Over the past 4 days, I’ve eaten 2 pints of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food (with some help from my littlest pumpkin). I’ve eaten several additional pints over the past few weeks too. Phish Food has been calling more loudly, and I’ve been answering.
On a related note, I used to eat boatloads of Phish Food when I was struggling in college and the years after. It would taste so, so good: chocolate ice cream, caramel swirls, marshmallow, and chocolate fish. I’d feel better for a little while — until it was gone. I found the empty carton depressing for a couple of reasons. First, there was no more. Second, I’d eaten it all and had on replay in my head the message that each eaten pint = another fat loser point for me.
Sometimes I’d try to stop myself from eating the entire thing by throwing it away before I finished it. This would work for about 5 minutes; then I’d dig it out of the trash and keep eating. If I really wanted to not eat any more, I’d have to make sure something gross in the trash had gotten into the ice cream (and really gotten in). Unless it was buried under stuff I didn’t want to touch, the carton would most likely emerge and urge me to go for another fat loser point. I was recently listening to Kris Carr, one of my favorite health teachers, and she related a very similar story (for her, she’d have to spray Windex into the carton to stop eating). I had to laugh. It was like “You too??”.
Anyway, I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream lately. I suppose it’s a nod to growth that this time around, I’ve wondered about the desire for ice cream rather than immediately tacking on loser points. This time around, the conversation is going more like: Hi Robin. This is Robin. How’s it going? I noticed the ice cream has been calling more recently and we’ve been answering. This is interesting. What do you think it’s about?
I’ve got to say, this response is showing to be way more effective at providing insight than awarding fat loser points ever was. Rather than fast-tracking into “you suck!” land (complete with more ice cream and self-loathing), I’ve been noticing I’m feeling kind of scared. It feels like change has been hitting and there are lots of unknowns on the horizon.
And looking at life of late, there has been some new and different stuff going on — and some parts of life do feel different and less clear.
For instance, the oldest got her driver’s license and headed off in a car. Holy smokes, yesterday she was 5. She’s now getting herself to school and tooling around town. Parental control is lessening in a big way (though here I have to laugh, is anyone ever really in control?). I hope she gets places safely and thinks about the impact of her decisions while driving. The ramifications of these decisions feel bigger with several tons of metal behind them. Her driving a family vehicle also brings up other unknowns: the financial piece of having a teen driver and coordinating on other car use. I’m excited she is driving. And this is a space that feels uncomfortable, scary, different.
Another piece: the smaller kiddos are getting more independent. This is awesome and cringe-inducing. “So let me get this straight. That drawer broke because you were climbing up the shelves in your closet to get down that CD player from the top shelf?” We’ve had a few busted items. I struggle between loving the initiative and running in to stop the proceedings and crush their dreams (at least that’s what it feels like when I look at their crestfallen faces after putting a halt to the current project). I don’t know what the right balance is here. Emotions also seem to be running higher: more tantrums (complete with wailing and falling to the floor), tears, and sass. Some of it’s from them.
Adding to the change and unknown, my husband has been traveling more for work, and I’m starting a new year with Skip the Box where I’m seeing more strongly that I’ve got to deal with my fears and BS stories if I want to move forward. The comfort of the old has dissipated and the future feels less clear than normal. It’s scary. I also have more dandruff at the moment. It’s not lovely. I think it’s all related.
Perhaps this is all a big part of why Phish Food has been calling lately — because life feels more uncomfortable and scary right now, and the chocolatey goodness is soothing, at least for a little while.
And you know what? I’m thinking this is okay. It’s really and truly all okay. Extra ice cream? Okay. Tantrums and tears? Okay. Dandruff? Okay. Feeling scared in the unknown? Okay.
This time around, in this space of discomfort and unknown, I’m going to keep doing my best to allow it, to feel it, to keep up with what I know is helpful (20 minutes of AM exercise, you help screw my head back on straight — thanks!), and then to do my best to let go of the rest. And if it helps to occasionally soothe with some Phish Food? It’s okay, I can do that along with a side of noticing (and allowing) whatever I’m feeling.