Eating on a steady meal plan feels awkward, wrong, impossible. It is at once too much and not enough. We thrive in our self-denial and our rebellious indulgence. This world of disordered is not just of our own insanity, but of our own egmotional landscape. When we begin to change the behavior, fears and shames and anger pop up, enticing us to return to the same old yo yo dieting. Relish these discomforting feelings. This is the stuff of life. This tender fearlessness will return you to you. Today at lunch I kept saying in my mind, 'Return to yourself. Return to yourself.' Suddenly the idea that I could eat what my body needed, no more and no less, was so forcefully foreign, I began to cry. I am returning home, but home is so groundless, so lost in the wreckage of my eating disorder. Last week my lap top was stolen along with all my writing. Part me sees this as an opportunity to completely start a new life. A journey to freedom. I hope I am not alone. I am here for you.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Are we half way through January already?
Ok, so these past two weeks don't really seem to have flown by per se, but certainly I feel like it is time to do some writing on where I am in life, what I want from life, and what I can realistically do about my life in order to make it functional and healthy. I have been rolling around the words reflection, resolve, and re-imagining in my mind, letting them siphon off all the gunk and rise to the top bobbing like little rubber duckies, hoping to catch my attention.
Reflection is a hard place to start. For me, there is a lot of pain and regret in my recent past. And there is anxiety about the work that is to come, the healing that has yet to be done. Often in my sessions with Trusty Therapist Judy, my heart rate jolts and my forehead buzzes. These are moments of revelation, where I realize that my attitudes, assumptions, thoughts, and judgments about myself are not based in reality, but in emotion. These emotions - shame, bewilderment, hopelessness, anxiety - have been with me, have twisted my thoughts, have governed my behavior. As I reflect on this, the world both opens up with new freedom, but I am also left feeling even more hollow than when under the spell of self-hate.
Returning to our more authentic selves sounds like such an overwhelming proposition. How much of our lives will we have to disrupt in order to allow for this freedom? How much of our lives will we tear away from in order to cling on to our own voices? What is the cost of being heard, seen, empowered? And why does that cost seem too high a price when what we would get in return is ourselves?
I believe the risk to remain unchanged is greater than the risk to make daring steps toward change. I believe that shifting my focus in small measures, every day, to what I am grateful for and for what makes me me, is enough to keep myself emotionally connected and real. The process of healing may be spiritual but it doesn't have to come in the form of a burning bush or second sight. We don't have to see the purple auras of grace to know that we are taking care of ourselves.
I am reflecting on the past, knowing how much I hurt myself. I am reflecting on the future, scared that I am not capable of being real, that I will detach myself - observe and fantasize like the writer I am - and continue building walls around me. But, I remind myself, walls aren't inherently bad. A low-risk life is perfectly legitimate and noble. I am allowed to baby step my way towards authenticity, make mistakes, hide, run, return, kick up dust, spit, cry, hug. I am scared of myself. Scared of my own empowerment. Today, though, I realize I don't have to be. Because self-empowerment can come in the form of My So Called Life marathons. It can be going to the movies, taking a weekend road trip, staring at the ocean, petting my cat. The big stuff isn't so big. Keeping it small can keep it accessible, keep it close, and keep it alive.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
There's this older woman at my gym. I've noticed her for only the past few days. Every morning, she is in her little corner, stretching. Twisting, turning into yoga poses. Nothing fancy. She's not necessarily super fit. One morning I tell her, "I really admire your practice. I never do yoga. But I want to." "I hate every minute of it and this is only my third day," she says with a smile. Love it.
For me, my resistance to yoga is about challenge. I challenge my body every day. But in my own repetitive routine so that I'm used to it and I feel in control of it. I actually like the sameness. I know my body would feel strained, awkward, unsteady in a yoga class. I know there are muscles all up in this body of mine that I may never really have used or at least intentionally paid attention to.
What if I hate it? What if I really don't get the hang of it or my body doesn't get stronger? These seem like familiar questions; the same thinking that makes me feel different, broken, shameful. I feel like a walking oil slick. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else. Either an oil slick or a giant blackhead. And neither of those things can have friends or sex or jobs or voices, let alone do yoga.
As I was walking out of the gym, I heard some music coming from the group exercise room. One of those Putomayo things with sweeping, loose refrains and uplifting foreign voices. I stepped into the room and a woman I know is grooving into the new year. And I join her. I sweep my arms, I circle my hips, I flop around. I do the grapevine. And I remember: Oh, yeah! Music is my in. Music is my doorway to the mental and emotional benefits I want from yoga. I had forgotten, again! But how wonderful it is, each time, to rediscover it. This happens in every aspect of our lives. We find what works, we let it slip away, we berate ourselves, and then - if we're lucky...seriously...if we're lucky - we find it again. And the reunion is the best part of all.