I am so happy to see this week come to an end. The weekend won’t be a real weekend because I’m working, a lot, (roughly 22 hours), but at least it’s just work.. not work/class/clubs.
Tomorrow brings the end of my training at the Irish Pub. I’m done taking all the tests, done following, just need to validate (serve the managers) and then I’ll get a little section of like 2-3 tables for my first shift– a Saturday night. All this past week I was really nervous about the job, and second guessed whether or not it was the right decision. But last night was an awesome training shift and now I feel much more confident. I worked 11 hours (!!!) worked my butt off, and took some tables all by myself with lots of success. I really impressed the waiter training me (beating him to the punch sometimes on refills & checks!) and really getting into a flow with the waitressing. I even made tips from the tables that I served! I walked out with $19.50 in cash (on top of trainee salary). One table loved me so much they gave me a $13 tip on a $22 tab. I also impressed the trainer when he gave me two challenges that he thought were impossible: make the rounds to ask about coffee or dessert at midnight and go out the the back patio at 12:30am and see if I could get anyone to order anything. Well I passed his test with flying colors. I had two gentlemen order coffee and the first table I approached on the patio ordered three drinks, a side of fries, and two burgers. Finally I felt like I was getting some reassurance, like I could actually do this job, make good money, and not stress out. All this week I stressed before every shift, worried I would under-perform or make stupid mistakes. Now I’m looking forward to future shifts.
One little thing that happened last night which made me feel like I’m really making progress: after work I didn’t binge. I had two little bite sized snickers (even smaller than halloween size) and a kashi bar. Then I went to bed. Last year, after an 11 hour shift at the pizza shop ( a shift that was less hectic and draining than the pub), I would sit down in my dorm and eat. Bowls of cereal, granola bars, trail mix, cookies, pretzels, peanut butter, chips…I would stuff myself to the brim until I was in pain, crawl to bed, and then lay there curled up, waiting for sleep to come so I could forget about what I’d done. At the end of this shift, I had a nibble because I was genuinely hungry, but then stopped and slept. Hunger cues can be misleading, and many times what feels like hunger is actual exhaustion. It’s a fact that I am depleted after a long night of work. This does not mean that I need to refuel with food, it means I need to reboot with sleep. I am now listening to my body better and taking the time to figure out my feelings before I choose a way to mend them. It’s funny how a kashi bar can be so significant, but eating that granola bar last night and then settling into bed meant that I have moved forward with recovery and really succeeded in changing old habits, even when faced with challenging circumstances. I was so worried that, no matter how much work I thought I had done on myself this summer, going back into my old environment with it’s all-too-familiar triggers would spell failure. Yet, with all this stress (trigger), over-packed schedule (trigger), lack of sleep (trigger), and tiresome work (trigger), I still have had no binges to report. Of course, I need to stay on top of things because one successful week does not mean I’m cured and the rest of the year will certainly not be a breeze, but this week has made me feel secure in myself and my ability to change. I am a new, refreshed version of myself this year. No one can take that away from me.
Whether you’re stuck in the tormenting state of disordered eating or depression, actively working on recovery, or three years out of recovery, remember that you choose the course of your life. Be the positive force in your own life. Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything. Even a happy life, free of restriction, guilt, and misery.
And if nothing else, you inspire me. Take pride in that.