Slipping

Slipping: counting, measuring, eyeballing. 

Overthinking.

Saying no, knowing I need to say yes. A resounding yes. A yes filled with all of the “no’s”.

Saying yes in all of the wrong moments. To ed. To fear. To comfort.

Being strict. Beginning to restrict. Holding out. Holding on.

Waking up on the right side of the bed. Thinking today will be the day. Proving myself wrong, day after day.

Reaching out. Speaking up. Accepting the help when it’s the hardest. 

No pain, no gain. The struggle is real.

Tripping. Skinned knees and raw, sandy hands. Firm ground. Sometimes it’s not what’s physical that hurts the most.

Resting. Taking the time. Listening. Feeling. Letting it all go. Slipping through my hands like the sand that once stung them. Slipping. 

 

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Mirrors

Most days, I hate mirrors. I know I’m not the only one, and that body image is a huge issue and topic, especially among women. I know that I have never had a positive body image. Even when I was a young girl, my knees were too knobby, my nose was too big, my elbows too pointy. I think it’s normal for people (maybe especially females) to be hyper-aware of their bodies at some points in our lives. I also know that eating disorders and negative feelings toward your own body often go hand in hand. There were months, years when I didn’t feel great about my body, but I didn’t really care or do anything to change it. This involved anything from how I dressed to how my hair looked. I didn’t care. But it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky not caring. It was an I-don’t-value-myself-enough-to-care not caring.

My body was like a prison, keeping me here on earth when I didn’t care to be here anymore. I didn’t want to look good, because I didn’t feel good. I don’t think I even wanted to feel good anymore. I was just done. I still struggle with not feeling pretty or looking good enough. I don’t really care, or so I tell myself. But I still see other women who are just so perfect and gorgeous, and then I start to compare and become dissatisfied. I realize I do care. It’s almost got to be hardwired into us as females to want to look beautiful. And we are pummeled with this message that we have to be perfect, from the left and the right and oh look, there’s Jennifer Lawrence with her glowing face and perfect body that has for sure been photoshopped but looks so real. How can I ever live up to that? I can’t. And I don’t want to, not in my true heart of hearts. I know it doesn’t matter, and I could be the most beautiful woman to walk this earth and still not be happy. There are so many more important things.

I’ve been having a rough time with this lately, probably because I have been steadily gaining weight. This is something I want, and that I know is necessary. But it feels so…shallow. I’m above all of that, right? No! I’m not. And I have to work every day to make myself level my expectations and be more realistic. I do something to take my mind off of it. I wear clothes that are comfortable, and aren’t too tight. I wear my makeup the way I think it looks best (which takes extra time, but does wonders for my self-esteem. I know, makeup, but I’m not hiding behind it.). I want to get better at being more mindful and conscious of my feelings surrounding my body, and talk back to the negative self talk going on. I think it’s important, because I realize that some days I see a really icky face looking back at me in the mirror, and others I see the real me. I know my brain is playing tricks on me. And I also know how good I feel when I’m feeling beautiful.

This isn’t about me throwing a pity party. I don’t want (or expect) readers to tell me how beautiful I am. Nope, this is simply an honest, transparent post about how I feel a lot of the time. And it’s OK, because I get through it and am ultimately working towards being content with myself in all the different ways. I’ll get there. And if you’re reading this and recognizing yourself in all of this drivel, I’m here to tell you that you’ll get there too. It’s so easy for me to look in the mirror and notice my face being chubbier, with a little bit of a neck roll going on. I will often lament my feelings to my husband by saying “my face is fat!” . For some reason I’ve been able to handle my thighs getting bigger and my waist expanding (though I have gone off about my muffin top a few times!) but my face is just so different. It’s all so different I guess. If this is what it takes for me to be healthy, then I’ll just have to come to terms with that. And I hope that day comes soon. But until then, I’ll just keep working towards that, it’s all I can do.

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Dating ed

I’ve ruined the last few Valentine’s day’s for me and my husband. I wasn’t trying to, but it happened anyway. Neither of us are big into the traditional”holidays”. Columbus day seems fake, Valentine’s day is a chance for overpriced chocolates and flowers to raise sales…No offense to those of you who adore holidays like this and find great meaning in them, they’re just not for us. To each his own. This year, I wanted Valentine’s day to be different. It was, but not in the way I imagined. That’s OK though, because it was perfect. It began with delicious heart shaped French toast for a breakfast in bed, and ended with the watching of a weird romantic comedy called “Slow Learners”. I made dinner and a scrumptious bundt pan of monkey bread (one of the first desserts or food items I have prepared and eaten in a loooooong time. I admit, I was a bit nervous as I dumped the butter and sugar mixture over the biscuit pieces…I mean…it’s a lot. But, I used to eat monkey bread all the time when my mom made it, so I could do it again, as a challenge. It was very tasty by the way.

With my new job, I don’t work most Mondays, so I slept in today (until an embarrassingly late time) and enjoyed another late breakfast with my husband. How things have changed. Last year, ed was my Valentine. He told me I’d get nothing but grief and guilt from him, and that’s all I got. I resisted love and gifts from everyone else. I don’t remember if I gave anyone anything. I was only concerned with one thing: keeping ed happy so he’d leave me alone. He didn’t really leave me alone, of course. Somehow I still believed he might though. Last year ed convinced me I wasn’t worthy of love. Love from anyone. I had been married for a while and wasn’t responsive to much. I took everything the wrong way and turned things around to hurt those I loved. Last year was pretty much an anti-Valentine’s day. This year, it may not seem like it; but so much has changed. I can now share a meal and not have to eat my own little safe foods. I can enjoy a dessert that I made and not restrict the next day because I “ate too much”. I can feel OK about spending several hours just laying on the couch watching movies. It feels so good to be free, or on my way towards it. Dating ed is no fun. He doesn’t encourage me or build me up. He doesn’t ask if I’ll make monkey bread and then eat it with him. He doesn’t hug me and ask what’s wrong or crack jokes at just the right time. He’s a horrible guy who has nothing but my worst interest at heart. He likes to say he loves me but really he’s like those people who are only with you so they can feed off of you and better themselves, never giving anything in return. Ed is no kind of Valentine. I’ll choose a real human being from now on.

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It’s OK not to be OK

I have a handful of podcasts I listen to when I have time. The other morning I woke up super early, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Instead of getting frustrated about just laying there, I decided to see what podcast episodes I had to catch up on. “All The Books” is a favorite of mine, but I won’t have a new episode of it until Tuesday. A few podcasts hadn’t downloaded completely, so those were out. Scrolling down I recognized a name in one of the subtitles. Kelsey Miller. Kelsey is, in a word, amazing. She wrote a book recently called “Big Girl” which I could totally relate to, and every woman should read (I’m not just saying this, she is so very with it when it comes to how we feel about our bodies). The podcast is called Food Psych, and I’ve enjoyed previous episodes so I started playing the episode, knowing I would probably be awake for the duration of it. Sometimes music or quiet voices lull me to sleep, but Kelsey Miller and the host of the podcast, Christy Harrison? This was gonna be good.

I was half awake, but I’m pretty sure this is the episode I took away a really profound question from. And that is: when I am starving myself or cutting or denying myself whatever…what am I needing? Obviously I am having horrible feelings and responding to them, but what emotions and feelings are they? Fear? Hatred? Shame? Hurt? How about all of the above…the trick is finding ways to practice self-care during these spells. Whether that is taking time for yourself, eating a favorite food, watching a TV show or movie, listening to music, going for a drive…the list goes on and on. You are the only one who knows what you need. But just because you are the one acknowledging how you feel and what you might need, doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help or tell someone what’s going on (I need to take this advice myself, probably more than I realize).  Sometimes you might not know what you need, and that’s OK too. I guess my point is: it’s OK not to be OK, as long as we are working towards being OK…OK?

I hate to admit it, but I’ve felt so good since I began trying to come back from the edge of destruction, that it’s really hard to accept it when I don’t feel good. It was really crappy to have to deal with my body when suddenly my uterus woke up a few weeks ago. I wasn’t prepared, in fact I was in denial that I would ever have to face that particular problem again. It sucks when I feel sad or depressed. Everything can be just fine, but sometimes I’m not. Often, there’s no rhyme or reason. Hormones? The moon? Who knows. I caught myself thinking the other day that my life had no purpose. I began to have obsessive thoughts about how unhappy I must make my family. I hate wallowing in my depression, it’s so selfish and annoying. An endless cycle.

So when I feel depressed, why am I feeling that way? Is my life so unhappy? Do I have any reason to complain? What do I need in those moments? What is my body telling me? Sounds to me like I need a healthy dose of self-care. I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

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Guilt for no reason

I rolled over onto my stomach in my sleep last night, and woke up briefly when I moved my arm. Draped over my side, my arm allowed my hand to brush against my belly. “Fat! I can’t eat anymore!” I remember promising myself I would do better, that I wouldn’t allow this to continue. For so many years, I had dreams (or nightmares?) about being “out of control” and eating, only to have to “make up for it” later. Of my parents yelling at me, and me yelling back, about some altercation surrounding food. (This never happened in real life, but to me this is an obvious sign of me wanting to please my family, knowing how much I was hurting them as well as myself.) How deeply this illness runs in me. How it has power not only over my awake self, but also my dream state. Ed is like Satan. Maybe ed is Satan.

Once I woke up for good, I didn’t have any hesitation about eating my breakfast. After years of starving myself, I relish each meal. I marvel at how stupid it was, to see my husband eating regular meals, but I had to wait. I couldn’t have what he was having. I couldn’t have what they were having! Why? Nope! Don’t even think it. Stop right there! Not because I was afraid of getting fat. No. It was guilt holding me back. Guilt and fear. Fear of my own reaction. Fear of having to live with myself after consuming fuel. Fear of the unknown. Guilt from having dirtied my body with food. Guilt because I surely didn’t deserve to feel full and good. Guilt for no reason really. It feels like guilt, but the logistics aren’t there. That’s because eating disorders aren’t logical. They are like taking a knife to a wound that is already bleeding, and driving the blade of that knife in so deep. The pain you are trying to cover up with a bandage just gets worse. Obviously. Because no one ever healed a wound by wounding themselves further.

I don’t have the constant thoughts about food and my body like I used to. I don’t get anxious because I need to mail a package, and I need to do it now otherwise the world might stop spinning. If I need to do something, I do it and usually everything turns out fine. Even if I don’t do it right away. I do think about food quite a bit, bit not in the negative way I used to. Yes, sometimes I think about food negatively, as in “I want it but I won’t have it”. Those thoughts will probably stick around for a while. The point is, I don’t dwell on them, or act on them like I used to. I wish so much that I could bottle up the formula to recovery, so others could take it and thrive. I know that everyone has a different journey though, and that is a beautiful thing.

The sad thing is, if I were asked how I came to be where I am now, I would answer this way: I had to struggle and fight with myself and ed so much. I had to be ready, and choose this path for myself. No one else could choose it for me. Sometimes I get morose and regretful about not doing this sooner. But then I realize that I had chances. All of those days, nights, weeks and years that I chose not to change…those were all on me. Not fully and totally, I knew what I was doing, but I was addicted. I still am. I know that, just like any other addiction, if I taste that sweet taste of it again, I will slip back. Thankfully, there’s these beautiful and delicious things called Sara Lee Party Cakes that keep me grounded, so if I ever seem to be losing my grip on recovery, shove one in my mouth and it will revive me.
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