Uncomfortable, finds me in so many places. It weaves its wiggly ways into so many parts of my day, so many experiences, piggybacking onto so many other feelings and emotions. Uncomfortable used to just feel like the colossal crowd of hate that held parties and concerts in my body. I just wanted out of my own skin. Uncomfortable used to be the one I ran away from with the same desperate rush one would flee from a serial killer. Uncomfortable was the sadness, anger, confusion, etc. I couldn’t deal with on my own.
The gift of my recovery has not made uncomfortable go away. On the contrary, it has given me tools to get to know it, to face it, to walk with it. Today I tout my ability to sit with the uncomfortable, to walk with it, drive with it, run with it, sleep with it, as a great asset in life.
There is one thing you can most certainly count on in this journey of recovery…you will be uncomfortable. If you go swimming you will get wet, if you go skiing you will get cold, and if you leave old customary patterns and habits- no matter how sick of them your are- you will be uncomfortable. The old places are uncomfortable for sure, but they are familiar. So when you take the bold step to reach new lands, be prepared that you may not feel great right away. What do I mean by this? You may feel fearful, vulnerable, raw, beautiful, inspired, big, small, sad, powerful- who knows! The newness even of positive feelings may not feel good right away.
As an athlete in an endurance sport feeling uncomfortable was something I dealt with every day. The pain from pushing so hard, the monotony of long workouts, the blisters, injuries and sore muscles were all uncomfortable but the big difference was that I was choosing it. I was in control of the fact that I felt those feelings. I knew what I was getting. Same with the eating disorder…binging, purging, working out were all familiar terrain that I chose. But when you step out of old behaviors you don’t know what you will get and you don’t know how you will feel and you don’t control it. This is why it is SO helpful and important to keep close to people who have gone before who can guide you through the new feelings. Because really that is what they are…feelings…that you have numbed or ignored or squished or hated or all the above. There is no way around the discomfort of new terrain, so it is helpful to learn to be nice to yourself in this new place and have people on your team to cheer you on.