In my eating disorder, I was never fully present. I was anything but. In fact, I went to great lengths to avoid everything from people to emotions to reality to the experience of being in my own body. To simply be & live in the moment seemed terrifying, no matter how it was framed. The thing is, I couldn’t selectively avoid; I couldn’t mute only the unpleasant emotions. Because of this, I lived a significant part of my life mostly numb, with spikes of anxiety thrown in to keep it real. (I never did fully figure out how to completely avoid anxiety.)
I bring this up because I recently had a photo shoot for my dog. Yes, I did in fact hire a dog-only photographer for a portrait session of my fur child. AND IT WAS LIT. I was a total stage mom, directing Lulu from the sidelines by motioning, waving treats, and speaking to her in the same voice that most well-off, white women of child-bearing age use to speak to tiny humans. (Can you tell that I prefer dogs to children??)
During all of this, I wasn’t preoccupied with my weight or my body shape & size. Sure, I probably had thoughts, but they didn’t stick with me. I didn’t ruminate over what I’d eaten for breakfast. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I had no makeup on, probably needed a shower, and could’ve combed my hair to make myself look more presentable. None of that mattered. It was, at worst, background chatter and at best, nearly outside of my periphery. What mattered to me in that moment was 1) getting my $200 worth by making sure Lulu’s good angles were captured (but really does she even have any bad ones??) and 2) spending time with my dog and basking in our mutual joy.
You see, Lulu doesn’t care how her namesake leggings fit me or whether I have on makeup or not. All she wants is my love & undivided attention (she will straight up nudge me with her nose if I’m on my phone for too long in her presence) and to feel connected. She’s a pack animal, and I am her person. (Who the alpha is is still up for debate.) Lulu seemingly lives mindfully in the present moment in search of food, somewhere to pee, and someone to pet her. Yes, she’s overly territorial, doesn’t like new people much, has separation anxiety & attachment issues, and is afraid of most men, but we’re working on it. Both of us. Like mother, like dog-ter.