Monday, October 24, 2011

The me I don't want to be

Where once I felt shattered, I don't anymore. Where once I felt broken, I'm not.
And yet, I don't feel whole either.

How is that possible? How does that even make sense?
How is it that I can feel so much healing has taken place, so much recovery, and still feel the way I do?

For a week or two I sailed on golden seas. Everything was possible, anything could be done. I felt great, and it felt so good to feel good.

And then, I stepped into a deep hole. I climbed out, and kept walking forward, but every few steps, I drop back down a deep, deep hole. And just by admitting it, I feel guilty and fall down again. Because I who have been given so much, so much love, so many friends, so much healing, I should not feel this way. I should not be as low as I have ever been.

But I do. And it hurts.

I know part of what I'm struggling with are the food allergies I have and the way that is affecting my life. Each time I eat, I get sick. Painfully sick. Or, I can't breathe, which as you can imagine, isn't any fun either.

That is only part of the picture though, and I know that I can't blame everything on that. Through a lot of work and effort on my part, and some kind and helpful friends, I have learned to dig deeper and find the root of my lows. There is always an emotion triggering a relapse, and usually if I can identify and name the emotion and the cause of it, I can work through it and pull myself back together.

That was so much easier to write than it is to actually do, especially when there is more than one emotion and more than one source involved.

Still, I have to boil it down. .I have to unravel it. If I don't, it chokes me. And I'm tired of choking.

The past week or so has been exceptionally difficult. Yes, dealing with the food allergies has definitely been part of it. After several severe reactions lately, and getting sick after every time I eat, Ryan made me an appointment to go in and see an allergist.  Turns out I am allergic to more than I thought I was and everything that didn't show up on the skin prick test is still making me painfully sick every time I eat.

I'm angry. I'm tired of being sick. I just want to feel good. What is so wrong with that?

I just want butter and sour cream on my potatoes. I want to eat a bite or two of sinfully delicious ice cream. I want to enjoy a mouthful of chewy sourdough bread. I want to take the buttermilk in the fridge and make some fluffy pancakes or tender, flaky biscuits shaped into hearts for my kids. I want to make some tangy Orange Chicken for Amanda and then sit and enjoy eating it with her. I want to dip strawberries in Val's homemade chocolate ganache and in every bite, find more love.

I want to make gingerbread cookies with my kids, and sour cream cookies for the neighbors. I want to make omelets and crepes and have friends over for breakfast. I want to help Mercy make Monkey Bread like we do every year for Thanksgiving, and sit and share the first loaf with her and Ryan when it comes out of the oven.  I want the Reeses Peanut Butter cookies Mom Mel made growing up. I want to be able to bake a birthday cake for my kids without dying.

I'm angry. And I'm grieving. And I'm empty and hollow.  And I feel like I've lost a part of me.

Food isn't just about eating. Not for me. It's the joy of making something good and sharing it with someone I love. It's the memories for my kids as I make a dinner they love and then draw pictures on their plate with sour cream. It's the time I spend in the kitchen unravelling my thoughts as I do something so comforting and assuring as melting butter, whipping cream, folding egg whites, or measuring flour.

Like it or not, my memories are often tied to food. The rye sandwich my brother and I shared in Disneyland, and the hamburger he bought me after they got back from the theatre. It was my first time on a plane, first trip to the ocean, times I'll always remember, food I'll never forget.  The french fries and frosty shakes I shared with Ryan after the dance. The barbecue sauce on the ribs - our first date. The spaghetti that was for dinner the night we first kissed. The steak at Carver's, the lobster dipped in butter while we were in Boston, trying to make things work in our failing marriage.  The loaded potato skins, baked potato soup, caramel apple crisp and heavenly cheesecake we'd share as we repaired our relationship.

Candy sticks from Harmon's with Dad, and sometimes ice cream cones while we shopped for Sunday morning cereal. The dinner he complained about after I made it especially for him. The chicken fried steak I refused to eat after he bought it for me (because I thought it looked like worms). The pineapple shake I hated that he bought in anger because he couldn't hear me as I requested another flavor.

Basil and swedish meatballs are joined at the hip with memories of Danielle. Without her, I wouldn't know what a tomato concasse is, or how to properly blanch broccoli. Paring knives, pomegranates, and orange rolls immediately make me think of Mom Mel, not to mention Pot Pie, warm white bread, and slumgolium. Brenda is tied to peaches, and Debbie - twice baked potatoes and cabbage salad. Jason is forever tied to Banana Bread, and yellow Zingers to Barb, Jared, and Hossie. I know in a pinch, Eliza will always love a well made Homemade Hostess Cupcake. And because I make them, Mercy is proud.

Cooking is love to me. If I bake, you know I love you. If I make something you like, It's almost a hug.

It's not just what I can give to others, or what I remember others for, it's for me too. It's something with constants in a constantly changing world. It's something I can count on when I can't even count on myself.  It's something I know I do well when I feel like I fail at most everything else.

Why can't I just keep this one good part of me?

But, that's not all. I know it's not. Food and all it represents both in eating and being taken away from me is not all I'm struggling with. It's not the real reason I'm falling into holes with each step I take. It's an extension of the root of what I feel.

It's rejection. Rejection by those I love most. Rejection of what I have to offer. Rejection because I'm not good enough. Rejection because I mess up.

Loss. Of friendship. Of trust. Of hope.

And fear. Fear that I won't be accepted. Fear that I'll be rejected again. Fear I can't even verbalize.

Somehow my heart or brain is saying that since I'm not shattered, I should be whole. Since I'm not drowning, I should be good. I should be able. I should be likeable, at least to myself. But what I see is someone who although not shattered still holds the same hurtful heart within her chest. The one that never sees her mistakes until it's too late because she's messed up again. Hurt someone again. Or ruined something again.

How can I fix it all? How can I get past the me I see? How can I believe that it will ever feel right? That I'll ever get it right? That I'll ever be good enough?

I guess you could say, I'm rejecting me. And everyone I see.
Because I see in them a reflection of myself.

The me I don't want to be.

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