Donuts.  There’s just something magical about the power of donuts:  the fragrance of fried, glazed sweetness, the melt-in-your-mouth gooey softness, and their ability to numb any sadness, disappointment or suffering.  The problem is that now I know how destructive their magical power is, not only to my physical health, but also to my emotional health.  I have learned that though numbing my feelings in the moment feels, well, like nothing, and that is the point, I’ve also learned that numbing doesn’t actually make those feelings go away.  Instead, they sink to the bottom of my heart, building up, waiting to sabotage all the good in my life.  I become a time bomb with unexpressed and unresolved feelings, just waiting to implode.

Denial is a beautiful thing.  Our vision in the moment can be so skewed that we are able to completely fool ourselves.  Though I suspect I’ve been numbing my emotions for most of my life, I’ve been able to do it in such a way that even I didn’t know I had a problem.  I never let my weight get really out of control nor have I ever binged in the presence of others or to the point of purging.  Sometimes moderate problems are the worst because they can remain hidden for a long time, slowly and gradually eroding away our health and self-esteem.

I remember one incident 12 years ago quite clearly.  I had just become a Mary Kay sales director and I was meeting three others in a nearby city at the home of the senior director.  As it was also a celebration brunch to honor me, we were all asked to bring a small food item to share.  I was feeling so inadequate, insecure, unworthy and late that I forgot to grab something from home.  I stopped by a small convenience store on the way and grabbed, you guessed it, donuts!  A box of mini balls of goodness.  Did I mention I was running late?  Tension started to rise.  Traffic and more tension.  The thought of walking into a door and a circle of women in which I was sure I did not belong created even more tension.  I could not possibly show up to a joyous event radiating anxiety.  I desperately needed to temporarily “fix” the situation.  Perhaps I could open the box carefully, have just one, and no one would notice.  Just one more.  Well maybe just one more.  At some point, I became so distracted with the “just one more” that I had to suddenly slam on my breaks to avoid running a red light.  The box of goodness toppled off the passenger’s seat, spilling its contents all over the floor.  What did I do?  Well of course before that light turned green, I scrambled to reach them all and scoop them back into the box, placing it securely on the seat beside me.  “What have I done” is the thought that seeped into my realization as I glanced at that now half-empty box containing donut holes sprinkled with shoe dirt.  I’m in the neighborhood, just around the corner from where I need to be, and I have a half-empty box of gross donut holes to contribute.  How tacky!  I cannot hand those to the host!  I cannot leave them in the car, because what if someone sees them? So yes, I quickly stuff the rest of the balls of not-so-much-goodness into my mouth.  I don’t even taste them this time.  Some ugly monster has taken over my body, shoving in food I don’t want in order to suppress emotions I can’t allow myself to feel. 

Fast forward and here I sit.  It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, lots of big transitions in my life, and I suddenly smell donuts.  I’m sitting in my living room, but I swear that scent wafting in the air is real.  The bakery in my mind is tempting me, begging me to numb life again.  I acknowledge what is happening, and I resist.  One small victory.  These are the bricks that pave the road to transformation.  One choice at a time.

I know the sadness of these recent changes is building up.  I know it needs to be released.  I know for some reason I am not ready to fully feel it.  I’ve alerted my kids, in case one day they come home and find me crying over dinner, they’ll know it’s not about the food.  Well, at least not that food! If, or more accurately when, I collapse into a puddle of tears, at least now I know I will surely not drown.----

If you're feeling brave, please comment and share your numbing substance of choice....  Acceptance is the first step to transformation!

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