Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting Ready for The Ultimate Risk

The unconscious mind never fails to amaze me with the breadth of its power. Its moves are far more rapid than a ninja's and its precision infinitely sharper than any laser. And I know, even without awareness, that its powerful stealth drives me. So I’m writing this more as an open letter to that vast, unseen, and ferociously powerful part of my being that drives the bus.

Unconscious, when you read this letter, perhaps we can make a little peace. Like the truce we’ve happily settled into where food is concerned. After years of negotiating, we no longer drug ourselves with it. Because of our collaboration, I’ve drop kicked lots of emotional baggage out of my life and the ensuing 170 pounds that went with it.

But like most complex situations in life, I find myself wielding the weight of a mighty sword with two distinct edges. What do I mean? The good news: I have my life back. The bad news: I have my life back. And now that the realm of food addiction is relatively smooth sailing, I feel the next challenge approaching in the distance…and one I’ve made every effort to avoid these past two decades: men. Actually that’s not entirely true. I didn’t avoid men completely; I did time in a 20-year relationship. What I really avoided was Love. Somewhere in that vast unseen mystery that is 90 percent of my mind, I equate it with pain.

I’ve only been in Love once in my life. There were lots of mini-infatuations along the way…and then, one deep and dizzying, hurling-through-a-distant-galaxy kind of Love where ticking watches and calendar time cease to exist.

Years before he and I met, a tea leaf reader predicted our liaison and its potentcy, reciting his first initial, describing his physical appearance, and announcing the time of year we would meet. She even saw that he’d be wearing a flowing wool muffler around his neck…all this from a clump of wet tea leaves. But sure enough, it came to pass one bitter cold night on a college campus in February.

I don’t have time or energy for the full script, but it was exhilarating, intense, and consumed every part of me. We both dove in full throttle. And I would have done pretty much anything he asked of me, including move to his country, learn his language, and adopt his religion. Only he never asked. Our liaison was also short, less than a year. And he ended it suddenly, with no real explanation. A few months later he transferred to a school on the west coast. To say I was devastated doesn’t come close.

Truly, I put all my eggs in a single basket with him…and he dropped it. And you can imagine what happened with the eggs. A real, ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put me back together again’ scenario. So I died. Went about killing the sexy identity I crafted via Weight Watchers and daily aerobics. I also offed the ivy-league student on the rise, and the traveling adventurer. I ate whatever I wanted with enough frequency that the weight came back and I didn’t have to feel a damn thing. I dropped out of the shiny, prestigious school, and moved back to the town where I grew up and never left.

Since I didn’t like being hurt, the unconscious swung dutifully into action. Did I mention that it operates in the most literal of senses? For example, Attractive=Incoming Men= Pain. The new operating instructions from below deck came loud and clear: Comforting Food=Numbed Feelings+Walls of Fat to Keep Men Away=Safety.

22 years after losing at Love, I rose out of the ashes in a way I never thought I would. There was the repetition of the glorious transformation of another triple-digit weight drop and all the ooohs and aaahs that come with it. No false modesty here, I Love being complimented. But it’s in perspective now and definitely not my daily bread. There were the joys of a shrinking waistline and burgeoning wardrobe…in a rainbow of colors I hadn’t worn since childhood. And eventually, men started looking again. That alone took some adjusting to. I knew I'd better get OK with it or risk another downslide.  And since I really do like dressing in color, I've decided downsliding is not an option this time.

I realize there may come a time when a guy decides to do more than look. Everyone’s asking me if the D-word has started and if not when??? The truth is I don’t know when…I’ve got mixed feelings because I’ve never been adept at it, never did it in high school. It’s always struck me as a forced and painfully hollow ritual. I suppose I’ll know when something feels right. I’m in no hurry. I’ve learned from watching others try and skip the post-break-up grieving process by frantically seeking out a warm body and making huge messes in the interim. Then again, I didn’t work this hard to end up living a monastic existence either. The funny thing is, I’m learning that I don’t need the weight to keep men away. Perhaps the unconscious still senses danger and is emitting a silent but shrill ‘Get the F*ck Away From Me’ vibe I’m not even aware of….sneaky little unconscious….let’s agree to work on that, OK?


  1. Wow, so well written (as usual) that I could really feel your pain and connect with your fear! I don't have an magic wand for going through divorce and getting remarried, I guess I just always believed that I deserved love so I kept trying and then got it right! My advice to you is what I've been telling you for years, you deserve love, passion, and commitment -- it's not easy but you have to risk the pain to find your bliss!

  2. Well, the first step to solving a problem is seeing clearly what it is. You've done that. Then share it if you choose (you did) and be sure to be as warm and kind to yourself as you'd want any friend to be. Then, remember we'll be warm and kind, too, and support you. We all exist to help each other out.

  3. This blog goes straight to the heart....the core of our existance, LOVE. You are always so honest and such a wonderful writer!

  4. Sarah, Judy, Mary - Thanks for your Kind and True words. I'm a Wealthy Woman.

  5. Hi Stacey, thank you for sharing yourself with us so openly and in such a beautiful way. I too am amazed by that powerful subconscious--woven into our being, totally unseen and yet totally manifest--all at the same time. I often wonder, What would it be like if at my VERY CORE: I KNEW the world was happy to see me every day, or I KNEW that any mistake I made was just getting me closer to the life of my dreams. I think your words speak to so many people. How many of us are doing "time" as you so eloquently put it, instead of living and loving fully? I'm grateful for Grace, as I know you are, which allows us to stop fighting. It teases us with glimpses of joy to keep us going until we can fully surrender into the Love that is with us at all times. Much love to you Stacey. We need your wisdom, your wit, and your Love, so please continue to share it with us.

  6. You must crawl before you walk and that is what you have been doing. You have been getting strong and finding your inner self again and now YOU CAN STAND and go forward on your next journey. You are beginning to discover that you want a man, a relationship, but you DO NOT NEED one so you are waiting and listening to your inner SELF because you have discovered HER AGAIN AND TRUST HER!! I love you in COLOR!! Thank you for your WORDS as they are a gift to me.....ATHENA

  7. Now that you've built such a truly strong foundation, is it once again time for some magic? I say, seek out those tea leaves and let the games begin! You ARE Love, so in truth you have nothing to fear. Thanks for sharing your adventure, Stacey, and for exposing the trepidation that comes with taking that next step, leap, and flight... I hope you soar. ;~)

  8. Bonjour Stacey,
    Well done, indeed! I did not miss a word! You are a true teacher, figuring out every step of the way. it seems that you have reached the heart of the artichoke: the art of standing alone in your own cherished home. Truly an inspiring journey, the rest is positively predictable.
    The better it gets, the better it gets!

  9. This is the fascinating part of the journey. Everyone talks about weight loss, but no one discusses the aftermath. We see all the "Biggest Losers" on TV get nice and thin by the end of the series, but you never see what happens after they return home.

    Your posts are a reminder that there's still work to do, and that the "Happily Ever After" comes only when one has conquered ALL their demons!

    Keep going, Stacey, you're an inspiration!


  10. Stacey, the more I read your thoughts and feelings that you write, the more I'm starting to think your a kindred spirit.

    It's makes me more and more grateful for the nasty events that eventually led me to meet you (although so far only online). I'm so grateful that your light shines to so many people.