A letter to me

Dear you. Yes, YOU.

I have a confession. I don’t always love you. I guess you know that. But you know what? Today, I want to try.

I want to nourish your body with good food, without feeling fear and anxiety about it.

I want to encourage you to move in ways that make you feel good, without thinking about calorie burning.

I want to let you write and write and write and write and write, because you can and because it makes you feel complete.

I want to let you fail at things, because I know you have the courage and wisdom to learn from that.

I want to remember and believe the good things about you – you are caring and funny and smart. You are valuable.

I want to remind you that God loves you. He created you in his image. No matter what you think about yourself, he knows you are worthwhile and precious.

I want all this for you. I want to care for you and nurture your soul. You need to know that I’m not very good at this, and I’m going to fail a lot. But that’s okay. The effort is what matters.

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Have the damn chocolate

Anyone who has ever dieted or started a ‘lifestyle change’* will know that almost the first piece of advice handed out to dieters/lifestyle-changers is to rid your house of all the ‘bad’** foods. Chuck out the cake, chocolate, chips, lollies and soft drink. If it’s not there, you can’t be tempted and you will therefore be delighted to munch on a raw carrot. (I personally can’t think of anything that would make me want to eat raw carrot. If there’s a gene that makes one like carrots, I don’t have it.) Anyway, that’s the theory. Get rid of the tempting foods and somehow their lack of availability will make you forget they exist, and soon you will love – in fact even prefer – raw veggies with perhaps a teaspoon of fat-free, low-carb, organic ranch dressing. Yum yum, right?

I completely bought into that, so many times. It seemed valid, because every time I did have those foods in the house I ate them until I felt sick. I knew – knew for SURE – that I can’t be trusted. My body can’t be trusted, my willpower can’t be trusted, my tastebuds can’t be trusted. They all let me down, again and again.

Except… you know what? That was a lie. All of it. Food is not the enemy. And I am not the enemy. I am not untrustworthy.

Let me show you what’s in my house at the moment.

This is a lolly container. A large one. At the moment it has mini Boost bars, caramel chicos (a bit disappointing), chocolate eclairs, fruit chews and jersey caramels.

This cheery red tin contains chocolate chunk cookies.

Full-fat, creamy and delicious.

Barbecue. The superior flavour.

Fruit & Nut and Crunchie.

I have these things, or similar, in my house ALL THE TIME. And because it’s there all the time and I have given myself permission to eat whatever I like, they’ve lost their illicit appeal. They’re no longer forbidden foods. They’re just food. They taste good, and I do eat them, but I don’t want them all the time. I don’t feel the desire, fuelled by the lie that food is bad and I can’t be trusted, to eat them  in secret and make myself feel sick. I don’t feel like I have to hide the food, from myself or anyone else.

And all of that means I can take them or leave them. That packet of chips has been in my pantry for about a month. I have a few every now and then, but only if I feel like it. I eat chocolate daily – I pack about eight squares or so every day with my lunch and have it for morning or afternoon tea. It’s no big deal. It’s just chocolate, and I am allowed to eat it and enjoy it. The ice cream is the most amazing one to me. For years I have said that I cannot have ice cream in the house. If it’s there, I will eat it all. So NO ICE CREAM. Ever. I bought that particular tub nearly three weeks ago. It was in my freezer for a week before I even got around to opening it. I’ve had three small bowls of it at different times, but that’s only about a quarter of the tub. I don’t even remember it’s there, half the time. The other foods are similar. I like them, I eat them, sometimes I eat too much of them.*** But they’re not forbidden, so they have lost their power to draw me in and make me stop listening to my body. They have lost their power to make me feel guilt and shame.

Food is food. That’s all. We are allowed to eat it, and we can be trusted to eat it. So go on… have the damn chocolate.

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* I saw a great quote yesterday on Facebook: ‘Lifestyle change’ is code for ‘you will be on this diet for the rest of your life’. Heh.

** I’m using the diet lingo, but obviously I don’t believe in good or bad foods. Food is food; it has no moral value.

***By ‘too much’ I mean I eat when I’m not hungry, or I eat past the point of fullness. But even so, after several months of eating where nothing is forbidden and where all these foods are allowed, I haven’t gained any weight at all (as far as I can tell without scales) and I’m just as healthy and fit as ever.

Paper waste

I have a small confession. I have an addiction. I try to deny it, but every time I move house or have a clean out, the evidence confronts me.

Notebooks…

Journals…


Anything I can write in, basically.

It’s actually not a bad addiction. If I need a piece of paper, I’m guaranteed to find one. And I won’t have any trouble finding something to write WITH – I have approximately this many pens in my house:

Maybe more, if you count up all the pens in various handbags…

The interesting thing about having all these notebooks is that I will often find notes and things I wrote years ago. Such was the case this morning. I found a notebook with notes dated from early 2009. Ooh, what is this? I wondered. It turns out that my carefully preserved notes were a food journal I’d kept for about a month, where I wrote down every morsel that passed my lips. And, although it wasn’t written there, I’m sure I was also over-exercising and punishing myself in various ways for not eating the ‘right’ things.

It was an interesting piece of history, I guess, and showed me that my food issues have existed for a long time. But the best part of all, was when I took that notebook and put it here:

Postpourri #2

Yes, I’m still using my made-up word. It amuses me.

You know what? Sunday Club is great. I love my class. They’re mostly 11-12 year olds and they’re so funny. They love to chat. I mean, they loooooove to chat. It’s incredibly hard to stop them once they get going. They tell us long, convoluted stories about things that happened at school – things they swear are related to what we’ve been discussing in class, but the stories go for so long sometimes, with so many twists and turns, that it’s impossible to work out the point. And difficult not to (a) laugh or (b) allow one’s eyes to glaze over, when listening to stories that go something like this:

So, my friend… well, she was my friend because we were in the same class since we were in prep but this year she’s not in my class because… well, I forget why. Anyway, she was my friend but she’s kind of not now but we’re still friends, but we’re not in the same class. But I see her at lunchtime and stuff. And she’s really pretty, but she’s not vain or anything – well, some people say she’s stuck up but she’s really not, and anyway these boys, they were teasing her and being really mean and she was upset but she didn’t tell the teacher or anything. I think she didn’t. Maybe she did. But she was upset. And they were mean.

(The above is a trust-me-I’ve-shortened-it version of a story told when I asked for examples of humility. I’m still not sure how it relates.)

Anyway. Sunday Club. It’s a bit of work and it can be tiring, and in the week before I start a new block after having a break I always wonder why on earth I’m doing it… but then I do it, and I remember. Because it’s a joy to be with those kids (even when they talk about farts or tell rambling stories) and completely wonderful to have a tiny part in their spiritual upbringing. I don’t have children of my own; it’s a privilege to be allowed to share other people’s for a little while.

And here’s what we’ve been doing for the past two weeks:

God’s people, happy in God’s land with God as their King

Sin enters the world, and the people live their own way without God as their King

(Parts 1 & 2 of 10 weeks of lessons, that will result in a very long, very awesome banner)

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I’m still in the process of de-cluttering and tidying up my house. I fear that de-cluttering is going to be a lifelong process, but I think I’m nearing the end of the BIG clear-out. Several large items went out in the conveniently-timed hard rubbish collection two weeks ago, and my garage is full of boxes and bags to go to an op shop. My house feels a lot more organised and spacious. (Ha. I just typed ‘specious’. NOT the same thing.)

One of the reasons for the clear out is that I’d like to try to find a housemate. Partly it’s for financial reasons – I can afford to live alone, but there’s not much financial wiggle room. It would help to have someone to share the expenses. The other reason is that I’m ready for company again. I tend to go through phases with house sharing – I live alone for a few years, get sick of it, find a housemate and enjoy company for a few years. Then the housemate moves out for one reason or another and I think, “Yeah, that’s fine, I’ll live alone again for a while.” I’ve now been living alone for four and a half years and I’m ready for a change.

However… I realised today that I’ve been stalling a bit on getting the spare room emptied and ready for someone to move in. Hm. Interesting. I’m stalling because… I’m no longer 20. What I mean is, when I was in my 20s most of my friends were single and so it was easy to find a housemate. We were friends, we knew each other pretty well, it was an easy decision. But now I’m well past my 20s and most of my friends are married, and those who are not married are unavailable for house-sharing, for one reason or another. Which is fine, but it means if I want to find a housemate I have to go out and find one. Advertise, or ask friends if they know anyone, or… I don’t know, look under a rock? 😉 Whatever, it means it will be someone I don’t already know, and that’s risky. What if we don’t get along? What if (horrors!) they don’t like Star Trek? What if… what if… what if…? So yes. I’ve been stalling.

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My parents moved house recently. As in, they moved out of the house where they’ve lived for 49 years. I’m interstate, so not only have I not seen the new house (which looks lovely in photos) I also didn’t get a last look at the old house. The house where I spent the first 20 years of my life. I didn’t know, the last time I was there, that I’d never see inside it again. It’s a slightly strange feeling, really. A part of my childhood has just quietly slipped away.

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Zumba is still fun. I go to classes on Saturday morning and Monday evening, and I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a mid-week class. Wednesday would have been good. I even considered going to a Pilates class on Wednesday evenings, just to have another mid-week option. Then I discovered (long story) that there IS a Wednesday evening Zumba class. There has been the whole time. It’s listed right there on the timetable that’s stuck to my fridge. The colour-coded timetable, where Zumba is an unmissable lime green – and listed RIGHT ABOVE the Pilates class I was thinking about. Oh. Okay then. Might make an optometrist appointment soon…

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I’ve recently discovered that I don’t actually hate fennel. Well, I don’t hate roasted fennel. I like it a lot. To my surprise, it does NOT taste like licorice when it’s roasted. Who knew? Yummy.

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Aaaaaand… I think that’s about it for now. What’s been going on for you?

A Rich, Full Day

I love my day off. It started with this:

What? You don’t recognise it? This is what I got when I googled ‘counselling’. Well, obviously.

It was a gorgeous Spring day. There was a lot of this:

And even some of these around the place:

I enjoyed a very delicious one of these…

…whilst catching up with a friend.

I bought a couple of these (in black, white and grey, because I’m wild)…

…and these (which, at $19, may or may not last out the summer):

The evening involved these two things:

And now, perhaps best of all…

Sadly, without the hired help or the chocolate on the pillow.

All in all, a rich, full day. What was your day like?