I went to a workshop in May called “Making Peace with Food and Your Body.” The workshop was held at a yoga studio here in Rhodey, and it was presented by a fabulously wonderful psychotherapist/lifestyle coach/former binge eater. I wonder if I’ll be described in so many words some day
I thought of her last night. She had an amazing voice. The kind that you’d image a psychotherapist to have. When she talked, it was like any problem that you had could be solved. Any anxiety you were feeling would be washed away. I was reminded of some of the techniques that she used when discussing emotional eating, stress, honoring your body (did I mention stress?) The techniques included yoga breathing, visualization, and being in tune with what that little voice inside is telling you (your gut) vs. your logical brain.
I needed those exercises yesterday. The anxiety/little voices started when I had lunch with a former supervisor/mentor of mine. She is a faculty member in Communications at a university here and I really admire her. We were discussing grad programs and my desire to go back to school next year. I told her of my interests and she suggested, among other programs, that I look into getting my PhD.
I came home after work and proceeded to have Nancy thoughts running through my brain. I skipped going for a walk in exchange for researching on the computer. There wasn’t a good reason for skipping my workout except that I just didn’t want to go. I started voraciously looking at schools and opening websites. I had the anxiety feeling in the pit of my stomach and it was hitting me hard. Her words echoed in my head, and my crazy thoughts followed:
“Ph WHAT?? I know that I would love doing research, but do I want to do that? I don’t KNOW what I want to do – but I have areas of interest? What if I don’t get in – what if I don’t know what I want to do? Is that bad? There are TOO MANY schools I’m interested. How am I going to narrow this down by January in order to apply?? I don’t have nearly enough money saved, I don’t feel like I have enough time. There’s NEVER ENOUGH TIME - I AM HAVING A JESSIE SPANO I’M ADDICTED TO CAFFEINE PILLS moment.”
I thought back to one of the techniques from the workshop. I thought about the workshop leader and recalled her words. Drop down into your body and figure out where the emotions are coming from. Breathe deeply. Sit with the emotion and recognize it. Sit with it and breathe. Name that emotion and send it compassion. Breathe.
I sat with it. I started naming emotions. I recognized that instead of sitting there, really feeling this anxiety, I wanted to run into the kitchen. I used to use eating to shield me from the big, bad emotions. The old me would have run straight to the cabinet or the fridge in an effort to shove those feelings deep down – preferrably with an ice cream, peanut M&M, cereal, crackers, carb chaser. And then I’d feel sick, literally, and mentally at doing that to myself. I’d feel guilty and angry at myself, and I would feel like I was never, ever going to succeed at getting what I want.
I can’t change my life overnight. I can’t will myself to be at the “end” of my journey overnight. No matter how much I want to be (x number of pounds, in grad school, running marathons, whatever) there already, it’s no possible to skip the work involved. Nor would it be worth it.
I emailed Angela this morning after her inspirational post reminded me of that. It’s not the journey. I have no clue what I want to do in the future – I’m not supposed to know. That’s the point. You figure things out. You make choices and go down different paths. They aren’t wrong – they’re just choices. Last night I realized that I had a choice.
I could go to grad school next year.
I could wait and go the following year.
Waiting doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It doesn’t mean I’ll be any less prepared. I want to start school next fall, dang it! But why? Because I told everyone I was going to? Because I want something different in my day to day job? Because I’m bored? Is that reason enough to give myself Jessie Spano attacks every day? A timeline?
In fact, I’ll probably be more prepared. I’ll be more financially stable. I’ll have time to research the programs that I want to research and take campus visits and talk to everyone I can talk to without feeling rushed into decisions. What purpose does my self imposed timeline serve?
I’ve been asking myself all of these questions throughout the past day or so - enough to keep this post from being published this morning. I wrote it last night, and then kept editing until I got my thoughts together. I still don’t know what my decision will be, but I know that asking myself what the purpose was helped tremendously.
I admit that I’m afraid. I admit that the end became more important than the now - the present. I admit that I’m scared, but I refuse to let myself feel powerless. I recognize that I have a choice and the choices are mine.
Today I’m sitting with it, and breathing, and making choices. And, though it’s scary, it’s a much happier choice for me than Peanut M&Ms.