If left to my own devices, I will eat my favorite foods in large quantities. It’s not that I deny myself culinary treats, but rather that I attempt to show restraint by either (a) sharing my favorite goodies or (b) somehow storing them so that consuming them requires forethought and effort. This latter method usually takes the form of freezing.
See, my thought process goes, I love that Mark bought me a $1 bag of “damaged’ chocolate chip cookies (which apparently was deemed damage for exactly one broken cookie, but I digress) but to keep me from eating the entire bag in one sitting, I’ll put them in the freezer. Then not only are they out of sight and I have to actually want a cookie instead of mindlessly eating them as they sit on my kitchen table, but I have take the time to get the cookie out of the freezer, find a clean plate, put in the microwave and defrost it.
Oh, the thought of a nice warm chocolate chip cookie … that takes effort and will cause me to savor and enjoy the moment, to enjoy the cookie.
Yesterday, however, I ate a cookie right out of the freezer, still frozen. I had gnawed into it well before the freezer door closed.
It was emotional eating at its best.
See yesterday some unexpected old friends showed up. Actually, they’re type of friends you used to hang out with until you decided that they no longer were healthy to be around — the kind of friends who drag you down. In the current vernacular they’re called “toxic friends” and yet they showed up on my doorstep last night — welcome doubt and unworthiness.
They saw their opening to make a visit yesterday afternoon when a well-intentioned person started asking rather personal questions — about my age, my marital status and why I didn’t own a home. By the conversation’s end it was determined that I was incredibly old (though apparently don’t look it), have an independent nature that hampers my ability to have meaningful relationships and am either too lazy or too financially ignorant to own a home.
So I guess it wasn’t much of a surprise when doubt and unworthiness showed up for my open water swim workout. Sine they were hanging around, I cut my swim short, which was fine. I wasn’t feeling so well anyway despite my best efforts to hide it.
So doubt and unworthiness started asking me if I really thought I could do a 2.4-mile swim in two hours or less — the time cutoff for the Iron Distance race in Montreal in September. They started to ask if I was prepared for Musselman in a few weeks and if I even could pass the 750 meter swim test in Welland on Saturday.
In the hopes of making them leave, I fed them a cookie and some chocolate. It helped a bit. I shared some of the questions doubt and unworthiness asked with some key people in my life and they helped reassure me, in genuine tones, that I knew better than those clowns. I had dropped doubt and unworthiness from in inner circle for a reason but still, it’s always a bit sad to lose a relationship you spent so long cultivating.
I recalled a quote from Floyd Landis (before the whole performance enhancing drug debacle) which went something to the affect of: It only feels like you’re dying. You don’t actually die. It’s true of the physical pain we can put ourselves through in training or a race. The same can be said for emotional pain. The hard parts make us stronger, even as we feel like we’re breaking down.
There are times when I need to get out of my head, because I think far, far too much. But there are times when my head can be rather creative and helpful and so my mind and I are making peace this week. Yes, there are parts of my mind where I self-inflict craziness, where I let doubt and unworthiness back into my life. But there is a much wiser part of my brain which knows that doubt and worthiness will be just fine on their own. That I don’t need them anymore. That I have new friends — confidence and possibility — who understand me far better and frankly are just a better match for where I’m at, and where I’m going, these days.