A high school friend of mine (KWV), who I believe honestly gets my struggles shared this book with me when she learned of my journey. It is an awesome book, a simple read and a great supplement to all of the harder core self help books I am reading. Currently I am reading The Gift of Compulsion and Refuge Recovery, this I was able to read and complete while still hammering through the other two.
This book resonates with me so completely I am going to go blog it now (chapters at a time), to help reinforce it’s philosophy and hopefully start to really live it. The author, Victoria Moran sings to me!
If I were the author of this book I think these first two chapters about, accepting and honoring myself would be at the end of any book I would write, as it seems accepting myself and honoring myself are my end-goals. But she is right to state these two concepts as the beginning of the journey because, in all honesty if you don’t accept and honor yourself then you probably don’t value yourself enough to allow this self care to become your life style. Accepting and honoring have to come first.
I am wondering if all of my dieting attempts have all been thwarted, including my unsuccessful weight loss surgery, because I entered all of these programs without accepting and honoring myself first. I am THAT person, the one who felt that being a size 12 would provide me my pathway to happiness. Only accepting myself AFTER I lose weight. I self hate on me when I am not a size 12 but being the size 12, alone, did not provide me with life long happiness as I learned self loathing still lingered no matter my size. Otherwise I would still be a 12 and NOT back to a size XL or 18. So there are obviously other feelings that are not allowing me to stop using food as a drug, and just using it as a fuel. You know, eating to live and not living to eat….
So I have to accept myself and then honor myself before I can really even think about reconciling my food issues. My favorite line in this first chapter is “acceptance is not rationalizing overeating as okay.” I love it because it is at the end of the chapter and the whole time I spent reading the two page chapter I was thinking, “dang I don’t have to think about my eating while I learn to accept myself, that is awesome!” And then BAM, I read Ms. Moran’s reality check statement. Because overeating and my food choices are diminishing my life so they do not belong in my life. I have to work on being mindful while I journey to acceptance and honor.
I have to redefine myself, and it has been difficult- so much so I have been completely avoiding it (as my nutrition therapist agrees!). I have always been known as the party girl, fun girl, funny girl. I called this person Fun Amy, in my early days of substance abuse treatment. I was borderline reckless and it was a part of my identity that I did enjoy. People liked me, I was so fun and allowed others to be silly and nutty (and over drink, eat) too. I was a master enabler for others like me and I could spot you right away! I’d convince you to come play with me and join me in my compulsions. I am also well known for being a fun eater- loving appetizers, desserts, fine food… I was such a FUN (yet pricey) person to be with. It is always a good time to hang with ‘fun Amy.’ And now I have to redefine me, OR as my therapists would say extenuate the other parts of me that are also awesome and now no longer shadowed by the party girl. Part of accepting me, is accepting that there is more to me then Party Amy or Fun Amy. Alcohol-infused Partying Fun Amy is of no longer…. I can not hide behind her anymore.
My alter egos, Contessa and Sage (if you read my other blogs you know these women) are a part of this accepting and honoring journey for me. Contessa pushes for all the good stuff that require overindulgence and Sage is the one that helps me and Contessa compromise with each other. She’s our mediator. It is a sick world in my head! But it works, personifying the compulsion engineers within me help me have conversations with myself so I can make better decisions for me. Sometimes it works and sometimes Contessa wins over… but the longer I work at this, the more times Sage gets a say. I am accepting this part of me, this crazy part that compartmentalizes my compulsions. I am compulsive, it is me- it is a part of my personal definition but will not completely define me.
Honoring myself means I have to STOP the SELF HATE TALK LANGUAGE and I have to be brave and ask others around me to stop using this negative thought message activity around me. I am getting better at saying, “please stop your self shaming, be kinder to yourself.” I need to get others to try and not speak that way around me, as I try my hardest not to malign my person, all on my own. I have to start focusing on the good work I do with kids, my thoughtfulness of others, my loyalty to others, and the awesome home/family manager I am. I raised two awesome human beings and I am HAPPILY married for 28 years now (not so many can say such a thing). I make mistakes, I own them and I work on doing better, ALL THE TIME! This weekend I had an awesome in depth chat with my 25 year old daughter and had a couple “A HA” moments that validated to me that I did pretty good as a Mom. I need to honor myself by focusing on these things and not on my appearance. I am beautiful, I am strong and I am trying my best to be better, every day. I may be plump, and totally out of shape right now but for now, until I can work up the motivation to get fit again on the outside, I am TOTALLY getting fit on the INSIDE!