After months away from the blogs, no writing, no checking of others, today I am drawn to write.
And the subject that has bubbled up in my consciousness is shame. The title of this blog post came to me as I was sitting quietly, an echo of another blog or podcast I have read or listenined to, a call to explore this idea.
Before I explore shame, a little context about what I’ve been up to. Spirituality is becoming increasingly important in my life and of course, in my recovery. I’ve always had a spiritual approach to recovery, but of late, I’ve been interrogating that more deeply, reaching my fingers out to the sun-drenched corners of my happy sober existence and drawing in that light.
This deep desire to pursue the spiritual comes when I carve out time for myself. Every day, I’m chipping away at the frenetic rhythms of my existence and finding a little pool of serenity. The form this takes changes. Sometimes, it’s a formal meditation. Sometimes, a little yoga. Sometimes a silent prayer in the shower and sometimes, a spiritual podcast consumed while packed into the commuter carriage of a train.
The form changes, but the feeling remains the same: deep groundedness and on a good day, a lightness that comes with the feeling of relief. Relief that everything will be ok if I just stop gripping so tightly onto the details of my life.
I’m trying to make the central pillar of my existence this: that there is a divine order, somewhere, in some form, and that it will take care of me. It may place challenges in my path that I won’t like, but they will be part of a plan I can’t yet fathom.
I’m becoming more hippy dippy by the day, and I love it. This was not the direction I imagined my life going in, but it’s giving me growth and strength and joy.
I feel at the moment that I truly am reaching out my fingers and the tips of my tippy toes to something greater. A future self that takes me in a surprising direction I’m not yet ready for, a laying of foundations for a path ahead that will be more challenging and enriching than I could ever dream up.
In all of this, I’ve been doing lots of soul searching and in the space I’ve created for reflection, I’ve spotted huge areas of growth and of course, where I have stagnated.
An issue that comes up over and over again is food. Readers of this blog will know I have struggled (in my mind more than in my body, at times) with weight and food. Of late, I’ve eaten normally, happily, healthily and have been happy with my body. But in the past week, I’ve had a huge revelation.
My issue with food is this: I have learnt the fact of being hungry and the act of eating to be an inherently shameful practice. A sign of weakness and moral flabbiness. I have been surrounded with people who have taught me these lessons, rebuked me for an appetite either verbally or silently, with their eyes, and have internalised it.
I have found myself still, now, undertaking certain unhealthy practices around food. This mainly involves secrecy. Before writing this post, I stole away with a mid morning snack, ashamed to be seen consuming it. And yet the hunger I have at this moment is real. Why the surreptitious act?
This is the only area of my life I feel shame in, and it’s the eyes of others that I imagine are casting negative thoughts towards me when I consume. I see, or imagine, depending on who the observer is, a slight flick of the eyes between my food and any tiny imperfection on my body. Correlating the two. Uttering a silent cluck of the tongue at my wanton abandon and disregard for self denial.
Some of this is in my head, yes, but for some of those around me, it is a practice they engage in every time I see them, caught in the prison of their own issues. The daily burden of shame I released when I stopped drinking is piled upon me once more, shattering the calm acceptance and spirituality I feel the vast majority of the time.
This realisation I see the act of eating as inherently shameful is a helpful one, yet I don’t quite know what to do with this piece of information. Whatever work I do within, will it be eroded by those around me?
My life is bathed in light, and I hope to outshine the shame. I’ll reach out those fingers and toes once more and try and apply my gratitude and acceptance and love to this area. I have no idea whether it will work.
Time will tell, but for now, it’s good to be writing and feeling so content in recovery.
Happy Monday x