“I want to write but I have nothing to write about,” I said to my mom.
“Brittany, you always have something to write about,” she replies.
Hmm. What to write about. I start a few rough drafts but nothing really feels right. It’s just not working for me. “Why not?” I think to myself. Because it’s not truly what is on my mind. That’s why.
But what’s on my mind is embarrassing. I don’t like talking about it. And I certainly don’t want it circulating around the internet. But I’ll start writing and we’ll see what happens. Sound like a plan?
I haven’t been able to sleep through the night for months now. I wake up and I have a snack. At least twice every night. Sometimes 3 times. 3 midnight snacks a night. It’s ridiculous. A small bowl of cereal here. A cookie there. A granola bar this time. You name it. I hate it. I hate myself for it. So I roll out of bed in the morning with this giant cloud of guilt hovering over me. I don’t eat the whole breakfast I prepared the night before. Because I had at least half of it in the middle of the night. And it goes on and on and on.
I take trazadone, melatonin, and benadryl before I go to sleep. I drink bedtime tea with steamed milk. I diffuse lavender. I listen to a sleep story. I feel like I’m trying it all. But nothing is working. I still wake up multiple times a night and snack away. I just can’t seem to stop. It’s incredibly frustrating.
I saw my dietician last week and she had a few thoughts for me. “Brittany, I think your body is trying to tell you something. It’s not happy.” No, it’s not allowed to not be happy. Because I said so. But I heard her out.
I’m paraphrasing, but this is essentially what she said:
“When I first started working with you you weighed about 15 pounds more than you do right now. I think that’s where your body needs to be. And you’re not letting it. I think it needs more food. And you’re not giving it enough. I think you’re trying to control your body. But it knows what it needs. And it’s doing what it has to to get it. And right now that means waking up in the middle of the night for snacks. I think your body requires more than the basic meal plan. I think you might need standard. Or at least a hybrid of the 2.”
It’s not what I want to hear. I’m crying. But I know she’s right. She has to be. There’s no other explanation.
I don’t WANT to need standard. Basic should be enough. I’m not underweight. I don’t need to be on a weight gain protocol. There’s no reason why I should need the standard meal plan. My body shouldn’t need that much food.
Except it does. And I hate it.
It makes me angry and sad at the same time. Angry at my body and sad that I feel angry. I want to be in recovery. I don’t want to still have these thoughts and crave this control. I’m sick of it. But I STILL WANT CONTROL!! I hate it and I need it at the same time.
Something’s gotta give.
Why do we crave control so much? Why do we have this desire to force things into existence? Why do we chase this illusion? When it often threatens to kill us. Or at least make us miserable. Why do we need it so much?
I have no idea. It’s brought me nothing more than pain and suffering. Yet I cling to it. Hold out hope. For what? I mean what exactly IS control anyway? That seems like a good place to start.
Control. I think it’s trying to make something a certain way. But we don’t have that kind of power. Or do we?
A lot times I feel out of control. I forget the things that I DO have control over. I control what I wear. Whether or not I brush my teeth. Whether I drink my coffee black or with cream and sugar. If I put on matching shoes. Which earrings to wear. I control which way I drive to work. What music I listen to. If I hit the snooze button once or five times. How often I check Facebook. Whether I use a paper plate or a ceramic one. What color I paint my nails. What I watch on TV. What book I read. What my next knitting project will be.
I control a lot.
So why do I only look at what I CAN’T control? Just because some things are OUTSIDE of my control doesn’t make ME out of control. They’re 2 completely different things.
I can’t control the weather. Or what kind of disasters I walk into at work. I can’t control whether my daughter is in a good or bad mood. Or when I loose my voice. I can’t control whether the dog goes to the bathroom inside the house. Or if the cat decides to tip over her water dish for the 100th time. I can’t control the traffic. Or the line at the pharmacy. And I can’t control my body.
I can’t control my body. I can TRY. But it never ends well. When I try to control my body is when I loose control of my sleeping pattern. Or my concentration. Or my energy level. Or my effectiveness in the workplace. I can’t control my body, but I CAN care for it. I can care for my body.
Why am I writing about this? Why am I broadcasting my secretive middle-of-the-night behavior? Because I don’t think I’m the only one. I’m not saying that you indulge in midnight snacks on a daily basis, but I don’t think I’m the only one who craves control. And I certainly don’t believe I’m the only person who has ever tried to control their body. Diets, exercise programs, eating disorders. They’re rampant. So many people try to control their bodies and it does nothing but consume and destroy us. The things we do to obtain control make us miserable and broke. And it never works anyway. Which just makes us more miserable. So why do we do it?
I don’t know the answer to that one. I think we might be wired for it. It’s the only explanation I can come up with. Because it seems to run so deep in my personality. I don’t know who I am without it. But I’m going to have to try and figure it out because I can’t keep this one up. I’m tired of fighting my body. I’m just going to have to give it what it asks for. Even if that means gaining some weight. Which is terrifying. At least for me.
I like to have control. And to give up trying to control my body makes me feel dizzy. Lightheaded. Lost. But then I realize that once again I’ve forgotten. I’ve forgotten what I CAN control. I can’t control my body, but I can control how I treat it. And I’m deciding to treat it well.
It needs a good nights sleep, which apparently means it needs some extra food during the day. Sounds simple enough. I think I’ll give it a try.