Day 272

9PM:

I am a sucker for a good book – everyone’s definition of which is different, I’m sure.  For me, my good book has character development, absolutely.  Plot, definitely.  Well-developed metaphors that don’t bash you over the head with either complexity or simplicity (I’m speaking to you, Alchemist), we’re good to go (and while we’re on that note, gestatious dialogue for the purpose of self-importance or even worse, simply “waiting for Godot” = BAH!).

I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read since the beginning of May.  Kind of a reclaiming of my love for books that I didn’t know was as intense as it has been (goes to show how intentional routines or structures can retrain your brain, reconnect those pathways, rebuild your bridges so that the emotions reemerge — exposure therapy, anyone?).  Book 15 was Wuthering Heights initially a verbose read about a collection of characters that seemed unredeemable and not sympathetic in the slightest.  Through the first quarter of the novel, I wanted them all to fall – they were all assholes!  Either self-indulgent, insolent, incredulously ill-mannered (using my book words now!), none of these characters had an iota of my sympathy, my connection.  That is, until Catherine Earnshaw’s passionate speech to Nelly, the house servant (always a good source for true information), on Pages 83 & 84:

“‘I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you.  What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here?  My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself.  If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger; I should not seem a part of it. … Nelly, I am Heathcliff!  He’s always, always in my mind – not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.'”

Love redeems her, at least in the reader’s eyes.  To that point she is more insufferable and after that point she may continue to be, but in that moment, love redeems her for me.  That is the power of love, because how can someone who loves like that, who cares for another like that, who feels the good emotions like Catherine describes, how can that person be completely unsympathetic, completely undeserving of connection, completely incapable of redemption.  The foreward similarly describes this feeling, this time of the character Heathcliff, stating, “No man who loves as he loves can be thoroughly evil.  We stay with Heathcliff until the very end” (vii).

The darkness of Emily Bronte’s novel foreshadows that she will fall, that they all will as good tragedies go.  However, she will not fall in readers’ eyes, because of love.

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Day 270

3:30PM:

That mass is sticking with me.  As you very well know, I am not a typically religious person.  I was at Church on Saturday because of family, out of respect for the birthday of my wife’s deceased father, who clearly had an impact on many.  His intentional love is remembered, celebrated and lives on in his family, it grows even beyond his mortal life (another example of the physics-defying nature of love).

The Gospel passage was Matthew 14:22-33, about Jesus Walking on Water:

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

For the most part, I take the Bible as allegorical, with metaphorical lessons woven into it that are interpreted by its representatives.  As such, I will simply state my interpretation, which very much follows the pastor’s sermon that followed.  Simply put, the act of faith, of belief in Jesus allowed Peter to walk on water.  Doubt, a crisis of this faith, led to temporary sinking, but temporary it was.  Temporary it was because faith, belief inevitably carried Peter through, carried him into the arms of Jesus.  There was nothing more than acting with belief that carried Peter above the water and a crisis of faith that caused him to sink.

Of course, my interpretation includes recovery.  Recovery is very similar to this.  Recovery happens because of intention, attention and setting the stage wisely, but it starts with belief.  True belief in recovery and acting with belief (even if you don’t entirely, yet), creates.  Acting like you believe, because those are caring acts of loving faith – even if blind or incomplete, even if it is intentionally “faking it until you make it,” even if it is a form of exposure therapy – have strength and courage.  Acting like you believe will create, and will thereby quash the doubts, quash the crises of faith and it will no longer be blind or incomplete, recovery will be fulfilled.  And it all started with belief.

I am sure that the sermon and mass is sticking with me because of the relevance to something I told my wife earlier that day, about Tinkerbell.  Tinkerbell exists, lives, thrives, enjoys her very existence simply through the act of believing.  In Peter Pan, you clap to believe in fairies and sure enough, they emerge stronger and brighter:

Again, simply through believing, having faith and acting with intention so that this belief and faith translates into fairies, magic, religion and recovery.  If the connections between recovery, the Son of God and Disney don’t convince you, the power and strength of simply acting like you believe should be thoroughly demonstrated with the help of our friends Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural fame:

Day 266

6PM:

These might all seem like separate things, or even worse, redundancies. Two-hundred and sixty-five days of over and over, dropping one thing and going to the next, picking up one catch phrase when it better suits and putting down an old one, or again, even worse, being redundant and repetitive and (dare I say) edu-speak-ish.

Fuck off.  That is not the case.  These ideas do all fit, they fit around recovery.

Recovery is creating an environment – through lines (structures, respecting your true nature and not shoulds, working through blacklists and exposure therapy, safeguards, routines), support systems (literary and asking for help from the warm-blooded – familial and therapeutic) and tools (regular exercise, expressing gratitude and appreciation, writing a blog, happy lists) – that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws (taking your thoughtfulness, contemplative nature and warping it into toxic hyper-vigilance and overt control, anxiety and over-thinking, an eating disorder or alcoholism to cope and depression, low sex drive and thoughts of self-harm as a result; taking your self-awareness and bastardizing it into self-doubt and fear, whereby you run and cheat and lose your you version of you) and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block (healthy veganism, thoughtful gentleness, IANs, creative attentiveness and loving care).

Without the breaks and brackets (and questionably avoided run-on sentence):

Recovery is creating an environment that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block.

See, it all fits – perfectly imperfectly.

Day 210

2PM:

Thank you universe for my hug yesterday…

Fucked over at work (signed on for something, agreed with the person, was disagreed with by her in public) = check

Thrown for an unexpected double-loop by the personalities I have to combat, personalities who appear to have a shiny veneer and a devious centre (but I’m starting to realize that it’s truly just a shallow shine, without anything substantial or significant beneath) = check

Working out using Grandfather’s system = didn’t shake the cobwebs

Been spinny about eating for a little while, figured it was time for a cheat meal (especially given that I forgot what a cheat would count as, so I needed to do it as anxiety medicine/blacklist) = Rawlicious appetizer, entree, dessert = didn’t shake the cobwebs (the Hot Chocolate was amazing, but the other two were flavourless or watery or unbalanced – BAH!)

Enter the universe, enter the hug.

Just as I was walking back to my car, who do I see but Habitating Family Friend (the proverbial unrelated “Uncle” who has never been called such, but has lived with us/my parents for the last five years, worked with my Mom for decades before that).  Some context might be needed: HFF is one of the most beautifully imperfect people on the planet.  HFF is kind and generous to a fault, beyond comprehension and beyond means.  HFF taught me how to sell, but more importantly showed my true love.  HFF is perfectly imperfect.

I saw him walking in the direction of a bakery for his late lunch, early snack and nearly cried.  I didn’t have the time and he probably wanted the peace/quiet, but he let me walk with him, he let me sit with him, he let my talk with him, and in doing so, he let me soak in the love.  He gave me the quiet affection that made me forget the world, even for just a little while.  Thank you HFF, thank you universe.  I love you.

Day 101/102

I’ve been thinking about what I want in my life, what we want in our lives.  After speaking with my wife about her struggles to keep her goals in mind, I suggested that she start her day in front of her hope wall, which is essentially a list of what she wants out of her life and our lives, what she wants to be.

In the same way, when I fall into the automatic way of living as opposed to conscious living, I lose sight of the goals, tools, etc.  This auto-pilot mode contains the behaviours I fall back on and get caught in when I don’t have enough time or enough energy (that’s why I’m sure this will be a reminder of previously-written goals).  If I got out of auto-pilot mode, on what would I like to focus?  When that comes to emotional/psychological things, those are easy for me to identify.  I also want to write down the physical goals, so that I can remind myself in tough times that abs aren’t more important than building connections.

GOALS FOR MY (PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, HOLISTIC) SELF

  • Be emotionally available for my wife, to have the energy to have sex and intimate conversations
    • THEREFORE… I must sit down and rest to reduce stress
  • Be able to readily connect to my feelings, connecting thoughts to them so that I can express and address them
    • THEREFORE… I must journal and take the time to understand the impact of circumstances on my feelings (level of food fuel in my system, level of fatigue)
  • Be able to look up and enjoy the things I am grateful for and appreciative of
    • THEREFORE… use my mantras to “look up” and remind my support system (especially my wife) to remind ME
  • Be happy with who I am, comfortable and not anxious with my beautiful intricacies (i.e. desire to be physically healthy, to eat healthy and good food, to explore foods and healthy living, inability to sit down for long periods of time, with what I want to read,  make decisions and trust their success/failure)
    • THEREFORE… not quite sure about this one, journaling and talking about it does seem to help though
  • Be able to run, run long and run hard
  • Be able to strength gain, so that I can continue to connect to my grandfather through his workout system
    • THEREFORE… fuel my body sufficiently to do these things, gauge my fitness based on improvements in these and not in the mirror or on the scale
    • THEREFORE… I don’t know the perfect sets and reps, my grandfather does
  • Have time to read
    • THEREFORE… prioritize/schedule it!!!

Day 65

11AM:

I don’t know why I’ve started saying to random people “eating disorder” or things of the like.

I need to rephrase this, because the questions don’t help.

Behind door #1: I have gradually loosened myself with regards to this, kind of like what happens when I get in the habit of swearing too much and have to rein it in.  I have allowed myself to be more loose-lipped with telling people about the eating disorder.

Behind door #2: I’m playing a game with people, seeing how many times I can prove myself right that people don’t care.  A somewhat self-fulfilling prophesy as Homeopathic Doctor at the trade show today proved, dodging my “do you have any advice for struggling with an eating disorder and issues with anxiety?” question with, “have you entered our draw for a free consultation session?” = yeah, because the empathy you just showed puts a WHOLE LOT of faith in your doctoral abilities.

Behind door #3: I’m still looking for answers and am taking the shotgun approach of talking to anyone who might provide some suggestions.

And lurking behind door #4: I want people to care about me, and at this point, negative shock value care counts.

I’m not quite sure which it is.  I know that it kind of makes life more exciting, but also I think I’m looking for people to help with the answers, to give me help, crying and screaming for someone to know the answers or be my guide or have some sort of idea of how to help.  But until then, I have to be the central point of recovery, leading me to what came across my mind this morning.  I am comfortable to say the earlier thing: that I need to be the source of my answers (it is also the reason why I will do the Rawlicious 8 PORTIONS+WIGGLE ROOM meal by myself this afternoon, because I know I need to keep it up for the recovery and that [hopefully] I will enjoy it).

Now, instead of taking on the puppy dog of recovery, I am taking on the Cerebus of weighing myself.  I have the propensity to lose myself in weighing myself.  However, I feel comfortable saying that there is a connection when I lose weight to immediate spinniness – not that putting weight on has had a greater effect than loosening restrictions, blurring lines and becoming more comfortable with myself, but that unintentional weight loss does have an impact on my brain’s ability to fight off the blackness.

So, tomorrow I will weigh myself and if I am lower than I have been (let’s say 167), then we go from there and keep the scale.  Otherwise, the scale is going in the trash because while it could be an indicator, it is not the only indicator of how I am doing.  This will be evidence of that – it can be an indicator of my mood, if I have dropped weight.  However, if I haven’t dropped, then it can be taken off the table as an indicator/cause of the spinniness, leaving me no other rational reason to keep weighing myself.

Day 57

8:30AM:

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!!!  The voice in my head is brutalizing me today.  It started it a little last night and yesterday with the sitting down-itis at work, but it is in full-force today.

My stomach is not defined enough (did ab work two days ago, which always causes false perceptions of FAT, but the blackness doesn’t believe that).  My ass feels like it has been sat down on too long (did squats two days ago, but the blackness doesn’t believe that).  It is the end of the first week back and I’m fucking tired (but the blackness doesn’t believe that).

The fire is in the back of my throat, the tightness in the back of my neck, the light-headedness.  I want to cry; I want to scream, but I mostly want to cry.

I need to eat right now, since I haven’t had breakfast in lieu of sleeping in.  I can’t do that anymore.  Scheduled food next week, alarms for it all.  Starting Monday, 8/2/6/2/6/6+wiggle = all alarmed, all scheduled.  Not because I should, but because it’s what’s best for us.  It would make me less intolerant in the afternoons, less bloated at night, less spinny during the day.  All in all, it would let me find happiness in other things (i.e. I couldn’t concentrate on anything between sex last night and eating at 8PM, which is not a feeling that I like!).

And then I ate and it took a little bit away, but I don’t know if the damage has been done or this is about fatigue and not food.  It feels like one of those days when I need to take a drink at lunch to take the edge off.  And then these came in at 9:30AM.  They didn’t make me feel much better, but sooner or later I will internalize these quotes, get used to them and feel them more (it’s why I want them to end this entry, as opposed to having this end it – to make sure that the blackness won’t have the last word here):

“A little love on a dark day and always remember – you are the best thing I will ever do” – emailed from Mom

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.

“There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (emailed from my wife)