The possibilities that appear when you release control
I want to tell you two stories:
1) I got an email today from a person in recovery from anorexia and compulsive over-exercise. This person talked about how terrifying it is to cut down exercise, the frightening feeling of a changing body as a result of changing habits. She talked about the ways the afflictions had worked for her, and how finding another way of being felt so significantly less safe. I understood. I got it so so much. That little voice, the one that says I am scared and that controlling my body is the only way to feel less afraid is always right there. I don’t listen to that voice anymore. I constantly take different actions than my anxiety tells me to. But it’s still there. It will probably always be.
2) Remember how I got proposed to last week? How my boyfriend flew me out to Disneyland, paid for a fancy-as-fuck hotel, and popped the question at the picture moment of Space Mountain? Yeah. I didn’t want to go on that trip.
The thought of altering my work and self-care schedule made me feel a sense of dread. Shifting clients to accommodate a vacation seemed rude. I had people to meal plan for. I had blog posts to write. I had started a new strength program through BarbellWOD that I was really excited about (and that is really specific on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) I didn’t want to skip days of it. There’s nothing I can eat at Disneyland. It is expensive to get there.
I think we can all see the irony here.
I need to remind myself of this again and again:
The best thing about recovery, truly, is that it gives you a real live actual life. It lets you have spontaneity. It let’s you go on vacation. It let’s you cry happy tears with your face against a wall outside of your favorite ride ever because DUDE, SOME HOTTIE IS TRYIN’ TO BE YOUR MAN FOR LIFE. There is not a run on earth that gives you more of a high. There is not an amount of work I could do that could fill my heart to the same capacity. There’s no amount of kale that can give that kind of thrill.
So yeah. I still pack a bag of tupperware filled with brown rice and tofu and salad greens and apples and peanut butter and almonds and carrots because I want to eat healthfully on vacation. I still fixate on what my fitness program tells me to do and how I will feel if I ignore the instructions. I still try to sneak clients in between rides on the Matterhorn. But things like the email today, and the proposal last week, remind me that it is imperative that I show up. I fight the voice that tells me I need to be rigid and I put the fucking ring on my finger, and by golly, I have a nice time.
My email response to the aforementioned person said this:
“Balance is totally possible and totally worth it. Sticking with recovery will change your life in all the best, weirdest, and most exciting ways. Going THROUGH the anxiety and trying to find what’s on the other side yields amazing results. I KNOW it’s so hard and scary, I know it so well, but what you get when you trade in mean habits for kind ones is something amazing and indescribable. You totally deserve it.”
(besides, you never know, you might get some killer bling and a rad life commitment out of the whole thing)