She saw that I was in a good place, but she wanted to know how deep it runs. One of her techniques is a sort of guided imagery. I close my eyes and myself as a little child comes forward. Then comes the angry teen-ager. For years and years, those two parts of myself were the only "characters" in this internal drama -- except, of course, for my spirit guide, who is not a person, but more a force, a center of energy that knows me better than I know myself.
Since we've been talking about my weight, there's been another "character," though. The blueberry jam girl, we call her, from the camp picture of me with blueberry jam all over myself. She doesn't speak; she eats. Constantly. She doesn't have legs. She sort of rolls, like one of those little walkers babies use to start getting used to standing. And she has blueberry jam all over her face.
Today, the little girl was happy and carefree, as she's been since I really worked through the terrible fear I had as a child, when there was no adult around to really take care of me. Since I've convinced her over the years that I will take care of her, she no longer is afraid.
Today, the angry teen-ager gave me a high five for landing this speaking gig, and seemed pretty much okay -- as she's been since I worked through the horrible anger I carried around for so long.
And today, the bluberry jam girl was eating. Non-stop. Disgusting. She doesn't talk; she just eats.
My spirit guide said I am doing well, but not well enough. I have to start swimming. I have to. And so I committed: On Monday August 2 -- after my trip to DC -- I will swim at 6 am.
How do they all feel about you making that commitment, Jenni? (She calls me Jenni as everyone did until I became a trial lawyer named Jennifer).
The little girl is good. The teen-ager is good. And the blueberry jam girl kept eating.
I said I wanted to take the food away from her.
What would happen if you did, she asked?
She would die. She has no other purpose except to be eating. All the time.
How would that be, if she died?
At first, I thought it would be okay, but then I realized she's part of me, and killing her isn't the right answer. So what if we gave her something else to do that she would enjoy?
Clothes, I thought. What if she stopped eating and, instead, did the things her mother wouldn't let her do. Like shop for nice clothes.
The blueberry jam girl stopped eating and perked up. She liked this idea. She was ready to go shopping.
And so the session ended with my plan to go to the mall and buy a nice blouse to wear in Washington next week with the obligatory black pant suit that any self-respecting lawyer would wear for such an occasion.
On the way to the mall in the middle of a work day -- something I never would allow myself to do if it were not "homework" from therapy -- I made a couple of decisions. First, I would not even look at price tags. Second, since I will be traveling to DC the day before, and I will change into comfortable travel clothes (and shoes) after the event, I would also look for two nice t-shirts to wear with leggings instead of my usual oversized t-shirts.
Things didn't go well at all. First of all, it was brutally hot even in the stores and especially in dressing rooms. Second of all, I have this really bad swelling of my feet -- we haven't figured out why yet, but it's very uncomfortable and makes it hard to enjoy walking for any reason. But most of all, nothing much fit.
I got a sleeveless vest-type blouse with a nice collar to wear with my suit, but it's white and plain and not the pretty blouse that I had hoped to find. There weren't a whole lot of pretty blouses -- there were bright florals and shiny rhinestone studs, but not right for business. I tried on a pretty pale pink blouse, but it was too tight in the arms and chest. I tried on t-shirts and they were okay, but not really right to wear with leggings. And many of them were too tight. I left Lord & Taylor with my white blouse and headed to Lane Bryant thinking they surely would have casual, large tops, but there was nothing right. I just hated how I looked in everything.
I have to lose weight. I am trying so hard. I am eating vegetables for dinner with maybe a 1/2 cup of pasta, tops. I have a bagel, egg and cheese for breakfast, which I guess is too much, but it doesn't seem like a whole lot. And I switched my mid-day corn muffin from regular to low-fat. There's nothing else fattening in my house besides some Snackwell (diet) cookies and 100 calorie bags of popcorn. But it's not good enough.
We both thought that the important part of the session was that the we would give the blueberry jam girl a new role. Instead of eating for my mother, she would enjoy clothes for me, was the thought. Instead, the important part of the session was what my spirit guide said: It's not good enough. I am not doing everything I can do. And I must. Because I am too fat and I hate it and it has to stop. Period.
I don't really know how I'm going to cut out a whole lot more, but I'm going to swim. And I'm going to try. And when I eat, I'm going to think about the blueberry jam girl. Perhaps that thought will make me nauseated enough so I'll put down the fork, put away the food, and find something to do that makes me feel better than I feel right now. Jennifer
P.S. - I post links to these blog entries about my weight journey on Facebook. The comments are interesting. A lot of people offer ideas about how I could better control my food intake, although most of them don't really understand how limited my diet is.
In response to this post, though, I got one really noteworthy comment:
Thank you for sharing, Jennifer. You are so brave. I am a big advocate of guided imagery. My suggestion would be to imagine yourself loving that blueberry jam girl. Folding your arms around her and giving her a huge hug. She is a part of you, she deserves to be loved and you just may find...she will stop eating, and hug you right back.
Major food for thought.