On Eating My Pain & Things I Don't Want to Do Anymore

November 24, 2011

When I was a kid, I learned this thing from my mother. When she would encounter a situation that displeased her, didn’t match up to her standards, or was simply to be ignored completely she would just kind of pat her hands together as if she were washing them. This action meant (in no uncertain terms): I’m done with _______.

Now, every once and a while, I catch myself just deciding when “enough is enough” and I’m going to give something up.

I find myself saying – yeah, I just don’t do that anymore. Simple. Direct. No nonsense.

Recently, my brilliant and wonderful coach, Julie Parker, and I were having a conversation the other day about decision making. Long story short – I kind of suck at making decisions. I have a tendency to wallow, wiffle-waffle, and torture myself with indecision. I don’t want to do that anymore. She thought it might be helpful for me to come up with a mantra to say to myself when I was feeling this way. I didn’t get much further than “Mara, we don’t do that anymore.”

Fast forward to Thanksgiving, which (in my humblest opinion) is a compulsive eater’s kryptonite. It’s like that day when all the rules are thrown out the window, and people are openly encouraged to indulge to the point of being uncomfortably full. It is a holiday marketed by elastic-waisted pants and lethargy.  It is also a day that is often accompanied by a healthy dose of family, expectation, tradition, memory, and [insert hot and vulnerable topic here].

I love my family. I love my friends. I love the holidays. But, in considering the holidays and compulsive eating – it would be negligent not to acknowledge the the intersection of stress, food oriented festivities, and the best and worst of our lived experience.

And, if you’re one of those people who eats their pain, it is a day that is wrought with triggers and potential landmines.

As someone with a complicated relationship with food – it is a day where I have to pay attention. It is a day where I have to turn on the charm and be extra sweet – with myself. It is also a day where I need to draw a line in the sand, remember all of the hard work that I’ve done, and remember that I am worth so much more than that post-binge, nauseous, guilty, uncomfortable, desperate feeling.

It is a day to remember that I am unbelievably grateful for the body that I’ve been given. I’m grateful for my health. I’m grateful that I have worked through some of the pain, and believe that I am worth anything I am able to dream up for myself.

I am grateful that I can fill my plate up, and eat peacefully. I am also grateful that when I start feeling that stirring feeling of: This is my most favorite food ever! I wish I could eat five more plates full of it! Wait, this food won’t come around until next year?! OMG I need to eat every single bite I can get my hands on! There will never be enough! I am grateful that, as an adult, I can cook myself Thanksgiving dinner whenever I want. I can save some for later. I can eat leftovers tomorrow.

I can say no when I’m full.

I can say, “Mara, we don’t do that anymore,” and move on with my day.

This post was written as a part of this month’s Self-Discovery Word by Word series, hosted by Ashley of Nourishing the Soul. The prompt this month is “pain” – check out the introductory post here and learn how to participate!