I am a writer, mixed media artist, Healing Coach, and Facilitator of Women's Groups. Ultimately I help women heal childhood wounds and awaken to their lives in the here and now. I am a fellow journeyer and survivor on her own healing quest. I believe women can come back to who they truly are underneath their wounding. I believe in the power of healing, community, and saying yes to life and awakening to our own aliveness.
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Food helps me run away from myself, it helps me numb out, leave the building so to speak. Lately, I have been on the run with food. This experience so precisely behaves like an addiction and I’m of the school of thought, if it acts like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a fucking duck. It feels like addiction. It feels all encompassing when the cravings hit, it feels like everything else falls away, every hard earned pound of weight loss doesn’t matter because all that matters is that damn cupcake.
And frankly, I’m not okay with living at the mercy of a cupcake.
This is how it typically goes down:
I start by thinking about my drug (cupcakes in this case) over and over, rather obsessively, and over until I am practically in a trance, getting up from my sofa, putting on my sneakers and coat and making my way to the store.
Little or no thinking is going on, in fact my mind gets very quiet and all the work I’ve done, my journey, putting myself out there as an example is sectioned off or crowded out by this singular focus of needing to have those cupcakes. (it can be bread on a different day, or a candy bar, or whatever my mind fixates on)
I go to get my hit at the corner store, Hostess Cupcakes to be exact, my heart beats a little faster, I think about them as I am walking home, there may be a slight pang of regret, but my mind doesn’t let me go there too much, we have got some binging to do. I may pick up something salty too cause I’ll want that after the cupcakes, some chips or cheese doodles, something to counteract the sweetness in my mouth.
In the past if anyone was home, I’d make my way to the room and lock my door, hoping no one would come knocking so I could enjoy my treat in peace and if they knocked, oh boy. I was not happy. Don’t interrupt me when I’m interacting with my drug or God forbid make a comment about it.
I sit in my living room and put on something good on television. For some reason a good snack and good TV show are now linked in my mind.
I eat the cupcake, that first bite or two is like heaven, I breathe deeply as the tension that was building settles. As I am finishing it I start to feel a sort of panic. I think why didn’t I get more, what else can I have after this, what else do I have for later? Dammit. I feel the loss of the experience being over.
Within a half hour to an hour, the guilt starts to to set in, the shame. I shouldn’t have done that, why did I do that? I really need to get it together. Okay, relax it was only one cupcake..but the truth is by this point, it’s been a week of cupcakes, bagels, pizza, whatever. So it is never just one cupcake. In fact the next evening I’ll be thinking about it again.
The problem with this, this time around, is that I’ve already tasted what it feels like to feel alive and awakened in my life in a really strong way. I have already felt so alive in my body that this time around I so acutely felt the dulling of my senses, the downward descent into unconsciousness, the slipping away of my energy and enthusiasm, and the very scary affect on my mood. The drop into old feelings was sharp and almost immediate. And yet I couldn’t stop it. It was as if once it took hold, my thinking changed, my belief in myself changed, my hope shifted into hopelessness and despair so quickly that those old grooves in my brain said, “oh yes we know this, let’s go there”.
While in the past I could gently go into the dark night and stay there a while, I am struggling being in the dark. I don’t like it here. I’ve had enough of a taste of my life in full mode, in technicolor to possibly go back to this and stay for too long.
So today I am being really gentle with myself. Taking some time away before posting this, checking in with how I feel about sharing this, loving myself through it. I struggle with words like relapse, going backwards, fucking it up, failing, messing up..my mind wants so much to define this, to put in a category and shame me with it. I resist this old pattern of seeing this as anything but a part of the process.
It is now several days since I wrote the above:
I’ve gone back to my wheatless ways 🙂 I’m also going back to being dairy free and very limited sugar. I don’t really have to go low carb cause this is so naturally low carb which is great for me since I am a pre-diabetic.
I felt alive and strong and incredible during the weeks I was off wheat and gluten.
Completely life changing.
Also hard as hell, I won’t lie.
This time I’m not doing whole30, I’m focusing on wheat free/gluten free, eating only grassfed meat and organic meat which I already do, fruits and veggies of course. Eating rice occasionally only and using coconut oil to cook. Still using coconut milk from the can for my coffee so I am off of half and half after 20 years.
And I’ve added raw grassfed cheddar cheese sparingly, but other forms of dairy are out.
I will be having a sweet potato every once in a while and I’m so in love with squash now. I went off for two weeks and was literally craving these foods..now that is crazy or perhaps big progress.
I missed eating this way and the stuff I had didn’t even taste that good anymore.
Also the symptoms I’ve had over the last two weeks have been awful. I have a big laundry list of actual side effects of reintroducing some of these food in my body, very clear and undeniable.
And here is the ultimate truth in all of this. It’s about the food but not about the food. I use food to leave myself, to “not deal” with uncomfortable feelings, to numb the stress. My daughter moved out in these last three weeks. And although it was a happy time, it was also sad for me and I just didn’t want to feel that and so I ate. My life felt like it was moving too fast and so I ate. I had my rev coming up with Fabeku Fatunmise and I ate through the excitement and nervousness around that. I ate through the overwhelm.
And when I was ready to return to myself and feel again and be with myself, I stopped.
My judgment of that has diminished as I lean into compassion for the scared parts of me, for the parts of me that are so afraid of change and being alone.
I whisper, “It’s okay. You are going to be okay” and I am willing to love myself even when I slip away from myself.
I am willing to welcome myself back like the loving mother who welcomes her long lost child.