Day 21, Ugly, Beautiful, Honest

So, I recently quit my job. I only worked two days a week. It was nice to get out of the house and communicate with adults and still spend the bulk of my time raising my children and running my household. But, my husband’s business continues to grow and so do the children, ushering us into a world where there is no good time for me to be away from home. I’ve been 100% stay at home for a few weeks now and went back to work today for a meeting as I will continue to help out as a substitute when needed. It was also a little bit of a goodbye. There was lunch. There was cake.

I knew it would be so, and I planned to participate wholeheartedly, and I did. I ate the fucking cake. It was fucking good, all kinds of dark chocolate ganache and cream cheese filling good. And I moved through the eating and the sitting pretty easily. I had an hour drive home with no time for stopping as my husband needed to be off to his job outside of the home. My next jobs as mommy and kennel partner began as my feet touched the gravel drive.

I attempted to be present for my children and to hold my recent engulfing irritability at bay. I did pretty ok for 3 weeks no behaviors. I did everything I knew my husband wanted me to do for the dogs even if the thought of it was exhausting, even though as he ticked off his list of things I “could do if I wanted” I was mentally un- checking them, no, not that, not today, how the hell do you expect me to fit that into the general chaos of raising our children? I paused, agitated, turned, and got to work.

I took the boys out to play in the yard, I brought the 3 week old puppies out into their play room with the boys and took videos. I fed the puppies their transitioning food and changed their bedding. Then dinner. Dinner is the most difficult time of my day. My children are picky toddlers, oft turning their cute tiny noses up at anything I set in front of them. If I could, I would eat a bowl of cereal and never cook another dinner. The boys finally, I’ll use this term loosely, agreed on boxed Mac n cheese and frozen veggies. I cooked one box to prevent binging. I fed them 2/3 and ate the rest. I hate feeding them right now. Wasting food makes me feel nervous, I’m easily frustrated by their refusal to eat most things. It is more difficult to get them to eat what I’d like to eat. Except in the case of cereal. I’m quite certain they would be so pleased if I decided we were all going to eat cereal for dinner every day of the week. But I’m trying to improve. And it’s painful, uncomfortable at best, downright torture at worst.

So I felt exceptionally uncomfortable after dinner. And instead of merely sitting with myself, or playing with the kids, trying to ignore, distract, I did something totally unexpected. I took a picture of the part of me that felt disagreeable. I took two photos of my bare belly. I expected feelings of disgust as I viewed the photos. I was prepared to feel the disgust and process it. I looked, and I felt… Sympathetic? All the feelings of disdain I expected, they kind of crumbled away at the sight of the space where my babies once grew, this piece of a body I’ve been abusing for twenty years. I didn’t feel love, but a kind of kinship for this poor body.

I’m under no impression that I will start loving my body now, that the next time I look in the mirror or take a photo of a body part, I won’t feel the disgust or shame I was expecting tonight. Nevermind that, for a moment I found some kind of beauty in the ugliness that is my eating disorder. So as I lie down tonight I’m holding onto that little bit of light, praying I can nurture it, that someday it may grow into full fledged hope, into some kind of peace.

Challenge for the Day:

Challenge yourself to take a photo of a body part. Meditate on this image with COMPASSION. Focus on what this part of your body has done for you and empathize with its mistreatment.

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