White Knuckles

There is an early scene in the movie Silver Linings Playbook when Bradley Cooper’s character Pat has a session with his therapist Dr. Patel. They are discussing his bipolar disorder and Pat says:

So I then realized that, oh, wow, you know, I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. And uh…and without any supervision I’ve been doing it all on my own, uh… with no help, and um…you know, I basically I’ve been like white-knuckling it this whole time.

This phrase, “white knuckling it,” has spoken so much truth into my life.  When Brett and I saw this movie, we literally turned to each other in the theater and gave a silent “YAS.” We’ve referenced it in countless conversations since. Determination is a powerful thing (I’ve heard.) Willpower can make movement. But, to borrow a phrase, the struggle is real.

Raise your hand if you are perfectionist. Ah, I see you. Yeah, me too. I expect so much from myself. My growing up life was as the oldest child of divorced parents and I created a structure for myself that I didn’t get at home. I zeroed in on how good it feels to be recognized early on and have spent many of my years as a president, captain, and chairperson. Bless.

But what’s a valedictorian to do when she finds herself on the other side of a 60 pound weight gain? What does she do when it just shows up one day and she doesn’t remember inviting it in or even giving it her number? I can tell you what I did.

I tried so hard. So hard friends. I tried to run and write and track and weigh-in. I willed myself to make it so. I leaned on my own understanding. It was so much work. It was so hard. It required so much sacrifice. And, ultimately, it led to bitter failure.

I have shared my struggle with past failures here. I have asked, why should I take myself seriously? I have thought on this and searched for the answer to a better question, What is different this time

To put it simply, I know better. To rely on willpower is to invite failure. I am now deeply focused on methods that are intuitive to my own person, my own schedule, my own preferences. This is indeed transformative.

I am a social creature and so my friends come with me to spinning every Monday and Wednesday.
I want to make more space for myself and invite growth so I’m going to a yoga class Fridays after work.
I need coaching and direction so I meet a couple times a month with Holly for conversation and acupuncture.
I need reminders so I schedule alerts to take my vitamins, jot down a note of “self love.”
I thrive on “top of mind awareness” so I read every article I can about wellness and exercise and buy books that help guide me.
I am weak and food is my battleground so I pray that I will “trust in the Lord with all my heart.. submit in all my ways to him, and he will make my paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I struggle with overall calorie reduction so I am trying intermittent fasting for the next 3 weeks. (You can read more about that here, here, and here.)
I get a little up in my own head (right?) and so I am building new practices that require no evaluation, but simply action.

I am so at the beginning of this journey. I ORDERED FRIED SHRIMP FOR DINNER ON SATURDAY NIGHT, OKAY?  But my sweet soul has been hurting. I have been white knuckling it and trying to do it on my own with no supervision. But as with all struggles, the heart of my God is aching for my success. My friends who I love so deep lift a banner for me. My dear husband, who is my gift today and everyday, offers rest and a place for peace. Alone no more and that is so precious to me.



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