Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Revelation


For all you fans of my more humorous side, I don't have any funny for you today.  But, don't blame it on me - it's that damn Geneen Roth book, and the stupid friend who gave it to me.  That's right, Women Food and God, the same book I was all weepy over the other day.  It's true - I've been reading it again.  And once again - it has forced me to look at my inner self, and has left me utterly humorless.

You see, there is something that has puzzled me for many years.  I have gone through periods of thin fitness, where I eat healthy, and walk everyday - no matter the weather - no matter what my schedule looks like - no matter what is happening in my life.  There have been other times when a normal evening consists of me wolfing down two hamburgers, an unmeasurable amount of ice cream, spraying canned whipped cream directly into my mouth, and playing Farmville in a food stupor until bedtime.

In my mind, I know that the healthy times, when I am eating right and I am active, I feel better, I am happier, I am more joyful, and I am more myself.  Looking at it honestly, the fat lazy times don't actually feel bad, they don't feel anything - at those times I become devoid of any feeling.

So, my question has always been - why, if I feel so much better when I am actively living a healthy lifestyle, and why, if I absolutely know this to be true, do I ever stop living that lifestyle?  Why do I do the opposite of what makes me feel happy and content in my life?.  Well, while reading Geneen's book this morning, I found the answer to that question.  I probably would have figured out the answer sooner or later on my own - but thank you Geneen for brining it sooner - you have saved me years - or maybe lifetimes - of suffering and questioning.

This revelation came to me when reading the chapter about meditation.  Now, I have never been a sit on a cushion, burning incense and chanting "om" type of girl - unless it was part of my ongoing comedy routine.  You see, I have tried, but I have never been able to settle my mind and body into this state of quiet - so when I got to this meditation chapter, I was going over all my 'New Age' jokes in my head - "The breath within the breath" and all that.  But, when I read Geneen's description of how meditation feels - I realized that I have done it - I have practiced it regularly for long periods of time - and when practicing it regularly it had grounded me and brought me joy.

Confused yet?  I still contend that I am not polite enough to sit quietly in a room of meditators without some obvious stifling of laughter on my part, (maybe someday I will become more enlightened), but I have felt exactly the way Geneen described meditation feeling when I have taken regular walks.  You see, there was a time when a morning walk was a daily practice not to be missed.  It was my quiet time, my time with myself and my thoughts and feelings, my time to clarify things in my mind and heart, my time to simply experience being alive and all of the feeling that go along with it.  It is also the time when I don't have to put on a strong front - the time when I don't have to keep it together - for my family, or my job, or my reputation as a sane person.  It is the time when I connect with me and with nature and when I come to understand what is going on both inside and outside of me.

Sounds pretty darn awesome, doesn't it?  so you are probably, like me, now wondering, why stop?  Well - you're just going to have to figure that out on your own!  No, just kidding.  I'll tell you why.

I always feel better, happier, when I am leading a healthy and active lifestyle - but I feel other feelings as well. Life is not always good, and it is not always happy - and sometimes things happen that cause such strong feelings of despair, anger, and sadness that it is as if those feelings will tear me apart.  It begin to believe I will not be able to hold it together - and then the world will witness my weakness and vulnerability.  At those times, if I find myself walking alone in the early morning, I also find myself feeling feelings that I do not want to feel - that threaten to tear me apart.  Believe me, I have been known to walk through a forest preserve alone, listening to some sad music on my i-pod, crying my eyes out.  I tell you what - if you have some sadness in your life - download the Across The Universe version of "Let It Be," go off to some place where nobody is likely to see you, and you wont be able to help but let it all out.

The reason I stop my healthy lifestyle and turn to fat laziness is because that incredible amount of food I can fit into my body, that stupor that comes when I am stuffed beyond belief, that ability to sit for hours, tuned out from everything around me, allows me to numb all of those strong feelings.  It allows me to go through life not dealing with the pain or the situations that cause that pain.  And I must say - there have been times when the ease of ignoring the pain has simply been easier than facing and dealing with it.  However, on the same count, it numbs the good feelings as well.

As Geneen explains, food is my drug of choice.  It doesn't have to be food - it could be alcohol or drugs or internet shopping or gambling or any number of other things.  It is anything that is not healthy, and that allows a person to avoid feeling and dealing.  When, in actuality, as Geneen's book explains, the best thing to do is to feel the feelings, acknowledge the feelings, admit the feelings, and then deal with the situation that is causing the feelings.  Apparently, feelings do not have hands or claws, and they can't truly tear your whole body apart from the inside out.  They have a purpose, which is to let you know that all is not right with the universe, that there is some work needing to be done.

So, after spending some time this morning with Women Food and God, I kept my promise and took Pepper for his walk.  Then it happened - "The Long And Winding Road" started playing on my i-pod - and the issues that are in my life right now surfaced into my mind and heart - and the tears tat I have been hiding under all this fat began to flow - but, today, I didn't fight against them.  I let them flow.  Yes, there was a chance that someone would see this crazy fat woman walking her dog and sobbing on an early Wednesday morning - but the worst that could happen is they would decide I was certified, and tell the story around the water cooler - but worse things have happened to me than that.  Maybe, though, the person who saw me would have some understanding of a broken heart - because it turns out, at least according to Geneen, that I am not the only person on earth who feels bad sometimes.

And guess what, by the time "My Hump" came on, I was feeling much better - and, most likely, a fat white woman dancing to The Black Eyed Peas while walking down the street on a Wednesday morning looks even crazier then the one who had been crying moments before.

The book, Women Food and God, is not easy to read.  Each time I complete another chapter, I walk away feeling raw and exposed - feeling like yet another protective layer has been removed.  Still, this book is helping me to see clearly some things that have been blurred by food for many many years now.  Reading the book has, so far, left me feeling more sad than happy - but it has definitely left me feeling.  And feeling is what I need to do in order to live the full, healthy, honest life I am longing for.  So, Geneen, you are tearing me apart - making me feel worse than I have felt in a long long time - thank you.


  1. Wow! That just makes SO much sense! And fits my wobbling from healthy/exercise yo-yo to a T. I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog entry today because it was a real ah-ha moment to read it.

  2. your revelation makes a lot of sense, thanks for sharing.