Sometimes it feels like you’re back at the starting line, being forced to redo something over YET AGAIN. Shit — who is running this joint? Don’t they know I already went through this part? Why do I have to do it again??
This morning I stuck in a workout DVD I haven’t done in a while (you rock, Erin Stutland!). A little more aerobic though not super high impact (which was what my body felt like it needed today). In it went.
Within the first 2 minutes, I started to feel bad about myself. Again. Especially looking at Erin (who I think is beautiful), I started to feel fat, ugly, mushy. Again. My boobs weren’t big enough; my thighs weren’t thin enough. My abs weren’t toned enough; I probably just wasn’t enough enough. You suck, Robin! What’s your problem?
I wanted to turn it off and go and hide in a box.
AND another part of me knew it was a case of BS. It was that same old voice of fear and resistance swooping in and whispering in my ear, trying to distract me.
You see, I mastered the art of distraction by weight and how I look. So much so that I spent over a decade struggling with depression and disordered eating (and over five of those years with full blown eating disorders, including bulimia). And here’s the thing I learned: focusing on my body, weight, and struggles with eating was really a way to not look at what was going on in my life, to not show up in my life, to quit any growth and forward movement.
Feeling what I felt inside (sadness, anger, resentment, jealousy — you know, the “bad” feelings)? Way too scary. Nope, shove those down. Pretend they don’t exist. Let’s focus instead on my body! Not only is it socially acceptable to do so (so I’ll find plenty of evidence on why I should focus here, what is wrong with me, and how to fix it), it’s also a really, really, really effective way to suck time and energy. There will be nothing left to feel the feelings I don’t want to feel and show up in life.
I was lost for quite some time in eating disorders and depression. They were a safe place to hide.
Anyway, I heard that old voice pipe up: You’re not good enough, Robin. Look at her. You don’t look like that. Come on. Can’t you do better? You should. Listen to me and we’ll come up with a plan together to make you look better. Or, better yet, you can just listen to me. I’ll tell you what to do. Pledge me your allegiance.
I wanted to cry and scream: Shut the hell up! Haven’t you tortured me enough already? Come on. Do I really look that bad? Really? Oh, maybe I do…
I wish I could tell you I didn’t hear that voice any more. Or that if I did hear it, it didn’t bother me any more, that I knew it was bullshit and could laugh it off and then it’d be gone.
That doesn’t happen for me. And really, I see I don’t want to tell you that. It feels like it’s in the vein of a quick fix miracle drug, promising health, vitality, winning the lottery, and amazing sex with Prince/Princess Charming, all day every day!!
No, the truth is better, way better. Here it is: the voice does pipe up, and what it says does hurt my feelings. And I do start to find myself slipping, wondering if maybe it’s right, that I’m not good enough and never will be.
Now, here’s the amazing thing — with practicing focusing my attention in other areas, as well as not feeding the voice when it pipes up with its asshole-ish words, I’m finding it easier and easier to notice and cut through the BS. To know that what the voice says is empty and probably not true. That it’s the voice of fear and resistance, trying to distract me from the amazing strides and growth I’m making.
Will I ever look exactly like the woman in the video? Of course not. I’m not her. Even if I got to her specific weight and/or wore the same outfit, she’d still be herself and I’d be me. We’re built differently, we have different features — we are different people. And that is all okay. I’m finding that I actually want to be me. If nothing else, it’s a lot easier being me than trying to be someone else. I know, I’ve tried being someone else for a long time. It’s a fucking full-time and exhausting job.
The voice of fear and resistance will always be there — always. It doesn’t mean I haven’t made any progress or am going backwards. Maybe it just means I’m human. And maybe it’s even a sign I’m making progress — I’ve noticed that the voice pipes up louder when I’m moving forward. I guess when I’m stuck in place it figures it has me so it doesn’t have to make as much of an effort as I’m already repeating the words it keeps telling me, doing the job for it.
So, if it’s the case that that ol’ voice will always be around in some fashion — game on. I’m ready for you, fear and resistance, wherever I’m starting from and whenever you pipe up. I’ve got your number.