Thursday, December 18, 2008

Out of Touch

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Work 6p-8a--153#

Somehow, I am at once an insightful person and a completely oblivious one. My study of people, the human body and its psyche has been a lifelong pursuit, one that I don't see ending any time soon. I try to listen to and appreciate my friends in a way that allows me to provide sage advice when requested and withhold it when I see it is unproductive or unwelcome. I know their moods, their "tells," and the inflections of their voices. Yet, I am my own greatest conundrum. I know so much less about myself at 35 years, 4 months and some-odd days than I ever have at any moment prior. But I am learning.

Today I have realized two things.
First and foremost, I have realized that I can say "no" too easily to the ones who matter most to me and not easily enough to the ones who ultimately matter least. This epiphany is courtesy of a wonderful friend, what I often refer to as "chosen family," who happens to know my tells. The ER where I work is perpetually understaffed, and as a result, I frequently get calls begging and pleading me to fill the holes. I have missed too many special occasions to mention and broken more promises than I like to remember in the name of fulfilling my duties to the ER and the community for which it cares. Saying "no" to the scheduler who is desperate and nearly in tears somehow has been so much harder than saying it to my husband or my loving parents or various friends. Tonight when she called begging me to work tomorrow, this good friend looked at me and said, "I will kick your ass if you work tomorrow night. You are leaving me and the rest of your friends to go to Florida so you can spend more time with your husband and improve your marriage, live your dreams, but you're thinking about working tomorrow night?! Your husband has driven 700 miles to spend your 2 days off with you. If you work instead of spending time with him, I will kick your ass and take it as a personal affront." And like that, it clicked. I said no and felt empowered for it instead of being filled with guilt and self-loathing as I have in the past on the few occasions when I have told them no. How has it taken me 8 years to get this?
Me, the friend who inspired the epiphany, his wife, and his other buddy

May 10th of this year just after we all jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.

Next, I was going back over a post that Tracy Rif put up a couple of days ago in which she discusses her dysfunctional relationship with the scale and calorie counting. As I reread her post, the same words that originally reached out to me did so again. "I don't think knowing what and how much you're eating is a bad thing, and I'll tell you what....I'd rather be conscious of what I'm doing than not. But when you let it control you, instead of you controling it then it's time to re-evaluate why you're doing it. My daily calorie consumption and my daily weigh-ins used to simply be data before it became a measure of my worth." The meandering course that is my thought process lead me from this to the realization that I have never, not once, been at peace with food or with my body. I thought about how the need to count calories and weigh-in daily is not only a product of a slightly obsessive-compulsive personality, but it is also a direct result of a person's lack of familiarity with him or herself. If I understood my body's rhythms and signals well enough, I would eat only those things that made it feel best and only in appropriate amounts. Understanding them would allow me to gauge my need for less food or more, or more activity or less, based on how I feel when I move or wear my clothes. Looking back, I am closer now to beginning to understand the rhythms and signals than I have ever been, but I am still far removed from being comfortable enough to fore go the scale or a rigorous and constant self-evaluation of my nutrition. I recognize now, though, that being able to do that is difficult in large part because of my never having been able to to do it before. I've been sneaking food since I was 6 or 7 years old, and was anorexic later on. When I did find a healthy weight (at which point I still wasn't comfortable with how I looked), I was paralytically afraid of missing a workout, a feeling I am currently vividly remembering. As G.I. Joe was so fond of saying, however, "Knowing is half the battle." So now that I recognize my shortcomings, I can focus my efforts on correcting them in hopes of one day being able to toss the scale and eat without guilt or overwhelming forethought.

WORKOUT: On day 3 of my week-long hiatus. This is gonna be a long week.


  1. I liked reading your thoughts on who you say yes to. I find that very true for myself and it is funny how perspective changes the way that looks:) Also, thanks for visiting my little internet home :)

  2. Just wanted to say that you are awesome! Thanks for helping my cause... and thanks for being so open! Gosh, so many of us struggle with those same things. A great book I am reading right now is called: Boundaries by Henry Cloud... Amazing... all about saying yes to the things that matter and understanding ourselves so much better... And amen to the scale issue.. I am for the first time in my life not obsessed with eating, calories, exercising... I struggled with a lot of the same things, and am in the best place I have ever been... Still struggle of course, but have come so far. Isn't it fun to be women... with the pressure to look attractive and be super women to all of the people in our world that we want to care. We certainly tend to take on a lot. Thanks for being so honest.

  3. seems like a little rest is doing you good....