Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Or… Rehearsing My State of the Union Distress: Conversations With My Mirror
I'm not sure how to get through to loved ones (including myself) that I am literally dying of my relationship to food, that it is SERIOUS, and that I am determined to change that relationship – and that "you, my dear one, my truest true love, are and have been my enabler and co-dependent in this relationship."
If I am suffering humiliating looks of disgust from someone who really, really does love me, when I ask that trigger foods be not purchased, or be eaten outside of the home, or, if necessary, be purchased in secret and hidden when brought home... if having to actually say this stuff to my loved one embarrasses me... then perhaps I’ve got some s'plaining to do.
I urge you, (myself) to let the conversations begin.
Yes, I am responsible for what I eat, but there are long-term, well-established behavioral problems at work and I need an ally.
I have spent my life not buying or preparing certain foods because a loved one was allergic to them, or had ethical dietary restrictions, or simply did not care for them... (beets, broccoli, fish, salad, cooked greens, unsalted food, whole grain breads... whatever.) One of the ways I express my love of others is with my cooking. As a woman, that is in part a learned behavior.
I am also a woman who has learned to self-medicate with food, using it as a security blanket and a substitute for certain kinds of love, comfort, stress relief, etc. Many of those behaviors were established when I was quite young.
My experience is:
men are also loaded with learned behaviors that backfire;
there is no free lunch and there are no baggage-free adults;
this is not a case of "I'm so sick and you're so well."
As far as I can tell, people (couples in particular) tend to dovetail their respective problems and strengths - this is part of what constitutes attraction. But more often than not, respective problems and "weaknesses" (behaviors that are no longer serving us well) live and grow in dark places - unexamined, undisclosed, and undiscussed until they reach critical mass. They become taboo - engorged with fears, secrets, threats to self-esteem, and the stuff of false pride. Hello??? My issues have reached critical mass.
My request, "Please hide them (the candy, cookies, Triscuits, Les Bombes aux Trois Chocolats, etc. - things that are trigger foods for me that you simply cannot do without... or feel that you should not have to be denied simply because of my lack of self control) in your study" is preferable to me saying something like "Don't make me call my lawyer"... or "Then, we need to go coffin shopping."
Ahem. I got a little pissy there for a minute. It happens.
Learning honest communication skills this late in life ("this late" = roughly 16 years old and beyond, in my opinion) is wicked difficult. Not only that, these difficult Mouth & Mind-related “learnings” will have to be repeated every bit as often as the behaviors that they want to replace were repeated over the years.
And that, Gentle Reader, is the straight skinny.
I am 64, this is my only life, I am not as yet coughing up blood and there is unfinished business afoot.
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate…”
Little Gidding V, T.S. Eliot