I honestly believe that no food is bad food, and that if we think of something as forbidden, it becomes more tempting. I know many people who eat sugary foods on occasion. Even people who used to have eating disorders. When I stopped eating sugar several weeks ago, though, it was because it felt to me like a substance addiction. It's very hard to sift through all the schools of thought on eating disorders and food compulsions. I'm working very hard to hear what rings true to me, and to see what works for me, and to listen to that voice inside me and use tools from schools of thought that will work for me. Right now, the addiction model doesn't sound right to me when it comes to food issues. Friends who are in recovery from food issues using the addiction model may think I'm in denial, they may see that I'm struggling and wonder why I don't go back to a method that worked for me. But I have to recover in a way that I can sustain. A lot of what I read about recovery from eating disorders is that it is not a straight line and that it is a path that requires a lot of patiences.
I went back over my notebook from the past several weeks. I usually note how my food was, sometimes reporting it, and then I write ten things I'm grateful for every night. I had about ten days where the food was moderate and normal. Like I mentioned in my last blog, that was a creatively fertile and productive time for me. I started to make some long term commitments to the community I live in. I received a three year contract for my job and I decided to start a nonprofit arts organization in my community. Just two months ago, I had a different plan. I had an escape route. I was planning to do a major job search and relocate to Chicago or New York City within a year. I feel very fed on every level by big cities. But there are some projects that I think I could do where I live now that could be fulfilling and beneficial to the community. I could feel useful.
But once I made that commitment, I started feeling a bit off-kilter. The food started getting messy, bigger, more out of control. Food, I think, has been a place I go to when I feel trapped. It was solace within the chaos and trauma of my childhood. It was a safe secret place where nobody could get to me. Now, making myself more public, putting myself out in the world in more visible ways, is scary. I feel vulnerable. I'm afraid of failing. And along with all that, I feel that the commitment, something I'm choosing to make, creates confines for me that recall a feeling of being trapped in childhood.
And yet food doesn't make me feel freer. It feels like another trap. So Im working to find out what makes me feel free, empowered, and safe. I need to feel that I have enough privacy and a relationship with myself that nobody can get to. A self-intimacy, a self-trust. I also need to feel that I can employ a sense of spontaneity, that I can have some kind of freedom within the confines of a connected and committed life.
I need to constantly talk back to the voices that tell me food is the answer. I need to keep writing this blog, even if only three people read it. I need to find a place inside me that is mine, that I can sink into, and feel calm and excited and full of hope.