All the leaves are falling…

And the sky above my head is very grey.

September is a triggering month for me.  Maybe it’s because I hit my lowest moment this month three years ago, but September always eggs me on to breakdown.  I start to feel scared and unsure of myself.  My head is suddenly covered wall-to-wall with mirrors, and the space between my elbow and wrist prickles when I think too hard.  The changing leaves begin to fall in a flurry of bad memories and feelings.  I’m constantly pulled down by waves of fear, struggling to keep my head above water.

Last September I experienced my first relapse.  It happened so fast.  In a matter of weeks, I somehow crossed the line of healthy and destructive, and by October I knew the thing that was talked about like some cautionary tale in treatment had finally happened.  I relapsed.  Everyone had always said you’d never realize it was happening when it was happening, and WOAH were they right.  To make a long story short, I took the necessary steps to pull myself out of it (i.e. reach out to supports, consult therapist, be open and honest with loved ones).  It didn’t take me long to get back on track.  But of course, life happens and I got derailed again.  I threw out my disordered behaviors for depressive tendencies.  I was not in good shape emotionally and physically for the latter half of my senior year.

But as with every year, I am reunited with September once again.  The month of new beginnings, right?  I’m much healthier and much happier, but there’s something ominous about September, and it’s off to a, let’s say, contemplative start.

This past week I made the trek up to Keene to see one of my best friends.  She’s never been without me throughout her college career thus far, so even though we’re only a week into the semester, a trip was needed.  However, my little weekend visit turned into a week long stay.  It was great.

I got engaged.

Well, fake engaged.  But if this is what it’s like to be really engaged, I think I need to reevaluate my marriage priorities.  It was quite the spectacle, I assure you.  I got to spend time with some really cool people I haven’t seen in a long time, I was reunited with my TAD friends, and enjoyed the New Hampshire air I’ve missed.  So much, in fact, I didn’t want to leave.

Now, I’m seriously considering moving back.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  I just need to make absolutely sure that I’d be doing it for the right reasons.  It’s not enough to say, “It’ll make me happy.”  No.  I need to know what about it will make me happy.  Going out to the bars and having fun with friends are not a legitimate reasons for moving back.  That’s not what I want anyway.  I don’t want to go back to hold onto the college “Golden Years”.  Besides, my “Golden Years” were more like “Bronze Years” or “Certificate of Participation Years”.  Having an eating disorder and depression kind of ruined the romanticized notion that my time in college would be the best years of my life.  However, that means that there are better years ahead of me… which is exciting, but also why I want to be smart about this decision.

My initial worry was that people would judge me for staying in my college town, but fuck it.  At nearly 24, I need to stop caring what people think of me.  Aside from that blip, I’m concerned that the reason I’d be going back is because I’m too afraid to delve somewhere new, which is partially true.  I am scared.  I’d rather be more financially stable if and when I move to a city like Chicago or Boston.  And I’m still so unsure of what I want that I don’t feel ready to move somewhere new either.  So why not use Keene as a transition platform?  Work a couple jobs, save money, but be in a place that I love and also be near supports.  From a personal and recovery standpoint, it balances out.

As great as I’ve been doing with my recovery and inculcating a healthy lifestyle here in Rhode Island, I also feel like I’ve been slowly becoming an agoraphobic.  I’ve been isolating.  Here, I don’t have to deal with social anxiety.  But I need to tackle it.  Socializing is a part of a balanced lifestyle.  Going out in Keene made me realize how much I need to work on that.  I was having fun, but I felt very self-conscious and uncomfortable a lot of the time, especially in social settings that involved food or alcohol.  I didn’t exercise much while I was there, and that completely shifted my mindset.  It scares me how easily that happened and how I rely on exercise everyday to give me permission to eat.  I don’t want to have that mentality.  I still have a lot of work to do, and once again I am reminded that recovery is a life-long commitment.  As dramatic as it sounds, I can’t let my guard down for a second.

Also, I love being close to my mom and living with her.  She’s the most wonderful and caring support I could hope for in a mother.  But I also worry that she is my security blanket.  My binkie.  And that’s moms are for, right?  It’s ok.  But after this weekend and realizing that I’ve been isolating intentionally and unintentionally, it feels like a crutch.  So I’m not sure if it’s in my best interest to stay.

Transitions and change is always hard for me, moreso than the average person.  If you think I’m over-thinking all this, I’m not.  I know how I work, and the steps I need to take to make transitions easier for me… I can’t risk relapsing again.  Ultimately, that is the biggest fear here.  I don’t want to go through it ever again.  But that possibility will be there no matter what decision I make so the important thing to do is to acknowledge it, but not let it hold me back.

I could run in circles around this forever, but at some point I need to put down the Pro/Con lists and just make a decision.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Criticism?  I want ’em all!

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I don’t want to die in a cubicle

The following ramble you’re about to read (if you have the willpower) doesn’t have much to do with recovery so I apologize.  But I want to get it off my chest so I don’t waste too much of my time dwelling on it.  And please, if you have any thoughts you’d like to share, I’m all ears!

This week I was given the opportunity to apply for a full-time job at the company my dad works at.  If I had been offered a job, I would’ve been working 10 hours a day 5 days a week to talk on the phone with cranky customers who posses little to no brain cells.  I’d also be paying for gas and insurance for a car that I don’t yet have to drive to a job that is an hour away…

Basically, I’d be paid a lot of money and spending a lot of money at the expense of my soul.

I passed it up.

Now my dad is pissed off and I feel like shit.

But then my mom reminded me how furious he was when my sister started studying Arabic at Tufts.  He thought it was the most pointless endeavor and had no future whatsoever.  Since then she has been accepted into some of the best intensive language study programs, traveled the world, lived in Egypt for a summer, and before she even graduated, was offered a full-time teaching position at a prestigious school in Boston.  Not so worthless anymore, huh Dad?

Also, I’m not keen on taking advice from someone who did nothing with his degree and hates his job.  My dad received a degree in Physical Education, and aside from playing for a community football league when I was a baby, I don’t recall him ever pursuing it.  Instead, he became a computer consultant, and I watched him hate his job throughout my childhood and now continuing into adulthood.  He will probably hate his job until he retires.  I refuse to make that mistake.  I cannot sacrifice my happiness and sanity for a paycheck.  And trust me, I am not so naive to think that I will never have a job that I hate.  It has happened before and it will happen again.  But I have worked in a cubicle before and it took all the strength left in me not to throw myself out of the 18th floor window every day.  I know there are college bills to pay, and I fully intend to get a job come September.  I’ve already started the hunt and am applying.

I want something that will allow me to have some freedom to pursue other endeavors.  A part of me feels really guilty and selfish for not working this summer.  But the other part of me believes it was the best decision I could have made.  I needed time to recharge.  This last semester sucked.  A lot of great things came out of it, but by the time I graduated, I was in such a terrible headspace.  It’s been nearly three months since I graduated and in that time, I’ve changed my lifestyle considerably and I have a better sense of who I am.  Physically and mentally, I feel the best ever have.

I want to build a life my way because, after all, it is my life.  Maybe I am making a huge mistake.  Maybe I’ll crash and burn.  But I’d rather that than not try at all.  After five years struggling with depression and an eating disorder, I know how my mind works.  I know what is good for me and what will potentially derail me.  A full-time, corporate job would be the kiss of death.

I love my dad.  I know he just wants the best for me and to live a long and happy life.  But it pisses me off to the point of tears that after 23 years, especially in the last five, he still won’t accept that I am not someone who treads a traditional straight and narrow path.  I will never be that girl who after graduating from college immediately gets a corporate job, gets married, and settles down with a family.  It’s not going to happen.  With me or my sister.

Get over it.

Sometimes I underestimate the power of Time…

Today I met and caught up with my one true love and best friend since 2nd grade, Rachel, for the first time in 2 years.  You’re probably thinking that that’s an awfully long time to go without seeing a best friend, let alone talk to them, and you’re right.  Yes, we both lead busy live and she moved to Germany, but a big reason for our time apart was our own personal growth and recoveries.

When I moved back to Keene 2 years ago, my ex who also happened to be one of my best friends and biggest supports decided that it was in both of our best interests to part ways.  As hurt as I was and as horribly as he handled it, it was what I secretly wanted too.  I honestly can’t say that I was mad.  Sad, yes.  But not mad.  For once in a very long time, he finally did the right thing.  Even though I was making considerable progress in my recovery, the year after I had gotten out of treatment was a tumultuous emotional roller coaster for me and had put a strain on both of us that neither knew how to handle.   That aside, we already had a long history.  I did the best I could.  At the time, I never thought he cared enough.  But looking at back, I think he did the best he could too.  He didn’t know how to handle it.  It’d be very easy to blame everything on him, but I can’t.  He made mistakes and I made mistakes.  Helping and understanding people in recovery is extremely hard.  It takes a lot of strength and patience and compassion.  In the end, I believe he knew he was holding me back.

By September, we were done.  Even though I knew it was a good thing, it also left a huge hole in my already very small support system.  I was terrified.  I had never been without him since I had developed a full-blown eating disorder.  He was the one who convinced me to go to treatment.  He had been with me through some of the bleakest periods of my life.  I started to wonder whether I could do it without him…

And that’s when I realized, it was finally time for me to stand on my own.  As much as loved my best friends and knew they loved me, I always felt like I was still perceived as a disordered being.  Whether that inkling was true or not, it was holding me back.  It kept me stuck in the disordered mentality and despite whatever progress I made, I continued to define myself as such.  It was like when you visit or move back to your hometown after college and people still see you as your high school self.  It doesn’t feel good.  So I decided I needed to break away, not out of anger, but necessity.  With already one best friend gone and starting over at Keene, it seemed like the right time to do so.  It was time to be fearless.

Soon after the Fall semester started, I was cast as Janet in my college’s musical production of The Rocky Horror Show.  The impact of that experience is a story for another day, but it became the support system I needed.  I met new people who got to know me as Kristine, not an eating disorder.  When I opened up about my struggles, I was met with admiration and understanding, not judgement and negativity.  I finally was becoming the recovered person I always wanted to be.  I can’t begin to describe how much I grew over the next 2 years.  I was confident.  I was socializing.  I was free.  Not only did I grow, but I broadened my support system.  Now I have an abundance of friends and family who I can count on.  I don’t have to dump all my issues on one person and strain our relationship.

Aware of the transformation I have undergone in the period apart, I admit, I was slightly apprehensive about seeing Rachel today.  What if too much time had passed and we were two completely different people?  But despite that nudge of insecurity, I knew we would slide effortlessly back into place.  Sure enough, it was like no time had passed.  We’re still two kids sunbathing on the playground map during recess.

Maybe I didn’t need to take that much time away from her and my old supports.  Regardless, the time apart gave me the space I needed to grow out of the mold my eating disorder and depression encased me in.  I am in such a better headspace.  Even just over the course of this summer, I feel so healthy – mentally and physically – and I can see that in my best friend as well.  Just in the way we talked and carried ourselves, I could see we both have a confidence that we didn’t have before.  We’re more sure of ourselves.  We may be uncertain about the future, but we’re certain of our worth and growth.  I’m so proud of us.

I hope to continue reconnecting with old friends.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to reconnect with my ex/former best friend.  I never thought I’d say it, but after today’s success, I’d like that.  He crosses my mind occasionally and I wonder where life has taken him.  Wherever he is and whatever he’s doing, I’m sure we’re both happier where we are now than we would have been if we hadn’t parted ways.

Perhaps time and space don’t need to be perceived as bad concepts in relationships, romantic or otherwise.  I don’t think I’ve ever understood the healing and evolutionary powers they possess until today.  Time and space could be my allies.  Taking chances and a tenacious heart could be too.  Maybe I don’t have to fear them so much.  Maybe there are times to stay put and what you want will come to you in time, and maybe there are times to go out get it for yourself.  I’m finally starting to feel comfortable with treading both paths.  Maybe it’s because I’ve graduated and everything is wide open, but for once I’m facing uncertainty with unwavering eyes.

Come what may, I will be okay.

What does your weight/body image mean to you? How has your body image changed throughout recovery – has it gotten harder or easier to deal with?

Nothing.  They mean absolutely nothing to me.  Some days my ED voice tells me that my body is all I’m worth.  But the reality is that my eating disorder will always be an unhealthy coping mechanism, a diversion from the actual problem.  When I feel shitty about my body, it means something completely unrelated is wrong.  Berating my body hurts less than what is actually hurting whether it be depression or just a dump in the road.

Thankfully, my body image has changed considerably.  The way I view my body doesn’t hold me back as much anymore.  I can say now without even flinching that I am beautiful.  This year I’ve really grown to love my curves.  Bad body image days happen.  It still boggles my mind that I can wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and think, “Goddamn, I am a sexy goddess.”  But then when I eat something and look in that same mirror literally five minutes later, I’ve magically gained 50 lbs.  It sucks.  Still, on most days, I can say, I am beautiful. 

But I don’t think I ever would have been able to say that if I didn’t learn how to love the me that really counts – the person on the inside.  My eating disorder has always been about hiding the things about myself that I saw as ugly and shameful.  None of these things were physical.  If I became perfection on the outside, no one would ever see the imperfections on the inside.  It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to open myself back up after I tried to starve them out of me.  I have flaws.  Plenty of them.  But so does everyone else.  It was hard to convince myself that letting people see the “ugly” sides of me wouldn’t scare them off.  And sadly, they did.  It hurt at the time and even looking back it stings, but the people who didn’t stay made room for people who would, and now I have an abundance of friends and family who love me for me.

I am beautiful.  My heart is beautiful.  My mind is beautiful.  My body is beautiful.  Feeling strong makes me feel sexy.  And I mean, c’mon.  I had to dance around in granny panties in front of an audience.  If I was able to make that sexy, I am sexy.

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“Wow, she’s really let herself go.”

The most feared comment among recoveries.  But I can’t say it’s not true.; I have let myself go.

I’ve let myself go to the movies and eat Buncha Crunch and buttery popcorn.

I’ve let myself go out to dinner with my really cool family.

I’ve let myself go to parties and dance and drink all night.

I’ve let myself go hike mountains.

I’ve let myself go on adventures with friends and fill up on nothing but laughter.

I’ve let myself go sing karaoke with people who are in no state to carry a tune.

I’ve let myself go skinny dipping on the 4th of July and watch fireworks dance on the water.

I’ve let myself go for a walk instead of a run.

I’ve let myself go on coffee dates on crisp Fall days.

I’ve let myself go on a real first date.

I’ve let myself go have great sex with someone I love.

I’ve let myself go have bad sex with someone I don’t love.

I’ve let myself go become a part of a family of friends that love me for me.

I’ve let myself go stand up for myself when I was being treated badly.

I’ve let myself go sing and act onstage without worrying about whether the audience deems my body beautiful.

I’ve let myself go walk across a stage to grab a diploma.

And most importantly,

I HAVE LET MYSELF GO FURTHER THAN YOU EVER WILL IF YOU THINK WEIGHT IS THE MEASUREMENT OF HAPPINESS.

I have so many more places to go.

And so begins the final stretch of summer…

August is upon us and I have made it my mission to exercise every single day.  But when I swore my declaration of body-hate independence, my mom asked me, in almost an accusatory way, why bother doing something if I don’t like it?

A very good point.  In fact, I consider it a rule of life.

But the truth is, I don’t hate jogging.  I hate the deathly humidity we’ve had this summer that has put a major dent in all my jogging prospects.  Some people find the heat invigorating.  If you’re one of those people, I envy you.  Truly, I do.  I wish it didn’t melt me into a pile of misshapen goo.  But walking, nevermind running, in 100 degree weather is horrid.  I don’t enjoy it.  So I don’t do it.

However, aside from the unbearable heat, I mostly hate the build-up to get my stamina to a place where jogging isn’t torture, but rather a second-nature daily activity.  I’m not looking to be an athlete or to run a marathon.  I just want exercise to be a part of my lifestyle.  Permanently.

When I look back on last summer, I can’t help but feel a little twinge of frustration at where I was then and where I am now.  As far as stamina goes, that is.  I started jogging regularly around the end of August right before school started.  After a summer full of many nights at the bars drinking with friends (no regrets btw), I was feeling sluggish mentally and physically.  So I decided I needed a change.  I stopped drinking and slowly started exercising.  I honestly thought giving up alcohol would be harder than exercising regularly, but it wasn’t.  In fact, it was really easy.  And it made a huge difference!  Usually I have a hard time keeping myself motivated and on track, but this time around it wasn’t much of a challenge.  Maybe it was because I knew I was going to be performing a lot and was stressing about looking good on stage.  Or maybe it was because I was expecting my then-boyfriend to be even more supermegafoxyawesomehot after bootcamp.  Whatever the reason, it worked.  I was diligent and kept myself at a healthy moderate level of exercise.

I want that back.

And I can have it.  I strongly believe it’s an issue of mind over matter because I do not think that I am horribly out of shape.  In the past few months of getting back in touch with my recovered self, I’ve come to realize that I associate negative self-talk with exercise, which makes me afraid to do it.  Who wants to subject themselves to self-loathing?  I don’t.  It certainly isn’t very motivating or at all nice.  I need to break through that fear.   I need to break through that chain of negativity we all wear when things get tough.  THAT is my ultimate goal for August.

I’ve made a lot of healthy changes this summer and hopefully August will prove to be just as rewarding, even if it is in small doses.  I cannot wait to welcome back the brisk Autumn weather with open arms.  But until that happy moment, I’ll just chip away at my goal and think happy thoughts.

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts deedaleedee

You know what recovery gives you?

Fun weekend getaways with your best friend.

This weekend I went to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire with the besticle and family.  We were lucky and had some beautiful summer weather.  I was a bit stressed out about going because a weekend at the lake includes wearing a bathing suit and inevitably eating my weight in junk food while mindlessly snacking on the dock.  However, all my apprehension went away when I saw Aaron’s bat signal in the sky.

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I mean, seriously.  This (double) rainbow was HUGE.  And we were so close to it.  It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  From there on out I knew it was going to be a good weekend.

Triumphs of the weekend:

  • I wore a bathing suit.
  • I drank beer for the first time in months and it was wonderful.
  • I had Dunkin Donuts twice.
  • I went out to eat 2 nights in a row.
  • I didn’t skip breakfast even though I really wanted to.
  • I went to Kellerhaus and ate a gigantic sundae.

And the best part about it?  I didn’t feel guilty at all.  It’s hard to be down on yourself when you’re too busy laughing and surrounded by people you love. 🙂

Thought of the day:

Be with the people you love, do the things you love, and FUCK THE REST.

Oh and you can’t be sad when this is your phone’s background.

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Badasses can be 5’2″ and blonde

I have countless role models among my family and friends that keep me going.  But I also look to fictional characters for inspiration.

Before the eating disorder and severe depression, my fictional gal pal was Rory Gilmore.  In high school, I easily related to her.  She was quiet, witty, and loved books.  Pretty and brainy – what more could I want to be?

Well, a lot more actually.  When I revisited the world of Stars Hollow during my college years, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at Rory.  She was deemed perfect at everything she pursued, denied being privileged despite her rich grandparents paying for everything she did, had a complete disregard for reality, often times treated her friends and boyfriends like crap, and yet somehow she had a parade of followers who worshipped the ground she walked upon. (For a more in-depth analysis why Rory Gilmore is a destructive and completely unrealistic role model for girls, please read this article.  If I could sue someone for plagiarizing unspoken thoughts, I would.)

Needless to say, Rory is no longer an inspiration to me.  But that’s okay.  Her exit made room for a more worthy heroine: Veronica Mars.

Let’s backtrack to 2011.  By then I had gone to treatment, started classes at a new college, and was chipping away at recovered life in Boston.

The first year of recovery is the hardest.  In some ways it’s harder than a year of sickness because you are no longer numb.  You begin to thaw.  Eating disorders stunt your growth as an individual, and when you’re released from its cage, you feel mentally overgrown and awkward.  Nothing is simple.  Word vomit is a frequent occurrence.  You are constantly crying, getting emotional over things you can’t explain.  The entire time you keep thinking you’re more crazy and unstable than you ever were before.  But you’re not.

As 2011 progressed, I was beginning to not only see myself differently, but the people around me through new eyes.  I didn’t like everything I saw… I had never considered that I would lose things in recovery.  After all, wasn’t that the reason why I went to treatment?  To save everything I loved?

But still in the midst of my slow, but steady progress, I was going through what turned out to be the last rough patch with my then best friend and ex.  For a multitude of reasons, one of which being I was finally speaking my mind.

Enter Veronica Mars.

One day I was at the Cambridge Library killing time before my ballet lesson. (Yes, you heard that right.  Me.  Ballet.  It happened.)  I was looking at the DVDs for something that would soothe the usual wave of anxiety after spending 2 hours in a leotard, when I stumbled upon the first season of Veronica Mars.  I remembered commercials for it years ago, but had never seen it.  So I checked it out and an episode later, I was hooked.

If you’ve never seen the show before, Veronica Mars is a modern-day and infinitely more badass Nancy Drew.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good overarching storyline with witty dialogue and an interesting ensemble of characters.  For a show that was originally targeted for a teenage audience, it has some of the best writing I’ve heard on television and delves into territories of social and economical class, rape and slut-shaming, race and ethnicity, sex and gender.  Unfortunately, it only lasted three seasons, but Veronica Mars will always be known to me as the girl who helped me find my inner badass.

Veronica Mars emulated everything I was too afraid to be, but knew I had in me.  She is strong and independent.  To me, there is nothing and will never be nothing more attractive and admirable than intelligence.  Veronica is known and respected for her brain.  That is her biggest and most celebrated attribute on the show, in my opinion.  So I started believing in my own intelligence rather than constantly putting myself down and focusing on my body.

My confidence sky-rocketed, and with confidence, my recovery and happiness reached an uncharted high.

I learned that I can stand up for myself with intelligence and class.

I fight my battles with a quip in my heart.  There is a huge difference between communication and confrontation.  I don’t like confrontation.  I mean, who does?  I find no pleasure in it, which is why it bothers me so much when someone is unresponsive or worse, thinks I’m a bitch.  I don’t like it either, you know!  I still get scared speaking my mind.  But I do it because I’d rather demand respect than sit comfortably in insecurity.  It is not overreacting to ask for what you want and need.  Telling someone that what they do hurts your feelings or bothers you doesn’t have to be an accusation.  When I approach someone, I don’t yell and toss the blame at them.  You don’t have to say hurtful things to throw a punch.  I’ve learned that intelligent and honest words will make a bigger (and more effective) impact.

Veronica didn’t take shit from anyone.  But even with her hard exterior, she had a heart that was just as easily hurt as anyone else’s.  Having a heart isn’t a weakness.  It’s okay to not be tough all the time.  It’s okay to be marshmallow.  It’s also possible to be serious and tough, but still retain femininity.  I like polka dots.  I like skirts and tights and fancy shoes.  For whatever reason, my love of pink apparently makes me soft.  But remember, it’s all fun and games until someone ends up with my stiletto up their ass.

Just because she had been through a lot of traumatic experiences, she didn’t deny herself the desire to love and be loved.  Better yet, her relationships never defined or radically changed her personality.  Having a boyfriend was never a priority.  That isn’t to say when she was in a relationship, he wasn’t important to her.  Quite the opposite actually.  But she embodied the idea that you can follow your dreams and have a relationship.  I feel like we’re taught that you can only have one or the other, and to have them both, you’re putting yourself at risk of losing your way.  But I find happiness in both and believe there’s nothing stopping anyone from balancing the two.

Just like the show, Veronica isn’t without faults.  She is stubborn, unforgiving, and at times takes cynicism to the whole new level of extreme.  But that didn’t stop me from admiring her.  Instead, it helped me accept my own self-proclaimed flaws and move past them.

Veronica Mars didn’t teach me how to be a badass.  It was always there.  She just helped me get a new contacts prescription so I could see that I already had it within myself.

You’ve got it too.  Be cool, soda pop.

When the Pawn…

Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right.

This is the title of Fiona Apple’s second album.  It’s actually a poem she wrote, which I didn’t know until now.  I find it so fitting because it was the soundtrack to my relapse last September.  I haven’t listened to it since then, but I rediscovered it last night, and after reading through this poem several times, I’ve decided it’s going to be my new mantra for recovery and life in general.  She is my favorite songstress; her words pick my chin up and break my heart  all at the same time.  And that’s what recovery does.  Sometimes the ache is the most honest thing you’ll feel.

Fiona is my queen.

Calories vs. Feels

Today was a bit disheartening.

I deliberately skipped breakfast.  Again.  I got up early to drive to Carver and even though I knew I should eat something, I told myself, “Ehhhhh no.  I’m not hungry.  Just wait until lunch.”  I’m not going to beat myself up over it because I know it’s just one slip up, but one can lead to 100 so easily.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, my hunger cues have been kind of off lately.  When I wake up in the morning I’m not hungry, which makes it tempting to skip breakfast altogether.  It takes more effort than normal to bring myself to eat, and when I think about eating, my body gets turned off to it.  It’s almost like a slightly  nauseous feeling.  Very subtle.

The frustrating thing about all this is that I feel good.  I have my bad days, but overall, I’m content.  Usually loss of appetite is a signal for something negative (i.e. stress, ignored inner turmoil, bottled up feelings), but I really don’t feel bad (most days).  I can acknowledge maybe 3 things off the top of my head that have valid reason to stress me out, but they’re comfortable discomforts, meaning I’m not worried about them.  I’m optimistic and keep on goin’ with the flow.  It’s all good. 🙂

Now I’m going to break a rule here and compare myself with someone else.  I promise it’s to make a point.  When I look at my general diet, I see it as pretty healthy.  It’s fairly balanced and the portions are reasonable.  The concept of eating 3 times a day is still something that makes me uncomfortable, but I do abide by it.  But then this weekend, I visited my sister.  In my eyes, she and my mom have always been the epitome of healthy.  Her 3 meals a day put mine to shame.  They are actual meals.  My idea of a meal?  Well, an orange for breakfast counts as a meal, right?  WRONG.  I’m confusing a snack with a meal.  My sister and I were making lunch and she was asking me what I wanted, listing off options.  Pizza, macaroni and cheese, quesadilla, etc.  Everything she offered was (in my mind) too much for lunch.  Eat a quesadilla for lunch AND eat pasta for dinner?  I couldn’t possibly do that!  Especially since I had cornbread and butter for breakfast!  Jesus Christ, you want me to have orange juice too?!  TOOMANYCALORIESDEARGODNOHELPMEASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKlASDF

THAT, my friends, is disordered thinking.  Again, forgive the comparison (I’m already awaiting a text from my sister yelling at me), but I thought it would be worth it to illustrate a point.  Out of everything that comes with an eating disorder, the one thing that I truly have not shifted in my mind is the number of calories I, as a twenty-something year old woman, am supposed to be eating daily.  Usually that number is around 2,000-2,400 cal.  My mind runs on a 1,000-1,200 cal basis.  Granted, as someone who used to only consume (aside from nothing) 300-800 calories a day, it’s an improvement.  But it’s still too low.  I don’t know why, but just as 800 calories used to boggle my mind, eating over 1,000 is still hard to wrap my mind around.  Even today, I ate homemade pizza with my grandparents and then they made chicken salad sandwiches, potato salad, and salad for dinner (ha lots of salads).  It’s like I still have trouble processing eating those two (again, in my mind) big meals consecutively, which is frustrating.  Something’s wrong with me.  I feel like an alien. :/

So here we have reached the dilemma.  I’m happy and comfortable with what I’m doing in my recovery.  Even if I don’t meet the advised caloric intake per day, I feel fulfilled and healthy.  The question I keep asking myself is, do I still need to consider upping my intake just to meet a health standard?  Or do I measure myself with how I feel?