Driving home from an Easter morning with friends, I found myself craving potato chips for dinner. Ruffles potato chips. Full-fat potato chips. Potato chips I could dip into some onion soup dip mix. I imagined myself sitting on my lovely red couch with a bag of chips and a container of dip while watching some tv. There’s not much on tv these days, so have no idea what I’d watch, but it really wouldn’t matter because I’d have my potato chips.
The morning had started off well enough. I’d dressed in my pretty and springy size 20 Ralph Lauren dress. I’d put on just a smidge of make-up. I looked pretty. Then I arrived at my destination and started to feel overwhelmed with sadness. I couldn’t stop crying. I can’t explain it. Maybe I can actually.
It’s my first Easter without my dad. My mom went to Arizona to see her sister. I have dear friends in my life who love me, but somehow, without my dad, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere. I’m not sure that’s rational or makes sense, but that’s how I feel. Without my dad, I don’t have my anchor.
I don’t mean to imply my relationship with dad was perfect—it wasn’t, but we bonded and healed and loved during those last months of his life. I couldn’t have written a better fairy tale ending. Nor do I wish to imply I want him back. His time had come. The night before he died he said “I wish I’d have a heart attack and it would just be over.”
I think I’m digressing here, but I wanted to explain that part of my story. It might sound like an extreme metaphor, but I feel like a ship floating at sea, searching for a safe harbor to drop anchor.
Potato chips=a safe harbor, but not one I want to drop anchor in anymore.
It’s not potato chips I really want. It’s love. It’s the love that comes from inside. The love of self. The love that doesn’t depend on others. That’s the real treasure—and it doesn’t come from a bag of Ruffles. But dang it, driving home that’s what my monkey mind wanted to go buy! I even tried to manipulate myself into saying I could just go buy a small bag at the store. It would have two servings likely, but I’d still consume the whole bag! That’s at least 400-500 calories! And empty ones at that!
The conversation in my head lasted forever. Finally, I told myself “go home. Take a nap. If you still feel like potato chips, then you can go get some.” That trick usually works because once I’m home I rarely want to go out again. I also worked at turning the dialogue around. I talked to myself about all the effort I place into my Bikram practice, to my fitness efforts. If I eat the potato chips it’ll affect my efforts in the “hot” room. One bad eating moment also leads to another bad eating moment.
This is the dialogue. This is the self-talk it took to get me to the point where I’d decide I could love myself with healthy food. After I rested for a bit, I made myself a bowl of blackberries, sliced strawberries, and bananas. Then I drizzled some chocolate balsamic vinegar over the top. I also sliced some raw cheddar cheese and made myself a cup of tea.
I wish I could tell you I felt happy now. I don’t, but I do feel so immensely grateful that I avoided the potato chips. I’d like to think I’d feel happy if simple things didn’t feel like such battles. But I won this battle, which means I’m geared up to win the next one.
That matters. I have goals. Dreams. Aspirations. Big aspirations. I have utmost faith that I will achieve them, one battle at a time. And along the way I’ll keep learning that loving myself in the small ways, means I’ll love myself in all the ways that matter. Ways that have nothing to do with potato chips.
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