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I’m right there.

I’m not really sure what’s up with me today.

It was a good day by all accounts. And yet, tonight I found myself eating. Hell, this afternoon I found myself eating. I checked in with myself. Nothing really felt off. But here I was, eating.

I snacked when I don’t normally snack. I ate more, even if not a lot, after I snacked. I noticed I was doing it and was, like, curiously detached?

I checked in with myself even!

And still, I don’t know what it was about.

If I’m being honest here, I want to say that I didn’t check in fully. But I checked in. It’s a start–in this strange land of practice.

It really wasn’t about quantity today. It was this odd, nuanced quality. I don’t know what the thing was that triggered the response, but today I just…I wanted to give in a little bit.

I wanted the comfort of the familiar.

Unfortunately, it’s a short-lived comfort and what little it worked a month ago, it works even less now.

I ate some after 7. I ate some after 8 even. I could have eaten all night. It would never have provided anything.

In hindsight that is sad, but at the time, the “sadness” or “mourning” of that loss were not feelings that registered for me. What I thought about was “what feelings triggered this?” I didn’t come up with anything. But I asked the question. Which means I’m learning. And eventually, even without an answer, I stepped away and went for a walk instead.

Then tonight I was going to go to sleep. And then I decided to pick up the kitchen a bit. And I committed to writing this post, but then I found myself getting ready to wash the dishes and I thought, “damn, girl, whatcha avoiding?”

And I don’t know. But I traded the sponge for the keyboard and showed up for myself.

I got it all down even if I still don’t really know what the “what” was.

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Find the light.

I’m sitting in my daughter’s room. In the dim glow of her permanently placed Christmas lights. It’s the eve of her 16th birthday. Just 24 minutes left.

She is asleep now. Just a half hour ago she was awake and miserable. She’s hurting and I don’t know how to ease that pain. I don’t know how to ease the projection of that pain. I don’t know how to shine light on the reality that she is loved and loveable. That she is human. That she is full of worth. That she is enough.

I don’t know how to instill these things in her. I don’t know how to make her see truth. I don’t know how to have her see the reality I give her. I don’t know how to contend with her fucked up translator. I don’t know how to help her hear what I’m actually saying to her when I talk.

Sixteen years ago tonight her dad worked late. Til after 1am. And I packed for the hospital. I talked to Kristi on the phone for hours.

There were lots of things I imagined for the future. Some awesome and some not. Never did I envision this kind of pain for her. Never did I picture that she and I could have such heartbreaking moments of disconnect.

I’m going to keep showing up for her. I don’t know any other way. I hope that she feels it. I hope that it makes a difference. I hope and I hope and I hope.

Happy birthday, angelface. May there be days you feel as loved as you are. May there be moments that feel light. May the goodness find you and may you feel it when it does.

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Can’t you see the sunshine?

It’s fascinating to me what a difference time makes.

Here we are, always chugging along. Some days feel like molasses while others feel like that bowling lane oil. Yet we all just keep going.

Then sometimes, along with the going, we slowly change. We grow and evolve and become. With action, we are always becoming.

Nine years ago I was in therapy saying “I love myself, I do, but if only I was thinner, I would feel like the work I’ve been doing actually did something. I feel so fat. I just want to not be 160 pounds.”

My therapist, in all of her incredulous glory, looked at me dumbstruck and said, “You’re not fat. 160 pounds is average.”

I tried to argue that because of my lacking height, 160 pounds was much more on my body. That my body was not made to be 160 pounds. That I knew I was so much smaller than my body had currently allowed.

She wouldn’t budge.

She asked what it would mean to me if my body was just meant to be 160 pounds.

I stomped about it. Metaphorically. As I often did about things. I didn’t want my body to be meant for that.

And then life moved along.

Fast forward all those years. The last year, I have indeed come to think of my body as average. I look in the mirror and I feel neither fat nor thin. Just regular. I don’t feel my body makes me an outlier on any spectrum. I’m average. I’m comfortable.

My goals center toward health and strength. And while I still have a picture in mind of a number on a scale and having less hips in the mirror (not no hips, mind you! I love my curves), those things are fuzzy background images. The foreground picture is health and centeredness and a love of my body no matter what.

I’ve done intermittent fasting since last November. It was a boundary point as I learned to navigate food and feelings and life and safety. I remained 157 pounds no matter what I did. Sometimes it would fluctuate a pound or two, but then back up it went. In the past, I would have said I was stuck there. But I never feel stuck anymore. I’m too busy navigating more important to me things.

But my point. My point is that I’ve looked in the mirror for the last couple months and I feel good about my body. All the while staying 157 pounds. And it was okay. It didn’t trip me up.

The last couple weeks I’ve been really proud with my relationship with food. Consistency has loaned me momentum and that switch in my brain has allowed consistency to not feel so grueling.

Earlier this week I weighed myself and I am 150 pounds.

It’s not about the number. It’s about the fact that I’m paying attention to the right things this time and life followed suit. That is very cool.

Most days growth is like molasses, and time is just chugging along. Other days–those rare beautiful days–the molasses thins and I can suddenly see all the progress my growth has afforded me. Today is one of those days.

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For all the roads you followed.

There’s a thing I do with food. To not make things about food.

I decide.

It’s not always easy. But it’s simple.

And the more times I do it, the more often it is just easy.

In November I decided to intermittent fast and have my window be 9am til 7pm. Soon I decided to changed it to noon til 7. That felt okay until no behavior changed beyond the decision.

Enter more decisions.

The last couple weeks I’ve really driven into not only who I want to be, but who I am. Not only entertaining what my future ideal self would say, but also what I want to say right here, right now.

I don’t want it to be so grueling. I don’t want it to have to be so hard.

So I decide.

And then I execute the decision.

An eating window always benefitted me because once I had food, a switch turned on in my head and I couldn’t “off” food. I didn’t off food. But the eating window just shortens the issue. It doesn’t address it.

After weeks of thinking “what would the future, ideal Jill do?” and sometimes answering honestly, and sometimes fooling myself, I finally realized it was all just a stopgap.

It’s all important and I’ve needed it all as part of my journey. But I need something that feels more sturdy. I need something that makes all the chatter dissipate. I need the quiet.

Deciding helps bring me more quiet.

So I eat my meal and then I make the conscious decision “Don’t eat anything else for an hour.” And then I execute it.

I focus my energy and action elsewhere. I write or clean or play or move my body. I do the thing that quiets my mind.

And eventually I eat again. And then I decide. And then I execute it.

There’s no stomping or loss or grief. It feels like healing.

It’s not easy. But it’s easier than it was last week. And it’ll be easier still. I’m not ignoring myself or my feelings. I’m not distracting myself or skipping out. I’m just choosing to thrive in growth instead of drown in food.

It’s a perfectly imperfect system. I’m no robot. This is about being human here. I get tripped up and I go again. Getting back up is just as vital as decide and execute. Getting back up is decide and execute.

I know that in time, as consistency lends to routine, and routine turns to habit, it will be the foundation that changes the behavior, which is the whole point. It will be the answer to the question “what would future, ideal Jill say?” that I’ll no longer have to stop and ask myself. Because I’ll just know. Because I’ll just be.

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My own two feet.

It’s been an interesting few days of viewing food and myself more objectively.

It’s been an interesting few days finding peace and delight from non food things.

No sense making the whole thing about food. It’s also about the feelings. And the safety. It’s about the sadness and grief and heartache. As well as the joy, pleasure, and contentedness.

I could psychoanalyze myself all day. And often do. But I think what I’m learning most is I want to just stop. Sometimes.

I am looking for peace.

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Breathe your story.

I just had the strangest and nicest conversation. And in an alternate universe, I’d have the most interesting friend and we’d be so freaking close (at least for a time) and it would be lovely.

In this universe, the ground doesn’t stand solid for me.

I’m too much me and she’s too uncertain.

But for five minutes, that was really nice.

adventures in quarantine, Uncategorized

Meet me where the lights dim.

I have the best girl.

Today she was so cuddly. And sweet. And gosh, I just enjoyed the hell out of every second of that. She came up behind me this evening and wrapped herself around my shoulders.

Tonight we said she could stay out an extra hour. She brought Chris home sushi and surprised me with an African violet.

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Much later tonight I laid on her bed with her and we watched Grey’s for three hours.

I revel in the goodness. Tonight, despite the late hour, I’m going to sleep entirely contented.

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Step down from this.

I’m stomping. Oh my lord, I’m stomping. But I’m doing the damn thing too.

Damnit.

I’ve teetered all week on what I want my last 30 day food exemption to be for the next 90 challenge.  Last month I teetered too. Eventually I just decided to continue no ice cream.  But it kinda felt like not deciding.

I know snacking has been my downfall as of late. I know my body has been feeling kinda blah as a result. I know my food consumption has increased. I know I haven’t been ready to do anything about any of that. I know I’ve been afraid to lose the crutch.

Every morning I wake up and think maybe today will be the day I commit to no snacking and/or tostitos/pretzels/cheese puffs/chips. And every day I haven’t.

Today I thought maybe. And then when it came time, I thought maybe some more. And more again. And then instead, I chose a new question, and a new answer presented itself. I made carrots sticks with peanut butter and raisins.

I broke the cycle.

I don’t feel strong enough right in this moment to speak to what I might choose next time. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I dunno.

What I do know is that that very first moment means something. I’ll remember it. It’ll reinforce the thing that needs tending to. And then perhaps it’ll provide my answer for me when the time comes.

adventures in quarantine, Adventures in running, Uncategorized

Anything but empty.

I let the universe take care of me today. I let the people who love me turn my day around.

After I posted earlier, I went outside with the boys, but it wasn’t enough. My body needed to move. My mind needed to turn off. I employed R’s help with L and took off. I wasn’t even intending to run. I just needed to move.

I walked the first half, and then, suddenly, down a hill, barely with permission from my mind, my body started running. Experience tells me it was probably a minute thirty. It felt so good. Then I took off again after a short walk and that was probably 45 seconds. Then came the section I ran last night in two minutes. Today I timed it and it was a minute 45 and I didn’t want to forfeit the fifteen seconds, so I ran more. And then more. And again.

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Fucking two thirty! Amazing.

I needed a little extra walking time, so I added another side street, making the walk almost two miles.

I got home and my Chris was there, celebrating right alongside me. Fistbump explosions for days. Beaming with pride.

And then he let me just vent about my feelings. And then we came in and I needed to give a very dirt-covered L a bath. And I wasn’t expecting the company, but the company felt so fucking good and Chris and I just sat in the bathroom and kept talking while L took his bath.

He showed up for me so hard today. It means everything.