|image by mayan soffia and available here.|
I figured it out. (Insert laugh here).
Ok, truthfully, I've at least come up with a new way to put words to what I'm going through. And I think the more we can name what's going on, the more we can look at it, nurture ourselves through it, etc.
Behaviorally this week there's been a bit of a change. I've noticed I'm slowly adding more (binge) food to my normal meal plan.
Those sneaky 'Special K' crackers that I swear are laced with crack cocaine call to me from their precious, beautiful yellow box. Not good. Cut it out, Julia! You fat fool...fine...if you're going to binge on crackers at night, you might as well not get up in the morning and just keep eating until you've really scratched that binge itch. Just one last time, you can do it. Binge binge binge away.
Why is my knee-jerk reaction to the disappointment of a binge more bingeing!? I mean, seriously...our minds tell us the exact opposite of what would be most helpful.
But it's not about the food.
So, here's where the 'I've figured it out' idea comes in. My new-ish realization: I've got two really big appetites that serve two really important roles in making me feel OK.
1. The Armor:
this part is the day time part. the part that needs confidence and social interaction. the Armor helps protect the parts that are concerned about what others think, about being attractive and feeling 'enough.' its main task is to keep me thin and demand more weight loss and more exercise. It's motto is thinner is better.
|image by studioheavylead and available here.|
2. The Blanket:
this part is the comforter (oh no, a pun). it is the part that reacts to The Armor. it nurtures me but it also has a great appetite and is very selfish. it doesn't know when enough is enough. it tells me, stay put, eat up, you don't need them. it indulges the 'no approval needed' part. the caveat is: you must be alone and food is your only companion.
|image by kar kar style and available here.|
These are my needs: I need comfort and I need protection. I am an emotional being. I am sensitive (are you?). So, it's no wonder I find that I need armor in order to interact with others. It's no wonder I've stopped dating. It's no wonder I'm critical of my body. I've been hurt. And my reaction to that heartbreak was to assume that it was all about my body. If I could have perfect abs and perfect skin, I'd be the woman of every man's dreams.
Then there's the appetite that needs reassurance and comfort, not just protection, but acknowledgement. A sense of belonging. No wonder I look to food. Food will never leave me. It won't talk back or judge me. It won't gossip about me or expect a blow job. And it hits the spot!
These appetites hoard. I run an extra thirty minutes. I eat an extra box of crackers. Eventually I'll be running three hours a day and going out at 2a.m. for $100's worth of food from the 24hr. CVS: crack cocaine cracker HQ.
Don't these appetites know about each other? Isn't there a happy medium between uber tough and uber soft? No! The Blanket and the Armor ignore each other. The Blanket wants to forget that there's a world outside. It forgets that I can get nourishment from things other than food and in places other than my apartment. The Armor wants to forget that there are other ways to gain esteem than through appearance. It refuses to allow me to be vulnerable, assuming I must placate to its demands in order to be safe. It is worried that there are simply too many poison-laced arrows threatening me.
There's a lie motivating living like this: that it's easier to ignore needs and emotions than it is to listen to them. Allowing for needs is messy, scary, and makes you vulnerable. BUT: it isn't easier to ignore emotion. It isn't easier to live in the extremes.
What do you do to protect yourself? How do you stretch yourself too thin? How do you live in balance?
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The Loose Lip Brigade: stories
by Julia Newman
by Julia Newman