OK, it’s here, right now. A voice in my ear telling me to go eat. A legitimate desire to abandon everything else in my life right now and just go eat. “The urge”.
I was anxiously moving around, teetering, eating some things but not descending into full-on binge mode (mostly because there are people around and I’m holding myself back just enough)…. it felt clear to me that the urge wasn’t going away by itself, and that I wasn’t strong enough to sit still, and finally through an act of grace I thought of something else to do with the urge to eat – I can write about it.
I know it makes no sense, guys. I have been trying to banish this habit for so long, yet in this moment I am gripped with the desire to hide away and eat. Success in the mindset of the habit/fixation would mean eating as much as I can and nobody seeing me do it. And that’s where I was just a moment ago, trying to figure out how to make that happen.
I am surrounded by people who love me right now, but I couldn’t be farther away. When I am trapped in the urge it doesn’t matter who’s with me – I only want to get away from them and indulge in the eating. And tonight I’m not even lying to myself with a thought like “I just want a snack”… I know I want to full-on binge.
Why is it here? Why is a part of me convinced I must follow this through and that it will somehow be worth it? Logically I know where this habit takes me. I’ve been through this process again and again. I know I want this to be behind me forever – as in, I never want this urge to come to me again.
But when it’s here…
My mind fantasizes about chocolate and cookies and peanut butter. My brain is flooding me with anticipation. Dopamine. The exact same thing a junkie experiences when they are craving a fix.
What is really going on here? What is so tantalizing about that vision of food? It’s not just about the food, it’s also about hiding. Like I have to get away from other people in order to indulge. Like right now I am uncomfortable and self-conscious, and I feel that I need to get away so I can let go and be free of judgment. It’s a part of me that thinks “no one can handle the real me, no one can see the real me and still love me – what I do is shameful.” The voice inside my head, during dinner, was giving me an annoying and unhelpful dialogue: “Everyone else has a normal relationship to food except me. Everyone else doesn’t even need to think about it, it just comes naturally – everyone but me. I’m such an embarrassment.”
Commentary. Insecurity. Self-consciousness. “Why can’t I just be normal?”
These are the thoughts I need to rewrite. What if I’m not so different? What if I am totally normal and human. TOTALLY NORMAL. We all struggle with insecurity, we just act it out in different ways.
Fernanda (my coach) once invited me to get excited about showing up for life in all my awkwardness. Like, everyone is awkward and weird. I’m not the only one who’s awkward and weird – it’s normal to be awkward and weird! Maybe I can remember that next time I’m feeling self-conscious and just relax into it.
Truthfully, leaving this habit behind makes a part of me sad. I’ve known this part of my life for so long. … forever? I’ve taken comfort in food. Food has been an activity for me. It brings me joy and happiness! And that’s so real to a part of me – or it feels real, no matter how much of a lie it is. It’s part of my wiring. Do anything for a long time and it will just feel like a part of you.
But another part of me, a part that’s growing stronger and stronger, knows that the temporary joy brought to me by food comes at a cost that isn’t worth it. And I don’t even know in truth what it’s holding me back from, keeping this addiction. It could be much more than I even imagine. Meanwhile, what does it even give me? The idea and illusion of comfort? …which is becoming more and more tainted with guilt and remorse. With the pain of misalignment and knowing I’m not living up to my potential.
I feel tired right now, but glad that I did this. Glad I came to write instead of hiding in the cabinet stuffing myself and feeding my shame complex. I hope it gets easier. I really really hope it gets easier. I don’t want to avoid life anymore. I don’t want to procrastinate on the things I care about and let my dreams lie unfulfilled. I want to be the version of myself who is confident enough to dream and actually go for it, instead of deciding prematurely that it isn’t worth it, that I’m not worth it, that I’m not good enough, that I’m doomed to fail. I call BS on that learned helplessness. And I know there’s something much better than food waiting for me around the corner, when I finally let this habit go. I’m already getting glimpses.
A beautiful thing just happened. While I was writing, the urge passed. I’m looking across the room at Mathew and now I feel affection towards him, where before I wanted him to get away so I could eat in peace without being seen. It feels softer, having your heart open to what’s around you. I feel better being connected to the world than closing myself off.
Everything passes. One day maybe this all will be a dream. Maybe it really will get better.