Monday, May 9, 2016

Finally!

I have finally finished my Bachelors Degree!!!  It has been such grueling work managing full time work (including keeping up 2 certifications), raising a family and going back to school, and finally I get to take a much-needed breath!  I had grand ideas of how much else I was going to get done once I didn't have school on my plate, but in reality, I'm kind of in 'don't wanna' mode.  After feeling burnt out for 4 years, I just want to relax and indulge in free time, since it seems to have been desperately missing for so long.  And I'm learning that I need more free time to be happy than is normal.  That's the introvert and planner in me.  But I'll catch up on all that.
My most major news is this:
We adopted a dog!  He is 9 months, a Norwich/Westie mix and we named him Franklin. I'm not going to say it's been flawless, especially the times when he needs to go out at 3am, but he is so smart and super affectionate and we are so happy he's part of our family.  It's the first place we've lived that allowed dogs so it feels like a great step for us, plus it is teaching my sons responsibility.  
The other new thing in my life is a book I bought a few weeks ago and am just diving into:
I am 80 pages is and my jaw has dropped on several occasions already.  This talks about the connections between the missing coping skills we learned as children and how we react to things today.  So many of the things that happen in those formative years lead us to the coping skills we still try to rely on today.  Something that was missing in my childhood were emotionally supportive parents who were consistent and gave me clear boundaries and nurtured me and whom I knew would always have my back.  I was often ridiculed for showing emotion, told not to be a baby about it and even teased if I was crying about something when my feelings were hurt.  Not every time, but a lot of times, and those are the ones that scar.  And sometimes when I needed my mom's attention she was just plain checked out, reading a book or doing a crossword and not acknowledging that I had even spoken to her.  I felt alone and misunderstood a lot as a child.  My parents were not really in the position to model effective coping and self-soothing skills for me, so I had to make it up as I went along.  And food was one way I found to self-soothe.  And I put a lot of burden on others to try and fill needs that my parents didn't.  And that makes me overreact emotionally to my triggers, but since it's been ingrained in me that showing emotions is BAD, I stuff it all down with food.  So, this book is the beginning of fiding out what's been missing in my coping and self-soothing skills so that I can do for myself, what my parents weren't able to.  No blame, no bad feeligns, they were young and overwhelmed and had their own head issues passed down from their own parents.  But accepting that there are holes in my learning process and learning how to take care of my emotional needs myself, is what I have been looking for for the past 30 years of using food as a drug.  I feel like the itch is finally about to get scratched.  And for once, I am not going to get interrupted by a new semester starting, now is the perfect time for me to fix what's been dysfunctional for so many years.  In a way I feel like a huge weight is lifting off me, like all the crazy "have to's" of dieting, the restricting and the forcing and the pretending is gone.  I will fix myself from the part that makes me turn to food, my brain.  I am just getting into the techniques of learning to soothe myself, and be my own sort of mental cheerleader.  It is going to take some practice and time to get the negative "mom" voice out of my head. You know, the one that tells me how disgraceful and burdensome I am, the one that doubts I can finish what I start or handle my own affairs.  The one that thinks I am wrong when I am right, and makes me feel bad for disputing it.  I always had to walk around eggshells around her, never knew which version of her I was going to get, the happy, singing, craft-loving mom who I loved being around, or the anything (and I mean ANYTHING) can-set-her-off, and when it does no one will be allowed to feel good about any part of themselves mom.  She handed down her dysfunctional coping skills and in those times when I cringe over feeling that I have inherited some of her personality and mannerisms, it is because when I think of her, I mostly remember the angry, emotionally-whacked out mom and as a kid, you take that stuff personally, even though it's not our fault. 
Anyway, before this turns into more of a journal entry than it already is, I feel like I've been digging in the dirt looking for my lost jar of pennies for a long time now, and I've finally found the right spot to dig.  I am so happy this book is helping to explain my childhood to me, I have been doubting myself for so long, thinking I was just looking at my childhood through crap-colored glasses, and while I do truly have some happy memories from childhood, I think the bad stuff had way more affect on me, and now I finally have a way to start healing those scars.  Letting go of that stuff, healing the deep past, will help me be more emotionally-balanced in my current life, and I won't feel the need to turn to food when I'm not hungry.  Before I started reading this book on Saturday, I bought a bunch of "clean" low-carb groceries to "start over" and this morning once I got my son on the bus I practically ran into the local grocery store and loaded up on junk food.  Besides just being hungry from delaying my breakfast, it felt like my brain was rebelling against the idea of restricting myself again.  It's a sign that I need to be ready mentally, and better equipped to take on those feelings like I am missing out on something or not getting enough of something else.  I know those truly don't have anything to do with food, deep down, but trying to throw it all out there on a whim is like trying to change a tire with no tools. And, in the long run, equally successful.  My obese body is true testament to that.  
Now that I have some more free time I want to start journaling on my private blog and reflecting on it here.  It really helps.  Writing has been the best way to sort through and deal with my feelings, I just don't always have the time or opportunity, but I am going to start using it as a tool and see if that alone lessens my desire for comfort food. I feel like I can finally sink my teeth into this.  I am feeling calm and happy and ready to dig deeper. 

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