Saturday, December 12, 2015

Finally Free

Today on my way home from the grocery store I heard a commercial, a jewelry store boasting that they have more stock of rings over 1 carat than anyone else in the area.  They enthusiastically drove their message home by ending with something like, 'Imagine bringing home a 1 and 1/4 carat ring for only $8,000!' I am not a jewelry person, so to me, it sounded completely absurd that people pay that much for a ring.  I get that diamonds are rare and cutting them is a skill.  I don't understand why women care so much what size stone they have. Sure, if status is important, a huge rock can make a statement that you've chosen someone financially secure.  But I think it goes deeper, I think some women equate the size of the stone to how special or important they are.  Some people attribute their self-worth to their belongings.  And it's not just women, think of how some men are about cars.  But it made me think about what I gauge my self-worth on and I think it's on attention.  Sure, I have accomplished things in proud of in my life, but when I feel attractive, I feel more self-empowered and worthy of good things in my life.  I feel more special and important.  I equate the attention of someone else to my self-worth.  I have known that I'm sensitive to this for a long time.  It doesn't even have to be anyone in particular.  It could be my boss, when there's more than 2 of us working and I feel like he takes someone else's ideas but not mine, it can be our receptionists, when 3 of us are talking and I can't seem to get a word in or finish a thought, it can be my husband, if I feel like his attention is diverted or that he's disinterested in what I'm saying.  It has been my sister, my parents, even my friends can have an effect on my feelings of self-worth.  And then I realized that, whether it's a diamond ring, a BMW or the attention of someone else, we essentially give that power to something or someone else, when the power belongs to us alone.   We have been so brainwashed to believe that someone else's ideas of what is good, bad, desirable or grotesque is the law.  We all but abandon who we are for the sake of measuring up to unrealistic ideals of things that will never fulfill us, we lose sight of what it really means to be an individual with our own ideas.   The thing that will truly make us happy has nothing to do with the outside, that's someone else's idea that we all latched onto.  we need to look beyond why want to look a certain way, because it tells us what we are really lacking.  Is it attention?  Approval?  Love? The truth is, nothing outside of ourselves can give us what we feel is lacking because it comes down to roots so deep in our own lives that we have to be the one to confront those demons and overcome them knowing that we are worthy of doing so.  If we don't feel good about ourselves or feel powerful from within, nothing outside of us can do that for us either.  Being a perfect size six doesn't mean you're a "good girl" who now deserves affection, you deserve it at any size, and it has to start with getting it from yourself.  If you rely solely on others for self-assurance, you are guaranteed to be let down.  If you fulfill those things from within, it will never let you down.  We have to become our own caretaker, nurturing all the magnificent things that make us a rockstar.  When we are strong in our thoughts about ourselves, our self-esteem and self reliance can't be swayed by others.  It can't be stolen from us in the memories of our past or given away for someone else to destroy.  We will find that we are too good to agree with the 5 year old versions of ourselves who cowers in the corner desperate for something from someone.  We heal from within when stop judging ourselves by someone else's standards.
Diets are someone else's ideals.  We have a choice in whether we listen to that chatter or not.  For me, since reading the Spinardi book, I have felt a really huge sense of calmness wash over me.  I've let go of the "should" and the "shouldn't" and have resigned to trust my body.  Nothing is charged with positive or negative, I eat exactly what I want.  I am paying attention to cues that tell me when I'm satisfied and I don't feel deprived or like I have to sneak "bad" food when no one is looking, I don't stress about it much at all.  And I am feeling really happy.  Better than happy, it's as if I have just gotten out of a noisy amusement park where all my senses were overwhelmed, and come to have a rest in the middle of a plush, serene garden.  Finally I can stop being my own worst enemy.  Finally I can stop seeing food as torture or reward.  Why did I spend so many years buying into the whole diet/body hate lie?  I am so much happier this way.  My body knows what it needs, I just have to listen.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Apologies

My semester in college is winding down in the next couple weeks, which has me dreaming of sweet, sweet personal time. I've begun reading a book:
It is pretty interesting, based around similar concepts as Geneen Roth in that the diet mentality only makes us gain more weight, sets us up for body image problems and is slowly killing us from the brain down.  There are some interesting studies that back up what she is saying.  The only way to break free from the diet/deprivation mentality is to let it go and listen to your body.  We create our food obsession by denying ourselves what we really want, once we give in with the knowledge that we can have whatever we want whenever we want it, it has a lot less charge. She includes the method of stopping when you've had enough.  That's a tricky concept for me.  I'm so used to diet mentality of portion size or food-numbing potion of "never-enough", even if I'm uncomfortably full but  I'm not numb yet.  Geneen says that "enough is not an amount, it's a relationship to what you already have."  It's a lovely sentiment, but it doesn't make a compulsive eater stop eating during a binge or even during a regular meal.  One of Josie's tidbits of information is that there is a distinct time while you are eating(providing you were eating because you are genuinely hungry and not emotionally eating), when the food doesn't have much taste anymore.  This is one of your body's biological signals that you are PHYSICALLY satisfied, you have the right amount of fuel.  I never realized this was a signal, I just attributed it to my mouth getting "used to" the flavor.  If you keep chasing food looking for the elusive flavor delight, it just won't ever be as satisfying as the ideal you have in your head.  So we consume a bucketful of extra calories because we don't stop when the food stops tasting outstanding.  I'm a multitasking eater, I prefer to be watching the morning news or looking at Facebook while I eat.  So I never notice the signal.  I eat until it's gone or until I become disgusted at the thought of another bite.  So I  learning new things to try.  
I recently had my yearly physical exam and my nurse practitioner confirmed what I already suspected, that I am in perimenopause.  And my vitamin D levels have dropped again despite supplementing religiously.  I had to have an ultrasound done for pain I've been having and it turns out I have a fibroid or polyp in my uterus.  They wanted to do a procedure to remove the growth but said it wouldn't help with the pain so I opted not to do it.  It's uncomfortable but ibuprofen helps a lot.  I was happy to see my blood pressure is in a great, nice normal place (maybe due to the fish oil I've started taking??) and the rest of my blood work was magnificently normal except for vitamin D a little low and my triglycerides slightly high but nothing crazy like it once was.  It was a relief to know I'm not killing myself while I try to figure out my head.  
I saw this awesome pic the other day:
And it really struck me.  I have been so caught up in trying to heal the ways I feel I've been wronged in the past by comforting myself and breaking ties with what I thought I was and am that it never even dawned on me that I could accept an apology that was never given.  Tonight when I began to pull the same image of myself as a hurt child into my mind, ther is a moment where I get off the steps to go talk to my mom and usually there is a lot of tears and hurtful, dark things that transpire next, but this time when I went to talk to her the whole room was basqued in brilliant sunlight, specks of dust danced on the sunbeams jubilant.  Even before I started to accept the apology I felt total peace, wonder even euphoria rush into me.  My mother and father both apologized for not being more attentive and warm.  I didn't get much chance to stay in meditation due to interruption, but I think this is an area I will revisit because it felt really healing.  
So that's where I am.  Still trying to figure myself out.  I'm not ever going to give up!