Accepting “me”

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I used to be so afraid of being on my own. I am not sure whether to write this post in the past or the present tense because I still continue to struggle with that fear. Present tense it is then.

My fear of feeling alone has nothing to do with: not being in a relationship or not being around people. Hence the difference with being physically alone. Instead it is about being with ” myself “. So here I am writing to remind me that it is ok to be with my own company.

Running away from my emotions
A few months after I started therapy and really working on myself, I realized that when I was not thinking about food exercise cleaning, daydreaming about a perfect family or a perfect relationship then I was left with facing “me”. The person on the inside. I was left with the emotions I never wanted to feel especially the negative emotions, I was constantly running away from. There I was with my pain, sadness, anger, shame, guilt… I was left being “a human being”, a sensitive person, an emotional person, a state I never allowed myself to be as if it was illegal to FEEL.

Instead of letting these emotions run through me, I punished myself through controlling food, exercise and through rituals that permitted me to constantly drown in my own pity party. Yet, none of it ever gave me any energy instead it drained the life out of me. The pity torturous party was followed by the worst hang over, guilt and shame. I wasn’t actually living my life and being who I am.

I was running from it because it was not the perfect life I should have.  I was too busy running away, punishing myself believing that I was the ugliest, the worst person and that I was a failure because I could never ever be perfect in my eyes or in anyone else’s eyes.

From imaginary thoughts to reality
Today I went to the beach with my little dog. I was hoping noone would be there  because I did not want to see any human beings around me. I didn’t want to deal with my thoughts that the people may think I’m fat or that I am pathetic because I’m on my own and I have no one around me. I did not want to deal with these imaginary judgments.

That’s just it though they are just imaginary thoughts. Even if  people around me might be thinking that I am whatever it is that they think I might be, at the end of the day it doesn’t really make a difference. I can just go on about my day and just be. Easy to say but since I have gotten so used to devilising myself these thoughts still come up often. In fact, just a few months, maybe a year ago,  those thoughts would’ve stop me from enjoying a walk at the beach on my own with the cutest dog in the world.

Not where I “should” be
As I drove back from the beach I realized that I am 28 now, at the end of this year I’ll be 29 and at the end of next year I’ll be 30. I also realized that in spite of all of my controlling in the past, I am still not the image of the person that I thought I should be. I wanted to be thin with perfect hair, perfect skin. Only then, I believed, I could be loved by anyone. Truth is only then I would love myself. You see because only then would I look perfect.

I forgot the part that none of that mattered so long as I embraced my extra weight, sometimes dry hair and blemished skin. I was also blinded from the fact that I could not be thin without abusing myself. I misunderstood what dieting or healthy eating was. I used it to my own advantage to torture myself to attain the impossible.

At this point, since as early as 13 years old, I set myself a goal that : I had to be a lawyer and married with a dog and one or two kids in my twenties. Because this is what I should do to be the perfect daughter, sister or whatever. I still want this but in reality I have absolutely no control over it.

Law, I can work toward, and I have, I still feel I want to progress but I believe it is a healthy motivation because it is rooted in me wanting to better myself for my own intellectual challenges.

Relationships, marriage etc…. It takes two and the second person has not walked into my life just yet. You see in my culture and may be just as a social construct in general, if you are passed 25 years old, my understanding was that I should already be either settled down, in a relationship or planning or somewhere along that path. Since none of that happened for me, I always thought that I was a failure, I still sometimes think that I’m a failure and that’s part of not accepting who I am, who I have become and where I am at now.

Making peace with my emotions
I became a little scared on my drive back home. Then, with some degree of logic and before I threw myself into my past habit of a pity party. I reminded myself that I am not so bad afterall. Even though I don’t have a perfect body, it is ironically twice the weight that I wish it was, my hair has become fluffier than ever and my skin has some acne free weeks and some “oh my gosh what the heck happened kind of week”.

At the end of the day if I keep running away  from myself, I will keep on missing out on who I am and missing out on my life. These days, often when I feel down or when start thinking “I’m a failure” . I reverse these thoughts by “getting real with myself”. I go through an exercise where I count my blessings and accept my imperfections. Where I bring to light what I could improve in my habits and most importantly congratulate myself for what I have achieved.

Peace with inner “me”
It has now become easier to sit with myself because I can accept who I am. I can accept when sadness, anger, joy, disappointment and fear that visits. The are at the end of the day what makes me the person I am and I am comfortable with that. I allow myself to cry, to be angry and scream into a pillow.

Accepting outer “me”
My physical self is much more difficult to accept because it is what is seen on the outside. Also because I tend to jump into judging myself or imaginning that others are judging me. There in lies my rejection. I have come to realize that it actually takes longer for my body to mould without me controlling it. Because it is a reflection. A reflection of what is inside. When I am broken and abused on the inside so it is mirrored on the outside.

The struggle continues
There are times, I can accept that I have one body and mind to love, one body and mind to cherish. That my body needs time to adjust, to change and that for me drastic self imposed change leads me down a path of destruction. My mind needs acceptance and understanding.

I guess what I am most thankful for is that this body and mind saw me through thick and thin. Literally. I have abused my body left and right. Starved it, overfed it, dehydrated it. Yet it is still standing. I now know that this will only happen from the inside out. With a lot of patience and acceptance.

I know this still journey has just started. I still have a long way to go. Yet I am thankful I had the courage to start it. I had the strenght to own up to my own abuse and to free myself for my illogical thoughts.

Therapy continues. Work continues. Acceptance fluctuates but at least it is there now.

xoxoxox

Izaotee

Can’t feel better

Tuesday is a blurr. I can’t remember much of it other than feeling guilty for wasting my life away locked up in my appartement. Wednesday wasn’t better. I was meant to see a play with V but as the day went on. My brain couldn’t order my body to get up and out and live. So I cancelled. Doing something I was not excited about wasn’t going to help the situation.

I was suggested by my therapist to try and break the obsessive thoughts by changing scenes. I tried my little roof top. It worked once. On tuesday, I think. Going for a walk has become terrifying. I feel watched, judged, inferior. I also feel exposed to my unhealthy escapes. My drug. Food.

Wore my baggiest clothes on wednesday, I walked out. Headed to the art store. Bought pens, gouache, and came back home. Contemplating my bed, a movie, food. I felt disgusted. I needed to do something else. Instead I entered the nearest starbucks, if only it was a park with trees not muffins. The nearest park is too far. I wasn’t in the mood. Had a chai tea. Started doodling. I felt calmer. The urges lessened. They did not disappear, I went home. Bought dinner. Too much dinner. Headed home with a less clouded mind.

I kept painted trying gouache. Swirling my brushes on the paper. Remembering why I hated that medium. It runs, it is water based. I can’t express myself with it. Stopped. Calmer again. Feeling even more stable I watched a movie, while eating and fell asleep.

I cried that day. I am not sure why but I cried. I thought about my mother aging, my father passing away, unemployment. It brought tears to my eyes.

Today should have been better because I had an art class in the evening but it was not. I cannot find the motivation to apply for jobs, to send inventory for my shop. I spent the day in bed. Knowing that if I was really in the darkest place I would eat all day. I lost the will to live.

I had two pastries instead of one. Pasta for lunch and I slept. Sent my adverts to my shop manager and slept. I was not deeply sleeping because while I slept there. I still felt guilty about wasting my time in bed. So here I am sitting at the art school’s cafe. Waiting for my class to start. Once again feeling like a stranger. Surrounded by beautiful, joyful people. Feeling huge, ugly.

I can’t seem to feel better…

Apologies for venting and complaining. Can’t call my therapist. I want to try this on my own. If and when it gets darker than this that call might be necessary.

Izaotee

New day ! Wednesday

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I was nervous about fashion class yesterday. It was a field trip. Gaining all this weight back and more reminds me of embarassing moments. Times when I couldn’t walk as fast as the rest of the class. When I would pretend to laugh and complain inside if I couldn’t enjoy hiking with my brother. When I was picked last at team sports. I had urges, thoughts about a cookies and more. I was genuinely hungry. So I had a cereal bar.

At coffee time after our retail research I had a chai tea latte. It was in a food hall at Selfridges. I was surrounded by food while stressed in class. Not the best of all situation. During our discussion I thought about a box of pop tarts. Well because I heard about them in movies and wondered what they would taste like. Buying a whole box would not be wise in this moment of weakness.

When the class ended we all walked out. I was the fattest. Embarrassed to buy that pop tart box. I walked out. In the streets on my way home I felt proud. Once again for not giving in.

One day I hope food will simply be an accessory to my life. Not the whole outfit.

No binge day

20 th of september about two months ago I fell out of control. My eating that is. I hate the word binge. But that is what it was. I put on 20 kg since. Unbelievable my trainer at the gym says. If only he knew the truth he would understand. I don’t tell. If I do, i’ll only feel exposed, judged. I know this because when I did long ago that is exactly how I felt. This is my struggle, a part of who I am that I want to change. Food will not enslave me.

Anyway yesterday I did not restrict or binge. It is always somehow easier during the day. At night is the worst. After an attempt at a balanced dinner. Rice, fish and cauliflower. I rummaged through my kitchen looking for a fix. I don’t keep food in my apartment anymore. At least not for now. Until i am a little stronger. Then I stopped. Couldn’t fall asleep. Started drawing. My back hurt. It was so painful. I knew it was all the feelings and anxiety calling out for attention. So instead of numbing it with food I gave it the attention it wanted. I felt lonely. Though i knew I wasn’t alone. Worthless. Wondering why the guys I met who seemed interested in me never wanted to spend more time with me. Was it because I wasn’t pretty enough, tall enough, thin enough? What was it? I then fell asleep listening to music.
I don’t have the answers to those question. I didn’t tell myself that I am better than that or beauty is within me. I just let it be. Too tired to self hate I fell asleep.

I know I have other qualities. Being the thinnest person in the room will not enhance them. My quest and desire for a perfect body is not a solution. I have to learn to be proud of myself sometimes.

A little victory — no binge
Phewww

Dear Dad

Dad left this world about two years ago
He is amongst the angels
Here are words I wish I had said
Everyday I miss him

Good morning Dad
I decided to write letters to you even if you are gone. Let me first confess that I always wanted to write on your birthdays, father’s day, christmas and so many other days while you were alive. I bought cards, just for you. I still have them. Never sent them. Not because I do not love you, simply because we don’t really do that in our family. We never show emotions. When we do, we brush it off. Dismiss it. I have grown accustomed to that. I don’t know how you, mum, and brothers do it. It turns out that I am more emotional than I portray. I kept them in all these years. Sadness, happiness, anger, all kinds of feelings. Suppressed, jammed down, hidden deep down. What do you know. They want out. Always wanted a way out. I realise now that this is one cause of my addiction to food.

Just this morning I thought about flapjacks, starbucks cinnamon rolls and pumpkin spice lattes. Indulging myself, seeking comfort. Using the idea of going to a cafe to write and people watch as an excuse to eat. It’s a cold and grey morning. Truth is I would rather stay in bed than get up and sit at a cafe. I would just to satisfy my addiction. Instead. I stared at my exploding body in the mirror. I didn’t hate it. I missed my old body. The fit, thin one. These thoughts are once again an attempt to escape. When, the fact is that I missed you. My heart wanted to drift away from my brain. Old habits die hard. I learned from the past and instead of giving in. I stayed in my apartment to write this letter. I miss you everyday. It is not the food or the self-hate that creates this disconnection between my body and mind. The real thoughts and feelings were about you not the cakes, cookies or chocolates. They were about How one day you were here, still joking with me. Welcoming me when I arrived home. The next you were weak. So weak and tired. No one even noticed. I did. I mentioned it to Daniel, brother who loves you so much. You died in his arms, I wish they were mine. He said it was the medicine that caused your fatigue. We should not have travelled that day. I wish I listened to my gut feeling and insisted on taking you to the hospital. I cannot turn back time now. Mum says it was your time to go. To leave this world. Even if we took you earlier to the hospital you would have left us anyway. She says what God does is right. We just have to accept it. But did God ever thought about how your absence would be so painful. Dad I miss you. May be mum is right, we all die some day right. I just wish I had gone first if it hurts this much.
Dad I don’t want to binge anymore. I don’t want to abuse my body anymore. It is tired and so is my mind.

I miss you
Love

I thought I did it… until

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Yesterday started off well.

Gym, no calorie counting, three meals and two snacks.

No fear of food or uncontrollable cravings.

When obsessive thoughts tried to settle in my mind I chased them away by sitting there and assessing what I was feeling in the moment.

Little conversations in my head to avoid clouding my judgment and running to food for its numbing effect. I told myself that I need not to be fearful or anxious about every little thing life throws at me. Why was I so scared of myself and my life. Enough already.

Shopped then went home. No stops for food. Did not feel the need to, did not want to.

I the evening I called my mum on Skype and prayed with her. I did not want to call her. It was not the prayer that I did not want to do, it was calling her. I just did not want to talk to her last night. I had no news to say. I was feeling good about myself. But I called anyways because I had promised to call her to pray everyday.

Truth is I wish I didn’t. I can tell her I don’t want to call but a little part of her dies every time. She gets sad when I don’t and worried I won’t pray. I wish she trusted me to pray on my own which I do. Tomorrow I am going to try and tell her tell her I don’t want to call or talk to her. Tell her I can pray on my own like an adult I am. I will try not to care about what she thinks or feels.

Anyway I guess that was the trigger to my downfall. Doing something I don’t want to do leads my mind to disconnect from my body. My brain drifts off to its sweet and devilish escape. It craves food. At the time I did not know why I wanted a fix. Now as I am writing I do. I once again drove myself into a trap : doing something I did not want to just to please another.

So I binged. To end the day. I wanted a different day. One that was clean. Not perfect. I am done with seeking perfection. What is the point? I will never find it. It is not worth the pain. I just want to live. That is all.

Lesson learned: Call mom tomorrow, no lies, tell her you can and you will pray on your own and that there is no need to call her every second of every day. You are grown now.

If I don’t I will be hurt- suppress- escape —- to food

I want to and I must

Out of my hiding place

Don’t want to hide, lie or suppress feelings anymore.

I want to express myself and learn to communicate.

I am rebelling against who I thought I should be.

Pushing away the real and unreal pressures.

A new person? No. The same being, simply out in the open.

Out of my hiding place. Why? Because I feel better when I assert myself and talk things over with the two most important figures in my life now: my mother and oldest brother. It is as if a load lifts off my shoulder.