Peace is better than chocolate

Archive for the tag “overwhelming emotions”

Oh, is that your cry? I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed it.

Gosh am I weepy lately. I have read a book and watched two movies in the past 3 days that made me cry.

I am not sad. I am not unhappy. I am just emotional.

It’s funny to be able to pinpoint this idea. That I am having emotions that make me feel a kind of pain. A pain that makes me cry. (And I’m not talking about pretty, sparkly teardrops delicately skittering down my cheeks. I mean streaming, snotty, puffy, phlegmy sobbing.) But also knowing that this pain does not mean anything about me. It is not the result of something being wrong. It does not have to be about an event, or a personal experience. It is simply about being alive. Being human. Living in a body in the world with other humans.

And it feels good. Letting it go is kind of gross at the time. Not particularly comfortable or pleasant. But freeing. Relaxing. Cathartic. Holding it in hurts.

But I’m an addict. And pain used to be something different to me.

First of all, I was terrified of it. I have mentioned before that I have a sensitive heart. I feel things very deeply. And when I was a little girl, those feelings were overwhelming. I can remember being 4 or 5, lying in bed and saying to God that if life didn’t get easier, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. I certainly didn’t know what the alternative was. I just knew that being alive hurt too much to bear sometimes. I don’t remember what had happened. It doesn’t matter, really. Or maybe it does in the sense that whatever happened, it was not monumental. But my pain was.

Since I have gotten control of my eating, I have often wondered if it is that extreme sensitivity that made me an addict. Because food allowed me to control that pain. Not entirely. And not forever. And the truth is that it always made it worse, ultimately. But I could cease to feel for a little while. I could suspend the ache.

But there was something else about being an addict. I did not trust myself. I could not look at myself. If I had looked at myself, I would have had to have done something about the way that I was abusing myself. So I had to accept things blindly. I had to believe my feelings. If I was weepy, I must be sad. If I felt pain, it must be mine. If I was uncomfortable there must be something wrong. If a book or a movie made me cry, I let it stir up my own personal pain. Wounds that I had not let go of. It would not have even occurred to me that I was feeling something separate from myself. After all, I could feel it so acutely. It must be real.

There are so many blessings to getting my eating under control. But one of them is feeling without drama. It is so nice to feel something and know that I feel it because I am a human being living in a body. And that’s all. That it does not have some deeper meaning. That it does not mean anything about me personally. There is something wonderful about a good cry. Especially when it’s not really mine. When it belongs to the world. And I just get to borrow it.


You get what you get and you don’t get upset

My mom is “something” at me about this blog. I say mad. She says “not mad”. She won’t say what. But she’s something. She said I was blaming her for my difficult childhood. In case you think so too, let me be clear: I do not blame my mother for my difficult childhood. Everybody gets the life they get. Yes, I had a lot of pain growing up. But in case you hadn’t noticed, I turned out fucking great!

I also feel I should note that my mom is not insinuating anything about my personality that is particularly far-fetched based on her experience of me. There was a very long period in my life when I did blame her for most things, and everybody else for everything else. I had no concept of responsibility. I was a victim of life. Life hated me. And it was everybody’s fault but my own. I can see how she might come to the conclusion that I wanted to get righteous and lay blame. She has known me my whole life, after all. But she is mistaken about the point of this blog. I’m different than I was growing up. Inside and out. Not that I’m cured of my defects. But I don’t lead with them anymore. And I certainly don’t want to use this blog to foster them. I want to scrutinize them. I want what I write here to be an exploration of honor, not a manipulation of people and feelings. I want to expand my integrity, not make excuses.

The thing about blame is that it takes away responsibility. If I blame my mother for my life, I give up my power and freedom. Thankfully, I have already learned that this is a fallacy. That no other person can be responsible for my life. Even if I want them to. Even if they want to. Even if I don’t “take” responsibility for my own life, I can never escape its consequences. I guess that’s kind of what makes a life a life. It belongs to one person who is responsible for the whole thing.

I have a lot of emotions. I feel things very deeply. I didn’t know how to cope with that as a child. (I’m still figuring out how to cope with it now!) I can remember being about 4-years-old, in bed under the covers, having some overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t manage. I don’t even remember what it was, or what brought it up. I just remember that I said to God, “This has to get easier, or I’m not going to be able to do it.” I meant life. I meant feeling.

Who’s to blame for overwhelming feelings? Maybe it’s chemical. Maybe it’s my personality. I don’t know why I got this intensely sensitive heart. But I did. It makes me an excellent friend and a fabulous babysitter. It made me eat myself to 300 pounds. How I dealt with it, good and bad, was up to me. And no, I did not do a very good job of dealing with it for most of my life. But it’s my sensitive heart. They were my ill-judged coping mechanisms. And I paid the consequences for them with my life. Which, frankly, is exactly as it should be. Because then I got to change.

For years, I believed that I was fat and crazy, and that fat and crazy were me. But through some miracle, my understanding shifted. Yes, I was fat and crazy. But no, fat and crazy were not me. That was not my inescapable fate. My past did not have to be my future. I was going to have to change myself in extreme ways. But it was possible. And more importantly, it was up to me. Only me.

Now I want peace in my heart. Who’s to blame if I don’t have peace? Shall I blame my parents? Or my boss? Or my government? Shall I be angry and righteous? My heart will still be sensitive. And I will still have eating disorders. And life will still be life, with its million valid reasons to panic and cry and rage and hate and quit. And a million legitimate places to lay blame. But I’m pretty sure that all of the validity and legitimacy in the world will never make blame into peace. And I’d rather have peace.

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