I got some truly amazing comments on my post yesterday about The Before. It resonated with a lot of people which made me happy because, well that’s why we’re all out here right? That, and the cheap therapy.
One comment in particular has been stuck in my brain since yesterday and I have to write about it or it will be up there tumbling around unaccompanied until it drives me batshit crazy. So to avoid all that drama – I’ll be writing about it here.
Josie over at The Miracle Is Around the Corner commented that she feels like she’s in The Before when it comes to her eating and exercise plan and that it feels just like it did when she was in The Before of her drinking career. She and I have discussed this, so she knew I would understand (which I DO). Pop onto yesterday’s post and check out her comment – it was awesome.
The reason I get it is because it’s the same for me. The only difference is that this particular Before has been going on for me since fucking puberty. It’s been rolling around in my brain and making me miserable since I was about 12. That’s almost 42 years of bullshit brain activity (or approximately 336 dog years).
What the what?
This is my 474th post on this blog. Of those posts, I would estimated that at least 1/4 to 1/3 of them are about eating, exercising, dieting, body image, etc. That means between 119 and 158 posts have been written about my struggles not with alcohol but with FOOD. That feels like a lot to be on a blog that is supposed to be about sobriety. Maybe it’s not. What the hell do I know?
What bothers me is the up and down in and out back and forth of the whole thing. One day I’ve got this killer eating plan and I’m exercising every day, the next day I’m stuffing my face with Oreo’s and Halloween candy and my self-esteem is in the toilet. One day I’ve sworn off thinking about food and I’m just going to learn to love myself the way I am, the next day the doctor calls me “obese” and I’m crying in my Diet Pepsi. One day I’m meditating and practicing self-care and telling myself only good things, and the next I catch sight of myself in a mirror and I swear I’m not going to eat until my 55th birthday by which time (in 2016 btw) I will have lost approximately half my body weight and have to check into Betty Ford for an eating disorder.
I’m not making fun of eating disorders by the way – I’m saying that thinking like this IS NOT HEALTHY.
Where does it stop? Unlike cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or gambling, WE HAVE TO EAT! What’s more, food is one of the greatest joys of life. Sharing a meal with friends and family is a beautiful thing. Sitting down to a table of food made with love (including dessert and bread) is a blessing that I never take for granted. (There are too many people in the world that never have enough to eat.) All this bullshit going on in my head ruins that joy if I let it get away from me.
Which I do.
I wish that for once in my life I could make peace with sustenance. I wish I could find a happy place that was free of guilt or shame or self-righteousness (when I’m doing well I can get very self-righteous). I wish I could learn to treat food as sacred and, in turn, treat myself that way.
I know there’s a root to this issue that I’ve yet to uncover. I’ve read book after book on the subject. I’ve scoured the Internet and plunked down lots of cash in an effort to understand what’s going on with me and food. I’ve been to nutritionists and spas and doctors in a desperate attempt to right this ship. And here I am typing about it again.
I often talk about wanting to get back to the way I was when I was in my 30’s and early 40’s. Now I’m not so sure. While it’s true that I was at a healthy weight and was extremely fit, the fact is that I was not happy. The shit going on in my head now was there then – a constant stream of consciousness about what I was eating, where, how much and how much exercise I needed to do. That’s not healthy. It also wasn’t very joyful. It was, in fact, a Before.
There really is no point to this post. No pithy comment that will make you think, “Yes! That’s it!” Only a recovering alcoholic, ex-smoker who would love, for once in her life, to find peace of mind on a plate. I have no idea how I’m going to get there or even if I’ll ever get there. I just know I have to keep trying because, as I said yesterday, The Before is no way to live.