Sunday, January 16, 2011

Long, self-indulgent post (but good stuff)

I'm having a rough night, y'all. So, I have two choices right now:

1. Eat.

2. Write.

I'll do the writing thing. In my search for something-anything- that would distract me from what's going on in life, I stumbled upon a list of self-seeking questions (intended for use in journaling) from the "Thick and Thin" forum. I'm going to use those as the basis for my writing tonight:

1. When something goes wrong in your life what do you tell yourself? What do you find yourself saying? How do you react? I'm searching for my knee-jerk reaction. I think there's a certain amount of shame of my gullibility. By this, I mean that I feel stupid for allowing myself to think that things would actually go RIGHT for once. It's silly to expect things to work out for me.

2. What is important to you? What matters most to you in your life? What do you value above all else? More than anything, I want to be a good and honest person. I want to take care of the people that I love. I often feel like I fail at this, but my goal is to try to make everyone's life better. This also extends to my students, and generally, to myself.

3. What does a typical day look like for you? How do you spend your time? Do you enjoy the way you spend your time? What does the way you spend your time say about you as a person? I think a lot. I internally catastrophize things- I make up internal stories about how things are bound to fall apart. Usually, I also allow myself to become the hero of the story (I "save the day", or I'm a martyr). I feel like I try to find ways to avoid work, but really, I avoid STARTING work. I'm fine once the work has begun.

I seem to have a real fear of failure, and DEFINITELY am afraid that people will think that I'm some sort of fraud in some way. I hold myself to ridiculously high standards, but my lack of momentum at the beginning of the day, the class, or the project allows me to constantly hold myself back. I can't really disappoint myself if I never get close to trying to meet my goals. This has been going on since at least 3rd grade, although it's gotten better in the past couple of years (during "good times).

4. What do you think about money? What did your parents have to say about money? What financial circumstances did you grow up in? What is your financial situation now? What do you spend your money on? Are you a spender or a saver and why? I'm one of those people who grew up with nothing and always spent like crazy, because I always want to spend it all before the money "goes away". This is also how I feel when the pantry is full. I have a hard time with being content- it's always feast or famine. I'm either frantically trying to budget or I'm on a shopping spree. Never enough to make it so bills don't get paid, but it's still noticeable.

5. What are your thoughts on love? What was your parents relationship like? What are your romantic relationships like now? Are you happy with the state of your relationships? If not, what bothers you most and why do you think it's like this? See #1. I don't ever really feel like I deserve my husband. Even with his flaws, I'm surprised that he puts up with me. On a good day, I feel lucky to have him. My parents fought and eventually divorced. I don't know how much that affects my relationship history...seriously. Except to say that I always tended to self-destruct and end every relationship before I could be hurt.

I definitely apply my "all or nothing" approach to my marriage. Either I'm Betty Crocker, sex kitten, or I'm lazy and inactive. There is generally no middle ground. This is one area where I desperately need to find balance, because my husband deserves much more than all-or-nothing.

6. How do you feel about being alone? Short-term, I'm very okay with it. Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying solitude when everyone else enjoys being social. Long-term, I'm not sure. I've never been alone for long.

7. What do you believe about God, Goddess, Buddha, The Tao, however you view divinity, or lack thereof? What are your spiritual beliefs? Why do you believe this? Is it based on personal experience? Is it the way you were raised? Where does this belief come from? I don't know. And that's 'progress' from where I was a few months ago. I think I'm swinging back to "Liberal Christianity" from where I was as a "strong agnostic". I don't WANT to believe in God, because it would mean that God is either not in control of everything OR He is sort of mean. But I can't seem to shake the feeling that the God of my childhood is absolutely real.

I also enjoy studying Buddhism. I think there are a lot of absolute truths in Buddhism.

8. Describe yourself. How do you see yourself? How do you think others see you? Would you describe yourself as a thinker or a feeler? I am an introverted, introspective, intuitive thinker. Without hesitation, I can say that this is true. Other people tell me that I am insightful, funny, and that I think too much.

9. Do you view the glass as half empty or half full? Why? My gut answer is "The glass is just the glass". That's sort of interesting, because I don't know what I mean. Maybe it means that the glass has its own value, regardless of the amount of liquid it contains. The glass is not defined by its contents. Huh. That's DEFINITELY interesting!

10. Do you think there is more than enough to go around, or never enough? Why? There is NEVER enough. See #4.

11. Are you the master of your destiny, or is life preordained and you have to deal with the hand you're dealt? I'm not sure. I think that, generally speaking, we choose what happens. I don't think that is always true, though. I think that, sometimes, there is luck, chance, or something like that.

I do not believe in fate.

12. What are your views on life? It is what it is.

13. What are your thoughts on aging? Mostly, I am okay with the idea of getting older. I worry fairly regularly that my husband will not be attracted to me as I get older. I don't know how to reconcile the fact that he will probably still want me around with the fact (and I do think it is a fact) that he will probably enjoy looking at younger women more. That idea really bothers me, even though it is probably true.

14. What are your views on death? I don't know. I want to believe in Heaven, but I have a very hard time with it. I hope Heaven is real.

15. What are your views about sex? What is sexy and why? What isn't sexy and why? Boldness is sexy. Confidence is very sexy. Grace and skill are very, very sexy. The opposite of those things are not sexy. Really, looks have little to do with it.

16. Share your thoughts on sadness and grief. How do you act when you are sad? How do others react to your sadness? Generally speaking, I go into "get shit done" mode. I busy myself with dealing with the repercussions of whatever made me sad. And later (months or years), I fall apart. I don't mourn well.

17. Share your thoughts on anger. How do you act when you feel angry? How are others affected by your anger? I think that I usually try to stay really level. On the other hand, I like to come up with really passive (not passive-aggressive) ways to let other people know that I'm angry. It feels better when I hear from others that my anger is justified.

18. How do you act when you feel hurt or wounded? Do you think it's OK to get even when someone hurts you? If you do, how do you go about getting revenge? If you think revenge is wrong, why? I don't like revenge. Everyone is doing what they can to try to get by in this world. I do what I can to express my hurt when it happens.

19. Share your thoughts on forgiveness. I forgive easily. See #18. I don't forget as well. I think it's a way of protecting myself from being hurt again.

20. We are all familiar with certain catch phrases like...

"Money doesn't grow on trees."
"When it rains, it pours."
"It is always darkest before the dawn."

What are the catch phrases that you find yourself using? Which ones resonate with you? Which catch phrases did you hear your parents use when you were growing up? I use "It is what it is" a lot. Because it's true. I don't remember my parents having any catch phrases.

21. Let's talk about food...

What does food mean to you? Food is...well, it's great. And I'm having a lot of internal resistance to this right now.
What is food for, what function does it serve? Food is generally fuel, but it is also comfort and a way to stay busy and to avoid feeling frustrated or hurt or sad or overwhelmed. It lets me not feel.
What are your favorite foods and why? Most of them. I like the variety of tastes and textures that are available.
What foods do you loathe and why? I often say that I hate salads. This isn't true. There are foods, though, that I correlate with "being good", and those foods are generally foods I avoid.
If someone else was able to observe your eating on a typical day with you being completely unaware of their presence, what would they think? I think that most people would think that I eat way, way too fast. They'd probably think that I have a hard time choosing what I want at home, because I graze a lot.
How do you feel when you eat in front of others? Okay.
How do you feel when you eat alone? Probably more comfortable, but also afraid because I feel like I have the freedom to binge, and that feels scary.

Describe your current relationship with food. It's getting better. I don't feel as guilty when I overeat. I don't feel like there are "bad" foods, and I do think that most foods are emotionally equal at this point. I still eat when I'm not hungry, and I still don't stop when I'm full. I think about doing those things, and usually have a "to hell with it" or "it's more fun to eat" reaction.

22. Let's talk about your body...

How do you see your body? Better than I have ever before in my life.
What is your body for, what function does it serve? Since starting running this week, it feels like a really cool machine. I LOVE running.
What parts of your body do you like and why? I love having a larger chest. It's what I always wanted! Most of my body, I "like". That's the one thing I really, really love.
What parts of your body are hard for you to accept and why? My belly. I want it to be flat. I don't like my cellulite, although I've gotten better at accepting. Still have trouble accepting my belly.
How do you like to dress and why? I want to look "put together" and a little bit "sexy". I generally dress in whatever fits. I'm working on improving my wardrobe.
If you were to stand naked in front of a mirror what would you have to say about your body? I have a long torso. I'm okay the way I am.
If you were to stand naked in front of a room full of people what would they have to say about your body? How important would their opinions be to you? I don't know what they would say. I'd feel hurt if they were laughing or making jokes.
What remarks did you hear from others about your body as you were growing up? Not a whole lot about my size or physical appearance. I heard A LOT about my lack of fashion sense and awful clothes.
How did their comments make you feel? I didn't feel like I was good enough. This is odd, because I was really bothered by not having good clothes when I was a kid...but, it's the one thing that I don't really spend a lot of money on. When I do shop, I drop cash, but I don't do it often...and, until now, I ONLY did it when I was at an ideal weight. I have a closet full of clothes that are 2-6 sizes too small. This needs to change.

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