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DAY 8: Part 2, The Fire & the Wood

Posted Feb 02 2010 12:00am


I have some very heavy things on my mind, and I wanted to talk about them so that I can go to sleep. I find that when I don’t express what’s in my heart, I carry it around in my stomach instead. I feel like the burdens I carry are heavy enough to prevent my happiness, until I remind myself that that is a choice, and I don’t have to give my problems such power. That is often easier said than done.

My Dad told me a story growing up…in fact, he spoke in story and analogy…I’m not sure he ever said a direct thing in his life. Well, nothing important anyway. All of the deep lessons he taught were given like the following:


There was a man once who was very cold, and the night was only getting colder. He was sure that he would die from the cold unless he stayed near the campfire. But as the time went by, the fire began to die out, even though the cold grew worse.

So the man picked up the firewood and said to the fire, “I will give you some wood if you’ll first get hotter!” But the fire didn’t listen.

In a little while, the fire grew even weaker, and the man again picked up several sticks of firewood and now commanded the fire “Save me from the cold! And I shall reward you with all the firewood you could ever want!” But the fire didn’t listen.

Then finally, when the fire was almost out completely, the man picked up the firewood and said “This is your last chance!  I demand that you come back to life and warm me up!” But the fire didn’t listen, and so his body had to give in to the cold, and it killed him.

THE MORAL My Dad told me that so often when we are in relationships, we demand that others give to us, without considering what their needs are. I can’t expect others to give what they don’t have, or to give when they only have enough for themselves…I have to give first, and give often that which I would receive myself….and I think for the most part that’s true.

I don’t want this to be a 40 minute blog, so I’m going to skim through the rest of the stuff on my mind, but I’m glad that I set the blog up right, because it plays into all the things that are weighing me down tonight.

It’s amazing to me that my ancient dog, Max, can still go up and down stairs, but he can. He doesn’t like to work that hard, but he can go up and down stairs quite competently. And Leo, the young doggie can keep up with me on my jogs, even though my legs are 6 times longer than his…and do you know what magical thing they need to accomplish these feats? Encouragement. They need to be fed, just like the fire.

When Leo is falling behind, I call out, “You can do it Leo! You’re a good boy!” and amazingly he speeds up! When Max is looking at the staircase, and then at me like I’m crazy to ask him, I put my hands on either side of his back legs, and he starts to climb. Depending on the day, I usually don’t even help him at all, but he would never start climbing if my hands weren’t there. He just needs to know that I’m there for him, and that he’s not alone.

It’s amazing to me how human my dogs are. They perfectly represent what it’s like to give and receive love and encouragement. It is literally a psychological switch in their head that makes they think and act differently depending on how emotionally supported they feel.

Hubby is not currently feeding the fire of our relationship. I’m not going to go into it much more than that, because there is a time and a place for everything, but in terms of how that dynamic affects me recovery from food addiction, I have to speak about it as the fact that it is, without shame or blame. Or as I say “Blame and gain.” And I have no intention of carrying negative feelings around with me anymore.

Hubby is my complete opposite. It’s remarkable how completely unalike we are. I’m outgoing, direct, carefree, animated, put feelings & self exploration first, romantic, reach out to others, work best in teams & need and give a lot of praise.

 Hubby is the opposite. He is introverted, indirect, worried, reserved, puts money & dependability first, sexually charged, depends on himself, works best alone & doesn’t need or give any praise…in fact, he seems to thrive on never being good enough.

What I have learned is that he is who he is. And I chose him for a reason. Good reason, bad reason, indifferent reason; it doesn’t matter anymore what the reasons were. What matters now is to understand and accept him. I can no longer harbor negative feelings around not receiving what he is not capable of giving. It’s been a long journey to this spot, but it’s a hard lesson to swallow.

I am completely fascinated by him…he is actually reading a biomedical chemical software engineering programming manual and absorbing it. He was sitting in bed earlier, just devouring that book, like I devour Anne Rice novels! Well…I love him. I don’t know if we are going to last 50 years, but that decision isn’t for here and now. And besides, right now I could see both scenarios.

 On the other side of the coin, moving away from talking about him, and focusing instead on myself; I have learned to feel what my worth is, and to give myself that which I need most. I encourage myself, fight for myself, my value in the world, and in the relationship. I put my own basic needs first, so that I may be a better partner/friend/relative. I don’t do anyone any good by diminishing myself.

I realized something when I went on this walk tonight at 11p…I am committed to saving myself! The strength of my conviction is so much stronger than I have ever known myself to be. It’s calming to know that for once, I am on my side. I always said I was on my side, I thought I was on my side…but to be so sure that I’m going to fight for what I need and deserve is a true gift.

I am all ready long winded, and I need to go to bed. But basically, the theme is about Independence. I am becoming a different person through this experience. I am becoming  a person with grit and determination, and I hope it lasts. I am only on day 8….even though I’ve never felt such strong determination before, I don’t know if it is strong enough to survive another cycle of mine. I always start out strong, and then come 3-4 months (tops), and I’m down in the gutter eating boxes of sugar again.

But here’s one more thought that I have come to recently; I even wrote an essay on it (perhaps I’ll post it here):

In looking back at my life, my childhood and all the thoughts, feelings & experiences that formed my opinion of myself and who I was, I have decided that I was WRONG. I put limitations on myself that weren’t real. I believed that I was the fat, gay nerd. I bought into the identity of a flirty, stupid bimbette. I am the one who shortchanged myself.

If for one day an impression was true, or I made a decision that was stupid or nerdy, then for that moment I was a nerd or even stupid. But in the next moment I get to start all over again. If my parents treated me in a way that made me feel insecure, then in that moment I am insecure. If I say that I’m insecure as an adult because of my past, that’s not true. Every day I have a choice about who I am, and what I will choose to believe. The moment that abuse happens to me, I may be a victim, but if I continue to carry around that abuse every day, and re-inform myself every morning when I wake up that I am a victim, then I’m only abusing myself.

Every single day I have the responsibility and the power to choose who I am, and what I believe about myself. It is an awesome power that I am only beginning to utilize, but it’s all ready paying off.  I’m scared of this truth, because it allows me to be free of all my burdens, all my troubles, all my worries & all of my grandiose stresses that I’ve often defined myself with. No one really wants to be free. It requires a lot of guts just to attempt it. Freedom is the most frightening thing on Earth.

And that is why fat is so comforting. It’s entrapping, it’s a part of me, it’s WHO I am. It says to the world “I have problems, and I eat them. I am deep, brooding, and I’ll take your head off if you get in my way. I’m tortured, special, unique. My badge of honor is this fat that inhibits my functioning in this world…but if you mention it, you’re rude.” Fat is powerful.

But making a true decision to let it go? That is where the real power is.

Enough for now. Thanks for sticking with me.


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