More specifically, what’s the story you’re telling yourself? Is it a true story? Does it need to be rewritten? Who helped you write it? Was it a parent? A friend or adversary? The media?
Like a bedtime tale, the stories unfold while we fall asleep until one day we wake up and find they were just faerie tales all along.
nce upon a time I carried a story around into my forties. It said that I am just like my mom. I remember the distinct moment I challenged that story. I was at work, wiping the speckled black countertops liked I’d done every day for a year. Suddenly a thought popped into my head.
I am not my mother.
That’s all. Yet, there it was. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was the tipping of the first domino. Some called it my mid-life crisis. Some called it my late bloom. Knowing what I know now, I can tell you it was the changing of a story; a story I’d been retelling every time I started my diet anew.
We all tell ourselves stories. And once we’ve decided that story is false, we can’t just stop telling ourselves that story. We have to fill it in with a new one. One we can trust.
So when I falsified that story, the new story was . . .
I am me.
Nothing in the universe says I need to face the same challenges my mother faced. Nothing says food has to control me. The new story rang true, and I felt, for the first time in my life, at the age of 45 . . . normal.
I’d always been normal, but for the first time ever, I felt it. Inwardly, I had changed. Outwardly, people noticed. Friends said I glowed. Acquaintances walked by me without realizing they knew me. Yes, I had lost weight, but there was more than that. I had a different story. I am me, and I was not only normal, I was everything I had always wanted to be. I was like Dorothy realizing she had been home all along.
So why and how did I find myself back on the diet treadmill, going nowhere fast? It started when I turned 50. It was just a number like any other. If anything, I was gearing myself up for an amazing decade.
And then it happened.
The Change. The Big M. It was more than a ceasing of the monthly cycles. My skin lost its elasticity. My hair lost its sheen. I lost noticeable strength in my hands, back and arms. My shape changed even before I started putting on weight. I didn’t recognize myself. I mean I literally asked out loud, “Who the hell’s body am I in?”
And I fell sleep to a new story . . .
I am old.
I tried to control it in the only way I knew how. I dieted. Okay, you can stop laughing. But I get it . . . it sounds funny as I write it too. Now, where in the world could I ever have gotten that idea?
And if you’ve given up hope of actually staying young, you can opt for just looking that way . . .
Talk about fake news!
The diet industry brings in $20 billion every year, and we’re forking it over like blueberries and yogurt. Do you really want these people writing your story?
So when I woke up and saw the story for what it was — a horrid faerie tale with a bad ending, I needed to write a new one I could trust.
I am aging. Thank goodness I’m aging, because as long as I’m aging, it means I’m still alive. And as long as I’m alive, I have the potential to grow and learn and love. There is no promise of tomorrow. There is only now. And right now . . . life is good.
Peace . . .
You may follow my intuitive eating journey from the beginning here:
The View From Here