Friday, August 7, 2009

Huh. So that's what that feels like...

Yesterday I was having a conversation with someone about how I've used food to numb my feelings. She suggested that I try starting to eat mindfully. We've all heard that phrase. Eating mindfully is where you take pauses between bites, where you actually take time to enjoy the food, where you don't do anything else while eating so that you can concentrate on eating.

She encouraged me to try to eat 1-2 meals in my home that I have fully prepared (i.e. not cereal, not something that I've reheated, and not something that I've gotten to go. I actually HAVE to cook) and then eat it. Mindfully.

I told her that that didn't appeal to me at all. When she asked why, I started to cry. Because what am I going to do, just sit and be? Sit and not talk on the phone, not watch TV, not read? Just sit and be with me?

She said yes. She said that then I'll be able to FEEL.

Picturing myself in my tiny little place at my tiny little table, eating my healthy meal all I could FEEL was loneliness. Hurt. Sadness that I didn't have someone to share the meal with. Sadness that after that, I most likely wouldn't have plans. Sadness that I've chosen to move and move and move to city after city so that my friends are very far away from me. Sadness that it's just me. Me and my food.

Sometimes, it seems that that's all it's always been about.

I asked her that when I feel whatever I feel - what do I do then?

And she said that I should just FEEL.

I'm not sure that I've ever just felt. I've buried those feelings. I've cut myself. I've thought through the feeling "logically" - and ended up feeling silly for feeling the way that I have. I've binged. I've purged. I've done whatever I had to to bury the feelings and then get the hell over them. Angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, even happiness. If they were too extreme, I didn't know how to handle it.


So now I've got to feel. So I'm going to practice that - feeling and breaking the connection between feeling and eating. It sounds difficult.

After being present with the feelings, I'm to figure out what I can do that would actually meet the need that is presenting itself. And then do that.

The answer, I fear, is never going to be "eat."

I'm scared and apprehensive...but hey - at least those are feelings.


POD said...

I am taking this class on compassionate communication and it's all about our feelings and needs. It's pretty amazing so far.

I'm also listening to Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart and it's been very helpful. She talks about the 6 kinds of loneliness and refers to them as "cool loneliness" and how we try like hell to avoid feeling any of the things attached to loneliness.

Since Chris left I have lost 10 lbs. Normally I'd have eaten myself into a stupor but for some reason, this time I did not let my aching loneliness lead me down that path.

And yeah, you eat by yourself, alone, and feel the food and enjoy. And you know why you do it? Because you love you more than anyone else. When you love yourself THAT much, other people are going to know it and they will want to love you too.

This is a link that will give an .pdf explaining Cool Loneliness and Pema Chodron's view.

Fat[free]Me said...

What a wonderful honest post. I have tended to lie to others and myself about feeling lonely and am only just beginning to come to terms with it.

I did used to eat food, seeing it as my only form of comfort, but it is clear I too need to address my feelings and come to terms with them.

Great reply from POD too!

Rapunzel said...

wow..I can completely relate to this post even though I often have someone to dine with..the times when I'm alone I distract myself with tv, reading, anything not to just sit and focus on what I'm eating. It's really hard to just BE with ourselves and FEEL but I think you're on the right track.

Wonderful post, thank you for making me think! xoxox