“Is it so good to be sad…? If it is… then I don’t care to be good.” ―
Content Warning: talk of disordered eating – proceed with caution.
I woke up feeling very blah this morning. The weekend involved an over consumption of sugar and not enough water and I feel like I’m hungover for the second day in a row. My first thoughts were, “Fuck. This again? I’ll never learn. Why am I such a glutton?” Ooof. All that before my feet even hit the floor. I lay there, already feeling defeated, as I did some doom-scrolling through social media, and decided that since I already felt bad, I should just lean into an unhealthy day and just shrug it all off. Feeling like I was starting in a deficit made it so hard to feel motivated.
I was reminded, as I scrolled through Twitter, that I had set myself the challenge of No Negative Self Talk November so I decided to do something new and re-frame those thoughts and see if I could salvage the morning. I recently discussed with my therapist that although I understand cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) it is incredibly hard for me to interrupt invasive thoughts and make choices about keeping or deleting them. Because I have a highly sensitive personality (HSP) often it only takes one bad thought to trigger my whole system and suddenly the bad thoughts are flowing in and my physical body is responding to the stress, which causes more negative thoughts and in moments it’s snowballing and I have completely forgotten to breathe and make a choice about what I’m thinking. It takes a ton of work and energy to dismantle those internal monologues, but in the spirit of No Negative Self Talk November, I gave it a sincere try.
By this time I was up and about, thinking out loud, making tea and trying to have an honest conversation with myself about how pernicious shitty self talk is. It wasn’t until I set my mug of perfectly steeped Daddy Tea down on the counter beside the last slice of apple pie that I paused. My first though was, “Meh, may as well.” and usually that would be enough for me to start in on it, having thrown moderation to the wind. Instead, I said aloud, to no one in particular: “I could have that pie.” Just a statement on what was possible, followed by: “I’d like to eat that pie for breakfast.” and I waited for the reliable wave of guilt to wash over me. As it began to seep in, I tried one last thing: “It’s okay to want it. I can make a choice. I can decide.” I weighed the options: have a delicious slice of homemade apple pie, the last slice, and enjoy it, knowing it is something that I rarely eat and there is the whole rest of the day to make more, and better, choices, OR, walk away now and obsess about it until I beat myself down so badly that I convinced myself I needed that pie as consolation for not having the pie. Hmm. One of those seemed better, all around, and not just because it involved eating the pie. I put the piece on a plate beside my tea and looked at it. I wanted the pie. I didn’t want to bargain with myself. I didn’t want to do the deluded dance of the disordered eater and make myself lofty promises that I’d surely never keep but that would allow me, in the moment, to reconcile the calories for the pleasure of having it. How much did I want it? How badly would I feel after? Was it worth the guilt? Did there have to be guilt?
Did the possibility exist that I could have the pie and not feel terrible? Could I just have pie because I like pie? And for breakfast no less? This was a theory that needed testing. I shot a text across the pond.
Me: homemade apple pie is okay for breakfast, right?
Him: absolutely xx
So I had the goddamned pie. And it was delicious. And I regret nothing.
You may be thinking, ‘it’s just a piece of pie!’, and you’re right. That’s the point. I had an epiphany that it is just a piece of pie. It’s not an indication of my value, it’s not a yardstick of strength or will power, it’s just pie. Eat it or don’t. In the scheme of things, this should be a small and nearly meaningless decision, but when you’re a disordered eater and you were raised to think that your body mass was the ultimate measure of your worth, these things get blown out of proportion.
I know that it won’t all be wins this month, doing No Negative Self Talk November, but this feels like a good start.
The new Never Have I Ever November is hosted by Lillith and Erotic Blog Post Month, by Brigit. I’m very excited because my topic is one that will definitely give me enough fodder for a whole month and is something I have never tried: eliminating negative self talk for a whole month!