Then & Now & How

I wrote the following in my journal in November 2018; with no foresight that I was about to take one tiny step, and then another, towards a different life, a new and oh so fulfilling career, a better relationship with self and food. And I want to put it out there because I didn't believe there was a way forward at the time and maybe you feel the same just now. I felt trapped and hopeless, my horizons were narrow; blinkered by the stories I made up about what I needed and my capabilities (or lack of them). I had all this potential within me and I couldn't see it, couldn't access it, couldn't imagine a different way of being.

Yet here I am, 18 months later, on course to take a leap; still scared but in a positive way; knowing I'm being true to myself and stretching my wings; stumbling, picking myself up, moving forward. I have a dream that is becoming more defined by the day; I've found my tribe; I finally belong in my skin. And food no longer rules my life.

So when you read the ending to the journal entry below, know that there is an else; there is always an option. Mine came about slowly: 3 months off from my corporate job, lots of meditation and long walks out in the countryside, gentle, flowing movement, reading books that caught my interest, catching a spark, fanning the flame, feeling my way forwards ever so gently and slowly. Thinking about what mattered to me, what I needed to work on for myself; and a realisation that, through the things I learnt on my journey, I could help others who felt something similar.

Follow your soul: you are far more creative and resourceful than you think.

<Journal entry - 20/11/2018>

Is this rock bottom? Or was that yesterday? Or could it be tomorrow? The loosening of the knot of anxiety in my stomach/chest suggests the worst may be over for a while and yet I have no answers. The question of how I can earn a living while remaining true to the feelings I have just discovered persists. I need time to myself and time requires money and money requires a means of earning and earning, to date, has been an activity that brings no joy. And so we go round again.

Food dominates. It is the mechanism I use to soothe my anxiety and, ironically, is the source of much of my disquiet. It is love, it is caring, it is punishment and pain; literal pain as I eat to the point of distended stomach, racing heart and twisted gut. My rational brain lectures / hectors: "why are you eating that? You just had 2 portions, you're not hungry, it's not good for you, it will make you FAT". And back I go to the fridge, to the cupboard, to the biscuit tin: quick check that no-one can see me, stuffing the food into my mouth, not tasting, not even really chewing. The very act of eating a momentary release. The thoughts crowding my head are briefly silenced; only to return screaming when I step away from the act of eating.

The compulsion is stronger than shame, than concern for my health and wellbeing. It is a force I created and now fear, fight, succumb to over and over again.

Food stalks me throughout the day: am I hungry, what will I eat, do I want cake, yes, I want cake, should I have cake, no, probably not, am I going to have does my tummy feel, full to bursting, never empty, empty would be a bad thing, why, I might eat the wrong thing, what's the wrong thing, sugar, wheat.

A constant dance of desire and denial.

And I am still no further forward in thinking of options to finance my dreams. Other than the default return to the job I was doing before. Can I stick it? If I listen to my soul: no. Anxiety punches me in the solar plexus. And yet, what else?

<Journal entry ends>


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