I feel like I’m starting something wonderful.
It’s exciting. It’s thrilling. And it is full of possibilities and potentials – both good and bad.
This could be it. The start of my new life. Or I could spin my wheels on wet asphalt and end up in a ditch. Maybe not dead, but certainly hurting.
This is why I hide. It’s so much easier. It doesn’t get me anywhere, but it feels safer. Burrowing in some deep, dark hole, away from the judging eyes of others and the penetrating light of my own guilt and shame. I take introversion to the extreme: I hide from myself, as well as everyone else.
So yeah, I’m scared. This has not worked out well for me in the past. I know exactly what I am capable of, and it is not pretty. The farther I crawl out of this pit, the more it will hurt if, and when, I fall back in.
But I’m committed, now. I’m pulling myself up. I’m on the road. I’m mixing metaphors all over the place and I’m out in the light of day and I am definitely, definitely doing this thing. Whether I make it or not, I need to try. I cannot go back to where I was. Not willingly.
And I’m not doing it alone. I have been absolutely floored by the responses to my 1st 2 posts. I’ve never felt so encouraged to keep going – both with BLE and writing about it. It’s like I’m surrounded by people cheering me on – pushing me from behind, reaching back to give me a hand up, or just walking through this by my side. I will not take that for granted. I will not let your generosity go to waste.
“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…”Psalm 16:6
That verse is the 1st thing I thought of when I began reading about bright line eating last fall. And I repeated it to myself as I stuck to those lines for 2 months. Because I really do believe in it. We need boundaries; we like them, as long as they’re reasonable. Staying inside those lines is tough, but it is also relaxing. They provide a different kind of security from what food offers, reducing the infinite possibilities to a more controllable set of options. And when I’m in that zone, everything works out.
I’m in that zone right now. I’ve had 2 good days, and it feels pretty good: the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. No cravings. No hunger. Everything is calm, and I’m headed in the right direction.
But I know it won’t last.
I tend to be rebellious. No matter how good I have it, after a while, I begin to focus on the negatives. The restrictions. I long for freedom, and I forget that food is not a limitless horizon, but a deep, dark pit. I feel like a caged animal, and I start kicking against the fences. Whether they were constructed by me or by someone else. Forgetting that they were put there for my own good. Thinking, egotistically, that I can do without them.
And then I self destruct.
Everything is easy, right now. But I know it can’t last. I’ve been through this before, and I know what’s coming.
I’m surprised I haven’t had a headache yet. I’m sure it will come tomorrow. But that, I will survive. Probably.
In a couple days, I’m going to start getting hungry. But I’ll be fine – for a while.
On Saturday, though, I’ll be going home for the summer. At which point, my brain has been trained to expect my self control to go out the window. I rarely make it through the weekend. My stomach will begin growling in anticipation as soon as I board the bus.
That will be the 1st real test. What happens then will likely determine the outcome of the next 2 months, at least. Likely the entire summer. And possibly the rest of my life.
Looking back at that, I can almost understand why my mother refers to me as overdramatic. I’m not taking it back, but I will try to remember that if – IF – I do mess up, it is not the end of the world. My next steps don’t have to be determined by that failure. I can pick myself back up again. Nothing is stopping me. At the same time, this is actually pretty important. If I can survive the transition home, I’ll be in a much better place to maintain that momentum.
That won’t be the end, though. Say I do make it through the weekend. After a month, or 2, or 4, at some point, I am going to get restless. I am going to look at those lines and want to cross them, just for the sake of it.
Preparing for the Worst
I have to start changing my perspective now, in anticipation of that day to come. I can’t just tolerate the lines. Even the word surrender doesn’t completely do it. When I picture a surrender, I see defeat, and it only stirs up in me a desire to rise up and fight once again. Because I am, at my very core, a rebel. I may surrender, but my spirit will never submit.
Unless – unless I switch sides.
I may be a fighter. I may value freedom above almost everything else. But I can also be loyal. Stubbornly, pig-headedly, all-in loyal.
I have to stop seeing the lines as my enemy. I need to embrace them. To transfer loyalties. As SPT puts it, BLE has to become a part of my identity. Something that I cling to, rather than running from or fighting against. I need to truly, wholeheartedly, with everything in me commit.
I’m not exactly sure how to do that.
My loyalties are strong. But they are also few. I ate a vegetarian diet for 6 years without ever identifying myself as a vegetarian. I always kept one foot out the door, always qualified that while I was not currently choosing to eat meat, I might at some point change my mind. Six years. My reasons were strong enough to alter my behaviour for 6 years; they were not strong enough to make me truly commit. And eventually, almost as if I’d seen the future, I encountered arguments on the other side which, after much consideration, convinced me to go back to eating meat. I transitioned easily, because there was no real commitment, no loyalty, no identification with vegetarianism.
I’ve switched political parties with just as much ease. I say goodbye without tears. I shed friendships without regret. Because they were never a part of my identity.
My identity is wrapped up in a very short list of things.
Jesus. That loyalty is strong. I cannot remember a time when I have ever doubted this relationship. So strong is that connection, I’ve actively sought out situations to test it. Without a moment’s doubt.
There are a few other things. Raw milk. Grass-fed beef. Capitalism. Creationism. Ideals that I have no hesitation tying myself to.
BLE is harder.
I’ve tried to commit. I’ve read the book and drawn up plans and in my head, utterly and completely convinced that this is the answer. But I have not been all in. A part of me has always held back. Keeping an escape route open, in case I need to run. Because I know myself.
I need to figure this out. How do you manufacture loyalty? How do I rally every part of myself so that we’re all on the same side? How do I incorporate BLE into my character, my personality, my identity?
Unanswered questions. This is going to take some time.