The Hardest Part of the Day, or Owner of a Hungry Heart
Monday, November 01, 2010
It's the middle of the afternoon on a Monday. The weekend is over, the work week has only just begun, and I'm hungry. But not really hungry. Not stomach growling, need to eat for sustenance hungry. Bored hungry, sad hungry, tired hungry, too much past week indulgence hungry. In short - my heart is hungry, and I know that nothing I do right now is going to feed it.
It's the hardest part of the day for me. The neediness that comes with wrapping up the current day's work projects, the thought/dread of going home and having to put something healthy on the table for dinner, alone, and the knowledge that the most exciting thing I have to do tonight is watch television and scoop the litter box. Mama said there'd be days like this. And if my social calendar were full up, I'd be complaining about that too, I'm sure of it. But the fact of the matter is that now that the show is over, it's very, very empty.
So how do you fix a hungry heart? And worse yet, how do I fix a heart that's been hungry for over a week now?
I'm still hung up on my parents' visit from last weekend. I said it wasn't going to get to me, I said I wasn't going to let them in, let them carve out a little piece of me and take it back to Canada - but the fact of the matter is that they did. And I've been eating all week to fill that hole. For those who haven't read my past blogs about mom & dad, know that I love my parents dearly. I had a wonderful childhood and upbringing. But in every happy family, there are demons. And mine are big. And come in the shape of a very obese, very unhappy woman. A woman that I am trying every day to part ways with. But their visits remind me of who she was and still is, and it hurts.
Until last weekend my parents had no idea that I was losing weight. I needed it to be that way. I still need it to be that way. I don't think I was emotionally ready for that visit. But I also know that I can't go on hiding from them. And even if I did - even if I was able to lose 200 pounds and then magically reappear in front of them, I'd probably be worse off for it at that point than I will be having to work through seeing them occasionally as I move down the scale. The next visit is Christmas. I've got 2 months. But if I carry on like I have been this past week, I won't be any different in 2 months than I am today. So I HAVE to get over this feeling and move on with myself and my plans - regardless of how much they know, or how much they care. This journey isn't for them. It's for me. And I need to reclaim my power that they have a way of stripping me of.
I have also officially crossed over in to the "noticeable weight loss" category. Every person that I encounter who I haven't seen in a while makes a comment about it. I'm not having an easy time of this. Because, while I'm losing weight and gaining confidence and thinking I'm beautiful and wonderful, I'm still not thin enough or pretty enough or confident enough to undo my social awkwardness. No amount of weight loss is going to change that. And having people comment on my appearance only makes that nervous anxiety worse. And it makes me want to eat. I don't connect easily with people. Or rather, my "social spark plugs" seem to be constantly firing to make those necessary connections, but they aren't being met on the other side by any interested parties. If they are met, the social engine turns over a couple of times and then fizzles out quick. And lord help me if I'm not seeking that dull roar, the hum of an engine that's got substantial fuel and oil and is prime to take off and DRIVE.
But waiting for that lifelong road trip is currently very lonely. I'm crushing hard on a guy who has issues of his own and A) isn't interested though he's a constant flirt, and B) isn't emotionally available anyway. I'm 3 weeks away from going to see The Scientist in Germany - a relationship that is over, sort of, but will likely rekindle for the 2 weeks that I'm there, so I will only have to break his heart all over again when I leave. I don't have the heart to tell him that I haven't missed him as much as I think he's missed me since he left in August. And I'm worried about re-visiting our physical relationship in Germany because it's only going to make the inevitable separation that much worse when I leave. With no more plans to see each other again after this trip, it's over when I get on that plane home. And then there's just the voice in my head that keeps telling me that I should just be single right now - as lonely and miserable as it is. I don't believe that I'm capable of meeting someone right now who will be right for me in the long run anyway. I have too many things left to sort out, too much work to be done on myself, and if I bring someone in to the middle of this mess, it's not fair to him when I become a different person at the end of this process.
All of this would be better if I had better friends. But there's where I also fail in the social department. 100s of acquaintances, not one real friend. Not one person out there who really knows me inside and out, accepts me for everything I am and want to be, and who shares with me a mutual respect, love and deference. And to tell the honest truth, I've never had one of these. Ever. Ever. I don't really know what a real, true, friendship even looks like, or feels like. My mother stood in the way of all of my burgeoning friendships growing up, and to an effect, still does to this day since she taught me early that my only real, true friend in this world should be her. So I never really developed an ability to make my own friends. Any takers? Haha. I'm working on this. But you can't make friends overnight - so until I do, I still have to find good coping mechanisms for the inevitable loneliness that is a result of living in a big, bad city, hundreds of miles from my family, and all alone. Sure there are social outings with my numerous acquaintances, but I have just discovered, unfortunately, that those outings always leave me disappointed and unfulfilled which then leads to unexplained eating - trying to fill that void that those faulty relationships simply can't.
No wonder my heart is hungry. No wonder I've been pushing the upper limits of my calorie range almost every day this past week. No wonder I craved and ate chocolate all weekend. Food is predictable. Food gives me the same result every time I go to it. Food is always there. Food doesn't talk back. Food doesn't throw a loop in my plans. Food doesn't break my heart. Food is reliable. People are not. People change. People can be mean. People's schedules change, and they can leave you stranded when you need them the most. With people you have to be forgiving. But I am a person. And that means that I need to forgive myself. My relationship with me is the most difficult relationship that I will ever forge. And my relationship with everyone else will follow. People are unpredictable. But that's why they are also wonderful. And learning to adapt and forgive and let go of that constant need to control is all a part of this journey. It is incredibly painful. But it is necessary.
I'm deep into the hardest part of the day. And it's not likely to get better over the next few hours. But I know what I'm up against. I have my list of things I want to accomplish tonight, this week and certainly by Christmas. And these are the things I CAN control. Day by day, forging this new relationship with myself. And learning how to feed my hungry heart without food.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Gosh. Every time I read about your heart and feelings in your blogs I can so relate to every word. I have been thinking about that friend thing for weeks now - I am just mulling over some my relationships now and questioning the authenticity [whatever that means]...
Any sane person would be proud to have your gorgeous self as a friend or anything else - including me. I just think you are so cool. So cool.
I wish I had the answer for the hungry heart ... and I hope you find it though.
Fantastic blog. Just fantastic. How can you lose with that kind of pure willingness to confront the intricacies of living. Yup, you are awesome.
Gosh - I just adore you. Hang in there, boo.
2635 days ago
This is a wonderful, insightful blog that clearly came from your heart. What you are feeling may seem specific to you but I think so much of it is universal. You are worth it, you are beloved and you will find your joy. Spark on!
2636 days ago
It takes so much courage and fortitude to pour out your heart like this, and it is the best medicine to cure a lonely heart.
I feel blessed that you are sharing your life and journey with your spark friends, and please know you can call me friend.
You are all beautiful, and wonderful, and are those things more no matter what the number is on the scale....
I truly mean every word I say, and I want to BELIEVE it!
2638 days ago
Awww... this blog was so amazing. Its so good that you are able to be so honest with yourself. This paragraph really resonated with me:
"I don't connect easily with people. Or rather, my "social spark plugs" seem to be constantly firing to make those necessary connections, but they aren't being met on the other side by any interested parties. If they are met, the social engine turns over a couple of times and then fizzles out quick. And lord help me if I'm not seeking that dull roar, the hum of an engine that's got substantial fuel and oil and is prime to take off and DRIVE."
I understand this. The few new friends I have made have either disappointed me or have never transcended the "aquaintance" feeling. I am sorry for your lack of best friend... I remember the days when I had a whole group, about 3 or 4 of us usually, and we had sleepovers and such and... well, I'm just sad you never got to experience that. I am lucky to have one best friend, but it is a far cry from those few who fell by the wayside.... betrayal, fights, growing up, etc. And even she lives so far away! I miss the day to day kind of best friend...(Know, too, that people... even best friends... disappoint. Its how you work past that issue, get over it, forgive, and move on stronger in your relationship... thats what makes a BEST friend.)
Its funny, how we all have these voids to fill. How relatable, I suppose.
In any case, try to enjoy yourself, those little life pleasures you do have... and keep on firing those social sparks.. you never know what might happen as a result!
2638 days ago
I seriously hate the afternoons. Haven't figured out why though. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact I haven't accomplished as much as I would like. The afternoon feels like my day is over and once again another day has gone by with me not getting done what I set out to do! UGGGGH!
I am totally a social tard. I think it's because I have been hurt and disappointed by a few too many women. Perhaps my expectations are too high. I would love to believe we get out of our relationships what we put into them but that is not always the case.
For instance, in Feb. 2010 a friend of mine put together a group of women (20 of us on a private FB page) whom she believed would benefit from posting and encouraging and praying for each other, in our daily struggles with weight and any other struggles we face. In the beginning a few women had participated (most members have still yet to post 1 thing) eventually the posts became more infrequent and now about 2-3 of us who are regular posters still make comments.
It is disappointing because I exposed myself. I felt here I was laying out my heart and most of the others couldn't be bothered with posting! Needless to say, support and encouragement were pretty non-existent, considering the very purpose for the group was to encourage and support. Basically what I am saying I put a lot of me into that group because I believed in its purpose, I put in so much more than the majority and got very little in return. Now don't get me wrong, I realize other people are not as open as I, but come on, why join a group then not participate? Just sayin'!
I think we need other women in our life, we need that camaraderie. I hope that you learn to fill that void with something other than food. I know that we live in different cities and I am sure I am older than you by a dozen years, but I can be your friend or at least one of many you are sure to gain from this blog alone.
Your soul is beautiful! Know this! Know that NOT everyone can express themselves as well as you, it takes a special gift!
2638 days ago
Comment edited on: 11/2/2010 3:03:13 PM
And again I am left with this feeling that we should live closer together. (Seems to be the case with a lot of people I know that hail from Canada these days)
People are hard. Making friends, true friends, is hard. But I know you're amazing. You're going to make it through this rough patch. In fact, you're going to come out the other side shining more brightly than you are right now. I wish you food for the soul, and peace.
2638 days ago
(((hugs))) I know how you feel. Wish I had some bright words of encouragement to give you. :) I am thinking about you and hoping for the best for you. And if you find a cure for the lonely eating, please pass it along! Its my biggest struggle to date!
p.s. I also am a big fail in the friend department. We should start a Chicago Friends meet up group! :)
2639 days ago
Comment edited on: 11/2/2010 9:51:31 AM
Im awful at social interation as well, I have one real life friend and my boyfriend, I do well in a one-to-one relationship like that, but I struggle to maintain anything else.
I get lonely, I 'talk' a lot on the internet to make up for it, it isn't always good enough though.
2639 days ago
SUPER BIG SQUISHES
don't you wish you could feed the hunger with something else? i think that's really the hardest part. finding something ELSE to fill the hole that isn't food.
since i moved to chicago 4.5 years ago, i have been seriously lacking in my social life. at least, compared to what i had when i lived in texas. i have been fighting to try and make friends here and it seems impossible. i have some friends in the city that i had before moving here... but everyone else seems to flake out or the relationship goes horribly wrong (as in they are bat $hit crazy). i got married over the summer and not a SINGLE "friend" i've made since moving here attended. i had a girl friend fly across an ocean to come, but people couldn't drive an hour and a half to celebrate our marriage. seriously, some couldn't even be bothered to RSVP!
have i mentioned that i gained 40 pounds since moving here? yeah... i'm starting to see the connection. i went from being a super social person to only going out with friends maybe once or twice a month, sometimes not even that. there's a huge hole in my life that i'm trying to figure out how to fix. so, you're not alone in this. i just wish i had a magical answer other than one battle at a time!
you have come so far... there are more demons to kill but you can do it. conquering all these obstacles not only gives you a better, healthier life but it makes you a better person overall, IMO.
2639 days ago
Most of the battle is recognizing what you're going through, and gosh, your blog speaks volumes of your awareness. So even though it may seem like forever (loneliness has an odd effect.. makes time stand still almost!), you are making such progress in your life. And you will be at peace with yourself... everything else will fall into place.
2639 days ago
I heart you so much! Although I haven't experienced everything you're going through, your heartfelt writing makes me feel almost as if I had. Wow, I wish I had your gift. But I do understand loneliness. I was the first person to leave the family farm since the family's founder bought the farm after getting home from the Civil War in 1865. Seriously. Two years after moving away for grad school, I picked up and moved to Washington, D.C. So I understand alone and lonely in the big, scary city. But you know what? You've already show incredible courage and grit to make it as far as you have. You'll do the work you feel that you need to do and go further than you ever thought you would. You're just that kind of person. As for finding love, don't worry so much about it. I met my DH when I was about ready to go looking for an agnostic nunnery, lol. You'll meet Mr. Right at the right time.
In the meantime,
2639 days ago
It's an awful feeling to be lonely. I understand your longing to be in a relationship but it is smart of you to recognize the pitfalls of starting one when you aren't yet the person you're striving to be. When the food is offering you the comfort you seek shut it down and go and do some of the things that have been making a difference for you. When I feel the urge to eat something unnecessary I take a good long walk. Then if I am still jonesing for something when I'm done at least I've burned some of those calories off already. lol Most times though the endorphins kick in and I feel more upbeat and less likely to eat. You've made so many positive changes in your life. When people mention our weight loss just thank them for noticing. You may feel awkward but remember that the fact that they notice and mention it is intended as a compliment. Remember you are a warm, wonderful and worthy person. You are beautiful and deserve all the things you are longing to achieve. Don't sabotage your success. As for true friendship it is precious and more rare than it should be. Try inviting a likely candidate for best friend to do something you both enjoy. There is more opportunity to talk beyond the superficial when it's just two people together. Maybe something will blossom. Wishing you success in overcoming "the hungries". Enjoy the company of a fascinating woman tonight.... YOU!
2639 days ago
That was a very deep and soul-searching post you wrote and I have to give you kudos for opening up so much!
2639 days ago
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