What It Feels Like to Stay
By Z Zoccolante
Geneen Roth, one of my favorite writers on women and our bodies wrote,
“We intuitively understand that we want something we cannot see or touch but we don’t know how to name or access it. And so, we fall back into believing that being thinner will right everything that is wrong. The only problem with that is that it is based on a lie.” – Geneen Roth
I remember this period of my life where it feels as though I am looking at two different lanes on a race track – my actual life and my eating disordered life.
There was this lie that I believed that if I were just a little thinner than everything would magically be happier, sunnier, work itself out with ease. I would be comfortable in my skin. People would like me and respect me. I would feel powerful.
Everything that happened in life on track A felt overwhelming and so I’d jump tracks to the B lane which was my eating disorder. Oh, some girl talked behind my back at school. Jump. Not a problem, just jump to track B where I can focus on my eating disorder and be oh so good.
The problem is the more that we focus on the eating disorder, or whatever our track B is, the more we deny the reality of our current lives. We are not dealing with the fact that we are sad or upset about a conversation we had, or someone pushing our boundaries, or a relationship crashing apart.
We funnel the pain into track B, into something we can control, something that is devoid of connection to the root cause. Something that distracts us from the pain with the promise of making everything ok.
We slip into fantasy.
It’s like reading a book, or watching a movie, daydreaming, or taking a trip. Except track B is destructive.
Whatever we use to escape our life doesn’t solve the pain of our current life situations. But we use track B to control or numb our fears and pains.
But what would it be like to stay?
To stay on track A, to be present in our lives, to feel all the things.
I used to be a pro at jumping. But it doesn’t solve the root pain.
A friend once told me, “In this lifetime, I think you’re supposed to learn how to stay.”
And I’ve been practicing this ever since. Staying.
And sometimes it feels terrible. Sometimes it’s bliss. Sometimes I cry. But mostly, staying feels like surrender, and trusting that God’s got me in the palm of his hand, no matter what the storm around me whispers in my ears.