Monday, January 16, 2012

What If?

It's no surprise that things have been a little chaotic in my life. I mean, I'm a teacher, and dealing with chaos is part of the job description. September is always a chaotic month in education in general. Add to the typical beginning of the school year chaos a little bit of personal challenge and you may end up with a recipe for disaster.

And everyone knows disasters are not welcome in September.

Enter yet another beginning: January. The Time of New Year's Resolutions.  January brings all the commercials about joining a gym and starting the perfect diet to get to that perfect body and finally realize that long-standing new year's resolution to lose weight.

So when someone sent me a link to the Healthy At Every Size blog, it was quite timely. It brought to the surface something I wrote back in the chaos of September. The HAES blog post explores a resolution I actually want to keep: boot the bully from your brain. For me, that means taking the iPod of my brain and deleting every single playlist created over the past thirty years, restoring it to factory settings, and compiling new, healthier playlists. Playlists that are filled with positive tracks, tracks full of tools to overcome the challenges that will always arise in life, tracks with healthy coping mechanisms, and resources and wisdom that I am working on acquiring. It means starting over.

And when that hateful, yet familiar voice that has been in your head for a lifetime finally figures out that it's getting replaced... it doesn't go quietly.  Unfortunately, I am part of the 80% of women who have body image issues.*  I've blogged about this a bit before (including this post and this post.) I'd like to say that after the past several months of intense inner work that the issue has lessened, but that isn't the case.

I wrote this poem back in the September chaos. While I was thrilled to be back at school with a wonderful group of students, I was pretty anxious about staying healthy enough to be there for them.

What If?
What if I'm really not ready to give up Ed?
What if I'm stringing my team along, because I just plain like talking to them?
What if I'm really willing to let myself suffer *that* much?
What if I like depriving myself of previous sweet treats?
What if I am on a death mission and am using the Ed as a cover?
What if I like this control just a little too much?
What if I like getting skinnier?
What if I don't care enough to get better?
What if I don't want to get better?
What if I want to let myself go?
What if this is a desperate cry for help?
What if I can't accept that help?
What if I keep Ed around cause he cares, and no one else does?
What if I just don't care at all anymore?

What if I kick Ed out for good?
What if I join my team in fighting together against Ed?
What if I decide to stop suffering?
What if I start to enjoy treats once in a while?
What if I learn to live a life without Ed?
What if I use control as a way to eat better instead of worse?
What if I stop worrying about my weight?
What if I start to take care of myself?
What if I get healthy?
What if I start to care about myself?
What if I start asking for help when I need it?
What if I let people actually help me?
What if I let others actually care about me?
What if I learn to be happy?

© September 2011 © MGD

There has been a big perspective shift since I wrote this poem.  Many of the same "what ifs" are still running through my brain, and while I now know that some of the "what ifs" stemmed from anger and frustration I was feeling at the time, many of them have been powerful topics to address. (Or, more likely, to avoid addressing at times!)  Truthfully, I am still struggling on a daily basis. But I have started to allow myself to lean on those that are supporting me. And that is making all the difference. 

*This statistic comes from the NEDA website, and is based on research pre-2000's.  I am hoping that there are more updated statistics on their way.

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