Homework

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That’s the moment when you have to somehow choose what you life is going to be about.”

– Chuck Palahniuk

I’m in the process of figuring out what’s going to go in this space. But I have to be doing it before I can start writing about it.

I realise that what I’m putting out here is pretty much the most unpleasant of it all. The bits I’m trying to exhume, expel and exorcise. But it seems like a necessary and genuine part of the strange relationship between finding writing useful and fearing exposure still. Being encouraged by and involved in reading a variety of health-related blogs and yet worrying that the more I read will ensure that I never have another day where I forget it all.

I don’t have answers for any of that. Yet. But I do have some answers for some of Medicinal Marzipan‘s Body Lovin’ Homework, which I just found and am astounded by. My response to week one is below. It’s probably darker than I thought it would be but I guess that’s to do with the quote at the top. This no longer hides the truth from me.

  1. My body feels:

My body feels thick like butter. Spread thickly and greasily over a cracker. Fat on fat. It feels aware of my mental agitation today. It creeps over the hems of my clothes, sweats, dissolves, never dissipates. My body feels too big today. The wrong shape, lumpy and wobbly. It feels like all the things I feel I shouldn’t have eaten today. Which would be everything. It feels like a teaser, a taunting mistress, a jester. It goads me to hunger and ravenous distraction, but it disappears and everything tastes wrong. It leads me up the garden path, to foods that will not make me feel good. It feels aching for a poison, begs for a hit and then retreats. Calls out in pain. Holds onto those grievances, physically collects them and shows me them in every mirror.

My body feels strong occasionally. It can run and flex and grow in strength. It teases with progress and again, moves away, preferring sloth. That pervasive ache of feeling unwell and unfit. Unfulfilled.

My body feels full of potential and full of disappointment. For all that it feels capable, it feels like its worst enemy. Constantly confusing the signals, which I cannot read. Telling me it is hungry when it is not. Denying that it feels sleepy, tired, unloved, needing rest and sleep and love. My body feels like the betrayer that tells me how to fix everything is to put something in. Plug the gaps with dough and softness. My body feels like the spoilt brat that whines for more toast and jam and another day off sick, but craves and needs a strict parent to help it. My body reaches out and feels for structure and strictness, but finds only my soft mind and its unforgiving loving.

My body feels like the culprit. My mind is stood next to it wearing the “I’m with stupid” t-shirt and looking smug. My body takes the flack for my mind’s bad choices. My body feels like my mind’s punching bag.

My body feels sick and weary. At the mercies of my pill and my health and my lack of self-care. My body is crying for some affection. My body feels sorrow for all that my mind cannot see out of or overcome.

2. My body was made for:

My body was made for more that I let it do. It still listens to my d grade PE teacher, who didn’t account for effort. It hears a seven-year-old ask it why it’s fat. Feels guilty. Stuffs another biscuit in. My body was made to rejoice. In sunlight (real and self-made). My body was made to stretch and run and walk all day in the drizzle. Up mountains, along the sea. My body was made to take me places, not to trap me in here, in my skull. Away from the sun. My body was not made to be a shield from the world, an excuse to hide, a reason to hate and an excuse for fearfulness. My body was made to be held out like a sword, a weapon in battle. My body was made to shine and be proud.

My body was made to form cysts in my kidneys. My body was made to send me this premonition of the future to remind me that there is nothing I can do about what is already written. My body was made to prove me wrong. Live without symptom. My body was made to mock me. To feel symptoms only of things that I inflict upon it, not the conditions which are out of my control but far more serious

My body was not made to be hated. My body was not made to be celebrated in magazines on swimwear, but to be laid down softly and loved. My body was made to be given, in acceptance, both to myself and to those worthy (though so far it’s only found one). My body was made to react to sugar. To feel loose with alcohol and to suffer withdrawal from those drugs enough for me to know that I shouldn’t need them. My body was made to stand naked on a hillside in the soft drizzle and the cloud and sink into the moss. My body was made to live, thrive and die. My body was made to return and reconcile, to live out its days in the humble knowledge of where it once was and where it will one day be.

Manifest(o)

June 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

 

I will honour my imperfect self. I will learn to acknowledge and respect my own needs in the knowledge that those who respect them too are the ones worth knowing. I will challenge myself physically, intellectially and emotionally and be kind to myself in the knowledge that I am making one decision at a time. I will live an open, loving, healthy and ambitious life. I will not be afraid of myself.

Inspired my my very own self-help expert, 25/06/11.

Off limits

June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is a certain cereal that I can’t say no to. Really, really can’t say no to. I’m not entirely sure what it is about this particular muesli that I can’t control myself with, but the fact remains that control is lost. Not just craving, not just a big bowl, but all out eat til it hurts addiction. While this is a subject of amusement publicly, it really bothers me.

Obviously, the fact that a bag of cereal is enough to bring me to my knees is troubling. And whilst I am aware that there is probably an underlying trigger to some of these overindulging incidents (the word ‘binge’ is really not one I can face today), it feels like the food itself tips me over the edge.

Whilst the easiest solution seems to be to avoid it altogether, the idea of restriction is also incredibly triggering for me. In fact a lot of the time, I will overeat just to prove that I am not one of those people who deprives themselves through vanity. Which, I am quite aware, it quite like stabbing myself in the foot because my current problem is more like one of lack of restraint than having too much of it.

Nevertheless, I don’t feel good about avoiding some things outright most of the time, as it feels like an admission of weakness. What I would love is to be able to treat all foods equally and not feel at the mercy of any of them. Perhaps that’s just another perfectionist whisper.

Either way, I’m throwing the rest of the bag out. I have to be honest about what makes me lose it. And that bag of innocuous muesli is a pervasive problem.

Back to simpler things.

Triggers

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

 

They say that you should do one thing every day which scares you. What if that thing is what you feed yourself? What a sad state of affairs.

And yet, this is what I’m dealing with. The days when I sit with a meal by my side, lovingly prepared and cooked, but untouched. Because I can’t tell if I’m doing it right. Don’t get me wrong, I invariably eat the meal. But the thought process behind it is usually long, at best.

I’ve been busy lately. My instinct there was to write “pretty busy” but there’s no false modesty about it, I’ve been swamping myself. There’s a lot of good reason for this. I have a dissertation to write and a part-time job. And a deep need to pull out of a funk that’s followed me since the end of last year. And I have something of a life and a big love. It’s a heady mix without doubt, but whether things are good or bad, I am realising that food is my trigger.

By trigger, I mean it’s the guage and the key, as much as the trigger. I can guage by what and how I am eating how well I feel I am doing at all of the above things. It’s the key to how I feel about myself and the things I have to do. It’s the trigger to set me into a good or bad way of thinking.

It’s quite difficult to disentangle these things and to keep all of them in check, but I’m learning. Deciding to try and make food unimportant to my life is futile and leaves me feeling deprived. Giving it too much importance in the wrong ways leads to an unhealthy fixation.

There is a long way to go but I can feel the trigger shifting. I know that my body is not where I would like it to be, but I know that health comes first. Which means controlling the big red button that can throw me off course instantly. The first step in that is having patience as I learn what does and doesn’t set me off and then being brave about accepting my needs as they are. Without judgement from myself or from others.

Catch

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is the smoothie I made from some goodies I was trying to transport on The Worst Train Journey of My Life. Smooshed up raspberries and soya yoghurt? Whatever, I’m making a smoothie. As soothing recoveries go, it beats reaching for the Belgian buns.

Unfortunately, it’s just not as easy as that, is it. The thing is, I’ve been wanting to get this place more ship shape and write more about what I’m doing to stay healthy in every sense of the word. But the fact is that I can’t seem to write much with conviction. It’s not the shiny happy beacon of cleanliness I’d hoped for. Okay, I read a couple of books. I’m still talking to a couple of select people and I’m committing to writing because I know it makes things better. But the reality is that my head still isn’t caught up. There are great days where I reach for the smoothie maker and there are days when I want to nosebag a box of muesli because I felt like I did everything right/ wrong/ cannot satisfy the interminable hunger that I know isn’t real but continues to follow me (delete as applicable). That’s the truth of it. And I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

It’s not necessarily all pink smoothies over here but that’s just the way it is. I’m working on it, it will come. Okay, the good days are coming more frequently than when I started this thing, but for now it’s every day for herself. And lots of new running music. And trying to have a bit of fun with this place maybe.

But before all that. Right now, today, something I saw which summed it all up rather well:

Something that comes up for me in talking about this is that I often confuse my own fear of speaking my truth and my unwillingness to sit in that fear with uncertainty. I feel a fuzziness, not of uncertainty, but of fear. And I’m now learning to distinguish between the two in myself. I deeply desire to be willing to speak my truth, in spite of my fear, even in the midst of deep uncertainty. I’m learning that speaking my truth doesn’t have to be a final statement of the way things must be, but can be simply an expression of my current state of being.

P.R.O.T.I.E.N.

June 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

I knew it wouldn’t be long before this issue came up. Vegan protein.

Cooking vegan food over the last couple of days has been a reawakening of sorts. A good one.

This morning there were vegan wholewheat and banana pancakes with berries and maple butter:

 

For lunch, roast veg salad with mustard smashed baby potatoes:

 

It’s a bit different being home in that I have no flax meal or peanut butter to hand but I am still craving protein. I can feel it. Like, reaaaally feel it. The question is, how to get it? I drank an inordinate amount of soya milk throughout the day yesterday, but I have to say it doesn’t agree with me that well by the cupful. Tonight, I have lentils planned and beanburgers will be on the menu tomorrow. But in terms of breakfast and lunch I’m going to have to start thinking out the box. There are only so many nuts you can munch on, right?

Choices

June 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s quite amazing how much can change in a few days. Which is lucky, because a day – to- day approach suits quite well at the moment. Life is hectic, everything around is changing and I’m very welcoming to that after such a long period of feeling stuck.

However, when everything is so up in the air that can only mean more choices. At the weekend, I was away celebrating a wedding. It was a gorgeous, happy occasion and there was an inevitably luxurious wedding breakfast. Three delicious courses thanks to the bride’s vegetarianism. As also seems inevitable in these situations, I found myself sat next to a nice young chap who wanted to know why I am a vegetarian. Somehow, the first thing I seem to think in these situations is that I should assure people I’m not a militant animal rights campaigner. That I am a reasonably person, if a little bit of a fussy eater. That I just don’t like thinking about putting dead things in my mouth. All of which is true. But all that also comes from a place of awareness that I am increasingly uncomfortable with suppressing. I’m working on that.

Anyway, after a rather indulgent night at the wedding, I was tired as hell, hungover as hell and craving the carbs. The breakfast provided for us at our hotel The Morning After looked like this:


Croissants, fruit juice, cereals, instant coffee and real milk and some really bad fruit. Basically, my idea of hell.

I can get my head around an indulgent wedding breakfast as a celebration and occasion, but this is not how I want to start the day. It’s the kind of non-control I really can’t stand. I hadn’t quite realised how much breakfast is make or break.

Lessons? I should have taken something with me to prepare myself. Some indulgences are worth it, some are not. Dairy is really not my friend.

I’m thinking things through, trying to make considered decisions.

Where Am I?

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