Damn, it feels good to write again

I’ve been away for six months. In early 2020, I attended a retreat to vision the year ahead. I was struggling, just thinking about the simple tasks I wanted to complete. What were my values and how was I meeting them? I was forced to confront this. And it became so clear to me, the exhaustion. Of living every day for someone else. Almost never for me. So I decided I was going to “rest.” I stopped writing, and have not written until this post. I stopped participating in groups and events that did not immediately serve me. That did not bring me an overwhelming yes.

These six months have been little “rest,” but they have been filled with transformation. In some ways, the ask to stay home to avoid COVID has been a gift. A gift that has allowed me to find time to work on me, and also to spend time with my partner and kids.

But let’s be real, not much of 2020 so far has been much of a gift. Insight maybe. Change for sure. But no loss of life that could have been prevented by systemic intervention is a gift. This has been a time of unveiling. Pulling back the curtain on the society, systems we live in. And I believe it’s not done.

So the gift isn’t just the time I have spent. But also in that I have had my own unveiling. I have found no excuse not to pull back the curtain on how I have been living my life.

And I am here, eager to start again. Finding my way out from rest. In some ways, moving out of the cocoon into the stage of drying my wings. I have so much to share. And I’ll start with a few things.

I cut off most of my hair. It’s the shortest it has even been. And it feels so free. In contrast, my legs are covered in hair. I have realized that I don’t care to shave them. It is rooted in my oppression, so I have stopped.

I have gained weight, intentionally. To heal from disordered eating. I can now be called small fat, moving from a chubbier frame to one of fatness. I am working so hard to find my home here, to find power in this larger body. The irony I am reminding myself, is that the world wants me to shrink nearly everywhere I go. But where my heart resides, in resistance, the pursuit of justice and equity, space is essential. And the more you take up, the more impact you can have.

I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I am healing, medicating, and finding balance, love and joy in this body and life I am in.

I now use the pronouns she or they. More to come on this. For now, I ask you to consider seeing me as without, seeing me for being a human who chooses to live in this world full of space, love, tenderness, and an unyielding desire to change this world.

Even if it’s just one piece of writing at a time.

Intuitive eating…post #2

I’ve been in the dark. And I’ll admit that writing, sharing has been hard lately.

Not only has the world turned dark, and cold, but so has my body. When I took on the healing process to find my intuitive eater, I was told that emotions might arise. And they have erupted.

There is an interesting thing that our bodies do when they experience emotional and psychological pain and we don’t process it. Our bodies manifest it. Into our bones, our muscles, our nerves.

My body, like so many, holds all sorts of trauma. Over the years, the layers have built up, some so deep I have forgotten all about them. I’m in pain alot. A sore back from an old injury horseback riding. A twisted hip that won’t let go since cradling the growing life of my first born 7 years ago. The achy feet from an imablance in posture, cracky shoulders from a back that tries so hard, a weak wrist from picking up my kids over and over and over.

When first learning about non-restrictive eating in The F*ck It Diet by Caroline Dooner, I read that it is time to feel. “Feel what?” is all I thought. She instills a practice of body attention everyday. Taking five minutes to notice what you feel in your body and to look at it, study it, notice it. Not fix it, never to fix it, but to simply feel it.

In the Intuitive Eating workbook, there is an activity where you sit quietly and try to feel your heartbeat within you. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that this is the first time I consciously felt it inside of me. I now do it often, it is actually quite grouding to remember that this muscle keeps on pumping no matter what’s happening around it.

I’ve also learned that I emotionally eat at times. Food helps me to feel better when I’m frustrated, sad, or even bored. This is not an uncommon practice, and not necessarily even a bad one. But I’ve noticed it and worked to find other ways to self-care in these moments.

I mention all this, because when you stop to feel your body, listen to what it’s saying, and you take away a numbing comfort, you start to feel.

And these feelings have been erupting out of me. I am in a lot of physical pain as this body screams at me what I have silenced for so long. I am exhausted, all the way to the point that the thought of movement feels overwhelming most of the time. My body needs rest, rest for all of the missed moments of rest. My body needs rest, for all of the pain it needs to heal. My body needs tender care and love, warmth, massage, showers, essential oils, all that I can offer it as it heals.

And my heart has been healing. These past two months have been an overdrive of emotions. I have remembered and felt through trauma, and I’m talking little things I have beaten myself up over for decades.

So I haven’t been writing.

I have been parenting. And my kids are brilliant. I haven’t had the best words to share with them why my emotions are so up and down, but I have had the love and care to apologize when I need to, to explain when I feel frustrated before I act, and to ask for moments by myself.

Returning to intuitive eating is so hard. I so often want to walk away. But I remember that I am untangling knots from decades of diet culture, centuries of generational trauma, and years of painful dieting I have inflicted on myself.

I can say many things about why I’m still in, but here are a few.

  • My daughter eats with more confidence than I have ever seen, trying new things and communicating about her fullness and needs.
  • I am letting go of the need to have zero waste with all food.
  • Food is becoming nourishment instead of comfort.
  • Dinner time is a place of deep and loving inquisitions instead of food battles.
  • I love this body more now than I ever have, and it’s a body I have feared for so much of my life.*
  • This body, although working through so much, is startimg to feel like home.

Until I write again…

*I need to acknowledge something here. I have always been afraid of gaining too much weight and I am now in the body that I used to fear. And this is still a straight-sized, highly privileged body. I can’t say this without also saying that this journey is a constant unpacking of my fatphobia towards myself and this world. When we, or I, fear a body for myself that is still not like the body of so many others, we marginalize those bodies. Both in this world and in our minds. The love I am working on for my own body is a love inclusive of all bodies no matter what size. I am releasing the fear of all body sizes as I embrace my own. I am standing in the belief that all bodies are worthy of love, praise, admiration, care, joy, and humanity. I invite you to do the same.

Blocked

I have something to share, I’m blocked. This happens every once and a while where I have nothing to write about. So it leaves me with this task of writing for the sake of writing, which then makes me feel unsure about my work. I also find it draws away from authenticity. I instead write from my head rather than my heart.

This is easy to do, as I have a history of being the leader, the one in charge. In my work, I had to make the decisions, strategize, and bring people along with me. This sometimes made it so I had to move things forward that were out of alignment with my values. In order to help a program or piece of work survive in this constraining world, I had to rationalize why it made sense to do it a certain way. Even though my heart screamed at me to do it differently.

An example is throwing people away when they don’t “produce” or “meet expectations” or “perform.” So easy to do in the work world. But frustrating because we only want to do it when someone doesn’t fit into the system. And instead of fixing the system, we throw someone away and try someone else who might fit instead. Don’t get me wrong, people make choices within that too. But shouldn’t we have set it up better so that their choices, the work is better suited to their success?

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today, I am reflecting on what it’s like to be in my head for two straight weeks and how that is impacting my parenting.

These past two weeks have included some stresses, family death, travel, illness, unexpected changes in schedule. It was also week two and three as a stay at home parent. See I didn’t tell most folks, but the kids stayed in daycare for 4 weeks after I resigned from my job. I still feel guilty about it. And it was essential to my ability to let go of the corporate world, shed the skin that was suffocating me, so I could tap into my heart filled time with them.

Week 1 with them was bliss. I noticed their every breath, every milestone. I played for the first time in forever really enjoying it. I felt removed of the constraints of schedule, housework, social media. The first week I even did a reading purge where I read nothing and stayed off social media except to share my work.

Then week 2 came. In order to travel, my partner had to work 10 days in a row. I went from being by myself every day, to a couple full days with the kids, to every day all day with the kids. And then came croup followed by teething.

I’d be lying if I said I found any heart time. I started to write a few pieces but it all felt so superficial. So contrived. So educational. It didn’t feel like me. It felt like me two months ago, corporate me. I am choosing to release that part of me, to shed that skin.

So there will be gaps in blog posts sometimes because I am tending to my heart, my growth, my family. I am learning to balance. I am learning to write from my heart because that matters to me. Writing anything else is not the story I wish to tell.