So, the flu gets everyone down, and I have had it for nine days now—fever, chills, body aches, extreme sore throat, congestion, the works. But, in addition to the normal difficulties that illness brings (and these were enormous considering the fact that my husband and 11-month-old daughter also had the flu, which left my 3-year-old to her own precious devices), I also deal with the emotional side effects of illness. Being sick, especially an illness that propels me to eat lots of Ramen noodles and soda, has always been and is a huge trigger to body bash for me. To get better, I drink lots of juice, water, Ginger Ale, and have soup, and because I don’t have any energy to make food, I eat processed soups like Ramen noodles, and Campbell’s. While these are not inherently “bad” foods, they are processed and as I discussed in an earlier post, my body does not react well to too much processed food.
So, here I am lying in bed, alternatively sweating and shivering, my stomach bloated from processed foods, every breath rattling through my sandpaper throat because my nose is congested, and all I can think about is how I feel so fat and disgusting, and all I want to do is get better so I can exercise again. Even though all I want to wear is pajamas—elastic pants and humungous sweatshirts—so I can rest easily, there is another reason. I wear these clothes because they have no shape and will not cling to what I perceive are my newly enlarged fat rolls. I feel like even when I start to feel better, I cannot wear my regular clothes because they don’t fit me well anymore, as if in a short period of 9 days, I have outgrown my clothes.
My physical body is weak and vulnerable and I allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable as well and sink into the darkest abysses of the mind—I guess I wouldn’t stand well against torture. I was unable to climb out of the abyss while sick. Now that I am better—the flu banished from my body—I have been able to exercise again, see things in perspective, and retrace my footsteps and return to the Intuitive Eating path.
However, my mouth is thick with the bitter taste of my own weakness, clinging to my tongue so that no matter how many times I swallow, its rancor remains. It is so intense that when I breathe deeply, its stench rises through nostrils and causes me to choke. I feel defeated, a failure. So far, the only remedy for weakness (after feeling the feeling of course) that seems to make a difference is to plow forward with an almost vehement vigor in the direction of strength—so that’s what I’m doing right now. However, the memory of weakness remains and I’m uncertain whether that memory gives me more determination to go forward or encourages me to give in to failure. And yet through it all, in the back of my mind, is a little voice telling me that in the end, I actually hope to embrace weakness as human and know that someday they can become strengths through God.