Today I am thinking about the heaviness of our feelings, the weight of grief.
Grief, as I have written about in past posts, for me feels like an ever more constant and familiar companion as I continue this aging journey. Losses of friends, family, pets, roles, structure (since retirement), youth, bodies as we used to know them, skin as we used to see it, faces that look different (though familiar) in our mirrors.
Literally, grief carries weight for me. One method that I have used to comfort myself in my life (it can work in the moment, but not so much in the long run) is food. I have struggled with weight for most of my life, and all the shame and other judgments that come along with not being the perfect size that society tells us that we must be. But, even deeper, the shame of using this substance to numb myself and somehow get through whatever feelings may be going on that I don’t want to feel or acknowledge. Sadness, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety – all become triggers. I have been on every diet pretty much known, and could even write a diet book. Knowledge and facts can help, but are not the total answer. The feelings and reasons and emotions underneath and inside of us need to be heard and seen….and validated. Not shamed and stuffed down (literally). And so, I am looking once again at this issue and “coping” method these days. Is it working? Not so much? Has it helped? Yes, I suppose in some ways it has helped me get through what I needed to get through. I don’t need to shame myself even more than has already been done – by myself and others.
We all try to cope as we can. Sometimes in healthy ways, sometimes not. Some use alcohol, work addiction, sexual addictions, other substances or even other people…..and some use food. It all has consequences. It all is used for some purpose, even if not in the healthiest of ways. I don’t believe that we deliberately go out to try and destroy ourselves, but rather to cope with pain in ways that may not always be the best.
Grief is one of the things that we face – and more as we age. And for me, grief carries weight with it. Weight I can see. Weight I can feel. Weight I need to now have a dialogue with. As I do with grief. As I do with everything that comes up from deep inside me. We spend so much of our lives avoiding, denying, running from, pushing down, pushing away, stuffing, surviving, tolerating, settling…..And we don’t need to judge ourselves for that, either. We are doing what we know or have figured out to do that we think might help us cope.
Here is, then, yet another challenge. How can we love ourselves to the best health that we can achieve? How can we forgive ourselves for whatever it is that we need to forgive? How can we learn to see and weigh and measure ourselves by who we are inside, to finally see and hear ourselves deeply and just “be” with who and what we are? And not have to push or stuff or shove it down and away….but to acknowledge and accept and understand….finally….to hear…and listen. To learn to deeply nourish ourselves…. so that we can be the best version of ourselves while we are still alive….and share that with those who can hear and understand and resonate with us and our being.
We will have many losses. And we are still here, still present, still hungry for attention and love (especially from ourselves)…..still hungry for life.