Monday, April 2, 2012

The Art of Decision Making

Had an interesting convo today about decision making.  Specifically, my poor decision making skills.  I mean, don't we all have those decisions we've made in the past that when we think about, we literally cringe, scrunch up our nose, and think, WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING???!!!!  And don't you HATE thinking about all those less than stellar moments?  Every time I think back on some poor decision I've made, that really pushes my Embarrassment Buttons, I frantically try to think about something, anything to distract me, because thinking about it makes me want to puke.  Do you get me?

And maybe I'm being extra hard on myself because I have an eating disorder and punish myself blah blah blah, but I don't think so.  We all had those moments where reason bee-lines out the window and you do something incredibly stupid.  And if you haven't had one of those moments, then promptly quit reading this blog and go buy yourself a tiara, because you are SOMETHING SPECIAL.  But for all the rest of you, keep reading.  :)

So, how do we get past those moments?  How do we come to terms with the stupid crap we've done without beating ourselves up too much about it, but also learning from it?  I'd say I'm a pretty sound and logical person now...but wasn't even that long ago that I just made this decision that literally couldn't have been worse, and I messed up a lot of things, and it took a long time to put the pieces back together.  Or take me as a teenager for example.  I was INSANE.  And maybe the anorexia was partly to blame, because it was like, EATING my brain, so maybe that accounts for some of the stupidity, but seriously...who thinks ratting your hair and then hair spraying it into an UGLY COMA is a GOOD thing?  And yes, I'm being facetious, but man, I looked HIDEOUS.  And...surprisinly mannequin-like.  All that hair that didnt move!  Eebie jeebies!!

Photo - That was my hair, in 9th grade.  Except, I wasn't Donny Osmond.  And I didn't have Chiclet teeth. Or at least I hope not.

But to be more serious...
I've always blamed myself for all these stupid things I've done, where I just think, man, I should have had better judgement.  And then I beat myself up for the stupid mistakes, and go round and round in circles, never getting anywhere but in an endless cycle of self-judgement and self-anger and blame, etc.  And I'm not sure how to get past all that.

But I do know that I need to forgive myself for the past moments where reason and logic seem to have been deficient in my diet (along with most everything else, wahahaha).  But today, as I was hashing all this out with someone I really trust, like she's in the top 3 of people I trust...I just realized, I need to forgive myself and move on.  I need to give myself a break, realize I was doing the best I knew how in the moment, be a little lenient on myself, and think, okay, so what can I learn from this?  How can I use this experience to help me be a better person, rather than use it as ammunition against me to fuel my eating disorder or other self-destructive behavior(s)?

There comes a moment where it's time to let go and forgive yourself, and maybe laugh when you think about the past and your silly mistakes, rather than shriek in horror.  I don't rat my hair anymore, and I certainly don't look like I'm wearing a helmet anymore, so see, I learned from that.  Take that 9th grade Brie!  Way to be an object lesson!

And for the serious stuff?  The life changers?  The things I deeply regret and wish I could have made better decisions on?  I just need to let go.  I need to learn from them, so that the pain and humiliation I endured will not have been in vain.  I'm starting to think I'm an okay person now, and maybe I'm an okay person because I made so many mistakes along the way, and maybe I was able to learn and grow from them to get to where I am.  And maybe I should gift myself some forgiveness.  Maybe it's time to do that, and move on.

What do you think?

Except the helmet hair!  I can never forget the helmet hair!!!!!!!  IT LIVES FOREVER.


Heather Lindquist said...

I agree 100%. It's hard to let go, but it will be the best present for yourself. We all do stupid shit we're horrified of, me included, but it takes a strong and healed person to acknowledge it, use it as a lesson, and move on. Much easier said than done, though.

Angela said...

Oh boy, have a made some poor decisions! Once I went to therapy drunk because I was afraid to tell her that I had been sexually abused as a child. It makes me cringe just thinking about. Anyway, I hope that wasn't too personal. I also had short, spiked pink hair in highschool. What was I thinking? Thanks for making me smile today :-)

IJustDontKnow said...

Brie, I keep formulating comments in my mind and they never seem... right. So, I let my thoughts float away and mentally wish you well. But I owe you more than that.

Regarding this issue, I wanted to come up with something eloquent and helpful but when I reflected on my own cringe-worthy moments, I... well, cringed. I keep thinking whatever you've done cannot be that horrible to beat yourself up so much. But then I realize I have yet to forgive myself and let go of some skin-crawling memories. I will give anyone else the benefit of the doubt and extend understanding but not when it comes to me. I'm irredeemably flawed, unforgivable and bad. He!!, I'll do anything it seems, to be unique, special, defective. Even being the world's only evil person. Oh wait.... it would appear as though I'm not alone in this thinking. So wait, if I'm not uniquely evil, then what purpose does it serve for me to drill this thinking into my soul? What do I gain (ha! no pun intended!) by being so self-berating?! It makes me sad to think that's the only way I can feel special - too be uniquely defective.

So, I ask myself, if my heart hurts for you to feel that way about yourself, why can't I extend that same compassion to myself? Maybe, just maybe, we just manufacture these falsehoods for fear of becoming invisible - surely no one would disregard and ignore us if we're special/different in any way, positive or negative. Surely, our emotional pain cannot be ignored nor dismissed if we're so clearly screwed up. [This last part may only apply to me... I guess I hijacked your blog to self-analyze. Sorry!]

Since I don't comment much, I'll take this opportunity to tell you how incredibly proud of and impressed by you I am. Your dedication to your recovery and your precious family is admirable and inspiring. Reading your blog (which I have put on my bookmark bar to check constantly... which, wait,... makes it sound even worse that I don't comment...) makes me want to hug my laptop.

Regarding my lack of comments, you have mentioned a few times going private and my breath catches every time because I don't feel "worthy" of asking to be on the privileged list. I feel that you're "too good" for me and I'm just a hanger-on. But I constantly fight that thought and today I overcame it. You share SOOOO much that I can relate to and I could no longer "leave you hanging" to feel alone. If I'm going to be a dedicated reader, then I owe you a contribution.

<3 Erin

PS - after re-reading this I realize I didn't remotely answer your question.... but I'm posting it anyway. ;)

brie said...

erin - thank you so much for commenting! i LOVE hearing from readers and lurkers, so this made me so happy. and...what you were saying is right on - i totally could relate to every word. sometimes you want to be remembered...even if it isn't always for the best thing, or the most socially acceptable, or whatever.

so...thanks for commenting - and keep coming!

angela - you're welcome for making you smile - right back at ya. :)

heather! you and i knew each other way back when during the hey day of our poor decision making skills, lol. we've both come so far. go us!

CH said...

I desperately wish I couldn't empathize with the helmet hair, but shamefully, I CAN. There is no pride in having a helmet head - ONLY SHAME. And, if I'm being honest with myself, it's not even the worst hair style choice I've ever made - case in point, my legit bowl cut when I was 5.

On a more serious note... I think people who have EDs are pretty notorious for being hard on themselves, and your realization that you need to forgive yourself is going to be really helpful to you in the long run of your recovery!
I also think that some of us tend to SAY we "forgive" ourselves, but part of forgiving is moving on, too. That's probably the even harder part, and the part I personally am not that great at, but the part that helps us heal.
I also think it's interesting how, if we heard what a friend or family member did that wasn't so smart, we would most likely encourage them and help them to see why they can move on, and learn from it. We should allow ourselves the same luxury, but so often don't.
I try to think of it in terms of kids. When my students (I'm a teacher) make bad decisions, and they do make unbelieveably terrible decisions sometimes, they deal with their consequence (when you're 6, not getting a sticker prize at the end of the day is DEVASTATING) and the next day is a brand new day, and the beauty is, they can make better choices. It wouldn't be fair for me to hold it over their heads all week, so every day is a new opportunity to make good choices, you know?
Maybe a lame comparison, but it makes sense in my mind....

I think you are doing so well, and that learning to forgive yourself, and even more importantly, MOVE ON, is a big part of telling ED to shove it.

Just my 2 cents! :)

Take care!

brie said...

CH - good point - there is a difference between actually saying we forgive ourselves, and then moving on, rather than sitting in it. Sometimes it's hard to do that, but dangit, I want my sticker prize!!! :)

CH said...

"Brie, I don't want to have to move you to the "warning list" and not give you a sticker prize, but your behavior right now is telling me you are choosing to move to the warning list".
....... HAHA. I actually say those words on a daily basis.
Just reading those words makes me feel ridiculous haha...

... do you ever feel confident in one situation (i.e. teaching for me) and HORRIBLE and ridiculous and so small and like ED has been right all these years, in another situation?

brie said...

CH, it's funny you say that, I totally relate. Like, when I modeled, I was cool and untouchable on the runway and I acted calm and confident and composed....but off the runway? I was an I secure, hot mess.

Marissa said...

It's actually kind of funny that you should write about this today, because today (for me) was one of those things where I could NOT stop remembering all those awful, embarrassing, you-brought-this-upon-yourself-so-you-have-no-one-else-to-blame-and-doesn't-it-suck-when-you-can't-blame-someone-else? moments I've had in my life.

Some were little (like that time I forgot to shower/just didn't want to shower for a like and entire week during high school and my friends formed a consortium to tell me that I smelled bad) and some were life-altering (and I'm frankly still too embarrassed to talk about those online).

And I'm like you--whenever I remember them, I think of something (anything!) to try to distract myself. I hum to myself. I watch YouTube videos. I try to think happy thoughts ("You're not the same person anymore," "you're good, you're beautiful", etc.). I think mean thoughts. And in the end, it kinda ends up the same way: I have to think about them. I have to remember them, and sometimes remembering hurts as much as the memory itself ever did. Hindsight is 20-20, and sometimes the backlash from the memories I can now see so clearly hits me so hard I'm breathless and aching. But I let myself remember eventually, and it stings like crazy.

And eventually, it passes. I LET it pass. I kind of give the memory permission to fade. And even though it still hurts, it does get a little easier to forgive myself each time. (And boy, I could write, like, a novel about how forgiveness is a process, not an event, but I think I've written plenty.)

Anyway, that's been my experience with it. I think it's okay to let yourself feel. And it's okay to let yourself feel AWFUL sometimes, and to grieve those moments where you made a bad decision, or when you should have done something and you didn't, or shouldn't have done something and you did. But it IS okay. It IS okay to make mistakes. It SUCKS. But it's okay. And, moreover, YOU'RE okay. Well, I mean, you're better than okay, you're AWESOME. And not because you're perfect and don't make mistakes, but because you DO make mistakes and you DO have flaws and you display them instead of hiding them and it makes you a real-life person.

Marissa said...

Sweet davy jones, I think I just published my comment like 6 million times. Sorry! Accident.

ania said...

This exact tendency has been on my mind a great deal for the past week.

brie said...

Marissa, considering you're my niece and I still think of you as a 5 year old, you have some incredible insight. I mean it! Thank you so much for your comment, love you.

Liz said...

My T would make me get out my DBT notebook and go over my skills. Check the facts and use your wise mind. I know we blame ourselves for everything, at least I do, but if we put our emotions to the side and really look at our decisions we can make smart choices. It is so hard though. Hope that makes sense and don't judge your judging

bri said...

Love this so much Brie! I really relate it! Thanks hun.