Friday, March 26, 2010

You're Doing it Wrong.

When I say YOU i mean, of course, ME.
And, I know, there is no right or wrong.  Or something.
But I finally, FINALLY get that this IE stuff will take work.  I'm gonna have to do things I don't want to do, like pay attention while I eat.  No more reading or watching TV.  Not in the fitness magazine, generic advice, don't-eat-while-distracted- so-you-can-lose-20-pounds-FAST! kinda way, but in the pay attention, listen to your body, face the feelings kinda way.
I have resisted this for years.  I ALWAYS have something going on at mealtimes, whether it's the TV, a book, or the general chaos of a family with 2 young kids and a dog. 
I've also avoided meditating, even though my intentions are good.
So, what am I TRULY avoiding?  What will happen when I sit down, quietly, either to eat or to simply breathe?  THAT, my friends, is the big unknown! THAT is what I am afraid of! Because even THINKING about it makes me anxious, and I picture a gray, murky underworld with swirling clouds, and I'm standing alone, shivering, with no sense of where to go or even of any other living being nearby.
I'm reading yet another book, this one "Women, Food and G-d," by Geneen Roth.  She has been doing non-dieting work for over 30 years.  I bought some of her books in college, started reading, but never finished.  Over the years they have traveled with me.  I've moved about 14 times in the past 20 years, and those books have always come along.  But I've yet to finish one.
This one has just been published, and I'm having a hard time putting it down.  It speaks to me, like it was written just for me.  It makes me realize just how many others there are like me out there. And that is very reassuring!  And Ms. Roth tells us the things we need to hear in a way that is kind and loving, and takes the emphasis off of weight loss and on to the deeper, more important stuff. The stuff that forces us to overeat in the first place.
After so many years, most of my life, spent trying to be thinner and feeling like an unworthy loser, I am finally starting to let go.  To let go of the awful, horrible thoughts I have about myself. To stop seeing myself as a horrible person. 
It's funny; thanks to Facebook I've been able to get in touch with people I haven't seen or heard from in years.  When I first started friending people (new word!  Thanks, facebook!) I was convinced they wouldn't want to hear from me, that they'd ignore my friend requests.  And just the opposite happened! When I post on my page (which is not that often), I get a bunch of replies.  And I've had so many wonderful things said to me, things I never imagined would be said to me except by Hubby.  They tell me that they miss me, that they believe I must be a great mom, that they have a lot of very happy memories of our friendship and our times together.
Seriously, knock me over with a feather!
It makes me wonder how many of us are walking around with these distorted images of not only our bodies, but our beings. How many of us believe we are unworthy?  That if our loved ones REALLY knew us, they'd run in the opposite direction?  How many of us take this self-hatred out on our bodies by dieting, bingeing, cursing our image in the mirror? Buying stuff we don't need or want?  Belittling others? How many destructive habits come from our own loathing of ourselves?
I can look back and figure out where this came from, what the patterns are, who is to "blame."  And that can be important.  But at some point, I've got to stop looking over my shoulder, casting blame on people who truly did the best they could, and take care of my own house.  My Self. 
Sometimes the fear of something is 1,000 times worse than the thing itself.  I often dread going to a workshop, knowing the days will be long and intense.  Then I go, and enjoy it immensely. 
Fearing my feelings is probably worse than actually feeling them.  Will I enjoy them?  Probably not, but they won't be nearly as awful as I've built them up to be in my mind. And once I am able to do it, I can keep on doing it, and they will lose their power over me.
And THAT is what I want.  To be free.  Free to feel, to express, to step out of these shadows and live my life.
Because we are emotional creatures.  We cannot turn off the bad, scary feelings, anymore than we can control the universe.  I have read and heard the Serenity Prayer countless times in my life, and now I am starting to GET IT.

G-d grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.



Charlotte said...

I too have a hard time paying attention to my feelings while I'm eating and while I'm meditating. It's so frustrating - you're right, why am I afraid of stillness? Thank you Alyssa, for always sharing what's in your heart:)

NeverSayDiet said...

this was a beautiful post, A. I really enjoyed it. I'm also about to interview Geneen Roth for a story on body image - I'm looking forward to reading her book even more now that I know what an impact it's had on you. I'm going to include this blog in this week's Link Love on NSD...

azusmom said...

Wow! Thank you!!!

And thank YOU, Charlotte! You guys are my blogspiration! (Is that a word?)

Geneen Roth said...

Dear Alyssa,

Thank you for your kind words. I am deeply moved that you are having a hard time putting down my new book Women food and God. It's wonderful to know it is helping you on your journey. Knowing we are not alone is such a big part of the healing that needs to take place. I wish you all the best on this new exploration. Thank you again.

Geneen Roth
P.S. Oh, and I would love to stay connected with you via Facebook if you're interested.

azusmom said...

Yes, I'd like that!