I’m pretty sure that at the moment I ended my last post about choosing how to feel I really did feel peaceful and resolved… but it sure as hell didn’t last and it hasn’t been so effortless to maintain.
I have been feeling angry a lot. Anger is something I don’t “do.” At least not very well. It terrifies me. It overwhelms me. It takes me to a place where I am without skills or knowledge about how to exist in harmony with myself and my environment and I flounder and flop around for far more time than I am comfortable with.
I was so focused on being elegant and peaceful in the early stages of this divorce process that some of my recent anger seems ill timed and focused. I seem to be blowing through the stages of grief at a rapid pace, but then continuing to cycle through them from the beginning over and over and over. I got the sense that wasn’t serving me well and decided to try and sit in my anger for a while to see if it would (eventually) pass. I mistook denial for acceptance in the beginning, and anger is taking far longer than I would have hoped. On to bargaining! (ew, not really… on to acceptance please)
The anger comes and goes in waves and each rolling in is triggered by an interaction with my ex. More specifically each occurs when I get disappointed in one of his choices, behaviors, or actions. Of course, we all know that disappointment comes from expectations and because I am not quite ready to give up on expectations I try to only stick to reasonable ones. Turns out, reasonable does not equal realistic and disappointment continues to occur… Shocking, I know. It’s killing me too.
In response to my mind’s request that we sit in our anger my body has reacted with hunger. Insatiable, false hunger. The kind that cries out for salty and sweet and fatty and starchy and allows my stomach to open into a black hole whose limits know no bounds. For the first time in my entire life I sat down with a carton of ice cream (thank goodness it’s only 1.5 quarts these days instead of the full half gallon it was before the economy turned and food prices soared) and ate the entire thing in one sitting. I saw someone do it on TV as a coping strategy and I was so tired of sitting in my anger I was desperate for something to take it away. It didn’t of course. I felt worse, not better and even though I felt full to the point of apathy (and I could drift easily into sleep, my thoughts drowned in creamy goodness), I still didn’t feel fulfilled.
Right now (and for the past several hours), for the first time in weeks, I feel like myself and I don’t feel hungry! I mean, I get hungry when hours have passed since I last ate something, but my hunger is satiated by reasonable amounts of healthful foods.
I had lunch with a new friend today. Someone I met by chance a few months ago and was drawn to and made an effort to connect with (I know, very grown up of me, right? me: 1, social phobia: well, it’s probably still ahead, but at least I have 1 point now). We sat and ate and talked; and even though divorce, and parenting, and food issues came up I got to just be me. The best version of me, but a completely genuine one. Not trying to be some best version of myself who could also fit into social norms… but just the best me. Not the divorcee, the mom, or the food addict… just me… and it was great! I’ve wondered more than once in the last several years who “me” really is, and whoever she is, I spent a solid amount of time with her today and I really like her.
Cue the visions of unicorns running through fields of wildflowers with rainbow skies!
I feel that good!
Just writing that sent off a little red flag in my brain… a note to self: beware of high–crash imminent. Shut up, self, that’s not what I’m saying here.
I do feel that good, but it’s not because of a manic high. It simple feels that good to feel like myself. I find connection with others to be the most fulfilling experience I have in life, but rarely (at least lately) have I been able to extract the joy from a new connection in it’s purest form like this. I have some people in my life who really “get me,” and I am endlessly grateful for that. It’s pretty amazing to be “seen” by others. My new friend (who needs a blog nickname… if you’re reading, what do you want your blog name to be?) “saw” me without a moment’s hesitation. I had so many of those treasured moments where you hear thoughts from your own head come out of another person’s mouth. That and I had an instinct, followed it, and it paid off. Go true me!
At one point, I looked down at my plate (I had an eggplant and goat cheese sandwich with a green salad, if you’re wondering) and realized that I had eaten half of the sandwich and all of the salad and was done eating. Lately when I eat (and it’s usually something that involves a lot more cow cheese and a lot fewer vegetables) I look down at my empty plate at the end and wish I had more. I just can’t seem to get full lately. Today, I felt full and I was walking to my car I realized it was because I felt fulfilled.
Food, at least in the forms I’ve been trying with in and of themselves, can’t fulfill me. Many other things can.
I suppose that’s my goal for the new year: be fulfilled. Fully explore the parts of my life that fulfill me now, find new ones, and to let go of the things that don’t.
It’s gonna be a fun year.