Thursday, July 7, 2011

The ESC Key

I'm building up to the meaning of the title of my blog.  If life is one big problem, than that phrase is my answer.  But it's not that simple, of course, so I want to share bits and pieces of who I am, and when it starts to come into focus, I will have a ta-da post explaining it.  I'm not ready yet.  If you follow along, you can be part of the process.

Today I want to write about hitting the escape key.  I am not going to tell you my whole sob story and bring it to a dramatic conclusion.  I am so many stories, mosaic bits that you (and I) see at odd intervals and angles.  There is nothing horrible going on for me to complain about, but my life tends to be chaotic.  I am so used to spinning around in it that it can be hard for me to see what I do to keep things in chaos instead of inviting order.  Chaos is to be expected when you live with other people, when both adults in the household work full-time, when there are two kids, and now two dogs in the house! 

The dogs were just added last week, and some may judge our adding them to our terribly messy, disorganized, in many places dirty, house (CHAOS by FlyLady's definition) and busy lives.  They are choices, though, like everything.  They are bringing joy to our lives and I do know that it was a decision I did not make lightly, and I did not bring them into my life in order to distract myself from important work.  I pack my life too full and it is frequently a way to avoid some ugliness or fear or sadness.  But that is not the purpose of the dogs, so I feel good about it.

I have an eating disorder.  I have been making strides in recovery and feeling really, really good.  Very happy.  Many of the chaotic bits of life have been becoming orderly and I have been HAPPY and not using food as a substitute for love, to ease anxiety, or... any number of ways I have made food dysfunctionally useful beyond its actual value as fuel for the body.  I have dealt with many changes and worries in the past through week, in a variety of adaptive ways, and have been grateful to people in my life, especially my spouse, and proud of myself, and hopeful. 

In the past couple of days, however, I hit some road blocks.  I'm not saying what they were, but I wasn't taking good enough care of myself to access the sense that obstacles can be overcome.  Part of the stress was grief over letting go of the eating disorder itself, which I let propel me right back into it, bingeing and inviting old [unhelpful] messages from one part of me to the others to repeat themselves.  I left my fine spouse thinking I faulted him for my foul mood.  I thought again of needing to escape.  I hadn't needed the idea of "escape" in a long time.

The word "escape" reminded me of a message I intended to give myself.  The escape key on a keyboard has these 3 letters:  ESC.  I've discovered that I like to ply language into positive self-talk (to combat the negative messages that I seem to give myself too readily), and one of my favorite methods is using acronyms.  ESC to me needs to represent Exquisite Self Care.  The phrase came to me from SARK, and I have found it all over the Internet, now.  The word exquisite is essential because self-care has to be so much more than the basics.  Here is parenting blog that shows someone else's experience with ESC, and her resource (one I haven't tried yet).

I created a chain in my mind that is helping bring me back into balance.  When I thought, "I just want to escape," it triggered the phrase "hit the ESC key," which reminded me of Exquisite Self-Care.  So I looked back and saw that despite all the fantastic things happening in my life, my self-care has not been exquisite.  I will post more about what "exquisite" means to me, but for now, I just want to share the book that I got the phrase from. I'm tempted to try to say it all at once, but I am sticking to the mosaic approach.