Last night, while in Jubilee (the overpriced supermarket where I shop for groceries), I held a pumpkin pie. I had the thought that I wanted to eat the pie. Not a piece -- the whole pie. Forget about the fact this was probably an old, Thanksgiving leftover. Forget about the fact that eating an entire pie would leave me in a sugar coma. Forget about the fact that whatever emotional pain I was feeling, that I thought could be cured by PIE, would come back the next morning heightened by the fact that I HAD JUST EATEN A PUMPKIN PIE.
This was a very scary moment for me. Why? Well, for one thing, based on my history with eating disorders, a one pie episode would likely lead to compensatory purging behavior and, likely, many more episodes. There's something known as "the vicious cycle" that only someone struggling with an addictive behavior can understand. It pulls you in like quicksand until your mind begins to rationalize that this is really a good choice under the circumstances or the only choice you can make. You realize that your power to choose feels like it has been thrown entirely under a bus.
When I think about what led to that moment last night, I really shouldn't be surprised. I was sleep deprived, having taught at 6:30am that morning. I had a long, very busy day at work that finished at 6pm. I felt lonely -- it was the first night of Chanukah and I wasn't with family (I was going to meet friends for a Chanukah service but bailed because I felt so tired.). And, I was colllllllld. It was freezing out and I live near the Hudson River, so my walk home often involves braving what feels like a gale force wind. All of that led to the thought. Pie. Good idea. Have it.
I just want to share how I got out of it. I did resort to food, somewhat. I ate a really big salad and it was very bulky, and I dressed it with what I definitely think was too much olive oil. I have this shitty I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray and while a few pumps on my oatmeal can be alright, I think I used half a bottle on my chicken. It was pretty gross. I felt bloated after but I was grateful that this was the "worse" damage I did, because it was my best effort to act lovingly when I was feeling low.
I reached out to some friends who are also recovering from food issues and got some really good support. I felt some relief just in sharing from my heart. Simple.
I looked around my apartment -- a mess -- and I said it's OK, you can take care of it tomorrow. When I give myself pressure to be productive 24 HOURS A DAY, including while I sleep (since I expect to have dreams that reveal something that will help me in my life), well, that is a boatload of pressure. Not necessary. It is so important for me to have down time. I watched the Daily Show and didn't laugh as much as I usually do, but I did start laughing.
I couldn't explain my mood and I didn't try.
I woke up today feeling better but not great and actually allowed myself something I enjoy that's better than binge eating on a leftover supermarket pastry. I had a pumpkin yogurt muffin for breakfast with a really hot, strong cup of coffee.
I showed up to my intenSati class at 9AM ready to do my best. The process of teaching when I don't feel great at the start of class is always challenging but pretty amazing, since I go through the same kind of transformation I used to experience as a student. I had so much gratitude by the time I was done and then I made a phone call to another really supportive friend. She was a great reminder to just treat myself gently and without the old "beat myself up with a bat" mechanism that's linked to perfectionism. Then, by 12:45pm for my second class, I felt so great. So, I used that energy to lead what I think was a really awesome class. Again, I felt really, really grateful.
I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a while. We studied acting together about a year ago, that's how we met and we had performed a scene from "Rabbit Hole". Today, we reminisced about the work we did, the fun we had and what we learned. I felt really happy catching her up on what's been going on in my life and I realized how different things are now and how grateful I feel.
Well, I was feeling pretty good after that but I thought, Hey, walking through Central Park would also help this effort so I did. I saw the ice skaters in Wollman Rink and watched the happy kids playing in the playground. I listened to groups of tourists speaking French, Italian and German all in about a 20 foot vicinity. I paused and sat on a rock and meditated for 10 minutes, asking in my meditation for help letting go, trusting and slowing down.
Then I got my eyebrows waxed. :)
By the time I got home at around 6pm, I realized I had done a 180 and was in such a different place than last night. It took work, definitely. That's what I need to do and I'm grateful I know it.
Now, remember that room I mentioned? Mine. The one's that messy. Well, I'm going to go clean it!!!!!! I think this post was particularly long because I've been procrastinating but I will harness all my power and strength to do it, Yes! :) Thanks for reading and wishing you the very best.