Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Food Nostalgia

I finally got my car back from the repair shop last night and it made me think of the luxury of having things and how that sort of builds on itself.  For example, not having my vehicle for 4 days meant that the idea of making a quick stop at the store became a luxury, something that would have to be planned well in advance and would require a decent amount of effort and energy.  It is at times like those when I make decisions about what is actually needed and what I just want because I have the means to have it.  Let's just say, I didn't go to the store at all those 4 days.  
But this morning I did.  My son's backpack was stolen last night, so I had to quick stop at the store for school supplies and some new hats and gloves for the slushy snow we are expecting over night.  I went to Walmart because they were the only ones open that early.  I used to shop there all the time, both when I lived in Vegas and now here in Wisconsin, but since we've been eating more organic foods, we had to switch to a high quality grocery store.  Back when I shopped there though, almost all my trips involved junk food of some sort.  Chips or candy or donuts or pizza or ice cream, you name it.  So today as I was cruising through Walmart, less than an hour after eating my breakfast, I was very nostalgic about those days of carefree eating.  It didn't torture me to the point of wishing I could go back to that way of eating, I just had that warm, nostalgic feeling wash over me, kind of how it feels when you are outside on a blustery day, then you come in and get warm under a big fluffy blanket.  I've never thought of food nostalgia as an entity unto itself, I always attached it to the desire to eat mindlessly, but today I recognized that it is separate and not a bad thing if your mind is strong.  As I checked out, rushing so as not to be late to work, the smell of Subway's bread baking wafted into me and I could almost taste the tuna on honey oat bead with extra pickles.  And I thought about how good that would taste, despite the fact that I don't eat meat.  I glamorized the tuna sub for about 15 seconds in my mind and then I thought about a whole tuna fish, how ugly the fish actually looks, and I imagined smelling and seeing that fish, how disgusting it is once it's removed from its natural habitat.  That was the end of the tuna glamorizations I tell ya!  As much as I love food I am also completely disgusted by a lot of foods as well.  I do so love the smell of Subway, the mix of baking bread and onion aroma.  I eat veggie subs there on occasion and am always astounded at how awesome they can make a bunch of veggies on some bread taste.  But with the food nostalgia I learned today, that you have to realize what emotions belong to which parts.  I got a happy feeling thinking about food I used to eat, and remembering carefree times, but in reality, I wasn't happy eating like that.  The chocolate bag always ran out before I was satisfied, and I'd have to go out of my way to go to different Subways or McDonalds out of shame of the employees knowing how much and how often I was eating there.  I ate in my car, I hid wrappers from my family, I used food like a druggie, barely tasting it but feeling like I needed it to get by.  And feeling miserable when i realized that instead of fixing things, it made me feel worse.  That is where awareness comes in.  If I just coast on emotions, the desire to eat to relieve or numb that storm will overwhelm me.  I have to be aware of what is going on. 
At work I have been trying to do just that.  There is a female supervisor who oversees the adjacent department to mine, and because her team is big and my department consists of only 3, she tried to step in and boss me around.  Typically we get along ok, but she tends to get really wound tight when she feels something is interfering with her team.  Long story short, there was a snafus in their schedule and I was used as a pawn between her and her staff and she addressed me and I explained my side of the story and she reported to middle management that she felt I was shoty and defensive.  It went on my review and I had a chance to explain myself.  As usual this supervisor was reacting emotionally to something she perceived as something it wasn't.  Even though the rest of my review was sparkling and my own supervisor and all adjacent teammates said they love working with me, I was hung up on the whole issue about that one backhanded comment.  And then, I became aware of the situation, aware of how I was allowing my own emotions about something I won't even think about in a year to completely hijack my brain.  I wanted comfort food, I wanted to binge and I wanted to justify it with my famous line I used to alway use on myself, I'll have one good binge, get it out of my system, then get back on track tomorrow.  But when I became aware I realized that self-sabotage was not necessary and not smart.  I reminded myself that I have a choice: continue to let emotions trap me into an uncomfortable corner, and use destructive ways of trying to quiet them, or just let it go.  I chose to let it go.  I focused on something enjoyable like daydreaming about my trip to California.  That was Monday, and when the issue resurfaced today, I noticed myself tensing up and I was able to blow it off.  It is her self esteem issue, not my deficit.  I am used to beating myself up to not put anyone out but that is not helpful to me.  I will not take on the problems of someone else who means so little to me. I deserve to treat myself better.  
I did end up my day with some pretty crazy cravings for sweets, maybe because of the SBD bar that I had, it is a little heavy on the carbs.  But it is more likely due to shifting hormones.  The best week or so I will be fighting cravings.  I had read that giving into sugar cravings during PMS only makes them stronger, so I decided to get some healthy fats via some guacamole.  The fats help stabilize the blood sugar, which tends to fluctuate during PMS, causing cravings for sweets.  It worked like a charm!  Guac to the rescue!
This blog is long already, but I just want to go over my meditation tonight.  I don't do it nearly as often as I should.  I was struggling at first, then I saw a vivid image that I have from my childhood.  I was so little, maybe 4 years, and I was supposed to be taking a nap.  My mother had me on her bed next to her, and she quickly fell asleep.  It was a hot summer day and the window was open.  Beyond blue and white checkered curtains I could see a blue sky, freckled with white puffy clouds.  The sound of the trees blowing in the wind was so soothing that I struggled to keep my eyes open, and an extremely euphoric feeling washed over me.  The naps and sleep issues I had as a child must have been maddening to my mother.  I remember sleeping in the hallway outside the bathroom, even up to the age where I should have had things figured out for myself. I'd sleep there when I was supposed to be napping, and later on when I was supposed to be in my bed at night.  I liked the way the moonlight spilled through that bathroom window and fell in that hallway.  It was the epicenter of the house, where all smells and sounds converged.  It made me feel less alone and less scared.  These memories are real memories from my childhood, but I see them with so much more clarity in meditation. In that space I can question myself as to what was happening because my adult mind has so much more clarity and experience to draw from than the child who lived it.  Where my memory becomes vague, I can fill it in.  Tonight my memory became vague at a point where upon waking in the night, my mother stumbled into me lying on the floor outside the bathroom and became very mad that I wasn't in my bed.  She started to degrade me, telling me I was too old to be "pulling this shit".  And I know, in reality it made me cry and cower from the expected slap to the back of the head.  But my adult self had the balls to scream, "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!!"  And her answer is, for you to be good, to act normal, do what I tell you, stop pissing me off.  The child me, the meek one who always feels in the way and not good enough, would cry and assume that I ruined her life because I am a bad child.  But tonight, for the first time ever, through meditation I was able to clarify by saying to her I don't ruin your life, your parents did, and your drunk husband whose never around did, and YOU did, by having sex out of wedlock, getting pregnant at 16 and feeling like you had to marry someone that you may or may not have ever loved.  This was huge for me, I did not ruin my mom's life; I WILL NOT accept responsibility for someone else's trip anymore. My mother has her sweet, generous, regretful moments, but her childhood messed her up, and while I sympathize for her, I can't shoulder any of that blame anymore.  I never knew I was so confined by these thoughts until tonight, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me!  This is the real kind of progress that being aware brings.  I allowed that feeling I accepted for truth about my mom (that I am to blame for her unhappiness and problems) to carry over into every other aspect of my life; my marriage, my kids, and especially my work.  I try to accommodate everyone because I feel somehow responsible for others' issues or problems.  
I have to end this, it's becoming a book!  Just needed to vent that stuff while its fresh.  

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