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Day 24

My cat chose 5:30 this morning to yowl at the top of her lungs under our open bedroom window to let us know that she would like to come in the house and have breakfast. She's an indoor cat. She escaped. Again. Calloused cat cares not.

I couldn't sleep so I pulled out my Kindle. I've been reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. I read the section on numbing - one of the three strategies people use to avoid vulnerability/shame. It hit me like a sucker-punch to the forehead.

"American's today are more debt-ridden, obese, medicated, and addicted than we have ever been." 

Yep.

"...the most powerful need for numbing seems to come from a combination of ... - shame, anxiety, and disconnection."

reading on

"Shame enters for those of us who experience anxiety because not only are we feeling fearful, out of control, and incapable of managing our increasingly demanding lives, but eventually our anxiety is compounded and made unbearable by our belief that if we were just smarter, stronger, or better, we'd be able to handle everything. Numbing here becomes a way to take the edge off of both instability and inadequacy."

...sure, you can work full time, just convince teenagers that have no clue how much they'll like it that they should join choir...also figure out how to fund your program. also, there are about 1000 ways it won't work in their schedule...also here's a whole class of special ed kids to help with your numbers. oh, and we'll never come to your concerts unless you win something, and we'll accuse you of showboating if you try to convince us you're more qualified to do your job than someone who just sings for fun. can you teach PE/art/science/math/English/anythingmoreculturallyvalued???

reading on

"For me, it wasn't just the dance halls, cold beer, and Marlboro Lights of my youth that got out of hand -- it was banana bread, chips and queso, e-mail, work, staying busy, incessant worrying, planning, perfectionism, and anything else that could dull those agonizing and anxiety-fueled feelings of vulnerability."

Brené, if you ever happen across my blog, I feel you girl. I FEEL YOU.

She goes on to say:

"When I interviewed the research participants, whom I'd describe as living a Wholehearted life, about numbing, they consistently talked about three things:
  1. Learning how to actually feel their feelings.
  2. Staying mindful about numbing behaviors (they struggled too).
  3. Learning how to lean into discomfort of hard emotions."

Cue Whole30.

OMG did I need to do this. And the timing. Wow.

 She continues to talk about how people who manage their anxiety well will do things to change the source of the anxiety by setting boundaries according to their values. I feel like I'm making huge strides to do this and I'm proud of myself!

And didn't I totally just write about actually feeling my feelings? I'm already pretty good about experiencing emotions that cause me to cry in front of practically every person I've ever met. But joy eludes me quite a bit of the time. Unless I'm eating. Especially when I'm sharing what I'm eating. Being forced to experience discomfort and not being able to control my anxiety through comfort food is a huge step for me.

She mentions planning as a coping strategy as well and boy is that true for me. We're moving Saturday and if you came to my house you would see towers of boxes labeled and ready to be moved. What's making me crazy is the stuff that's not in boxes. There are loose items that I did not plan well enough for. I can't eat my feelings about this!

I can't wait to experience what it's like to be the sort of person that has managed to balance these things in a much healthier way. My cat robbed me of tiger blood today with the whole not getting enough sleep thing...but I feel a lot more confidence in the why of what I'm doing than I did before.

Thanks Brené. You're a queen.




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