But seriously guys – who shuffled the cards?

I really dislike my writing lately. If anything, it’s a less than profound literary reflection of myself: repetitive and lacking any sense of growth. Maybe it’s because I’ve been slacking off for the past few months, but when I think about, well, things, I spend most of my time staring at my notebook trying to remember the letters of the alphabet.

Everyone in their twenties feels lost, regardless of having a mental illness. Isn’t being twenty-something a mental illness in itself? But when I really think about it, I don’t feel lost. I’m very aware of where I am. I feel stagnant, which is not a bad place to be for me, to be honest. But it’s not great either. I feel like I made a very important phone call, but I’ve been put on hold for months and am now stuck listening to the same annoying, easy listening hold music while I wait.

I’m still waiting for that post-college adventurous gene to kick in. Is that how it worked for all great explorers? I don’t remember reading anything about that in our class’s skewed teachings of Christopher Columbus. But everyone all seems to be setting sail for the Great Perhaps, while I’m still trying to blow up a life raft. I feel trapped. Chained to a place that is littered with anchors. All I see is someone else’s perfectly filtered future on instagram. If only I could pin all my insecurities on my 16th century phone for not having an app to validate the happenings of my existence.

I want to eat up all the stars and recharge every nerve in my body. There’s a brighter future out there. I know it. I can feel it burning my skin. But I stumble – arms outstretched like a baby taking their first steps, needing to caught by their mother – blinded by the sun.

In just a few months, 2014 has already tested my commitment to recovery. In a lot of ways I feel very strong and tough and stable. It’s rewarding to actually see that I can take the punches life throws at me with grace. But when I ice the swelling, I have to decide whether to let everyone see the bruises or cake on make-up. Lately, it’s easier to apply a smile with lipstick. But the way I see it, in recovery, there is no quick fix so I might as well rock the red lips.

Even though I’ve been questioning a lot lately and I can’t truthfully say that I haven’t had my lapse days, in the end I always come back to the same painful truth: Addiction is a rigged game. Starving, drugs, drinking – it’s all the same. The entire time you think you’re winning. But when you finally lay your cards on the table, you have a losing hand. You might as well forfeit before the stakes get too high, skip the inevitable repercussions of relapsing, and stick with recovery even when it seems like you have nothing to lose.

As I told my best friend recently, you can kiss your demons good morning when you wake up or you can roll out of bed and wash them off in the shower. That choice is presented to me every day. Some days it doesn’t even cross my mind. And then other days it rings louder than my alarm and long after I’ve hit the snooze button. I know it’s hard to let go of something that once was your best friend. You loved them. Maybe you still do. Maybe you always will. But if you have to kiss ’em, kiss ’em goodbye.

Trading in “sick” clothes and wearing vulnerability

Today, for the first time in three years, I bought a new pair of jeans.

I am devastated.

I woke up this morning at an ungodly hour for a day off.  My first inclination was to stay in bed all day and, in all honesty, not eat.  But instead, I decided I wanted some retail therapy and to blow my grocery money (a mere $20) on something to help me feel good about myself.  My wardrobe is made up entirely of “sick” clothes.  Clothes that by all rights I should not be able to fit into.  I am not 100 lbs anymore and haven’t been for a long time now.  But I still haven’t let go of what that number stands for.

I went to T.J. Maxx, the site where I had my first realization that I had an eating disorder my freshmen year of college.  Now, a 24 year old woman, I knew as I walked in the store that this would probably ruin my day off.  Sure enough, I left the fitting room with the familiar chokehold on my throat that had seized me 6 years ago.  But instead of running out and crying to my mother on the phone, I bought some soup and Christmas chocolate and walked home.  I cried all the way.  I cried when I got home.  I ate the soup, I ate chocolate, and I went to sleep for 6 hours.  I woke up, and now I’m crying some more.

Anorexia is a disease.  It is an addiction, and when you choose recovery, you have to deal with symptoms of withdrawal.  Addiction tames you before it hurts you.  As awful as it makes you feel, it also makes you feel high and invincible.  Nothing can touch you.  I miss that.  I miss feeling like I had skin made of steel.  Now I just feel ripped open and vulnerable with mangled guts for anyone to sink their hands into.

So yes, I am devastated.  I know that is a strong word to use in regards to the simple act of buying new clothes.  But to someone with an eating disorder, it’s not just a pair of jeans.  It is a scarlet letter burning, “I’m not good enough.”  Now they’re sitting untouched in a bag at the end of my bed waiting to see if I’ll be strong enough not to return them and exchange them for bad habits.

When I’m Twenty Four

I’ve come to realize that freaking out about the future is a regular occurrence after you graduate.  It’s not just a 20-minute plot-line of a sitcom that is dealt with and forgotten by the next episode.  No.  So far it’s been a HBO mini-series with infuriating cliffhangers and no laugh track.

As I’ve mentioned before September is a rough time for me, and by the end of this month, I was feeling really low and not like myself.  Ruminating a lot, feeling lethargic, and being hypersensitive to everything going on around me.  I was second-guessing every decision, worrying about what I’m “supposed” to be doing, and letting fear of failing or getting hurt hold me back.

But then October 1st hit and suddenly I went from neurotic basket-case to employed, optimistic (but still neurotic) soon-to-be 24 year old.  How this can happen in less than a day is beyond me, but I’m just going to go with it.  I’m fairly certain it’s something I’m going to have to get used to for the rest of my life.

I’m not very good at change, or rather the anticipation of change.  I’m told constantly it’s a common flaw in eating disorder patients, but I personally believe it’s a quality shared by the entire human race so I don’t really feel like I should have to apologize for it.  Once I’m in it I’m usually okay, but that moment before the jump is when I start to sweat.  Recently, I think a lot of that has to do with feeling like I need to make up for lost time.  With everything that has happened in the last five years, I’ve put so much pressure on myself to do good and be good.  It’s too much.  I didn’t have control then, and I don’t have it now.  And if there’s anything I’ve learned since I’ve graduated, it’s that life is more enjoyable when you go with the flow.

Last week I was freaking out about my birthday that’s coming up in a month.  I’m turning 24.  That number sounds dreadful.  24.  That’s almost 25, which is halfway to 30, which means I need to get my shit together and why is everyone getting married and having kids, what the hell am I doing, who am I, I need to live my life to the fullest DEARGODBUILDMEATIMEMACHINE

….then again, it also sounds, dare I say, exciting?  Aside from money, there’s very little holding me back.  I’ve got an amazing family and group of friends I can always count on.  For the first time ever, I’m not ruled by classes and homework.  I’m done with school – I have been dreaming about this since naptime in preschool.  I’m single, and not that I’d ever let anyone hold me back, there is a certain freedom in that.  I can just work my ass off and in my free time pursue all the things that I like, which mostly consists of coffee, books, and music.  I have no obligations to anyone or anything, except to myself.  When I think of it that way, 24 sounds pretty freakin’ awesome!

I really need to remember that thought whenever I panic about the future because, as calm and collected as this post sounds, I will freak out again.  It’s just in the nature of every 20-something year old.  And I’m not going to fight it because even in the midst of my string of panic attacks and days of self-doubt, I’ve felt a growing sense of hope in me that’s been getting stronger and stronger since this summer.

No, I don’t have a 5-year plan, but I do have the next 5 days planned, and that’s a start.

Secrecy feeds eating disorders

The most valuable lesson I’ve taken away from recovery is to never apologize for showing feeling because it only means you’re apologizing for the truth.  Learning to speak my mind was the greatest gift recovery gave me.  I am a much happier person for it.

However…

Sometimes I just want to say, FUCK THE TRUTH, and let it fester away and die.

It is hard for me to admit that I need other people, as well as their support and love.  It’s terrible to need.  I hate it.  Somedays it’s hard to no longer live in a body sheathed with the ironclad armor of an eating disorder.  Empty is strong and invincible.  When I feel overwhelmed and vulnerable, it’s a tempting to retreat back into its’ shell… I miss the days when my eating disorder and depression were secrets.  I know it seems a bit contradictory to have a public blog dedicated to my recovery and struggles when at times I feel crippled by shame and loathing and guilt, but I know deep down it’s too late to go back.  I can’t hide this part of me, and even if I could, I shouldn’t.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to accept that.  Secrecy feeds eating disorders.

It’s lonely when such a big part of your life is secret to your friends… but sometimes I wish I was strong enough to be alone, than risk losing more people I care about or infecting them with this disease that is so damn hard to understand.

There’s a point in everyone’s recovery where you realize that you cannot do it alone.

3 years out of treatment and I still struggle to accept this.

Every time I reach out to someone, I feel this sharp pang of idiocracy and embarrassment mingled with the guilt that I just disturbed the universe.

I wish pumpkin spice lattes and wooly sweaters were enough to keep the triggering thoughts of this time of year out, but they’re not.  The sadness just lays across my eyes and I pass through the days in a haze.
…..I’ll still keep drinking the lattes though.

It’s a chronic illness.

I’m going to apologize in advance for any lack of grammar and eloquence this post may contain.  I’m emotional and in my experience, those things tend to go out the window when I’m in such a state.

I either want to be locked away so no one can see me or I want someone to wrap their arms around me and smother every bit of doubt pulsating through me with kisses and snuggles.  A tad contradictory, I know.  But I feel like such a nuisance and am embarrassed of my disordered thoughts and momentary breakdowns.  All of a sudden, I feel utterly disgusted with my body and life for reasons that probably have nothing to do with my weight, but of course, I will fixate on.  Why?  Because weight has a simple solution.  Exercise, starve – problem solved.  Associate weight with any other problem and with every pound you lose, your problems will shrink as well.

That’s how eating disorders work.  Or at least, one way they work.  Eating disorders and depression are far too intricate to have just one explanation.  Either way, it’s just a lie presented in a pretty little package begging to be unwrapped, and right now I feel like a 4 year old waiting to rip open every present under the Christmas tree.

I’m scared.  I thought I was doing so well.  I exercise moderately.  I eat moderately.  I’ve been feeling good and confident.  Then I go out and socialize, indulge in things that I like, and then feel like utter shit after.  I just – asdfghjklasdfgwhatthefuck?!  Is this how life is always going to be?  Take a couple days off from exercising and suddenly I’m the victim of self-abuse?  Has the progress I’ve made these past 3 months been an illusion?  I don’t think so.  Then whyyyyyy?  Will I ever get to a place where I can do things without a free pass from exercising or starving?  A place where if something unexpected or bad happens, I don’t immediately fixate on my body and beauty.  I just can’t imagine a world like that.  Not today at least…

I’m grateful for the growth my struggles have given me, but god dammit, I hate this fucking disease.  I hate my polluted blood.  There are days where I just get so mad that this happened to me.  Days where I do nothing but cry over the person I might have been if it had been different and pine after the years I’ve lost to this disease.  I want it gone.

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!

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.

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?

Planned on writing all day…

and spent most of it like this:

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I have a song my friend wants me to write lyrics for and I’m in desperate need of getting a story of my own off the ground.  I need a writing partner.  Like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett or John Green and David Leivthan.  That would be cool.  Or maybe not even a partner, just someone to shift the boulders around when writer’s block kicks in.  They just have to settle for my level of mediocrity and be okay with that.

I love writing.  I wish I was better at it.  Before I decided on going to college for music, whenever anyone asked what I wanted my major to be, I always told them creative writing.  I hadn’t even entertained the possibility of music.  It kind of just happened.  Actually the whole college thing kind of just happened.  But creative writing was my default answer… sometimes I wish I followed through with it.  My head has always been too full of stuff and I think on paper is the only place it belongs.  I spent most of my high school career holed up in my room writing.  My AP English teacher adored me and for once it wasn’t because my sister was THE Katherine Sullivan.  No, I was Kristine Sullivan, the girl who always had a stack of books on her desk apart from the assigned reading and a writing voice all her own.

But then I went to college and everything changed.

My depression and subsequent eating disorder scarred my imagination.  I stopped reading.  I stopped drawing.  I stopped writing.  I had experienced too much of a sick reality to bring myself to write stories about lives I would never live.

Recovery gave me back my voice and that is something I do not intend on wasting.  The pen is mightier than the sword, or razor blade, or empty plate.  Use it.