Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Being Human

So the whole completely giving up compulsive blogging thing didn't work very well.

I suppose it's the sort of thing that shouldn't be approached cold turkey.

Rather than give it all up, I've decided to just make sure I go to the gym sometimes -- in addition to blogging -- and, you know, remember to pay attention to my social life outside of the computer. To that effect I'm sitting here in my pajamas concocting weekend plans and considering the most efficient way to pack my gym bag for tomorrow -- when I also happen to be having coffee with my big brother of of Ann Arbor journalism at noon (unless one of us happens to cancel again since we keep canceling on each other).

I feel super happy and all of the grouchiness from the weekend has passed. Sorry to those of you who I more-or-less told to shut up. I had enough noise in my own head and just needed the quiet. Plus, I get sick of everyone's nurturing and advice sometimes. You know? I'm going to be turning forty five in a few months. People can stop worrying about me. I know how to look both ways before I cross the road and usually I do it. And when I don't, I'm willing to accept the consequences. Although I must admit I have appreciated the few occasions in my life when people have grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled me back to the curb. Smile. Seriously, this has happened to me twice as an adult. So, I guess I don't really mind people looking out for me. I sort of like it. I just wish you'd all keep it to yourself and stuff like that. I can do things. I'm very competent. I'm an adult after all!!!

So, before I head off into the wonderful world of fall canvassing on a beautiful day in Michigan (There's no better work than this, I kid you not. We were in Adrian last night, out in the country, beautiful farmland with rolling golden soybean fields and maples just starting to turn red and yellow), let me just update you on a few things related to my career and life transition.

First of all, some of you may be wondering why I write about weight and dating in a career transition blog. And I decided it's a topic worthy of discussion. The fact is, as a compulsive overeater I've found it difficult in my life to find balance. Most people who deal with any sort of addiction or compulsive behavior can relate to this, I am certain. In my life I have often used work in the same way that I have used cookies and cake. I've poured myself into it to such a degree that I've ignored my feelings and relationships.

So I decided, when I quit trying to be a superstar insurance saleswoman and realized it just wasn't happening for me, that maybe I should just try dating a little bit. I had been mostly thinking I should wait until the Poor Journalist got back to business to date. I thought I would feel more able to contribute to a relationship then. Also, I felt like I didn't want to date if I wasn't where I wanted to be financially. I had all sorts of excuses in my head for avoiding the mess of relationships. But then I realized I didn't want to go through too many more Christmases without having anybody special to hang ornaments with me. So, I thought I could just try it and see.

I'm really glad I did. I think there's a pretty good chance things will work out with this guy who I have a crush on now, too. He's a super guy in lots of ways -- my favorite way being that he's much more in touch with what's going on emotionally with himself and with me than any other man who I've ever dated. He's also very frank and up front. That's cool. I like it. He's taking cave time right now -- figuring out some stuff from a past relationship. I like that, too -- a man who knows when he needs time for himself to figure out what's going on in his heart and head; and even better yet, a guy who's willing to step up and give me a call and tell me that that's exactly what he needs to do (some guys will just leave you hanging, wondering if they've flown off to Siberia with a circus maiden). So whatever happens with this guy, I think the experience of dating him has been really helpful for moving me in a direction toward balance and maturity. And no matter what, he gets to go down in history as the first over 40 man who's ever kissed me. Totally excellent kisser, mind you.

So, enough about kissing and romance... on to weight and boundaries with that.

In addition to the stress of having new feelings for someone (feelings are stressful for people who are compulsive overeaters -- happiness, surprise, sadness, worry, waiting, wondering, anger, jealousy, joy... all reasons to eat sugar. Any feeling makes us want to eat sugar), I have decided to break away from the pack of my friends who attend my eating meetings. This has been really stressful to me because these are some of my very closest friends and I haven't wanted to disappoint them. Also, since I am not sure that what my heart desires to do with regard to my food plan is really the best thing, I have been feeling really worried that I might lead some of them astray, too.

One of the hardest things about being a food addict is the very public nature of the condition. I rely really heavily on my friends for support and encouragement and I get quite a lot out of the twelve-step spirituality. For long periods in my life I have had success with following a food plan from a nutritionist and following a daily set of routines and rituals that are practiced by many of my friends in the twelve-step fellowship. I actually was one of the first people in Ann Arbor to adopt this regimented way of dealing with the food addiction and I co-founded one of the most successful and popular twelve-step meetings in Ann Arbor in 2003. I was a poster child then for the fellowship. I travelled to Washington, DC, a few times to be a lead speaker and share about how I had lost so much weight and kept it off by following the twelve-step way of life.

But for the past few years this hasn't really been working so well. And I am glad for some of our slogans in the program. The slogan I keep thinking about is, "Take What You Want And Leave The Rest." I also keep thinking about a statement that's read at every meeting. It is, "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively." I don't have to follow a particular food plan. I don't have to weigh and measure my food. I don't have to talk to a sponsor every day. Those are excellent tools and they have worked well for me in the past. They may work well for me again in the future. But at this moment in my life, those tools are not working for me. So, I have decided to step away from the pack and try this other nutritional program that a friend from church is involved with. It's what I want to do. I've decided not to mention what program it is because I know that if I do I will get a ton of opinions about it and people will share with me their experiences good and bad. I don't want to hear it although I do appreciate the concerns.

I'm just going to do it -- and continue going to my eating meetings because I feel as though I really, really, really am a certifiable compulsive overeater who has been addicted to sugar her whole life. I need my friends. I love my friends. I intend to hang out with my twelve-step friends even though it might make them a little bit uncomfortable that I'm doing things a little bit differently now. That's OK. I'm not trying to promote my choices.

I'm just trying to be an emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy human today.

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