Blow-ups & Peace-talks

This week in our house, we had our regularly scheduled blow-up about the origins of mankind. These discussions happen on a semi-regular basis but it seems that every 3 months or so the conversation really heats up.

Questions like: Is there is a God? What about the dinosaurs? Is our spirit really a spirit or just our subconscious mind? Or is that the same thing?

My husband and I come at these questions from polar opposite points of view. I was raised in a culture steeped in conservative Evangelical values, where anything but Christian was the devil. He was raised in an environment where values didn’t stem from religious beliefs and there was no expectation of what faith you affiliated with. If anything there was an assumption there would be no affiliation.

Some pointed differences:

My upbringing told me that I had to marry a Christian. His upbringing could care less what I did on Sunday morning.

My upbringing was laden with fear… of breaking the rules and punishment if you did. In his upbringing, fear was not something that was there to control you.

This week as we hashed out our differences… in upbringings, worldview, trigger points, and communication styles (oh my!)…

I realized that my travels through Thailand were not for naught; ‘Same, Same, but Different’ rings true again.

Yes we are different, but we want the same thing.

Our differences lie in a combination of things.

For starters, the basic mathematical principle of the Mode: We are both the average of the people we spent the most amount of time around growing up.

Then there’s our innate personality type: He is a J on the Myers-Briggs scale; where if it’s not black, white, or a neat row of logical zeroes and ones, his head hurts. Me? I live in a world where fifty shades of grey makes perfect sense to me.

And don’t discount the fact that when he finds out our sun is spinning in spirals around some other planet/object/universe, his calls me in from whatever I’m doing with the excitement of a kid at Christmas in his voice. And I’m left standing there trying to find a way for ‘frankly my dear, I could give a damn.’ to sound like I really care.  And when I can’t stop talking about how life changing the idea that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have!, he nods his head and smiles and then goes back to watching David Attenborough.

Yet we are both asking for the truth. For the capital-T Truth; the indisputable laws of life including physical laws of gravity and e=mc2, and the spiritual laws such as life follows death (hello butterfly).

And being on the journey for capital-T Truth, we have to respect what is true for ourselves and each other in the moment… that where each of us is on our journey is real and true for us, and not something the other person can dispute or take away.

For me, if you are asking for the Truth, you’re good to go. You may not have found it yet, but it will find you. And I’m convinced that it knows enough to find you in the way that works for you. Why would it show up in Greek when you only speak Russian?

And so why would I only be able to find truth in nature shows when I’d rather be reading Brene Brown?

So here’s my encouragement to you today:

It’s likely that somewhere in your life you feel a disconnection, and the blatant differences between you and a loved one are staring you in the face. It might keep you up in the middle of night, make you want to punch a wall, or it’s why you cry yourself to sleep.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that the disconnection is just a figment of your imagination, or that all you have to do is change your thoughts. No, the disconnection and the differences are real. You are two different people.

BUT

The disconnection doesn’t have to stay there forever.

A different lens helps to see where the similarities are. Even if it’s a tiny speck, it is the place to plant a seed.

This is what helped me/us this week and maybe it can help you too. It boils down to two things.

1. Owning your story

2. Finding the common goal

Owning your story:

  • Understand where the differences come from. Eg I am personality type A vs I am personality type B
  • Understand how you think and communicate differently. Eg I need to connect dots and see patterns vs I need the final answer shot straight between the eyes
  • Understand your triggers. Eg I shut down to closed-ended questions vs I blow up when I don’t get a straight answer
  • Remember where you came from. Eg I came from a heavily religious background vs I went to Sunday School because that’s just what you did.
  • Check in with where you are now in your story. What Chapter are you living? Eg I am at a place where I’m unraveling and dissecting everything from my past and deciding what I want to keep and what I want to throw away vs I am building off of a clean slate.

Finding the common goal:

  • Where do we both want to end up? Eg Truth, Peace, Love, etc
  • What do we want for each other? Eg space to grow, curiosity, encouragement

Once you’ve given this some thought (and fyi some of those answers may not show up right away), chances are you can find a way TOGETHER, to fill in the gap from A (where you each are at in your own story) to B (your common goal).

And then maybe your quarterly blow-ups can look more like quarterly peace-talks. Except that, that whole death brings life and fire burns off the old thing still stands true; so maybe the blow-up is just inevitably necessary 🙂

What I don’t want you to know about me

You know the show MythBusters? (OK so I’ve never watched it either, but I’ve heard of it too.) Well, I like playing a game that’s my own version of myth-busting. It has to do with shame-busting. Bust the shame, and you bust the myth about who you are.

The game goes like this:

What I don’t want you to know about me……

And then you fill in the blank with some deep, dark, shaming secret.

And by that I mean, the ‘blank’ makes you want to crawl into a hole and die, or melt into the floor like the Wicked Witch of the East, or you think that if and when others find out about this secret, they will laugh at you, spit on you, or go ‘Eek! I’ve bumped into the thing!’.

The point is to uncover the part of yourself that you ‘just know’ will make everyone run the other way…. including yourself.

And then you win by sharing it. Once it’s not a secret anymore, it loses its power. And you find out that you’re still a worthy human being, with or without the secret.

This game is always a challenge for me. The first time I played, my response was, ‘I don’t have anything I don’t want you to know about me. I’m an open book. Ask me anything, I’ll tell you.’

But the point isn’t for other people to get inquisitive. The point is that for you to get curious and search your soul long and hard enough to uncover some gems that sometimes are hidden even from yourself.

The bombshell for me the first time was this: What I don’t want you to know about me is that I will only fill in the blank with things that I have already come to terms with, and so they no longer feel vulnerable, and no longer really count as shame. What I don’t want you to know about me is that I am so well protected against vulnerability that I don’t even know how to show you my shame.

Wow. I had instinctively found a way to beat the game. Except it meant that I lost out. I missed out on the chance for me to practice shame-busting at it’s finest.

This week I got to play this game again, and while some of my answers were admittedly pre-meditated, I asked myself to go a bit further.

And while this answer didn’t come up for me in the moment, my subconscious was obviously working at it all week.

What I don’t want you to know about me is this:

I want to be ‘somebody’.

I have a prideful ego the size of this room. Possibly, my house. Heck, it’s the size of Wales.

I want to be in the spotlight, take center stage. I want the world’s accolades to flood over me like a silky balm.

What I don’t want you to know about me is that I read this and makes me feel physically sick. Like vomit sick. It is an ugly side of me that has always been wrapped in brown paper packaging tied up with string, rubber stamped with words like motivated, high-achiever, and going somewhere.

But if I am honest with myself and you, a lot of that ambition is being driven by pride.

That is a ginormous pill to swallow.

I’ve acknowledged my shame before, but never really knew where it came from.

Perhaps it comes from pride.

When I have pride… and not the kind of pride that google defines as a healthy dose of self-esteem…

…but the kind of pride that is driving, striving, pushing, because it feeds off of achievements in order for it to stay alive. The kind of pride that holds the reigns to my self worth.

…the kind of pride that shouts from the back seat of the car when your dad gets pulled over in podunk upstate NY to tell the police officer that his daughter goes to Cornell, and therefore should be exempt from getting a ticket.

(True Story. In what world does where you go to school put you above the law? In my f-d up prideful world where I was clutching at straws to make me feel special. Roll out the red carpet. Here she comes, the prom-queen has morphed into the pride-queen.)

When I have that kind of pride, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for shame.

  1. It’s clearly ridden with judgement (I am better than you.)
  2. It’s clearly a false sense of security. The reality is never going to meet the expectation, and so the falling short part is an ideal spot for shame to show up.
  3. The recognition of the prideful thoughts, whether conscious or not, feels like crap. Another dose of shame.

I’ve never really thought that I brought my bulimia upon myself. I’ve chalked it up to an accumulation of nature and nurture; a combination of ingredients that when mixed together produced a very sour dough.

Perhaps I did have a part to play though. At least my pride did.

The part of me that was willing to sacrifice love for myself and others in order to get what it wanted. The achievements, the approval, the acceptance.

The pedestal.

Funny how, the feeling that I now have when recognizing my own pride, I call vomit-inducing.

Hmmmm…

My epiphanic ‘what I don’t want you to know about me’ moment this week came as I was flicking through Brene Brown’s instagram account and saw a cartoon drawing that summarizes her career. It starts with this:

‘My TED talk was an accident.’

That stopped me in my tracks.

Brene Brown is someone that I admire and whose work has deeply touched me. And what I don’t want you to know about me, is that when I was preparing for an Ignite talk last year, my pride was trying to studiously craft and engineer a talk that would go just as viral as her TED talks have.

But an accident? No. I wasn’t ready for an accident.

Because an accident happens when you lay down your pride, your ego, your desired outcomes, and you humbly take each step for one reason, and one reason only: because you can’t not do it. Because it’s your calling, your passion. Because it’s in the name of love.

That’s my version of ‘an accident’ anyway.

I can’t ignore that this revelation has come to me right around Easter-time. A holiday while famous for it’s abundance of chocolate, egg hunts, and funny hats, has much deeper roots.

I grew up in a Christian house and culture, and for years have considered myself to be ‘a Christian’ (even though I really don’t like labels), but it’s only been recently that I’ve actually been asking the question, ‘Who is this Jesus dude anyway?’

And then I realized this: Jesus wasn’t famous until he was dead. (And then got back up again.)

His ‘TED talk was an accident’, too.

I highly doubt he sat there one day chillin under the olive groves with his fishing buddies and thought to himself, ‘How can I be the most well-known person in the course of history? Oh, I know. I’ll claim to be God, die on a cross, and then rise from the dead! Yes! That’s gonna do it!’

Yeah, not so much.

In my opinion, he just saw every breath of his as an opportunity for love. He did what he couldn’t not do. He followed the Love. And it led him to his death.

The ultimate act of Love.

And then he got up again; because Love Never Fails.

And so as I think about the Easter story in this way for the first time ever, and think about how my own pride has gotten in the way of my embracing and expressing love, I ask myself, what within me can die this week? What can I lay down? Put to rest? Surrender? Give up?

How can every breath of mine be an act of love?

What trapeze school taught me about Letting Go

Sunday kicked off week 1 of Your True You Journey, an 8 week group program that 6 beautiful women here in Swansea have started together, and we start off with the seemingly hardest, yet sometimes the simplest topic: Letting Go.

Two days later, I was asked by someone else… ‘How do you let go?’

As I’ve been trying to hack into this concept, find the 5 step plan to ‘letting go’, I think back to the time I went to trapeze school for a day in NYC.

We were however many frightening-feet high in the air swinging from a trapeze bar, and guess what? The only way to get down, to get home, was to let go of the bar.

It really was that simple. Open my hands. Detach myself from the bar.

The hard part? I’d be falling an uncomfortable distance to the net below.

I’m sure I held on for a couple swings more than necessary before gathering up the courage to let go and drop.

I survived.

The lesson here: Letting go takes gathering courage to be in an uncomfortable and unknown space, but the act is practically automatic.

When I let go of the bar I didn’t consciously tell my hand to open up, and my fingers to move in an upward direction.

No. In the moment my mind chose to let go, my body followed suite.

Lesson here: Letting go is a moment by moment choice.

Our final acrobatic move on the trapeze that day was one of those hang upside down and swing to the person on the other side moves, where you have to be swinging in perfect harmony in order to lock arms, and then swing together.

That took Trust.

Trust that the experts would launch our swing at the right time. Trust that the other experienced trapeze artist would have a strong enough grip to hold me, and trust that the nets below would catch me.

In that split second moment when I felt the grip of the other, I had to release and relax my legs to let go of the bar, otherwise I’d be pulled back in the other direction.

Lesson Here: I had to trust the bigger picture. And trust that letting go at the right moment would make everything work like clockwork.

I was not masterminding the whole performance, controlling every action of every person. I had to surrender to my part: Stay present, stay connected, feel, listen.

Now, let’s talk about the fall.

Of course, when playing on a trapeze in a set up that is purposefully there for amateurs, and has an insurance policy to cover any and all accidents, there were many, many, many nets below me, ready to gently break my fall.

In life I often think that I am supposed to be my own net.

Trust me. You do not want me to be a net. I will crack and shatter with the impact of any object plummeting toward me with irreversible gravitational force.

Either that or I will swiftly move to the side and that object will fall splat on the ground.

I can not be my own net.

That in and of itself is a letting go moment. I can not be all things to all people, including myself. I can not fix all problems, including my own.

So if I’m not my own net, then who or what is?

Well, in real life trapeze school, the owner put the net there;  the person who created a space for me to play in. They obviously knew I wasn’t going to start swinging and never stop. I’d need to come down at some point.

They foresaw a need and intentionally designed a facility to catch people when they fall.

What is your net for life?

I like to think of mine as the force that created a space for me to play in; the creator of my existence and the world I live in.

I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t something to catch me. I didn’t force, or will, my own existence into being.

Lesson here: I can choose to believe that, if something got me here, something’s going to catch me.

But only if I let go.

Otherwise I will continue to swing back and forth in fear of falling, fear of failing, straining and exerting all of my energy to hold on to something that I think is providing me safety; eg that trapeze bar.

But if I am holding on to that for dear life, I have no life. I am stuck, at some ridiculously high height in the air, not able to do anything but swing back and forth. The view might look good, but it gets old after awhile.

Let go? And and a whole new world opens up.

So you see, there is no 5 step plan; unless Courage, Presence, Choice, Trust and Faith count. Each of those steps are a practice in itself.

Earlier this year I made a picture prayer. A physical representation of the desire I have for my life.

20160318_131848

As you see, it starts with Teach Me…

What I’ve learned is, as you ask to be taught, the lessons present themselves.

Practice courage, presence, choice, trust, and faith in each moment, along with a heavy dose of grace & love, just like that daring young man on the flying trapeze, you’ll fly through the air with the greatest of ease :).

 

 

#bu29days: Day 26: What the recovery road looks like

aka Life as an Artichoke

aka So what did getting better look like? You talk about forgiveness, it being spiritual journey, etc. Details please!

Yeah, sorry, I’ve gotten sidetracked with all the juicy stuff 🙂

So here as some key highlights:

There was bathroom floor moment #1 where I decided I wasn’t going to live like this anymore. The key here to note is that it was a choice.

Over the next 18 months, the conflicted feelings and obsessive thoughts about food was there, but with additional decisions to do more things that I actually liked to do (eg wear blue-suede shoes and study Italian) I was starting to feel better about myself and my life, and sustain the decision to not purge anymore.

Bathroom floor moment #2 came 18 months later and that’s when I realized will-power wasn’t going to cut it and some deeper healing was needed.

This is when I started praying, started reconnecting with God, and participated in a recovery course that helped me realize there was a lot more going on than just bulimia to recover from.

It was shortly after this period of time that I moved to the UK. I was living on my own for the first time, no roommates. This was a real test on the food front because I had no one to hide any weird food behaviours from. I could easily binge, or binge and purge, and no one would be the wiser.

There’s another part to this story that is quite telling. Part of the reason I was so keen to move to the UK was that I had re-met a British guy that I knew. We carried on a long-distance relationship while I was back in NYC in the hopes I’d get a transfer to London. By the time I landed and got off the plane and settled into my one-bedroom flat, he had met somebody else.

This was the real test: How would I handle being jilted at customs? The rosy picture I had painted of my new life in London with a guy by my side, just had some of the pink erased.

Thankfully the healing that I’d received up to that point grounded me. I had a deep inner peace that I had made the right decision to move here, regardless of the outcome of that relationship, and that I would be OK. Sure, it wasn’t the adventure I was expecting, but it was still an adventure.

I spent a lot of time on my own in those first few months. Lots of reading spiritual self-help books. Journalling a lot. I didn’t have TV or internet hooked up in my flat, so it really was just Me time.

There were still nights where I would have mini-binges. I say ‘mini’ because I would stop after maybe half a sleeve of crackers or half a loaf of bread, as opposed to continuing on just because I had ‘broken the seal’. The good news was, I wasn’t trying to make up for the extra calorie consumption anymore.

I was still trying to maintain my running routine, although this was starting to change too. One, because it rained non-stop that year from May through August and Two, because I couldn’t run from my office like I used to in NY. I had to go home first, and by the time I’d gotten off the 20 minute tube ride and 20 minute walk to my flat, a lot of times I wasn’t in the mood anymore, and I was listening to that.

I started to practice what I call ‘eating normally’. Grocery shopping with meals in mind and then cooking them when I got home.A meal like stir-fry, or pasta with chicken. Not just snacking or grazing on food that didn’t need much preparation like fruit and peanut butter, or a sandwich, or a salad. This was a conscious decision to change my eating habits.

This new exploration with food and my body was a reflection of the changes going on inside. My confidence was growing, I was shifting my idea of self-worth, and I was consistently putting myself into new, vulnerable, experiences and I was surviving. I was more connected to me.

Having community was a big part of this too. I’ve had an on-again off-again relationship with the church over the years and during my time in London it was very much ON. I found an awesome newly planted church in my neighborhood where I met a lot of people that I clicked with right away. Plus they served wine after the Sunday evening service and they met in pubs. This was my kind of place.

It was here that my faith was re-kindled and I realized that a lot of the strict rules that had been enforced in the church community that I grew up in (like no dancing or wine at weddings) were outed. I was able to move past a lot of the shame I was carrying about how I was living my life and that maybe God wasn’t such a control freak after all.

Within a year of moving to the UK I very much felt that my bulimia was behind me. I was talking about it in past tense. And I also had a desire to help others who were struggling. I felt that I had something to give in that front, although I didn’t quite know what or how.

I came across a sister church in London that was holding a course called New ID, created by a woman who had overcome anorexia, and I attended in the hopes that I could run the course at my church.

I think of attending that course as the final balm of healing of my bulimia. Even though I thought I was better before attending, there was a new freedom that I felt afterwards.

I know this because shortly afterwards I met my now-husband. And I was able to eat burgers, chips, drink pints of beer, make nachos, Welsh-cakes, and spinach-artichoke dip together, enjoy them together, and I didn’t bat an eye-lid. I wasn’t worried about calories, what would happen to my stomach or my thighs.

I was able to enjoy me, him, and our budding romance without the 3rd wheel of a bulimia-hangover.

It was a beautiful gift.

So at that point, I knew for sure, the bulimia was gone. And I knew it wouldn’t be coming back because, due to how a past relationship of his had ended, there was just the right amount of uncertainty to test me. And food never became the answer.

Journaling, prayer, having open and honest conversations with him, and having a good friend by my side to support me, did.

And of course, just when I thought all my ‘work’ was done – because I was pretty sure I was living a ‘normal’ life now, it became clear there was more.

This is when I realized my relationship with sex wasn’t right. I was struggling with the no-sex-before-marriage doctrine that I had literally signed my life away too in a No-Sex-Before-Marriage seminar when I was 16, and I realized I had no idea what I actually believed about sex and my own sexuality.

I realized that I was once again using sex for self-worth, validation, love and acceptance. In the same way I had been using food.

So I went to see a therapist.

That was over 7 years ago. What I have learned since then allows me to say that 7 years ago, when I could hand-on-heart say I’m not bulimic anymore and I thought I just had this little sex issue to sort out, I had only just uncovered the tip of the iceberg.

It has been in the past 7 years that I have learned and AM LEARNING what it means to not be in a codependent relationship. This was the pattern with men my whole life, except I never realized it until I went on the recovery course.

Thankfully, my husband and I promised each other that we wouldn’t carry this into our relationship (he had been in this pattern too). This meant both of us upholding boundaries with each other; not rescuing each other even when the other person wants us to. I am still guilty of the ‘wanting him too’ more often than not.

So yeah, healing from codependency, learning to set boundaries, learning to say what I mean in the moment, learning to express my wants and desires, learning to be able to think about my sexuality without embarrassment, disgust, or confusion, learning to detach my self-worth from money.. oh gosh, THAT has been a huge one too.

That has been the past 7 year journey that I’ve been on. On the outside this has looked like a lot of arguments, tears, loving embraces, having conversations at work where I speak my possibly unpopular truth, and other times where I’ve been too fearful and have held back. It’s looked like resigning from my 10 year career, following a dream to backpack in foreign and exotic places, starting two businesses, failing miserably at certain aspects, succeeding in others.

In a nutshell it’s been a rollercoaster ride.

An adventure.

I liken this adventure, from that first bathroom floor moment 12 years ago to now, to the idea of peeling back the layers of my favourite food, the artichoke, or like the more commonly known analogy, the onion. Each year, month, day, moment, another layer gets peeled back.

There is no straight path, a series of boxes to tick off, and then you’re done.

It’s a continuous cycle of revisiting the same principles and capital-T truths over and over. Each time you get to go deeper.

And maybe it’s just me, but it really is fun! I have never laughed so hard at myself, and I have never cried so hard.

Life peeling artichokes is good.


Something to think about: How can you celebrate moments that prove your own growth? What do you think about life being about peeling artichokes and onions? Would you rather be a head chef than a sous chef? 🙂 What expectations do you have for your own life and recovery?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

#bu29days: Day 18: The weirdest invitation

aka So was that it? After your blue suede shoes and Italian lessons, you were better? No more bulimia?

I’ll cut to the chase:

Sometimes relapse happens.

And that can be a good thing.

I liken it to playing soccer. Sometimes the way to get the ball down the field is to pass it backwards. Counterintuitive, but it works.

For a good 18 months I was being more of me. The shoes, the new wardrobe, the Italian lessons.

It was during this time I went to Positano for the weekend and bought, and wore, a string bikini for the first time, and had the experience of what it was like to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, without worrying about calories, exercising, or what my body looked like.

Especially after that experience, I thought I was pretty good to go. All I had to do was recreate that freedom back in reality.

Then one night, I had a rude awakening.

It was the last night that I spent in my Upper East Side apartment, where I had spent many nights in the bathroom over the past 3 years. I was moving the next day into Stuy Town with a couple of girls who were friends of a friend. My apartment was all packed up, my mom was sleeping on the sofa, and I found myself binging on whatever scraps of food remained in the apartment and then with my head over the toilet bowl.

I didn’t really have time to process because the next day was a full day of moving (fyi driving a UHaul through the streets of Manhattan in an interesting experience) and the day after that I was on a plane to Asia for a  2 week business trip.

Within those 48 hours though, the disciplinarian in me was berating myself for what I had done; ‘Get a grip and sort yourself out!’

And the gentler side of me was also asking: Are you OK? What’s going on?

I ended up taking the episode as a sign that, hey, this isn’t all behind you, there is more to walk through, so what else needs to happen here?

This is when I started praying again. Surrendering to the idea that perhaps I couldn’t do this on my own. The inner strength, determination, and fortitude could only get me so far.

This is when it really did become a spiritual thing.

I started looking for God again.

This, coincidentally or not, corresponded with a really exciting time in my life because within a couple of months, the opportunity to move to the UK came into the picture. For three months, I didn’t know if it would be a sure shot. Once I got the green light, it was another 3 months before I moved.

During those 6 months I got involved in a Celebrate Recovery program as a volunteer. I thought I could help others who were struggling since I felt I had come a long way. Little did I know that through serving others, I would receive healing.

It was here I was introduced to the term ‘co-dependency’ and ‘sex addict’.

What? I knew I had bulimia, but was I also co-dependent? And was I using sex to facilitate the co-dependency?

This was a humbling moment. To open my eyes to some hidden currents that were woven into the bulimia, things that I wasn’t even conscious of. They were just patterns that I had fallen into unknowingly. I hadn’t read about them in psych class and then used them as a solution like I had done with bulimia. No, these threads ran much deeper.

And this is when I would say the real healing actually began.

The irony, I didn’t even know I needed it. 

And I may not have ever known, had I not had that final random purge.

But, I truly believe that our eyes are only opened to things when our Higher Power knows we can handle it, and are ready to listen.

If I knew at the beginning that I’d be facing bulimia, codependency, screwed up sex issues, people-pleasing, and a more recent realization, letting myself be ‘little A’ abused, I’d probably just go vomit, it would’ve felt so overwhelming.

My point in sharing is this: wherever you’re at in life, if you are being given glimmers of opportunities to grow, heal, change, and become more of your True You. Listen to them, in whatever shape or size they come in.

A random and unforeseen purge, a car accident, a relationship break-up, a career or business that feels like it is falling apart, or reading or hearing something that speaks to your core but feels uncomfortable and weird to accept.

You are experiencing this for a reason. It’s an invitation.

An invitation to go down a path that will lead you to love.

Something to think about: Have you noticed any  really weird invitations in your life recently? Have you been able to accept them? Where do you think they will lead you?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are. A place to stop trying, stop hiding, and be free to be you. Join us this February.

#bu29days: Day 14: Love never fails

aka What were some key turning points for you?

aka Where are your roots planted?

After that initial decision on the bathroom floor to stop purging and change my life, it was slow going.

I used a lot of willpower that first year. That was hard. It takes up a lot of energy. I think that’s why that year is so blurry to me.

I have vague memories of having plans to go out with friends, but as the day went on, and time got closer, I’d cancel my plans. Either because I felt fat, had eaten too much, or just plain and simply, because it was too much to be around others when I was dealing with myself.

One time I ate through a box of really nice muesli/granola type cereal from Whole Foods when I was at my parent’s house one weekend. I felt so guilty, I bought them a new box the next day. When I gave it to them, I told them why I had bought it and they graciously said I didn’t have to do that. But for me I did. I had to make up for what I had done.

Self-inflicted Retribution. There was a lot of that going on.

I remember going shopping for jeans. Now, this is a nightmare for any woman, let alone someone who is constantly battling with their body.

Remember when Joe’s Jeans and 7 for all Mankind were all the rage?

I really wanted a pair of 7’s. I went to Saks, Bloomie’s, and all the cool boutiques in the West Village, trying on every pair of 7’s there were. None of them fit right. Either they fit over my thighs and my bum but were too big at the waist, or I couldn’t get them over my thighs.

I finally ended up with a pair of Joe’s. They weren’t quite right… wrong color, not flared enough at the bottom… but they had to do since they fit my thighs, ass, AND waist.

Jeans shopping can be traumatizing. Shopping for those Joe’s did nothing for my self-esteem. Especially since, with the decision to stop purging, came inevitable weight gain since I was still binging on a regular basis.

I finally realized that this ‘food thing’ wasn’t just going to go away and I started to reach out for some additional help.

I talked to my doctor. He tried to hypnotise the fear of fat out of me. It was an interesting experience although didn’t quite work.

I went to see a shrink. She dug around in my past looking for some trauma to explain why I was bulimic, couldn’t really find anything (jeans shopping apparently doesn’t count), and her prescription was ‘You’ll grow out of it.’ While it was predictive, not so helpful at the time.

I turned to Barnes & Noble. I picked up the book, ‘Overcoming Binge Eating’ by Dr. Christopher Fairburn. I don’t remember the details of what it said, but I remember diving into it with gusto.

The most profound moment was when I was sitting at a sushi bar with a good friend of mine from college. I don’t know how the conversation got there, but I started telling her about my food issues.

She responded with, ‘Me Too.’

This blew my mind. I had known her since before my first purge! How did we just start talking about his now!? 5 years later!

She had been there all along yet we both struggled in silence. Which makes the struggle even worse.

That night, we didn’t have solutions for each other. We didn’t become accountability partners or anything like that. But in sharing a common pain, we bonded. We knew we’d be there for each other.

I suppose knowing that a friend of mine was in similar shoes, gave me the courage to start to open up with strangers. I went to a Body Image class that a church nearby was hosting. This was in hindsight, one of the best moves I made.

The instructor shared a story of how she had struggled with accepting her body the way it was, and had been talking with a counselor who had drawn the picture of a tree. She recalled the parable about how your fruit will reflect where your roots are planted. And she asked the question:

Where are your roots planted?

This question shook me.

One, I had no idea.

Two, I assumed no where good since my fruit consisted of dependency on exercise to feel good about myself, and indulging in food when I didn’t. And an internal battle to not make myself throw up afterwards. Maybe my roots are planted in a psychological war zone? The Gaza Strip of my mind; who’s going to own it today?

Three, it brought up a lot of guilt about my spiritual life. ‘I should be going to church. I haven’t read my Bible in years. Crap! This is God condemning me!’

At the end of the day though, I realized, that wherever I was planting my roots, wasn’t really serving me. It was too temporary, too focused on receiving the approval of others in the now.

I knew I had to stop worrying about what other people thought, and do what felt right for me.

If at the time I had asked my 35 year old self, where are my roots planted and where should I plant them instead?, this is the answer I would’ve got:

“Your roots aren’t planted anywhere. You look like a solid tree, but you can be easily moved by the wind. And, you use people and the environments around you to dictate what kind of tree you will be. You’re a Chameleon Tree. Whatever little buds of a root you start to sprout, is planted in the opinion of people around you.

So start planting real roots, and go plant them in Love. Planting them in Love and planting them in God may be the same thing, but not if you plant them with the God of your childhood that comes with harsh judgement and condemnation.

Stop judging and condemning yourself. Open yourself up to having a whole new understanding of Love, and God, and plant your roots in that.”


 

As I am writing this, it is a Sunday and it is February 14th, Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate Love (and chocolate.)

I am reminded of that infamous verse about Love that is often recited at weddings. Love is patient, love is kind, etc.

I am going to take a crack at adding to that list, based on the things I have learned about love over the past 10 years. This is what I would tell my 25 year old self about Love. 

Love is surrendering to the idea that you don’t have to have it all together.

Love is giving yourself what you want.

Love is receiving what you want.

Love is accepting your birthright to receive love.

Love is engaging with beauty.

Love is finding courage to face fears.

Love is being vulnerable.

Love is speaking your truth.

Love invites in. It creates connection.

Love does not judge.

Love does not condemn.

Love is gentle.

Love accepts what is in the moment.

Love forgives, even yourself.

Love says, come as you are.

Love says, you are worthy.

Love says it’s OK to let go of what you’re holding on to; I will catch you.

Love says you don’t have to have it all figured out today.

Love speaks to you like you would a friend.

Love doesn’t give up.

Love Never Fails.

3 love never fails 900x900

Something to think about: Where are your roots planted? How can you start planting them in Love? What is love to you?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are, and see if this could be your next life raft. Join us this February.

The Treasure I Found: Lizards, Avocados & Woo-woo

This week I’ve been on a Treasure Hunt and it’s taken me places I had no idea were there to go.

On Monday I introduced a process aka the True You Treasure Hunt, that someone can use to access their truth, what is at your core. To move past what your mind tells you so you can get to your heart.

And while I know all this stuff in my head, living it is a totally different ball game.

I use this process on a regular basis and so, rookie error, thought I had it in the bag. I’m constantly aware of how my expectations, judgements and fears are getting in my way. Stepping away from old patterns, expanding my reality.

Let me just say, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your reality can’t get any bigger.

I fall in there all the time, and just got scooped out.

I didn’t expect this to be waiting for me:

  1. Accepting that I am a Lizard. In more ways than one, but for now just know that I am a cold person.  When the temperature dips below 65F outside, it’s uncomfortable for me. I’ve been telling myself that the weather doesn’t matter. I ‘should’ rise above it. Sorry. That’s not me. I’m sitting in my house right now with a hot cup of ginger water and a blanket over my shoulders on June 5th. It’s 61F outside. Being cold affects me. It’s up to me what I do about it.
  2. Jumping for joy when I found a local fruit and veg wholesaler where I can get 10 avocadoes for £1. Why did I care? Because it reminded me of California. Of farm stands in the US where you drive along and can get steals on locally grown produce as you support local, natural, organic, simple. Having super affordable and easily accessible fresh, wholesome, fruit and veg that is not individually wrapped in plastic is important to me.
  3. The realization that I love creating in the kitchen more than I love coaching. F*ck! I told the world that I am a coach! I’ve been trying to build a coaching business for 18 month. But really I want to cook. What does that mean??? That was my initial reaction. And then I realized that I can do both. Because I actually do love coaching as much as I love cooking. I love finding the individual threads in someone’s life that when strung together, burst open their reality of life, as much as finding individual ingredients that when mixed together, burst with tantalizing flavours. Kitchen work comes out on top right now because at the moment, it is more sensual.
  4. I love saying f*ck and sh*t sometimes. This does not make me love God less. This doesn’t make me vulgar. I am not a bad person. Sometimes there are no other words to express what I’m feeling. And until I find those words, some choice four letter words will do.
  5. The True You Project is for me. I need this journey as much as anyone. I am not ‘there yet’. I will never be ‘there’. There keeps changing. We are all on the same journey. Whether you call it your true you, your wild soul, the hero’s journey, or use any other words, we are all on a path to connection with our deepest self and with God. One that asks us to face our dragons, shadows, or as I so un-eloquently call it: expectations, fears and shame. I am not the only one that wants this for you.
  6. I am really good at thinking. I should’ve known this because for 10 years, my performance appraisals gave me an ‘Outstanding’ for thinking. Sometimes I think I think too much. That I’m OTT. That my thoughts overwhelm people. I am an INTP. So yes, I probably do overwhlem the ESFJ’s of the world. But I also make it really easy for other thinkers to simplify the barrage of thoughts flying through their head. And then it’s easier for them to access their heart, their wild soul, their hero, their God, their truth.
  7. I’m actually open to the world of ‘woo-woo’. I’ve been avoiding getting too close to things like Reiki, shamanism, energy work, moon cycles etc because of fear. The fear that these things sit outside the box of Christianity, and therefore are evil. And when the church has offered spiritual healing, cutting soul-ties, and miraculous physical healing, I’ve equally kept it at my arms length because it all seemed a farce. This has left me standing still, ignoring both, and wanting more. But perhaps they are the same. And when I listen to other women, on both sides of the fence, talk about powerful experiences they’ve had in connecting with the Divine aka God, I want that too.

This is who I am.

A anti-establishment, sun-worshipping lizard.

A sensual thinker.

A rebellious God-seeker.

A woman on a journey.

I said before I’m constantly aware of my own expectations. Well, one slipped past me this week. I expected that by doing my own True You Treasure Hunt, I’d get clarity about some surface stuff. A decision to make, what to do next, etc.

Not an opening of my soul and a deeper understanding of who I am. The BEING not the DOING.

Which is ironic, because that is the whole point. I guess I just proved that it worked 🙂

So, who are you? Who is your being?

What is true for you?

If you don’t know, and you’re a thinker like me…. Caught up in the chaotic thoughts running around in your mind. Trying to catch the shuttle as it darts back and forth on the loom…

Try going on your own Treasure Hunt.

You won’t let you down.