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Past Life

In the search for myself, I often wonder what I was like in a past life. Do you believe that your past life shapes the life you have now? Enter: Soul Searching.

I’d like to think that I was a descendant of Alice Ivers. A poker playin’,  cigar smokin’, witty old woman. Yeah. That sounds like me. Although I know NOTHING about poker. Go Fish is more my style. So back to what I was saying. Past life. Where am I going with it? I’m not so sure. Would you believe me if I told you I don’t know me? Strange as it sounds… I mean you are you so you should know you. Right?

Where to begin? Hell. I have no idea. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been told to leave the past in the past but I’d rather not. I really don’t think that packing up and moving on is what’s better for my future. I have a hard time letting go of anything really. Resentment, anger, trust issues, judgments…you get the point. I wish I could just. Let. It. Go. *Insert Frozen movie soundtrack* C’mon. You knew that was coming.

So did my past life self have hobbies? My hobbies don’t last long enough for me call them hobbies. Was I male or female? Every time I think about it I picture the old west, say late 1820s to 1880s, and I’m female. Perhaps between the ages of 25-40. The hem at the bottom of my long dress stained muddy from years of walking through the dirt road town and not having proper equipment to clean it. No Oxi Clean here ladies! My house was small and consisted of a small cast iron stove, a fireplace, and a wooden table. The home smelled of butter and campfire. I see people come and go from the house but I don’t really see a family. Which is odd, most females in my age range, were married and had children then.

The next question is, how does that relate to who I am today? I’m not entirely sure. That’s where the soul searching comes in. I think your soul gets recycled, for whatever reason, when you pass. I can see God up there now, in Heaven, standing on a cloud, pushing people out of the Pearly Gates. “Next stop, 1876. Tonia? Is there a Tonia here? Ah yes. You. Off you go!” I’m really hoping He has a plan. What if my past life self was mean and crazy? Well, I guess that would explain many things now.

So if past lives really do exist, can you imagine what our future generation is going to think? Two words. One name. Dennis Rodman.

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Living With Anxiety

I get in my car and drive to the store. As I open the car door, my heart starts to pound heavily. I look at the people walking in and out and I start to slowly skip breaths.  I dart my eyes around the parking lot as I head in and see several people sitting in their cars, no doubt waiting for a spouse or friend to do their shopping but staring at me as I walk in. The double doors slide open bringing a smell of deli food and bread.

Is that person staring at me?
Did those girls just laugh?
I swear everyone is judging me.
Did that person just look at me twice?
Oh God. I gotta get out of here.

I divert my attention to my phone. If I can’t see anyone, then I can’t see them staring. I grab my items and quickly leave. I get to the car out of breath and nearly in tears. Panic is setting in. I can’t breathe. My finger tips are tingling. There is a huge weight on my chest that is stopping me from breathing.  I’m going to have a heart attack and die right here. Everyone will see it. Will the paramedics know to call my family? People are staring.  My vision starts to blur. I’m dying.

After 20 minutes, the Clonidine taken earlier, kicks in. I start to relax and forget those around me. I start the car and drive home. I feel angry at myself for losing control emotionally and for not holding it together. Even if I  did make it home alive with my groceries.

Anxiety and panic is real. It’s debilitating. It can be triggered by anything. We can’t ask the world around us to change therefore, it’s up to the person with the disorder to learn how to cope.  I’m still learning and I’ve made huge strides. I wrote this blog in hopes that people know that others do understand what you are going through. I want you to know you’re not alone…even if it seems like the loneliest place in the world.

 

 

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The Devil’s Hold

god and food

The smell of seasoned steak over an open fire, teasing your senses with a longing for more. The taste of a warm cookie fresh from the oven. The melted chocolate kisses your lips and caresses your palate. The feel of a warm croissant on a cold day cupped in your hands ever so gently. Opening it’s buttery layers one piece at a time. Hungry?

This is my food addiction. Sensual, sexual, romantic, food addiction. It’s a relationship that is hard to let go. I mean, let’s face it, you HAVE to have food to live. There is, however, an ugly side. It’s killing me. Slowly, it wraps the rope around my neck and lowers me enough to gasp for air but not enough to completely shut me down. It slowly raises me back up with the alluring taste, texture and touch of its beautiful ugliness.

Food, I refer to as the devil, will over power you and convince you that you’re not full. It plays with your mind until you can no longer hold on. You give into seconds and thirds and before you know it, you’re snacking at midnight and crying at 2 a.m. Because you’re now sad, you open your night stand drawer and reveal your secret. Your eyes widen and your mouth waters. You open it and eat your divine treat until your tears dry up and relief kicks in. Then shame. Shame that you must have a secret to begin with. Shame that you have to hide it because it’s yours and no one else will understand. Shame because it’s now 3 a.m. and embarrassing enough, you want more.

You weigh yourself and become sad AND pissed off that you gained weight. The scales flashes your numbers back at you as if to scream, “You fatass! Look what you did!” You look down wondering how the hell it happened. Promising that you’ll never eat like that again, you head to the kitchen. You open the fridge. The cupboards. The hiding spots. Back to the fridge. The devil is toying with you. Convincing you that there’s food to satisfy your desire. You leave the kitchen and try to get your mind on something else. No matter how much you try, craving, boredom, and a sense of needing to feel satisfied overtakes you. This revolving door leads no where and you know it but it’s not enough to stop you. Addiction. A nasty vicious cycle that hates you but that you love more than anything.

Disease has finally caught up. Diabetes, sleep apnea, joint pain, trouble breathing, high blood pressure, peripheral neuropathy. The devil smiles, “Come here, I will take care of you. Everything will feel better. All you need is this large plate of carbohydrates and fat. Remember, you need me to live.” You feel alone in your darkness but food is there to help ignite a passion in you that no one and nothing else can. The devil steps back with a low laugh and whispers, “Eat.”

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Carnival Ride To Nowhere

“It seems like you may be an emotional eater.” I stare back at my therapist blinking rapidly, thinking about him sitting at a desk in college taking notes on paper instead of an electronic device. He seems totally outdated. He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think he quite gets food addiction.

Way back when my grandparents were growing up, everything came from their OWN fields and hen houses. Now, it seems like everything is genetically modified. Sprayed chemicals on our fruit and veggies to help them grow faster and larger. Hormone injections are put into our cattle so that they grow faster and larger. Anything to feed our hungry and obese. I am the starving fat lady. God knows I need my over-sized burger and gigantic fruit!

So perhaps it isn’t the food itself we are addicted to. Like a heroin addict during withdrawal we are addicted to the chemical. It leaves us wanting more. It tickles our insides when we finally have it. Add a dash of convenience to the mix and you’ve got a hot ass addiction. We try to do good. I know I do. I can’t count how many diets and life change rodeos I’ve been to. Just eat better and exercise. Oh, that’s it? Thank God you’re here to tell me that. What a break through! meme Can you imagine if I tried to exercise all the calories I consumed? There aren’t enough hours in the day OR night to burn those suckers off.

My shame is unlimited. I walk into a restaurant and the first thing I look for is whether or not the booth tables are movable. Before going to an unfamiliar movie theater I call ahead to be sure their seats are large enough. Carnival rides? Forget about it. Being overweight you are constantly reminded just how fat you are. Every where I go I have to think about my weight. Can I walk that far? Can I fit? Will I be looked at and judged?

So do something about it! *nods at the stupidity of that statement* You know those little excited wind-up toys? You wind it up until it takes off real fast and then eventually it burns out and slowly winds down until you crank it up again. Well, that’s my “doing something about it.” I start out excited and ready to go. I take off! Full steam ahead! Then, I start to wind down. I no longer have the energy or care to try and I am back where I started until something else comes along to wind me up again. The roller coaster is unreal. All I know is, I want off this damn ride. Get me back to the concession stand. I’m starving.

cake

 

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Rewards With Consequences

“You’re going to finish all that is on that plate.”

“But I’m full.”

“Don’t move from that table until it’s gone.”

Ever hear this in your home growing up? It was always important to eat everything on your plate even if you’re not the one that dished it all on. So what you’re telling me is, you piled all this food on my plate not knowing how much I would eat and you want ME to finish it? I’m sure my parent’s parents told them the same thing. So, who breaks that cycle? Who will tell their child that it’s perfectly OK to throw food away? That wasting food is OK. That making your own choices about how much you put on your plate is OK. Once we’re adults it’s embedded so deep in our minds that we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. So we dish up our child’s plate and control the portion ourselves, not knowing our child’s OFF switch. So why not scoot Johnny up to the counter and have him dish his own? Within common-sense of course.

What about advertisements? Stop for a moment and think. How often do you see a food commercial after 5 pm? How many food advertisements on billboards did you read on the way home? How many grocery stores announcing great deals on their orange-bulb sign did you read?

Two for five!

One free when you buy two!

Kids eat free on Tuesday!

Buy 1 Get 1

The list goes on. Think about how much our grocery bill would shrink if we only bought what we NEEDED. Because it’s on sale, does it mean you should buy it? Do you write a grocery list to shop and then pick up a “few extras?” Does convenience outweigh obesity?

Rewards with consequences. Food becomes the reward. Obesity becomes the consequence.

When I first learned to tie my shoes, it went like this:

Over, under, around and through,
Meet Mr. Bunny Rabbit, pull and through.

“You did it! You tied your shoes! Every time you tie them on your own you can have a Twinkie!”Ah grandma’s house. I love grandma’s house.

Besides feeling hungry, when do you eat? My nasty cycle is, “You celebrate, you eat. You’re rewarded,  you eat. You’re fussy, you eat.  You go out with friends, you eat. You’re sad, you eat. You’re happy, you eat.” And again, it doesn’t help that there are signs and colors and smells… oh my! So today (just try for today) step back and take a look at your surroundings. Count up the billboards, the signs, the coupons, the sales! Take a list to the store and only get what is on that list. I will walk this with you and will post results! You can leave yours in the comments. Are you going to be the first to break the cycle?

My results done on 4/10/2015 within a 15 miles radius

  • 4 fast food commercials in 2 hours.
  • 6 food billboards
  • 4 family restaurants with large advertisements.
  • 18 fast food restaurants!

Thirty-two!! So at the least, 32 times a day I am subjected to food advertisements and how great food is and how cheap and easy it is!

 

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Room Without A View Continued…

We line up for chow in pairs of two. I hear one girl ask another, “Want to be my two?” I move to the back of the line since that’s where the lonely “one” goes. In two weeks I’ve made just a few friends. I’m in what they call the “Cottonwood” cottage. There is a “prison shower” which is a large room with multiple shower heads. There’s a living area where there’s a TV, tables, chairs, and puzzles. The walls are nothing but square bricks painted white. The office is a bubble of glass, brick, and one door that always remains locked. Then of course there are our cells. Two more weeks. I can do this.

The sight of that state car never looked more sweet. This time nutcase must have stayed in her nut tree because it was a handsome young man that made the drive back home more enjoyable. You’d think that it’d be amazing to be home after being away for that long. But alas, it’s just like old times with mom driving the control boat and me trying to jump off without a life vest. I run. I run. And I run like hell. I run to alcohol and drugs. I run from the law. I run to every boy who is willing to give me the attention I crave. I run in a stolen car. I start fights with anyone and everyone who tried to take away the control I thought I had on my own life. Truth is, I was totally out of control.

Red, white, and blue stands for freedom so why is it that I’m locked up again? The judge gazes at me over her glasses. “Eighteen months in Mountain View School for Girls to run consecutively. Defendant is to maintain counseling and drug and alcohol treatment. And Tonia? I really hope you’re able to turn your life around. If you choose not to, you’ll be 18 soon and I will have no other choice but to send you to adult prison. Have a nice day.” SMACK goes the gavel.

I return to see old faces. Name calling and glares have been replaced with hugs and welcome backs. Perhaps last time the girls were trying to scare me straight on my 45? It was however, their home and I was just a visitor at the time.  What they don’t know is that I was lured back. Lured by a feeling of love, acceptance, and of being wanted. Some of these girls had been beaten, abused, raped, molested, and left to the world to survive on their own. They were only teenagers.

I was allowed to work in the cafeteria. It got me out of my cell and I moved up into one of the top cottages for good behavior. I learned how to cook and serve at least a hundred girls and staff. It was nice to have responsibility. The girls really became some of my closest friends. I had affairs with a few but after realizing relationships with girls cause way too many dramatic issues, I was done. After 18 months, I was released into a group home. Then a foster home. I was bounced around between five foster and group homes for what seemed like eternity.  I was able to complete drug and alcohol counseling and maintain a job that paid off all of my restitution to the state and the victims of my crimes. I was ready for 18 in two months and I sure as hell wasn’t going to see that judge as an adult.

“Tonia, you are now released from state custody. You are no longer a ward of the state under the juvenile statute.” The judge again peers over her glasses. Doesn’t she have some that fit?! “I hope you take this as an opportunity to grow and learn. I wish you the best. I don’t ever want to see you in my courtroom again.” The SMACK of the gavel no longer holds fear. It now holds freedom.

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Guilt Trip

I can’t believe I’m here. I curl up in the chair and look around at the circle of women. One is a small, frail little thing. Another is a bit chubby and adorable. I think if she were smaller, her cuteness wouldn’t be so defined. Most seem to be “normal” size. A woman walks in and throws some books on the coffee table in front of me. I jump at the loud THUMP. I look down and see titles like, “The Compulsive Over-eater” and “Tools of Recovery.” A small panic comes on and my thoughts start to run around in a fury. THIS is Over-eaters Anonymous? What do these women know? I’m the largest one here! No one is going to get me. Maybe if I leave now it wouldn’t seem as rude.

The book-throwing woman sits and says with a flashy smile, “Alright ladies. Looks like we have some new faces. Do you want to introduce yourselves and let us know a small piece of your story?” Oh good God! It’s grade school all over again. The new kid! Step right up, put on your nervousness and tell us who you are! Claps hysterically I. Do. Not. Want to do this! Book-thrower looks at me, eyes burning into my now red face. That’s my cue. Ahem. “Hi. My name is Tonia. My story is simple. I eat too much,” I laugh anxiously.Ba Dum Tss *crickets* I dart my eyes around the room hoping someone will laugh at my hilariousness. Evidently, I should never try and dabble in stand-up comedy. I sit quickly. Too quickly.

The rest of the ladies tell their stories. “I eat and throw up.” “I go to fast food restaurants, order and eat in the parking lot and go through the drive-thru again.” “I binge eat and then take laxatives.” One common theme I hear from every one of them is, “I eat and then feel so guilty!” Wait. Stop right there. Guilty? I have never once ate half a pie and thought, “Wow, that was a bad idea. I wish I could take it back.” My thoughts are more along the lines of, “Should I eat the other half?” The euphoric feeling is unbelievable. I get something from it. I feel fulfilled, satisfied, happy, warm…the list of endless goodie feelers could go on forever! Food gives me more than any man, friend or family member can. I wish that part of my brain didn’t work that way but it does.

We stand up, hold hands in a circle and recite the serenity prayer. I leave feeling sorry that most of these beautiful, oh so beautiful, women feel guilty after their binges. I wish I could be in their shoes. Although as small as they are, I doubt those shoes would fit.  Welp! Guess I’ll head on over to Pizza Hut for a guilt trip.