8 Mar

My whole life I have had a fascination with pain. I remember being very young and trying to articulate what a recurring stomach pain felt like to my mum, and not having the words. This fascination with the lack of sufficient language to describe pain was a theme in my academic writing; I once published a paper on a particular poet’s struggle to articulate pain, and spent months musing over what makes pain so difficult to describe. Language can barely convey the agony of true pain.

But it’s only recently that I’ve truly begun to understand pain. Because for me, physical pain, hurting oneself is a purely biological reaction to something and that kind of pain, although horrible, I can tolerate (as long as it’s not medically disastrous pain, like breaking your leg).

Recently, my pain has been an entirely emotional one, a feeling I have wrestled with and been unable to pinpoint and has almost torn me apart at times. Last weekend, when someone commented on my weight, it was like the old wounds of body image and disordered eating were torn open afresh. That pain poured out in hot, fresh tears that felt like they would never stop flowing. I couldn’t eat for an entire day. I was reminded of a Sylvia Plath short story I read when I was a teenager, in which ‘chocolate pudding stopped think and bitter’ in a scolded child’s throat.Because my go-to numbing substance of late has been sugar, all I wanted to do was eat. Which is ironic, of course, given that it was my weight being criticised. Yet my throat was constricted by tears and emotion, preventing me from numbing. I had to let the tears flow, the pain be acknowledged, talked through and eventually, put to bed.

Ever since last weekend, it’s like the most enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have taken 100 steps forward in my journey. Because this weight criticism incident, and some others that I won’t go into detail here that happened that weekend, I have been forced to confront some of my issues head on. And the spiritual progress I have made this week feels like more than I have in months. I have looked my problems in the face and started to be honest with myself about what I need to change. But also, for the first time in a long time, I accepted that I’d have to walk through the pain to get to where I want to be.

And through facing pain and discomfort head on, I feel like I’ve had another awakening, almost as seismic as the one I had when I walked into my first AA meeting. I have experienced the most profound serenity this week and connection with my higher power. It’s been quite incredible. I’ve turned into a bit of an overnight hippy with it all, and I love it. I can feel the growth happening. How and what is going on I’m not sure, but to me it feels like joy of the unknown, faith in a bigger plan and embracing the difficult in order to find something better.

The eating-related part of my progress may be a phase, as my relationship with food is always fraught, but I’ve been really focusing on nourishing and not restriction, and I’ve had the most wonderful week with it. I kept a photo food diary and it’s bursting with greens and gorgeous nourishing foods that stop me wanting to binge. I only had one rule: eat chocolate every day. And I did, and only a little, and I feel brilliant for it.

My soul is opening up and telling me something this week, ushering me into a new phase, the nature of which is yet unknown. Intuitively, it feels like although the trigger was related to weight, this isn’t about food, or weight, or alcoholism, or any of my other problem, but about working through the difficult and uncomfortable hands it feels like life sometimes deals me, deals all of us. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about ‘having problems’ when others have much worse- if they’re real to me, they’re real problems and in order to be the best I can, I have to address them.

I read this excerpt from a blog this week and wanted to share it here, as it sums up my experiences at the moment:

14 Responses to “Pain”

  1. clearlee March 8, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    Brilliant. Needed to read this today. Happy for you in the place you are in!! Xo

    • FitFatFood March 9, 2015 at 8:05 am #

      Out of bad things come good 🙂 I hope you are well x x x

  2. Phoenix March 8, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    I am SO proud of you. 🙂 Hugs.

  3. lucy2610 March 8, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    Oh FFF that is fabulous 🙂 A phoenix moment for you xx

  4. ainsobriety March 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm #


  5. primrose March 9, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Loved reading of you epiphany – thank you and so happy for you! Xxx

  6. Debbie March 9, 2015 at 6:08 pm #

    That was beautiful 🙂 I’m so over the moon happy for you!

  7. justjill March 28, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    this: “I’ve stopped feeling guilty about ‘having problems’ when others have much worse- if they’re real to me, they’re real problems and in order to be the best I can, I have to address them.”

    this is the most perfect way to describe this intangible pain contest we all enter into at some point in our lives.


    • FitFatFood March 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

      The “intangible pain contest”- what a brilliant way of putting it Jill

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