The girl that filled my dark.

I decided to treat myself to a cup of regular coffee this morning. I’ve been sick since Sunday afternoon. I haven’t slept much. The littlest has been sick too (fever sickies). I didn’t even make coffee yesterday and I barely drank what I made the previous two days. Today feels like a nice time to treat myself.

It’s funny what self care can look like.

Today it’s a cup of hot, regular coffee. As opposed to my usual decaf. It also looks like my regular routine of teeth brushing, turmeric and vitamin d3 with a glass of water (or two), and updating the dry erase with the date and a fresh tally of daily water intake.

All of that helps keep me feeling stable.

To complement my regular routine, a month ago, I started adding new objectives. One definitive thing at a time. No black and white generalized thinking. One specific and measurable goal until it becomes routine.

Week 1. Eating window 9am-7pm

Week 2. Seven glasses of water a day

Week 3. Mindful posture

Week 4. Daily PT exercises

I’ll write about each of these next. I’m putting a lot of work and intention into my time and I’m feeling really successful. It’s positive, consistent progress.

I’ll always be there when you wake.

There is nothing like sleeping next to the heat of a fevered child. My youngest has come down with something. Or he has a tooth coming in. He was seemingly fine, and then he sneezed at 5:45pm. He’s been runny since then. Asked for a bath, watched a few cartoons, got into his jew PJ Masks pajamas, went to sleep. He woke up less than 20 minutes later, crying inconsolably and touching his cheek and teeth. He kept sticking his tongue out and just leaving it out like he didn’t have room for it in his mouth. I gave him motrin.

Now here we are, five hours later and he radiates heat. Whether my kids are three years old or fifteen, that fever penetrates not only my skin, but my heart.

Damn sure better than rain.

I went to my first Al-Anon meeting.

I wasn’t nervous at all when I left for the meeting. When I got there and sat down I was suddenly doing all my nervous things. People were inviting and warm, but also people were inviting and warm. They were paying attention to me and fawning and supportive and caring and gosh, that is a lot.

But I went. And I stayed. And I plan to go back.

Really, I already knew I’d go back before the meeting. I’ve been to AA meetings and OA meetings and I know the program is good. I know the people are supportive.

Well, most of the people. OA was a completely different fish. I once had a man tell me I didn’t belong there because I was too skinny. As if my appearance precludes me from using food as a coping mechanism. As if anyone in food recovery has to forfeit community support once they find healthier tools to survive. But I digress.

Al-Anon isn’t like that. I can be there for any reason, for any timeline in my life, for any alcoholic who has touched my life. And I didn’t really understand until recently that I probably should have been going all along.

I should have gone six years ago when Chris and I started dating. In the days when a small argument could have compromised his short sobriety.¬† Or when he switched jobs for his dream job and then they insisted he throw away his integrity or quit. And he quit. At an immeasurable hit to his self worth, closing not only that dream in his mind, but a true hope for any dream at all. Or the moment we got pregnant and then miscarried and didn’t get to keep Caleb and he retreated from life for a bit. I could have used Al-Anon when his doctor and seizure medication fucked him over completely. Or when he started taking another medicine he put all his faith in and it backfired and, for all intents and purposes, took away his sobriety. For three years.

I could have used Al-Anon. I could have used the support and guidance of people. And I just…I didn’t know better. I didn’t know there was help for me for all of that or where to find it or, really, that I needed the help. That I deserved the help. I thought maybe that’s just how it was going to be from now on. I knew I needed help–wanted help–, but I didn’t know the help I needed was possible to receive. That it was out there.

And so now here I am. Going to meetings. Getting the community I have so desperately needed. Allowing myself the self-care of actual help. Of not going at it alone. Of being told I’m braver and stronger for showing up than I ever was of trying to hold it together by myself. And so I’m gonna keep doing this awhile.

Thinking of ways to get back home.

Fuck. My eating disorder is fucking loud today.

I had started my day excited that it felt like a new start of healthiness and healing.

I made Brussels sprouts even!

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Oh, but did my body (mind?) have other plans!

This fucking sucks.

Like, truly. And I want to turn it off. But it’s not a switch. It’s a weight. And I really just don’t have the means to push it off or shrug.

All I can do is write.

And of course it didn’t occur to me before the ice cream bar at 9am to write. Or the cake at 9:45. It was only at 10:30 when the sugar high made my head swim and I realized I should make some protein that I remembered writing¬†is the shrug. I need the accountability. But now I still have to eat this despite not being hungry because fuck, the swimming.

But then I will sit down. And I won’t eat more. And I won’t self-medicate–I’ll only self-care. And maybe cry some because it hurts a lot, and then I will sleep. I need to oxygen mask myself today, even if just for a little while.

Just hold on.

I’m having a moment where I’m trying to remember all our lasts. In case you don’t come back. In case the devastation of that undoes me so irrevocably that I can’t recall a single thing about today. Or yesterday.

I slept on you this morning. It was the best half hour of sleep I’ve had in months and I don’t think I ever actually slept. You kissed me and called me beautiful when I got home from my walk. I don’t want to remember that last tho…because it wasn’t you anymore.

We kissed last night. It felt like you. A glimpse of you between the drinks.

I’m trying to find the hope and the light, but it is currently too far to reach.

Your life doesn’t mean anything to you in this moment and I am now standing here, the girl who doesn’t know which story will be hers. Will I be the girl who loses you forever come morning? Will I be able to honor the me in another universe who got to keep you when I didn’t get to? Is there another me in some other universe who has already gotten the call?

I’ve never been this sick with worry and fear. They say that to keep going, you just have to put one foot in front of the other. I’m doing that, but all I can manage is pacing circles.

Spinning in your head.

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The voices in my head could shut the fuck up now. This is the least relaxing walk ever.

~~~~~~~

Eta

It was my intention to turn the day around. Just because Chris was on the phone and the girl was sleeping and the boys were doing homework and watching netflix (respectable) didn’t mean I had to lose the last warm weather day. So I took Harley for a walk.

But instead of enjoying the walk and the weather and the outside, I just could not stop the voices in my head. The voices waiting for the argument to ensue. It was like I was trying to protect some future me, in case my walk was misconstrued. And so now I’m back home and the sun is slowing going down and the weather is mild, but verging chilly and…this weekend was no reprieve at all.

I get to practice again tomorrow.

Trusting my soul to the ice cream assassin.

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My daughter has taken to saying thank you to me recently. Try as I might to show gratitude for all things–to be the light in all the places–she has yet to emulate the skill at home. In fact, oftentimes I think she doesn’t do it at home on purpose because my optimism annoys her. I have heard many teachers say she is kind and inclusive and goes above and beyond. I usually only get glimpses of those.

But recently, she has brought that home sometimes. She’ll initiate play with L or look at him compassionately. She’ll call S an idiot more quietly. (It’s something…) She’ll say thank you as soon as she gets in the car when I pick her up. It’s all tangible progress and I’m so proud of her. I don’t take credit for this change in her, but it warms me.