Just as I have been assailed by my bad body thoughts lately, it seems I have also been firmly back in the grip of compulsive/emotional eating.
What I have learned in the past is that this “hunger” that is not felt in my body but despite it, is not something for which I need to punish myself, but rather is a signal that there are some feelings that I have not been willing to face, some feelings I am wanting to push down and away, some feelings that are so uncomfortable I would rather feel the physical and emotional discomfort that comes after a thorough binge.
And it works…to a point. I have been so unhappily distracted by thoughts of how terrible my body is, how bad I am for continuing to eat this way (thoughts so old and familiar that they seem to bring a cruel comfort) that I have had little idea of what is really going on under the surface.
These subterranean feelings are not totally hidden; I get glimpses of them every now and again. Today I had a glimpse and was somehow able not to cover it over with cookies and ice cream and ohmygodI’msofat. Somehow.
These feelings that peek out are painful. It is so much easier to get caught up in the cycle of overeating and self-recrimination than to feel them.
Quite possibly not unrelated, I have also been thinking of last Thanksgiving. Last year at this time.
It was one of the last good memories I have of my relationship with Mr. X. My parents came to visit us, and as was his tendency, he put away the crazy so the company wouldn’t see. I remember the day they left, however. They weren’t half an hour gone before his moodiness came back, before once again I became the figurative punching bag for his unhappiness.
But Thanksgiving was nice.
Today I had a strange feeling, and I realized that I miss the good times, and I miss him in those good times. I miss what I had convinced myself was the true nature of our relationship—but really was the mask.
And that missing is a feeling that I am not “supposed” to have. I don’t want to have it. I don’t want to miss this person who has caused me so much pain. I don’t want to associate him with anything good, with anything happy.
I was asked today if I had any children, and for a moment, found myself wishing that I had had a child with him.
And then I remembered how things turned out in the end, how I realized I wouldn’t want him to be the father of my child, how his true nature came to the surface with a vengeance when I had the audacity to tell him “no.”
I spent so long worried about not being “wrong”—I twisted myself up like a thousand knots to make him happy—that the one thing I was really “wrong” about—being in that relationship to begin with—was the one thing I couldn’t see. And now, mixed up with all my other feelings of yearning and grief is also the feeling of being a failure. Of wasting six years of my life caught in his haze.
And I know that I did the best I could. And I know that it is not my fault.
But the feelings are still there. And they must be felt.
Healing is so complicated.