Friday, January 1, 2010

Finding The Path Toward Enlightenment

I am finally starting the blog I’ve been wanting to write for ages, but felt too vulnerable to put myself out there in such an exposed way. But I also realize that, as they say in AA, ‘we are only as sick as the secrets that we keep’, so getting honest will only help me toward my goal of being the healthiest, strongest, most well-balanced me I can be. I think, somehow, by sharing with others about the most shameful issue in my life, by touching others who know exactly where I’m coming from, I will find great healing. I want this to be a place where I can say how I am really feeling, and know that I won’t be judged for it, and know that, indeed, others will identify and share their stories, which will, in turn, help us both grow. I hope that this blog will prove to be a great source of inspiration for myself and many others.
I have been overweight most of my life. The numbers don’t really matter, it’s really the emotional issues underneath the numbers that count, but for clarity, let’s say that those extra pounds amounted to anywhere from 10 to 50 pounds. I have also lived long periods of my life where I was pretty fit, although I never gave myself credit for that. I could never embrace the idea that I looked good, regardless of what the scale said. In fact, like many people who struggle with this issue, I would often look back to a time in which I had been convinced that I was fat, but with the passage of time, and the addition of added pounds, I looked back at that level of “fat” with great longing.
I come from a family where weight problems run rampant, in fact, there were a number of people in my mother’s family of origin who were morbidly obese, as a result, there was a lot of self-loathing in that family, which naturally was passed on to me. I was given the message that I was not acceptable as I was; that being fat meant being not good enough, which led to the natural assumption that not good enough also meant not lovable.
My family was so paranoid about weight issues that they focused on me as a very young child: I was six years old the first time my laxative-bulimic sister put me on a diet; It’s true: I looked well-fed, but I was not “fat”. Though in a short amount of time, this notion foisted upon me soon did great damage to my self-esteem, and worse, it distorted my image of my body, so that today, many years later, I still struggle with looking at myself through any kind of a realistic lens. Often, I feel truly clueless how I look, and worse, when I look, either just fine, or even beautiful, I can’t “own it”, I am forever convinced that I am unacceptable as I am.
Over the holidays, like millions of other people, I gained three pounds. Unfortunately, I had already recently gained 10 pounds, so this additional three, now had become 13 pounds; as a result , I was very uncomfortable and pretty miserable.
I have struggled with my recovery from food addiction for about 16 years, during most of those years I have been abstinent from white sugar, white flour and white rice. Of course, I’ve had many ‘slips’, some times lasting for months – I have been in just such a relapse for months now - but for the most part, since I began to look at my ‘weight problem’ as an addiction, I began to really understand the hold that some of these toxic foods held over me, and it was from that point forward that I began to really understand the emotions that controlled these behaviors, as well.
For me, being overweight was really a way of fulfilling the belief that I was unloved and unlovable. I believe it was also a way of protecting myself from very much wanted, but greatly feared, sexual attention, as I had been sexually molested as a child. But mostly, I think, eating food, especially ‘comfort foods’ like sweets and carbs, was a way to medicate myself, to help me not feel sad, lonely, depressed, and especially, angry.
It was a coping mechanism that I developed early-on, and one that I have found very, very difficult to let go of. I hope that by sharing my honest feelings about my daily struggle with my self image that I can find a way toward peace, for I know that the numbers truly do not matter. What matters is a love of oneself and an acceptance of who we are. I believe with this comes a sense of connection with the earth and all of the other people who are the earth. Once we recognize that we are all the same, that we all desire love and acceptance and kindness, we can begin to put the focus on feelings rather than obsessing about food and how we look. Welcome to my blog!

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