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Can You Hear What I Hear?

April 21, 2014 1 comment

Being neurotic is a full time job.

I should know.
I’m neurotic and
not ashamed to admit it.
It’s just time consuming.

 

Growing up, I was an “odd” child and when the bipolar kicked in my neurotic nature grew exponentially. And being neurotic is tiring.  I’ve mellowed out a lot over the years, so people who like me call me “quirky.” They don’t notice my neurotic behavior so much. People who don’t like me? Well let’s just say that they call me something else. And they notice my neurotic tendencies all the time. It used to bother me. Now? Other people’s opinions of me don’t destroy my world.

Don’t get me wrong… I am still very idiosyncratic and a lot of stuff sets me off. But I’ve had to learn how to define my boundaries. I needed to know where I stopped and other people started. I’m a firm believer in boundaries. Healthy boundaries can prevent so many problems. Just like good fences make for good neighbors, good boundaries work wonders in relationships. But it can’t stop at merely having said boundaries. I need to know how to communicate them to other people because if I don’t I end up angry. Then I react and end up feeling guilty. Then I do worry about what other people think because my behavior was so dodgy. If people step all over my boundaries because I haven’t taken the time to express them… then whose fault is the resulting tension?

The other day I had to have a boundary setting conversation with a colleague who has been mashing my buttons pretty severely for two months now. It got to the point that I cringed when I saw her coming and was very abrupt with her when I couldn’t avoid talking to her. I ended up feeling guilty for my rudeness and I’d come home mad. Then God and I would have really loud conversations about why this woman was pushing my buttons and why he (being God and all) should get her out of my orbit. Of course, God was going to do no such thing. I was either going to suffer in silence and complain to him at  home, or I was going to say something to her. Thing is… she’s really sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly. Whereas I have no problems crushing flies and sending them, and any other critter that invades my space, into the hereafter. I didn’t want to hurt this woman’s feelings. She was tap dancing on the Bipolar Button and it was about ready to explode.

Everybody else on staff that I work with closely knows that I have Bipolar Disorder. First, because I’m not ashamed of it and people need to be educated about the many faces of mental illness. And second, because my disorder effects how I relate to people. I will have fewer meltdowns or blowups if people know the kinds of things that set me off. And it’s stuff that people can easy accommodate… like I cannot process a lot of information at one time. I need small chunks of information and then time to process before expecting an immediate response. Or personal space issues. It weirds me out to no end to have people sit or stand right next to me or right behind me. I start to feel anxious and it gets hard to breath. Most people who know me respect that and literally give me my space. I can get positively ill if I feel caged in.

I was worried about the conversation because I’m not very tactful.

 

 

I’ve been stressing for two months now about what to say to her. Last night I was talking to God about it and he said I needed to apologize to her.  He’d said it before, but I’d chosen to ignore that because surely that wasn’t God. I’m all for apologizing when I’ve done something wrong, but in this case I was the offended party. She owed me and apology.  Then God showed me exactly why I needed to apologize. My heart response to her was wrong even if she hadn’t noticed how I was acting. Finally. God was going deeper than just working on my actions. He was working on my heart in a way that I could actually see it. I didn’t develop some agape love thing for this woman, but I definitely did not want to do the whole bull in a china shop bit. Leading with an apology was the right thing to do even if she interrupted me and said I didn’t need to apologize. (She did)

In the end, I’m glad I lead with the apology. I also started by asking her to let me finish and to hear me out before she said anything. She always interrupts me and never listens to me. Communication was at the heart of our situation. We have to work together. I’m not trying to change her. I was just trying to get her to hear and respect my boundaries. Her response was actually more than I could have hoped for. She totally heard me and we reached a place of understanding that I hope will keep channels open and clear communication flowing. She thanked me for being so blunt and straight forward. And I figure I shaved off six months of stressing out over this by finally listening to God.

What I’m learning is that all the striving in the world is not going to fix the things in me that make me so neurotic. And all the hiding that I do isn’t going to heal that which is broken. It is weird to think that God put all the things that make me neurotic into my make up, but if he put it there he knows how to fix it. He will use difficult people and difficult situations to chip away at my neurotic ways until one day… I will stand before him, neurosis free. Now that really is comforting.

Do You See What Eye See?

April 15, 2014 2 comments

A student went ballistic on me today.

 

 

 

It came completely out of nowhere and he was very loud, clearly trying to intimidate. I was sitting down. He was standing over me and his anger filled the space between us. This while I’m surrounded by a small contingent of students who all needed my attention NOW. When I worked with nine year olds I was used to students pitching fits. It goes with the territory. And since I’ve been in my current job teaching young adults, I’ve had a few notable run ins with students over the years. At one point I even voiced my fear of one student to my supervisor because I feared for my safety. As our student population changed, however, I saw less and less aggressive behavior in my classroom so today’s events were truly a shocker. Six months ago I would have been quaking in my boots. I would have either  started yelling or crying or a soggy combination of the two.

Bipolar Girl stresses out fairly easily. I do not handle multiple stressors well. I don’t like being crowded. And I hate multiple people making multiple demands on me simultaneously… and yet God keeps me in education where all of that is part of the territory. I’m good at what I do and I KNOW that I’m supposed to be there, but I often wonder why God continually keeps me in a profession that continually keeps me off balanced. Many of my worst suicidal episodes can be traced back to my previous jobs. When is God going let the cloud move?

Everybody was looking avidly at the drama that had erupted in their midst. The student was insisting that I undo something that had I done. Something I’d already discussed with him and to which he’d given his consent. If I thought he couldn’t or wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t have made the change in the first place,  but because it was necessary for him to move on and grow, I made a decision. Yes, it would be difficult. Yes, there would be a lot of change. Yes, he would be uncomfortable dealing with new things he didn’t like…but because I was in possession of more of the facts… because I had faith in his ability to not only survive this difficult time, but to thrive — I made the change.

I envisioned a freak out on his part, but not of the epic proportions that flamed over me today. He glared at me with hands clinched and ground out, How DARE you do this!! I could feel myself getting heated, but I didn’t react. Neither my fight nor flight reflex kicked in. I stood my ground and there wasn’t a tear in the duct. He was trying to be intimidating to get his way, but I wasn’t having any of it! I wasn’t afraid of him. I wasn’t going to undo anything because my choice was best for him. And I wasn’t going to let him yell at me in front of a room of students. I asked him to go outside and we talked. We went to see my supervisor and talked some more. PRAISE GOD she actually backed me up on this. She was the voice of reason even though he was beyond seeing any reason. Eventually, he stomped out without any resolution.

In the past, I would have been a nervous wreck. I would have been shaking and crying unable to go back into my class and teach. Today? That didn’t even cross my mind. No mental health days for BPG. I went back into my class and taught my students as if nothing had happened. I had a really good time with my class. My third class was rather chaotic because it’s new and I have a bunch of new students. One guy was deliberately being a wise ass trying to set me off (yep. I said it. Keep reading). I had to deal with him and let him know that his behavior was completely unacceptable. But I also had to lighten up the maniacal grasp that I tend to have on my class when it comes to structure/procedures. My way works best for me  because Bipolar Girl needs structure to function, but it doesn’t work best for everybody. That was one reason why elementary school teaching was so hard. I kept trying to bend the kids to my will. That rarely works in the classroom or anywhere else. It’s the fuel of mutiny. If I left my elementary school classrooms broken and bruised at the end of the day, I have to acknowledge now, that if I hadn’t been so ridged we all might have fared better.

By my last class I was feeling the stress and with 10 new students in my class all needing to do different things, it was a recipe for disaster given my day. Plus, that student from that earlier verbal brawl was back in my class. He was still trying to get me to change my mind, but he was now accepting of the fact that I wasn’t and that yelling at me wasn’t going to change anything. The way I was treating him now was weird. Last class of a busy day and there he was sitting directly in front of me… and I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t livid. I didn’t want to light into him for how he’d treated me. I know he’s upset and I like this kid. He’s had a rough life with very little home training. He wasn’t at the point where he was going to apologize, but I was at the point where I didn’t need one. Sitting across from me in the last class of a long day, he needed my help and it was a foregone conclusion that I would give it. He waited patiently for me to get the ten new students settled and then we talked.

Yesterday the whole thing would have upset me. I am tired of being other people’s butt monkey where they think they can step all over me and my feelings with no recourse. I would have come home pissed off at the world and demanding to know WHY God was making me stay in teaching when I’m CLEARLY not cut out for it and really don’t like doing it 97.6% of the time. But today was different. When the last student left my class I didn’t fall on my sword. I got ready for a meeting (and we ALL know how much I love those)… and then I continued to do my job. I was actually smiling at the close of the last meeting. I was whistling (ok, I can’t whistle but it was something resembling it) down the hall as I walked to my room. I stopped to crack jokes with the students in lounge. I smiled when I got in my car and sang once I hit the highway. By the time I got home I was positively giddy. I rewarded myself with a SALAD for dinner and I actually enjoyed it. And I turned off the videos on my computer long enough to be still and hear God.

Why does God keep me in teaching when he knows how strongly it effects me and how badly I hate it? The answer came in a verbal brawl:

If I thought you couldn’t or wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t have put you there in the first place,  but because it is necessary for you to move on and grow, I made a decision to keep you there. Yes, it has be difficult. Yes, there has been  a lot of change. Yes, you have been uncomfortable dealing with new things that you don’t like…but because I AM in possession of more of the facts… because I have faith in your ability to not only survive this difficult time, but to thrive – I made the the decision to make no changes. I choose to leave you exactly where you are.

 

An Arm and a Leg

April 7, 2014 2 comments

“If you come from a broken home, then you are more disabled than I am.”

 

I’m not sure if I’m getting his words exactly right because as soon as he said them I started to cry. Not the loud obnoxious wailing that some people are prone to. No, I sat there in a crowded stadium listening to Nick Vujicic speak and I cried. Silently. He went on to say that people would literally give an arm and a leg to come from a happy, well adjusted family with parents who loved them and each other. I think that’s when I started crying because it was true. Nick said a lot of things that I could identify with last night in the crowded War Memorial Stadium… but this one statement hit me where I live. I realized that I would give an arm and a leg for a family that loves me.

For some time now (years) I have felt alone in the world because I am. I have seven sisters, two brothers, two half sisters, two foster brothers, and a foster sister and none of them speak to me. My own mother hated me. People will try to tell me that I’m wrong — that she didn’t hate me, but last year when she was on her death bed she didn’t want me. She died content to let our unresolved issues go to the grave with her. I didn’t even know she was on her death bed. For years I prayed to God to fix this, but he didn’t. Nick prayed for arms and legs for years, but God never gave him arms and legs. He said he still keeps a pair of shoes in the closet because he believes in miracles and he still has hope.

 

Family. That has been the one thing that I have always wanted. I never pictured myself 45 years old, mentally ill, physically disabled, and alone. Nick mentioned wanting to give God his “Plan B.” I can relate. My siblings bullied me. One of them molested me. None of them ever knew or loved me, so they were not my real family. They didn’t love me and I just wanted to run away from them. I figured I’d grow up, get married, and have six kids with names that all had sixteen letters in them or something ridiculous like that. I think one of my daughters was to be named Jessica Amber Casey followed by my last name. I decided young that I wasn’t going to change my name. I’d just find a guy with the same last name and marry him. I even looked in the phone book for guys with my same last name failing to realize that they were all already probably  way older than I was and would be positively decrepit by the time I was marriageable. But when you’re nine years old you don’t see the flaws in your Plan B.

I did not count on Bipolar erupting onto the scene when I went to Berkeley. The broken pieces that my family had left behind? My illness gnawed on them like hungry locusts. I have never been able to explain what life with Bipolar is  like so that people would actually understand. I don’t know that I can. It’s true that I’d have given an arm and a leg to have a family that loved me… a mother who loved me. But I’d give the remaining arm and a leg to get back what the locusts ate. It’s like I fell into a deep dark whole that I never crawled out of. Yes, I am a Christian. I have new life because of Jesus Christ. I’m forgiven. I love Jesus. I’ve been missionary and a Christian school teacher. I don’t regret doing any of those things, but none of the made me whole. As I battled with mental illness the years just seem to pass me by and my hope of having a happy family seemed to die a little more each year.

And then the locusts were followed by a flesh eating monster. In 2010 I had my hyster-ectomy. The fibroid that was the size of a football had to go, and with it all six of my children with their ridiculously long names. I felt like God had taken my biological family from me and now he was taking all hope of ever having my own family. When the doctors took out my uterus, they took a little more of my hope along with it. When it became clear that I had complications after the first (then the third surgery) that affected my ability to walk my hope died. What guy in his right mind would want a mentally ill woman, who struggles with porn, is missing her uterus, and can’t walk straight?

Try selling that on e Harmony.

Hope. Nick talked a lot about hope and how it’s important to have it. Perseverance I’ve got in spades, but I didn’t realize until last night that I was pretty low on hope. While God has been in the business of resurrecting the dead in the past, I doubt he’s going to resurrect my mom so that we can kiss and make up. That hope has sailed. A woman at the Conference on Saturday kept telling me that she would pray for God to reconcile me with my family and every time she said it my heart hurt. My family hurt me and even still, I tried to reconcile with them to no avail. I’ve tried writing letters only to get no response. I’ve left phone messages and texts that don’t get returned and each time that happens I cry. I feel abandoned all over again. If I had a third arm or leg, I would have given them to fix my family relationship years ago… but that ship sailed too. I don’t want to be reconciled with my family because they are not healthy for me and I can do unhealthy all by myself.

Nick didn’t quote this verse, but it came to mind last night:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:29

I gave up a lot to follow Jesus. I had to take stands for truth and paid for it with my family. I am well and truly alone in the world if you look at it from a worldly perspective. No family from the past and not likely to have family in the future... unless you count the family of God. I am welcomed in many homes. To many Christians in the family of Christ I am friend… but  I am also sister, daughter, auntie. And to Christ himself, I am bride.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to hear Nick speak. I just asked God to help me hear what I needed to hear. This is the one thing that really stood out for me. I have given up hope of ever having my own family when God wants me to see that I am already a part of a family that is just waiting to accept me. I keep thinking that if these new church folks really knew me and my past they wouldn’t like me. I don’t want to tell any of them that I have BPD or that I’ve lived a very messy, baggage filled life. But Nick kept pointing out how he didn’t know what his future held for him. When he tried to drown himself he had no idea that Jesus would take hold of his life and give him a hope. He said that if you have no hope of a better life you won’t pursue it. He said that he turned his back on God because God wasn’t answering. I think a part of my heart turned away from God because he wasn’t healing me. It became difficult to love him OR my neighbor with all my heart. I went to hear Nick hoping to hear God.

Last night spoke to me. I cannot say how it changed me because not all change is instantaneous. Nick planted seeds of hope and I need to believe that Jesus intends to do something with them. He knows my desire for a family. He sees my deep need to love and be loved. He doesn’t, however, want me to give an arm and a leg for this loving family. He wants me to give my heart.

 

 

 

Where I’m At…

April 5, 2014 4 comments

Today I went to a Women’s Conference
with my new church.
This was huge because
I avoid such things
like a bad rash
in an awkward place.

This Conference?
I needed this.
For so long I’ve been
adrift.
I’d stepped out of
the boat
I believed I was
following God…
but all I was
seeing was waves.
I took my eyes off
Jesus
and I began
to sink.

There was worship this morning
at the conference.
And in my spirit I danced
because God met me there.
I didn’t have some
big emotional experience…
Bipolar Girl tends to think
emotions are overrated anyways.
I wanted to dance because the songs
spoke to me…
The songs spoke to me where I’m at.
They spoke to me where I’ve been...
And hopefully, this one, will speak
to me about where I’m going….
(At least up until you get to 5 min. 17 seconds.
Then its gets random and I’ve have enough
random in my life. Feel free to stop the video at that point)

In Your Anger…

March 27, 2014 1 comment

I had an AMAZING conversation with a student today.

Last week he really hurt
and offended me
repeatedly.
I didn’t turn the other cheek.
I didn’t pray for him
who was persecuting me.

I was LIVID.
Screw ‘em.
I wrote him off.

Jesus said not to
so I prayed
for an opportunity to
meet with him and clear
the air.
Then I waited.
A whole week passed.
He wasn’t in my class
I never got to see him…
so I had plenty of time to stew.
I was still mad.
I kept rehearsing conversations
I’d like to have with him in my head.
They weren’t pretty.
Then Jesus gave me some information
about him that I hadn’t known.
I wasn’t ready to let go of my anger,
but I was willing to see him in a different light.

THEN
Our paths crossed
unexpectedly today.
The conversation was
deep.
Out of my own
anger issues
I was able to speak
into his in a way he would
listen.
We talked for a long time
and I learned a lot about him
and why he is the way that he is.
we found some common ground.

He asked about handling anger
and I told him what I, as a
Christian, believe.
He wants to talk to me more next week.
The kid I couldn’t stand a week ago
turned out to be my most memorable
moment today.
I’m glad Jesus wouldn’t let me just
write him off.
We both would have missed out.

I can’t wait to talk to him next week.
And I also wanted to remember today
enough to want to preserve the memory
with a post.
The conversation
was awesome..
unexpected…
and amazing.

 

Post #666 + 1

March 9, 2014 4 comments

Jesus is my “plus one.”

I know the whole 666 thing freaks out just about anybody… but when Jesus is with me, who can be against me, right?

Post #666 ended with a reminder that Jesus loves you. Sounds kinda cheesy Christianese-y… but that’s what the bible says and that’s what I believe to be true. He loves me no matter what I do, but I don’t think he condones everything that I do. He’s never going to turn a blind eye to my sin and I don’t want him to. I believe that Jesus will help me see the truth and show me how to walk it out.

The last few weeks I’ve been silent on m y blog. I was in one of those places where I just didn’t have the words to wrap around what I was feeling. It took a time of grappling with God, being honest with what I was really thinking and feeling, and then just waiting on the Lord to see the truth I’d been avoiding seeing.

Truth number one: The church I was attending, while a good church, was not the church in which I was to put down roots. Originally I’d stayed because of my small group. It met on Wednesday nights and I LOVED it! It was the most amazing small group I’ve ever attended in my life. Small groups have not been easy for Bipolar Girl. I’ve usually gone into them coming from a brokenness… and not the good kind of brokenness that God can work with. It was always the “broken in a million jagged little pieces” that unfortunately proved to be very sharp to bystanders. Even in this day and age, people still have a very poor understanding of mental illness. Put a mentally ill person in a room full of people whole mean well and the results are generally not pretty. THIS small group, however, was so awesome I would have sold my left pinky toe to stay. I started to say I’d “sell a kidney,” but let’s get serious. A kidney??! I could hide the whole missing toe thing and still walk upright. My point? This group was safe and I was happy there.

But in the stillness I accepted that it was time to go. The church I attended last week was a homecoming that I hadn’t expected. I hate when I leave church or Christian gatherings feeling more mentally ill than I actually am. So many variables, so many things that could push my buttons generally do and I leave feeling exhausted and upset. Today and last Sunday were different. I couldn’t wait to go there this morning. I was afraid that with the whole Daylight Savings Time thing I’d end up late even though we don’t do DTS here in Hawaii. When I got there I couldn’t stop smiling. You couldn’t scrape the grin off my face. As we sang the worship, I just wanted to jump to my feet and fling my hands up to God in surrender. Since everybody else was sitting I didn’t want to be a distraction, but eventually I’m not going to be able to contain myself because I can feel the joy of the Lord welling up in me like an Artisan well.

I met a whole slew of people this morning which goes WAY against my norm. I rarely meet anybody at church and then I try to slink out of there as fast as possible after the service. Which is how I know God used my old church to change me. I went in there really broken, but I’m leaving a lot less broken than I was. I am ready to participate in the life of this new church. I can’t stay where I am because it’s time to grow beyond what God has done here.  I’m not entering my new church broken. And I’m leaving my old one with friends.

My job still creates more stress than what is healthy for me, but my job does not define me anymore. I am currently handling the stress as best I can. Being a follower of Jesus? I want that to define me. Living in my quiet little cottage goes a long way towards restoring that which gets torn down during my work day. I can appreciate the fellowship that God has just led me to because, not only do I need it,  I want it. I wasn’t healthy enough to engage in the life of the church that I am leaving and I regret that, but it’s different now. This morning I was telling somebody how happy I am to be there and how happy I am about how it’s already impacting my life.

My point? The tagline for this blog is “Comfort for the Neurotic in All of Us.” The truth? I am not the only one with issues with “THE CHURCH” or Christians or with attending church and being around Christians. There have been seasons in my life where I’ve just abandoned church and Christian fellowship altogether because either THE CHURCH or God’s kids had hurt me in some way and I didn’t think I’d ever recover. Even now there’ll be times when I have to just take a vacation from all of it like two weeks ago when I went to the Maui Ocean Center to be still with God. If Jesus himself needed to get away from the believers around him… I think it’s still allowed.

But ultimately, I believe we need to have fellowship. We need to go to church. We need sound teaching, so that we won’t be deceived. I was talking with somebody this week who doesn’t believe in going to church. She’s a believer and I find her enthusiasm for the truth infectious. But this week she was telling me about how she’d read all these other documents that supported her belief that aliens are really fallen angels and I felt sad for her. She’s going off on a ridiculous tangent that predisposes her to being deceived or distracted later on when it really matters. The neurotic in all of us needs time away… alone with God as your “plus one.” But we also need the feeling of homecoming that can only come from finding a church that is the right fit. If you’re liberal, don’t go to a mega-conservative church. You will most likely hate it. If you are pentecostal, don’t try to tough it out at a Southern Baptist church. You will feel stifled and they will think you’re weird. Does that mean I think denominations are bad? By no means. I think denominations, when regarded correctly, are wonderful . That means that there’s a place in the family of God for every flavor of ice cream.

Sitting alone, isolated in my cottage? It was good for a while, but it’s not God’s purpose or plan for me. He wants me to be a functioning part of the family. He’s invited me to the party and is expecting me to go in. How can I resist? Jesus is my plus one.

Post #666

February 9, 2014 2 comments

For the past few days I’ve been trying figure out what to put in my 666th post on my blog.

 

It hit me during a class at church today:

 

JESUS LOVES YOU.

Thank You Jesus for What I Don’t Have

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

My ultrasound was this morning.

Now the wait is on to see whether or not I have gallstones. Personally, I vote for not. As grateful as I am for the weight loss (I’ve lost MORE weight)… I’m ready to be over all of this. So, as I wait to find out the verdict, I’ve decided to give thanks to God for things I DON’T have, so that when it’s all over and done with I can add: Thank you God I don’t have gallstones.

(I used to have ALL of these in my last place, but don’t have them anymore)

To head up my top ten Thank You LORD I Don’t Have This list:

1. cane spiders!!!

 

 

2. centipedes

 

 

3. scorpions

 

 

 
4. termites

 

 

 
5. rats

 

 

 
6. a leaking roof

 

 

 
7. a sugar cane field in my backyard.  (No more night time burning!!!!)

 

 

 

 
8. flying roaches (This was cuter. My skin was starting to crawl).

 

 

 
9. flooding driveway

 

 

 
10. falling fence (over 7 feet tall and right next to my car)

 

THANK YOU JESUS for ALL of the stuff I no longer have!!! And I pray that I can gallstones to the list!

Follow My Leader

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Tomorrow I go for my ultrasound
because ignorance is NOT bliss.
I need to know.
I also know that some people think it’s wrong,
but I’ve decided not to have surgery.
My body.
My choice.
I really don’t have a peace
about surgery.

They leave so many questions
left unsansweredThe God I serve -
the one who is able to heal
hasn’t healed me
despite three trips under the knife.
Three separate surgeries
have left me feeling far older
than my age.
Well I grown leery of the knife
and I grow weary of waiting.
Not because I don’t trust God.
But in dealing with some of his people who
don’t understand that,
for whatever reason,
God has chosen not to heal me.

It doesn’t mean that I lack faith in him.
It means that for now, his grace
must be sufficient.
It means that I have to wait.
Until such a time as he heals me
I will wait on him.

He has called me out onto the waters
to be tested by ill health
I don’t like
but I refuse to sink…

And he won’t let me.

Temptation Down

January 20, 2014 4 comments

I stopped cooking when I got sick over the Christmas break. Most of the stuff I cook made me nauseous or worse. Not the best way to jump start a diet… but it has given me pause. I’m leery about putting any food in my mouth so I was down to a pretty skimpy menu. I found out purely by accident that I can eat Lean Cuisine meals and (for the most part) not get sick.That’s what I’ve been eating for most of my meals for the past month which was easy since I pack my lunch and I eat dinner at home.

Friday, I faced my first real challenge: my boss took a bunch of us out to lunch. I considered packing my lunch and sneaking it it because I was afraid I’d end up sick. I really didn’t want to be faced with temptation so early on because I KNEW I wasn’t going to be able to resist anything suitably meaty. If rack of ANYTHING had been on that menu I was going to be a goner. I wouldn’t be able to resist it and even as I licked my fingers and wiped the grease off my chin, I’d feel the tell tale signs of illness and have to embarrass myself as I waddled off to go throw up in the bathroom. Everybody would think I was bulimic on top of all the other issues I have.

I cringed when I looked at the menu. There were many things on it that I would have happily inhaled given the chance. When they put bread and butter followed by a big plate of waffle fries in front of me I winced. With all that wincing and cringing that I was doing they must have thought I’d developed a nervous tick too.  Oh! The HORROR! Only in a western country would this even be an issue. I’m so ashamed.

I ordered a salad.

I NEVER order salads as the main entree. Salads need to know their place. They are to be the nondescript afterthought. The sidekick. If it were in a movie, the salad would be the extra that got killed off before the end of scene one. We went to a steak house once and I didn’t want to order the salad bar because I didn’t want to waste any space. Lunch with the boss? All I could think of was throwing up during the Christmas break. I couldn’t order what I wanted to order… but some puny little salad was not going to hit any spots. Seems like apologies are in order.

The salad was massive.

Probably to make up for the fact that my boss was paying good money for me to eat grass. No bacon. No eggs. No cheese. I took a few bites and then waited to see if it was going to stay put. It actually tasted really good and it had chicken in it, so I felt better. I looked around the table. I was surprised that I could be sitting at a table full of people eating stuff I would have liked to have eaten and not feel deprived or starved. I could not, however, pass up the fries. They were sitting in front of me calling my name. I only had a few but, like the salad, they were pretty massive. I was afraid that I’d immediately feel the chest pains followed by all the waddling, but I felt nothing. I thanked God that I could actually enjoy a few french fries without getting sick.

I know I cannot go back to my old way of eating, but how far into this new lifestyle do I want to go? How far does God want me to go. I sincerely hope that honoring him with my body isn’t going to mean that I have to give up everything that I love. I hope it’s more of a moderation thing. I do realize that I’m a long way away from being able to handle eating out. I had self-control then, but I cannot guarantee that if I went back to the same place tomorrow I wouldn’t order steak with waffle fries and a dessert.

Other positives: I did finally get an appointment for the ultrasound. And I read something really interesting in this “granola cruncher guide to health” about gallstones. And as for exercise? I walked my three days this week. I walked a mile three nights this week and I liked it. Dropping 19lbs has made it easier, so it wasn’t even a hardship. I wanted to do it. I may not want to do it today… but I’m content to deal with one temptation at a time. I need to celebrate my victories. Even the small ones.

 

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