Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Compulsions

So much of my behavior is compulsive.

This is something I've clearly figured out over the last couple of months of introspection. Not clinically so if we're talking about obsessive ritualistic behaviors, but just...generalized behaviors. I don't know if I'm just exceptionally weak-willed (I can't even finish The Willpower Principle!), but it is so so hard for me to deny my urges. 

I mean, maybe that's not the whole truth. When I want to, I can have the strongest of wills. I can stare down a giant metal tray of my favorite panang curry for Wednesday lunch and say, "No, I will not have you." One of the departments had a chocolate tasting on Friday and left the remnants in the kitchen, taunting me, and I put a piece of chocolate in my mouth, chewed it twice, then spit it out when I decided it wasn't worth it.

I'm quite the conundrum.

Back to my point.

The second the thought of "don't"enters my mind, all I can think is "do". 

"Do do do, you know you want to, who tells you what to do, who cares if you do, no one is watching, no one will know, you're the boss of you, this is a self-inflicted 'don't' so you're the one who can give yourself permission so why don't you just give in, you little bitch?"

I swear I'm not schizophrenic.

Sometimes I do things before I even notice I'm doing them. I go on autopilot, really. Shutdown mode. This happened a lot in the height of my binging, obviously I knew what I was doing when I got up and got dressed and left my house to go to buy whatever food item sparked my interest at that moment in time, but I wasn't really conscious of my actions until I was out in my car turning onto Santa Monica Boulevard, and then what was the point of going back home?

I've transferred those compulsions to other things, which is no good. I'm dealing with this Diet Coke thing (ONE DAY SOBER!) Shopping, well...I'm already over my budget for the month, let's be honest here. BUT I NEED (want) THINGS. Personality habits too, procrastination. My other bad habits I still need to deal with, my lifestyle habits that keep me on the couch, but those will come with time. All these things I do without even thinking about them, regretting them as I'm doing them or immediately after, like they're just natural.

I need to channel these compulsive tendencies into positive behaviors. I can do that, right? Like cleaning. Sometimes I obsessively clean, when I'm stressed or anxious, I find myself digging out the corners of some long neglected drawer, can't I substitute cleaning whenever I find myself itching to do something less productive?

Probably not.

Yoga, sure. I can be a compulsive yoga addict, that is absolutely in the cards for me. Knitter? Baker? Candlestick maker?

But I don't want to feel like I'm trapped by my compulsions, unable to break free, regardless of whether or not they're really that unhealthy for me. I want to feel entirely in control of my own actions, choosing what I do and when I do it, not pulled by invisible puppet strings handled by my own inner insecurities, guiding me towards self-destruction.

Just saying this aloud, or writing it down rather, is a step.

I am stronger than any pull I feel, because those pulls are not real. They're not tangible.

I am.

I am the strongest voice in my head, and I know what it is I really want, and what the right answer hard as it may be, and as cute as that dress may be, and as much as I may want to turn down an invitation or eat my feelings or do something bad for my soul.

This is my new focus. Taking the time to make the right decisions, and denying my tendency to just give into the voice inside me that always chooses the easy path.

I don't want to go the easy way.

By Shel Silverstein

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