Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bad Men

Our tiny dog Johb got away from Stephen yesterday and dragging his big red leash behind, kept running away from Stephen all around our neighborhood. It would have been kinda funny, except that Stephen had a toothache too, and Johb shouldn't be afraid of Stephen after all these months. Stephen has gone out of his way to woo this dog, he avoids eye contact, brings treats and plays with the laser pointer or some other gentle play everyday.  Why you ask is Johb afraid of Stephen? Well, perhaps you have guessed, Johb is a rescue dog and some man who perhaps resembled Stephen apparently scared Johb on a regular basis. Yet everyday my wonderful husband gets up early (Ok he likes to do that) carries a growling Johb outside for his morning walk, then he does it again every night.  I have a good man, a gentle man, who cares about scared dogs, lazy wives, and suffering people too.
Today I am mad at the bad men out there who have not just hurt the women in their lives, but who also have hurt the good men like mine who have to spend their days proving to the creatures both animal and human  that they are good men.
 I am forever greatful for all the good men that have been in my life my father William, my husband Stephen, my son Liam, my Uncle Jul, my friend Ron, my friend Rick, my brothers in law Elden, Doug, Gary and Mark. I have been lucky. There are way many more good men than bad. Let's love them well.
 Sometimes we women can feel fairly powerless over the bad men  but we are not powerless, because we have the biggest power of all the ability to create and raise the strong powerful good men of the future. We must do it, we must teach our sons to be strong, but gentle, brave but not afraid to express their emotions or to discourage others to show theirs. The greatest weapon against the bad men is to create more good men and to nurture and appreciate those good men we are lucky enough to have in our lives.
When we see bad men out there in the community preying on the weaker humans or animals we need to find a way to reach out to the victims and help them feel safe. The good men need to continue to stand up to the bad men until it becomes unacceptable to be a bad man. Bad men aren't fun, funny or harmless they are....... bad men.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

56 years old and afraid to tell my mother I don't like church anymore.

I have been consumed with a feeling of dread this weekend. My husband, a minister, is in a new church and this Sunday is his first Sunday and the first Sunday at a new church that I won't be there with him.  He is fine with this decision. It became obvious to both of us after 20 plus years of  my "playing the minister's wife" that it wasn't helping our relationship, and was inhibiting my own emotional growth and adding unnecessary stress to our lives.

The problem lies with my Mom, an ambivalent former minister's wife herself but a devout evangelical Christian. I already seriously breached our relationship when I left the church of the Nazarene and joined a much more liberal denomination. She was unable to believe that I could "really be a Christian" if I didn't follow God's teachings in the same way as I was brought up. The second breach to her was when I didn't take my husbands last name when we were married. For some reason she took this as a personal offense and is still unable to say or write my name as she named me, but always adds my husbands name on anyway. I've come to just live with these things, though they do hurt, but she's 85 years now and isn't going to change and her cognitions are slowing down and her memory as well.

But she is quite aware that my husband starts his new church tomorrow and she does not know that I am not going. I have kept her in the dark about my lack of involvement in  his church over the past two years and it was easy because we were a short distance apart and she didn't ask very often how things were going. But last night she said "I'll be praying for you and Stephen this weekend."  I said, "thank you I'll be sure and tell Stephen." To top off the issue, this is Palm Sunday and next Sunday is Easter when we all get together for Easter dinner.
I have started to work on Sundays since my husband is always working Sundays. I am a psychotherapist and it makes good sense to have a Sunday practice since most people are free on Sundays and like to have a time for therapy when they dont' have to miss work.
So I woke up last night feeling a heaviness in my chest and that old familiar worried/guilty feeling, playing scenarios of whether to tell her before she finds out, or wait till she asks, or to just hope she forgets to ask. What amazes me is that I wake up and feel guilty about telling my mother something even at the age of fifty-six.  What power our parents hold over us for our whole lives. I don't 'know what I am going to do and I am considering trying to schedule a quick session with my former therapist just to strategize and get some EMDR for my anxiety.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Meeting that Changed My Life

It's been about seven months since I went to my one and only meeting of Overeaters in Recovery.
That one meeting changed my life in ways I still don't fully understand.

I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't feel fat, clunky and awkward. I am sure there were times that preceed memory when I felt comfortable in my body, but I can't remember. There was a brief time in 10th grade when I decided to try out for cheer leading and got very fit and felt stronger in my body. I never mastered the cartwheel which precluded me having a chance to make the team, but I did experience some joy in feeling strong.

I have struggled all my life with my weight and dieting. Many yo yo dieting experiences between ages 12 and 30 something, then a general giving up and gaining weight and waiting for the circus to call. I have tried to make the most of my life in other ways but always felt my inability to find and stay at a healthy weight my biggest failure.

Here I was in my mid fifties expecting an early death as predicted by the medical media for those unable to stay thin and fit. I met a friend who invitited me to her meeting of over eaters in recovery. She had been quite successful in loosing a great amount of weight. I had once attended an over eaters anonymous meeting in my 30s and did not like it at all, and never returned. But I decided to give this new group a try with my friend Pam's encouragement.

So one evening last summer I found myself walking into a bland meeting room in a neighboring town not knowing what to really expect. What shocked me the most was that nearly everyone in the room was thin. I sat down and watched an AA style meeting unfold, lots of rigidity and rules and dogma read out loud. My rebelliousness began to surface but I hung in there and finally after a half hour of ritual, people began to get up and share. I found out from Pam earlier that only those with a long period of diet sobriety could speak out during the testimonials. I remember being struck by how the speakers were so happy to have lost all their fat and how they achieved it by giving up all of the fun connected with food and only eating to stay alive. The way it works is that you have a sponsor who you call everyday to report your intended eating for the next day. Your food choices eliminate all white flour and sugar of any kind. Here is where I got stuck. I LOVE BREADS AND SWEETS!!!! When the speakers talked about how happy they were to be able to ride a bike again, play with their children, run and feel less inhibited in public they made it clear that the loss of food related fun was totally worth it. I began to see that this is what has worked for them and maybe this was going to be me also. After the meeting I said goodbye to my friend Pam and said I needed to think about all this, she totally understood. On the way home uncharacteristically,I began to cry and said to myself," this is what it is going to mean for you to be healthy and live longer you have to give up all your control and fun related to food and become one of these people who attend three meetings a week and call someone everyday to tell them how you'll stay on the program." Now in a TV drama I would go on to tell you that I went back and now I am happily one of them living thin and happily without my "trigger foods."

But this is my life and here is what happened to me. I continued to grieve for the next few days about the loss of my fun times with food, I found myself tearful over food and very indecisive about what to eat most of the time. I explained to my supportive loving overweight husband that I was struggling with the idea of giving up a lot in order to become healthier. As he always does, he waited patiently and listened without judgment. I should insert here that I was also seeing my therapist Randi and talking with her about all this too and about my battles with life and eating too much.

Today I am 30 pounds lighter and have never returned to another meeting. I decided I cannot give up flour and sugar forever, I love them too dearly. I don't want to call someone every morning and tell them my plans for eating today. I want to be able to join in birthday celebrations and cook the foods of my family heritage and eat them.

What I was able to give up was my adolescent attitude that "I should be able to eat what I want all the time, and no one can tell me what to do" I have struggled with a mother who always monitored my eating as a child and to this day, in an effort to help me be healthier, but which I experiene as overbearing and controlling. On the other hand I had a father who loved eating and ate with abandon and joy at every meal and who also was heavy most of his life. So in an effort to "show my mother she is not the boss of me" and to imitate my fun loving food eating father whom I adored I used food to prove to myself who "was in charge." It actually became the food.

So I think, hope and pray, that now I am in charge, my grown up self who knows that food can be wonderful and fun and healing, but also food can be an out of control force in my life that takes over if I am not aware each day and moment what I am putting into my mouth and why.

Will this work and will I continue to loose weight slowly and permanently? I don't know, this is where I am right now. I don't weigh myself,(my doctor told me about the 30 lbs I lost). I try many techniques to be fully aware and in the moment when I eat. I make special efforts to be aware of how my clothes are fitting and how I feel better or worse in my body depending on what I have eaten every day.

Why am I writing this post? To remind myself again of how I felt that day I went to the meeting that gave me an opening to let go and grieve the loss of freedom to eat whatever I wanted whenever I want it, because I want to stay on my own path to recovery. Also to let any readers of this post know that we are all different and what works for me may not work for you but that if we work hard enough and stay at it perhaps we can all find our own way to suceed even in our areas of greatest past failures.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Spring is coming like premature labor

I have found this spring to be filled with dis-ease. Not actually a word, but I like the sound of it. Different than uneasy more pervasive and persistent a feeling. The sense of waiting combined with dread. I don't know what I am dreading, free floating dread if you will. I know I am waiting for spring and it keeps coming in dribs and drabs like premature labor.

A few green sprigs of greenery in the garden, a few bird twitters in the morning, but nothing to make me sure spring is actually coming soon. It remains cold, gray, windy and to me sad. I feel like I am slogging through a marsh most days. Nothing to lighten my step or my spirits.

Perhaps our sloggy economy adds to this feeling, but I pride myself on not taking this economic free fall to seriously. I've lived through this stuff before and I discount greatly the media attempts to get us worked up for their benefit.

But what has a grip on me? I don't know. 50's angst? could be. I'll just keep waiting and slogging. "Whatsoever state I am, therein to be content."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Momma at rest

Well you would think that with all this vacation time on my hands I would be writing more in this blog. I have been thinking alot that's for sure, but getting it onto this screen seems hard.

For one thing part of myself is feeling the vicarious pain of our neighbors as they sit with their dying daugher Erica. Even writing those words bring moisture to my eyes. We spend so much of our lives avoiding thoughts of death and ending to our time on earth and then once in awhile we get a kick in the ass from the dangling dong of fate. (pardon my colorful language here but I did clean it up believe it or not)

Betrayal that's how it feels to have the life of a young woman who fought with all she was worth, with so much promise and hope, snatched from the loving arms of her family and friends who have no recourse, or room to negotiate. It just makes no sense and I struggle to believe that there is any bigger picture here to see. The older I get the more I am confused by the Bible verse "all things work together for good to those that love the Lord." How so?

I think back ony own loss of an iconic father at my then age of 30 years old. The only greater purpose I could see for that was maybe his freedom and move to a higher form of existence, but for those who loved him left here on earth it was only about loss, regret and wishing he were still with us even now 25 years later. By the way, this blog would piss him off.

But then last night when I dipped my arms and legs into the Bioluminescent Bay and watched the glowing glittering dinoflagellites playing all over me, I rejoiced in the wonder of our complex and suprising world. I felt optimistic and happy about what is still left to be offered to us in this aging run down world full of human disappointment and loss. But I stil wonder almost daily what the hell is it all about?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Heart Hurts

Well that was exciting. I just spent about five hours at Maine Medical Center ER getting my heart checked out. About three days ago I began to feel some pressure in the middle of my chest and when it didn't go away my MD suggested I go to the ER since it is Sat. and "they had the right equipment." I spent most of the day first putzing around, day trip to NH, lunch, and kept hoping it would disappear. Mostly I felt fine, just this nagging mild pain/pressure between "the ladies." I told the ER doc it felt like a cat was sitting on my chest.

Well the upshot is that it looks like I am fine, except they can't figure out the pain. My EKG, blood work and chest xrays were all good. I'll have a stress test this week just to make sure, but it looks like my VACA will go on as planned, thank's be!

What I want to say though mostly is that my experience in the ER against all my expectations was down right delightful. Without exception I was treated respectfully and kept fully informed. The wait was not bad. They even served both Stephen and I drinks twice. Not alchoholic unfortunately, but very accomodating. The only bad experience was the IV they had to insert that was a problem due to my silly veins. My guess is was that this was a fairly slow night in the ER, but the friendliness and gentleness with which I was treated was almost shocking. At one point we were talking with the Doc about good books to read on vacation and he came back in later with a print out of the book information from the computer.

So why is my heart hurting? I wonder is it anxiety, stress, indigestion, muscle pain? I prefer to think it is because my children have moved away and left me with their crazy father and needy pets in this frozen tundra of a winter in Maine. But that's just me. We'll see who is reading their mother's blog!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Schmalentines!

Now that I am an old married lady, I can sit back and watch the Valentines hub bub with a bit more detachment than years ago, when I spent much energy deciding what I would buy my sweetie, and wondering what how my sweetie would sweep me off my feet with a dazzling display of romance.

This year I bought us both some pretty tulips, sent him out for our favorite chocolates (Katadin Crunch at Haven's Chocolates) and bought myself some pretty earrings. One fun thing I found in Walmart for family Valentines were edible paper. You can write your love note with edible ink on the paper hearts and then they can be eaten by the reciever. For those of you mainline protestants and maybe who have had wafers for communion, they are sort of a pretty yummy version of those. Do Catholics have those same type of wafers? Like edible styrofoam?

Last year my sweetie informed me that Valentine's Day was a holiday he always dreaded because of the pressure to get something wonderful. This changed my expectation level and caused me to want to find a more relaxed way of celebrating our love. Changing my expectation level of him without blaming him for failing to read my mind and sweep me off my feet has been better for both of us. True love is about commitment and faithfulness, not about sweeping each other off our feet, and if you have a mate that is good at that, enjoy and feel lucky. I feel lucky to know that I have a faithful man who I know loves me dearly even if he dreads Valentines day. He's been around for over 35 of them now, and I hope he'll stay for another 35 at least.