Today was so low key in my house, which was so perfect for a Sunday. I slept in, hung out with my younger son (who is always the first one to wake on my the weekends), did a little housework, then did whatever I felt like. Today, that meant a lot of reading and a little time on my phone. It is so nice to have a break from the usual chaos of feeling like there is so much to get done for the week.
I didn't stress out about eating. I was craving green veggies for once, so I ate broccoli and asparagus with a vegan sausage patty for breakfast. Eating those healthy things because I genuinely wanted them had a much different effect than when I was eating them because I was restricting certain carbs, or trying to change my body. Over the holidays, and for some time leading into them, I eat my fair share of completely nutritionally-void junk. At least, when I'm not restricting I do, so by the time the holidays are over, my body is screaming for real food with nutritional value. When I'm restricting during the holidays, I eat tiny portions of the things I want, but my mind knows I am restricting so as soon as I'm alone, I'm plowing through the plate of cookies and candies with no end in sight. Neither one makes me feel very good, because both include eating copious amounts of sugars, fats and salt. At least when I'm not restricting I can eat all that and move on, restricting sends me through torturous mental drama that takes much longer to get past.
At any rate, I ate a lot more veggies today than I have in a while. And it made me feel like I was making smart choices and that I was healing my body and brain.
I read some more of Geneen Roth's book "When Food is Love" today, and again I had to stop and re-read some parts because it was almost eerie how she sheds light on questions I have had for so many years, questions why I self-sabotage myself in not just diets but in relationships as well. Ugh. It just makes me wish everyone could read this book. I know so many people who have lost weight and gained it, know what to do but still put food they want to restrict right into their mouth, and can't seem to get back on track, and wonder why. This book answers the why, but you can't just read it, you have to take it in, sift your own experience through the words and hold the gem up to the light to see it gleaming.
As I was reading tonight I saw what I did to my relationship with my sister, someone I used to feel protected me and cared for me at times. And I saw what I did to my relationship with my dad. I'm still working on looking at the relationship with my mom, it's a little tougher to look at for me, has some sharp edges with a blinding gleam and I don't have the strength to look at it right now. But I will. Soon.
One of the things I read that I will be thinking about more as I go to bed and over the next few days is the point she makes about chasing after someone that is (at least in part) unavailable. I know I'm not the only one who went through this, but maybe I was the only one who went through it at the age I was, and for so long, and so very awkwardly. When I was in college, I worked at a convenience store. It was some of the best times I've ever had, we had such an awesome team of people working there. I fell very quickly for a man named Tim. He was about 9 years older than me, had the quickest wit I've ever known, and is the best story teller ever. He was sarcastic and could be moody, and people picked on him at times because he did his own thing. I lost myself over him. We hung out, sometimes every weekend, sometimes not for months, but we worked together and we always kept each other in stitches. We kept in touch after he stopped working there, and though I would write long letters explaining my feelings for him, we never really got around to taking that step beyond friendship. We came close, a few times but we were both so awkward and suffering from fear of rejection that neither one of us made a move. He once wrote me a letter to tell me he wanted to kiss me and see where we could take it, and still we didn't move. We were frozen in maybe for so long, assuming the other was out of our league. I kept thinking that if I just stuck to a diet and lost weight, he wouldn't be able to resist me. And when I failed at each diet I tried (while working full time and going to college full time not to mention) I felt like a total failure and didn't want to see him. I would think to myself, no wonder he doesn't want me, I'm a total loser slob who can't take care of myself and I believed it for so long, that my worth was wrapped up in my jeans size and that no man worth my time would ever look at me until I lost weight. I pushed Tim away because he didn't dote on me. But it took me eight long years of chasing him to finally start looking out for myself for once. And when I moved away and stopped acting so starry-eyed over him, he still wanted to know me. But then I met the man I eventually married. I still think about Tim a lot, I realize our personalities would have been too big together and it would have been a disaster in the end. But I wonder what the significance of it was, why I craved his approval and acceptance more than anyone I've met before or since. And toniggt, Geneen gave me that answer. It's not the Tims or the workaholics or the emotionally-unavailable people that we want, what we are really chasing after is that which we feel we didn't get from our parents. Positive attention, protection (emotionally or physically), approval, validation, praise. Warm, unconditional love. We fantasize certain features into those we wish could fill all the holes we have from our past. It's a dangerous game, but it keeps us from having to look at the painful stuff we had to face when we were too little to know how to handle it or let our needs be known. I didn't want Tim because he was an amazing man who I knew could make me happy, in fact, there were plenty of times when he hurt my feelings or treated me rough. I wanted his approval more than anything, I told myself it was because he was so choosy about his friends, but now I realize it wasn't about him at all. His mood was just as unpredictable as my mother's, I never knew which version I was going to get, but when I got the tiniest morsel of acceptance or approval from either one of them, I soared on it for days! I wanted Tim to save me from myself, to make me feel loved and worthy and smart and pretty. But really, I wanted those things from my mother first. Being fat protected me from rejection in a way, my self esteem was so low that I simply took myself out of other people's equation, stepped away before I could be rejected. With my mom, I closed myself off as a way to protect a place that was more vulnerable to her than anyone else in my whole world. With Tim, I made a powerful decision to stop compromising my dignity for someone that never quite made sense to chase in the first place. I met my husband 2 months later. I am so lucky Tim never had the balls to make a move, it could have made a mess of my life. Until today, Tim still had power over me, not because I am pining after him (trust me, if you met both him and my husband you would understand why I don't pine after Tim), but because I would like to see him again, to laugh and reminisc about the good old days, but I am also nervous about how easily he can make me feel bad. But I realize now that he doesn't have that power, I give him that power, and I can just as easily take it away. Just like I have to do with my mom. I'm not a defenseless child anymore and she's not a scared teenage mom, married to an alcohol she may or may not have ever loved, she was just looking to fill the holes her own parents left behind.
We women are a mess! No wonder men are always saying there's no way to understand us! Lol.
I'm taking baby steps and it's feeling a little easier all the time. Sorry for the novel, if I don't get this stuff down right away I lose my train of thought, and it is helping tremendously.