On Friday, I wrote about how my body is a “fucking marvel of biology,” yet by Sunday I was having a breakdown about my own relationship with my body. Chatting with a close friend, I realized that I have a lot of attachment to the number on the scale, even if I don’t admit that to myself or anyone else. I don’t admit it to myself because I have spent the last year telling myself that I should no longer focus on weight as a determinate of my success in life.
Despite all my effort, I found myself not able to get over that number on the scale. It made me uncomfortable and I couldn’t shake it.. I couldn’t figure out why. In talking with my friend, I realized that my body image issues triggered the real, deep painful stuff in me. Like the core of the core of the shit that gets me down and sometimes breaks me. All the fear, pain or anger that I never expressed in my whole life lives in the place that this number reached; the abyss I’ve named the Land of Perpetual Disappointment, home of Woe is She. The voice in my head, the naysayer, the one that never believes that everything will turn out okay. This is the voice that wants to say “Yes” when my friend asks me if Mandy at 200 pounds deserves less love than Mandy at 190 pounds.
All of the energy spent on dieting and focusing on my body represented everything I couldn’t control at different times in my life. It’s not news that dieting and eating disorders are often about control, but the realization that the two were so inextricably linked in my world was a big one for me. Then, of course, was my desire to be loved and accepted and my misguided belief that the only way that could happen was if I was thin = pretty.
Yesterday, I was doing work with my life coach, who has been invaluable in helping me root out the ingrained thought processes, or self-defeating beliefs that have been holding me back from being the shooting star that I am destined to be (AKA excelling at life). We were focused on my body image issues and exploring what I feel when considering my body at 130 0r 150 pounds. Thinking about 130 triggered a viscerally negative reaction, as I associated it with a very dysfunctional and unhealthy period in my life. I have no desire to be 130 pounds, which is reassuring to my actual progress, since I was convinced I was fat, even at that low weight for my 5 1/2 foot, well-muscled frame. Now, considering myself at that weight makes me think of being small, and how I don’t want to be small. It doesn’t feel ‘safe’ to be small. Interesting information…
Most of the evening, I considered my responses to these visualizations and examined what emotions and memories come up for me at each weight. I considered how attached I am to the concept of weight and my internal reaction to the external information of what I happen to weigh at any given moment. My coach asked me, “how would it feel to let go of that attachment?” My honest answer at this moment is that I don’t know. “Am I willing to let it go?” Um, well, yeah, that sounds awesome, sign me up! The trouble is that I’m not quite sure yet how to do that.
This morning, when I checked into social media, I saw this post from the Dalai Lama’s Facebook page:
“There needs to be understanding that anger never helps to solve a problem. It destroys our peace of mind and blinds our ability to think clearly. Anger and attachment are emotions that distort our view of reality.”
It struck me deeply. I spent most of my life as a very angry, easily-riled, sharp-tongued person. I’ve been letting that go for years and the rewards have been immeasurable. I can see clearly how anger was distorting my reality, turning my world into an ugly and awful place. If attachment works similarly to distort reality, then I am ready and willing to work toward letting my attachments go. I want to know what my world looks like from the perspective of love and acceptance, instead of judgement and expectation.