Day of Rest

softdexterConfession: Even though I don’t talk about it as much as I did, I am still missing Dexter something awful. I was looking through my archive of journals this morning for something specific I wanted to write more about, stumbled across my entry from the day Dexter died, and maybe partly because Sam and Eric were gone on a walk and I was alone and knew no one would hear me or be upset by it, I started sobbing. It seems harder to “get over” this loss because I still wasn’t really over losing Obi or Kelly when “it” happened again. And to be quite honest, since I’m confessing, coming clean, in the past five or six years really awful stuff has happened, much of which I didn’t talk about here, either because it was someone else’s stuff or because the consequences of speaking out were too great. Add that to the fact I’m an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person who is easily overwhelmed and it’s a toxic mess.

Stress, suffering comes from resisting what is happening, when things aren’t going the way we wanted, and no matter how evolved we might be, how able we are to stay with, cope with the hard stuff, no one wants to see those they love suffer, get sick, or die. My delusion that I should be able to help, to fix it, and smashing myself to bits if I can’t, only adds more suffering.

Continuing in the spirit of confession, yesterday I ate an entire bag of Smart Puffs. They are all natural, gluten and trans fat free with no preservatives, and an entire bag is 630 calories, which is less than a Big Mac or a Peanut Buster Parfait, but still it was a deliberate binge. I was tired, frustrated that my energy wasn’t keeping up with everything I wanted to do, so I took a break to watch TV, a really good show from Mike Birbiglia, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. I finished off the tail end of a bag, less than 10 puffs, could have stopped right there, but made the decision to open a new bag. Multiple times I made the decision to keep going, keep eating, and eventually finished the whole bag.

(This video has been helping me to be gentle with myself when I eat something I think I shouldn’t, I remember his sweet little voice listing off everything he’d eaten, groan about how it was too much, and it makes me smile, have a sense of humor about it rather than beating myself up)

Underneath any binge is always the collection of all the other hard stuff I haven’t quite been able to deal with, all the bad stuff that’s happened, the things I’m sad or worried about, what’s been lost, the various times and ways I’ve abandoned or denied myself.

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent, and very, very short—even at a hundred years—life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine. Surfing the Internet. Talking on the phone.

For a variety of reasons we don’t fully understand (genetics, temperament, environment), those of us who are compulsive eaters choose food. Not because of its taste. Not because of its texture or its color. We want quantity, volume, bulk. We need it—a lot of it—to go unconscious. To wipe out what’s going on. The unconsciousness is what’s important, not the food. ~Geneen Roth, Women Food and God.

whatareyouhungryforI am rereading Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God. You already know, if you’ve been reading, that I am working with a therapist who specializes in dis-ordered eating. I’m also starting a book group with the book Intuitive Eating led by Rachel Cole. I’m making an effort, but in other ways I am surrendering, letting go of effort, letting go of pushing and trying and forcing. I also am back to weighing the most I’ve ever weighed, after losing this same 20 pounds six years ago, having hired a trainer and started yoga and even running and going on yet another diet, starving myself down to what seemed acceptable. Slowly the weight came back — some due to more food less movement, some because of the shame I felt being called obese by someone who was supposed to be helping me, some of it because my body is changing and my metabolism and energy levels just aren’t what they were — but mostly because I wasn’t dealing with the underlying issues.

Brave Belly

When you believe without knowing you believe that you are damaged at your core, you also believe that you need to hide that damage for anyone to love you. You walk around ashamed of being yourself. You try hard to make up for the way you look, walk, feel. Decisions are agonizing because if you, the person who makes the decision, is damaged, then how can you trust what you decide? You doubt your own impulses so you become masterful at looking outside yourself for comfort. You become an expert at finding experts and programs, at striving and trying hard and then harder to change yourself, but this process only reaffirms what you already believe about yourself — that your needs and choices cannot be trusted, and left to your own devices you are out of control. ~Geneen Roth

I don’t want to keep doing this, cycling through restriction and binging, punishment and control followed by rebellion, shame and smashing myself to bits. I’ve lost all sense of what my authentic body might be and I want to discover it, that point at which I am both happy and well, sane and healthy. I want to reach the point where I can stay open to what is happening, show up for what is exactly as I am, to feel the full weight of how sad I am, how much I have lost, allowing how much it’s going to hurt. And the one thing I know for sure — it’s not about the food.

12 thoughts on “Day of Rest

  1. Jill Gordon

    I can feel the pain in your words, probably because I too struggle with some of the same sources of pain. I have found help and healing through Energy Psychology, but it continues to be a daily challenge to be kind and gentle with myself. Your courage and love you share inspires and helps others, unfortunately more than you know.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Jill, thank you so much for this comment. There are times when I publish a post, and it’s hard, I want to immediately take it back, not talk about it after all, but every time I let it stand, some kind and gentle reader (today it was you) leaves a comment, lets me know that it matters, that I was right to say something, to tell the truth, to share it no matter how uncomfortable. Thank you for that. ♥

  2. Bee Lackner

    I feel you Jill. It’s rough for us light workers struggling to thrive on this earth. Know you’re life is full of support and always remember to take time for self care! You are brave to share these tender thoughts. Challenges are the universe’s way to provide us opportunities for growth even though it is hard to see as we’re struggling through it. Recognize the process and trust that all will work out for the best eventually 🙂 Big warm hugs and much love. You are beautiful!

  3. artiviews

    Hey Jill,

    Your post really spoke to me and I’ve tried to leave comments before, but I can’t find my wordpress password–so I hope this gets to you. I subscribe to alot of blogs and then don’t read them, because they aren’t real and honest, or I don’t relate–but I read yours. I’m checking out the Geneen Roth book. I want to be comfortable in my skin and feel healthy and not worry about fluctuating weight and not stuff my feelings–it is hard being with the tough stuff, but lately when I want to run, I remind myself that it’s emotion and it will pass if I stay with it and breathe through it.

    Thanks so much, Randi


    1. eviegwatts

      Jill, just this morning I was thinking about my dog Blue, a Weimaraner who I considered my first son. The day I had to put him down I was pregnant with Bo and as I was laying in bed after it was all over, crying from as deep a place I knew about at the time, I felt the first kick from within. I thought, “If anything passed from that noble beast’s spirit into this new one growing inside, my child will be something special”. Bo turned 25 in August. This morning something reminded me of Blue, a James Taylor song about a girl and her dog, Blue, and I started crying, remembering and missing that beautiful dog. I completely understand what you’re feeling. They teach us so much about ourselves and the depth of our ability to love and grieve and carry on… and Bo is something very special.

      1. jillsalahub Post author

        You didn’t know this, but someday I want a dog named Blue. They never really leave us, and the difficulty is that the love, the relationship is still there but the soft animal body to target isn’t. xo

    2. jillsalahub Post author

      I’m so glad, Randi, that you are reading, that you commented, that you let me know “me too” which is such a big help when we are struggling. And yes, I think “stay” and “relax” are the most important instructions when we are in the midst of a difficult moment.

  4. Sunny

    I don’t have anything special to add other than I hear you and feel what you are saying. I admire people who can decide to lose weight and do it. For me, anytime I want to lose weight, I have to deal with a bunch of mental stuff before it can happen. And, for those who haven’t read Geneen Roth, she is wonderful!

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      You are right — for some people, it’s just about the weight, they don’t have the other “weight.” For me, it goes back to how you do anything is how you do everything, and I can’t ever separate issues of my physical body from my emotional body.

  5. Brenna

    sweet Jill, this post made me cry because I too feel the weight of loss and realize it’s not about the food. it’s so much more than that. it’s the resisting what is, what has been, what will be… the heartbreaking losses, the deep sadness… i understood everything you wrote because i live that. i love that you wrote and published this post. love to you over your sweet Dexter and Obi. (I’m sorry – I don’t know who Kelly is). xo


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