Day 333

10AM:

In preparation for these often-mentioned, aforementioned next phase/lines, it’s time for reflection.

Before that though, since this reflection might lead to thoughts of MISTAKES, let’s go back…

If these are not mistakes for the sake of mistakes, stumbles and falters and collapses in themselves, we can gain strength and courage and respect and love from them.

Tao of Pooh on the true nature of wisdom: “In the final section of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse wrote, ‘The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.’ … From the Taoist point of view, while the scholarly intellect may be useful for analyzing certain things, deeper and broader matters are beyond its limited reach” (24).  If we gain from our mistakes, in this way, they serve to make us wise.

Universal Post-It: “Remember, we all stumble; we have to fall before we fly.”

Keeping that in mind, it was not a mistake to try intuitive eating.  What I gained and learned from the experience:

  • I like drinking an enjoyable bottle of wine, even alone, but I’ve learned not to use it for nourishment and not to do it so often
  • I can trust what others cook for me
  • Soft counting isn’t bad and small differences don’t matter – my body takes care of it
  • Sitting down and reading does not really change appetite dramatically – body self-regulates through healing faster or slower, and therefore, rest allows the body to heal faster and burn more calories in the next workout
  • The fight the urge to eat systematically or by formula might be a created fight, but fighting the urge to “eat later” needs to happen (this is not a created fight, it is a necessary one)
    • Self-consciousness comes from the perception of portion counting, not through the act of it – and it is only after trying intuition that I have learned this
  • Suicidal and thoughts of self-harm increase when I’m stressed and hungry; portion counting becomes less of a source of fear and spinning and self-consciousness when I’m full and rested enough
  • We were thinking that numbing my hunger was responsible for numbing my sex drive, but the latter has not increased since trying intuitive eating – it doesn’t appear that I’m numbing everything else, and perhaps the true culprit is overstress

Now it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned, what I’ve gained, what will allow us to make the next steps in recovery, in reclaiming healthy.

Day 279

6PM:

Some universal signs to interpret, from today, a day that has left me realizing I’m worn down and not doing myself any favours by living on the edge:

“Peace is in each of us” (Mennonite Church)

Even though I felt like I needed the Naturopath to be a sounding board, that I needed her to tell me I am drinking too much (either to cope or to fill up the calorie tank at that point in the day), that I am not respecting my hunger out of fear of getting fat (and the never-ending thoughts of belly fat, unknown as to its delusional or truthful nature), that I am not fueling my me-ness enough throughout the day with food and rest, thereby letting my blood sugar drop, my adrenal health plummet and my ability to fight off / ignore / not hear the blackness crater.

Even though I felt like I needed her to say it, I knew these things.  I am scared of trusting myself, of trusting my opinion, even though time and time again, we draw the same conclusions: the only us experts, are us.  Peace is in each of us, or at least, in my case, the ability to find that peace is in me.  I trust my head to think, my heart to love, my soul to feel; now, I need to trust my body to heal.

“I value myself” (Naturopath)

I want to shift the way that I think from I find no value in myself compared to others, worthless in their shadows and that I accept myself as such.  I want to shift it to that I find purpose in others, I find value in helping them (like the happiness I got from doing yard work at my mother-in-law’s house today, not thinking about the selfishness that spawned me doing it, but simply having my heart focus on the love and the IAN).  However, finding purpose in others does not negate valuing myself, it does not have to.  In fact, valuing myself means I can be selflessly selfish, by taking time to heal myself, heal myself so I can engage in that purpose of others; as opposed to being selfishly selfless, making it about ignoring my own needs and ultimately sacrificing my ability to live that purpose.

“Be patient” (Mennonite Church)

We will make mistakes, we will falter, we must before we fly.  We will be patient, step by step on the path of recovery.  We will keep putting one foot in front of the other to reclaim healthy, making mistakes along the way but still going, one day at a time, one breath at a time, breath by breath.

Day 243

10AM:

Three days into this and there is definitely doubt – especially because of the length at which we have been existing in this stage of recovery, the one that needed the portion control, the calorie counting, the external voice to keep me in line.  Doubt brought on by my wife putting herself in another careless, thoughtless situation last night with drinking and work and neglecting her home-life, her whole life, her life of intention.  Not doubt of her, but doubt brought on by the stress of staying up all night waiting anxiously for her to come home safe.  Doubt brought on by a soul less powerful today to fight off the blackness.  Doubt that has questioned and will now question every fucking food decision, constantly: Too much? Not enough? Waited too long? Should have waited longer?  Doubt that analyzes every time a piece of food enters my mouth.

That doubt says maybe I need a plan to follow for eating – maybe that’s just me, needing some sort of organization.  Maybe I can’t be eating “willy-nilly?”

But wouldn’t this still be restricting, be suppressing emotions, which we think is what killed the other emotions (sex, love, sadness, rock and roll)?  Wouldn’t this be perpetuating the dulling of my soul, as opposed to reclaiming its beauty?

That doubt says why not keep the portion counting and set breakfast, lunch, pre-dinner and post-dinner = fuel the brain enough throughout the day to fight the blackness that screams loudly when I am hungry (e.g. suicidal thoughts, self-harm, self-doubt, self-inflicted pain, guilt, and all the other dwarfs who missed out on Disney).

However, to the point made yesterday, those lines are old lines, too bold for the me version of me, too solid for these colours of my soul.  Quell the short-term anxiety for long-term harm?  That doesn’t sound like what brave, strong and smart bears do.

And what would you do about activity levels?  Regimented eating is one thing, but to truly “do this right,” you’d have to regiment movement, stress levels, activity duration and strenuousness, sleep times… (get the point).  Dealing with the movement anxieties of “not sitting down because it isn’t compensated for naturally” (as it would if I just ate, like the new stage of recovery suggests) prevents calmness of mind and soul, feeds the perfectionistic qualities, brings out the flawed nature of my obsessive imperfections.

That doubt says today – given how hard things are setting up to be with home stresses, crappy sleep, potential for restriction as a result of both (just because hunger has had a hard time speaking through these before, not an intentional restriction), Summer School midterms to turn around in less than 18 hours (assuming sleep isn’t a priority…) – maybe today I count, I take it out of the context of yesterday and the context of tomorrow and I pick up the calorie/portion counting for one day.  I can’t get out of control for one day…

If I can get through today, if we can get through today, on Day 3, not taking a sabbatical…  I have always been too stupid to fall down, to know when to give up, forever tilting at windmills because I’d rather find the giant among them.  But this is more than that, getting through today will give us strength.  It will embolden us and more importantly for me, it will embolden her.  Show her that when times are tough, she does love, and MOST importantly, she does care.  Stay the course.

That doubt says I have felt bloated over the last three days, and I don’t think it’s the blackness talking.

That is anxiety fucktard!  It probably always existed and you just ignored it because while the cause was unknown, the intake was known (used to tell the blackness that I couldn’t get fat, because the intake was regular, regimented, controlled).

I’m scared.  I need to record these because even though they aren’t real, they are real to me, right now.  I know that these are just fears and that these fears and anxieties are temporary (but I’m an overachiever — and I really want it to stop) and that I need to focus on the positives (like the fact that I haven’t had a desire to binge at any point during the day, except yesterday between lunch and early-dinner when I waited too long – but the voice stopped when I ate reasonably, turning off the demon that screams in times of restriction) and have faith.

I know these things because of my grandfather who emailed me within minutes of me asking for advice.  I know these things because of my beautiful wife, who (yesterday, before the carelessness) in a step on her recovery of the her version of her, reminded me that maybe (just maybe) these anxieties are because I’m not at my appropriate weight and that will fluctuate when I accept my hunger, my feelings, my emotions = evidence of care.  Even after last night, that is what I want to believe in – the unicorns, the penguins and her.  That is her reclaiming healthy, being my support system, holding my hand as we walk this path of recovery together.

And suddenly, I’m not as scared anymore, even though the path ahead seems dark.

Day 236

11AM:

I need to do this with her.  We need to do this together – this is a team thing.  This stage of recovery.

So I say this to my wife: I can hold on a little longer, be a little stronger, be a little braver.  I will wait for you my love.  I can listen less to the noise in my head and the rumble in my tummy and the screams from my soul.  I will wait for you my love, because I believe, because I have faith.  I can do that for you, until you show what I believe, until you believe.

This next stage of recovery is truly about reclaiming healthy.  Reclaiming healthy here, reclaiming what was lost or what was never there, it is just as much about her as it is about me.  Reclaiming the care, the intention that made the love beautiful.  Reclaiming the care, the direction for the colour of love, the lines for the colour of love, the lines that makes our love vivid.

And again, for her: reclaiming healthy for us, by us, with us.  I will wait for you…

Day 211

9AM:

There are lies that we tell ourselves, to justify or convince us of aberrant or abusive or downright abhorrent behaviours.  These lies are lies of the most putrid nature, because they convince us that they smell so sweet.

Lies like:

That’s the way this place has always been, that’s how people are

The truth:

Change is hard, working towards it takes risks and worry-filled days and nights

Lies like:

We are going in a different direction with you, because we feel you would do well there and it’s for the benefit of the kids

The truth:

You didn’t trust the job that she was doing, and so you will summarily, maliciously and blindly move her into a bullshit position (one that might force her to quit), because you know you can, because you know she won’t speak up loud enough, because the only one fighting for her is me

Lies like:

According to Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Eating Animals, the abusive practices of many factory farm operations (I’m thinking particularly about the stories he includes from turkey farms and pig farms; but let’s be serious, to put a chicken in a box the size of a piece of paper, that’s part of it too) are glossed over, forgotten or excused as “commonplace.”

The truth:

Stick animals in an environment like that, an environment that demeans animals to that degree and all the animals involved (pigs, turkeys, chickens, humans) will become demeaned, decrepit, darker.

Lies like:

We were acting in your best interest by not telling you about our decision to rent a car.

The truth:

We fucked up, did what we have historically done by acting alone.  Even though I’ve asked them: nothing about me, without me.

Lies like:

We were just following orders.

The truth:

We didn’t have the guts to do what was right.

These lies may help you sleep at night, it’s because it’s dark.  I’d rather be restless in the light.

Day 189

9PM:

Hippocrates said “do no harm” – how the fuck is it acceptable – or when the fuck did it become acceptable – for not being less than zero being treated as the standard?

Chris Rock has a really good stand-up line where a father says “some shit like, ‘I take care of my kids.’ You’re supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that? ‘I ain’t never been to jail!’ What do you want, a cookie?! You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!”

That’s what the world feels like – we aren’t so much concerned about doing good, but about not doing harm.  Privacy or “keeping boundaries” for the sake of not doing harm, instead of recognizing the potential for good that risk can do.

I teach students who are victims of “do no harm,” who have thought about killing themselves because of the loneliness created by “do no harm.”  I am a victim of “do no harm.”  Trust me, it does a fuck-load of harm…

Day 168

10AM:

This morning my wife sent me a text that might have been construed as showing a lack of understanding.  Nothing huge by any means, just a mistake of days (presentation today instead of tomorrow).  I’m sure it brought up the same questioning in her as it did in me though = lack of awareness?  What I’m finding is that she is still at the stage that I need to stop her from getting derailed from this stuff.  I’m okay with that as long as it follows the “gradual release of responsibility” model and not the “crutch” model.  She believes that it won’t be a crutch, but it is still tough for me to get hurt and then have to feel worse because she doesn’t cope with it well.  She will again.  She will hold it again.  She is strong and loving and capable and beautiful and all mine.

This is for her:

Make me trust again whole-heartedly, not just believe.  Give me evidence for my belief, enough that it washes off the cobwebs.  Don’t complain about the scratches, just polish the rest to a shine incomparable.

And never stop believing

And never stop having faith

And never think that we are not us along the way

But understand that we shall get there someday

Keep trying to fly my love