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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blog Like No One is Reading

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.


Valerie Ruth said...

sounds like a very brave first step to me. way to go! my history is similar - did the eating disorder thing quite severely. was living with michele of laundromat blog at the time. professionals say it's the same as an addiction. hard to let it go and easy to fall back into. keep us updated! i'd like to talk more about it.

Mills' Memoirs said...

Good for you, Joyce! Way to be proactive, and honest. I just want to say that I thought you looked very beautiful on Sunday...stunning, actually, and I'm not just saying that. I didn't get a chance to say it then, so I'm saying it now!

Joyce said...

What a beautiful first comment! Like a cool cloth to my tortured body. (and just today I was wondering how you, Michele and or Linda were connected...)

Even as I read your words.."did the eating disorder thing quite severely", the stupidity in me rises. I didn't even do eating disorders very well. I never got hospitalized. I never got found out. I know that competitiveness and perfectionism are also ear marks for this crappy addiction.
You've encouraged me, I'll write as though to you.

Bonnie said...

Way to go girl!! You're a true blessing to me, I really, really like you. I'm 41 and 40 was good for me I suppose. There's lots I would like to do about my weight and I am trying, not just for me but also for my girls!! We all have our "demons" I suppose.

Have a great day!

QueenHeroical said...

the beauty about first steps is ... there are arms waiting to catch you.

I believe we seek the same freedom from the internal battles and bondage. Nice to have such good company.


Joyce said...

although I wrote the post "as though no one would read", its safe to assume that people do read. Which makes me re-read and get curious about what people may be speculating. I DO NOT ACTIVELY HAVE AN EATING DISORDER.

Just in case you were going to start some nasty, world-wide rumour.

But then again, what if I did? If you had judgemental, self-righteous, holier-than-thou reactions to that, then you too would have some thinking to do.

Marshkies said...

Well, I'm 49 and with the help of counselling, great sisters, good friends, fabulous books, great days, horrible days, I still feel like I lack sooooooo much and enjoy soooooooooo much and wish for soooooooo much and eat tooooooooo much and always want to lose a few pounds and want to read more and want to pray more and want to do more and want to do less and just "be". Anyway... life's a journey. Sometimes it stinks, usually it's ok, sometimes it's fabulous... and the greatest for me? God's always right here.

Valerie Ruth said...

joyce - your comment in response to mine was the best part of my day. thank you thank you.

Judy said...

Happy First Step, Joyce!

I'm forty-nine. Five years ago I lost 50 pounds. Four years ago I gained 50 pounds.

I'm supposed to be packing boxes, but I'm reading blogs and dreaming of Peanut M&M's.

Also, I have a fantasy that moving to a 'new' house will suddenly cause me to 'grow-up'. You'd think that after 49 years I would realize that ain't gonna happen through fantasy...

Anonymous said...

I will soon be 53 and still not settling in :)'s a good thing.

homo escapeons said...

Hi Joyce.
I accidently Googled nasty, world-wide rumour of active eating disorder in almost forty something crazylady who has fallen off of fifty horses...I ended up here?

Speaking of Fifty, I'm turning Fifty in December and Fifty is the new Forty, ergo You are only turning Thirty!
So Forty Schmorty!

Taxanomically females have evolved to carry that extra '20' or '2.o' as we now call it, because that is what it takes to carry another 'youknowwhat' to term...unless of course you are a drug addled razor thin Super Model showin' off that groovy Heroin Chic look that all Soccer Mom's can't seem to nail down out in the real world...let's face it every pudgy, hobbitish, dazzling suburbanite, tubby-hubby dreams of lying on top of a 'bed of nails' ....dammit anyway!

Joyce said...

mmmm... razor thin.. Heroin chic.... mmmmmmm......

Yeah, but us women don't really want to be attractive to all those fat middle-age crises-ed pot belly pigs anyway. We just want other women to envy US instead of us envying THEM.

Now, back to fantacizing about being thin. Or was that using a razor to cut of chunks in order to look thin?

Linda said...

wel...I've got 10 years on you my dear and I still haven't figured it out. I like myself better now than I did 10 years ago so maybe you will too.