Thursday, November 24, 2011
I Have Enough.
Three words. This week is the first time I have been able to say them and feel their meaning as it relates to food. I know I am blessed, I know I am fortunate. But I have not always known this and I have never known what it feels like to have this feeling about food.
Growing up, I was the unloved, unwanted child, a reminder of my mother’s failed first marriage. My older brother was spared that scorn because, as it turned out, he was the only boy she ever had. Mother abused me physically, but she abused me more psychologically. Her favorite noncontact form of punishment was for me to go without food. I knew what it was to go to bed hungry, to go to school without lunch. It was not until she sent me to live with my dad and his new family that I experienced what it was to have 3 meals a day consistently. Two weeks after I met Dad, my brother died while saving another boy’s life, making my 13th summer one I can never forget. I was four and a half feet tall and about 65 pounds when I met Dad.
Dad sent me to a boarding school and, with meals and dessert and a huge aversion to exercise, I ballooned. Exercise equals pain. I did not learn to walk until I was almost four and spent most of my childhood with leg braces and physical therapy. I have yet to overcome that mindset, but I am making progress.
I shattered my right elbow right before I started college. It took five surgeries and a year and a half until I could use my right arm. Yes, I am right handed. This was before computers, too. I typed my notes after every lecture because my left hand writing was nearly illegible! I was forced to change majors partly because of this injury and found myself unable to find a job when I had my BA in English. I taught school for a private school for 3 years, nearly starving because I could barely afford rent let alone food.
Even now, decades later, I am not financially secure. I have a good job that I love (I am a paralegal at a nonprofit corporation), but my salary is below the poverty line for the hyper inflated economy of northern California.
A few weeks ago, my very long term partner chose to leave and I don’t know if he will be back. I don’t know what I want in that regard. But you ladies know what happens when the guy is out of town or otherwise not underfoot – cleaning, reorganization galore!
I reorganized the pantry and the cupboards that I can reach. All my canned goods (mostly green chili!) are together, my dry goods are collected, and condiments are all in one place. I was stunned to discover I have about 25 pounds of dry beans, several pounds of brown rice, couscous, quinoa, canisters full of lentils, long cook oatmeal – you get the idea. With it being just my two cats and me, I need only to shop for perishables – dairy and produce for weeks to come. I love looking at my neat shelves and thinking about the different food combinations I can try since my taste buds and food tracker are the only consideration.
I do not have a lot of money, but I have enough. I can put gas in my car, pay what’s due every month and handle an unexpected repair bill as I did this month.
I have no family in California. They are all over the US and the world. I was alone today, but I was not lonely. I worked a little more on the cleaning and have been reflecting on all my reasons that I have to give thanks. Truly, my cup overflows.
The newest reason is this new sense of “I have enough.” I do not need to shop to fill a void, I do not need to overeat to comfort that unloved little girl and I do not need to make poor food choices just to avoid that feeling of being deprived.
I have enough. This means I have the luxury, I have the responsibility and I have the peace inside to take my time, to measure my food, to think about my food and to eat to live. I no longer need to stuff my face when someone brings in sweets at work, I no longer need to binge because I am not about to starve. I am not going to go without. And I do not have to settle for food that is not good for me. I am many decades beyond that girl who went to bed hungry, decades beyond the college graduate who bought creamy peanut butter because it spreads thinner than chunky (I still love chunky!) and it is quite surreal to have this feeling for the first time so late in my life!
What a novelty! What a freeing realization! What an emotional idea!
What a Happy Thanksgiving!
Sunday, November 06, 2011
So much is going on that it is hard to articulate it all in any sort of coherent fashion. In no particular order:
Severe depression, workload increase (good and bad), possible end of a long and sometimes turbulent relationship, financial stress, inability to cope with a pressing issue and my closer connection to St Jude's Childrens Hospital.
Depression has led to the I-don't-care attitude, emotional eating and I am almost back to where I was when I started SP nearly 2 years ago. Self-disgust and other negative feelings abound and I am not able to turn that into something motivationally positive.
On the heels of the depression is the crisis with my very long time boyfriend. We've been together off and on since Sept 1989. We are both deeply flawed human beings. He made some choices recently for which I will get to pay some of the consequences - too ugly, awful and personal to share here. I don't know what will happen here.
One of those consequences is dealing with the upcoming lot inspection knowing that my plot needs landscaping, the side porch needs repair and junk needs to be hauled away. These are things he should have taken care of and should be here to do, but he is not. I will have to have the work done. I cannot do it myself and I don't know if I can afford to have it done.
Moreover, I cannot even deal with it until next weekend, which may not give enough time before the inspection. My company received a subpoena. We are not party to the action, but the litigating parties want to know what we knew and when we knew it. So I have been working almost solely on our response for the last 10 days and have another week of this intense focus ahead. I love the work! I love the challenge! But it gives me mental exercise that leaves me exhausted and drained at the end of the day.
Madeleine has Wilms kidney cancer. She just turned 2. She is at St Jude's in Memphis with her mama. Daddy, my coworker, divides his time between the office and the hospital. I had registered for this year's "Give Thanks. Walk" back in July, long before anyone knew she had cancer (she was just diagnosed last month). I am not of compatible blood type so I cannot donate a kidney for her. I told her daddy that, if the chemo makes her lose her hair, I will shave my head and donate my hair to "Locks of Love", not just for solidarity but in the hopes that the inevitable questions will lead to more donations for St Jude and, possibly, other people becoming organ donors. I added Madeleine's name to my Walk team name. Her mom had the same cancer as a child, has only one kidney, and asked a lot of questions about whether or not her baby could have this cancer. They don't know enough about the gene connection so they told her it was very unlikely. Madeleine's diagnosis has to be like a lightning bolt!
With my boyfriend not around, I am having to do everything at home, including going to the laundromat - one of my least favorite chores. This morning, instead of reading the paper, I walking around the strip mall for at least 10 minutes. I also walked across the street to the Post Office and checked my mail. The intersection can be a bit nuts, so I usually drive over after the car is full of clean clothes, but I figured it would be an easy crossing with the time change. The walk, while short, felt great!
Then I went to work for a few hours, getting as far as I could without more input, and then came home. I thought about stopping at KFC on the way home, but realized that would be "rewarding" me with food, something I do not want to start again. I came home, cooked for the week, did the dishes, set up the coffee maker and ironed for tomorrow morning.
Please pray for Madeleine and her parents!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
KB swings and lifts
a fifteen minute walk (not counting all the other walking I did throughout the day)
The negative is that I ate over range today. I had reduced my calorie range a few days ago and am still getting used to it. But I would have been over even at the older higher range.
The beauty is - I can strive to have a better day tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Justin's little girl probably has kidney cancer. How can I help her more that through the St Jude's walkathon? Can I incentivize myself by setting aside money for minutes, dollars for pounds lost?
How cool would it be for me to save my life while hoping to save hers!
A dollar a pound? How much for minutes of exercise?
What about other positive life choices?
Obviously, I am not doing a good job making good choices for me. Perhaps I can do so for this little girl and her parents.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I learned today that my coworker's daughter is at St Judes Hospital in TN. She had tests late last week and we have not heard yet but are bracing for the news that this just-turned-two girl has kidney cancer.
I had already signed up (July 1) for this year's Give Thanks Walk for St Jude that will occur on November 19. My focus on this walk has just gone up a thousandfold.
I cannot imagine how hard it is for Justin and his wife to be dealing with this, that helpless, scared feeling.
I wish I could do more.
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