My definition of comfort isn't mac and cheese, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, or a bottle of wine. I think I used to think it was but I was severely mistaken! The deaths of several friends sent me on a grossly misguided search for comfort and as a result I packed on close to 30 pounds (which is a lot on a 4'11" frame). As the "comfort pounds" of the last year start to melt away, I am finding myself again. It feels almost like the worst hangover ever, though. The throbbing sensation of grief, the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that just won't go away - these are the sensations that I seek comfort from and just because I'm not trying to numb them with food anymore does not mean that they are gone.
The question of betrayal has so often been what derails my path to healthier ways of coping. If I take control of my life and responsibility for the destruction I am causing in my own life does it mean that I am no longer sad or crushed by the loss? My brain knows that this cannot be true but my heart has been dragging it's feet. How many false starts to taking control have I had? I can count by the number of posts that mention them, but those are only a few. What makes this time different?
I think that joining Weight Watchers and seeing the scale read the same number that it read just days before giving birth to my first child was the slap across the face that I may have needed. My weight was just a symptom of my struggle to cope and, while nothing will ever be the same, I am choosing to find comfort elsewhere.
I'd like to propose that we throw out the term "comfort food". It's like saying "comfort crack" or "comfort beer". Nobody would ever say that because it is like saying you need a drug for comfort and the implications are not postive. Drink too much wine, and you wake up feeling so horrible that the feeling you had while drinking the wine is quickly forgotten. Eat too much food, and the toll it takes on your body makes you feel worse each day.
What now? Perhaps comfort is impossible in certain situations. I am not sure, but each day when I look at my beautiful children and give thanks for how fortunate we are in so many ways, I am certain that there is a better way.