Friday, July 6, 2012

Stepping out of the comfort zone

I have discovered that the best way to find out why I was overeating was to put down the food and the causes would become abundantly clear.  Now that I have done that, the reasons seem to attack at me from several different directions and it is my job to actually deal with them instead of constantly running.  Otherwise, I will inevitably run right back to food.  As a child, I felt very unsafe.  I was living with a mother who physically abused me for years and then I was sexually traumatized by someone I trusted.  That led to going to a very safe place ... food.  That was my drug of choice to numb the pain, express my anger, punish myself and keep people at a very comfortable distance from me.  I did not trust people and, as a consequence, I had an extremely difficult time forming intimate relationships.  I do not want these events in my life to be what defines me.  Yes, there is tragedy and heartbreak there but I have a fighting spirit.  While events of the past are in the past, they still can affect the present if they are not dealt with.  There are times, however, that I feel like a fish out of water as I attempt to find healing.  One such thing is the issue of confrontation.

For most of my life, I avoided confrontation.  I certainly did that with my mother because the few times that I was brave enough to tell her she was hurting me, she would only hurt me more.  If other kids were making fun of me for being large, I wouldn't confront them because they would only ridicule me more.  So I learned rather quickly that to avoid those feelings, I just simply would not confront anyone.  Confrontation is a part of life, though.  If someone is stealing from you, you must confront them to recover what belongs to you.  If someone is hurting your children, you definitely will be a bear and confront them.  And for me, if someone is treating me in a way less than I deserve, I must confront them as well.  Today I was given the challenge of confronting someone.  I must admit, in the moments leading up to having the discussion with this person, I was feeling the anxiety inside that normally would have been soothed by some ice cream, chips, cookies and other forms of toxicity that would convince me to just not say anything.  When that little voice started going on in my head before making the phone call I had to make today to deal with this other person, I had to tell myself, "Kathy, you have to deal with this.  Just stay calm and know you will be very proud of yourself for being as strong as you know you are." 

Okay, yes, I was talking to myself.  But you know what?  It made all the difference in the world.  I had the conversation I didn't want to have, yet it turned out much better than I could have imagined.  My voice was not shaky, I was not letting the other person off the hook and I did it with peace inside.  It helped me remember that as human beings, we are more than what we appear to be on the surface.  Have you ever been at the beach, swimming in the waves and been out so far that you could no longer touch the bottom?  Below us is a vast sea that is so grand in size and contains such depth that a glacier is much larger than it ever appears.  The Mariana Trench is over 36,000 feet below the surface (never realized my high school oceanography course would come in handy here!).  There is more depth to me than a person who ate too much in her life.  How do you cope with not only the trauma of certain events in your life, but the residual affects such as lack of trust of other people, even those with good intentions?  It was just easier to not deal with things, to go to the food and put on a smile, hoping and praying I could just shut the door to feelings.  That doesn't work.  Who knew that when I decided to embark on this journey of improving my health that the true healing would not come in just the physical transformation but something much deeper.


Melissa said...

Your reflections hit home for me...I have never been good with confrontations and standing up for myself. I am working on this. Slowly. Funny, I had to reach my 40s before I realized I was dealing with my emotions in an unhealthy way. I'm amazed at the time I have now, when food is taken out of the equation, to reflect on changes I need to implement to move forward into a happy, healthy me. Thanks so much for this wonderful post. Great way to start off my day!

Kathy said...

It is amazing to reflect back and see the ways we used to handle things may not have been the healthiest. Almost as if we're learning anew in so many ways.

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