Embrace

freshman-year
Freshman year of high school. Before my need to be thin began.

This blog is not my diary. I don’t keep a diary or journal, but I do write “morning pages” almost every day. On this particular day, when I wrote the following pages, I realized that this was something I wanted to share. It was equally – as it always is when I write something that I think might possibly make a difference to someone – exciting and scary.

September 2, 2016

Good morning, pages. 8:41am. Feeling pretty awful about my body this morning. I look down at my stomach in the shower and just think: huge. You’re huge.

I know I’m exaggerating, but there are other times when I look down and I think: flat, good, thin. I love that feeling. I look in the mirror and it’s the same. Worse. Gross. That’s the word that always comes to mind. I need to stop beating myself up. Guilt and shame are ever-present. Last night was a no-drinking night. … I drank. When I had made the decision [to drink], I immediately thought, I don’t have to tell Stephen, but by the time I had walked into the kitchen, I knew that I wanted to tell him and I knew that I would want to tell him as soon as I woke up in the morning to call him. Secrets are more shameful. And he won’t make me feel bad about it. He always has a way of making me feel better. Less guilty. Less ashamed. More forgiving of myself.

I didn’t drink until after midnight. I couldn’t sleep! I had been trying since 10:15pm. It felt like torture. I felt so alone. Drinking makes it easier. Two glasses later, I was sleepy and able to fall asleep. I wake up today feeling fine. A little tired, but I didn’t sleep well, as usual. It was about “seven hours” but I wonder how much actual sleep I get in a night, with all the tossing and turning and waking up to pee and drink water. I also ate Cheez-its last night. One serving. 200 calories. I don’t count calories anymore, but Cheez-its are ingrained in my head. I know them so well. My kryptonite, if you will.

It wasn’t terrible; what I did last night. But I feel terrible. I feel like I failed the day, as usual. As expected. I try so hard to succeed, and I always fail. It makes me want to punish myself. But how? No drinking? No eating past a certain time?

I’m not supposed to have rules like that. Rules and restrictions are what’s keeping me in this constant state of self-loathing. So what do I do? I’ve read and listened to books about it. I’m currently listening to Intuitive Eating (by Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole). The authors are speaking directly to me. I nod in agreement and even laugh sometimes at how spot on they are. That I feel free at the thought of not restricting myself anymore. Like I’ve had a breakthrough. Like it makes total sense that in order to stop obsessing over food, I have to let go of all my stupid rules and restrictions. It makes total sense. I know to my core that this is my only way out. My only way to make peace with food and live my life, finally.

But here’s the part that makes me laugh. The authors say that people feel absolutely liberated when they hear this approach – and I do – but she then adds, “But they’re also terrified of eating.” And it’s so true! I’m terrified that I will only intuitively eat, part of the time. Which isn’t how it works. You have to always be mindful, always be present. And it’s fucking hard. I try really, really hard, but the nighttime always gets me.

I haven’t figured it out. I want to so badly. A big part of it is habit, I’m sure. I’ve made a terrible habit of eating late; of looking forward to it. I think it might have to do with loneliness, at least partly. It might also have to do with my terrible sleeping, or perhaps they go hand in hand.

I don’t know. I don’t fucking know. I just know, that up until now, I’ve done my damnedest to “control” my eating during the day, which has allowed me to forgive myself for overeating at night. But NOW, I’m trying to intuitively eat during the day. To not restrict myself. To eat what I want, as long as I’m stopping when I’m full. And this is great, but if I don’t follow through on the entire day, then I fail. I feel awful about myself, even worse, because I wish I had restricted myself more during the day. But I don’t want to live like that anymore. I don’t.

It’s easier now, with Stephen. I can tell him everything, and it’s always OK. He really sees me; all of me, and it’s the most comforting thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. He’s the only reason I’m able to share this now. He makes it OK for me to be the way I am. To just be. And to be OK with it. He’s not only OK with it, he loves me for it. And I could burst with happiness (I need to come up with another phrase) at the love I feel for him because of it. I want to cry right now. I’m not going to, but I feel it in my throat. I’m not even sure why. It’s a mix of emotions. I just want this food obsession/body image stuff to be over. I’m sick of it. I know it’s a process. I know, I know. I know I have the tools to change. And the willingness. But change is also hard. And scary. I don’t know if it’s getting easier or if I’m just getting stronger, but there is definitely light at the end of this tunnel. The fact that I’m sharing it publicly assures me of that.

*in case you were wondering, all my blog post titles are also titles of movies. When searching for a movie title for this post, I so incredibly, fortunately stumbled across a 2016 documentary called, Embrace. I watched the trailer, and cried. It moved me, instantly and so intensely. I haven’t actually figured out how to view the documentary, but I can at least provide the website to direct you to find out for yourself: https://bodyimagemovement.com/.

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