Belated Birthday and Vacation Reflections
I don’t have much time at all to expand beyond yesterday’s simple WIAW recap of my Florida vacation eats/drinks. Work’s so busy that I shouldn’t even be taking a lunch break to write this! But I am because I also finally managed to get more FL pics uploaded to share and use in this post about what you CAN’T tell from simply looking at my photos.
Right around my birthday (perhaps even on that day, 3/22) I felt much more pressure than usual from my ego. It’s almost like warning bells started going off in my head as soon as occasions – my birthday, a wedding, a vacation – came around that my mind saw as excuses I could use to “slack off” on eating healthily and exercising regularly.
On the plane ride from CT to North Carolina – ON my birthday – my mom ordered red wine on the plane. I totally wanted some, but had to debate ordering it for 10-15 minutes. I kept floating back and forth between “But it’s your birthday!” and “Well you’ll have wine with dinner once you land, so don’t even think about it.” But I WAS thinking about it, endlessly I might add, and once it was game time and the flight attendant was waiting for my order, I ordered my red wine. I enjoyed it, but not the inner process it took for me to get it.
Much of my vacation continued in the same manner, from the wedding to even after we got back from Florida. I can look at each picture from the trip and tell you, for almost each one, the related hateful thoughts my eating disorder threw at me.
EXHAUSTING, right? So exhausting in fact, that it’s no surprise by the last full day in Florida, I was not feeling emotionally ready at ALL to go to a last family dinner out at a really cool wine bar I’d found and made reservations for. The rest of the fam was tired anyway, so I called the restaurant to cancel and we ate Carrabba’s takeout at home. Well, they did. I went to Whole Foods and got a salad because the thought of eating more restaurant food, even if take-out, would come with more ED/ego thoughts that I did NOT feel like fighting.
Earlier that Friday afternoon I’d seen Brittany for lunch, which was such a special opportunity. Yet all I could do was focus on myself, my body, my “screw-ups”, well into that evening. How messed up is that? It makes me mad as I type this! I was in Florida for a week of vacation to see family, to see long-time friends, to see newer but just as special friends.
I was accumulating memories and living out a blessed life, but had no remaining mental capacity to reflect on and enjoy it all because all my energy went toward focusing on what I ate and drank and how much I worked out.
Yes, I still worked out during this vacation, and each day might I add, but still felt shitty enough about myself that on that Friday night after my family finished dinner, I totally broke down. Thank goodness for my mom – she was there for me as I just cried it all out.
I still wasn’t having an easy time of things once we returned. My family had Easter dinner at my favorite restaurant, and it was all I could do to not burst into tears while we waited for the bill. I felt full, despite having eaten a healthy dinner of swordfish, a baked potato, and Brussels sprouts. I’d worked out that morning at home, even though my gym was closed. But nope, I gave myself no credit for that. Instead my mind told me I was worthless because I felt full, I’d eaten all my food and enjoyed my fair share of Easter libations…and a few bites of my brother’s chocolate velvet cake.
Throughout the trip I looked to my sister as a constant source of inspiration when it comes to enjoying life and giving myself more credit for my accomplishments. I know no one is perfect, but I often ask myself WWHD (What Would Hannah Do?) when I find myself questioning how “good” I’ve been or how I “should” behave. Hannah works out and she rests, she eats black beans and she eats mashed potatoes, she drinks wine and she drinks beer. She does it all and realizes there is room for it all in life.
Why can’t I do the same? Why can’t I say “Hey, it’s my birthday/vacation/a wedding/a shitty day” and be okay with letting that be a reason to have an extra glass of wine, eat dessert, or skip a workout? I know it seems the opposite of the accountability goals you see all over the healthy living blog world, but WHY NOT. I want to take a picture like the one below, and truly FEEL that expression on Hannah’s face.
I feel like whenever I take a photo like that, it’s me saying “hey girl hey, maybe if I look like this I’ll feel like this too”. Heck, maybe that’s why I’ve become known as the queen of silly faces. Who knows. I have a lot more reflecting to do.
I feel like I just word vomited all up on this blog but the bottom line is I enjoyed my birthday, vacation, and the wedding. But did I enjoy them to the fullest and did I feel okay about the fact that I enjoyed them? No, I did not. I cannot go back and change how I felt during my trip, but I can change how I feel going forward.
That’s really what I need to learn, that I have more control than my mind makes me think I have. The ego is a tricky motherfucker. It tells you to try to get more and more control, and by doing so, you give IT control. I sound like a broken record right now. I repeat these mantras to myself all the time in an effort to get a handle on my mentality. But repetition and seeing that in the end, if I can’t control the future, it will still all be OK is what it will take for me to learn that lesson.
I definitely feel a lot better since settling back into my routine on Monday morning, but more chances to live life will come my way – and that’s a GREAT thing. I cannot fear life, I must embrace it. It’s up to me whether or not I choose to make life worth living!
Tell me about a time you gave yourself license, whether it was because of a birthday or a crappy day, to just live life and say “fuck it” to what you felt you “should” be doing instead?