I love to cook. I love the taste, the smell, and the texture of food. I used to hate it because of how I abused it and used it to try and fill an emptiness inside me. Food never worked. That hole remained, but I had this huge body that I tried to use to also fill that emptiness, at the same time as a barrier to keep others out. I couldn’t be filled, but I did succeed at keeping people out.
In truth, I checked out. I checked out of my life and spent most of my time fulfilling the needs, wants, and demands of others, while hiding within myself. I narrowed my world as my body expanded. I snacked on everything I could find and sabotaged any diet I had tried. Not purposefully, but subconsciously. I was too much of a coward to quickly kill myself, so I was doing it slowly.
On the outside, people wouldn’t know about the pain and shame I carried. I really needed help, but having been a survivor I learned to wear my mask so well, no one could see I needed help – I couldn’t even see it. I remember that it was a daily thought to just drive into a tree, off a bridge, into oncoming traffic – just to make it all stop. The daily rejection. I felt like I let my children down, myself down, my church down, God down. I could never do enough, be enough, I was disappointment – so I pushed harder and harder. I worked and worked and worked – became excellent in my profession, a leader in my church, a cheerleader to my children. I searched for that love and acceptance from others (husband, church, children, family, friends) so I could love myself. It doesn’t work that way.
We are fools to believe success, money, titles, or even love and affection and acceptance from other people will make us happy, make us love ourselves – and then expect that love to make us better. NONE of it will satisfy, just like that food. It may appease for a moment, but just as soon as the digestion process starts, the hunger pains return. It’s a destructive cycle.
Oh, how far I’ve come in the last few years. I’m not even the same person – literally half the size, but THAT isn’t my greatest accomplishment. My journey started with a suicidal thought. I was so ashamed. One of my children had run away from home and I had nightmares worrying for her safety, her well-being not knowing if she was dead or alive. I felt like such a failure as a parent. I had done all the right things, followed all the rules, said my prayers, but none of it mattered. No matter what I did – I couldn’t stop the bad things from happening. I thought the abuse I had suffered as a child was horrible, but it didn’t compare to being a parent worrying over a child and feeling you had failed them, and failed God. I was certain these things happened because I wasn’t good enough, didn’t pray good enough, didn’t obey enough, didn’t please my husband enough, so I just wanted to die.
I had a dream I was standing on a stage and it was dark, but I could hear the sound of many voices and knew there was a vast audience. I stood beneath a single spotlight with my head down, because the light hurt my eyes. I heard a voice call my name and tell me to lift my head, but I said I too ashamed. I didn’t want the people to see me. Again the voice called my name and told me to lift my head.
The voice in the darkness that filled the room, spoke softly, but loudly in front of the vast audience and said, “You are precious.” Just those simple words felt so heavy, so alien. I shook my head vigorously and cried, “No, I’m nobody.” Again the voice said, “You are precious. I have put my words into your mouth and have written them into the palm of your hands.” I fell to my knees and cried out, “No, I’m not worthy. I’m nobody. Nobody wants me.” The house lights came up and all I could see was a sea of people and they were cheering for me. I turned and a man stood beside me and I asked him, “I don’t understand.” He answered me. “You are precious. Open your eyes and see. Open your ears and hear.”
I looked down at my hands and they were the hands of a dead and rotting person, but the flesh started to change, became healthy and younger looking. My body slimmed, I become stronger, my hair became longer and I felt beautiful, vibrant, full of life. The room filled with music and golden words, thousands upon thousands of them, swirled in the air.
I’d like to say I woke from that dream with a new lease on life and a new revelation, but I didn’t. It only confused me, but one thing did change. Not very noticeable at first – but looking back I can see now they were the beginning steps. I did a teaching on how people treated you when you presented yourself in a different way – by me wearing a tiara everywhere I went. The next teaching was about women who were unloved by their husbands. Then I did a teaching on loving yourself. These three teachings changed my life. Because that’s exactly what I started doing – I started loving myself, recognizing who I was and what I wanted in life and in a partner, and how I saw myself.
It’s been a VERY, very long road, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m not going to say it’s been filled with one GREAT triumph after the next. On the contrary… it’s been scary as hell and filled with so much uncertainty and whole lot of loneliness. I’m not done with this journey – I’ve really only just begun. But for the first time in my whole life, I’m happy. I love me. I love my life. I love my body. I love my mind. I love my heart. I’m precious. I know that someday someone else is going to love me – but I don’t need them. If I ever let someone in, it will be because I simply want them.
I also have learned to love food. Food is not my enemy – I was my enemy. I’ve learned to moderate, to cook well, to have fun, and enjoy my food. The picture with the blog post shows I’ve turned cooking into an art and eating into a pleasure. I’m healthy. I’m strong. I’m beautiful. Somehow I’ve transformed into that woman I saw in my dreams a few years ago. I’m so proud of her and I love her dearly. She’s precious.
Till next time,