Saturday, January 4, 2014

Donuts are a Food Group, Right?

     In the end, though, we eat.  Food is companionship and a stand-in for love.  We overeat to fill the not-enoughs.  Thus, in part, fat becomes a rebellion against what is expected of us, and a wall of excuses.  The chemicals of sugar and fat subdue pains and fears.
  
     The great question, then, is what comes first, settling the score between the rivals of love and hate that rage in our hearts or, somehow, muffling the pulsing, yawning want of the next bite, the next hit that will take us to that fetal overfull place in which we are alive without living.

The preceding are two excerpts from a book I just finished called "Angry Fat Girls: A Personal Journey" by Frances Kuffel.  The combination of reading this book, with its words that reach my core, and being on a vacation from school, have opened my mind like I haven't felt in so very long.  I feel like thoughts can finally materialize, and that I can "be in the moment' and I can dig a little farther under the surface to take a look at what is going on.  I have had time to stay in touch with my bestie, which has been so therapeutic for me.  And today, as I was sending yet another message to her, I realized that one of the major things missing from my daily chaos is writing.  Until I met my husband, and even for sometime after, I used to journal nearly every night.  It was relieving to get it out, even if no one ever read it, and sometimes I couldn't sleep well until I wrote.  But life gets crazy and these days, 10:00 rolls around and I am just too tired to stay up to write.  Maybe if I posted on here more often, my posts would be shorter.
One thing I noticed about the book that really struck me was how open and honest and raw it was, good or bad, the addiction of food.  The five main characters that the book follows, are girls who have lost a significant amount of weight (more than 200 pounds for some of them) and then regained.  The statistics of keeping the weight off are horrific.  It keeps coming down to the same thing, if you don't fix the inside, success will either evade, be temporary, or will take misery to sustain.
My New Year began the same as most other days in the past couple months, grabbing some donuts and a Rockstar energy drink on the way to work, mindlessly eating garbage snacks at work all day, then a sensible vegan dinner.  What the...?  Now that work has slowed dramatically, my sanity is returning and I can finally catch a mental break before my next semester begins the last week in January.  I am not making huge proclamations or resolutions for 2014, but I do have areas I want to focus on more.  Giving up those donuts-and-snack trips to the grocery store every morning is on the list to be certain.
First, I need to get in touch with my inner demons.  I know I have some pain really deep down that I am trying to numb with food.  In the time that I had some success, I don't remember thinking about food as much, though I'm sure I did.  But when I started back to college, all my responsibilities overwhelmed me and I didn't have a back up plan on how to handle that.  Food was my outlet from as far back as I can recall.  I remember one time when I was about 6 or 7, my older sister and I were begging for something from my Mom, probably something to eat, and probably something that we didn't have or need.  My family was pretty poor, so maybe it hurt my mother's feelings if we didn't have (or didn't have enough of) what we wanted.  I don't remember all of the details, but however my mother reacted to our request made us both cry so hard we were sucking oxygen for a long time after.  A while later, she called us both down to the kitchen in a stern voice, and we reluctantly made our way to her.  She stood before us with a poker face, and then suddenly pulled out two bananas from her back, and aimed them at us like shotguns.  We giggled, I think, and ate the bananas.  Its semi-vivid things like this that clue me in, food has been a reward, a comfort, a way to fix things without talking, a distraction and denial that any of us had any thoughts about what we were going through as a family.  Not that we had some catastrophic event to get over, my family was pretty standard-issue dysfunctional, we didn't talk about our problems, even my mothers deep secrets from her own past, or the fact that my father was an alcoholic and my mother was chronically depressed.  And, they were teen parents who were poor.  Anyway, I'm sure there will be many posts about my family as I try to sort things out.  There is a lot of stuff there, I can feel it, and I think tapping into this painful place will give me more power to ultimately overcome some of those things.  But the biggie, which goes way back to my childhood, is that food has always been my way of coping with things, and that needs to change.
Finding my voice is another thing I need to focus on, not just in writing but in person, in real situations.  I have this fear of rejection thing that still gets in my way.  I need to let people know what I like and don't like, what I want and don't want.  And, I need to be about what I say I am about, or not say anything at all.  Labels have not been very successful for me.  I'm vegan, I'm Rastafarian, I'm fat, I'm lazy, I'm trying...Maybe sometimes some of these are partially true.  Wishy-washy doesn't work.  My joints are protesting me, and they hate winter as much as I do, but I can see some of the toll that this disease is taking on my body, like a smoker whose cough starts nagging and clinging.  I have an addiction, a weakness, a problem with food and I want to break free from it.  I don't feel good at this weight and I'm not going to pretend that I am happy.  I'm not miserable, but I'm definitely not happy, and no amount of food can hide that little nugget.
Its not fair of me to only post when I'm doing good, this is real.  I am not in a desirable place.  I still have faith that I'll figure this thing out, but I'm nowhere near doing that, and it's going to take a mental makeover.  That part was missing last time.  I won't leave it out this time.  Not sure how many fails my heart can take, figuratively and literally.

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