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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Weighing and Measuring My Life

It makes sense that it has to start with the food.
At least for me.
I had to get my eating under control before I could attempt to get anything else in my life in order.

At times, like today, it seems overwhelming.
The stomach bug has hit our house, and so there's a lot of yucky mess to clean up.
Lot's of extra laundry.
Lot's of extra chores, in general, not to mention the broken jar of honey that spattered on the floor an hour ago, nor the 1/4 cup of red juice 45 minutes ago that seemingly exploded out of someone's little hands all over the the white rug: 500 little droplets that needed to be individually treated with stain remover. Oh, look! Another projectile pile of vomit! I hadn't been in this bathroom yet today. Floor, walls, door, toilet. Ah me, what a mess. My life seems inundated with filth on multiple levels. This current tidal wave is almost all dealt with, but I needed a brief "fresh air" break.

Like most of you, there's also the ongoing list of "life events". For us this weekend, it's a "square" birthday for a now four-year-old "Bear" and date night with Hubbs.

For me too (and you, I bet in some shape or form), there's the deeper stuff like working on my ammends list that needs to be kept front and center and the deep, personal upheaval of trying to bring order into the chaos of my life in general: from cupboards, drawers, finances, attitudes, reactions, dress... all of it. And that stress of trying to truly change, triggers my caged compulsive overeating to jump up and down and rattle its prison cup along the bars of my will, clanking loudly: "RELEASE ME! AND I WILL MAKE IT BETTER!" For so many years, I listened to that lie. That I could hide, stuff, delay, bury, avoid my stress/my problems/my life by eating. That I could numb out or get into a food fog so deep I couldn't see which end was up, nor really care. But I have more than 431 days that show me otherwise now. More than a year of daily putting my food in its proper place, without exception, and the clarity that comes with that. The clarity to see my truth. My truth is that I only have today to work on my life. Today to make choices, even small ones that move my life in the right direction. If today, I will do all those little things that need doing (at least the important ones), eventually real progress will be able to be seen. It may take a while. It certainly takes longer than Mrs. "I-want-it-changed-instantly" would like. But my own life is proof. Today, I weigh 93 pounds less than I did 15 months ago. I'm no longer the big girl in the room. I still have some weight to lose, but I don't take up more than my "fair share" in the universe. And it happened slowly, properly, steadily. I know that I am no one special. There are no superpowers in my possession that magically made that happen. I just weighed and measured my correct food three times a day and didn't eat anything else.

So, the rest of my life will also fall into place. One day, you may just be amazed. For the record though, we'll know; however, that it was simply taking it one day at a time, and accepting that as long as I'm doing the best that I can at that given moment, that effort is quite good enough.

Erica Robinson

Friday, September 27, 2013

Authenticity: Becoming the real you. Becoming the real me.

Hello, World! xoxo ~e

Big thoughts and changes have to rumble/bumble about inside me for awhile before I'm strong enough to let them out and embrace them.

Being authentic is the latest one. It's been burbling about very strongly for a little over a year, for that is when I finally decided to surrender and acknowledge that I had a problem with food and became willing to be a part of a 12-step program that addresses that.

It actually, very quietly, started a few years before that, when I turned 40.
There was some French saying about a "woman is not a WOMAN until she's 40" that I heard along the way, and for whatever reason, it stuck in my brain as truth. So, when I turned 40, I gave myself the freedom to be me... the real me. The me I didn't really know.

You see, I've always tried to be the me you want me to be. You being whoever had power or influence over me.
Perfect daughter.
Excellent student.
June Cleaver wife and mother.
Whatever Hubbs idea of what a good lover was.
Whatever "best type" of spiritual person I was supposed to be with whatever religious group I was a part of.

I did that so well that somewhere along the way, a large portion of the genuine part of my essence, the "true me" got put in a little corner.
Please understand, I'm not saying my whole past life was one big fake. My life has been good. Better than good, actually. And I've done my best to be genuine in the past. It's just my past genuine was largely influenced by what I felt was expected of me. It strikes me today that even as a teenager, I would comment that "my life feels like I'm in a fog". It was in large part. A fog of other people's opinions. My thoughts on what I was supposed to do about those opinions. How I was to shape myself and my thinking around those opinions.

So, I gave myself permission to be "me".
Just doing that started a slow series of changes.
It wasn't, though, until I was able to "put down the food", in much the same way a drunk puts a "plug in the jug" that I was able to come out of my fog and start to make some real progress.

First of all, that enormous layer of fat that I'd hidden myself in, began to melt away. I gave myself permission to feel my feelings and not eat over them.

Secondly, I began to dress with only my desire to express myself through my clothes in mind. I've become a "brand lover" and a thrift store junkie. Believe me, finding a $8 Talbot tweed skirt  or a $25 red silk kimono literally rocks my day. In the process, my skirts became a little shorter. The heels much, much higher. The jewelry more glamorous and, well, more.

Thirdly, my thoughts have turned inward to inventory and resolve some of the long held issues/problems that have motivated and, in some cases, warped my thinking and behavior. This is the very newest change that is going on, and I don't think it could have happened without the other pieces that went ahead of it.

I am nowhere near perfect. And quite frankly that's a relief. I can make flub ups. Own it. Apologize for it. Make it right if possible and move on with my life.

There is a new show across the pond called "Fabulous Fashionistas" about 80+ year old women who are living their lives out loud in full color. We can't see it here in the U.S. yet, but the :40s you see on YouTube gives enough of a taste to go: wow!

I also found this blog by Ari Cohen called Advanced Style. Through photos and a couple of sentences (and a new book!), he paints a lovely point of view that life is worth living... and dressing... for!

So, who's with me on dressing with a little more authentic flair?
On allowing yourself to be the real, deep-down-inside-nobody-really-knows-me you?
Guess what! That's the YOU we are all eager to know.

Much love,
~e

Erica Robinson