Friday, January 23, 2015

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might...

"Be careful what you wish for..."

I can't remember the context or even the specific moment, but I am certain the first time I ever heard these words they were spoken by my mother. I'm sure they were fairly cryptic, but they have come to mean something like, "You think your boss is bad now? Wait 'til you see her replacement!" Today they mean, "So you wanna be healed of your eating disorder, huh? Get a load o' this!"

Mom was always a terrible eater. From time to time she was known to eat dinner from a clear plastic bag labeled "Cheese Crunchies," or something reasonably healthy like that. (Cheese is dairy, right?) Well, the apple didn't fall far from the tree on that one. Factor in an awkward preteen with "daddy issues," and you have a recipe for bulimia. Without going into detail, I sort of hit my stride in that department sometime around my thirties. I distinctly remember being doubled up in the backseat of our sedan, looking up at the stars, and with tears trickling down into my hair, I prayed God would make the pain stop. At the time, I meant the physical pain -- the aching, nauseating feeling of a stomach lining dissolving as a result of constant abuse. Years later I wanted to be free of the emotional pain as well.

Well, my marriage is stellar, my life is glorious, my daddy issues are all but eradicated, and my soul is wonderfully new. What on earth would a bulimic be doing in a place like this? OK, here's where I'm going to require you to use your imagination a bit. Picture Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof -- if you're under thirty, Google it) boldly belting out "Addic--tion! Ad--dic--tion!" Silly, I know, but it's how I heard it when I began writing. (Humor me; I'm not well.) Yep, the relentless pursuit of addiction, the deep rut of a bad habit. Little by little some of the old "techniques" have disappeared; others have not. And my self-consciousness about fat is as bad as it's ever been.

This is nothing that I'd ever really prayed about. The addicted part of me is still reluctant -- even before God -- to admit I have one. "I can control this." And so I still try. "Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I will fast." Weird food rituals. Increased exercise. Suffice to say, treating an addiction with the means to the addiction never works. You can't cure an alcoholic with a hair of the dog. So one day I did; I prayed about it. Not with great intensity, no crying or pleading. It was just a simple request.

Last Friday I went to the doctor. In preparation for an upcoming test, I have to cease taking my medicine and maintain a low-iodine diet. Iodine, my friends, is in durn near everything. Most of the things I enjoy eating are off limits. My medicine is what helps me stabilize my metabolism. No cute little yellow pills? A metabolism somewhere south of Elvis Presley's -- not the young Elvis, or the later, older, sweaty, obese Elvis; the dead Elvis. So now I have to be as careful about how much I consume as well as what I consume. (I'm picturing myself as Violet Beauregarde by the time this is all said and done.) But I am learning what it means to control my eating rather than allow my eating to control me. I have to make wise choices and plan meals, rather than skip them.

Call it irony: someone so obsessed with food, or weight, having her control over those things almost completely stripped. Call it karma: some cosmic payback for all the times I hissed, "Man! Is she packin' on the l-bs or what?!" I call it God, answering my prayer in His time, removing an issue that at various points in my life had taken precedence over my commitment to Him -- a god, if you will. I call it the Refiner's fire, burning away the dross to bring me yet a little closer to the masterpiece He designed me to be. I call it Love, releasing me from something that has held me in it's grasp since elementary school.

And that's more than I ever wished for.

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