Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reality Check

You know what I've been thinking about lately? Illusions, reality and the vast space that sometimes, no -- almost always falls between.
I know that at the heart of my eating disorder is the disconnect between who I thought I was supposed to and who I really am.
When I became a full-time "housewife", I tried to fit into this image I had in my head about what a "farm wife" was supposed to do. I tried working the irrigation crews -- so I would fit in better with the farm wives around here that actually worked on their farms. I about killed myself to keep house and a yard and do everything from scratch -- like I figured my grandmothers had done.
I didn't fit in here. I am liberal, educated and worked in a non-traditional career field -- well, at least non-traditional around here. I no longer had an identity as a reporter/editor, I was "Clem's wife". Although I was still free-lancing from home, more and more of my life spent cooking, keeping house (sort of -- not my strong suit) and helping around the farm.
It was hard. Very hard. But, we don't have the kind of farm where I'm needed with the daily duties of keeping the farm running. I couldn't handle working in the office. So, I was a "farm wife" but not like my friends who were partners and integral in their family's farm operations.
I have little in common with my in - laws, but I tried like hell to be more like them and made myself even more miserable.
There is also a disconnect between reality and the image of myself I carry in my head. This void started as a child. I was told I was chubby -- that I carried "baby fat". That was my identity. Not "she's a bright girl". Not "she's a smart girl" - "she's a chubby kid."
Later, I was constantly told I was fat. That I needed to "trim up" -- that I was never pretty.
Here's the thing. Photography is a beautiful thing. I look at the pictures of myself during that time and guess what, I'm not fat. I have big boobs -- occasionally a tummy. But at the time, none of that mattered. It was too late. Being fat was already part of my cellular structure, despite the fact that it wasn't reality.
What this image did for me -- well, it's an odd thing. I have these bizarre beliefs.
Instinctively, I believe that a skinny person is right and I am wrong. It makes no sense. The first time I realized this I was a sophomore in high school and I was out running for P.E. I was in the back of the pack, because I was fat and that is where I belonged. Inside me, I wanted to run. Finally, I left the pack and ran. It felt so good. My body felt strong and energized ... and free. But then I ran past a girl who was smaller and thinner. "This can't be right. I can't be passing her. She's skinny and I'm fat. Something must be wrong."
So I stopped. I walked with her. Despite the fact my body was screaming "run, run!" at me. I stopped because there was no way a fat girl like me would be able to run past a tiny little thing like her.
When my then boyfriend, now husband, told me to eat in a way that totally didn't work for my body, I did it anyway and starved and then gorged because obviously he knew better than me what I needed because I was fat and he wasn't.
I find myself at a cross roads here at 43 and in reality, overweight by pretty any scale.
I can continue to live under the assumption that I'm wrong -- not because of anything factual -- but because of numbers on the bathroom scale. I can continue to deny who I am -- and try to fit into everyone else' view of who I am or I can listen to my body, my voice and my instincts.
It seems like a simply choice, right?
Really, it is. And here's the odd thing -- I've been having dreams about running lately. Maybe I'm trying to tell myself something.....

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hearing the call

For the past several months, I've been feeling the urge to write here again. First, I've been struggling with the eating disorder again and secondly, because I continue to hear from people who miss this site -- and could benefit from the shared experience.
I haven't written much of anything for the bulk of 2010. Mostly, I've been distracted with other things. I can always find other things to work on and do.
But it's apparent to me that the more I put aside things that bring me joy, the harder it is to combat the addictions that haunt me.
I know, I know. I've said this before. It takes me a while to catch on -- and I'm easily side tracked. Recently, I've been talking with someone close to me who also has an addiction. He didn't want to go to counseling or rehab or church, so he came to me. Go figure. The situation has forced me to look at myself, my own addictions and what is working for me and what isn't. The process has reminded me that I know more than I think I do. And just when I think I'm failing at everything, I only need to relax long enough to remember what I have all the tools I need.
I thought I'd share the suggestions I'm sharing with my friend in hopes of helping others -- and reminding myself of all the tools in my toolbox.

So for today the assignment is: Give yourself to do something you love today.
Try for an hour, but 15 minutes in the minimum. Maybe it's playing or listening to music. Try reading a book for pleasure. Maybe it's uncovering your sewing machine. Maybe it's taking your camera out for a walk and shooting some photos of the great fall colors. It doesn't matter. Do what brings you joy.

Now here's a danger: If you're like me, you'd like to say... do some scrapbooking but it would take you a day and a half to uncover all the stuff to get the job done. So, divide your time in half. If you're giving yourself an hour, spend no more than 30 minutes finding enough stuff do something simple. The time spent will bless you. Then spend the remainder of your time working on your project. Initially, it will be frustrating -- but if you give yourself a little bit of time each day -- quickly enough you'll be working on your scrapbooks -- or whatever project. If you're like me and it will take more than a few days to uncover the tools for your project -- Spend half your time working on that project -- then work on something else that blesses your soul -- like reading a book or walking or whatever.

To help your progress, find some music that makes you smile Today I'd suggest Bette Midler. This is the best version I could find on You Tube, but I highly recommend finding Bette's version.

Comment below to share how you're blessing your soul with others. Together we can reach our goals.