Dear Unhealthy Self, I’m Here For You. Love, Healthy Self.

Do you ever self-sabotage? Like, say, just spit-ballin’ here….but maybe you do an amazing workout and feel great; just amazing. But then, you go home and eat a bag of tortilla chips and some guac, then finish off with chocolate energy balls. Not that I did that just last night. (I did). My unhealthy self was driving.

It’s just that, sometimes, I let the cranky toddler out. The one that stomps its feet and screams, “No! I don’t WANT to eat super-healthy food to heal my gut!! I want FRENCH FRIES WITH EXTRA SALT AND MAYO!!!”

-Tianna Morison, Babbling Panda

After eating all of that, I didn’t feel good. Mentally, I gave myself a pass. But physically, I felt awful. My digestion was a mess and it hurt to lay down to sleep. I was so uncomfortable that it took me over two hours to fall asleep! And I kept having to wake up to pee. When my gut hurts, I have to pee a bunch because my body is trying to get rid of whatever is making me feel crappy. Have you been there?

Summers are awful for me. Sometimes, I get low: I self-sabotage a lot, I get lazy about self-care. It took me all summer, but I finally started to workout again. Slowly, working on being nicer to my body and I know I need to reset and be nicer to my gut.

It’s just that, sometimes, I let the cranky toddler out. The one that stomps its feet and screams, “No! I don’t WANT to eat super-healthy food to heal my gut!! I want FRENCH FRIES WITH EXTRA SALT AND MAYO!!!” Last night was an, ‘I’m-an-adult-I-can-eat-junk-if-I-feel-like-it’ moment. And my gut was like-

NOPE.

When I finally fell asleep, I had a pretty heavy dream. I knew I would have one of two dreams, since I was so bloated from eating too much before bed. It would be either: 1) Pregnancy dream or 2) Weight-Gain Dream.

It was option 2, but with a twist. 

Here is my dream:

I’m in a bar, and I win a trivia contest. The prize is singing Queen songs on a Canadian tour. I’m in the best shape of my life (toned arms! tiny waist!), with an adorable pixie cut, and dressed in a chic vintage dress. They offer to teach me how to sing and off we go. (And my dream had a “learning to sing, getting the stage wardrobe” montage, cuz I’m a movie nerd).

As we are on the tour, I realize I hate being out of routine. I’m lonely, depressed and have stage fright every night. I worry about reviews or humiliating myself. My singing voice is better, thanks to the nightly singing lessons, but it’s exhausting. Over and over, I see the crowd and start to sweat, forcing myself on stage to sing Queen classics. I stumble off-stage, relieved and looking forward to sweatpants and food.

I start to self-soothe in sabotaging ways. I drink pop, eat junk food, and consume comfort food in large quantities.  (Mashed potatoes and gravy, anyone?) 

By the end of the tour, I have stopped doing any self-care. My schedule is packed and tiring, and I feel run off my feet. My skin has a terrible pallor, my nails are chewed short and my outfit is ill-fitting jeans and whatever t-shirt I saw first. I have gained a lot of weight and my hair is a long (we are talking shoulder-length in a few months, because….dream time), frizzy, unkempt mess. I hate it but feel unable to make a change on my own. I feel stuck. I am my “unhealthy self”.

In the last part of the dream, the perspective changes. I am looking in the mirror at my frizzy hair and frumpy gray, boot-length dress and about to go on stage, when suddenly I am looking at the back of someone’s head. Looking down, I catch my reflection in the phone I’m carrying.

Now, I’m the version of myself that existed at the beginning of the dream: pixie cut, vintage dress and slim. I am my “healthy self”. People bump into me on all sides, and I realize I’m at a concert. People start to cheer and it’s easy to feel the electricity in the air. Who are we here to see? Looking up through the packed crowd, I see the stage…and my unhealthy self is walking to the mic! In a bizarre moment, I take in my other self: the frizzy hair, gray dress and sad smile. I feel as depressed as she looks, just by the sight of her. No one in the crowd seems to notice or care, but I resolve to go and speak to her.

After the show, I go backstage and talk to my unhealthy self. I ask her why she feels stuck. My unhealthy self says she is so used to feeling bloated, depressed and sick that it’s just easier to keep going this way.

I say to my unhealthy self that I understand. It sucks and it’s hard, but maybe my unhealthy self could make small changes. We stand in a little spot backstage at the outdoor summer concert, facing each other. It’s weird to be two stages of self in the same area. 

I hand my unhealthy self a bottle of water and take away the can of pop she’s holding. The first small step, I indicate, without words. My unhealthy self nods in silent agreement and gratefulness. I hug my unhealthy self in a warm embrace. “I’m here for you,” I whisper, “I’m always here for you”. 

This is when my alarm rang. I thought it was such a silly fluff dream when I first woke up, but as I thought about it….whoa. With kindness and understanding, my healthy self pointed out to the unhealthy side of my personality that little changes can mean a lot.

I interpreted the line “I’m always here for you”, as my healthy self saying that she is the little angel on the shoulder; here for me when I want to make better choices. The power of dreams, I’m telling you.

I have felt pretty blah lately. The heat is making my skin break out and my work from home has meant a lot of days are spent in pajamas, even when I should get dressed. Snack breaks with the kids break up the hot days- movies in the basement make breaking out the junk food a definite possibility at snack time. My self-care has taken a back burner position, behind work, housework and entertaining my kidlets. I make these “all-or-nothing” plans that are impossible to follow through on. They inevitably fail and I plod on.

The junk food wouldn’t be such a big deal, if it didn’t make me so bloated and my gut hurt. I notice that when my gut definitely isn’t balanced, I slide into darker moods, plus I become lethargic.

The message from my dream self was so aptly timed, I take it that I AM in tune with my inner-conscience and that it is full of love. That’s so comforting and brings me light.

Having my inner self show my unhealthy dream-self love was an emotional balm. I hugged myself and it felt good. Waking up, I felt more optimistic and patient with myself.  I grabbed water instead of juice at breakfast and smiled. 

All day, I have been whispering to myself (from myself), “I’m here for you”, and it’s been all I’ve needed today. 

How do you show self-love after a period of neglect? I’d love to hear! 

Do you have any positive affirmations you feel like sharing? I could use some more! Share in the comments, if you feel up to it. 

Posts Like This One:

Surviving Gluten-Free Life (Not a Love Story)
Counseling And Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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