15 Minutes

Ok, so I haven’t been very consistent with my 15-minute commitment lately.  I went home to my mom’s house for several days, and since then I haven’t written.  I keep telling myself, “15 minutes isn’t that big a deal,” but then when I really think about DOING it, it’s so overwhelming. 

But the reason I decided to make that commitment was so that I wouldn’t be able to keep hiding from myself: from the thoughts and emotions that I don’t want to deal with.  And for the last week or so, not only have I not been writing, but I’ve been eating really poorly.  By “poorly,” I don’t mean I’ve been eating fattening foods or white flour or any of the “bad” things people beat themselves up for eating.  I mean that I haven’t been listening to my body: I eat when I’m not hungry, I don’t eat when I’m hungry, I eat foods that I know will upset my stomach later but that will act as “comfort foods” while I’m eating them.  For a few days I was also drinking a lot: a bottle of wine a night, or 4 or 5 cocktails.  I think it was the bottle of wine that really made me step back and LOOK at what I was doing, and how much I was hiding. 

I’m still hurting over the ex, and I don’t want to keep hurting.  See, the thing is, I still have some of his stuff here, because we’re both crazy-busy and keep missing each other’s schedules.  I put it in a bag in the coat closet, but still: every morning, I see it, and it hurts all over again.  ::::sigh::::  So for the last several days, I’ve been self-medicating in every self-destructive way I’ve ever used in the past.

 

And I have to stop.

 

I’ve been hurt, I’ve been angry, I’ve been lots of things over the last couple of weeks, and then the other day I heard something that finally got through to the part of my brain that is still sane:

 

“If nothing ever changed in your life, what would you need to do in order to be at peace with the way things are?”

 

That question was asked in a broader context than boyfriends or food issues or body image or self-esteem, but it made me stop and think.  If nothing ever changes, if I never get the answers I want, if I never understand what happened, what would I have to do in order to be ok?  And then I realized: I have to forgive us both, and let go.  I have to forgive him for handling things badly, and myself for handling other things badly.  I have to be grateful for whatever good I can take away from the experience, and then I have to LET IT GO. 

There is a saying about how anger is like acid: it only destroys the container it’s in.  But I would go even further and say that other emotions and experiences are the same way, even the ones that at first seem like good ones.  Anything you hold on to for more than a little while will eat away at your self.  If you hold on to the bad experiences and emotions, you become angry and bitter.  If you hold on to the great things too tightly, you become someone who can’t leave their past (because that’s when you feel like you were “great” – think of people in their 30s, 40s, and beyond who can’t have a conversation without recalling their glory days on the high school football or cheerleading teams).  Everything is transitory, and it’s meant to be that way.  We are not meant to mourn our problems for more than a short while. 

So.  I’m trying to remember to be grateful, and to let go.  I’m grateful to the ex because when things were good, they were incredible.  I’m grateful to myself for realizing that I was eating destructively.  I’m grateful that I have this new 15-minute habit I’m building so that I have an outlet for my emotions.  I am so grateful. 

That’s my 15 minutes for today. 

I’m proud of myself for writing tonight, even though I didn’t want to.

I’m proud of myself for realizing that I have the strength and power to let this go.

I’m proud of myself for listening to my body and for realizing that I HAVEN’T been listening to it for the last several days.

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