. I don’t think it is a favor to anybody to shame and humiliate them. Or anybody’s right to do so to another person. Also, judging does not mean vomiting my opinion all over the place. It does not mean unsolicited advice. It does not mean meddling. As I said in my last post, I am looking to focus on minding my own business. I believe in live and let live. I believe in keeping my eyes on my own plate and my own life. Not that I am perfect at it, but that is what I strive for.

Judging also does not mean liking or disliking people based on anything other than liking them. The truth is that there are people in my life whom I am judging about certain aspects of their lives, and I really like them. And there are people whom I do not like at all, but there are things about them that I cannot help but respect and admire. There are people I want to like, but I don’t. And people I do not want to like and I just can’t help it.

But I am a judger. I believe in judging. I believe in having a critical eye (tempered with a loving heart.) Because how else would I know what I want? And how else would I know who to ask to help me get it?

There is a saying that I love: If you want what I have, then do what I do.

When I was desperate to get my eating under control, I found people who had their eating under control. I asked them for help and support. I learned what they did and I did it. And it worked.

When I wanted to have a breakthrough in my love life, I went to a friend who had the kind of relationship I wanted and I asked for her to teach me. To point me in the right direction and show me the next step. She did. And it worked.

When I wanted inner peace, I went to the people whom I could see had peace. The ones who radiated self-love and serenity. Even when their lives were in turmoil. I asked them what I could do to have peace, and I followed their directions. And it worked.

If I hadn’t been judging, how was I supposed to choose what I wanted? If I hadn’t been judging, how could I have known if I was succeeding or not?

Now seriously, would you take fitness advice from an out-of-shape trainer? Would you take marriage advice from someone in a miserable marriage? Would you take dating advice from a single person? Would you take career advice from someone who hates their job? Would you take food advice from someone obese and unhealthy?

Here’s the thing, maybe you would. Maybe you do. It turns out that many people do. Maybe you think that it is wrong to judge. Maybe you think that anybody’s advice is as good as anybody else’s.

But I do not see it that way. Now I look for who has what I want. And to figure that out, I am out here judging. Looking around with honest and clear eyes. And a head that is not fogged up with sugar. Using my gift of discernment. I believe God gave it to me for a reason. To use it. Not to call people out. Not to shame and humiliate. To use it for myself. To make myself the person I want to be. And deciding who I want to be, and if I am that person, takes judgment too.

Good Girls Get Fat

On the train to New Orleans with my friend last weekend, we were talking about something that made me remember that I had written a poem. Three years ago. March of 2011. And it was relevant to what we were talking about. And I was proud of it because it was good. So I found it on my phone and I read it to her.

I am not a poet. Don’t get me wrong. I know that my style of writing can be poetic. Frankly, my style of speaking too. And I have written a handful of poems in my adult life. Because I love words. And language. And that concentration of meaning and emotional experience that a good poem offers. But I don’t spend a lot of time writing poetry. Or wishing I had the time to write poetry. Or thinking, “Gee. That would make a really good poem.”

What I am, though, is available to be a channel. For what I call God. But you can call it art, or creativity, or expression, or life. Or you don’t have to call it anything. My point is that I am available to be moved, and in turn, to move others.

But I am only available since I got control of my eating.

For one, I am no longer worried about being judged. Being a fat girl means constantly being judged. By others and by yourself. And it overflows past just the body.

I already knew that my body was being judged. People are very vocal about their judgments of fat women. But there was also a sense of other things I “should be.” Whether real or imagined. That I should be selfless. That in order to be good enough, I should be perfect. That in order to be loved, I should fully understand my worthlessness.

This made it hard to be proud of the things that I was good at. Writing, learning, teaching, among others. And not being able to be proud of these things made me not want to do them in the first place.

Also, I stifled so many of my gifts and talents by living in a sugar-induced fog.

There is this thing that used to happen to me a lot when I was eating compulsively. (So essentially the first 28 years of my life.) People would come up to me and tell me how I had said something to them that had changed something in their life and their way of thinking. That my words had had a profound impact on them. And then they would tell me what I had said, and I would think that it was, indeed, brilliant and profound. But I wouldn’t remember saying it. In other words, I was giving people gifts that I couldn’t give myself. And I couldn’t even be proud to have given them to other people because I couldn’t remember them.

I don’t remember a lot of my life before I stopped eating sugar and put boundaries around my eating. Seriously. Sometimes family members will say, “Hey! Remember that time…” And I will have to say no. And sometimes I even ask if they are sure I was there. But the truth is I probably was. And I just don’t remember because I was too high. Because I was always too high. I spent too much of my time escaping from life in any way I could. But mainly with sugar. I was so disconnected from reality that I couldn’t even remember my own wisdom. And I sure as hell couldn’t hear it for myself.

But now, I am not high. I am free from food addiction. I am sane and happy (most of the time.) I like myself. I trust my instincts. And I remember my own wisdom. And if you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I always err on the side of thinking I’m awesome.

So here is my poem. Because I am proud of it. And because I don’t care if you like it. And because it has some of my most profound wisdom.

I wrote it for me. But you can get wisdom from it too, if you like.

Good Girls Get Fat

Good girls get fat. Extra good girls, accomplished girls, starve themselves. Good girls who are just not good enough, make themselves throw up. Good girls who are just not good enough eventually get fat. Extra good girls die young. Or get fat.

I am not a good girl.

Good girls take care of everyone. Good girls manage. Everything. And be everything. All at once. And are exhausted. And are hungry. And eat the tasks that didn’t get done. And eat the leftover unkindness. And eat their own humanity. They are that hungry.

I take care of my own needs, and leave the rest to life. I am not a good girl.

Good girls give and take. Good girls give the good and take the bad. And chuck the bad. At someone they love. And that makes them hungry. And they eat their words. And wash it down with their shame. Good girls believe that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

I give it all and take it all, and get what I get. I prefer my medicine bitter. I am not a good girl.

Good girls fill the gaps and meet the needs. Good girls keep the world running. Keep themselves running. An endless string of marathons. Good girls stumble and fall. Good girls are spent. Like money. Spare change.

I run when it’s time to run. And then I rest. I am not a good girl.

I am a fucking fantastic woman.

Don’t make me double dog dare you, 2014

I know that I am outspoken about not loving the holiday season, but there is something I do love about this time of year. I love the New Year. And I don’t just mean the parties. (Though there are aspects of New Year’s parties that contribute to it being one of my favorite holidays. Getting dressed up and dancing, traditional staples for New Year’s festivities, are two of my favorite things ever in the whole world ever.)

But what I really love is the opportunity to look back. To remember and reflect. And I love the opportunity to look forward. To anticipate and plan.

And I love when we choose to do this. That we do it around winter solstice. (Historically, the New Year has been celebrated either around the vernal equinox, the first day of spring, or around winter solstice, the first day of winter.) There is something beautiful to me about having the year end just after the darkest days are done. To make a new beginning just as the days begin to get longer again. We begin as it’s getting better. Waxing.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how different this time of reflection is for me since I got my eating under control. I was trying to remember which were the great years for me before 2006. And I thought about the fact that I don’t remember looking back on any year before then with fondness.

Not because they were all bad, I realize. But because I was a whiney, whiney complainer. Because I was always unhappy. Because I hated myself. And I hated life. And I was sure that God was out to get me. When I look back at my life, the things that I accomplished and the opportunities I was given, I can see that some of those years were pretty great. Exciting things happened for me. But I didn’t have any gratitude for them.

And then I started to think about the past 8 years and how wonderful they have been. But then I realized that they were not necessarily wonderful. They were certainly not all light, easy and fun. I realized that I had occasionally had some crazy, or terrible or painful things happen to me. But that my attitude about any particular year was never that it was all bad.

In 2007, I lost my Grandfather. He was the first grandparent I lost. I was also evicted from my apartment. I couch surfed for months before I got back on my feet. I had some incredibly generous and amazing friends come through for me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It was scary and difficult and stressful. But I also loved that year. I got a whole new appreciation for my own capabilities. And I went through that whole period keeping boundaries around my eating. I never said screw it. I honored my commitment even though I’m sure nobody would have “blamed me” if I had numbed my fear and anxiety with food. It was also the year I came out of my sugar-withdrawal fog. For the previous year and a half, I had been walking around in a daze. I had been high on sugar so consistently and for so long that being sober made me feel high. I was scared, but I was so grateful to feel empowered and in control. And loved.

2010 was particularly hard. I lost my grandmother and my aunt that year, two women who were incredibly important to me. I spent a lot of time crying. And I was not sorry to move on to 2011. But I didn’t write the whole year off as awful. I wasn’t miserable. I was sad. That’s all. Just sad. And not only sad. When I look back on it, I can remember that 2010 was a year when I gained a whole new level of confidence in my beauty and my worth. It was a year I went on a whole bunch of dates. And I went on those dates looking for a man who would deserve me, not for one who would “take me” or “put up with me.” I still had a lot of things to work through on that front. I wouldn’t even start this blog until January of 2012. But I liked myself in 2010. And I loved life. And I didn’t take the hard stuff personally. I had gratitude for all of the good stuff. That the women I lost had loved me and I loved them. That I was growing as a woman. That I had hope.

And in 2012 I fell into a depression after quitting smoking. Because it made me stop producing important brain chemicals. And because it affected my metabolism and I gained a bunch of weight. Which is hard on a woman with eating and body image disorders. But it was not a bad year. I also started writing this blog that year. And I took some risks in terms of love and relationships. And I took some new actions in terms of work and money. And depressed or not, I had quit smoking. I did a lot of growing that year. I changed a lot. For the better. And I was grateful for it.

That is one of the many things that getting my eating under control has afforded me. Gratitude. For life. It has taught me to be grateful for the gifts and the miracles. And to remember that the bummers and the upsets are not God pushing me down. They are not personal. They are life. Not just mine, either. Everybody’s life. And that they are also opportunities to be better if I want to use them.

So when I look back on this past year, and I see that it has been gift after gift, it brings tears to my eyes. I came out of that depression from quitting smoking this year. I found a love beyond my wildest dreams this year. I jumped with both feet into a new life and a new lifestyle of travel and excitement. Even though I was nervous and anxious. And I found that I love it. And just yesterday, I started a new job.

I could have found plenty to be grateful for this year. Even without love and adventure. Because I am so grateful to be in a body I love, free from my obsession with food, with my integrity intact. But 2013 has been the best year I can ever remember having. Ever. In my whole life. And while I don’t expect that every year will necessarily be so filled with so many extraordinary life altering joyous events, or so devoid of losses and pains and hardships, I can’t imagine that I’ve hit my peak yet. I fully expect for life to continue to get better.

How could life get better than this? I don’t know. But 2014, feel free to consider this a dare.

Let sleepless kids lie (awake) and other thoughts on surrender

There is something I believe. A tenet. A belief that I use to shape my life. A belief that I try to keep in mind when I think, speak, and act.

I believe that Life is always right.

Sometimes I believe it in a “religious” way. (I put it in quotes because I am not religious, nor am I affiliated with any religion.) But I believe that God is working His plan, and whatever happens is a stretch of the larger road leading to a better life for me. And yes, I do actually believe that. Because my experience has been that even when crazy, scary, upsetting things have happened that have been devastating setbacks, they have always also been merely a leg of a journey to something much, much better.

And sometimes, I just believe it in a practical, basically Zen, kind of way. In other words, it is what it is. (Whatever that is.) If there were any other way for it to be, it would be that way. There is no should have, could have, or would have. That once something is in the past, it is unchangeable. You must accept it, and move on.

I do not mean to imply that I don’t believe in changing things that can be changed. I do not believe in giving up, staying stuck, or becoming resigned. Nor do I wish to imply that I don’t believe in plans, or preparation. God knows that I am awful at flying by the seat of my pants. But “even the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.” And the question becomes how do I react when things don’t go the way I want, or expect them to.

I want to be the person who trusts. I want to trust that God is preparing something even better for me. And I want to trust that Life is always giving me exactly what I need.

And I want to remember that when I trust that Life is giving me the right things, I shift my consciousness so that I am creating an opportunity. In other words, I make it true by believing it. I can make anything into a gift, or a lesson by thinking of it as one.

So why am I writing this? Because I need a reminder. I am unhappy in my situation right now. I had a lot of plans. And I have had a lot of frustrating setbacks. And I’m feeling resentful. Toward God. And Life.

Here I am, doing my best. My best to be good person. To keep my eating under control. To take care of myself by planning and working to create order and comfort for myself. And I’m still not getting what I want! I am not comfortable. I am not happy. I am not in control of my circumstances.

There is something I learned as a babysitter. The Jedi Mind Trick to get a sleep-hating kid to fall asleep, is to not care if the kid sleeps or not. It is to stop resisting their “awakeness.” It is to find peace with whatever happens. And I tell you, that kid will fall asleep every time. (And if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because you have peace anyway.)

This is true of life too. If I stop resisting, things shift. And if they don’t, who cares. I have peace.

I wish that writing this brought me instant peace. It didn’t. But I’m giving up the right to be resentful. And I’m being gentle with myself. There is no use in beating myself up for not being peaceful.

All in good time. All in God’s time. Life on Life’s terms. Because if I’m being practical, there isn’t any other time, and there aren’t any other terms.

This is only a test. If this were an actual emergency, I would do something about it.

I am being tested today. And it sucks.

I passed the test. And if I continue to be tested, I will pass again. And again. Because it is not a test of learning or understanding. It is a test of honor and commitment. And my commitment is strong and steady. But I’m feeling a little resentful toward life that I’m being tested.

First, weigh day. The scale this morning said I gained 3.6 lbs. It doesn’t seem right to me. It seems like a lot to gain in a month. I’m not eating that much differently this month. Not enough to gain almost 4 lbs in a month.

But hell, what do I know!? Maybe I did gain this weight. Maybe it’s not water, or hormones, or a problem with my scale. Maybe I gained a bunch of weight this month. The truth is, I don’t want to do anything about it. I don’t want to stop eating the way I eat. I don’t want to eat “lighter” options. I don’t want lean, or skim, or fat-free.

And I don’t hate my body. I don’t feel fat or ugly or yucky. And I am clear-headed enough to know this.

But I am miserable. And when I ask myself why, the answer is that I feel like I must have done something wrong.

Gaining weight=bad girl.

I have been crying since I weighed myself this morning. Ashamed. But I haven’t done anything to be ashamed of. I keep my boundaries around my food. No matter what. It’s a promise between me and God. And I honor it above everything else in my life. It is the one and only thing I have to do to when it comes to my body. I don’t have to be a certain weight, or size. I don’t have to exercise. All I have to do is eat within my boundaries.

But then being so upset about gaining weight, I didn’t want to eat lunch today. I felt like a failure. Depressed. And the thought of lunch felt heavy and thick. Kind of sickening, to be honest.

But I eat. That is part of my boundaries. I eat all of my meals. Even if I don’t want to. So I made a call and left a message for a friend that I didn’t want to eat, and that I had been putting it off, but that I was going to eat lunch anyway, because my feelings don’t have anything to do with food.

And then while I was making lunch, things kept going wrong. And I had to remake part of my meal 4 times. Four times, to make sure that it was within my boundaries.

But I did it until it was right. And my food was exactly as it is supposed to be between me and God. I didn’t say f*** it. Because I don’t ever say f*** it. I do what it takes, whatever it takes, to make sure my eating is under control. It’s the basis of my integrity. That is not an exaggeration.

I suppose it’s good to know that when the chips are down and I don’t want to keep my food boundaries, I do it anyway. Perhaps tomorrow, when I feel better, I will be grateful. Not only that I have the willingness, but also that I had this little reminder of how far I’m willing to go to honor those boundaries. I mean, I didn’t even want to eat the meal, and I had to remake it repeatedly to eat it anyway…

And it’s good to distinguish that I do not have to hate my body or feel fat to have a severe emotional reaction to gaining weight. And it’s good to put words to this upset. To understand that I associate gaining weight with being a bad girl.

And it’s good to have enough peace and clarity to know that I don’t have to do anything about any of this today. I have my feelings. And they don’t have anything to do with my actions. That I can cry, but I still have to eat lunch. And I don’t have to stop eating foods I love if I don’t want to.

Sidewalks on Memory Ln.

If you had told me last week that I would be thoroughly enjoying my longish stay in the suburb where I grew up, I would have told you that you didn’t know me very well.

But apparently I didn’t know me very well.

First of all, there are sidewalks! Thank God for sidewalks! After being stuck for 3 months (Ok, stuck pool-side. In a luxury apartment complex. But still stuck…) I find myself disposed to love any sidewalks. And the same sidewalks of my formative years proved to be as good as any.

I have been walking. For hours. For miles. Just walking.

It’s good for my mental health and morale. It feels good to move my body. The way I did in New York. Loving to move is one of the best gifts of getting my food under control and losing 150 lbs.

When I was fat, moving my body was exhausting and painful. Now I love it. It is exhilarating. It reminds me that I’m alive. And that I like it. No, that I love being alive. That I love my life.

I still don’t like “exercise”. You won’t find me at a gym, or running on a track. I will not be wearing spandex clothes and sweating for an allotted amount of time so that I can feel like I did what I’m “supposed to do.”

Plus “exercise” makes the bulimic girl in my head go a little crazy. 5 more minutes. 1 more hour. 10 more laps. You’ll be that much closer to losing another pound. Another 5. You can get back to 133. Maybe you could break 130! You could be the thinnest you’ve ever been!

Um…yeah. No. We don’t need her butting her nose in. And walking, just plain walking outside in the world, keeps the bulimic girl calm. Or at least reined in.

But there is another thing here in the place where I grew up. Something I hadn’t particularly expected. Or at least hadn’t expected to find the least bit enjoyable. Nostalgia.

I did not like myself growing up. And that made for a rather unhappy childhood.

And it has happened a few times this past week that I have passed a place that has brought up a painful memory. Or a shameful one. I’ve done some cringing. And experienced some discomfort.

But it has also been a good opportunity to remember that the fat girl who grew up here is me. That she walked here too. Not with confidence. Or much grace. But she walked these same sidewalks none the less. And that not all of it was bad. That there were people I liked who liked me. That there was fun and happiness.

Sure it was always colored by my own self-loathing. But not even that can make all of life terrible. Plus, that’s not what my life is like anymore.

That integrating of my past and my present is probably the hardest part of my life’s journey so far.

But it occurs to me that it is probably not an accident that I fell in love with a man from that past. Who owns a home in this same place I grew up. God is sneaky. And has a twisted sense of humor. But is apparently also infinitely wise.

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.

Dear God, thank you for answering my prayer. Oh, and one more thing…

So finally, for the first time in 11 months, not only did I not gain weight, I lost weight! 2 whole lbs! I’m back down to 160.2. Which is about where I was back on February 1st. And I can’t really explain to you the relief.

The consistent, nonsensical weight gain is finally done. I don’t know what will happen now. But that irrational fear, that I would continue to gain weight endlessly, even while I maintained my food boundaries, has gone. And it feels similar to waking up in the middle of the night to find that your fever has broken.

But I am trying not to start projecting my weight loss into the future. Because I started to go there pretty quickly. Right away, in fact. I got off the scale and went into the kitchen to make breakfast, and started calculating losing 2 lbs a month. Or what if I lost more than 2 lbs a month?!? I could be down to 135 in under a year!

And then I started to ask myself “what if I don’t get that skinny again? What’s the highest weight I could live with?”

I want to stop that kind of thinking. I mean, “live with”? I used to weigh 300 lbs and I’m not dead, so I’m guessing I could live with any weight. I don’t want to love myself conditionally.

And also, ungrateful much, Kate? I prayed so hard for the weight gain to stop. Begged and bargained with God. Just for it to stop! And here it has stopped, and I barely took time to be grateful that I didn’t gain weight. I barely even took time to be grateful that I lost weight! Within minutes, I started worrying about how and when I was going to lose even more weight.

I really thought that the weight gain stopping would be enough to satisfy me. At least for a while. And the truth is that my relationship to my body is now different than it had been since the weight gain started. When I stop to think about it, there had been an underlying heaviness and a fear that permeated my daily life since last July. And yet, already, I am used to the “new normal” of not being perpetually worried about indefinite weight gain. And I have already begun having expectations of weight loss. And not just expectations. Ultimatums for God. You better, or else. Good Lord, Kate. Or else what? Or else, nothing. That’s what…

So all I can do right now is stay in the moment. When I find myself worrying or projecting or wishing or daydreaming about how long it will take me to lose the weight I gained, I have to stop thinking that thought. I have to change my mind.

And I have decided that when I start having thoughts about how it would be ok if I only end up losing 15 or 10 or X number of lbs, I want to stop having those thoughts too. I want to stop focusing on my body.

I wanted that before too, of course. And tried not to focus on my body. But while I didn’t know what was going on, or how much weight I would gain, or how long it would go on for, that wasn’t really a practical option for a girl with food issues and body image disorders. But now that there has been a break in the trend, I have some room to breathe. And to shift my focus.

Because I have many things to focus on. Being madly in love. Making sure my meals are delicious and within my boundaries. Figuring out what of my stuff is worth keeping and what is not. Boxing up my life and shipping it to my new home. Planning my going away party. Tying up the loose ends of the past 14 years of my life. Preparing for my biggest life adventure yet. And generally figuring out how to be the best girlfriend in the whole world. Important things. More important than what size I am.

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