When this year began I made one giant promise. Not the sort written at midnight on New Year’s Eve, fueled by holiday indulgences and anxiety at the year ahead and not the kind written in shame-scrawl on the back of an envelope which also happened to contain notes from a recent doctor’s visit. No, this time I made one simple beginning of the year promise completely sober and completely aware that what I was embarking on was probably going to take a lifetime, not one year. I’d been dancing around this for years and it was time. There wasn’t going to be a better, easier year to start. The simplicity of it was probably the hardest part. I took a deep breath and wrote this down:
“I want anything I do for and to my body (food, drink, exercise, skin care, rest) to be from a place of love and acceptance. Not just for this year but from here on out.”
Well, as you can imagine, the first 7 months have been… interesting. Awfully enlightening. Terribly humbling. I’m not thrilled to own that lifelong health and vitality is much less motivating for me than quick fix weight loss, that letting my body find normal again after years of synthetic hormones (a story for another post) is not at all a gracious act on my part but instead something I’m staring down daily in a tooth and nail, hook-or-by-crook fashion.
I’m learning to listen to my deepest desires. I mean, really listen. Past the chatter of thoughts and underneath the steady hum of low-level anxiety. I’m learning that things I’ve done in the past, even seemingly successfully (if weight loss is the only goal), don’t actually make me feel good at all. Huh. I’m face to face with habits learned in a lonely childhood and let me tell you, that BLOWS. It turns out that some of the things which kept me alive during high school PTSD and then later during grief and loss (my community and then my mother—big stuff) are no longer being read by my cells as comfort and safety but as a full-on attack. My stomach is completely done with being ignored and tricked. I’m also happily surprised to find that I really do function better with a morning green smoothie, whether or not it’s truly an “ideal” breakfast, and that I actually crave them when I go a day or two without. I’m still surprised at how good I feel when I actually take the supplements I need.
I’m starting to be able to feel everything I’ve survived in one lifetime and sit with it, sit with all the feelings, sit with the ache, sit with the insane desire to run more so I can eat more or to put myself on another ascetic cleanse because pain still feels better than acceptance. I’m starting to realize that the only expert who matters is my belly, my gut. I want to have a real, vital relationship with her.
7 months down, the rest of my life to go…