Saturday, August 16, 2008

Am I really blogging about this while I'm on vacation?

It's really hard for me to unwind, especially when I'm with other people. It doesn't matter that the "other people" are the part of my family that I love the most. It's the fact that I'm still a mom and a wife. I still feel like there are expectations. And when I feel like I HAVE to do ANYTHING, then I don't know how to relax. Maybe I don't know how to relax regardless. Or maybe I honestly have such a hard time dealing with change that, no matter where I go, it takes me a good 2 days to acclimate. Or maybe I'm so insecure that when I have freedom, I don't know what the heck to do with it so I put needless expectations and pressures on myself.

I think part of the reason I had such a hard time our first 2 days here was because of the book I was reading. It's called "Running in Heels" and it's about a single girl who's struggling with every corner of her life. A third of the way through the book, the reader discovers that the heroine battles with anorexia and her newly developed habit of binging and purging. It was at this point in the book that I began to relate with the character and my focus began to shift inward.

Those who know me well, know that I struggle with food. I've never been anorexic or bulimic. The only reasons for this are that, 1) I don't have the self-control to starve myself and, 2) I hate to throw up...and I'm barely successful at making myself throw up when I'm truly sick anyway. But I can't tell you how many times I've thought about how much easier my life would be if I could cultivate one of these 2 habits.

(And yes, I know it's bad to think that starving or purging could somehow make life "easier" or better in any way.)

At one point, Natalie (our heroine) says:

"As I work on the toast, I add and subtract--calories gained, calories spent, eating it on, running it off--the sabotage is involuntary...What do people do, who don't think of food? Their lives must be gaping holes, chasms of nothingness punctuated by random meals. What would I think about, if I didn't think of food? I'd think the unthinkable. So food is what I think of."

I get this. I wish that one day I will know what it's like to not "think of food". It's constant. I feel good because I've (finally) made a healthy choice. Or I feel guilty because I've eaten a "bad" food...or too much of a "bad" food. Or I'm thinking about how I'm going to eat as much as I can in order to not feel the things that I'm feeling. Or how I'm going to burn enough calories to make up for what I've eaten. Or I don't want to go out to eat socially because it means appetizers and heavy foods and looking at deserts (and wanting them). Or I'm worried that I'm going to become the 286 pound Leanne that I've been able to avoid for the last 6 years. And it's all because I'm afraid. Afraid to feel. Afraid to make a bad decision. Afraid that people won't like me if I assert myself. Afraid that I'll feel lonely if I don't have it. Afraid that if I have another goal, I might fail. And I can't fail at food. I know food. It knows me. Intimately.

"I'm bored of using my body to speak my pain. If only I could learn to use my voice instead."

Those of you who've struggled with these types of addictions know that this quote speaks to the root of the issue. We use food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex, work, money, things, hobbies, ANYTHING to occupy us instead of dealing with what is real. We don't use our voices. We act out. Like children.

My daughter doesn't have much of a vocabulary yet, so when she gets upset, she hits someone, she bites something, she throws herself on the floor. She acts out. But she is 17 months old. She doesn't know how to use her voice yet.

And apparently neither do I.

Oh, I know how to use my voice when it comes to others. I can see straight through most other people and I can tell them what their problems are and how they should deal with them. But when it comes to myself, I'd rather hide in a corner (or any other dark, solitary place) with a bag of Oreos.

But like the quote says, "I'm bored" of it. It's annoying. It's tedious. It's tiring. And it's time to use my voice. Time to be an adult. Time to stand up for myself and take my life (my body?) back. Again. Because trust me, this isn't the first time. Or the 2nd time. Or the 50th time. This is everyday. And y'all, I'm so tired. It wears me out. And a lot of you are sitting there right now knowing exactly what I'm talking about. You're tired too.

If I'm writing this to you, then know that I feel for you. You can comment or not...these kinds of issues aren't for the faint of heart. These aren't things that most people want to publicize...just the ones like me, who are just 'off' enough to not care if people know they're crazy. So know you're not in this alone.

As for me, I'm going to cry a little bit for myself, and then I'm going to try to live my life. And enjoy it all the while.


Lori said...

Oh Leanne, are you talkin' to me?

I have often OFTEN thought about how much easier my life would be if I could just adopt the lifestyle of an anorexic... or bulimic but I, too, cannot make myself puke (darnet!) and dont have it in me to give up food. After all, it makes me happy, right?

I often wondered what it is that makes me want to eat. Is it that I'm so unhappy or something?? No, that cant be it, Im unhappy BECAUSE I eat like I do. I just like food. It's that simple. I'm Italian, I was raised with a table full of food and another course in the oven.

But, it is so tiring, isn't it? I'm am SO tired of dieting, working my butt off (literally) stressing about what I'm gonna wear to which event so that my butt doesn't look as big as it is. I'm beyond tired of worrying about what others think of me, "wow, she's put on another 10 pounds. again." These thoughts wear me out to no end. Even I type this I feel my anxiety, emotions, the need to cry rising. I am TIRED of this.

I even envy those who have addictions that can be fixed just by stopping what ever it is that you are addicted to. If you smoke, just stop smoking - use a patch and quit buying them. If you drink, go to a support group and yep, quit buying it. If you are addicted to porn, throw out your commputer and cut off your hands! But I can't NOT eat. You need to eat to live DARNET!

Oh, I could write a book about how this little problem has ruled my life. I can't even look at my wedding pictures and just think about that wonderful day, nope, I think about how fat I looked and then I get really bummed out. I even look at the pictures that were taken of me in the hospital when I had Dominic and am already stressing about which one to put in his baby book that doesnt make his mom look like a cow.

Ugh, and that brings up a whole other stress... Do I want Dominic to know his mom as the heifer she feels she is? Do I really want that for him? No, I really don't. But, yet I have no strength as of now to do anything about it. Sure, I just had a baby, but WHEN do I stop using that as a crutch and get off my a**? THEN, when I do want to do something about it, WHAT do I do that I havent already tried and failed at?

Sigh, I know this is my cross to bare. I just hope one day the Lord will give me the strength and desire to fix this for good.

Well, one loooonnnnngggg comment later, I just want to say, I totally get where you are coming from.

Yellow said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I haven't struggled in the food area (except that I'm addicted to sweet tea and chocolate), but someone close to me thinks the same way you do about eating. I pray that you will find freedom from the fears of eating "wrong" and becoming fat. I see your picture on your blog, and in my opinion, you're absolutely beautiful and no amount of food can change that beautiful smile. : )

Mama Linda said...

Thank you for sharing Leanne and Lori...I truly understand---I really hate that I get exactly how you both feel.