One of the things I'm going to start doing is running. I've signed up for a 5k in April here in SLC and I'm signing up for a 1/2 Marathon in the Hamptons during September--my birthday month. I can't think of a better way to celebrate turning 34.
We all have triggers. Mine, I think, is loneliness. It's also stress and perfection. I think, as women, we feel a lot of this on our shoulders. I've realized one of the best things I can do to heal myself is to realize when I'm wounded and how to dress the wound.
It seems my way of coping is to ignore the wound and stuff the stomach. Or create new wounds that take focus off old wounds. Or not understand myself enough to see what wounds me. Or not feel worthy or deserving of asking for help from others.
Lately, when I get triggered, I've been trying to call people. The problem is, I only have about three friends that I call. And if they don't answer--which 99% of the time they don't because they are busy--then I go on and comfort or treat my trigger via old methods that I like. Usually a binge and a purge. Or just a binge.
So, since this is a the year of health, I have to be aware enough to see the triggers for what they are, not ignore them, and come up with solid plans that will work to help me avoid the coping mechanisms I currently employ. This could be a slow process. But such a worthy one. The path to healing begins when you take the brain that you've created and you change it's habits to better ones. We can all do it. Repetition is key. Support is key. And not giving up is key.
So, the next time I have a trigger. I've decided that I need to react differently. I'd love some ideas of WHAT you do when you feel triggered?
Monday night I took a hot bath. Really hot. My legs got very, very red. When I lifted them out of the bath and put my legs up on the tub, I saw an upside down heart. My hips and thighs all rosy and red shaping a heart into the lengthy tips of my toes. I liked it. I liked thinking of myself as love. I like the idea of loving those hips and thighs.
And then I cried. A lot. It wasn't a sad cry or a cry for help, it was a release. I don't release a lot, but I realize, that sometimes cries are good. And they help me feel good. And sure, I indulge in tiny slivers of self pity, but then my mind becomes clear and I become more focused and I keep on.
I cried at how fragile life is. I cried because my sweet friend has cancer and chemo is kicking her ass. I cried because my other friend is suffering from anorexia so badly that she just isn't eating anymore and I don't know how to get her to eat. I cried because I am softening up and preparing to get vulnerable with the love of my life. I cried because sometimes I feel misunderstood. I cried because I miss my brother. I cried because most of my friends are married and busy and I have a lot of alone time and it sucks. I cried because I am so happy for all the blessings I have.
Then I stopped. Got out. Dried off. And went to bed.
Valentine's was interesting. I teach at a high school. So, at 33, to sit and watch these young, fresh, vibrant, perfect girls get candy and chocolate and balloons and stuffed animals was a bit hard for my spinster self. But I didn't let it get me down. I don't know what the hell I would do with a stuffed animal if I got it anyway. Goodness, I dislike all the typical "hallmark" gifts (besides chocolate). For me, a romantic day would be about gentle touches, shared laughter, a shared bathtub, shared bodies, and maybe a thoughtful gift.
I don't have anyone to share this 14th with, but I will next year, so it's all ok. I had myself. I went grocery shopping on Valentine's Day. It was the best way to love myself. I hate grocery shopping. I feel overwhelmed by what I SHOULD buy, I worry about buying too much and not making the right choices, I try to avoid aisles with my trigger foods in them. I try to not go hungry. I have a bad habit of not having food in my house. I don't know what this is all about, but I'm sure it has to do with the fact that food and I have a tough relationship and with all things hard, we try to avoid conflict. So, when I don't have food in the house, I don't have to hate the food. It's weird. I know.
One of my main goals this year is to actually PLAN and SHOP and FEED myself like normal people do. Screw perfection, I just want to feel normal. So, I did that on Valentine's Day. As I walked up and down the aisles, there were a lot of older single ladies there. Lots of OLD ones. Like 80. I helped a sweet one reach for her wheat thins on a shelf she couldn't reach. It didn't depress me. It just made me feel like part of the human race. And part of that race is slowing down and feeding yourself. I think, too often, we go on autopilot with our individual nourishment.
After shopping, I came home and prepared my breakfast and lunch for the next three days.
I've been living alone for two months now. Before this, I was living with family or roommates, and at one point in Europe--my boss. Sounds weird, but we were like a big "family". When you live with people, you uphold to certain rules. You try not to walk around naked, you shut the door to the bathroom, you don't eat your dinner right out of the pan because you don't want to dirty a dish, you try and pick up your shoes from cluttering the front room.
When you live alone, it's a quiet introspection to the things you tend to do and what it means. I tend to walk around naked a bit more, if even just dashing to one room to the other to get clean clothes. I don't do the naked thing often, because I'm not really happy being naked. I start criticizing. I think we all do that.
Funny thing is that I am friends with A LOT of hippies. And they like to hang out naked. When they go camping, they find a secluded spot and get naked. When we go hiking to a lake, they all take their clothes off and hop in the lake to go swimming. I NEVER do this. I don't get naked around others. I think I want to. Just to see what it feels like. Other cultures grow up in such close quarters that families are very used to seeing each other naked. My friends from Finland--because it's so cold there--say that they grow up seeing their friends (male and female) naked all the time in the daily trips to the saunas. When I saw people naked and topless on the beaches of Europe, I would say that 3% of them ACTUALLY had what we might call "perfect" bodies. Many of them had tummys and thighs and saggy breasts and they didn't care. Heck, I don't really care when I see it either. It's the body. Why be so programed for perfection.
So, I have a goal this year. Somehow. I want to go skinny dipping somewhere and with someone. It might have to be in the dark this year, but I want to do it.
Have you had experiences being naked in a group setting?
I'm a traveling super nova...living, working, loving, and breathing. I love the way a good Scottish accent sounds, I love singing in the kitchen while I cook, I dream in iambic pentameter (a side effect of all the Shakespeare plays I have directed), my favorite book shops are in Paris and Boston. I am trying to learn the art of feng shui. I like gratitude.