From the belly of my being stirs excitement It sneaks up and rises like a wave ideas upon ideas flow like lava down a volcano, but they do not cool when they hit the air Seeds planted, they try to take root. The soil makes room for the seeds new found sense of life. Freedom whispers to me from beyond the glowing golden door. It feels heavy and I am afraid it’s weight might crush me. Breathe in and out, moving between the spaces, I reach a hand through a crack in the door. My hand dances for the rest of me, who is too afraid to move into the light.
A false sense of safety fills me as I peek out from the walls of my imaginary box.
For now, I will lay down in the corner of this space and wrap myself up in my warm comfort blanket.
Then, comes the time, that I will step forth out into the infinite unknown.
My breath will be taken for a minute, for my lungs only know expansion through a well defined space.
The familiar will become foreign and all sense of knowing will dissolve.
I will turn inward, then, to search for answers.
My heart will flutter as it scurries to make sense of what is happening.
I will try to crawl back into my box, but it will not fit and the sight of it will make me sick.
The feel of its cramped walls will make me scream as if it is suffocating me.
I will look around at everyone else in their boxes and feelings of envy will wash through me.
Look at how comfortable they are, sleeping so soundly.
Can I crawl in with you for a minute? Can I escape my new sense of uncertainty?
It feels good for a moment to have an escape and I welcome it.
But, as time passes, I recognize this is not my space, and I must leave in search of my own.
I hang on to something inside of me, a voice, a knowing that has always been there.
I hang on to the sound of unbridled childhood laughter.
I hang on to the sound of the ocean and the vantage point at the top of my favorite mountain.
I hang on to the wisdom of the great elephant and of my dream of the rhythmic river.
I hang on.
I hang on to cherish the mystery and to dance with the unknown.
I ask if the great mystery can be my new home.
I step out into widest deepest parts of myself and I take a deep breath.
I just keep breathing.
I want to admit something…I love having answers. I have always loved this. Is love the right word? I have always been drawn to pondering to wondering to asking the questions. My parents tell me as a child one of my favorite sayings was, “but why?” Still to this day that remains with me. And now as an adult, I understand that we can never know the entirety of any answer. Be it all the viewpoints in a disagreement, or the the way the human liver works. I think as I “relax” into adulthood, I have come to realize that this constant need to intellectually know has held me back at times. Be it, in my career or in my personal growth and facing my eating disorder. I have felt so often the need to get a perfect answer. My need to have the perfect answer to things has also, at times, translated into wanting to “be perfect.” What is this drive for perfectionism? It is a roadblock to happiness that’s what it is.
My need for perfectionism could be seen in my early days of counting every calorie down to the very last one, or weighing myself 6 times a day to see if I had gained or lost any weight. I also sometimes found myself stuck in my work at school because it would never be perfect enough or “complete enough.” This need to perfect something takes away the joy and the awe for actually experiencing it. To deconstruct every detail takes away from the wholeness of the thing itself. I was slowly breaking myself into pieces. I was reducing myself to how well I “followed a diet.” Thinking about this now I actually get tears in my eyes.
I was and am so much more than how I do one particular thing. I feel my heart beating now and I know my capacity to love. I know that the moments I sit in love with my family and friends, that I am realizing my true self. As I type these words, I feel deep gratitude that instead of being stuck in this place of self criticism, I have somewhat been freed.
However, recently, I have been wanting to take on new endeavors. I have not felt “ready” to do so. Many deep loving friends have encouraged me and think I am crazy for believing I am not ready. One of the things I have come to know is that people may never be truly 100% ready when a challenge arrises, but there is a transition point that comes when one takes the leap and when one begins to fly. There is a middle point, when the fear is palpable, but despite it the answers arise.
I have encouraged many people to follow their dreams. It is easy for me to see the potential in someone else, and tell them about it with great enthusiasm. However, when it comes to myself, I am less inclined to do so. Perhaps, I am just afraid of failure.
I write this on my blog about having an eating disorder because, one’s relationship to food and body image highlights but one area of someone’s life. When I let go of my need to “diet” I let go of something very real. Slowly, other things I wanted to do have crawled in. And, so without having the all the answers or the “perfect” set of wings, I must try to fly.
When food was just food…and fuel…and nourishment.