Monthly Archives: January 2010

ready for Monday

It hasn’t been one of my better weekends.

Between the repairs that my car needs being more costly and time-consuming than I had expected and what was supposed to be a quick trip to see my family turning into a much longer one (yes, the two are connected) and the uncomfortable feelings about my family that I always end up feeling when I’m around them for very much time at all…well, I’m ready for Monday.

I had Friday off from work, and I decided to go to my parents’ on Thursday night so that my dad’s mechanic could fix my car.  I hoped to be on my way back home by Friday afternoon.  Well, the best laid plans and all that, I guess.  And I still don’t have my car (I’m driving something borrowed).

I am left feeling tender with some old wounds uncovered.  I am left feeling uneasy about my own thoughts and feelings.  I am left wishing that I could have my three day weekend back.

I had some interesting realizations.  Not blog-worthy, necessarily, but I feel like I’m putting the pieces together to a puzzle called, “Why I ended up with an emotional abuser.”  So a couple more pieces slipped into place.

This is hard.

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famous friday: baby book

She must have been a beautiful baby…

She must have been a beautiful pup…

that's my niece holding her (she was 8 at the time)

She’s always had a thing for windows: 

And she’s always had that, “Am I going to get a treat now?” look to her:

She’s still pretty darn cute…

(though she used to be easier to hold up for a photo)

observing with curiosity

Lately I have become very much focused on How to Combat the Destructive Soundtrack of Hyper-Criticism.  This was the main topic discussed when I saw my Needle Lady (a.k.a. my second therapist) yesterday for acupuncture.

An idea she discussed, which I had thought about in the past in my journey with my Food Issues, is that of considering myself with curiosity, not prescriptive judgment.  The idea is to observe myself, my thoughts, my feelings, not with judgment, but with interest, with curiosity.  So instead of bashing myself over the head for thinking/feeling/doing something that the Judge in my head finds unacceptable, I try to just notice what I’ve thought/felt/done.  Kind of like: “Huh, wow, I didn’t know I had those thoughts/feelings.  Interesting.”  Instead of:  “You shouldn’t think that!  You shouldn’t feel that!  How dare you?!?”*  Or: “Huh, I’m really wanting to eat right now, even though I’m not hungry.  I wonder what that’s all about?”  Instead of: “I shouldn’t want to eat!  I’m NEVER going to work through this food stuff!”

So this is what I’m trying now.  It sure is a lot more pleasant, when I can remember that it’s what I’m trying to do.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

*

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*The Judge uses a lot of exclamation points when she talks to me.

why I don’t diet

I have toyed with the idea of this post for a long time.  I have a lot of anxiety about either being misunderstood or judged harshly about this topic, so it was easy to put off.

In March of 2008, I gave up dieting.  I had been thinking about it for about two years before that, ever since I read Geneen Roth’s Breaking Free From Emotional Eating.  What I read in that book resonated loudly within me and something deep inside knew, knew that it was a message for me, but I wasn’t ready to really face the reasons behind my emotional eating.

Finally, in March of ’08, I reached my breaking point.  I had been struggling with trying to diet for several months, but the pain of infertility just dumped me back in the arms of comfort binging time and time again.  I was miserable, and my struggle with food was just an expression of that.  I knew something had to change.  I re-read the book, and decided to take the plunge.  No more diets.  I would be dealing with my eating problem in a different way now.

Mr. X was initially supportive, but after about a month, became very critical of my efforts (especially when I started to gain weight and I didn’t freak out about it, when I didn’t immediately run back to dieting).  A huge piece of the downfall of my abusive marriage is tied to my decision to start dealing with my emotional eating, to stop dieting, to start caring for myself in tangible ways, and in my defining myself as different than Mr. X in regard to food.

I’ve talked here about my struggles with food several times.  Food is a struggle for me, and comfort eating is the primary way that I’ve learned to cope, learned to survive my pain.  The reason that I don’t just go back on a diet is that, for me, dieting is just the flip side of the emotional eating coin.  Instead of numbing out with food and with regrets about eating, I would be numbing out by obsessing about calories and fat grams and ounces lost or gained.  And what’s worse, the thing that feeds dieting for me is self-hatred.  I have to loathe my body just enough to push myself into deprivation mode.  This is what dieting is for me. I know it may not be that way for everyone, that’s why I don’t go on your blogs and wag my finger at you for dieting (well, that’s one of the reasons; the other is that I don’t want to be an asshole).  I have some pretty fucked up ways of thinking about food and thinking about my body.  If I diet, it just makes it all worse.  As hard as the struggle is right now, I know that dieting would be worse.  I am committed to working on my problems with food; dieting would only mask them and make them worse.

I don’t expect everyone to understand.  I don’t expect everyone to think that I’m right.  That’s why it took me so long to write this post.

I’d like to tell you about an experience I had last night.  I was thinking about eating, about how I wanted something or the other, but feeling not hungry in the least.  For some reason, I decided to challenge my “mouth hunger” and asked myself if I really wanted to eat.  A quiet voice inside said, “no.”  Immediately I was flooded by grief, by the very feelings that I know I’m eating to suppress.  I remembered thinking, “No wonder I eat so much.  I can’t feel this way all the time.”

I am hoping to learn new ways to deal with my feelings.  In the meantime, I’m going to love myself as much as I can, and for me, that means not dieting.

I will leave you with a quote from the book that has had the most positive impact on me in this struggle, When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies:

Self-contempt never inspires lasting change.

For me, the only way for me to sustain a diet is to live in a constant mode of self-contempt.  I refuse to do that anymore.

stuffing it down

I realized recently that a lot of my time has been taken up lately by thinking about food and my body.  Food thoughts include (but are not limited to): what I want to eat, what I shouldn’t eat, when will I stop wanting to eat that, why I eat when I’m already full.  All of this food stuff has been exacerbated by the recent news of high cholesterol.  Yippee.  My body thoughts are generally dominated by uncomfortable obsessions about my clothing size and punctuated by moments of body hatred.

Of course, if I’m thinking about obsessed by thoughts of food and my body, it doesn’t leave much room for what’s really going on, now does it?  And what’s “really” going on has very little to do with either food or my body, and a lot more to do with all the feelings that get stuffed below the surface when I turn to those old familiar ways of coping.  Apparently it’s much more comfortable to think about what I should/shouldn’t be eating and how awful my body is than about how bad I’m hurting, than about the feelings that I am working so hard to escape.

And there ARE lots of feelings there, just ask my dreams.  Lots of bad horrible dreams lately.  Mr. X usually has a starring role.

Or you could ask my therapist.  Apparently when I gave her my long, sad story I seemed close to hyperventilating.  She also pointed out that I seem a bit hypervigilant, which seems to be an astute observation.  (I’ve actually been thinking about that one quite a bit and think that this may be part of why I’m so into being alone lately.  Less to be vigilant/hypervigilant about if you’re by yourself.)

So there are feelings there which I am trying my darnedest not to feel.  They seep through though.  Like right now, I haven’t even said all that much about what the actual feelings might be, but I feel on the verge of tears.  Which may be why I’ve put off writing this post and just resorted to reveling in Miss Famous’ cuteness.

So I am working on following my acupuncturist’s advice.  We talked a lot about this during my last session (for me, she’s practically as good as a therapist, herself).  In following my Needle Lady’s advice, I’m trying to shift my focus from “fixing myself” to “loving myself.”  Which is hard when all those body thoughts keep telling me I’m unlovable.

I know, know, know this is not about food or my body.  I know it’s about the pain that I’m storing deep inside.  Pain about the divorce, pain about the marriage, pain about being childless, pain about not having the kind of life I thought I would have at this age, pain about disappointment.  Take your pick.

I have my second therapy session tomorrow.  Looks like we’ve got our work cut out for us.

famous friday: Miss Famous gives an ICLW welcome to all

She got all dressed up and everything.  (Well, she did have a bit of help from my niece, who considers La Famosa her own personal Barbie-doll-dog).

So welcome.

True story:  I married a crazy person, but didn’t really realize it until last spring.  Miss Famous and I got the heck out so that I could get far away from his emotionally abusive ways and stayed with my parents for a few months.  They have become total Famous Fans, proved by their insistence on being my dog-sitters if I ever go out of town.  Back in September, her famousness and I moved to a city about an hour away from my parents and I started a new job.  My divorce from the crazy Mr. X was finalized in December and the pooch and I are starting out the new year in style (as you can see above).  Miss Famous and I are getting used to living in our new city, which really is a fabulous place.  My job security is a wee bit uncertain at the moment (my program may have to eliminate a position in June), but Miss Famous assures me that all I would have to do would be to put a “Will Wag Tail and Lick Face For Food” sign on her, stick her by an intersection close to the freeway, and we’d be rollin’ in the bucks.  She’s probably right.

Could YOU deny this face?

show and tell: the sound of her voice

We are taking a break from today’s earlier disappointments to talk about my dog (for a change, right?).  Ahem.

Miss Famous is usually a very quiet dog.  My roommate and roommate/landlady (i.e. my friend who owns this house but doesn’t live here and I give her the rent check) have commented about what a quiet dog she is.

Almost always.

She has been known to bark at dogs passing by as they walk with their owners.  She also does this growly kind of noise, but I’m not convinced it’s totally unfriendly.  Here, you take a gander (I never did figure out what she was looking at, btw):

She’s also very big on whining.  Very big.  Whining is big in the world of La Famosa (oh, and please excuse the mess):

See who else is making some noise over at Mel’s.