I haven’t done this in a while. It’s 230am and I am wide awake. I’m not just talking about having a hard time falling asleep- I mean, WIDE AWAKE. Tossing and turning. Mind running. Going through lists, thinking about things I need to do or haven’t done, people I want to speak to, plans I shouldn’t have made, plans I need to make. I even got up and covered all sources of light in the room (including the flashing light from the modem in the corner of my bedroom)- after reading one of my friend Lana’s most recent Instagram posts on eliminating all distractions before bed and not bringing your laptop and phones into bed with you (I was sitting with my laptop on my lap and my phone in my hand, scrolling through Instagram, in bed when I came across this post).
Needless to say I hadn’t prepared very well for bed in the first place. However, I think it’s because I knew I wanted to write. I’ve been wanting to write all week but for some reason I was blocked. So, the blockage decided to burst open at 230am on the night that I should be going to bed at a reasonable hour in order to be well rested to await Faris’ arrival tomorrow morning from London. Good one, Chloe, a slight fail there. Oh well. Instead of tossing and turning all night I decided to take control of the situation. So I jumped out of bed, changed into my super comfortable, cozy and warm clothes (this outfit includes a long-sleeved Aritzia woolen shirt which bares the Canadian flag as well as socks, of course) and made my way to the kitchen to boil some water for tea (obviously). This was followed by a quick scroll through my music library- realizing I didn’t have the right album for what I was feeling. Suddenly, it hit me: Ed Sheeran. Within minutes I had his new album downloaded and ready to go (we really are blessed with the experience of immediacy now a days).
And, here I am. Ready to write. Ready to pour my heart and mind out into the world, at Chloe’s Countertop. As I was waiting for the water to boil, I realized (for the millionth time as of late) how lucky I am. Before I started Chloe’s Countertop almost 2 years ago (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I didn’t have this place to explore. Looking back, Chloe’s Countertop has been such an incremental platform of growth for me, it’s pretty incredible to think about. It’s hard to even imagine myself without it now. Where would I be? Who would I be? Such a special blessing. So without further adieu (I have a feeling I have been using that term quite a bit lately), I will jump into the topic that I had started a few days ago and was without words to finish…
I realized something today. I think it’s time for a bit of honesty and integrity on my part. In the tradition of recognizing old coping mechanisms and behaviour patterns that are not serving me anymore, I think I have come across another one. Much like most realizations, this one came to me slightly out of the blue and unexpectedly. When it hit me though, it was powerful. I’m starting to grasp the idea that realizations come to us because we invite them. They are essentially manifestations of our subconscious. The reason I think this is because a lot of the time they come out of situations that occur on the regular, daily, in our lives. It’s like the whole idea of seeing the same thing, day-in and day-out and then finally one day “seeing” it. The same can be said of hearing information all the time and finally one day, ‘getting it’. We have to be ready to truly and consciously hear and see the messages that are brought to us.
The realization that I had today is in relation to eating disorders. Specifically, my experiences with bulimia. Since I started suffering from eating disorders back in middle school- I began to develop this pattern of being incredibly indecisive. So much so, that I would agree to do things that I didn’t really want to do and pull out last minute. I believe that the essence of this behaviour is not being able to trust yourself. It’s as if my instincts were there, telling me what I wanted, but I didn’t like myself enough to trust me. I constantly felt like I needed to go above and beyond to receive love and attention from others- and this would be at the expense of my own friendship and relationship with myself. That’s how this all started.
Jumping forward years, what ended up happening is that as this behaviour became more and more seasoned, it would happen more often. Every time I would make a plan and pull out last minute I would feel so, so guilty. However, it would still continue to happen. During my last two years of high school it basically became the norm. It got to the point that people just stopped calling, and I really just stopped seeing my friends. In my junior year, for months, I stayed at home- punishing myself for all of my pain and fear. I felt as though I had put myself in such a corner with all of my decisions, that there was no way out. It was a painful time, to say the least.
The reason why I am going into this point in my life is because it really does highlight why the behaviour become so solid, within me. I got so used to not making plans, dropping out last minute and for the most part- not feeling relied upon– that it became second nature. The thing about bulimia is that it really solidified this coping mechanism.
One of the characteristics of bulimia is an essence of hiding. From my experience, I can say that bulimia has a deviant feeling to it. A lot of the behaviours associated to the disorder are very much done in secret and are associated with a lot of guilt, shame and self-disgust. Thus, you can imagine that after having a disorder like bulimia for several years- these emotions become quite established within you. They become a part of you. A lot of behaviours, thought-patterns and coping mechanisms associated with bulimia carried over with me throughout my life (thus far). Of several, one of the main ones is accountability. Similar to the idea of not trusting myself- which would end up in my dropping out of plans last minute, etc– there is a lack of self-accountability when it comes to bulimia. With bulimia– a large part of the disorder is bingeing (eating a large amount of food) and then purging (regurgitating the food). Thus, bulimia literally eliminates all accountability. In a lot of ways you are indulging and then going back in time, and erasing that behaviour. This is then followed by a long-period of blame, guilt, regret and disgust. In a nutshell– it messes with your head. It creates a strong desire to hide away from the rest of the world.
As with anything in life, unlearning takes just as much time (plus some) as learning does. No matter what behaviour pattern or coping mechanism it is, things don’t change over night. There is a process that takes place. For years and years I have been aware of my incessant & frustrating ability to be indecisive. So much so, that I think I could probably say that I’ve had a difficult time with commitment. The foundation of this, I believe, comes from me ignoring my intuition for so many years. For countless years, I shut off my intuition, to the point of absolute confusion. Despite a sick feeling in my stomach and knots in my throat- I would continue to compromise myself and my truth- in order to try my best to please and find love from others.
For me, one of the most painful parts of this behaviour was when I was confronted with it. The only thing more painful and frustrating about a coping mechanism that you are aware of- is when someone points it out to you. That’s the truth (and all of the fears surrounding it) staring you in the face. One of the worst things about a behaviour or coping mechanism that is developed for a certain reason- is that it doesn’t stay isolated to that one instance or behaviour. Usually, it will transcend to all areas of your life- as you continue to use it as a form of “protection”.
I do believe that my coping mechanism that I developed with my eating disorders did manage to get in the way of several areas of life including: school, work, jobs, relationships and friendships. So much so that I can honestly say that I have lost relationships and friendships because of it (at least, in part). However, although that fact is a tough pill to swallow- I don’t regret it. It was a learning moment. It brought me to where I am. Just like I do not regret or wish I didn’t suffer from eating disorders. For me, bulimia and anorexia brought me to the pain that I needed to experience in order to grow and open up into a more beautiful, truthful, vulnerable and loving individual. I may not have found Holistic Nutrition. I may not have discovered my love for food and cooking/raw food. All things in life can be a blessing in disguise, whether they enter our lives in the form of pleasure or pain, fear or love. They are all experiences, presenting the opportunity for growth and a deeper awareness.
In regards to my coping mechanism, I can’t say that it has fully left me. In fact, I was obsessing over a recent decision I made just now in bed (sorry, although I do disclose quite a lot here, I can’t disclose everything– gotta leave some things in life a mystery, right?) However, I feel at ease knowing that I am aware of it and am open to more growth. I am experiencing more moments of trusting myself, and making the decisions that feel right. I am able to make decisions that may not always please others. I am learning to speak up for myself. Something that makes this transition even easier is accepting love for myself, from myself. By doing this, I am indirectly eliminating opportunities for this coping mechanism to appear.
I believe that this is how I have been able to move forward from bulimia and be ‘free’ of it. Becoming unattached. We all have coping mechanisms and we all have different behaviours that have been developed for certain reasons. Some are deeper than others, some have more hold on us. What they all have in common is that they do not define us, and they don’t have absolute control over us. They are not absolute. From my experience, I have learnt that the way to approach a transition is to stop fighting yourself. I know it sounds cliche, but, love is the answer. If you can approach the situation with love- I can guarantee that you will not go wrong.
I’m going to end this post with a quick apology– this post may not make complete coherent sense. In my defense, it is 3am and I am jetlagged 😉 Ok, now I can sleep. Good night world <3