Cookies and Silk

cookies1My husband was away last weekend, so off I went, farmer’s market basket in hand, alone for our Saturday morning ritual. After filling my basket with fresh organic vegetables, pasture raised meat and Anna Mae’s jam, I stopped at our favorite bake shop table for the bread my husband loves. While there, I scanned the cookies and chose an oatmeal chocolate chip. These are not your average sized cookies, they are enormous. Each one is easily shared and enough for three with tea. I knew my husband would be surprised and pleased that I was so thoughtful.

Before I go on with my story, a little background. I consider myself a foodie. Not the type who is constantly trying new gourmet recipes with unusual ingredients, though I do that on occasion. I am more the gourmand. I have been and can still be obsessed with food. Recovery is a daily process and takes both vigilance and a huge dose of self-compassion. I’m a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, which means I reached my lifetime goal [about a decade ago] and attend meetings for free provided I stay within 2 pounds of my goal. My structure for vigilance. Then there’s my husband, Win. Win likes good food, but he is not a foodie. While I stay alive to eat, he eats to stay alive! He needs to eat extra calories [and chooses mostly healthy ones] during the day to keep weight ON, while I’m concerned about keeping it OFF.

Back to the cookie. Win got home Sunday morning and was delighted with the cookie and then promptly forgot it, reaching for healthier afternoon snacks over the next two days. Tuesday afternoon arrived and this huge cookie, now stale, sat in it’s waxed paper bag, forlorn and forgotten, except by me. I suggested sprinkling it with a few drops of water and heating in the microwave for a few seconds. It worked. Win ate half the cookie. Well, not quite half. I had nibbles from around the crusty edges, yum!

Fast forward to late afternoon Wednesday. The cookie, now four days old, sits and stares at me from the counter while I chop vegetables for soup. My pulse increases as I begin to feel anger about the stupid cookie.

I said: Your cookie is still sitting here. He said: I forgot all about it. I said: Well, maybe I’ll eat the damn cookie. Incredulous, he said: Really? I said: Really. I fumed; he went outside.

I began an old pattern. I ate AROUND the cookie. I ate grapes, then hit the pantry for some “healthy” crackers. Next I grabbed Win’s reduced fat potato chips. I took a small handful. Good thing there weren’t many left. I looked at the cookie and finally opened it and ate 1/3 of the remaining half. There. I was done and wish I had just eaten the damn cookie at the onset of my food meltdown.

I was crabby. Win asked: what’s up? I shared my meltdown over a glass of wine — Win’s glass of wine, I abstained. I felt ashamed and angry, mostly at myself, and I needed to figure out my overreaction to this stupid uneaten cookie. As I told my story about buying the cookie as a thoughtful gesture, something deeper emerged. I shared that I hadn’t REALLY bought the cookie for HIM, I bought it for ME! You see I could never justify eating an entire cookie so enormous and luscious, it would be my Weight Watchers points for the whole day, but I could justify nibbles. I would count them, of course, as a small chocolate chip cookie, maybe 3 points. As is our ritual, whenever Win gets a treat on our Saturday morning at the farmer’s market, I indulge in a nibble and it is heavenly!

Win listened from the heart, but couldn’t relate. As I shared, he’s not a foodie.

We talked more about what I noticed, that gift giving isn’t just for the receiver — the giver always gets something out of it. Whether it’s writing a check for a cause, purchasing a birthday gift that WJ5-8you hope the receiver will love, or buying an expensive gift for a couple whose wedding you don’t plan on attending — the giver always get something out of it! The donation feels like the right thing to do; the birthday gift warms the  giver’s heart to see the delight of the recipient; the extravagant wedding gift alleviates the guilt of skipping the wedding.  Then it hit me and I said:  Think of when you purchase a lovely piece of jewelry for me, you want to see me wear it! It feels good, it warms your heart. He nodded yes. Or a red silk nightie. Though it feels fabulous on, the gift giver gets to see it on. My visual husband nodded again, yes. He got it!

I awakened at 5 AM with this blog brewing. I’m able to share the story only because I’ve reached a new level of understanding, self-acceptance and compassion. I love my perfectly imperfect human self.  I am deeply grateful for the abundance of my life that I can even obsess over a cookie. And grateful that I can find humor in the process.

This entry was posted in Brené Brown, compassion, Debbie Ford, food obsession, gift giving, integrative coaching, life coach, self-acceptance, self-compassion, understanding, vulnerability, weight watchers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Cookies and Silk

  1. CoachBarbie says:

    I’m so glad this story turned into a blog! Conscious living … observing our own foibles … is just so rich with insights and understanding. Thanks for doing the hard part … love getting the insights without having to fight the Cookie Wars!!!

  2. holagracie says:

    I tried to send this to another email address as it is more a private comment…but worth sending through.

    I signed up for your newsletter after I registered for your retreat in Lake George being held in August. I received the newsletter today and read it but was drawn to the tab at the bottom regarding self love. This brought me to several past entities but I fell upon the one reading what it is to have self-KIND-ness as opposed to just being nice.

    In that entry you mention your mom – “I know my mother loved me, yet she was often mean in words and deeds. ”The result of the “love” as expressed by the woman who gave me life has caused me to harbor this confused notion of “self-love”. If my mom loved me and she was often a bitch so that I would relent and do things HER way [I, of course, would then act out behind her back], that must be what love is! Sometimes nasty, sometimes nice and on rare occasion, kind. What a mix! These statements and memories of how she made you feel and how she was were so upsetting to me because I feel at times my words can be so cutting and mean in my interactions with my children. I have always had such a deep sadness and low sense of worth inside that I don’t understand, I have always been terrible at this self love thing. I often feel that there is not an hour that passes that I am not putting myself down or upset with myself. It is no walk in the park for my husband either. He happens to be the most supportive, selfless, kindest (in your sense of the word) and unconditionally loving, man I know. I truly am blessed with my family and my life. But I am existing in it and not living in it very well.

    I guess my main point is that I do not want my children to experience what you did. I want this self hatred to stop and I need to know that it is possible. This is not who I wanted to be as a human being, as a wife and certainly not as a mother. I want them to have good feelings about me and to know how deeply I love them…if only I can get past the me I am now.

    I just need advice. Kind words of support or to just know that at this point in my life, that I have some hope. I don’t know how it turned out for your mother, but I hope she has had some resolve with you and apologized for hurting the process of who you could have become much earlier on, had you not been so confused by her love.

    I don’t want my children’s sense of love be anything but “respectful, honoring, a feeling of equality and worthiness.” The thought of that devastates me and anything I may have said or already have done.

    • You are pretty anonymous here, although this is public, but I can always go back in and remove your response if you wish, just let me know! I just want to acknowledge your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable and delighted that you have signed up for the Wholehearted Living workshop at Wiawaka in August. I look forward to meeting you then. In the meantime, I am sending you an email message. If you don’t receive it in the next 30 minutes, my email is catelabarre@gmail.com. Thank you.

    • I decided to reply again. One of my intentions in writing this blog is to be vulnerable and share honestly — so that others will know they are not alone. I believe we have all experienced, at one time or another or constantly, that nagging voice that tells us we’re not loveable, that we’re good enough, smart enough, just NOT ENOUGH! You are definitely not alone. It is possible to journey from self-hatred to self-love. I am on that journey and have definitely tipped the scale to love. And this is reflected in how I treat others. If it is true that we can only love others as much as we love ourselves, and we desperately want to be more loving moms, partners, friends, etc, than the journey starts with returning to our birthright of self-love and self-acceptance. I hope you received my email, holagracie, and I look forward to having a conversation with you.

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