I know it’s happening. I can listen to my body now. To my mind.
As we close in on our moving date, both mind and body are moving between empty and full. During the days, after coffee in the morning, I rarely want to eat. I can make it through the day on a yogurt, an apple, a power bar. Sometimes only one or two of the three. But at night, once everyone is gone and I am left alone in bed, I crave Hershey Bars, brownies and ice cream, cake, Dove promises. Anything sweet and silky. Comfort. Joy. But, the next morning I feel empty-full and shamed.
I know it’s happening – my falling into restriction and bingeing – and I’m struggling to change the behaviors.
When I’m with others – my partner, friends, loved ones – I can eat. When we’re enjoying each other’s company, our friendships and laughter; when we’re making memories, I can manage coffee, dinner, and snacks. Alone, I hunker down.
I imagine my belly as a clamshell. When I eat, it opens up letting in nourishment and expelling feelings. My belly is full of fear and longing, excitement and grief, anxiety and joy. When I’m with others, and I open my belly to nourish myself, the fear, grief and anxiety are kept at bay by the beautiful external joy I feel. I am eating joy. But when I’m alone…well, I’m vulnerable. And so I hunker down, lock the clamshell, refuse to let anything pass lest it open to expel fear, grief, and anxiety. Only that which can be consumed quickly and easily passes through.
And it is then, before bed, as I will myself to sleep, wishing for good dreams, that my feelings and behavior overlap each other – fear, grief, and anxiety expelling my clam shell belly as I try to consume some happy.
I am worried about this move. I haven’t figured out how to let go yet. I’m not ready to say goodbye. And yet, the goodbyes are beginning. My time left to experience friends and loved ones is lessening. I’m desperately booking up my calendar with dates and outings. I know that when I’m in those moments I’ll love them, and that when they’re over I’ll be exhausted.
How do I say hello to Knoxville? How do I say goodbye to Boston? What does it mean to move into a temporary home while leaving the first place that’s felt like home since 1994. When do I cry? Scream? Laugh? Eat? When will I hunger for this change? Will I?
I am listening to by mind and my body. I am listening to my clamshell belly. I am struggling to honor its needs and all the meat it holds. But I am listening.