June Converse

Thriving After Trauma - Author and Writing Coach

If you read one of my recent posts, I had planned to start doing what I’ve been told to do. I had decided to take all that excellent professional advice instead of finding excuses and continuing to whine. I had planned to work through Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN. 

I bought the book. I bought a journal, some colored pencils, some post-it notes. I placed all my supplies on the corner of my desk where they still sit today.

I could not do it. I could not open that book. Even now, several weeks later, the idea of opening that book creates an ache in my chest and a burn in my eyes. Why? What’s wrong with me?

I consider how much money I’ve spent trying not to let food and my hatred of my body control me. The amount is astronomical and still I can’t open a $15 book that asks me to be kind to myself and love my body as it is. Why? What’s wrong with me?

I spent over twelve years in therapy. I’ve been to groups. I’ve been in inpatient treatment. And yet, here I am AGAIN. Why? What’s wrong with me?

Before I get too far into the negativity, I admit that all of that treatment has helped me in other ways. I no longer drop into deep depression because I recognize the signs and work hard to stop the drop. I have been able to fight through many battles against fear. I have developed and maintained deep relationships. Heck, I still write this blog.

And Yet

And yet, this eating disorder controls me. Why? What’s wrong with me?

And yet, today I look at myself and see someone who looks “okay”. Yesterday, I looked at myself and saw every grotesque chunk of blubber.

I’ve developed strategies to manage other compulsive behaviors (mostly). But this eating thing defeats me. I used to say that my eating disorder was a two-year old dragon who simply wanted her way. I created this cute image in my head. My dragon had pink hair with a bow. She smiled with a charming manipulative innocence. She rattled her [my] cage when she wanted one more bite.

A New Monster

Now, I don’t see her as cute or charming. She’s a monster with super strength. She’s ugly and snarling and devious. She’s both overt and subtle. She’s able to keep me from opening a simple book and reading one paragraph. She needs a name so I can talk to her, try to understand her, help her love herself. Any suggestions?

I’ve found a new therapist and I’ve begged her not to waste time digging into my past. I’ve done that enough – I have the t-shirt. I’ve asked her not to bother with DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) – I’ve had so much of that I could teach the classes. What does that leave? I have no idea but she says she can help me.

If only I believed her.

Click HERE to download the Journaling Activity that correlates with this blog and follow along with a journaling activity of your own!

  • Has someone ever asked you for advice?
  • Has someone asked for advice then not taken it?
  • Has someone asked for advice then not taken it AND kept complaining about the situation?

You sit listening to the whining for the thousandth time. But the person refuses your or anyone’s advice. Do you want to pull your hair out? Or, better yet, do you want to pull their hair out? My grandmother used to say she would “snatch me bald headed” – I get where she was coming from.

I’m not saying that my advice is always the best. But if you choose not to take the advice – or any advice – then you lose the right to whine, right? For goodness sake, try something!?

Uh-Oh -- The Tables Turn

I wish I was talking about a friend. But, sadly, I’m talking about me. I’m the one who asks for advice, ignores it and then whines.

For example …

I complain to my trainer that my cardio is not hard enough anymore – he gives me lots of ideas. I do none of them and then complain again!

I know I’m more productive and happier when I get up at 530am. Many people suggested, wisely, that I get up at 530 every morning, seven days a week. Stay consistent so that my internal clock helps me. I have yet to do that and still I complain.

People have suggested that I do all the prep work for meals on Sunday. I know this  helps me eat at home and make healthier choices. It’s Monday, I have not done that and later today, I’ll complain about having to chop bell pepper and onion.

I’ve visited several registered dietitians, and each has given me excellent advice. I’ll take their advice for --- um --- 2 days?

The list is endless.

Whining About Whining

As I write this, I realize I’m whining about whining! UGH!

Sure, I’ve been given bad advice (or bad for me) and that should be ignored. But I’ve also been given excellent advice by people who have my best interests at heart and/or who are experts I trust. What’s my problem?

Do I do this because I don’t really want to change? Too lazy to change? Afraid to change? Afraid I won’t be able to change and don’t want to face failure? Am I afraid of success? Do I like whining?

Over the last several days, I’ve made a mental list of advice given and not taken. I’ve looked at my bookshelf and noted all the books recommended that I bought, read the first chapter, and put back on the shelf. I’ve noted all the supplies I’ve bought and not used (think of the money I could have saved). I’ve made commitments, secured accountability partners. I’ve planned rewards for “good behavior”. And still …

Choose Something or Stop Whining!

It’s 2020 (yikes!). As most of us do, I’ve thought about what I’d like to do differently or to achieve this year. I don’t resolutions because I know I won’t keep them and then I start the year off in failure. Yet, achievements don’t happen without some conscious effort. Life moves on and we stay on the same trajectory unless we intentionally change that direction!

Here are some things I’d like to do/have/achieve this 2020:

  1. Finish Journey to Hope (book 2 in the Decide to Hope trilogy)
  2. Start on book 3 (no title yet)
  3. Hike more (maybe once a month?)
  4. Get my body image and eating issues in a better place

I think this is a very doable list. The first two are already on their way to completion and I have the support to see it through.

Hiking is a back pain and time issue. I’ve already mentioned to my trainers that I need to focus energy on strengthening my lower back. But I whine about the temperature (even though I live in Georgia and have clothes warm enough for an Alaskan winter). I like to say “I’m too busy” but I should say “I’m too lazy”. Even though I live in Atlanta, there are a myriad of hiking trails within a thirty-minute drive. I don’t need advice – I need to get off my ass and hike.

Body image and eating issues are on my list every year. As you can imagine, I’ve asked for and received excellent advice on how to address these body/health related issues. I’ve followed none of these for any consistent length of time.  

Why Can I Not Do This?

I can do this! Of course, I can! The question is WHY don’t I do this? I look at my body and hate what I see (even when I’m thin). I have great advice on how to combat some of that. Why do I ignore it?

Those questions would be answered if I took the DAMN ADVICE!

I searched my mental list and my bookshelves. I’ve searched my heart and mind. My mind is willing. My heart is afraid.

Advice I’ll Take

A wonderful nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders recommended Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN. Over a year ago, I bought the book. I got all excited, jumped in with both feet.  I read to page 27.

This is my pattern – get excited, jump into the deep end and drown. My father must have warned me about this a hundred times. I get bored, or I realize I made a choice that didn’t fit with my personality, or I say yes without thinking. I bail. I feel guilty for bailing. I do this again and again.

I’ve pulled Body Kindness off the shelf. I pulled a little notebook out of a drawer for the activities/journaling. I’ve looked at the book and I think I can do this in bite-size pieces (instead of jumping into the deep end).

Now, how do I make myself do it? I can already feel the resistance – my chest is tight, and I can feel anxiety moving into my limbs.

All I can do is try, right? Read some today and not worry about tomorrow, right?

I can hear my therapist  now – “journal about how it makes you feel – keep asking yourself ‘why’” – advice I likely won’t take.

2020 Here I Come: I Refuse To Be Insane

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results ~ Einstein

As I ran on the treadmill at my gym this morning, I got caught in a negative spiral. I started to evaluate the women and their bodies. I started to compare. Many of you are nodding your head in understanding. Others of you are biting your nails in agony with me. Some of you are rolling your eyes at what a waste of time that is.

Here is what I decided:

  • Kathy has great muscle definition but she’s too tall.
  • Sharon has nice flat abs but her butt is too flat.
  • Julie has a nice butt, but her abs are droopy.
  • Cheryl has gorgeous legs but no breasts at all.
  • Samantha has … well, she does have a rockin’ bod BUT I’ve never seen her smile or laugh.
  • Shari is thin - but way too thin.
  • Karen looks nice but if you watch closely you see that’s she physically weak.

There was not one person in that gym that had what I dream is perfection.

I can kick myself for doing this game. But, I do it. You do it. It seems to be the nature of the human experience.

No one has to remind me that there’s no such thing as perfection. I have to remind myself. I have to take the time to look around and see truth. Not just with body issues. No one is perfect in any area of life.

My problem is not so much that I do this comparison. Like I said above, we all do it. My problem is that I allow these comparisons to throw me off my own game. If I’m not careful, I can use these unfair comparisons to change my own goals. I do NOT have the goal to be this buff woman. But, seeing Kathy’s muscles makes me reconsider. I do NOT have the goal (or ability) to have perfectly flat abs. But, seeing Sharon makes me want to do abdominal work until I can’t roll over.

My goals have been well-thought out. These goals are reasonable and challenging. These goals are obtainable but not easily. They are MY goals – not Karen’s or Shari’s or Julie’s. My goals HONOR me.

So, I played the comparison game today. I lost and I won. I reviewed my goals, reviewed my progress, reviewed my motives. I am okay with my butt, my abs, my muscles, my height. I’m especially thrilled that during a workout I push myself, I grunt, I sweat. But I also laugh and tease and take a break when my body says so.

I am not perfect … yet I am perfect in this moment.

June Converse with purple hair
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....


Copyright 2021 June Converse, All Rights Reserved.

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