Wednesday

Eat, Pay, Loathe....No More.

Eat. Pray. Love......?
For me, it's more like Eat. Pay. Loathe.   Eat the food, pay for it with regret, loathe myself for the rest of the day.

My friend over at Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva posted an Erma Bombeck quote about women who passed on dessert on the Titanic - and it struck me as just very powerful.


A quote from the movie Eat Pray Love says it brilliantly:
Liz:  I’m so tired of saying no, and waking up in the morning and recalling everything I ate the day before – counting every calorie I consumed so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to finish this pizza, and tomorrow, we’re going to buy ourselves some bigger jeans.

As someone who has struggled with my weight   my mental self-image for more years than I care to remember, I can't do this anymore.  I won't do this anymore.  The above quote from the movie hit me right in the face and I thought to myself, Oh my God, I'm not the only one who does this?  It's crazy how millions of us women do this to ourselves every day, thinking we are alone in our struggle.  Society has made us crazy.  Airbrushing has made us delusional.  We look in the mirror and see flaws instead of gifts.  No more. No more. No more.

I've recently experienced a four week bout of Vertigo.  With three kids home on summer break, I had to push through this absolutely debilitating condition with a brave face and a smile.  Turns out, I had a virus that settled in my inner ear causing a buildup of fluid - bringing with it unbalance and dizziness.  The medicine I was on made me so tired and blurry, everything - and I mean everything took effort.  Finally, when I was put on the right medicine to clear my ear up, slowly but surely I started to think clearer because I wasn't constantly fighting the pain and drowsiness.  I thought a lot during those weeks. I didn't know why I had vertigo - and I searched high and low for a cure - but I searched even harder for a cause.  I knew I wasn't taking care of myself, I knew I wasn't balancing my need for rest while managing my responsibilities to this family.   I thought about my health, how I constantly took it for granted.  I thought about others.  Their pain.  People who are sick, suffering, chronically ill, struggling with daily life - I had a new sensitivity for them.  Truly, we take our health for granted.  So why, why would I keep mentally beating myself up over food, body image, the lack of perfection - when perfection is impossible to achieve - and health is such a brilliant second to that.



Now that I am better, I feel like being healthy is being beautiful.  Now that I wake up in the morning feeling amazing instead of fighting the urge to vomit from being dizzy the second I open my eyes, I no longer take inventory of the things I ate the night before while watching a little tv with Hubs.  I no longer start my day with hating myself for enjoying a bowl of ice cream after a long summer day with the boys.  Why - why did I do this for so many years?  Why was I everyone's friend, reliable, caring and kind - and to myself I was cruel, condescending and mentally abusive?  I cringe when I think about how I treated myself.  How I constantly told myself I didn't deserve a plate of fries because I didn't walk 3 miles in the morning  - or I didn't earn  the right to run to the ice cream truck while laughing alongside my kids.  I was no better than a burglar - robbing my own self of life's simple pleasures - whether it be food, or not - there was always a checks and balances tally in my head.  Should I? Shouldn't I ? Can I ? Can't I?   Exhausting.


It took me getting sick with something that scared me more than anything ( I thought I had a brain tumor or a really serious problem and started to panic about my life and my family and why hadn't I been happy with myself just being healthy) to really just stop with the negativity about not being a perfect fit in a swimming suit and not having the ideal figure for all of the cute maxi dresses in season this year.  ( I wish I was tall, I wish I was thin, I wish I was this, I wish I was that became I WISH I FELT WELL ENOUGH TO SMILE AND LAUGH AGAIN). I would look at the smiles on my kids' faces and think oh my gosh, what if I am really sick - they are going to be so scared - they are not going to laugh like that - be carefree like that - it will ruin this family.  I immediately thought of my sister n law who I helped take care of in her last weeks of life - she died at 36 years old from Cancer.  I panicked.  It was terrifying to have blurred vision, be off balance, feel sick all day.  I thought for sure I was doomed.  What a wake up call.

I am done with guilt.  I am done with self-loathing.  I am done with wishing I was something else. Please get me out of this and get me healthy and no worse for wear, and I will stop this madness. 

When I was 20 years old, I had to leave college due to an awful illness called Pseudotumor Cerebri.  A debilitating condition that causes one to have horrible headaches - all day long, every day for months until a course of medical treatment is run.  The main cause of this illness?  Obesity in young women.  Would I have considered myself at 20 years old, 20 pounds overweight obese? Probably not - I was a fluke/freak of medical nature.  My neurologist even told me he's never seen anyone 'this small' - probably meaning 'not obese' be afflicted with this illness.  I nearly lost my vision - had I not gone to the hospital when I did, I would be blind today.  How does one come out of an illness that strikes 'obese women' and not be mentally screwed up for a long time?  I am not sure.  I'd struggled for so many years by not fitting in to the Cindy Crawford- model look that I was already screwed up when I got sick.  I failed to be my own best friend.  I failed myself.  I was too busy being a friend to people, I forgot about me.  Fast forward many years, and I followed the same pattern.  I got too busy being a mother to my children, a wife to my husband, a volunteer to those in need, a friend to many during these trying times, I neglected myself.  How could I possibly be a true friend to others when I was such a shitty friend to myself?

I had a come to Jesus with me, myself and I during the past month when I was unwell.  I said - time to give yourself a break. Taking care of your own needs (and feelings) is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and those around you.  Maybe you think caring for yourself is selfish - that's bullshit - why would you think everyone else matters but you?  You  matter.  You absolutely do.  Your health, both mental and physical matters - if you don't have that, everything else will fail.  Your family needs you - but they need you to be healthy, happy, and present.  Time to live.  Enough of the self-loathing, and not enough self-promoting.  If you don't promote yourself who will???


This past week, where I have finally been back to me, back to feeling 120% healthy both physically and mentally, I have been happier than I have been in years.  I have been finding 30 minutes a day to walk - but with the idea that I am not doing it to exercise, but more as a peaceful time to think and meditate.  No music, no audiobooks, nothing  in my ears but my thoughts, the birds, and the sound of grass and gravel under my feet.  I quiet the voices in my head and I tell them, if you want to talk, keep it peaceful, positive and nurturing.   They nod in quiet understanding and I have found comfort in the silence and peace in my interior self.  The beautiful weather helps, it's hard not to find comfort in the blue sky with billowy white clouds.  Finally, I'm here in the moment, finally, I'm appreciating me and finding peace and love in myself, through my thoughts. 


Simplicity.

I leave you with one more quote from Eat Pray Love that I think is brilliant - especially being someone who took way too long to pick out her clothes every day from a closet full of, what I always called, 'nothing to wear.' 
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control.” Liz, Eat Pray Love

 Cheers to a healthy, happy, you...and to learning to be your own best friend,
~DG

14 comments:

  1. I don't even know what to say. This is just awesome. Thank you, Goddess!

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  2. I am so glad you are feeling well again! I have resigned myself to just trying to be healthy, in whatever that means for my mind and body (the mind part is far trickier for me)

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  3. Bravo! I'm forwarding this to friends. Thank you for your honesty and I'm glad you are feeling better too.
    I'm having dessert tonight!

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  4. Wow...just wow. What a truly inspired piece of writing. I too am forwarding this on as I know many people (myself included) that will greatly benefit just from having the privilege of reading this. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Thank you. This is a beautiful story and a very well written call-to-arms for all of us who punish ourselves for our perceived faults. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. I'm so sorry that you struggle with this. I admire your honesty and your bravery for sharing this. I know it will help other people.

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  7. Ugh. You could've written this from my head. Why, Why Why??? Do I beat myself up?? Darn it all- I'm having that croissant tomorrow. I'm glad you are well, that you can see and that you aren't toppling over anymore from vertigo!

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  8. You are amazing and I am so thrilled that you wrote this!!!! Its wonderful. I am also very glad you are feeling better. Xoxo

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  9. Holy shit!!! Boy did I need this RIGHT-FREAKING-NOW! I have GOT to stop swirling in my own head and get out into life. Profound, for reals! I am bookmarking this to read every day! I hope I can get a fraction of the clarity that you have gained. I am so glad you are feeling better. Love you!
    Devan

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  10. I love how you have captured the agony that we women put ourselves through each minute-struggling with an anxiety disorder myself I know all too well the power of thoughts out of control! I think you'll find that the "oxygen mask" style of parenting (put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child) is great for both parents and children. What a great post.

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  11. For some reason I just now saw this. It is absolutely perfect and I am SOOO incredibly relieved that you are back to yourself. I love you exactly the way you are and couldn't imagine my life without YOU in it!! xoxoxoxoxo! Love it girl!

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  12. This is a fantastic freaking post. I wish I could be more like you. Sometimes it takes us getting sick and feeling like complete shit to realize that there are things that are SO much more important than what size clothing we fit into. I'm constantly beating myself up if I had a "bad" day and god forbid ate pizza. Screw that! ) I have awarded you with the "Fabulous Blog Ribbon" because, duh, your blog is fabulous. If you'd like to "pick it up" just stop by
    http://crazy-mama-drama.blogspot.com/

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  13. Excellent message! I've always been of the opinion that we all need to learn that we have a body rather than we ARE our body.

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  14. Kudos to you Goddess! And this is why I nominated you:


    http://msstewartsnothere.blogspot.com/2012/07/nomination-for-me-na-ah.html

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