Feelings. I hadn’t realized how much I still run from them, run from them to food. And this past year full of one medical issue after another, including mysterious bouts of being violently sick in the night, I didn’t realize that my body has changed to such a degree that eating emotionally is no longer an option. If I choose that, then I can expect a night of violent retching until my poor stomach is emptied and quiets again. I thought on previous episodes that I had a stomach bug.
It was only after this last wretched one that I became aware of what was really going on. I just threw food down, without pleasure, without chewing sufficiently, and I suffered later waking up sweating, first one trip to the bathroom, going onto the couch, and another violent bathroom visit. And then I could sleep but not until wiping a tear from my face due to the pain and pressure, and a soft out-loud apology to my poor body, “I am so sorry.”
I cannot forgive myself for my inability to stop this. Because knowing I’ll be sick afterwards does not stop the tendency to get in the food quickly. Because whatever the feeling is that I’d rather not feel?—it needs blocking, numbing, stopping. I’m so good at it, eating fast, stuffing it and the feeling. I may not be able to stop the tendency, but I do need to work daily on it, more accurately, I need to just do it, do it right, do what my body needs… finally. Work daily instead on loving my poor body by chewing slowly. It is such a bother. What is supposed to be a pleasure is a bother to me. I’d rather not have to deal with it or deal with me.
That scratchy feeling of loss, of wrongness, of I don’t know what, I just don’t want to feel it anymore, is so hard. Days of it. One moment ok-ness, the next, that feeling. I want to make it better, a relationship gone bad, or complicated, or filled with friction. And feeling unable to do that, I eat. And get sick, so very sick.
And why or when will I stop? All the names I tend to easily call myself I try to keep at bay. My mother’s words, “Dummy,” for one, is right there beside me, in me. I can add many of my own names. But I don’t, yet still it is there, a very loud presence like a hovering shadow ready and all too willing to bash me down. Or maybe it’s a wise presence saying pay attention to this scratchy feeling. Be with it. Let it be there awhile until you figure it out. Or maybe it’s both that I deal with, riding that rocking iceberg, the loud banging voice and the gentle wise presence.
But days, then weeks, it stays. And when I give up trying to run from it with food because that is just too much torture, the feeling begins to abate, dissipate, and even resolve slowly. Some paths leading to a sort of resolution make themselves known. It is a rocky, uncharted path, partly treacherous, and unfamiliar. Yet that feeling of riding an iceberg remains. I want to feel solid, knowing. Yet I don’t know. And riding that current of indecision and indecisiveness is uncomfortable.
So I get up and go back to the work of self-care each morning, right here in my own home. I try to shake myself from the stupor of zoning out. I mentally list daily goals: meditate, exercise, eat in a way that won’t upset this butchered stomach which 35 years after that regretful operation is falling apart—bleeding— and unable to tolerate any more abuse.
I try to remember to enjoy the fruits of the day given to each of us, the brilliant spring sunshine, colorful varieties of flowers erupting from the earth, the chortle of birds, the turkey crossing the road on my extended walks, a body that is upright and still moving, a husband I am getting to know maybe for the first time, and becoming friends with, and on and on my list goes if I let it, love it and work on it. It is just very hard during a time of turmoil and confusion, which too often seems to occur, to ride the waves of discontent, and to figure out just what is going on and how I want to proceed.