I have a game I play with myself that makes me feel like a giant elephant turd.

I’ve played this game since I was a child.

You see, my dad would criticize me for my weight.

One of my sisters and my mom too – we were the chunky ones.

He would monitor what we were eating during the day and at night we just weren’t allowed to eat.

He and my naturally slender sister would have ice cream or cereal and watch TV after dinner.

So us “cubby girls” (sans mom) developed our own routine too, stealing and hoarding food – rebelliously eating it in our rooms together at night.

And yes, the takeaway here is that I’ve always been a rebellious little shit, but I’m actually really headed straight towards my relationship with food…

And you know, that really popular thing for women to talk about – body image.

Yup.

I have an interesting relationship with my body, and it’s gotten better over the years, but I’m realising my relationship with food has a lot more to do with the “punishments” I put my body through than even my body does.

I love food

I’m a Taurus and, let me just say, when it comes to enjoying the finer things in life I feel sorry for anyone who isn’t a Taurus.

That’s not to say that we are the best, not at all.

We are stubborn, hardheaded and fucking frustrating (to ourselves as well as others).

But, wow.

The way the simplest things can intoxicate our senses and mesmerize our existance sure is lovely.

Let’s just say, at the very least I’m a hedonistic sympathizer.

Yet, my skewed perception and rocky relationship with eating have all but robbed me of the pleasure of it too…

I’m hungry right now

Yet, it’s morning.

Somehow I’ve trained myself to ignore my hunger in the morning.

I won’t really “need” to eat until like 2pm.

But once I start, it’ll be hard to stop.

At least lunch will be healthy, afternoon snacks and dinner too – I’ll carefully execute control and pick and choose my nutrition all day.

I love veggies – so many divine textures and tastes!

But night always falls…

And so, this is my game

I’m in control early in the day, and I restrict and control my eating just like my dad used to.

Then, as my willpower runs out, I begin to unravel.

At night I find myself eating food I don’t want and don’t like, even when I’m not hungry.

It is the most annoying and frustrating experience.

Especially because it often robs me of the joy I have when I eat.

The food I eat when I am in control becomes systematic, my mind in full micromanagement mode, unable to slow down and appreciate what I am doing.

Then, at night it’s almost primal – thoughtless and chaotic food-lust, like I’m a bloodthirsty predator no one could possibly reign in.

And the real Mayryanna? She feels caught right in the middle.

I just want to eat my berries slowly so I can feel the exact moment the juice bursts inside my mouth.

Yet, I have hope

I have hope because I just realized for the first time that maybe it’s as much about the control and restriction during the day as it is the binging at night.

For real, that’s why I’m writing this.

All this time, 30+ years, and I never thought my confusion could be just as much a fault of the control as it is the chaos.

Despite my best efforts, I may never be able to increase the duration of my willpower, but I can certainly change it’s focus when I have it earlier in the day.

So, if I were to be eating for me (and not just repeating the patterns I developed as a child), what would that look like?

Well, it would look like eating breakfast every day instead of just 10-20% of the time.

Even better, it would be a healthy breakfast to start my day off right, maybe those smoothies I like to make or some oatmeal.

Spinach is my personal fave for smoothie greens

Then, eating healthy snacks like nuts or fruit when I’m hungry throughout the day and having lots of vegetables and plant based protein at lunch and dinner.

Taking my fucking time to eat and enjoy my food while I still have the presence of mind to be mindful.

I imagine it’ll be much less appetizing to binge on unhealthy carb/fat dense processed foods after dinner if I haven’t been fighting to keep myself in an extreme calorie and nutrition deficit all day too, right?

I hereby commit to feeding myself with care and eating with gratitude

So, obviously I won’t be changing an entire lifetime of patterning overnight.

But I am really excited.

I’m excited, for the first time in a long time, to feed myself and to eat without obsession or confusion.

To smell my food before I taste it, every time.

To listen to my body when it’s hungry, and when it’s not hungry.

To build back my own trust, slowly and intentionally.

To heal my relationship with food and stop punishing my body for needing it, wanting it and enjoying it.

To be grateful of the opportunities I have to eat healthy and delicious foods, appreciating every bite fully.

Mostly, I’m excited to be rediscovering what it means to be Mayryanna, one bursting berry at a time.

My grandmother saw a picture of me that I am rather fond of, it’s actually my new profile picture on Facebook.

I like it because I am happy in it.

THE picture

It’s just a selfie of a care free moment in between unloading groceries the other day, nothing special.

But, the sun is out and this picture seemed to capture the ecstatic feeling of the crisp winter air and the warm sun on my face simultaneously.

I wanted to share that moment.

At first my grandma said something about wishing she was as photogenic as I am.

I said thanks and was showing her how to post stickers and GIFs like we had been learning on the previous post she had been looking at.

She joked a little with me about “finding someone” with pictures like that, which to be honest I mostly ignored because I’m trying to become immune to comments like that.

Then she looked at me and said, “you know, I think you just love yourself.”

And I smiled.

But, something hurt too.

After a moment I said “good! I’ve been trying to learn how to love myself for a while now,” before wandering back behind her chair, to the kitchen.

I pondered the pain.

Right at the front of my chest, at my heart center.

Not the back which would be a defensive self-love reaction which I kind of expected, but no, in the front – in my community-love center.

Why is it hurting here? Questioning myself, I sat down at the counter.

I could hear my grandma’s iPad playing videos on her Facebook and suddenly recognized one I had posted about human overutilisation of animals as resources.

I started crying immediately.

I wasn’t sad because I thought my grandma couldn’t appreciate my self-love, I was sad because for some reason I felt that her noticing my self-love meant all my other love wasn’t noticed.

My love for her.

My love for this planet.

My love for creatures great and small.

My love for the men I have left broken hearted because I don’t want to be a wife.

But it wasn’t the love that was hurting, no, it was my ego about my love and the “sacrifices” I make.

I quickly did an inventory of my actions today and how sustainable they’ve been.

My eyes got stuck on the excess of material objects in my grandmother’s old family home and I just sighed…

What my grandma said is painful, not because of what it potentially means to her, but because of what it means to me.

I am the overly critical, hyperaware, never satisfied personal critic and I was just letting her voice echo my thoughts in those moments.

I’m very sneaky

I seek to prove my biases in all sorts of tricky ways, and if I’m not careful I can believe something untrue by virtue of my own distraction and impatience.

I love to make things that aren’t really my responsibility, my problem.

I know it comes from my childhood but knowing where a problem comes from doesn’t mean the work is done.

I’m still noticing when/how these patterns of behavior present themselves and trying to correct course.

Like catching myself hyperanalysing messages I’ve sent to people and groups because I worry my intentions may be misinterpreted.

Even though I truly know the people I’m talking with understand me in a raw way and I don’t even have to worry about it – I still find ways to worry about it and look for evidence that I’ve been socially inadequate.

Because I believe I am socially inadequate.

It always comes back around to me

My anxiety and insecurities have been constant, ever present companions – but, I don’t take them as seriously as I used to any more.

They are still there and as loud as ever, but I’ve changed the way I allow their opinions to affect me.

Instead of just believing whatever initial worst case scenario my mind cooks up, I explore it, like I did today by crying in the kitchen.

Does it resolve the fact that I have over an over inflated sense of duty to the world’s ecology and am using my grandma to project judgement on myself?

No.

I still have serious stuff to work through.

But it does save me from being disgruntled and hurt by my grandmother, which could make all the difference in the world.

Now I actually know what the problem is

I have a limiting belief that I can never do enough good to justify the harm caused by my existence.

So I can work on that (nbd right).

And this new habit of patient exploration also helps to keep me authentic and vulnerable with my friends.

Understanding that my desire to want to see their innocent reactions as critiques of my awkwardness is a reflection of my own beliefs and not necessarily theirs, keeps me from closing up and withholding from them.

They deserve the benefit of the doubt.

My grandma deserves the benefit of the doubt.

And I deserve the benefits of doubting my own anxiety and insequrities, especially when they are causing me to doubt the good intentions of myself and the people I love.

Even if I am awkward, that doesn’t mean I am less worthy of my friend’s love.

Even if I am not 100% sustainable in everything I do and even I forget to bring my reusable bags to the grocery store sometimes, that doesn’t mean I get to wallow in the self-depreciating ego-tantrum that doesn’t solve anything anyway.

And even if I have lots more work to do on my limiting beliefs and insequrities, this new patient awarness is certainly helping me feel more capable of taking those things on in honest and healthy ways.

I’m not sure I know how I feel right now.

If anything, many things?

Today has been a good day, in many ways.

I’ve been really happy.

Today I have felt like I’m flowing more and it’s nice.

Not overthinking and stressing about task after task or lifestyle productivity hacks I haven’t mastered…

Not continually grading myself from the very moment I woke up and yet, still managing to have a morning ritual and shower earlier than I usually do…

Not hyperscheduling my householding responsibilities yet somehow still cleaning more than I had planned and even doing my errands with a friend, varnishing my painting from the other night at her house too…

My psychedelic aspens

All just unfolding naturally, without my anxious obsessive planning or figuring out, I got things done and had fun doing it.

It feels nice, I feel… Relaxed?

Yet.

There’s those other feelings too.

Those feelings remembering how I was still up in my head yesterday about all of this, completely distracted and not creative or “in the flow” at all.

Thoughts about things I haven’t done kreeping in again…

Is it because I ate a good dinner and sat down?

Is this that will power dip I’ve heard about and why is it manifesting as this self-deprecating sadness?

Part of me wants to do more things and hopes I just start on something (oh look, I’m doing this), to keep the day’s momentum going.

Another part of me wants to do nothing.

Another part of me feels like I need to get over my incessant desire to constantly be doing something and actually fucking relax.

The part of me watching all the other parts of my consciousness interplay is writing this article.

I’m glad it’s in charge.

Maybe that’s the flow?

The calm observer that witnesses and seeks understanding, yet never grasps desperately to force or manipulate reality beyond choosing the intuitive course at the intuitive time.

In which case, this intuitive flow is really just a sort of patient but decisive wisdom.

*breathes in*

*breathes out*

“I have three eyes, two to look and one to see” – unknown

I’m going to continue on this path.

I will keep uncovering the characteristics of flow, through both the good days like today, as well as the bad or just “off” days like yesterday.

And the times like right now, when I don’t know what I feel and old thought patterns try to creep back in.

The watcher within will endeavor to learn, becoming more wise and more patient…

Even if that means having more patience with myself.