Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pain, Epiphanies and Food

I don't really wish to philosophize here.  I keep it pretty superficial and on topic.  That's not to say I don't have more playing through my head than bootcamp and food.  I have a great desire to be fit and healthy, but it's certainly not the only desire I have. 

While pondering the Grays  and the strain and stress of the last year or so- I've been learning to know myself.  I think every does the same.  Epiphanies and revelations just come to people differently and at different times.  In fact, it really annoys me when people have epiphanies about life and assume they're the only ones that have figured it out.  So, that said- I assume I'm the most stubborn and last in line to get it.  Sort of like when Ed tries to get me hooked on some new band and I scoff at it and don't "get it"- then about 6 months later I feel like it's the best band I've ever heard and I want to listen to it 24/7.  And Ed just shakes his head.  He gets the credit for any musical exposure I get.  Total credit.  

Anyway, I've always been really stubborn, set in my ways and very opinionated.  Yet I often find myself wavering, looking for answers and not really knowing what I believe.  I suppose part of that is being 30 something and having a great desire to really know myself.  What I've become aware of lately is that I haven't really taken the time to know me.  I went through some fairly bad postpartum depression that I didn't totally admit was happening after Shepherd was born.  Every day felt like a marathon to me.  I felt trapped, closed in and desperate for escape.  I found myself behaving almost bipolar-like.  High highs and low lows.   And many, many times I'd wake up and do and say things that I didn't even recognize.  That didn't sound like me.  And at some really low points I became someone I ultimately hated. 

I imagined myself as a great damn- holding up an unbelievable reservoir of water.  The water was chucked full of anger, bitterness, resentment, loneliness, confusion, feelings of abandonment, you name it. In fact, I don't think there was one person in my life that I couldn't find a reason to be mad at or resent.  I was pissed off and taking names.  And the load got heavier and heavier. 

And so one day the damn broke.  And when it broke- I could not control the outpour.  It just kept flooding and flooding.  And there I was.  This is me.  What a mess.  I remember one day I literally curled up in a ball and just cried for a solid hour.   Like, heaving, ugly cry.   

Now- before you slowly start to back out of this post, trying to slip out unnoticed so that the psycho chick doesn't get all ape-shit and stuff- let me say I'm on the other side now!  Or at least somewhere close to the beginning of the other side.

I've always used comedy to get me through things.  In fact, as a kid, I got a lot of attention for it.
What did not get attention was having emotional needs.  To be emotionally needy was a liability.  I'm not saying this to knock my parents.  They did the best they could with what they had and I get that now.  If anything- I have more grace for them.  Parenthood is hard.  And I pray my kids have grace on me.  But, anyway, somewhere on my internal hard drive I was taught to "pick yourself up by your boot straps" and move on.  No time to have needs.  And by default, began to view anyone with emotional needs as needy, whiny, sulky, self centered and just plain weak.  At some point I made the note as a kid that feeling sad, mad, frustrated, lonely, whatever- was selfish.  And so I learned early on to be independent and need no one.  But, damn it, make them laugh.

It doesn't take a therapist (though I see one) to tell me that I've projected all that on other people over the years.  Especially as the stresses of being a woman, wife and mother have peaked.  (Will it ever not peak?)  And with all this jumbled mess comes my relationship with food.  I think I my lack of emotional vulnerability caused tension.  Tension needs release.  Food is my release most of the time.

And so this last year has been about these things:
  • Crumbling into tiny, unrecognizable pieces- enough so that I can't put myself back together the same way.  Ultimately a blessing. 
  • Excepting that I have a vast amount of needs and that's okay.
  • Seeing what happens when you hold that damn up for so long and what is left when it breaks.
  • Forgiving yourself.
  • Forgiving others.
  • The above two again and again and again.
  • Realizing that once you're in a position of needing mercy and grace- you will never make the mistake of withholding it from other people (God willing).  It's a free gift from God and is so, so sweet. 
  • It's not selfish to love yourself and want good things for yourself
  • Love dominates all.  Over judgement, criticism, hurts, religion, plans, you name it.  Love.  Only love. 
  • Pay attention to what you're feeling.  Your gut is right. 
  • God still loves me- even if I cuss like a sailor. 
Who I am right now, today:
  • Me!  Which is pretty darn amazing and valuable.
  • Merciful
  • Loyal
  • I appreciate myself
  • I'm worthy of friends, love, loyalty, happiness, joy
  • I'm a good friend
  • I'm a good wife
  • I'm a good mother
  • I'm one bad ass bootcamper
There are some amazing friends (the hubs #1 on that list) that have walked me through this last year and seen a whole lot of ugly Jen- hands on.  Their friendship should be bottled up and sold on the black market, because it's GOOD.  Like, crack good. And they teach me that I can't do anything on my own.  I need them.  I need God.  And that's not weak.  They teach me that God, does in fact, exist and His love moves through us.  And pain ultimately bears good things if you let it.  Trying to provide our own needs for ourselves may work for a while, but won't ultimately fulfill us.  

Why on earth am I sharing all these things?  Well, because, I'm sort of an open book.  Not as much as I used to be, but it's still who I am.  And because I'm an emotional eater- it inevitably ties into my food addiction-which ties into my blog- which brings me back to mochas.  Because everything does.

But, I'm in a balanced place and would like to settle here for a while and maybe share some tidbits along the way.  Not because I'm the first to discover them and I want all you bloggity bloggy readers to worship my revelations and amazing wisdom- but because I'm determined to get the word out that we're all freaks sometimes.  And that can be normal.  Freaking normal.  I promise I'll mostly keep it superficial and funny for the most part.  Because that's my style.  But just know that I believe body, soul and spirit all need some nourishment.  Not just your body.

So, go nourish your ass today!  Well, not your ass ass.  Just yourself.


Lindsey Elizabeth Burke said...

Lovin' you.

Jenn said...

I can relate. Totally. Except I actually want people to think of me as Oz. ;-)

Monica said...

amen sister. you are amazing. in a totally superficial way of course...

Premade Design by Delicious Design Studio