Sunday, August 19, 2007

Inside Secret Eating - The Reformed Kitchen

"Opening the mind is a glorious experience, for indeed there are many more flowers than weeds."....Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

Returning to the kitchen after three months of cleaning & clearing set up a whole new set of fears in my body. No matter how knee deep I was in the clutter & emotional strife from acknowledging & owning the mess I had made in other areas, somehow knowing that the kitchen was waiting, made me want to push it right to the rear of my mind, if not further, for I still believed that the kitchen was the true culprit to my secret eating issues & no matter how much strength & support I had gleaned from my three month's work, I still felt like a small, defenseless child in relation to my perceived villan.


This was a first. I was never "still" in the kitchen. Either I was involved in the hateful task of preparing & cooking meals that truly didn't appeal to my bingeing mind OR I was looking to participate in my secret eating activities. So, I was either in the dark zone OR on a true high. The idea of being "still" in the kitchen habitat frightened me. I didn't want to "just be" with myself & my thoughts in this overwhelming place. Whenever I was in the kitchen I stayed busy, so whether positive or not, my thoughts were controlled in some way. Being still meant that my thoughts & emotions had free rein & so generalized anxiety surfaced.

Those of us who secret eat, or have other addictive or emotional secrets, know that it isn't just about the secret. It's about the anticipation & the sneaking, mixed with the anxiety of being "found out" that bring the most exhilaration.

But, my directions were clear & after three months, I came to the realization that I must follow & I must trust.

So, I become still.....waiting for what I don't know. After all, it's only a kitchen. Like a shy child, I look around at the appliances & the wallpaper that I never liked, but never took down, in this moment questioning why I left it since I didn't like it. The earlier closets had taught me to question things like this. Why was I so absent from my own life & my own environment? Why was I so absent from my own self-care?

I wait with my own my mind for about twenty minutes & nothing happens. I feel stupid just sitting here like this. What would I say if someone came in & asked me what I was doing? Oh....I'm just being "still" with my kitchen. Eye's rolling up as I engage in more self-criticism, but at least I recognize it & shut it down myself. I know from the activities of the past months that I am doing something important here, even if I don't know what it is. I don't always have to know the answers! That was something I learned from the closet in my office.

The clock struck the hour & I realized what I was doing here. The kitchen was not the enemy or villan. It didn't do anything to me. It remained "still" right along with me, as if waiting for ME to begin the activity. Yes, I am in charge here. I make things happen here. There is no boogie man under the bed or in the closet or in the kitchen. I have nothing to fear here. I'm in charge.


I open the cupboards & find the items I don't like. So many things I don't like, including the chipped plates & the glasses that don't match; silverware that has seen better days & frying pans that look like they have a long history stuck to their bottoms. The pantry announced spices that had expiration dates almost as old as my children, some of which had never been opened. Why do I have these? This is the "over & over again" question. Remembering that I am free of guilt & shame & I can throw these out. I am free to forgive myself, to learn & to change.

I don't like rice & I own three kinds. What is this craziness? The refrigerator & freezer speak of their own secrets. Vegetables that come to live there, only to grow mold & to be thrown out. Leftovers that are never consumed, but secretly disappear when no one is looking. Fruit left to spoil & other very sad, wasteful activities. The freezer mentioning the many cases of freezer burn, as well as left-overs stuck in the back, so no one would see them.


I can do this. I take two large plastic garbage bags for the foods I don't like & everything outdated & one box for the chipped dishes & unmatched glasses & the frying pans & other items that no longer meet my needs. I wash the cupboards & place fresh shelf paper in place. I make a short, but detailed shopping list, placing smiley faces next to the items. I will only purchase what I need & what I like & enjoy. I have that right. How good this feels.

I clean the refrigerator & freezer, oven & stove, noticing how uncared for they have been & commiting myself to these kitchen helpers in very positive ways. I will care for them & only cook in healthy & enjoyable ways. I can change my mindset. I can decide to be creative & have fun here. It is my choice & I decide to choose in my favor.

I place two cookbooks on the shelf & leave the others for another time. Perhaps I have too many, but that will be decided later. I have time now & I do understand.