My headshot for corporate speaking gigs. How do you like seeing me in my corporate shininess and make-up? Yes, I can clean up good when I need/want to. I just usually go for function and comfort. I dug it out for one of the sites where I audition for voice work, and my coach says it still looks enough like me to use.
Feeling Like I’m Missing Something…
Still been in a bit of a slump. Getting off my ass and recording Day 117 helped me somewhat. I was proud that I made it up the mountain in the horrible heat. I was proud I’d kept my commitment to myself and YOU, the BCs, to keep on delivering shows despite how well or not well I am doing in the compulsive/intuitive arena. I was proud that I made an effort, when frankly, I felt like curling up on the couch and giving up.
Whoa! Strong words there Laurie, what’s happened? What’s up with you?
Cs are Missing
Ok, we get you LOVE alliteration, but huh? What the heck?
Remember I told you about how hard it was to be suddenly retired? How my identity shifted suddenly and I was lost. It’s a hard thing to lose your sense of self. It was weird to go from corporate go-getter to stuttering homebody. It was weird to go from business casual to PJs and T-shirts overnight. I floundered quite a bit. Of course, I DID get a redecorated house out of that deal. Poor Mark had to help me find purpose some way, and that one fit the bill. (Plus we’d needed repair and revision for many years, and me becoming our remodeling/redecorating liaison let Mark continue his day job for a while longer, with the wondrous prospect of him NOT having to paint and repair the first six months of his upcoming retirement).
Anyway, back to the story…
I finally found podcasting as a way to get over my stuttering and fear of speaking. I loved it, and had high hopes. Well, you know how my first show went. Popular with listeners, but not with participants. I found myself growing more unhappy as I recorded fun shows in a vacuum. Now many podcasters only care about listeners, so that is not a bad thing. It’s just that I realized that it wasn’t fun for me. The conversation was the fun.
As my unhappiness and lassitude grew, so did my waistline. (As I wrote about here). Finally an unexpected photo jolted me out of inaction, and like a train on a track, I was back on my well-worn diet side of the binge/diet cycle. I felt better the MINUTE I decided to diet (like always). When you have a plan, you can address the benefits of it in a wonderful fantasyland – bypassing the work and actual discomfort said plan entails and zoom straight to the hosanna future outcome! This time will be different! This time I’ll DO IT! This time I’ll get this weight off for GOOD and my life will FINALLY all work out!
As you know, if you are a listener to the show, I also decided to look under my compulsive chip behavior and see what saying the unsayable would do for me. Would it make a difference? Would it help me stay on my diet and be different and lose the weight and keep if off for good?
Nope. It didn’t.
I still gained weight when I ate more than I burned. Damn physics.
My diet cycle didn’t magically adjust and become easier.
BUT I did find something I had never found before.
The First C – Companions
When I first recorded Compulsive Overeating Diary I had no idea that so many of us were out there. I felt I was a crazy-weird aberration of nature doomed to be alone for all time. That I had to hide myself away like the Phantom of the Opera behind a mask of socially acceptable smileyness and hatred of my size. We all know it’s ok to be fat AS LONG AS YOU HATE IT! This buys into social norm. You can be on a diet, or wishing to be on a diet or at least gazing with wonder and approval at those who WERE showing fortitude by sticking to THEIR diets. In short, we buy into that Fat is bad, Thin is good, we don’t deserve anything when we are fat. Look at Oprah! She is one of the most powerful self-made successful women on the planet. Yet she herself has written many times in many decades that she still felt a failure due to her weight struggle.
When you accept this story, you are one of the crowd. An outlier maybe, but still one of the herd.
When you BCs started to communicate and accept me, EVEN WHEN I DIDN’T DIET, I was astounded. There were others in the world who could value me and my thoughts apart from the social norm. I struggled to shed my 50 years of wrong-headed thinking and you were right there. Giving support, comments, participation. One of my early BCs, and one of the first to disappear, once described me as leading a rag-tag band of rebel companions in the brave fight to self acceptance and meaningful life. Wow! Was I doing that? Sounded good anyway.
I truly enjoyed the sense of having others like me, a tribe, kids to play with who wouldn’t always pick me last. It was a new feeling. To be myself and still have people stay around.
Until they didn’t.
I know, I know, ‘Don’t take it personally’. It’s them, not you.
Well yes and no. Partially it’s the breaks of who the audience would likely be for Compulsive Overeating Diary. If you think in ways similar to what I experience, you have, like me, possible mood swings, love/hate relationships with people, programs, things, obsessiveness and the love of new and shiny next things. Distractions are good. Easy to move onto other priorities and fascinations. Our podcaster/listener/participant relationship if we’ve been together through all of these episodes is more like settled married couple than sexy new daters! The energy is different. We’ve been there, done that, and it is more about stability and familiarity.
So reasons BCs might leave are many (and most don’t really include me):
- Other Priorities
- Plain tired of hearing it
- Wanting something new
- Deciding they actually disagree and don’t want to listen to this approach any longer
- Not feeling well
- Feeling REALLY well
- Moving Up
- Moving On
- Moving Away
No person can please everyone. I certainly can’t.
Anyway, when a few of the participating BCs are away, I do feel the lack, but move on pretty well. Even when weeks go by with many of participating BCs being busy or otherwise engaged, I do fine. But for a few months now, MOST BCs are away. Or at least not participating or communicating with me as they once did. Now some do, hugs Dawny and eM for your comments on my last episode. (And Dave who commented even as I was writing this yesterday). I so appreciate it. But the amount of BC participation has grown so slim, it’s a trickle compared to the river it once was.
So I’m back in the identity crisis. I’m trying to be brave without the companions. My rebel leader hat has fallen off and I’m trying to again find my place in the world. Which leads to…
My NEXT CRISIS of C – Certainty
The show used to give me something I never had before — the certainty that I actually knew, deep down, what is right for me. I could finally tell if one path felt like it was resonating or not. Lately, I’ve been struggling again. Another reason it’s hard to do shows. Talking to myself is very hard after being used to your feedback. It is especially hard when thoughts of dieting come back and tickle my ear with promises of everything being ok.
I still hate being fat. There I said it, out loud (or at least put it in writing). I do!
But I don’t hate MYSELF for being fat. That’s the difference. Still, when I am sad, or lost, or feeling alone, that diet talk beckons me, ‘Come back to the fold. Be one with society again. Don’t fight it.’
Dang, I hate when that happens!
In therapy I discovered that the dieting feeling and my body discomfort is more about my perceived lack of control. I can’t control YOU (nor do I want to), I can’t control if or when I’ll be hired for voice work vs. spending money on training, I can’t even control how my body reacts to my age. Both Mark and I are subject to more aches and pains. It’s part of life, but annoying. All I can control is myself, and when I’m in a panic and unsure, what is my goto method of control? Dieting! And what will CONVINCE me to diet when I know I don’t want to? Ramp up the inner criticism about my body. Bring back old ghosts to haunt my head.
My comfortable identity is fat chick wanting to be thin chick.
My new identity is fat chick wanting to be ok as is – even if a different body type would be nice.
The new identity is very hard to maintain in the hard times, the lonely times, the self-doubting times. But it IS these trials that forge the strength I need to develop…
The Final C – Consistency
Consistency is our ability to be true to a path as long as we truly feel it is right for us. Those of us in long term relationships, like marriage or family or long held friends, know that there are times when we don’t FEEL like we are clicking and all is not peaceful and fine. That is part of growth and being individuals. Over all, it is the sum of the ups and downs and the time we are together that creates the relationship. It is stability and consistency that makes it safe and known and familiar.
To date, I’ve had 50 years of disordered relationship with food – even though this is NOT a great relationship, it was consistent. It feels familiar, it feels safe. My NEW relationship with ME feels awkward and bumpy and difficult. I don’t KNOW what it entails in the way I know what bingeing and dieting entail.
To gain mastery in any skill, voice acting, sports, writing, intuitive eating, takes consistent practice. Each time I forgo the chance to pay attention and practice one of these, I lose out on the chance to progress. Sometimes I’m just too tired to grow. But there is a difference between resting and giving up. My 50 years of compulsive thinking tells me, when things get hard, or boring, or are no longer great at distracting me, GIVE IT UP. Move on to the NEXT GREAT THING!
It is taking grit and fortitude that doesn’t feel easy or fun to maintain my course. I know that voice acting is possible, but a career is still years away in practice, skill, and sticking with it. Writing is improving, though time and time again, I forgo the book I wish to write for TV, a time suck of the highest order. Maybe it isn’t the book for me? Or maybe I am too afraid to try it for real? It is a dark and murky place, sorting my feelings. The show is still good. I enjoy my old episodes. I’m proud of the work and that so many of you trusted me with your stories, voices and thoughts, but it also points out to me again just how many BCs there were who used to participate and then disappeared.
Am I stuck and you are moving on? Are we moving at different rhythms and I just don’t perceive you there? Is my lesson to learn to give without expectation? Is my lesson to focus on myself? Is my lesson to just let the world be what it is and understand there are good days and bad days for us all? There is no perfect life. There is no perfect day. There are only moments when we consistently notice that we are alive.