Tuesday, August 20, 2013
People say this all the time, but I'm only now finding it to be helpful: "You're not the only one."
Seriously, how many times have you heard that when you spilled your heart out to someone and then just wanted to slap them afterward for saying that?
When I allowed myself to get past that sharp pang of annoyance (more at the dismissive tone than the actual words) I found that I could take something from it. In particular, it helps when it comes to those poor habits of mine which I've been able to rationalize. Foremost on my list is smoking. Smoking sucks. My mouth tastes terrible and is always dry, my clothes, car and bedroom (where I primarily smoke) smell like smoke, I can't breathe and feel fatigued every time I smoke. Yet, I keep right on sucking on those cancer sticks, tricking myself into thinking it's helping me instead of damaging me.
When I think about my pathology--family history of addiction, depression--it makes since that I would turn to smoking or eating. It's how I've been taught to deal with my emotional turmoil. In my heart, I know that my coping mechanisms are a bunch of bulls@$# but I keep going back to them for the same reason people seek comfort in a person's arms. No, not to feel loved. To feel...alive, vital, present. HERE.
I can't be the only one who feels disconnected from my body. I think if I were more connected, I wouldn't have gained so much weight. When it comes to my body, my mind has become very adept at turning itself off. Herein lies my second worst habit. Disconnecting from my body.
We all have reasons to disconnect. Maybe we were raised to be critical of our bodies and therefore never learned how to see it for anything but a disappointment. Maybe we came up short in trying to meet someone else's expectations of what our bodies should be, so we stopped trying. Maybe our bodies experienced a trauma that we never learned to heal from. Or maybe, in an effort to learn to appreciate our bodies, we perked up our ears to the messages about body image floating in the atmosphere that turned out to be not so realistic for us. Whatever the reason, we ended up here for the purpose of healing.
If you've read a blog of mine before, I've been open about sexual abuse and how it affected my relationship with my body. The only reason I know that this is what's happened to me is because of the brief period of time I spent 70lbs lighter than I am today. In that year and some months, my body felt some truly amazing things. When I started gaining weight again, I realized too that the fat was just the symptom and losing it was part of the therapy--not the cure. The cure was healing my mind, allowing myself to feel all the things I didn't when the abuse first happened. After years of that, I've arrived at a place where I can accept that this is something that happened that I cannot undo. But the happening doesn't have to undo me. My body was not to blame then or now. I still struggle with my mind when it wants to automatically shut down my body (especially in intimate relations), but I am closer to reconnecting with my body than I was a year ago. So that's something to smile about.
What habits do you find yourself working through on this journey? When you're through with all this, where do you see yourself?
I know that I'll always have to fight back against those bad memories, those bad lessons I've been taught. Even after years and years of success, there's always the possibility that something will trigger it all again. This time I'm arming myself with knowledge and faith. I simply don't know anything else that will keep pulling me through the rough times without resorting to the habits that have threatened to break me since they started.