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Acceptance

In comments on the previous post, Forest Jane and I talked about how we can’t bring certain foods into the house because they’ll call to us all of the time and we’ll eat them.

I said that I can’t fool myself any longer and think that I won’t binge, in my own post weight loss surgery type of binge, on certain foods if I have them available in my house.  This has stayed with me in my  mind since.  The process of mulling this over caused some things to bubble up for me, even though the concept of keeping my house free of binge-trigger foods is nothing new.  It seriously could be the umpteenth time, or even the umpteenth squared time, that I’ve thought about this in the last 30 or so years.

You’d think I’d have gotten the point by now.  I have a little disgust twinge going on, but I’m also trying to remember that it doesn’t matter how often we think about something, or hear a suggestion, or even know intellectually that we should do something a certain way… if we aren’t ready, we aren’t ready, and we won’t make the connection.  Even if we make the connection, we can dig in our heels and resist.

Acceptance is the key, but I need willingness to reach that point.

I keep thinking that some day, somehow, I’m going to be able to eat “normally”, be a “normal” person when it comes to food.  That’s nothing new.  I know that for me, the only thing normal about my eating is that I will always be a food addict/compulsive overeater.  There is no cure.  I can only learn helpful things, tools, and means for keeping in recovery, even while accepting that I will never fully recover.

Today, this acceptance revealed an additional realization.  I’ve had it in my mind that when I get to goal weight, I’ll be fixed.  I won’t always have to do this, always be mindful, commit every day to working the program, and remain vigilant.  That is the worst kind of denial.  I can’t believe that I’ve continued to pretend otherwise for so long.

I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it.  There’s no time limit on the disease.

Mentally, I’ve known this for decades.  Today it feels like the rest of me is catching on, or at least catching up.

I have a lot of feelings about it.  I’m  a little glum in my acceptance, but at the same time pragmatic — it is what it is.  There’s resentment but I’m also ready to embrace it and keep moving forward.  While I haven’t worked through it to find the joy, I am catching a glimmer of grace in make these forward steps.

I’m grateful because, at the end of the day, I know that I can continue to recover.

 

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Eating Away Self-Esteem

Aside from the obvious health and life expectancy risks the negative effect that I hate the most is the damage that compulsive overeating and obesity do to my self-esteem and confidence.  I may seem and act strong and secure, but the mental and emotional struggle to get there are very real.

It’s like the act of overeating, or of eating compulsively, just erodes away my core emotional strength.  I start to doubt myself and my abilities.  I begin to worry about how I’m perceived.  I project that my weight enters the room/meeting/situation before me and sets me up to be judged and evaluated on how I look.  If I’m not on the alert for this internal process, I start to shrink within myself and begin “playing smaller”.

Playing small is a reference from Marianne Williamson’s great reminder piece.  In it she proclaims that “Your playing small does not serve the world.”  I’m here to tell you that playing small doesn’t serve me either.

I seriously don’t like that my eating disorder leads to me undermining myself.  It’s difficult enough to fight the external impulse of food without dealing with the internal challenges.  Every piece of my confidence that erodes needs to be replaced.  I have to devote mental and emotional energy to shoring up my core and my foundation.   It’s damned exhausting.

It’s such an odd thing that food and eating have so much power beyond being or providing fuel for the body.  Food needs to stay in its place in life as that fuel.  No more, no less and no different.

The coming week is filled with industry-related meetings.  These will require the best of my energy on all three levels – physical, mental and emotional.  I’m already prepping, not only the paperwork, notes, and other materials, but also myself.

My confidence has taken a hit in the last few weeks.  I need to build it back up again.  My confidence took a hit but it isn’t out for the count.   I’m picking it up and setting it straight so that I will function without fear in the way that I need to and how I know that I can.

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Face Everything And Recover

I’ve made it more than 36 hours without weighing myself.  Funny how that seems so hard when I’ve made the conscious choice not to get on a scale, as compared to being away for a week and not even thinking about getting weighed.  This is turning into a great lesson.  It came to me expressed so clearly when I was riding my bike after work.  I need to keep repeating this to myself and reinforcing it in my mindset so that it truly sinks in.

It’s not about what I weigh; it’s about how I’m eating.  Recovery comes from not compulsively overeating.

I’ve had two days of compliance with my food program.  Keeping my focus on eating according to my plan and not grabbing things impulsively is so powerful. Just two days of abstinence lightens my spirit, mood and how I think.  I treat myself better emotionally when I’m clean and clear of diseased eating behavior.  I’m looking forward to doing it all over again tomorrow — one day at a time.

Moving on with a different topic focus, I have a fear that I need to face.  Something’s come up at work where more of us from a variety of departments are needed to help with some observations  Some of these observations are done from the vantage point of a temporary tower and one has to climb a ladder to get up into the tower.

The structure is sturdy.  Really sturdy.  It was built with every attention to detail, strength, stability and safety.

I am afraid to climb the ladder and go into the tower.  It’s not that I don’t have the arm and leg strength for the climb.  I’m not so fearful of heights that being in the tower itself scares me.  Heck there’s another taller, bigger tower that I go up to on a regular basis.  Oh really, I’ve zip lined!  I want to go up in a hot air balloon.  So this fear really isn’t about the height of the structure.

It’s the darned ladder and my mind throwing back to when I was so heavy that I could have broken one of those ladder rungs.  Logically, I know this is not going to happen now.  Heavier people than I go up and down that ladder without incident.  This fear thing is best summed up as False Evidence Appearing Real.  The old reality is lurking in my mind like a child’s “monster in the closet”.

I need to confront my diseased mindset; open the door to the closet, let in the light and expose that the monster isn’t real.  In short, I need to go up that ladder into the tower and demonstrate to myself that I am not too fat.  I won’t break the rungs.  The structure will not crack and crumble under my weight.

It’s a little surprising that I’m experiencing this fear.  I think it’s a continuation of me having lost a little confidence in myself because I’ve been sort of stalled and focused on the wrong aspects of my recovery.  I’ve let the doubts and fears crowd out the “can do” rekindled spirit of adventure that I’ve been enjoying — the one that led me to do that zip line adventure and the dozens of other activities I’ve explored in the last few years.

It’s time to look the issue in the eye, then face everything and recover.

I won’t have the opportunity to tackle this tomorrow.  I’m aiming for Thursday.  Wish me luck.  I’ll report back for sure!

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Scale Separation Anxiety

Holy cow.  I weighed myself one final time this morning because, for all of my brave talk yesterday, I wanted, needed to know my number before I embarked on giving up the scale and not focusing on the number.  Oh sure, if I’d been really strong I wouldn’t have gotten on the scale this morning, but I caved.  I’m glad that I did because I received the reassurance that I did not gain weight on my cruise.  So, Booyah for me on that point.

After I saw the number, I got off of the scale and nudged it under the dresser.  There it will remain.  I am determined that I am not going to weigh every day, or even once a week.  I think I should go for 30 days of abstinent living and not weigh myself for a month.

Can I tell you that the thought of going that long tenses me up?  I haven’t even gone a regular 24 hours without weighing myself and I’m already feeling some separation anxiety.

This is ridiculous.  Clearly I am even more obsessed with my weight number than I realized — and I thought I’d realized that I am pretty damn obsessed.  Friends, let me tell you.  Feeling this stress and tension drives home the point that I really need to take this action and break my scale number addiction.  In appropriate doses, the scale number can be a healthy measure of progress.  What I’m doing, this fixation, is not healthy.  So, changing the behavior is, I think, a step in the right direction.  I am even more determined to focus my attention and effort on eating in an abstinent manner — making it my daily goal to be abstinent for the day, each day, one day at a time.

Abstaining from compulsive overeating is the essence of my recovery.  Losing excess weight is the happy extra benefit.  (Hah — can I be my own friend with bennies?  Bad joke.  Sorry.)

Okay.  Here we go.  I’m going to make a commitment.  I honestly don’t know if I can hold out for a whole month, so I’m going to shoot for a shorter commitment but still one that’s a significant amount of time to count.  I will not weigh myself again until Monday, February 16th.  Two weeks.  I can do this.  Instead of obsessing over my weight number, I will concentrate on my abstinence and recovery.  Every day.  One day at a time.

By the way, I had a great abstinent day today.  I don’t want to let my scale issues cloud the acknowledgment that today was a good food day.

Tomorrow, I wake up and do it again.

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Thinking Back

One of our fellow blog readers is having weight loss surgery tomorrow.  She posted about it in comments here on my Things I Can Do Better post a few posts back, so I’m not speaking out of turn or blowing her anonymity.  ForestJane, I wish I’d gotten your email address!  If you happen to read this tonight before your surgery, please know that I’m thinking of you and sending you giant-sized good vibes and positive energy.  Please, when you can, check in and let us know that all went well, okay?

Three years ago at this time, I was a little shy of four weeks pre-surgery.  I had two weeks to go before starting the two week, full liquid diet before the surgery.  Many, in fact I think most, bariatric surgeons require this regimen of their patients.  Going full liquid helps to shrink the size of our livers which are somewhat inflated by our lousy eating habits.  If I understood it correctly, a smaller liver is easier to maneuver out of the way when the doctor’s in there working on reducing the size of the stomach.

Starting that regimen is a big step.  For me it was a strong show of my commitment to move forward and it also signaled my unofficial countdown to the day that would ultimately change not only my stomach, but also my life forever.  Those two weeks were interesting, scary, exhilarating, and challenging all at the same time.  Scary because I was so afraid that I’d screw up, let my eating disorder get the best of me, and go binge on chocolate cupcakes or something else, thus f*&%ing up my master plan.  Exhilarating because as each day passed with my successful adherence to the guidelines, weight dropped off.  I think I lost nearly 20 pounds in two weeks which made me feel great.  I was on my way!  Challenging because, hey, when you usually eat whatever, whenever, and how much, suddenly restricting to protein shakes and cream soups isn’t easy.  I have to admit that the fear was a great gut check.  I so badly wanted to do the surgery that if I even thought for a milisecond about sneaking a teeny piece of  chocolate, the fear said, “No!  You’ll ruin everything!!!”

Interesting were the reactions that I received from a couple of friends and co-workers.   From the time that I’d begun to share my decision to have wls with them, they were supportive.  Team Mary all of the way, they declared, and they helped me accommodate everything it took with all of the required tests, examinations, follow up doctor appointments and other practical matters.  They willingly talked to me about the journey whenever and however I needed.

What I didn’t know was that some of them were stifling fear for me.  Although they very much wanted me to lose weight and get healthy, they were also frightened that I would not survive the surgery.

I have to say that, although I know that every surgery carries risk, it never once occurred to me while I planned this that I could die on the operating table or die from complications after.  I should say it never once occurred to me until the day that I happily proclaimed to a co-worker that I’d already lost 15 pounds on the liquids and she reacted by crying and asking me why I couldn’t just continue to do this until I lost all of the weight.   She was so afraid for me, she exclaimed.

The intensity of her fear stunned me in that instant.  I had no idea.  If memory serves, I sat their slack-jawed for a moment and then answered her with the truth from my heart.  “If I could lose the weight I need to lose without having the surgery, I would have done it before now,” I answered.  “I’ve tried and always failed.  This is my last chance.”

Flash forward, of course, to the happy ending.  I survived the surgery and ever since.  When I came back to work I found out in a roundabout way that the fear expressed to me that day had been shared and discussed by others.  I have to say they did a great job of concealing it from me.  I’m glad because it only would have resulted in me feeling really horrible that I was the source of such anxiety.

Thinking back to where I was three years ago right now, I’m so happy that I focused on my hope and determination and did not let fear – my own or others’ – rule the day.

Today, as a reminder to myself, to Jane, to all of you who are going after what you need and want, and to all of you who might need a little boost in that direction, I’d like to share a little inspirational photo and message:

Sky limit

(Photo borrowed from Dolphin Research Center’s Facebook page.  Click here to check it out.

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Home From the Holidays

I arrived back home in the Florida Keys about an hour ago at 8 p.m. after a full day of travel from Pennsylvania which was prefaced by a crappy night’s sleep.  Although that trip was smooth with no delays, I am exhausted.  For the life of me, I do not know how I handled traveling when I was 386 pounds.  The sheer effort of slogging between parking garages, terminals and concourses is enough to make anyone want to collapse for a nap on their luggage or, better yet, crib a ride on one of those rented luggage carts.

Complaining aside, I loved spending time with my family and friends.  I always try to drive around and see as many people as possible, yet even with my best effort and planning, I never managed to see everyone.

My weird ailment on Friday eased up on Saturday in that I no longer needed to throw up every few hours.  I continue to have some lingering discomfort in other, shall we say “tuneful”, ways but I’m sure that too will pass.  (Hah, what a horrible, unintended pun. *snicker*)  I don’t have much appetite, which is not a bad thing as, prior to my illness, I was eating too much of too many things that I don’t normally consume — or at least don’t normally consume in meals so close together.  This eating pattern very likely contributed to the gastric issues.

This leads me to looking ahead.  As you all know, because I keep talking about it, I’m recommitting to my recovery plan.  For the longest time, I’ve been thinking about this in terms of finally, finally, finally, losing the remaining pounds that I want to shed.  The third year anniversary of my weight loss surgery is approaching.  While I cannot lose the weight by that date, I truly am determined.

However, in recent days, my approach to achieving the ultimate goal has shifted.  That is because the ultimate goal itself has changed.  I owe it all to Anne Lamott.  If you have not seen this post, about what she refers to as the Anti-Diet, I urge you to read it.  It provided an “aha” moment, the likes of which I have not experienced in quite some time.  If you aren’t on Facebook, don’t worry.  She must have her profile set to public.  You can read it without signing in to FB.

So many things she says in her post hugged my heart.  This anti-diet idea is about treating ourselves with love, gentle acceptance, more love, and self-care. It’s about doing for ourselves what we would do for others; preparing and serving ourselves food in meals that we would offer an honored, loved guest.  It’s also about not letting our clothes and how we fit in them define our self-esteem.

If you were coming to my house for dinner, I would not feed you unhealthy crap.  I would take the time to select fine quality, fresh ingredients and cook you a delicious, balanced, nutritious meal that you would, hopefully, love.

Sitting across from you at the table, I would eat the same tasty, healthy meal, savoring each bite instead of mindlessly shoveling it into my mouth.

Food is not love.  Eating nutritious, balanced meals in a healthy manner is, however, a way to practice good self-care, to treat myself with love, respect, honor and kindness.   By keeping this in mind with my food choices, I will support my recovery in a number of ways.  With the commitment to my physical exercise for health and good eating, I know that, ultimately, weight will come off.  However, the bar for health will be in the way that I treat myself, not the numbers on the scale or the way my clothes fit.

Before I left the mainland on the drive home this afternoon, I stopped at a well-known produce stand.  I bought fresh fruits and veggies that delighted me with their quality and bright colors.  Kale, romaine, green beans, spaghetti squash, pineapple, Florida strawberries and a mamey sapote.  In deference to my slightly shaky system, I augmented this freshness with some soups from the supermarket.  The intention is to eat lighter than usual over the next several days to see how my body reacts.

Most of all, now that I’m once more home from the holidays, I’m going to commit to not dieting, but to nourishing myself – body, heart and soul.

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Enjoying Good Food

Every two weeks I get an order of fresh organic produce delivered at work.  Several of us are part of an organic buying club, which is kind of cool.  The club offers a greater, fresher variety than is currently carried by our local supermarket.

In the last almost-three years, I’ve deliberately tried a number of foods that I didn’t previously eat, or at least didn’t prepare for myself.  I’ve also taught myself to cook different foods and experimented with recipes, flavor combinations and the like.  In produce alone I’ve grown to love making brussels sprouts and beets.  I’ve tried slow-roasting or grilling veggies.  I’ve even experimented with making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes and will continue trying different recipes in that arena.

The goal of all these and other efforts was to increase my appreciation and enjoyment of eating healthier foods and foods prepared in healthier ways.  Today, for example, I really enjoyed a salad at lunch that I’d put together of crisp romaine lettuce, roasted beets, toasted walnuts and a few small chunks of goat cheese, lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The flavors and textures were so enjoyable from the sweetness of the beets to the tangy cheese to the crunchy nuts.  It all simply tasted so good!

This week’s organics share included parsnips.  By coincidence, I ran across a recipe on the internet for parsnip, apple and peanut butter soup.  I believe I’m going to try making that this weekend.

What I have discovered over the months of cultivating more appreciation for better quality foods, is that I have progressively lost my taste for other, junkier foods.  Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that I will always like the occasional serving of salty, fatty, crunchy potato chips or a piece of fried chicken – but those cravings don’t come to me with any great frequency.

I have completely lost my desire for fast food burgers, fries, and milkshakes.  In years past, when driving by one of the big chain burger restaurants, if I caught a whiff of the aromas, I’d feel instant desire to pull into the drive-through lane.  During the worst years of my binge eating, I could easily order enough food for two people.  In fact, I’d order two sodas so that the counter people would actually think I was ordering for two people.  Now, the aromas make me a little queasy and definitely don’t lure me in to get any of the food.

Unfortunately, although I’ve tried, I’m yet to succeed at training my taste buds to like any seafood.  That might never happen.  However, my food choices are so much more healthy than they used to be, and that’s a tremendous plus!

 

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No Can’t Do

Sometimes I think I’ll never lose weight again.

Sometimes I worry that I’ll regain all of my weight.

Then I give myself a mental head smack.  I tell myself to knock off the negative thinking.

Oy the things we say to ourselves.  The endless ways in which we strive to kick ourselves when we’re down.  You’d think that we’d do whatever we could to avoid inflicting additional pain when we already feel bad but,  instead, we pick up these things, wield them like clubs, and beat ourselves up with them some more.

Nasty bit of business, that cycle.

Negative thinking leads to negative action or reaction, like eating inappropriately or languishing in bed until it’s too late to take a longer walk before work.  The good news is that positive thinking supports positive action.  Positive action bolsters positive thinking.  That’s the cycle that I need.  It’s the one that keeps me on the healthy road.

Today I slept in a little but, since it was Sunday morning, it didn’t matter how long I stayed in bed.  I still had time to take the dogs for a longer walk.  That’s how we started the day.  I felt much better mentally for having met an exercise need.  It’s a building block and I need more of that, consistently.

The truth is that there is no “Can’t do” in my life.   When my disease says I can’t, I need to counter.  It’s a never ending lesson and I absolutely need constant reminders.

Eat well.  Exercise.  Take care of my spirit.  Eat well.  Exercise.  Take care of my spirit.  Eat well.  Exercise.  Take care of my spirit.

Can do.

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About Compulsion

com·pul·sion
kəmˈpəlSHən/
noun
 1.
  1. the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint.
    “the payment was made under compulsion
    synonyms: obligation, constraint, coercion, duress, pressure, intimidation

    “he is under no compulsion to go”
  2. 2.
    an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one’s conscious wishes.
    “he felt a compulsion to babble on about what had happened”
    synonyms: urge, impulse, need, desire, drive; More

     

    Since I deal (or not sometimes) with compulsive eating behavior as part of my binge-eating disorder, I thought it might be a good topic to discuss.  I know how the behavior manifests, but figured it would be good to see how compulsion is actually defined and then assess how it resonates to me.

    So, definition number one doesn’t match.  Nobody forces me to overeat, eat when I’m not hungry, eat and keep eating, etc.

    Definition number two?  Yes, that’s the one. If there’s a way to highlight words in WordPress, I can’t figure it out, but if I could, I owuld highlight “irresistible” and “against one’s conscious wishes”.  Yes, I really do feel sometimes as if the urge to eat is irresistible, even unstoppable, and it occurs regardless of my conscious desire to stay on my plan.

    Compulsion is a horrible feeling.  Imagine if you couldn’t control your hand and had to watch while it picked up a kitchen knife and stabbed you in your own thigh.  Yes, that’s a really dramatic image, but it serves a point.  When compulsion overcomes my conscious wish and give in to the irresistible urge to eat, I hurt myself — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    I wish the weight loss surgery had also removed the compulsion, but it didn’t, so I still struggle with it every day.  However, the surgery set me on the road to a good long period of recovery and weight loss.  I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been, so while I have my off periods, I believe in myself.  I’m definitely not going to gain back my weight.  Ultimately, I have come to believe that with the help of a Higher Power, a program, and all of the tools at ready, I am stronger than the compulsion.

    One of the big tools is to set myself up for success instead of creating situations where failure is more likely.  For example, being in the vicinity of bags of candy for Halloween — that’s a big time, doomed-to-fail scenario.  I am absolutely capable of compulsively eating piece, after piece, after mini-piece of candy until I’m sick to my stomach.  Setting myself up for success means not buying the bags and having them in the house.

    You see, once I start, it honestly does feel sometimes like I can’t stop myself.   The time to bring all of the weapons forward to beat back the compulsion is before I take the first piece.  The call to action needs to happen while I still have conscious thought — and when I’m still conscious and aware that the compulsion is bubbling up.

    I’d like to substitute healthier, more positive behaviors for the destructive compulsive ones.  That’s been an ongoing effort.  Exercising consistently.  Practicing good, positive thinking.  Reshaping those old truths.  Exploring the flavors of healthy food and experimenting with new-to-me foods and cooking techniques.  These are all positives.  They take practice.  Continual practice.

    Also on the positive side is recognizing that I have an addictive personality.  If it wasn’t food that became my drug of choice, I know I’d be addicted to drugs or alcohol.  There was a time when I was hooked on cigarettes and also a regular pot smoker.  In the early 80s when I lost more than 100 pounds on an extremely restrictive, medically supervised, diet, I did not yet know that I had an eating disorder, so I wasn’t in any kind of treatment to help me understand and deal with the other aspects of the disorder.  I was only eating nine ounces of protein a day and I wasn’t drinking alcohol when I went out to the clubs three or four nights a week with my friends.  So, I still needed something to make up for the lack of food as a coping mechanism.   I started getting high almost every night.

    Although I spent a lot of years partying in rock clubs with my friends, I didn’t drink to drunkenness every  night and I wasn’t much for drinking at night when I was at home.  I think observing and dealing with my mother’s alcoholism probably contributed to me not making that my addiction.

    I gave up pot a long time ago and have no desire to pick it up again, even on rare, recreational occasions.  I was never into coke or other illegal drugs.  I also tend to avoid prescription pain killers unless absolutely necessary — as in the pain level I’m feeling is at least an 8 on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being unimaginable pain.  Even after surgery when I was recovering at home, I only took a couple of doses of the pain medicine the doctor prescribed.  Today the orthopedic doctor offered to write me a scrip for a stronger medication than over-the-counter pain relievers.  I politely declined.  I’d rather not have it in the house and run the risk of swapping one addiction or compulsion for another.

    Compulsion is ugly, challenging, frustrating and, sometimes, disheartening.  When all is said and done, however,  I refuse to be its victim.  I’m going to borrow from one of my favorite television shows, Scandal, and imagine myself as a gladiator.  I may not win every battle, but I do not run from the war.

     

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Reshaping Old Truths

Each of us carries with us truths.  There are things that we believe to be true about life, the world, about ourselves.  The truths we believe about ourselves are the ones I’m thinking about today.

I have a bunch of them that formed for different reasons from various sources.  Experience.  Listening to other people.  Coming up with them in my own head.  Mis-learned lessons.  The thing is, not all of these truths are really true, but I call them truths because they appear true to me — I believe them.

Sometimes we, or at least I, hold onto these things with tight grips.  We believe them so strongly that they shape our reactions and actions.  They sculpt the way we feel about ourselves.  They can shore up our confidence, or weaken our foundations.  Once we’ve integrated them into ourselves — our hearts, minds, emotions — they are really difficult to reshape or let go of.

Some of my truths have been big whopping lies, or at least horrible misconceptions.  A few examples from my life?  Thinking my father wasn’t proud of me, that I was a failure.  Believing that nothing I did was ever good enough.  Believing that I would never successfully lose weight and keep it off.  Those are just a few.

There are others that less corrosive to the spirit and psyche.  For example, even though I sang in glee club and choir when I was younger, I don’ think I have a good singing voice.  I sing when I’m alone but don’t like singing in front of other people.  Unless I’m at a concert where it’s so loud that other people can’t hear me.  I think I formed that opinion after I asked someone if I had a nice voice and they told me no.  What’s actually true is that I’m definitely an alto and I don’t have a grand range.  I think I probably sing better than I think I do.  I sometimes wonder what would have developed if I’d stayed with singing groups/clubs.  My control would most like be better than it is and maybe I would have improved my range.  I honestly don’t know, but the truth that’s in my head is, no doubt, far apart from what’s reality.

I have also always believed that I have no artistic talent.  I’m not good at crafts with the exception of needlework/needlepoint and working with sequins and beads.  I have a good eye for finished marketing materials like ads, flyers, and brochures but am not effective at designing them myself.

But let’s get back to the deep, emotional but potentially destructive truths because, man oh man, those are the ones that definitely need to be reshaped and we should give them the highest priority.   Thinking my father wasn’t proud of me weakened my self-confidence for years.  Thankfully, we resolved that issue a few years before he died.  I’d been so ashamed for so long that I was afraid to ever bring it up to him.  When I did, he almost cried.  A lot of pain got washed away and we both changed for the better in our interactions and connection to each other.

The whole believing I’m not good enough thing was always the heart of my eating disorder.   Even though I know that I’m more than good enough, knowing it doesn’t resolve the eating disorder.  That carries a certain degree of suckitude, but it is what it is.  At least the more positive belief helps remove some of the emotional underpinning.  It keeps that leg of the stool more balanced and secure.  That’s so important.  I can work on the physical aspects and, as discussed in the earlier post, the spiritual leg of the stool too.

Speaking of the physical, not ever believing that I could successfully lose weight and maintain it meant that I always felt that I was doomed to fail.  When you don’t really believe you can do something, you’re already setting yourself up for an ultimately negative outcome.  Sometimes I still want to fall back into that belief, so I’m working really hard to reshape that false “truth”.  I have successfully lost a good chunk of weight and, even though stalled, I’m maintaining the weight loss — far longer than I have ever done before.  I’m also maintaining the physical fitness effort.  (Rode my bike 14 miles today and did a one hour Tai Chi class.  Booyah!)  In so doing these things, I’m stacking up evidence for my own eyes and heart that a negative truth can be changed.  We can come to believe differently about ourselves.  That, my friends, is vital to my continued recovery.  Let me tell you, it is definitely the priority!

Now back to that artistic talent thing.  Remember the post on pottery and the class I took?  I’m ready to reveal the end results of my very first experience with “throwing” clay on a wheel.

Here’s the first pot.  You can see it’s uneven both in shape and in thickness.  The glazing’s uneven too.  Still, I gaze on it fondly, even in its imperfections.  I love the sweet little starfish that I added to the inside and the speckled sandy glaze inside the pot.  I now have this little thing in my bathroom.  It’s perfect for holding my earrings, necklace and ring when I take them off at night.

Pot-purplePot-Purpleinside

For the second pot, I achieved a little control which resulted in a more even pot.  I’m not happy with the glazing.  Detailed brush work is a challenge and it was hard to assess whether I’d evenly applied the glaze.  I like the shells that I affixed.  Overall, while it’s clearly not something that anybody would try to sell in a gift shop, I like it enough that I put it in the hall bathroom.  I may add some small soaps.  Whatever the case, I’m not hiding it away where nobody but me will see it!

Pot-aqua

My last, and best pot, surprised even me!  I can’t believe I achieved the overall shape.  On the second trip, when we learned to smooth and “trim”, I even managed to do that in more symmetrical fashion.  I loved playing with the deeper blue speckled glaze on the outside.  I think I achieved a nice, rich color.  Inside, I used a lighter speckled glaze and centered a single piece of sea glass in the bottom.  I love this little bowl!

Pot-bluePot-Blue-Glass

I don’t pretend that I am a  gifted potter after a single foray, but again, I’m not embarrassed to show this bowl.  I, who have always believed myself to not have any artistic ability at this kind of thing, got a life lesson.   I have enough artistic ability to have created three pots with enough success that I’m inspired to try additional things. Working with the clay, shaping it into different pots, helped me reshape another old “truth”.

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