Don’t expect great writing. Don’t expect interesting character development and twists and turns. It’s just me. My laptop, my 2001 VW Eurovan Camper, the trees, the Pacific Ocean, the squawking jays, the stained blue sky, the chiffon ribbon breeze, a chilled glass of chardonnay, my turquoise folding chair and Big Sur campsite neighbor, the best man at a forest wedding he’s about to attend and sing at. He was rehearsing, possibly, or soothing himself, singing a song he composed and strummed on his guitar. I couldn’t help but eavesdrop. I scooted my chair closer, looked up at the sequoia canopy, thought of my own wedding at this very same state park 45 years ago, and allowed his music to crack open my broken heart.
It was here that 21-year-old, eight months pregnant me married a man who would derail my life, and my two children’s lives.
Everything inside me told me, “No, don’t do it,” but I went through with my disastrous plan because of my mother’s words when she found out I was pregnant, “Well, you are going to marry him, aren’t you?”
“Yes,” I assured her, all the while knowing no such plans existed.
Quickly, I bought white cotton maternity shift at Sears, reserved a Big Sur camp site, hired a mail order New Age minister, made potato salad and assorted picnic foods, deviled eggs, cold cuts, bought a tent, invited my parents, and got married on a sunny June day, just one month before my son was born. I wanted to cry, but I smiled. I wanted my mom to tell me that she loved me and would help in whatever way she could. But no one, NO ONE, told me that the impending marriage was nonsense, that it was wrong. No one said that marrying this unemployed, perpetually-in-college student 12 years older than me would avert my dreams and ruin my life.
So, I did. And my life, and the life of my children, was pretty screwed up. One bad, fateful decision.
My heart spoke, and I didn’t listen.
But now I am.
I’m 65 and on my first solo camp trip. This is Day 6. I’ve been waiting. For inspiration. For courage. To get to the place, the core, the reason. And campsite neighbor Max–his song–had me weeping buckets as I thought about my journey, why I lacked confidence, courage, to have the right–the audacity–to share my story. What does it matter? Who would care?
See, the thing is, I’ve always looked to others for acceptance. My confidence eroded by strong and opinionated family members. I was too fat. Too sensitive. Too dumb. Untalented. Too strong. Too weak. Just not as good as them.
I fought back. And from all outward appearance it looked like I could take the battering. But it takes its toll. The only thing I was genuinely good at was eating Mom’s food. I was her “big eater” and it was the place, I discovered, I could be loved. When my siblings and Dad, complained about the evening meal, I was the first one to finish the plate and to prove how extra lovable I was, eat their leftovers too! Mom’s culinary skills and effort were her way of showing us love—and I was the only one who appreciated it. I got the crown.
Thus, my 60+ decade battle with food addiction.
Is this the moment I stand up at an OA meeting and say, “I am an addict”?
Believe me, I tried it. And while it may be the tonic for others, for me it’s about getting to The Source, the reason, and that song, Big Sur, an impending wedding, my solo adventure, just pushed me to another, raw, vulnerable place.
Where did it go wrong? And, now decades later, how can I fix it? How can I, at last, find the peace to live the rest of my days in alliance with my spirit, with God, with my present destiny?
Breathe. Look up. Listen, and have the courage to allow The Truth to be revealed to you. Be naked. Be courageous. And know that melody you just heard drifting through the pines is leading you to the path you were always meant to discover.
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