Tuesday, November 06, 2012
1. What things brought you to OA?
I had given up all animal products, oil and refined flour and sugar in the weeks preceding my first meeting (since the early 1990s, that is). I felt wonderfully calm but found that I had a hard time explaining to everyone around me that, "I can't eat that. I can't eat that. I can't eat that." It made going to dinner parties or away for the weekend an anxiety-filled nightmare. I figured people in OA would understand. As time went on, though, I realized that my obsessive strictness was in reaction to a stressful visit to my family home, and that I was hurting underneath and trying to control the chaos inside. I didn't want to be like the other super-strict people I met in OA. I wanted to be like the unstrict people I met there-- the ones who hadn't been "perfect", who hadn't gone for 19 years without eating a cookie, who hadn't left their daughters' weddings because the dinner was going to be served at 7 instead of 5:45. When they say, "Find someone who has what you want, and ask them to sponsor you," I realized that I didn't necessarily prefer someone at "goal weight". The less-than-perfect members struck me as way more serene! The deciding factor was their relationship with a Higher Power.
The two women I've met in my lifetime that had the ideal body (that I wanted) were not impressive aside from their beautiful and athletic bodies. In fact, they were rather unpleasant. One was joylessly regimented, and one was frequently moody and bitchy. Both had disrupted menses. Neither was serene. Both had won lots of races, though, and for that reason I put them up on a pedestal.
Lately I can't stop thinking about getting skinnier and ripped. Because of my recent birthday celebrating, I have a little more around my midsection than I am comfortable with, and I realize how body fat makes my skin crawl, makes me want to jump out of my skin. I just read "Ultramarathon Man" by Dean Karnazes, who runs 200 miles at a time; the book was a wonderful read, full of adventure, and it got me thinking about signing up for a long race and getting serious about training again. I wonder how much of this is a symptom that there is something wrong underneath, and how much of it is a natural, healthy impulse to enjoy the miracle of my body, to pare away the excess fat and see my anatomy again, and a way to welcome adventure into my life. It can easily tip from a celebration of health into self-flagellation.