I'm going to be forty in November. Its not a crisis, (I don't think) but more of a marker for life- a sort of check stop, or maybe a reality check.
Deep down inside me there's an ignorant, naive child who I'm afraid embarrasses me and I'd like to shut her up. However, the older I get the more clear it becomes that some aspects of her are likely to stick around for the duration. She deserves some exploration.
I do have a terrible memory. I don't know if that's because I forget to drink water and drink copious amounts of black coffee? I don't know if its true what kind people say that the scattered brain is a function of a highly creative mind? I do know that this unreliable brain embarrasses me, and mocks me for thinking that the stupid little girl up there will ever mature and sound intelligent from one minute to the next. I admire intelligence a great deal, and would hate to regress to the level of never being embarrassed again by my ignorance or brain-dead-ness simply by laying low so that when I open my mouth I should remove all doubt of my stupidity.
That's a rambling introduction for what I'd like to explore when it comes to approaching my fortieth birthday this winter. I have certain demons. They are not particularily unique or fascinating and my fear is that these demons reveal the truth of my smallness and stupidity. So, let's turn on the lights, shall we? Time's a wastin'. It's not up to you, the reader, to decide whether its true or not. Rather, the writing of it, the exposure of the voices, the lack of willingness to hide behind these fears may be a part of my redemption.
Its no secret that I have a history of eating disorders that began in junior high. My onset of puberty was delayed because of my fascination with starvation during the years when my friends began having bra straps for the boys to snap at recess time. A stupid little girl indeed. Well, its been quite a road and not without its successes. Fabulous successes. When I first decided to get well and develop a normal relationship with food I joined a weightloss group. I joined for the accountability, for the food baby-sitting that they would provide, and was careful to find a group that made food choices from meal to meal extraordinarily controlled. If I kept my nose to the grindstone and simply followed the rules, I could learn to eat normally and avoid the dreaded weight gain that was sure to come from this recovery.
It worked. Sort of. I actually managed to follow the diet, which I assure you is nothing shy of a miracle. I actually got down to my "dream weight". It felt every bit as good as I had imagined.
EXCEPT. When I was the only manager of my own food choices, I was filled with terror and very quickly fell back into my old ways. I didn't know how to maintain my new body size, or my new relationship with food. I felt like a failure. I beat myself up about this weight loss group decision for years, even after having navigated recovery successfully and having developed an actual, authentically healthy relationship to food and my body.
Which brings me to now. Now, I can look back and say- "Hey, Self! Way to go! You were proactive, you did something, and when it didn't work as well as you'd hoped, you got up off the ground and kept trying other approaches to getting your life back. And you did! You learned from what didn't work, and then you applied that knowledge to the next angle that you took at killing Goliath. Its all part of the learning curve."
For nine years now, I've been beating myself up. I experienced some setbacks due to trauma nine stinking years ago and I've never really been the same since. So? Even if I fall off of fifty horses, I'm going to have to decide to get on them anyway. Or loll around in fear and regret for another thirty years, then die. I really dislike my body size. I don't hate it, nor do I think that I'm a fat person. I just don't feel like "me" when I'm carting around twenty pounds more than what I used to. My expectation has been modified over the years, and I know that a twenty pound loss would be too much. I also know that after forty, I can expect to gain a pound a year, simply because of metabolic changes. So I'd like to lose ten pounds. There. If the admitting of that removes all doubt of my stupidity and self-centredness, then at least I've said it aloud and I can grow from here. Maybe even change my mind. But right now, that's my internal truth and I'll spell it out, black and white and try to be proactive instead of replaying some mental drama until I want to shove screwdrivers into my ears until my brians drain into my ice cream bowl. (ice cream with chocolate sauce, slivered almonds, and a few peanuts. mmmmmmmmmm.)
There's other stuff I want to be proactive about between now and November. One of them is to get more committed about prayer. I'm not going to say a lot about that because I don't want to sound self-righteous or preachy. But I believe in the power of prayer and the quietness of it often gets gobbled up in the chaos of daily living. So, I would like to get more committed about this.
And of course, this is all connected to mental health. I've got some options to navigate, and I need to check out some stuff for my family as well. I've got some phone calls to make (I hate and abhor phone calls). I've got two support groups to check out. (I feel vulnerable sticking my neck out that way). There's another stupidity marker.... so.... you feel vulnerable about attending a support group with maybe twenty people, but you're ok with blogging to the entire world?!)
I'm almost forty. There's a lot that is really great about the life I live. But I refuse to settle in.
Consider this my first step.