Saturday, 12 October 2013

Step out of the cage. You can do it. I promise.


It’s Thanksgiving. This day has been one of my long term goals. Today, I’m going to do this thing. I am going to help prepare, and participate in Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings! Garden carrots, turnip, turkey, homemade stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, buttercup squash and homemade pumpkin pie. My Aunt, Uncle, Brother and his Girlfriend as well as myself and my parents are going to be in attendance. I’m excited, I’m thankful…

I’m anxious as all fuck.

“Why on earth are you anxious, Heath?!”, “You’ve been doing so well!”, “You eat all the time, this is no different!”, “It’s only family!”.

These are some of the things I have been hearing. I am extremely proud of myself in my recovery thus far. I have made a complete 360 in my life in the past five to six weeks. I am starting to live again, laugh again, sing again, bake again, cook again, see friends again, and even play my guitar again. I eat when I’m hungry, I stop when I’m full. I am not afraid to snack. I eat a handful of this and a handful of that throughout the day, I weigh in very little and only to see that I’m still gaining and keeping on track (I am). I can honestly say that the majority of the time, I do NOT EAT NUMBERS. Things are getting better, I am getting better… Yet… I am still terrified about this thanksgiving dinner.

Talking with a new friend (whom I consider to be VERY close to me) helped me figure out exactly where this anxiety is stemming from.

I’m scared that ED is going to get mad at me.

Hear me out.

You see, there’s a reason that this blog is entitled “A Love Affair”. ED and I were together, you see. It’s dysfunctional, but we were a couple. He is the abusive boyfriend, the controller, the prison warden. He has built a cage to keep me in. That cage is where he feels safe, where he tricks me into thinking that I am “in control”, the place where I am supposed to believe that I need him to lean on, and that I need his comfort, even if it means degrading myself, bashing my self-worth, and starving to death. By participating in this family meal, eating plenty of good food because, let’s face it, food is used in celebratory means all the time, having dessert because I WANT it (And because I was the one who BAKED THE PIE FROM SCRATCH RIGHT DOWN TO THE GRAHAM CRACKERS IN THE CRUST, OH YEAH), Enjoying seconds, or thirds, or a nice heaping scoop of Mama’s homemade turkey stuffing, laughing, having fun, being happy, enjoying my family and BEING IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE AND SITUATION ED Is very upset. It means I have stepped out of the confines of the cage and into the sun. Outside the cage there is beauty, color, happy smells, laughter, love, comfort, confidence. Outside the cage is somewhere where I can stand on my own, without using ED as my support and my “protector”. Now, you can imagine that the son of a bitch wouldn’t like that too much. As Shannon put it: “ED’s shakin’ in his boots!” It’s like he can see that I have the potential to be my own person, to be happy, to have my pie and eat it too! He’s seen tastes of it. I’ve thrown away my meal plan, I’ve started doing things I love, I’ve eaten in a restaurant. He sees this happening and he knows he’s losing me for good. So in the end, I fear his anger… I fear what irrationalities he will try to put in my head in order to ruin this day. This is Stockholm Syndrome, I swear.

So, in the end, I know I am the one in control. I’ve got a plan for the day, and I’m sticking with it. My actions will enable me to cope, not to place too much importance on what worries me (ED’s anger, eating with a large group of people, people potentially commenting on my food/how I eat, etc), and replacing those thoughts with what today is really about (giving thanks, enjoying the food I helped prepare,  enjoying my family, taking joy in the fact that I am here with them and not dead, or in a hospital somewhere). Last year I watched as my family left the house in order to attend turkey dinner at my Aunt’s and Uncle’s place. I threw away the “feast” I prepared myself for my own lonely thanksgiving, and retired to my room. Last year at this time, I wished I was dead. I would have hacked my arm off with a machete rather than leave my house, let alone bake a pie, prepare a thanksgiving dinner and eat it with a bunch of people. Last year at this time I thought that I would never get better, that this was it for me, that ED was me and I was ED.

In a nutshell, I have so much to be thankful for:

My family, my support system, my blog, my friends, my inner strength, my intelligence, my bravery, my inner beauty, my potential, my life.
What are you thankful for?

PS- today is also Harv’s Birthday. There will be cake (because he doesn’t like pumpkin pie. I don’t know what’s wrong with him).
PPS- Aunt Marie is helping me finish up my first real rug hooking project (The one I made for Mama for her birthday)

PPPS- I am attending my conference this week for Aboriginal Women in Business. Holy Christ-nuggets.

PPPPS- The Walking Dead. Today. Can’t contain myself. Zombies.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone.

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