I am a compulsive overeater. I probably say that sentence every day at some point, just to remind myself , that like being tall , or English , or having pointy ears, this attribute of my being is an unchanging thing. It will always be there , whether I let it cause me problems , or whether it just remains a dormant part of me , is where the changeability comes in. Just like an alcoholic always will be an alcoholic.Continue reading “The physicality of being FAT.”
When you think you know it all you become unteachable. Working with my sponsor on my general resentments of life has made me realise that I don’t have as much self awareness and self knowledge as I thought or imagined. I am so thankful that my heart remains open to learning and still has some semblance of humility . The most valuable thing I have learnt this week is that what others think about me is none of my fucking business!
It’s a real joy to start to become part of the 5am club and it’s happening naturally. So I have been getting up at 6am , but the last few days I have naturally woken up at 5am. Something about the new Spring light that starts to filter in beckons me out and I have trained myself now to just get up. I took the dog out at 6am this morning , it was a stunning morning and many of the blossoms are out , my favourite the Cherry blossom is in full bloom. They look so ethereal in the dawn light , their being is so mighty and beautiful, I want to drink them. And if you don’t get out before 7am , you never get the gift of the egg yolk sunrise, it doesn’t take the sun long to become almost bright white.
But I still can’t get rid of the harbouring annoyance that my husband sleeps on ! I have been up for hours and I just think , what a waste. Waste your life sleeping and then watching telly and I then wonder what our future looks like, we are 2 such different people now, wanting to do different things with our time – but that’s OK , as I also need the space and perhaps in living these separate lives and times, that gives me what I need.
I now have a Bearded Dragon , as well as a dog. My dog is very jealous. But my dragon is very dear to me , I wonder how one can adore a reptile so !
3 meals a day
Not putting food in my mouth until I have finished my mouthful
Not choosing the biggest portion
Measuring my food
Going to bed early
No sugar and Fat
No sugar and flour
No Fat and salt.
Well , this is me , and by the grace of the powers of the earth . It works. I feel peaceful. I am astounded.
So I am 8 days back into abstinence. Back to Overeaters Anonymous, the place I never thought I would go back to. The place of rules, consistent literature and life long membership, of which I arrogantly decided that I would never need or want. And what brought me here, is interestingly from a place renowned with freedom and fluidity , which in the Steps , I saw as lacking and what I perceived to be the demise of the program.
SO from my yoga mat I was brought to my knees in desperation. NO longer able to twist into places which before were the norm, not able to hold my body weight , collapsing into the place of safety , the child’s pose, the instructor says to me ‘ just do what you need to do for your body‘ and I just broke. Stones of weight that has come back insidiously over the last few years and wrapped itself around my bones just literally weighing me down and I lament at how much I hate being FAT. January pledges came and went and I find myself 3 months later with my weight peaking and my inability to stop eating running away with me. OA has been on my mind over the last few weeks. The idea pricking away at my mind , wrestling with the ambivalence.
But come a couple of days later and some re-reading of the basic literature I am actually suddenly inspired and refreshed – I was struck by some addiction teaching about the basic premises of pathways in the mind. And my motorway of overeating was well established , well lit up and easy to use – but in the corner of my mind, I knew that there was that dusty path that had worked and had been walked. I needed to exit the motorway , destined to be going in the opposite direction I wanted to go and my speed was increasing.
So I sit here, 8 days in , after such an odd week of inspiring abstinence , knowing that on my own I could have never had done this. I decided that my higher power is called Mighty Force , but also known as Mother Fucker. I love the phrase motherfucker, it’s badass and it reverberates off the tongue and it just encapsulates my God. My previous God was the Conservative Christian one, The Lord Jesus, who I still place as part of my powers , but in my own way , with my own rules. Not one drawn up by the patriarchy.
And it feels like a haze, I feel channels of peace & creativity opening up and I wonder why – why haven’t I written, poems? Started projects? Because I have been so into the goddamn food I have been blinded. I can’t even pinpoint where I started to slip into the invisible hell. So insidiously has my weight and my addiction to food been – so cunning – the mind.
I last wrote in September nearly 6 months ago . I dearly love reading back on my entries , I really must make more of an effort. I have been writing in my new paper book this year , with my new fountain pen , which is maybe why, but I think I enjoy typing more. I think it’s a comfort thing , after a page or so , my fingers get numb. But there is something so grounding and cathartic about using pen and paper, yet I find myself able to write much more organically when I type. It’s like my mind and my typing are connected in perfect fluidity , but my writing hand is slow and clumsy and my handwriting is never consistently nice. I remember struggling with this as a child, wanting to start a book really neatly , and then being so disappointed when my handwriting just became more haphazard and out of control . I want to write as fast as I think and on paper I just can’t do that .. But there is something about books , that I love. I can’t read on a kindle. I have to have a book.
Anyway , so much has happened since I last wrote on my journal here. Today marks the day where I finally finish as Team Manager, I have some leave next week and then I start back in the community. I am really quite looking forward it. Although I enjoy the laziness of WFH and not having to leave the house much , I know , like going to the gym, I will be happier for it. Off about in my little car , visiting and being in control of my own world. What will I not miss? All the meetings you are meant to be at & the expectation to be at all other things. Having to play an active role in all these meetings, rather than sit back and let someone else take responsibility . Not having to supervise people will be my biggest pleasure. Just the thought of not having to prop these people up , constantly thinking about their needs. I think that is the crux of it, I have too many peoples’ needs to think about.
SO , I reach my annual leave , I am sober , after having pledged to give up alcohol for 100 days / For good ? Who knows. Without the normal way I would celebrate , chill out – I don’t know how to mark this event. Without a glass of bubbly! That’s sad in 2 ways for me , sad that I can’t do it and have that buzz, that deadening of the space between – and sad that I rely so much , or my culture does on alcohol to mark things, good and bad!? It plays such an intrinsic part of life’s tapestry in my world , how do you unpick the threads and go off in a different direction? So I thought , I could do what I like to do best ; cleaning , or clearing an area of my world. Writing , or reading & having an early night. Don’t those things sound like the epitomey of self care compared to a glass of a toxin to the body?
I will have to get used to the lack of emails as well. I have noticed already this week , how few I have recieved. Even though there was pressure there, there was also the similar response that you get to a little red notification! That buzz of something that needs you . I think I require this week off , to disentangle myself out of it all. I think my mind is heavily invested in all the dramas of work , all the things that need my attention, It has on one hand been good for my very needy mind, but it’s also been exhausting it. I hope to improve on my mental wellbeing giving up this role , but I also sense I will need to give myself some space and activities to re – establish some sort of balance.
I guess I am also a bit pissed off at the lack of pomp , or ceremony that has failed to happen at my leaving. I know I remain in the same team and my leaving was announced so long ago, but I thought I might have at least had a thank you card, or a little Goodbye Teams meeting. All the meetings I have held to say goodbye to various people and there isn’t even one held for me , I know I hold importance to transitions and endings , from my time in WCNS. This would have never passed without a huge reflection on how it feels, what it is like for me and others – and I mourn that space to process. I guess that’s why it is taking up so much of the page , as I am self caring in allowing myself to just type what I need to type.
Life is disappointing , or perhaps people are. And the worse realisation is that I must also disappoint people. It’s quite a stark reality when you unpick the threads of relationships and interactions. I am not being deliberately gloomy or obtuse , I just sometimes need to sit for a moment in the dark corners of my life and understand them more so that I don’t sink into the abyss & reject what is essentially good.
People are messy , they come with all sorts of baggage, bias , habits & unresolved searching for their own importance in the minds of others. This I think is the main issue , we all seek to be important, loved , sought out , desired & loved completely by those around us. But this is a pipe dream which needs silencing. We disappoint & Others are woefully disappointing.
SO how do you come to sit with only yourself for company , with only your own voice to ensure that you remain whole. Acceptance I guess. That’s the key , acceptance of self and those who are important to you. Otherwise , a lonely life stretches ahead.
What has created this monster in my mind? My best friend not wanting me to come to South Africa with her. That is her home and in the past she has been enthusiastic about taking me there. I recently jested that this January might be the time to do it. I waited expectantly for a hint , an invite , a validation that this excites her , but none came. Then she casually says in conversation that she wants to go alone. I really get that wanting to go alone and not wanting me to come are not the same. I totally understand the yearning to get away from your life , escaping. Yet , I spend time trying to unpick where things shifted. Where I perhaps started to disappoint her. I also find myself feeling angry that she can say no to me so casually. In a throw away comment. How does she look after her own needs so vehemently. Maybe this is what gets my goat the most. I have to try quite hard to live my life for myself and not take responsibility for others happiness.
Anyway , this is what has led down this morose path this weekend. Such a solid friendship , but the cracks have started to reveal themselves. I think I spend my life believing that everything will be magical or perfect , do I expect everything in life to go my way? Do I expect to be loved by all I meet? Where did these expectations come from? How do I extract myself from the insatiable need to be filled by life and it’s journey? Perhaps it’s a good thing. Maybe always wanting and expecting things to be wonderful is a fine way to lead one’s life. It’s never really gone particularly wrong for me before. But then I wonder if I am actually a lonely person.. I have few close friends, I find people in general to be disappointing, Does that make me an egotist , or somewhat narcistic ? Or am I just loathe to be bored , unfulfilled or uninspired?
My best friend inspires me in many ways. But after this episode I found myself uncovering what I perceive to be her faults ; her cracks. Is this a defensive way of protecting myself from being not all that she felt I was? Or is it just a helpful exercise to uncover that people’s decisions and desires are unlikely to be anything to do with how disappointing I am , and much to do with their desire to be important to the people around them.
So this week I kinda handed my resignation in. I say kind of , as there is a process of interviewing and being successful at getting my old job back ; before I officially resign my post , But that is practically In the bag so to speak . I basically told my boss that I had deduced management wasn’t for me , That I would gladly go back to my old job or I would find another. Luckily , I know I’m valued enough for her to want to keep me and give me what I want.
The relief I felt when I sent off that email and then had the inevitable conversation about it was palpable. I could feel a release like an autumn breeze flow through my soul – I literally didn’t realise how much I disliked the job until I tasted the freedom of relinquishing it.
I was so proud of myself when I got that job , Team manager of a busy multi borough service , coming such a long way from being a student nurse not 8 years ago. I felt such a sense of pride . But the subjective kudos it comes with will never make up for the reality of the role! Many arbitrary, mindless , soul destroying tasks. I just don’t have the ambition , I don’t see the big picture or yearn to develop the expansion. I just want to trundle about in my little car again, responsible for a group women and go home at the end of day and forget.
I loved my job before & it was perhaps pride or a desire for recognition that drove me to take the post . Thankfully , I have enough humility to take me back to my happy spot and leave all the bureaucracy to some other climber.
I’m getting out the tree!
It is one of my favourite times of the year, I have quite a few seasonal highlights in my year, but the Autumn equinox is one of them. That balance of not too dark mornings , where you can get up at a reasonable hour again to catch the dawn, after a summer of early dawns , once more you can taste the moist sunrise, see the glow of life. The slight chill to the air signals to you mother nature changing her course. Yet , I still mourn losing the late sunsets , where the day seems to expand into a timeless existence . There is a sense of excitement with this Autumn, and with this year , without a lock down and Christmas approaching , birthdays , Halloween , work nights out , annual catch ups, crisp morning swims where you can see your breathe…
SO , last week I decided that I had a distinct lack of friends in my life, real friends, the kind you go and spend time with to rejuvenate you , the kind who live round the corner and you can just knock and collapse in their garden demanding a G&T. I have only one of these who are in my vicinity. I have other close friends, who probably fit the old adage that I can count them on one hand, but they don’t live within spitting distance, one is far far away in Australia , which may as well be the moon.
Anyway , my one friend who is my treasure , could one day up it back off to South Africa. She has no plans to , but life is a funny thing and no one really knows. I guess the only person who I can depend on to be with me for the rest of my days is my husband. And yes , he’s my best friend too , but he’s also my husband and that’s just not the same. Sometimes he’s hard work. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes you just need the simplicity of friendship with other women.
So , In my infinite wisdom and rather impulsively driven nature , I decided to post on the app ‘ Nextdoor’ to see if I could join a book club nearby , or if not , try and start one. I love books and I need more doorstep friends so this seemed to be a perfectly fabulous idea.
This is my habitual trend in my life, I have an idea and I throw it to the wind , or commit to it in some way and then it happens. I love this about myself , but I also go through a whole process of regret while it unfolds!
So , I sling it out there, 45 year old nurse, mother of teenagers, lover of books, nature and wine requires book club type post. A couple of days pass and I get a couple of eager responses , then it suddenly gains momentum and I have 12 women all desperate to join a book club. So at this point, regret and panic is setting in, I have committed to creating a book club, I have 12 women at my disposal. I quickly shut the post down , as I envision all these women trying to fit in my home … I now have to actually set things in motion to begin ! I have never been in a book club. I read books like a small child gobbling up sweets , but I know nothing about the nuances of a book club.
So last night , myself , my dear friend who was reluctant to join ( she’s a I only read a book a year person ) met with 6 other women in the local pub. It was like going on a blind date! It was such a surreal experience. There were moments of awkwardness as we started conversations, but overall we all had a pretty amazing evening! We laughed and got to know one another , shared our favourite books, shared what we did with our lives and who our children were. A right eclectic bunch of 40 something women creating new friendships. Who would have thought it would be so easy!?
I think as you get older you fear making friends, or that it’s a past-time of the young, where somehow you only make friends in the situations that life puts you in, like work, or the gym. Who would have thought making new friends off your own back , pushing yourself out there could be such a ride! We have made a plan , we have chosen a book and we all meet later this month to discuss it. With another 5 women who we haven’t met yet!
I think it was partly to do with the freedom of being yourself? Going out with work colleagues in my new (ish) job is a painful experience – I am naturally an outspoken , gregarious person , with a tendency to blurt stuff out without thinking, this gets worse when I drink wine! So I often spend the day after the night before, in a cloud of shame and anxiety about what I have said or done! This has got much better with age, as I learn to not give a fuck.
But what struck me as I remain on quite a high from this simple experience , is how easy it would have been not to do it. To spend my life in the same place, avoiding people generally is my usual disposition , not really sure why , as they obviously make me happy when they are the right people.. I think I have this odd tendency for being an extrovert while at the same time yearning for solitude, which can be a tricky balance as last night made me realise that I need to be around other women , they feed my soul..