Taking a cue from John Lennon...

I'm feeling all hippy-ish at the moment, making a crown of daisies and placing it on my head, skipping through a field, singing "Let it be, let it be," and channeling the spirit of John Lennon.

That's one of the lessons I really really need to learn. How to just let things be. How to let MYSELF be.

I'm not one to collect strictly self-help books, though I do like skills workbooks and psychology books. At the same time, I'm always seeking to improve myself somehow. In some cases, this is good. I love to learn more information, different ways of beading and silversmithing, interesting things to photograph and write about.

On the other hand, I feel that I'm not quite okay the way I am. Right here, right now. I'm picky. And perfectionistic. It takes mucho self-control not to spell check these posts into oblivion. I want to. But that would sort of annihilate the point of blogging, so I don't.

Compare and despair.

It's a phrase I learned from my friend Jenni Schaefer, author of Life Without Ed.

When I'm feeling down about myself, I haul out the ol' yardstick. It's pointless, really, because I never measure up. Doesn't matter what the subject is. If I'm having a "fat" day, there's an anorexia convention in town. If I'm feeling particularly dense, I'm surrounded by members of Mensa. If I have a zit, everyone around me has completely unblemished skin.

Black and white. Black and white. One of the classic cognitive distortions, this all-or-nothing thinking. It's perfectionism to a "T". Or a "P," really.

Let it be.
Let me be.

I don't think I'll ever be the type of person who is happy-go-lucky. Those of us with intense, chronic anxiety seldom are. I don't really aspire to that because it's just not me. I'm okay with that. Two of my future classmates are off hiking or backpacking across Europe before classes start. Lord, how I would love to do that. Personality-wise, no can do, sonny boy. I'm a homebody.

I hate admitting that. I want to be a dilettante, a globetrotter, have all of these adventuresome, amazing stories. I can tell stories of being in the ER so much the staff recognizes you (that one creeped me out, let me tell you. Drove home the point that I was quite ill, if nothing else). I can tell stories of crazy dieting co-workers.

Here's the odd thing, as Charlynn kind of pointed out in her comments to my last post: life rarely happens the way you want it to. That we have these dreams and ideas about what our lives are going to be like, and then all this shit happens and everything changes. The only choice we have is: do we keep living or not?

I think it's hilarious to look back at my plans for my life in high school. For starters, they never took into account my developing anorexia in college. Nope. They never realized that I would learn to love writing on a level I can't even explain, that med school would become increasingly less appealing. That I would take a long, hard look at what I had, what I wanted, and what I thought I wanted and realize they were quite different that I had ever imagined.

I think I spend way too much time wanting what other people have, and not enough time going after what I want. Maybe that's not quite it. I think it's more that I get down on myself when I don't have what makes other people happy. Because if they're happy and they have XYZ, then maybe if I have XYZ, I, too, will be happy.

Unfortunately, that's one of those GRE logic problems where they ask you: if dogs have four legs, are all animals with four legs also dogs?


I think the part is that I haven't really latched onto what makes me happy. At least not on the long term. Because I've never stayed at it long enough to find out. Or really been healthy long enough to find out.

I could say "Follow me as I embark upon this journey," but I think I've already started. I want it now. Right here, right now. But that isn't the point. I don't even know that there is a point, other than to, well, John Lennon said it best.

Let it be.

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Katy said...

I believe he also said:

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Which is, in my mind, a mantra to live by. Because I had plans too. Like yours, they didn't include an ED. They also didn't particularly include, um, well, ME. They starred, "Perfect Girl!" who, rather than being, say, faster than a speeding bullet, was "thinner than a ten-year-old! Smarter than the entire Ivy League! Too independent to eat, drink, cry, need or even breathe!"

Whoops. Thank God for LIFE. That girl sounds like a PIECE OF WORK!

Liz said...

Your jewelry is cute, did anyone from your psycho work place buy any pieces?

It has to be ironic when 'letting it be' becomes a goal, cause doing is inherent to being, right? *scratches head*

Msempower (aka Em) said...

I relate. I relate.

I'm here anytime you want to vent, chat, etc. I know we don't live very close to one another, but I've got a fantastic roof where you can scream and get it all out.

Be patient with yourself. I'm trying my best to do the same.

On a side note, you talk about hiking. The desire to 'be' like them. Could you try doing that which you want but don't feel you can. The ACT therapy approach to behavior? It's in the anorexia self-help workbook:)

Just a thought. Did I ever think I would love yoga? Heck no! I couldn't understand how people could sit relatively still and relax. Now, I love it.

p.s. I was watching The Office the other night and thought of you when they played the theme song. Sounded a bit Irish to me;)

mary said...

We only get to be the one person we are and that my dear is always enough! Do what YOU like to do and be who you want to be. Watch the signs for new ideas and don't be afraid to try new things.
Having it all at once would spoil the flavor. Enjoying fully all that you have will give you much more satisfaction and will keep for the long haul.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've had to really watch myself on (and I still do this) is the wanting of XYZ, as you mentioned. I see other people seemingly living happy, fulfilling lives, and I contemplate whether that person's formula for success is workable for me. The truth is, it doesn't matter what works for other people. It works for them. It's a waste of time wanting what other people have because it takes away from what I want. The two aren't the same. The more I keep telling myself that, the more I hope I find that wonderful XYZ that works for me. :)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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