Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wake-up call // week 6

I'm experiencing the physical toll that loneliness has taken on me this month. I knew I was suffering for lack of community but I didn't even realize it was happening physically. Last year this time I was experiencing the physical ramifications of stress (though I thought it was a bug I picked up in India). It was intense and it lasted for what seemed like a lifetime. Relief finally began to come when my family and I realized that stress is legit and started to define my boundaries and defend them. Similarly wholeness is coming with having my eyes opened to the state I'm in.

My days have been very free but also purposeless. I don't always sleep in but I tend to stay in bed until 10am thinking and journaling or reading. I've read a lot of books. Eventually I eat something for breakfast but its usually closer to lunch time when I get to it, then I make something protein-full just before I leave for work. I take care of four active infants for a couple of hours and then go home. I work out or occasionally I change clothes and venture out to the grocery store. I don't always eat dinner because once I'm settled into my room for the night it feels like too much effort to figure out something to eat, even cereal. Other times I tell myself I need to ration my food well because of my grocery budget so I shouldn't eat much and therefore don't even eat enough. At times food just doesn't even sound good -- which is weird because I love food. Occasionally I just get caught up in what I am reading, watching or writing and by the time I realize I'm hungry its time for bed so I just forget about it and turn in. Do you see what I wasn't seeing? 


I visited home two weeks ago and, while they didn't say anything then, Mom told me later that when she and Dad saw me get out of my car they gasped at how much weight I'd lost. Didn't help my case any that, aside from the breakfast sandwich and juice that Zach's mom had gotten me that morning when I left, I'd only eaten string cheeses and some cashews the whole day I was on the road. When out to eat or at someones house and provided a meal I eat heartily but still stop when I get full because I hate the feeling of being over-full, so I didn't think I was having any problem with eating. Zach's mom remarked that I was really thin when I visited her with Zachary this weekend. She asked if I eat at home. I thought she was teasing. "Haha! Yes! I have the hips to prove it." I teased back. Looking back that was a real wake-up call.

My purposelessness was shaken up by a hard and clarifying conversation Zach and I had during our visit. Realizing that I'd been hanging all of my purpose out here on seeing Zachary and, seeing that I need to awake to purpose right where I am day-to-day as well, things started to come into better focus, bigger perspective. I got home, looked in the mirror and realized my pants were baggy on me. Hit me like a ton of bricks that I could have carelessly stumbled into an eating disorder. I'd been living lost in thought and emotions and questions for weeks, stressing over my budget, and isolating myself when finding community wasn't easy. Food really hasn't sounded good lately because I tried almond milk and it messed up my intestines big time (suffice it to say that the little bit of food I have been eating is leaving my quickly) but this week I've made sure to eat something three times a day. I've made myself get up and go out of my room more. I signed up for a watercolor painting class and found a small group to plug into. I gave myself permission to eat out a few times to get back on track eating-wise and re-motivated to create actual meals for myself. For the first time in my whole adventure out here I actually ordered food and sat and ate it in the restaurant, bravely alone, instead of taking it to go and sitting in my car to eat it. Purpose is returning to my life. Instead of just feeling settled in my home to work, work to grocery store, grocery store to home rhythm I'm starting to actually make a "life" here in New Jersey. With that, balance is returning to my eating, my fear of being pathetically alone in restaurants is leaving and my thought patterns aren't going around and around in circles as much but instead are making a lot more sense.


I've discovered that lonely people need to be invited out on the town and into your home. They need to be welcomed with joy and asked about their troubles. They need to be picked up in your car sometimes and other times asked to meet you. They need phone calls and skype dates, care packages and texts. They need "hey, do you want to sit here?" and "can I get you anything to drink?" and "I bet you're excited to see Zachary this weekend!" (specifically lonely people named Chelsea Mills who come from WI need that last one!). They need hugs and eye contact, the invitation to have a voice and the chance to serve. Just knowing they can contact you if they have a need, that they're welcome to join you at home for your favorite show every week, or that you're excited to have them as part of your group dynamic (in a class or in community), even if only for a few months, makes such a difference. I dont want to be lonely anymore but I do want to always remember how it feels.

4 comments:

  1. As I settle into a new town and new school, all the while hoping to get closer to the no longer long-distance boyfriend, I have found these posts a delight and an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    ~Gabi Vehrs

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    1. Praise the Lord, Gabi! Such an encouragement to know!

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  2. I totally know that loneliness. It's hard settling into a new city all by your lonesome, and I admire your bravery for eating out alone and signing up for a watercolor class. I totally need to do that more!

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    1. Your independence and bravery to move to new places by yourself has inspired me so much, Kels. Miss you!

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