The Universe Herself seems to be beating me about the head to write. So, here I am. Last night, I watched this video where Joe Polish beautifully, eloquently, and genius-ly speaks about his addictions.
You know how, when you buy a new car, you suddenly see your car everywhere, but before you had never noticed it? Or, even, you notice something small and then notice it recurring in everything? A song is stuck in your head, then you hear it on the radio over and over, even though it’s not a frequently played song? That kind of shit happens to me constantly.
Last night, I poured my heart out to Jack in a big sobbing, sniveling blubberfest which left me snotty with a headache. The video cracked me open like a nut, because I understood every word Joe said. As I was lying down, I heard Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. “I honor the Universal law of cause and effect”. It’s what Tina Turner chanted in “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and the first time I started turning to Buddha. (Most people find paths to philosophy in movies, right?)
I fell asleep with the chant in my mind. My “Today in History” app popped up this morning “Check out these rare photos of Anna Mae Bullock!” (Tina Turner). I saw that, and remembered my chant again, and chuckled at the synchronicity. Later, I went to get my hair cut, and ended up in a deep convo with the dude cutting my hair about Buddha, and he said “Oh my god.. my favorite chant is Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, remember that Tina Turner movie?” I started laughing and telling him about this. He said, “That’s a sign”
I drove home admiring my fab hair and wondering what the hell it is a sign of, knowing all the well what it is. The Universal Law of Cause and Effect. Why was I sobbing to Jack last night?
My bulimia is in full force. For the first time in 16 years of knowing Jack, being his wife for a decade, his girlfriend for 14 years, I looked him in the eye and admitted to him that I was throwing up. His first confirmation of my bulimia was when I wrote about it a year ago and emailed him before I posted it. Then I sobbed and apologized.
I gained ~40lbs since April. I went clothes shopping because I have very few clothes I currently fit in. The clothes I tried on look like shit, and I feel like a fat slob. Everything I tried on made me look like a garbage bag filled with rocks. I felt as sexy as a pig in a thong. Of course, I feel like a superficial asshole, and I should just love myself, and my curves and all my edges, all my perfect imperfections, but in the real world, I look in the mirror and abhor my reflection. I have a double chin right now. I haven’t had a double chin in 7 years. I currently weigh what I weighed after giving birth to my 7 year old. I have kept all of that weight off for 7 years. Admittedly, how did I lose that weight?
Well, I began obsessively exercising while starving myself. My breast milk, I think, dried up because I was not consuming enough calories. I was attempting to capitalize on the extra calories from breastfeeding by exercising more AND not eating, so I could “Finally get skinny!!” No, in reality, I robbed myself of breastfeeding my child. I blamed pumping and work, but that is the truth that I never bothered to tell.
My bulimia is in full force. In addition to my self loathing, etc. there is this shameful “First world problem” feeling. There are starving people all over, and I eat and vomit? Really? Could you be more of an ignorant, selfish, delusional prick? Hmm, well that really makes me feel like shit, so then I want to eat more, because eating gives you comfort, right? Who doesn’t feel better after a brownie, or 12? Well, then I need to throw that up, because do you have any idea how fat you are? You can’t fit in anything. Did you SEE the spare tire snugly accented by your garbage bag dress?
In reality, what am I doing? I am trying to control something, because I am out of control. If I can shove my fingers down my throat, I can stop gaining weight, then I’ll feel better, then maybe I’ll stop being so depressed, maybe I’ll stop being such a miserable bitch, and maybe I’ll have a friend or a boyfriend…or a girlfriend…but my life is a fucking disaster, I live with my ex because I’m a failure, and oh man I should just eat some more brownies and puke. Because then it’s my fault. It makes sense. I’m miserable because I am struggling with bulimia, right?
There seems to be a distortion – in me, and a lot of people – that “I am choosing my misery” and “I am doing this to myself” Bulimia, for me, is an addiction. It is my very first shitty coping skill. Next came cutting, cigarettes, sex, drugs, alcohol (rock and roll), and so the list goes. All of these words (aside from Rock and Roll…) are other synonyms of the greater problem: Self Destruction. It’s slow suicide, but it’s suicide. There is no reality I can delude myself into thinking “Oh this won’t hurt a bit!” I started writing because of this. I vomited blood, and I saw I was killing myself. I stared at my destruction in the toilet bowl, I sobbed, and I realized if I didn’t get help, I was going to leave my kids motherless.
Here we are a year since I started writing, and unsurprisingly, I’m swirling the drain again. Why?
Why… that’s the question that drives me mad. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I hurt myself? Over the last two years, I have worked so hard on myself, yet here I am. I journal-ed, “I finally understand that I do not believe I deserve love, and it is underscored by the fact that I struggle so much to actually love myself.” I’m swirling the drain, because I still wasn’t changing for me. It was for my kids (who’s love I don’t deserve)
“But you are choosing to do this, so just choose to stop, duh.”
This judgment is what addicts struggle with. I know I’m choosing to do it! I don’t know why, and I don’t know why I can’t stop. It is still a coping mechanism, whether or not it is healthy is another matter, but it’s how I cope. My brain, my body, wants this. My brain generally wants me to die inherently; it manifests in lots of lovely ways. I know full well I’m an adult, I am responsible for myself, my life, and my children, yet I am behaving like an idiot hurting myself and torturing myself with every thought. As I chew my food, I worry about how much weight I will gain. I determine if I deserve to digest it or if I need to throw it up, based on what I’ve eaten, and how my clothes fit. The cycle usually does not stop until I have achieved the weight loss I want. Does it ever really stop? Addictions are like cancer – it goes into remission.
In truth, I know if I weighed 105 lbs, I’d still see myself as fat. I’d still hate my body, and I’d still be unhappy, and I’d still be bulimic. Why?
I don’t know. I do not know why I hate myself the way I do. Somewhere along the line, that seed was planted. I have tended that seed for years, and at this point, I have the makings of a redwood of pain and misery in my cranium. All the times I have hurt myself or others feed all of this. Not just the bulimia. Drugs, Alcohol, Sex, it’s all the same. It’s an escape to more pain while telling myself it feels better. Why?
I think I am so used to being miserable; I do not know how to be happy. Why?
Because I don’t believe I deserve happiness, or love. Why?
I don’t know. This is the pain of addiction. I have a long list of effects, but the cause is the shadow behind the sun. I see it, I know it. I have killed the branches and leaves over and over, but that root runs deep. I have to work to love myself. I have to choose to love myself. I have to choose to take care of myself. None of these things are habit. None of these things are natural to me. Natural is throwing up because I am too fat. Natural is getting drunk when I am upset. Natural is crying myself to sleep. Natural is love hurts, so I love myself by hurting myself.
That’s how an addict knows how to love. To judge or blame an addict is like blaming a toddler for misspelling anti-dis-establishment-arian-ism. I don’t know how to love better, and the only one who can teach me is me, and I’m the one who taught myself bulimia, anorexia, and all the other fun stuff. Maybe that sounds defeatist, but if I don’t believe I deserve love, who is going to help me un-believe that? Jack tried to love me into loving myself, and I hated him for it. Most people who get too close to me ultimately get pushed away by me, either purposely or through my instability. You can only watch someone set themselves on fire so many times before you say, “Deuces, psycho bitch”
All of this re-affirms the message, and further ingrains the process. The Cause.
“I just want love”
“Plenty of people love you”
“No, they don’t.”
“How can you say that?”
“It’s true. How could anyone? Look at me. I am a fucking trainwreck.”
I Am The Elephant In The Room. I won’t let anyone love me, because I know I will hurt them. I hurt myself to try to not hurt anyone and hurt everyone anyway. I am an addict. There is no why, because that is who I am. I am tired of searching for why – it IS like trying to bite my own teeth! I am the family fuck up. I am the great disappointment. I am crazy. I am mentally ill. I am everything everyone says I am. How could I not be? Addiction is a toxic relationship with yourself. There’s the battered spouse “please stop, you said you wouldn’t do this anymore…”, the abuser, “You made me do this! I’ll never do it again, I love you…”, and there is me tucked away under my bed watching myself do this wondering why.
The universal law of cause and effect – Karma. I am the fruit of my action. My intention is to hurt, so I hurt. I am what I believe I am, and this is what I have allowed. I am an addict. I am powerless over my addiction. Cause: Addict, Effect: Addiction
The 12 Steps are founded in part by CG Jung’s psychoanalysis. Jung’s thesis was of the shadow self. That all of us have shadows – the side of us we repress, we fight, as we attempt to appease to the outer world – call it super-ego in Freudian terminology, society, your parents, etc. Jung said in order to evolve as a person, one must first initiate the process of individuation – the I am. Then, you must embrace the shadows, not fight. You must step through the shadows to truly transform. “I am powerless over my addiction”
I have been chasing my tail trying to find out “Why am I like this?” I finally just get it: I have to surrender, or I will always continue to fight. In 12 steps, you surrender to your higher power – and that puts people off. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Your higher power can be your cat, for christ’s sake. Stop being so literal, because as an addict, your current higher power ( What has more power over you than your own free will) are drugs/sex/video games/porn/facebook/etc. Is it really that awful to think perhaps god, Buddha, or for me – Love is a higher power? It’s tough…very, very tough.
All of this is caused by me wanting love – from myself mostly. I wonder the karma – the fruit of my action – if I were to … surrender to love because I am powerless over love. As Joe said in the video, my desperation has been trying to connect because I am disconnected, yet I am disconnected because I refuse to see that I am connected. My pain is caused by me loving myself the wrong way, and continuously finding new ways to wrongly love myself. Fuck it, let’s see what happens if I just … stop… trying.
Do you have any idea how good it feels to finally, finally, just let it go? I think I finally got the sign.