Saturday, February 16, 2008

I am so much better than before.

There were a lot of big changes in my life the past week and a half, none of which are really worth blogging about, but it's why I've been gone. I also was asked to take back my 2007 title of Miss Big Ball of Infectious Diseases this week because Miss BBID 2008 got caught with racy photos on her Facebook and had to step down, so I've been enjoying the pinkeye and sinus infections that come with my old position as royalty. Attractive.

Anyway, during my mid-February Period of Personal Tribulation (I tried to hire a man to follow me around and sing "Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen" but all the good baritones are booked into barbershop quartet gigs around Valentine's Day) I started reading a book by Dave Pelzer called Heal Yourself. If you haven't heard of him, he's the guy from the book A Child Called It, which is an autobiography of his life primarily from birth to age 13, when California authorities took him out of his alcoholic, mentally deranged mother's home and put him in foster care. Pelzer was subjected to, and survived, what is believed to be the third worst abuse situation in California history, including being stabbed, poisoned by bleach and ammonia fumes, beaten, starved, isolated from his brothers and father, and forced to endure ritual humiliation every single day for eight years. His Help Yourself book still recounts some of those gruesome details, but also provides insight on how he survived those attacks simply by the force of his sheer will and determination to not die. It's pretty incredible stuff considering he was just a little kid.

Pelzer's main point of the book, though, is to offer advice for people who find themselves, for whatever reason, unable to thrive and succeed in their own lives. For me, there were two chapters of the book that especially resonated. The first was that sometimes you just have to walk away from things and people that are hurting you, forgive them, love them if they need it, but not let the events eat away at your life. Pelzer cites seeing his mother at the last stages of her life, completely overtaken not only by her alcohol addiction, but also by the sheer amount of hurt and rage and hate she had for her own parents, her husband, her children, and anyone who ever crossed paths with her. She was pathologically angry, to the point it drove her insane before she died.

I don't know if I've ever been perpetually angry like her so much as a relentless Pollyanna instead (a fact that I know causes a lot of chagrin over at AFG, since AngryFatGirlzPlusOneGirlWho'sOnlyAngryAtHerselfForVariousDeepSeatedReasonsIncludingUnnecessarilyLowSelfEsteem
is just not a practical new URL possibility. So my thing that I can't let go is how disappointed I get with situations and people when they don't turn out to be good in the way I hoped they'd be. And moreso than any of the things that have transpired over the last year of my life, way more than the divorce, or the financial strain, or the not so stellar weight loss has been dealing with people and situations where I've been dying for some sort of happy closure or resolution and not getting it. It got so bad by this month that I would come home from work, go straight to bed and obsess over the problem, gorge and gorge myself with food until I couldn't move to get my mind off the problem, and then obsess about it again until the waves of nausea passed. The inertia and not moving thing I was having so much trouble with? I finally figured out it was really more because I couldn't stop ruminating on these couple of people and how to deal with them and their toxicity.

Yesterday after one of the more determined, spectacular binges in my personal history, while I was lying on my bed and gasping for air like a goldfish out of its bowl, feeling my stomach debate whether to accept all this food or to reject it right onto my lovely new sheets, and wishing I could just die from the shame and the stress and the physical and mental pain of it all, I finally finally FINALLY why I was doing this, and I decided to stop it right there. I contacted one of the people, asked one last time for a conversation where we could resolve the conversation, and I ended up getting what I wanted. Sort of. It wasn't the happy, friendly resolution I was looking for, and I was pretty disappointed how things turned out, but at the same time I knew there wasn't anything more I could do to change the person, the situation, or the closure to our relationship. I don't think I was in the wrong, people who know both of us don't think I was in the wrong, but even so, no amount of begging or demanding or sulking was going to get the apology I thought I had needed so desperately for so many months. I had done all I can. It was time to let the hurt, the disagreements, and the person go, because they were all toxic, and they were all seriously messing me up.

And you know when they say "a weight lifted off my shoulders"? I had never felt that before yesterday. It was really nice to feel it.

The second thing I took away from Pelzer's book was judging life by this one criterion: Is your life today better in some small way than it was yesterday?

I kind of puked in my mouth a little bit when reading that, because it was just SO Chicken Soup for the Soul and I'm just not down with touchy-feely optimistic things. But seriously, it's a good message, even though I like to rephrase it as "Does your life suck less today than it did yesterday?" Yesterday, prior to that conversation, while I was collapsed on my bed, using a pizza box like a pillow, hearing my cats crunch around on the box of Bran Buds I had accidentally spilled on the kitchen floor on Wednesday and still hadn't bothered to clean up, I decided I had reached a new rock bottom. (Even though I think I've reached rock bottom about 14 times at least in the last year) But this time was different; a new low, a new level of spiritual, emotional, and physical bankruptcy I didn't think I'd fix this time. But I did, at least part of it.

Things can and will get better for me. I think they'll get better for all of us, no matter what we're struggling with. I think we have to believe that, or what's the point in getting up in the morning? The other day I started an opening paragraph to what I guess was supposed to be a book on recovering from binge eating and depression, but I only wrote a few sentences before I realized I didn't have anything to write about. I was still too upset, and all I could see myself writing about was how shitty I felt each and every day until I died and then someone would fill in the epilogue with "And then she died, and her cats ate her eyeballs. The End."

But I don't know. I think, right now at least, it's doable to find at least one thing I can do to recover and feel better each day. I could start with picking up those Bran Buds, although I kind of like how stepping on Bran Buds is like popping whole grain bubble wrap with your feet.

I'll try blogging about them here, so even if I don't have good news to report on the weight-ridding front, I'll at least have something else to write about. Prepare to get intimately familiar with my glowing revelations about disinfecting trash cans or not freaking out and kicking the bank building when the ATM cash mouth thing eats my money but doesn't deposit it.


Erin said...

I think you've already done your first thing to recover and feel better. Writing here and getting it out, and reaching out to others, is your first thing. Good for you!

Vickie said...

I don't know if you've ever read your fellow AFG's posting (listed above) - if you haven't you might enjoy it - I reread it several times a week.

Anonymous said...

Blog about how good Mrs. Meyers stuff smells.