I eat when I feel uncomfortable.
I used to binge and purge and/or drink to avoid feeling uncomfortable, so just eating until I feel a bit past overfull seems like (and in some ways is) a huge step forward. And yet, I eat to avoid feeling uncomfortable.
This morning I struggled mightily to get up. My body felt heavy, achy, tired. Getting out of bed felt too huge a step for a long time. When I finally rolled out, I felt kind of fat and slow. Morning writing, a kickboxing DVD, and some stretching helped — I did feel a bit more awake. And still, once I had finally made my smoothie, I drank it until I felt full. And then I drank some more.
Then I noticed: I was now in the “comfortable” spot of focusing on my body and how full I felt and how puffy my legs seemed and how fat I am getting from treats over the past month — and that I needed to get it together and eat healthier and take better care of myself and exercise more and “just do it”. Now I could avoid wondering about the feelings of discomfort that I felt first thing this morning — I had successfully numbed out with food.
If I let myself listen inside: It’s been really hot the past few days — 100 degrees F yesterday. My kindergarten son now has weekly homework that will take time each day. Do they really need homework in kindergarten? I’ve got to fit that in. Does my four year old daughter know her ABCs well enough? Probably not (according to some standard in my head). There is a roaring wildfire close to home; I can smell and see the smoke. I’m trying to finish my book and struggling to get myself to sit down and finish it up. What will people think of it? Will they think I’m stupid, that I’m wasting my time? I’m trying to start a business and don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. Great. There is debt to be repaid and who knows what medical bills will be coming. Am I a good parent? Am I fucking up my kids? Probably. My yelling at them because they won’t sit at the table to eat I’m sure isn’t helping. I hate the hand sanitizer the kindergarten class uses before snack time. Really? To clean their hands? Not only will that not clean off food allergens, it’s killing the good bacteria on their hands. Use soap and water or wipes, like we discussed.
Yeah, I shouldn’t let that monster of a Robin come out, the one who worries, who feels angry and annoyed, who is afraid and unsure. That’s not okay. Put on a happy face! Show the world you’re alright and everything is hunky dory. Put the worries in a box and shove them away into the back corner of the closet. The monster of a Robin is breaking the unspoken rules.
So I eat to avoid feeling any of the discomfort and fear, annoyance and anger. I eat to avoid those “bad” feelings. Then I can focus on feeling full and fat and that I need to lose weight. Because these feelings are socially acceptable. At least that’s what it seems like from magazines and TV, with so many programs and resources to help me get back in control.
And yet I wonder. Maybe, just maybe that isn’t the way to go. I’ve pushed down the “bad” feelings, the discomfort, for so long. If they were going to go away, I think they would have by now. Maybe they aren’t going to go away, aren’t supposed to go away. What if I’m supposed to actually feel them and then go from there?
This possibility scares the hell out of me. But I know the other way, the shoving down and numbing out method, fails miserably. I’m still feeling uncomfortable. If I let myself feel this way, what will happen? Will I survive? Thrive? Fly?