What I Didn’t Know

 

I didn’t know grief before this. I had a loose empathy and reverence for it because of my dear friend Mished-up, but I just didn’t get how it overtakes you. And, let’s be real, although my father left this plane in a tragic, violent manner, we’d been almost entirely estranged for several years and on a surface level I had accepted that I had lost him to alcoholism shortly after getting sober myself. I grieve, and then I grieve some more when I realize how others must feel when they lose someone that they woke up next to every day or tucked into bed every night.

He’s been gone two weeks now. The insomnia/flashbacks from viewing him at the mortuary subsided within a couple days. The crushing early-morning wakeup call of heartache and tears left after about a week. The early-morning anxiety and feeling like I need to do something about all this (memorial planning, obituary writing, etc.) is still here. So I usually paddle downstairs before everyone is awake and stare at the computer screen and feel lost. The day-to-day is easier. I don’t feel entirely sad. I sometimes feel numb. It’s easier to fake that everything is okay. It’s easier to not think about it. I can smile and laugh. I danced with the kids at a school event last night. I only want to watch comedy on TV.

What’s not easier is concentration. I’ve had trouble helping the kids with homework. I signed them up for the wrong swim classes. I outsourced the obituary to my mom because I felt like I didn’t know how to put the words together. I can’t really read too much. I’m generally forgetful (i.e. forgot both my mother’s and husband’s birthdays this week.) I’m hoping this gets better and am trusting that it will.

I started this blog to help myself recover from alcoholism and disordered eating. I guess now it’s also to recover from my dad’s suicide as a result of alcoholism. As I type that I already know that they are entangled and in some ways one and the same. Because what I didn’t know is that after my dad’s suicide I would hate myself. I don’t want this to be true or admit it to you. But it’s there. And I’m embarrassed by the amount of time I spend thinking about how gross my body is while my family grieves. I feel selfish. Like a monster. I mean, who cares about fat when he is dead.

But this is me being honest. So that it can get better. Because I’m the child of someone who hated themselves and that has not worked out well for any of us. One of the first overwhelming feelings I had when he left was that God had perfectly forgiven him and I just wished he had known that. I also had the thought that if God loved him so much, then he must love me, too. And you.

Unfortunately that grace subsided and what has come up is a voice that tells me I’m disgusting every time I look in the mirror. Fuck.

30/30, Self-doubt, Gaslighting

Never say never, but I think this will be my last Whole30 for quite some time.  The first time around I got so much out of it.  I really became aware of how certain foods affect me, and that makes it so much easier to make good food choices.  I think it’s hard to refuse the burger and fries just because they are unhealthy.  Not so hard to refuse when it is going to wreck you digestively for 24 hours.  Y’all know I’ve hemmed and hawed over this 2nd round.  I’m proud that I’ve finished, but I’m glad to be finished.

Suspect I’ve lost some more weight, and I wrote about the bit of anxiety it was causing.  Yesterday in therapy I made an amazing discovery that really this just comes down to not trusting my own body.  As long as I am responding to my hunger and fullness, making the best choices for my body and keeping a conscious eye on my emotional eating, my body is going to find it’s right place.  Maybe it’s less weight, maybe it’s more.  Today I’m open to whatever comes.

Many of us are so used to relying on external cues to tell us we are okay.  Corporations trying to sell us shit have told us what our bodies are supposed to look like.  We become fixated on numbers on the scale, dress sizes, body fat percentages, etc. as an indicator of whether we are good and normal.  I’m suddenly aware that it is impossible to love your own body if you’re looking at someone else’s as the ideal.  A wise friend of mine offers the reminder, “Eyes on your own paper.”

One thing I’ve learned over the past year is that just like my alcoholism is a symptom of a spiritual disease, trying to change my body from the outside in is a symptom of not trusting myself.

I came across this article the other day.  I can’t tell you how much I love it.  From an early age I was told that I was dramatic, sensitive and prone to overreacting.  Looking back, I was just expressing normal emotions and the people around me were so emotionally repressed that they didn’t know how to deal with it.  When I suffered a trauma in my teens, I was told to, “Pull it together,” because my behavior was embarrassing.  I don’t fault my mom for that; she didn’t have the whole story.

When everyone around you is telling you that your emotions aren’t right, eventually you start to believe it.  Eventually you stop trusting yourself.  Eventually you become so out of touch with your feelings, that you’re hard-pressed to label them when asked.  I used to get upset and have no idea why.  Many times I’d find myself in an argument with my husband and just be making a best logical guess at why I was agitated.  I felt totally separate from my feelings.

I want to make some kind of poignant wrap-up, but must to return to the land of diapers and dishes.  You get the gist, right?  If I can’t trust my emotional feelings and myself, how on earth can I expect to trust my physical feelings and my body.  Have you ever been gaslighted?

Is This Real Life?

Great post on Mark’s Daily Apple today.

He offers up some steps to help deal with emotional eating.  Good stuff that most people trying to lose weight gloss over, but I believe is vital.

photo (12)I’ve been thinking about this quote obsessively since yesterday.  How amazingly true and counterintuitive.  It is the foundation of Step 1, and I see how that has worked to get and keep me sober.  I accept that I am an alcoholic and I also accept that in order to stay sober, I must work the steps and implement them into my daily life.

I think for a long time I was in denial about the fact that I was going to be permanently overweight because of my choices and lifestyle.  I had this idea that things would somehow magically get better and that I was not that bad.  That the slow crawl I was doing towards obesity was just a temporary thing and one day I was going to wake up, be in shape and eat less ice cream and more kale.  Maybe the first time I really saw myself was in that CrossFit class.

At some point I began thinking, “Yes.  This is where I really am.  All my past thinking and behavior has gotten me here.”  And then some time later I also accepted that it was going to take a lot of work to get out of the hole I was in.  Not just a diet or exercise plan, but a complete overhaul of the way I looked at food, fitness, weight and my body.  That’s a lot of work.  Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual work.  And I don’t know if you are aware, but I have two little kids and not that much time to myself.  However, because I’d already gotten sober (that definitely involved some work), I knew it could be done.  I knew that this kind of work looks WAY scarier from the outside looking in.  It’s sometimes difficult, but always worth it.  You start by accepting where you are, take an honest look at how you got there and just put one foot in front of the other.

And for God’s sake don’t try and do it alone!

Whole30 Day22 and why losing weight is scary.

Feels like I’m in the final stretch of this Whole30 nonsense.  A week ago today I decided I was going to quit.  I announced to my food group that I was going to announce to my Whole30 group that I was turning in the towel halfway through.  It makes me laugh now.  A few posts back I talked about feeling a sense of responsibility to the people who were doing it for the first time.  Well that delusion persisted and suffocated me until I got to that place of “fuck it.”  I’m grateful to have a very wise, sober friend who gently suggested, “You know, you don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing.”  And just like that the situation deflated.  Listen folks, I’m just not that important.  I’m not saying this in the spirit of putting myself down, but to acknowledge that I had ventured beyond right-sized and into grandiose.  The only person I’m responsible for is myself.  Ahhhhhh, what a relief!

Over the past week I’ve noticed my pants fitting loser once again.  I touched on this in my last post, but a strange something is going on in that I am not necessarily thrilled by the weight loss.  I don’t weigh, so I only go by how I feel.  When I look in the mirror I feel mostly happy with my body and sometimes I love it.  I feel really feminine and strong.  So when I put on a relatively new pair of jeans and found that the butt was sagging, I noticed that I felt a bit of panic rising in me.  Part of it was that I don’t want to fork out money for new clothes, but behind that was the thought, “But I like where I am.”  And delving deep down to the bottom was the belief that skinny = dangerous.

I didn’t totally acknowledge that thought at the time, but I could feel this little niggling discomfort at the idea of losing more weight.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read this post from In My Skinny Jeans.  When I met ED I was 15 and bottomed out after a real mind-fuck of a relationship.  Self-worth was nil and I stopped eating much of anything.  The thinner I got, the more attention I got and I found myself in some situations that feel very dark and sad.  Then we moved out of state.  I got a fresh start, came back to a normal weight and began blaming that normal weight as the reason why boys at this new school didn’t like me.  Never mind that my aura screamed “DO NOT DISTURB!”  When I finally was able to cobble together a relationship in college, I started eating with enthusiasm and couldn’t seem to stop.  When that relationship began to display some serious foundational cracks, I decided to learn how to purge.  It goes on and on like that.

It seems almost insane that I would never put it together until now.  Yes, Miss Skinny Jeans!!!  Sexuality.  Yes.  **deep sigh**  So I’m even more grateful to be on the path of discovering my erotic creature through feminine movement.  It sounds kind of silly when I type it out, but WHATEVER!  That is totally what I am doing and I think it’s fantastic and interesting!  From here on out I plan to post a link to the song I choose for my dance each week.  I’m two weeks behind so…

She absolutely loved this one:

She absolutely hated this one which was a surprise because I love this song!

Whole30 Day14 and My Body

“Why the hell am I doing this?”  Has been my prevailing thought regarding the Whole30 the last few days.  Yesterday I almost threw in the towel.  I was super busy, a wrench got thrown in the day and I ended up without any food for an extended period of time.  I was starving, and all I had were the kids’s beef jerky and Pirate’s Booty.  I hemmed and hawed about whether it would be better to just eat the jerky (which had sugar and soy) or stay hungry.  Ultimately I decided to just deal with the hunger, but I was doing a lot of mental cussing about how stupid this was.  Hungry = eat and I’m not interested in altering that equation.

Total honesty, I have snacked the past two nights after dinner.  Apple with almond butter.  Compliant, but snacking.  The first night I was not hungry, but I was home alone.  My husband is out of town, but my mom was here.  She came into town for a friend’s 60th birthday party that night.  A party I was invited to but declined because I didn’t want to deal with the seeing a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in a billion years without drinking.  I also didn’t want to deal with other people’s drinking.  But as she got dressed up and ready to go, I felt a little pang of missing out.  I kind of wanted to go, even if I wouldn’t be drinking.  Also got in a loop of thinking people will judge me for not coming.  Whatever.  So I was home alone and there was nothing on TV and I was too tired to read.  So I ate a little.

Last night I was actually kind of hungry.  Probably because of the food fuck up from earlier in the day and also dance.  I guess I could have just had an extra meal, but went for the sweet thing.  I don’t feel so bad.

Had my first class yesterday afternoon.  I think it can be difficult to notice changes in your own body because they happen over time.  I bend down to pick up something every day, every day it gets a little easier until one day it’s effortless without you even noticing.  Last night I was doing movements I hadn’t done in a year, so to come back to them in a different body was… strange.  I’ve lost some weight.  Enough to make some things feel foreign.  And the thing that was most shocking to me about that was that my reaction wasn’t, “Hooray, fabulous!”  I had a little dissociation.  Who’s body is this!?  Very weird.

Getting Naked

I had the revelation that what I need is more “me” time (what a cliché!).  Then I’m doing the first exercise in Simple Abundance.  The prompt is to write down not resolutions for the new year, but the longings in your heart.  To my embarrassment the first thing that comes out is “to dance.”  Then I get an email about a promotion at a place where I used to dance.

I make a very rational plea to my husband via email.  This is a time commitment (the classes are 2 hours) and a substantial financial commitment.  He’s totally supportive in a way that makes me well up.

I take a deep breath and sign up.  I feel guilty about the money especially.  #2 on my list was to start working outside the house, so I hope that over the next few months maybe something will come up and I can think about bringing in some cash to cover my ass.

I’m nervous and excited.  I haven’t done this in sobriety.  All the buffers between me an myself stripped away.  Naked.  The other side of exposed and vulnerable is the truth.  And that is quite exciting.  Because watching this video I became aware that when I did S Factor before, I could only go so deep.  At the time I attributed it to my physical limitations and placed a lot of blame on my size and fitness level.  When I stopped going, I fantasized about one day coming back in shape and ready to kick some butt.  I really thought I only needed to change physically for things to fall into place.

I didn’t expect to get sober.  I took away the major barrier between me and myself.  Between me and everything… between me and God.  Really it wasn’t until I plugged in spiritually (not physically or even mentally) that things began to fall into place.  And now what once was a pipe dream has happened.  I’m stronger than I have ever been in my life.  More importantly I am ready to strip away the layers literally and figuratively.  I’ll be dancing again starting Sunday.