I wrote about "My Love/Hate Relationship With Thinspiration Blogs" for The Frisky. Funnily enough, I thought earlier this week, bingeing on Pretzel Crisps and potato chips was the worst of my eating habits this week, but it wasn't. Let's just say, yesterday was a bad day, but today I sought refuge from the storm at the gym and gave my legs and arms a pretty solid workout. I need to work on eating for health and hunger, not emotional eating, and on carving out time for the gym like I did today. One day at a time, eh?
And yeah, lately I'm realizing that it's in the middle of or immediately after my rock bottom moments that I get to that state of writing the most truthfully, because you have nothing left to lose at that point. For me, it kindof releases something in me that maybe I need to access in the worst possible ways, to figure out what sets me off. I don't want to create a pattern of low, low moments, followed by writing that somehow puts a salve on them, but that is often how it works for me. I'm tapping into a lot of my jealousy and hatred around a certain past relationship and unpacking it, and realizing that it's okay to have those emotions; they are mine, I own them, right or wrong, and that not looking at them, not exploring them, just accepting the way I've treated people or the way people have treated me, is the path to disaster. It's a very slippery slope for me from feeling like "This shitty thing happened" to "If someone treats me in a shitty way, I deserve it." That is what I'm unpacking in some of my writing, and it feels like some Muriel Rukeyser awakening.
Which brings me to that famous quote of hers: "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open." Trust me, I read about a lot of women's lives, and I do believe in the transformative power of truthtelling. But I think one giant lesson for me this year is that there is something a little suspicious, often, about those who set out to "change the world." I've dated and hooked up with people like that, ones who travel to farflung countries, who are "out there" in the world, far, far from home, and I'm not saying they are not doing good, positive work out there, and being amply rewarded for it. They are. But for me, I never want to be that person who thinks they are "saving" the world but treating the people in their personal worlds like shit. To me, that hypocrisy is sad, and so far from who I want to be that I'm glad I've distanced myself from the people who practice it. I don't admire it and don't want to add to the fawning around it.
I'm not claiming that I act perfectly towards the people in my life; I don't. I fuck up, I hurt people, I am selfish and self-centered. But I try hard to look at those actions, to learn from them, to find ways to satisfy myself first and to still be as good a friend I can be. It took me a long time to learn how to separate those things, to realize that that "good work" might be meaningful, but it doesn't make someone a good person. Ultimately, I think that is something everyone has to judge for themselves, and I used to think it was my job to be judged by everyone around me, to care about what other people thought, and yet there came a point where I realized I'm not in anyone else's head, and I can't live up to their standard or version of who I should be. I can only live up to my version, and that is what I'm trying to do. 2010, in particular the part from 35 on, have been, in a word, bad, so I am eagerly counting the days til 2011.
There is a lot inside myself, and outside, that I don't like, and often my solution to that has been to lie in bed and mope, but I'm trying to fight that part of me, to make concrete changes in how I live and how I take care of myself; obviously, there are blips along the way. I was a wreck yesterday, and realized that there are some toxic people in my life who I need to reconsider spending time with. That is not to blame anyone else for my actions, but again, to go back to self-care, which I think makes me a better person to be around, hopefully, anyway. I know when I am not taking care of myself in the ways I haven't been lately, when I go along with things just for the sake of the experience or to please someone else or because it's the "right" thing to do, I am doing myself a disservice. So, yeah, that was my longwinded way of saying that maybe as I get older my world becomes a bit more myopic, and "the world," in the Rukeyser sense, sounds all too much like hubris. I'm looking forward to going more inward, and there's no way to write that or think that without sounding, to my own ears, utterly selfish, and so be it. I'm ready to relinquish any claims to being not-selfish, and embrace that for what it is--not a path to anything other than learning about myself and going deeper with my writing and whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing with my life.
The other night, I was wading through all the junk scattered around my apartment, starting to panic because I couldn’t find a book I needed to review. I threw out bag after bag of garbage and finally decided to get some dinner, my version of which was a prepackaged frozen entree of organic tofu, vegetables and brown rice, plus a bottle of soy sauce.
No sooner had I popped it in the microwave than I discovered a brown paper bag from Trader Joe’s filled with one giant bag of tortilla chips and one bag of potato chips. I was still lamenting the previous night’s binge on everything Pretzel Crisps (yes, the same ones that pulled their “You can never be too thin” ads earlier this year), but that didn’t stop me from opening the potato chips. I thought I could just eat a few, savor that greasy, so-salty-it-hurts-the-corners-of-my-mouth taste, then throw the rest away. I wouldn’t have gone out and bought them, but there they were, right in front of me. But in the four minutes it took to heat my healthy meal, almost the entire bag was gone, and instead of that pleasant salty taste on my tongue, I felt like a bomb had gone off in my stomach.
Read the whole essay (and, as always, I'd love your comments, there not here) at The Frisky, one of my favorite sites.