Tripping Billies

Reflections on Shuffle Play (an exercise in which I write a reflection based on that morning’s run)

I wish I kept count of all the times that people talked about calories, points, diet, or weight over the course of our Thanksgiving festivities.

It was the first Thanksgiving of my life I was feeling comfortable in my skin and content. I had neither starved beforehand to prepare for the onslaught of calories nor was I intending to exercise more than usual the next day. I wasn’t afraid of the challenge of all the enticing food, just happy to be sharing a good meal with people I loved. For the first time, I could really focus on all I am thankful for: my children, my husband, the beautiful weather, living near enough to family to see them on the holidays, good health, the list goes on and on.

And because my vision was clearer this year and I wasn’t so distracted by my war with my weight and the scale, I was able to observe what a toll the weight-loss war takes on people. I observed how easily people talk about diet and weight, how often people called themselves “bad” for this indulgence or that. I observed it with compassion, because this is a journey all of us are on and it wasn’t long ago at all I was joining in on the poisonous self-talk. Furthermore, the ghosts of my life-long battle with food still loom large – even though I was feeling comfortable with the food in the room and my ability to trust how much my body wanted to eat, I still scanned each picture that was taken yesterday to see if I looked, “fat”. I may not be able to help doing that as long as I live. All of these habits are hard to break.

I think dieting is fine if it really makes a person feel better, however, I found after enough time and energy devoted to it that the benefits did not outnumber the costs. There were still small joys in it: being told I looked good, fitting into smaller sizes, etc., but I found it made my world feel very small. I began to resent the mental energy it took, the time it took. It made me feel boring.

When I was stuck in diet mode, there was always this sense of “just you wait and see.” If I felt bad about myself or incomplete, I thought, “just wait until they all see me after this next diet. I’ll look so good and everything will be so great.” When I stripped that away, I had to be okay with offering myself just as I am to the world. I had to be ready to be happy now, to be content now, to exist in present tense rather than future tense.

I found I like present tense.

However, there are still so many triggers that exist and I have to be careful when they appear. When I hear someone talk about so and so who just lost forty pounds, when I overhear someone mention a new diet they are starting, when I see a “before and after” picture, when I am having a day when I am not feeling so beautiful – any of these things can trigger the feelings that it’s time to change myself. I’m obviously not good enough as I am, time to shift, morph, become, alter.

But instead of giving any energy to those triggering feelings, these days I remind myself to counter all those feelings with the thought of, “maybe you are just fine the way you are.” It’s a small but oh-so significant shift in thought. When I focus all my attention on who I am rather than who I might become if I just change this or that, then I realize that the time is NOW to do all the things I love and care about. Do the writing NOW. Share the writing NOW. Take your kids out for a fun day NOW. Go out with a friend for coffee NOW. Live your life NOW.

So today, I had pecan pie for breakfast because it is delicious. Then, I ran for 30 minutes because it makes me feel amazing and accomplished as I start my day. These days I only use my fitbit as a timer for my runs, otherwise it sits on the little shelf of my treadmill. This Black Friday there is no trace of regret for the cheesecake I ate yesterday, no plan for starting over with a new healthy eating plan on Monday, there’s just me, happy. Now that is something to be thankful for.


Tripping Billies

By The Dave Matthews Band

we were above
you standing underneath us
we were not yet lovers
dragons were smoked
bumblebees were stinging us
I was soon to be crazy

eat, drink and be merry
for tomorrow we die
’cause we’re tripping Billies

we’re wearing nothing
nothing but out shadows
shadows falling down on the beach sand
remembering once,
out on the beaches we wore
pineapple grass bracelets

so why would you care
to get out of this place
you and me and all our friends
such a happy human race
’cause we’re tripping Billies

we are all sitting
legs crossed round a fire
my yellow flame she dances
tequila drinking oh our
minds will wonder
to wondrous places

so why would you care
to get out of this place
you and me and all our friends
such a happy human race

eat, drink and be merry
for tomorrow we die


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