Anna

Image

 

She let the wind whip across her face, kissing it with salt. The smell of fish filled her senses, erasing the memory of all previous smells. Letting her hair twist and toy with her cheeks, it felt like she had never been anywhere else. With eyes closed she could imagine herself as ageless, as always having existed on this beach in this moment. Arching her back further, she almost believed she could fly.

Accepting the Negative Feelings

My second session of meditation was good. It incorportated some yoga and I left feeling refreshed, like the last time.

My third meditation session however was more of a doozy. I don’t know what it was. I had had a fairly good week. I was sick at the beginning of it, but by Saturday I was able to celebrate a friend’s birthday and had loads of fun. Yet when I sat down to center myself and began to focus on my breathing, my brain would not shut up. My anxiety levels would not dip. In fact, I felt more and more irritated and upset with myself.

It was the usual montage of self doubt and self hate: why can’t I be thinner? why can’t I have / why don’t I want a boyfriend?? why can’t I have more friends??? why can’t I do something more productive after work, instead I just sit around and watch crap tv?!!!

I eventually got into a routine of breathing. in and out. in and – shut up brain – out. in and out. i have many friends and am just fine. in – stop feeling bad, let go of the emotions – and – let go of the emotions – out. LET GO OF THE EMOTIONS. in and out. in and out.

I did not have fun. my body was relaxed but my emotional landscape was a battle field. I drove home crying.

Why did I still harbor so much anger towards myself? Why was I judging myself so harshly? Why couldn’t I just let things go?

I immediately went for a walk around the block. In my yoga pants and combat boots. Thanks to my years of eating disorder recovery work, I knew that sitting in my home would be the worst possible way of dealing with these foul thoughts and negative feelings (yay for coping skills!) so I didn’t even go in the house, I just started walking.

It was on this walk that it hit me. I was mad at myself for not liking who I am. I was mad at myself for being unable to control the negative thoughts. I was mad for not being everything I wanted to be. And I was mad for not being able to let go of the anger. No wonder my head was cram full of negativity! Not only was a doubting myself, but I was also angry at myself for feeling that doubt! I was just piling on recrimination over more recrimination.

Besides, I told myself as a marched past picturesque homes and beautiful gardens, what’s so wrong with being confused, and insecure? I’m allowed to be confused and insecure.

I stopped. It felt like I had been holding my breath and had just let it out. I’m allowed to be confused and insecure. I’m allowed to be confused and insecure. I’m allowed.

Thinking it even now makes me positively giddy. I have spent so much time recovering from my eating disorder and figuring out that I have an anxiety disorder, which causes mild depression, that I forgot how to let myself feel bad.

During the recovery and self discovery process I have learned to talk back to the negative thoughts in my head. To find the positivity that has been buried in me for so long. To learn to breathe and be more zen and accepting of who I am. It turns out I forgot to learn how to accept that sometimes we will feel negative things. Sometimes we will feel bad. And we don’t always have to fix it right away. Without an eating disorder, every negative feeling will not become life threatening. I AM ALLOWED TO BE CONFUSED AND INSECURE. I am allowed to be scared.

I started to repeat that over and over with each step. I started to expand the concept: I am allowed to not like what I weigh. I am allowed to do something about it and eat less. I am allowed to do nothing about it and eat the same. I am allowed to eat more.  I am allowed to not want a boyfriend even though that means I might end up alone.  I am allowed to go on dating sites and find myself a man. I am allowed to do nothing about this and let things happen as they will. I am allowed to end up alone in life. I am allowed to be scared about that. I am allowed not to be scared. I am allowed to be angry that my grandmother died. I am allowed to fell numb. I am allowed to mourn her loss. I am allowed to bottle up the grief. I am allowed to be obnoxious. I am allowed to be kind. I am allowed to have no friends. I am allowed to have billions of friends. I am allowed. I am allowed. I am allowed.

Permission. To feel everything. Permission to do something about those feelings. Permission to do nothing about those feelings.

It was madly liberating. I’m still trying to figure out exactly why.

Now when my anxiety ramps up, I close my eyes and breathe. In, “I am allowed to feel anxious.” Out, “I am allowed to not feel anxious.” In, “I am allowed to try to deal with my anxiety.” Out “I am allowed to do nothing about it.” In, “I am allowed to hate myself.” Out “I am allowed to love myself.”

Today, do yourself a favor. Give yourself permission.