Shine Where You Love
It started with an article. The headline alone caught my attention. It spoke of weight, of horrible family members who hurt with words, and the author’s struggle with their weight. A topic all too familiar for me, to be honest.
Given I’ve been learning and discovering the depth of my issues — not just physically, but emotionally — I wanted to see what the author’s experience was like. She wrote a personal article for Huffpost, hinting at trauma that likely caused her destructive bent toward food. I felt my heart twinge in empathy; I suffered the same.
But, unlike the author, I’ve been seeing therapists. I’ve been medicating. I even had weight loss surgery to help my weight issue — but it could only deal with the physical aspect, not the emotional problems attached to it. As a result, I’m still struggling. There are ways to work around the food consumption limit, which I’ve discovered to my shame.
However, this time, I came across solid advice. The author of the Huffpost piece shared a brilliant advice that her therapy coach gave her:
“The next time you are feeling stressed, angry, bored, lonely, or full of grief, instead of automatically opening the fridge and searching for a snack, I want you to ask yourself: What would feel like ‘love’ right now?”
Reading that paragraph triggered an overflow of memories. I know, I know…. to many, comic books are a mindless sense of entertainment. You would be wrong. Oh, not denying that some really are just mindless sources of fun — nothing wrong with that!
But look at Mark Waid’s “Kingdom Come”. At ElfQuest and the multi-layered philosophy you could discover and re-discover with repeated reads. So many have excellent messages and points, if you know where to find them. Comic books are, truly told, one of numerous ways to get a message across.
It was never just for children.
I know I mentioned ElfQuest before. It provided a lot of excellent lessons, some only acquired from re-reading. Indeed, there’s a lot of foreshadowing, some awesome background imagery that one can only notice if they took their time, and beautiful messages.
I wish I could say this was a recent discovery. But in re-reading the therapy coach’s advice, it made me remember something I read and forgot.
You see, in ElfQuest, there was a period of time where the Wolfriders chose to sleep in preserved sleep until they were reunited with their family. (Long story, awesome read, highly recommend.) During their long sleep, the Wolfriders dreamed. It wasn’t just ordinary dreams, but occasionally given visions of their time in the future, perhaps a forewarning.
Tyleet, one of the Wolfriders, longed to meet humans, to get to know them, to cease the hate between their people and to end the bloodshed. An admirable goal. (This was one of the ways ElfQuest dealt with racism!)
Shenshen, however, was a Sunfolk. She always felt trapped in her elder sister’s, Leetah, shadow. Leetah was, to Shenshen, the most beautiful, talented, highly sought after by all the males in their village. Shenshen longed to outshine her sister, just once.
In their dreams, somehow Tyleet and Shenshen touched, and Tyleet gave Shenshen great advice.
It would take Shenshen some time before she finally found a path that allowed her to shine. In that path, she discovered her light, what made her special, and it threatened neither her or Leetah. To the Wolfriders, there was never a need for such competition. Each was allowed to be who they wanted to be, and were accepted as such.
So what did ElfQuest have to do with that fantastic advice from the therapy coach? Plenty! But first and foremost: finding our own light. Finding our own version of love.
I had been on a self-destructive bent for some time. It comes from trauma and pain, from that pain turning inward and thinking I was so unworthy of love that the best thing I could do would be to just end my life — albeit slowly. The wrong kind of food in immense amounts was a kind of poison, after all.
What if I could find a way to self-love? It would be very much a kind of cognitive behavior therapy. Conscious choices, made each day. Instead of “What’s the point, I’ll just eat this and who cares?”, maybe I should think of “I know I’m not feeling all that great right now, but if I eat this instead of that, it’ll eventually help me feel better.”
The right food choices could help me feel better. Oh, I know there’s no way to completely heal my body — certain syndromes and disorders can only be alleviated, not cured — but how much of a difference would that make for me? A lot, I imagine. It won’t be instant. It would take weeks.
But the journey to self-love, to love, to creating my own light, starts with that first step. At the risk of sounding corny, it’s a lot like that song from Frozen II:
Shine… where you love. What does ‘love’ sound like to me? Health. Energy. Feeling better. Eating better. Looking in the mirror and being happy with how I look.
So… what does ‘love’ sound like to you?