I had therapy today, and when I talked to my therapist about a journaling/retrospective/goal-setting activity I was planning to set out on (which I had also done last year), she said something like, “Maybe you shouldn’t do that.” And as soon as she said that, even though I tried to protest a little bit, I felt like she was probably right. I am an information gatherer. I read and read and read to gather more information on whatever I am interested in, and in the past two years, that has meant that I read the entire works of Geneen Roth, as well as all that Brene Brown had to offer. I read other self help stuff as well, and I read about mindfulness and disordered eating and self esteem and a myriad of other topics that resonated a little bit with the journey I have been on. My KNOWLEDGE about these topics is first rate. I did several online art journaling workshops this year that gave me knowledge about these same topics, as well as awesome art projects to do, in a step-by-step format. So why do I sit here, on New Year’s Eve, still struggling with the same compulsive eating (and spending) issues that I have allegedly been working on for all this time? When I do these activities, I feel like I am doing something that is on the path to getting “there.” I don’t know where “there” is, but I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING to make my way toward it. But I got called on it a little bit today because it is not about the knowledge anymore for me. It is about putting it into practice. So that leaves me somewhere in contemplation (we discussed the stages of change today) of this strange world of mindfulness, something that I just don’t really “get.” My therapist says that she believes I can get there. I am choosing to try to believe her.
Anyway, my word for last year was ENOUGH. I got this from the common phrase that is the mantra of many women who are in a similar position to the one I have been in, “I am enough.” But I don’t think I committed to it as a theme for my year. I did some surface things…bought a couple of “I am enough” necklaces, created a private board on Pinterest full of inspirational images, reblogged post after post on Tumblr about being enough, right in this moment, just as I am. But I kept worrying about my weight. I kept dieting (and then “messing up”). I kept shopping. I kept binge eating.
In choosing a word for this year, I waffled between FREE and PEACE. I think that those words, as I am defining them, are pretty much the same, so I settled on peace. I want to find peace in my body, in my relationship with food, in all of the “stuff” that I have been carrying around with me. I want to be free of these things. And I think that the only way to do this is to take some sort of leap of faith and let go of the power that the scale has over me (and maybe even stop weighing myself at all, although the thought of that freaks me out a little bit) and work toward mindfulness. I have spent many years eating for reasons other than hunger, to the point that I don’t know that I have a full understanding of what hunger feels like. I have spent many years eating past the point of satisfaction, to the point that I don’t know that I could recognize satisfaction if I were experiencing it. But the hardest thing for me to consider in this is the fact that I have to give up dieting, and I have been dieting for so long that I can’t imagine what it would look like not to be doing that anymore.
So here’s to giving PEACE a chance in 2014. I do believe my therapist (and also all the experts in all of the books I have read) when they say that finding peace within ourselves will allow the rest to follow. I just have to figure out a way to make that part of my story.