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Monday, May 03, 2010

The last two days have been a nightmare, foodwise. I've eaten everything that I shouldn't, nothing that I should, and not a single serving of fruit in the last 48 hours. To put it plainly, I've been binging.

It all culminated today with a trip to my favorite teriyaki shop, followed by a pit stop for 'snacks', consisting of a box of frozen potato skins, mini Red Baron pizzas, a chunk of fudge cake, Grandma's cookies, a bag of Pepperidge Farm snickerdoodles, a Hostess apple pie, ding-dongs, no less than 3 candy bars, and an energy drink.

...Apparently I thought I'd need some caffeine to stay conscious through the dual sugar- and fat-coma.

And I fully intended to eat it all. The Grandma's cookies never made it out of the car, they were eaten on the trip home. The teriyaki, which I had planned when I thought about getting it 3 days ago to split into 3 or 4 portions, was all eaten, except for a ball of rice and a few slices of chicken. The energy drink was cracked open and chugged.

And then, not at all helped by the residual tummyache I had from my dinner of Coldstone and a restaurant (i.e. suitable for 3 people) serving of pot roast and mashed potatoes, the nausea set in. My stomach began to hurt. My head went fuzzy.

And yet, I still thought to myself, 'well, let your stomach settle. You'll have room later!'

A few seconds later, I took a mental double-take. Who the #*&@ was this chick, drowning herself in sugar and lard on a sunny spring afternoon? Who the @#$( did she think she was, ruining all of my efforts over the last month?

Sure, maybe I haven't put in 110%, or even 100%, or even 75% a lot of days. But any effort is better than a big fat 0. And any attempt to try and incorporate a little exercise and keep my calories under control is better than sitting on my expanding butt and snarfing on food that doesn't even TASTE good (well, with the exception of those potato skins- they have bacon. Everything will taste good if you sprinkle on bacon.)

And here I was, throwing it all away. And for what? A temporary sugar high followed by a huge crash? And ever-worsening stomachache? The taste of crappy, fake, preservative and chemical laden food?

I know exactly why I was doing it, though I couldn't admit it when I felt the binge coming on.

I'm just upset. My family's having a bit of a rough time, because two of our beloved cats are having to find new homes. My parents like animals. ...I LOVE animals. When I was 7 years old, I could flip through any one of my 5 encyclopedias of cat and dog breeds and name off every breed without even glancing at the page heading. I could take one look at a mutt and, 95% of the time, decipher exactly what kind of mix it was. By the time I was 12, I had dreams of showing dogs, training them for agility and obedience trials. I spent my afternoons teaching the animals new tricks, and my evenings watching Animal Planet. My reading list consisted of Where the Red Fern Grows, Julie of the Wolves, A Dog Named Kitten. My favorite movie has always been The Lion King- all animals, no pesky people.

And now, at 19? I've given it all up. I had dreams of showing dogs, of being a vet, of joining the military so I could work with K-9 units. And then, something changed. I just... Stopped caring.

See, we've had issues with keeping animals. The first sign of a behavior problem, and my parents are off like a flash, moving the animals out the door to new homes. Every time, I've had a meltdown. To date, we've rehomed 4 dogs, one rabbit, and now 2 cats. The last dog? His name was Bonsai. He was a Maltese, and he was the first dog we've had who has been MINE. I raised him, I learned how clicker-training worked when my parents said we couldn't afford obedience school, I knitted him little sweaters to wear during the winter so that he wouldn't be cold, I brushed and ponytailed his topknot, gelling the little short hairs back so they wouldn't be in his eyes.

And before today, I could never admit that every single animal that we've rehomed, I've felt like it's been MY fault. Bonsai most of all. Because I'm the animal lover. I'm the one that everyone turns to when they see a dog being walked and want to know what kind it is, or can't remember which breed of cat it is that has no fur. I'm supposed to be the one with all the answers. I'm the 'next dog whisperer', who's supposed to be able to sit down and have a stern talk with the dog, and have every behavior issue disappear just like that.

And every animal we've rehomed, I've failed. I couldn't fix the problem. I couldn't love them enough, I wasn't good enough. Because as much as I might blame my parents for all of the furry friends I've lost, I can accept now that I'm also to blame. I didn't FIGHT. I just stood by, and when my parents said that it had gone too far, whether it was the messing in the house or the barking or the picking fights with other animals, I just accepted that as a simple statement of my failure. When they said that animal had to go, it meant that I couldn't do anything more, and that I hadn't been good enough.

And ultimately? Bonsai was my decision. My dog, my decision. Sure, my mom made a point for months to point out every mess he made in the house to me, wearing me down bit by bit. But it was ME who didn't put in the extra effort to make sure he was walked and entertained and loved. And it was ME who finally said "Enough is enough. He needs a new home."

And now, in less than a week two cats have been, not rehomed, sent to the POUND. Because I couldn't find a solution. Because I wasn't GOOD enough. Because I couldn't save them.

I have one cat and one dog now. My mother has promised me that my cat, who is turning 13 this year, is immune to any efforts to find a new home for him.

She made no promises about the dog.

He's developed a habit of running off to the neighbor's house, which my parents are at their wits' end to stop.

They've asked me, not in so many words but in their glances and implications and mentions of how much I've always loved training the dogs, to step in.

This dog is my best friend. And now his fate is on me.

And I don't know if I can do it.

So I've been doing my best to stay calm, to pretend that none of this is affecting me, that I don't care that the cats are gone, that my love of animals has faded over the years, that I don't still get too attached, too fast.

I've been pretending to be unfazed by their request. I've been pretending that I don't really care if this dog, too, is removed from my life.

And so, my mind has been clouding. I've been sleeping my days away. I've been slowly losing my motivation and momentum for EVERYTHING, not just my efforts to get healthy. And so, yesterday, when the whim to have junk for lunch hit, I indulged it. When the idea to go get dinner and then ice cream entered my mind, I jumped at it. When I thought that just eating my leftover pot roast for breakfast today would be the easiest course, I just went with the flow. And when the idea that maybe teriyaki would be good for lunch, I jumped right on board. When I was driving by the grocery store and thought about how good their baked goods are, I pulled right into the parking lot and loaded my basket with the worst junk I could find. And when I started shovelling the food into my mouth, I didn't even think twice.

It wasn't until my stomach started to ache, until I looked at the shopping bags of food around my feet, food which didn't even make it to the cupboard, which I fully intended to simply eat straight out of the bags like some demented picnic basket, that I started to wake up.

I've been down this road before. Avoiding issues, becoming overwhelmed, leading to depression, and finally a binge which lasts maybe a meal, maybe a day, maybe 8 months. I've been down it over, and over, and over again. And it's time for me to stop the car, get out, and push it down the #*@(-ing embankment and walk, because it's time for this to END.

Brodie (our current mutt, who ISN'T going anywhere), finished my teriyaki for me. The candy's in the freezer. The cake and ding-dongs are in the trash, but I'm going to pull them out and make a nice chocolate-sugar soup out of them and flush it down the toilet. The rest of the junk is in the freezer and on my dad's sugar-stash shelf. If he doesn't eat it, it'll be doled out bit by bit.

Just because I wasn't good enough to keep the past from happening doesn't mean I'm not good enough to shape the future. What's past is past. But the person I am now is NOT the 7 year-old whose only friends were her pets (real and imaginary) and her books. I am NOT the 12 year-old, scorned by her classmates, who found solace in the pantry, the animals, and the television. I am ME. And I am strong enough to stand up for what I think is right.

I'm DONE with goodbyes. If my parents think that MY dog is going anywhere, they'll have to go through me first.

...And believe me, after the way I've been eating, there's plenty to go through.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Several ideas pop up from your message.

    First, eating away your sorrows doesn't solve the problem of what is really eating you. That ding dong won't save the cat, the ice cream won't save the dog. All they do is make you feel worse, both physically and emotionally.

    Second, you are expecting to be perfect. I have a news bulletin for you - you aren't perfect and no one walking the Earth today is either (even though some of them have egos that tell them differently).

    Third, have you thought about talking to someone at the animal shelter. They would know of an animal behaviorist, who might tell give you some ideas about how to be the next "pet whisperer". Animals that leave messes in the house may have physical problems, that a vet can handle, or they may be trying to attract attention (think of a child's temper tantrum at the grocery). A behaviorist will be able to teach you how to tell the difference and what to do in each case.

    I'm glad you've finally decided to stand up for yourself and your pets, but it is obvious to me that you need some support.

    Good luck.

    2973 days ago
    I'm sorry for all that you have gone through. And I am delighted that you chose to get rid of the junk you didn't need to eat. Please, always remember that if you don't meet your expectations for a day, a week or a month, you are not a failure. Tomorrow is always another day to do it right.

    Take 5 minutes every day and think about what you want in life. Picture the person you wish to be. Focus on becoming that person, who is just a healthier, thinner version of the caring young woman that you are.

    You can do this if you really want to. Keep trying, always. You deserve the best.
    2973 days ago
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