Cruise Control in a Demolition Derby

I was feeling great. My path felt clear, unobstructed. I was feeling liberated from my destructive behaviors. I was finding it easy and rewarding to follow my meal plan, I was enjoying my daily walks. I had shifted into cruise control.

I have only been back on this path since the start of the new year. This isn’t shifting into cruise control on an open highway – it’s cruise control in a demolition derby. 

A demolition derby isn’t a comfortable, safe, modern vehicle gliding across a freshly paved multi-lane interstate. It’s a junker with a punctured radiator plucked from a wrecking yard, grinding on three flat tires through mud, pounded on all sides from by junkers and flying debris. Just surviving it requires unwavering focus and determination. 

Over the weekend, I took a few hits to the core trauma. Rather than keeping my eye on the situation, rather than acknowledge I was on a dubious foundation and on a course full of potential hazards, I checked out by switching to auto pilot. I didn’t deal with my emotions or the behaviors resulting from them. I disregarded them, dismissed them as “water under the bridge.” Then I shifted, spending (wasting) my clarity walks on sort of irrelevant but feel-good topics. Unaddressed, the painful feelings arising from my negative core beliefs stewed beneath it all. That culminated in a nearly two-pound weight gain this week. 

Sometimes I think that eating is the only unproductive, unhealthy coping mechanism in which I engage but it isn’t. Distraction is definitely one of my coping mechanisms. By immersing myself in distracting thoughts and activities, I can conveniently ignore – and cease working on – my problems. Working on my issues is painful and my distractions, whether that be outfitting my bike with artistic decorations for the Spring or driving across the greater South Bay searching for Cotton Candy Manic Panic to dye my hair, feels like it gets me out of feeling that pain. That is an illusion, though. The pain is still very much there, still very much impacting my emotional, physical and mental health. 

It may sound strange, but I am grateful for my weight gain this week. It has jarred me awake, gotten me back in the present – back in the derby, my hands on the wheel, my eyes peeled for the hits that could be coming my way. 

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