OA in San Diego is cool. They have meetings here every day, multiple times a day. It's not like home where it was one day a week. Help here is literally just a meeting away. Plus they have multiple meeting formats like Women's meeting, a Steps meeting where you go through and discuss each step, and on and on. Tonight was a format like I have never been a part of before. There was a podium up front and the entire room was filled with chairs lined in rows like a classroom. I couldn't believe how many people were there. I got a warm welcome since I'm a newcomer from Indiana--the new people in OA are the most important.
Anyway, what really got me thinking was the passage from OA For Today that a young woman read. It was the topic of discussion at the meeting.
I have never seen a person grow or change in a constructive direction when motivated by guilt, shame, and/or hate. -William Goldberg
For today: I let no one--including myself--try to shame me into changing something about myself I wish were different. I pray to be relieved of guilt and self-hate, and to accept and like myself exactly as I am. That is where I can begin to change.
What would it be like to accept myself the way I am right now? Honestly? Too scary. Why would I want to accept myself? I could no longer obsess about all the things I want to change or think up ways I could be better. I would no longer be able to berate myself for not having the job I want, not having more friends, not being skinny, not dressing fashionably, not having perfect white teeth or straight teeth, not having long enough or straight enough hair, not having better social skills, not being able to be the life of the party, never knowing the right thing to say, not being able to get the guy I want, not being able to make decisions on my own, never knowing what to do, and always thinking someone else is better.
If I weren't doing all of that, what would I do? Would I just enjoy life? I mean, how though? I make up the rules about what I need to be happy. If I accept myself, it means accepting mediocrity. I'm not even sure what makes me happy right now. Moving away from everything I know and not having a job puts me in an awkward position where I have to find my place again. I'm not even sure that I am homesick because I'm still me in this body--only 2000 miles away from where I was before. Changing location doesn't change attitudes. I am no happier or sadder than where I came from. If I'm not happy, it's a reflection of who I am on the inside. That's the thing about OA, you realize it's not about the food.
So anyway, the realization I came up with today is that the thing that makes me feel the most happy ever is being accepted. LOL! It's so funny because I don't accept myself. That being the case, my happiness hinges on other's acceptance of me. Sometimes I like myself, but it's so much easier to be critical--it's familiar. When someone else recognizes and brings something positive about me to my attention, it's like the gates of heaven open up. I want so much to be liked but I still don't believe there is much there worth liking. That's why I'm in OA--it's not about food, it's about self-worth and how that relates back to your eating.
So whatever, I am just rambling now but I'm no longer in therapy and this is therapeutic for me. I haven't even blogged for weeks because it wasn't until now that I felt like I even had anything important to talk about. I guess one last thing I'll mention about tonight was how OA is great because people there accept you. It's such a great feeling to the point that you almost wish the entire world (or dad, or ex bf, or whoever troubles you) would accept you with open arms.
I was so surprised tonight when a newcomer (literally, it was her first meeting) came up and said to me that she didn't understand why I was here. I assume she was referring to my body weight and appearance. I guess to someone who is obese, I don't seem too bad, but it did shock me. I seriously look in the mirror and see an oompa loompa, like from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Short, fat, and round. Or Shrek with broad shoulders, a kind of mannish build. I don't feel womanly and I certainly don't dress womanly. I pray for the day when I look in the mirror and can accept the person looking back at me. When I finally accept myself, I think I may finally be happy. Besides, it's my acceptance that matters most.
Thanks for listening to me, cyberspace. Goodnight.