Belonging

For the first time in years, I’m doing a play.  Stages have been a part of life with the Burley clan for a long time, but it has been the Burley children who have graced them with their presence.  This past Fall, Caleb and Daniel were in Seussical the Musical at school and in a community production of Oliver! at Center on the Square. 

I’m a big believer in supporting our local community, so when Center on the Square called and asked if I would be interested in helping with an upcoming production, I said yes!  It’s been a lot of fun, even though it has kept us busy.  Summer Brave is the stage version of the old movie Picnic,  but with much more comedy in the storyline.  I play Mrs. Potts, a nosy, always cheerful next-door-neighbor who becomes enamored with a young drifter visiting town. 

There’s one line in the play that sets my toes on edge every time I hear it, “A woman’s life doesn’t mean anything until it means something to someone else.”   It’s said from my neighbor/friend to her daughter who is in her late teens.  I react to that line so strongly that my friends tease me about it when it’s said on stage.

Why do I react so strongly?  Because I don’t think it’s true?  No.

Because I wish it weren’t true.  About me. 

I wish I didn’t define myself in terms of relationships.  I wish I didn’t see my value or lack thereof in regard to what others think about me.  It’s very hard to be at this stage of life, feeling that almost all of what I’ve done has been done for others and knowing that I’m not anyone’s top prioity.  Am I loved? Yes.  Do I have wonderful friends who journey through life with me?  Yes.  Am I anyone’s top priority?  No.

And that is a very hard truth to digest.

What does this have to do with food?  In her book, Life is Hard, Food is Easy, Linda Spangle theorizes that there are two specific reasons we crave different foods:

  • People who have very definite cravings for crunchy foods tend to have stress or anger issues
  • People who have vague cravings for something softer and more soothing tend to be trying to fill an emptiness.

Although she doesn’t provide a research study to document this, she has found it be true over her years of practice as a therpist for people with food and body image issues.

I’ve done both of those things;  I still do both of those things.  After spending some time pondering it, I’ve realized that yes — I do feel empty and yes, I am angry about it, and unfortunately this translates into self-worth issues.  Why am I not good enough to be someone’s priority? What’s wrong with me?
And sadly, there are a lot of days when it seems that having someone else who valued me might be the solution and I don’t like that.  I don’t want to need someone.  I don’t ever want my heart to be broken again.  I’ve felt that.  I’ve felt that repeatedly.  I don’t want to ever feel that again. I don’t want to want someone that deeply only to learn that I’m somehow not enough. 

So maybe realizing this and getting it out there will help me.  Or maybe it will help you.  If you’ve struggled with any of this, just know that you’re  not alone. 

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