Stand for Something/ Intentional Choices

When you set your mind to maintaining a weight that isn’t right or natural for you, it is really hard to find the mental, physical, or emotional energy to pursue, or even consider, other goals and interests. This concept is nothing new in the recovery community; many people talk about trying out new artistic pursuits, or cooking (All the Food Blogging), or non-competitive exercise like yoga. But while I do see plenty of discussion about developing new interests and hobbies in recovery, and I do of course support these pursuits and think they are important, I don’t see nearly as many conversations about reconnecting with core beliefs about life, the meaning of it all, and what is really important.
I’ve realized lately how much my own anorexia has disconnected me from any internal conversations with myself about what I am doing with my life, and what purpose my life actions are advancing. What is really important to me? Weight loss (and maintenance at a non-ideal-for-me weight) at any cost translates to a list that includes all of the following:
1. Lose weight and don’t gain any weight
2. Do things with food and exercise that make the above happen
That’s basically it. There isn’t room for anything else. #1-2 above is a full time job, nights and weekends included, with an asshole of a boss and no days off.
I think one motivating factor in recovery, one Reason, has grown out of awareness of what a waste this is, and how incongruous it is with what I really want my life to be. It seems like God is a really common theme in this way for others. I’m not a Christian and will never subscribe to any religion, but morality and goodness and love are still just as critically important to me. I want my list to grow out of these things, out of love and connection.
If I am honest enough to confront what the disease is doing to my Life Focus, I have to get real about the fact that I have been focused only on singular, self-centered, and ultimately worthless pursuits. Nothing about a lifestyle of anorexia or EDNOS advances what I want to put on my list. I’ve had a lot of ‘rock bottoms’ with my illness, but I think confronting this reality might be my metaphysical rock bottom. It’s painful and easier to avoid (an in steps restriction, exercise, and those stupid rules I never intended to make; these things are great at facilitating avoidance aren’t they?)
I need a new list. And once I have one, I need to examine ALL of my actions to determine if they either (1) advance the cause of my living with meaningful purpose or (2) do not. It’s either 1 or 2. If I could just manage to examine each choice as life presents them to me, recovery should be easy. The hard part is slowing down enough to know when a choice is in front of me. (Ironically, I think malnourishment has made it so much harder for me to recognize when I am actually making a choice; it’s the timeless anorexia chickens vs. anorexia eggs.)
I will start working on my list.

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2 thoughts on “Stand for Something/ Intentional Choices

  1. This is whole post is just so true. I’m not religious either… It’s really hard to find a new purpose, a real purpose. To me It feels like emptiness and failure, like you are giving up on the thing that made you special… being thin or fit or whatever. When I made a list of new “non-ed” goals, it was very overwhelming. I ended up just picking a couple of them and making them a little smaller and less scary. I haven’t been able to find a purpose for my life yet. It still feels to big and leaves me with a feeling of emptiness. For now I am concentrating on small goals to improve my life. Learning to budget, saving money to purchase a house, learning to let myself feel all my emotions, learning more about the environment and making small changes in my life that will help, learning to love me and love other people properly. I think it will take me a while to find my purpose, without my fitness identity I’m not really sure who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the love goals are similar to religion. It’s the stuff you feel good about when you’re old and you reflect-that is what matters. “Fitness” really isnt an identity at all. And even if it was, a physical-entity-based identity will always be fleeting. You are not your body. Your body will break down and decay no matter what you do, but the You inside is really who you are. (I know this is esoteric, and easier-said-than-done/believed, but it really is true.)

      Liked by 1 person

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