Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bulimia and petit thievery...

This is a difficult blog topic for me to disclose...

Until recently, I have held on to a self-made, fabricated delusion. A lie I tell ya; it's underlying truth is something that I have been lying about for years now.

It was June of 2004. I was in my second year of college at the University of South Florida. I was dating my high school crush and at-the-time sweetheart; we'll call him BBW. Him and his friends established a tradition; Spring Lake had become the destination of a yearly golf trip for the guys. They were departing in a couple of days. Being the kind and generous girlfriend that I was, I decided to get them some goodies to take with them. I went to a local Wal-Mart with a plan without a plan; I had no list. My intentions were to walk around Wal-Mart and buy what caught my eye; snacks and drinks and band-aids were all possibilities.

During that trip to Wal-Mart, I had other intentions, too. These intentions were different all together. They were specific and premeditated. Between you and I, it wasn't the first time I made and followed through with a similar premeditation.

Have I mentioned...? I was a new-be roaming and floating around the world of disordered eating. I wasn't always anorexic; I wasn't always bulimic. However, I was surely disordered. At this time, I didn't know what I was doing but I was establishing a dangerous routine. The danger lied in my health, or lack there of, and in my presently clean but unstable legal status. At the time, I would eat protein bars all day, daily, bites at a time. I usually ate specific bars; they were made by Dr. Phil, Shape Up! bars. I always felt like I was getting nourishment but, more importantly, I felt comfort from chewing these specific bars, little bite by sweet chewy little bite.

My goal would always be to limit calories consumed. Sometimes, I threw up some of those bites if the amount of bites I compulsively and neurotically chewed ended up as a whole 2 or 3 bars worth of calories at one time... well, this neurotic and disordered eating lifestyle became expensive. I couldn't live with throwing up money I spent on food all the time. So, totally unnaturally and illegally, she began to provide me with compulsive thoughts of stealing them. The compulsion usually scared me enough to prevent me from giving in to it. However, the impulse won a couple times. This day at Wal-Mart, it won and I seriously lost.

While I was shopping around aimlessly at Wal-Mart, I went by the aisle of nutritional supplements. I grabbed a few, 3 or 4, and I placed them on the opening of my over-sized canvas sorority bag. I knew what I was doing; I knew my intentions. Like I said, this part of the shopping excursion was completely premeditated. I continued to peruse the store, strategically placing bags of chips over the bars so I could continue to discreetly slip them further and further inside my bag. My mind was on compulsive auto-pilot and this same mind was convinced it knew exactly how to get away with what it was doing.

As I continued to shop, I noticed seeing some of the same plain dressed people passing by me. I ignored them and perused for about another 20 minutes. I bought the guys all kinds of things: doritos and gatorade, soda and juice, brownie mix and baked ziti ingredients, to be prepared. As I walked and wandered, my compulsive thoughts of thievery did not dissipate. I was going to go through with it. As I stood in the check-out line and rang up $65.00 worth of items, my heart pounded at the $7 worth of protein bars I had in my bag. Logically speaking, it really didn't make sense to spend $65 and steal $7 but, logic was not on my side, compulsion was.

I paid for the items and started to walk out of the store. I got one foot out. That was it though. "Ma'am, we need to see your bag," said the same gentleman that had been wandering around the store close enough behind me. Undercover security and theft prevention saw through my compulsion.

Immediately, I formed a story that I thought would forever be my story. This story became the truth. I made it my truth and everyone else's; well, everyone else's but that theft prevention character's. He was not even hearing it.

I cried and told them I made a mistake. I said I had forgotten that I put the protein bars "on top of" my open canvas bag. "They kept falling through the cart and on to the floor! I put them there because they kept falling through my cart! I totally forgot I put them there! Please! I will pay for them right now! I just spent $65.00. Why would I steal $7 worth of protein bars!?! Please! I am so sorry!"

They didn't give a damn about my story. Looking back at my telling this story I realize a few things. One is that she was the culprit and she was the thief. I was the one telling the lie to cover up for her. In my right and non-compulsively driven mind, I would have never risked that. I would have never chosen to steal protein bars. She didn't give a shit about my fears or my legal record. She just knew that she wanted those bars to eat and to throw up. And, she wasn't going to pay for them. Not today.

Petit Theft. Forever a misdemeanor charge on my record.

Those 3 Shape Up! protein bars cost me well over $500 when all was said and done.

To this day, I have only told one person the truth. Until now, I have only told one other than finally myself. Someone with an aura of unconditional positive regard came into my life recently. I've felt unconditional positive regard from many people in my life but, I felt utterly compelled to open up to him. I only knew him for a short time but, he changed me. Opening up and telling the truth was like breathing truly fresh air. It felt freeing and releasing. Since then, I have felt like the chains that once held me in contempt have been unlocked. He replied perfectly. "That just shows how far you've come, Jessica. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed. You should be proud of yourself for how far you've come."

Since that conversation, I have been wanting to rescind and repent to those of you here. I have been wanting to come clean with those of you that read what comes from my darkest and deepest places. I have been working up the courage to repent to my readers since October. Well....

(inhale.... exhale....)


I choose not to dwell or to feel ashamed anymore. Like my short-lived friend said to me before... it shows how far I have come. She surely does NOT have that kind of power anymore. She never will again. As I sit here and press the keys on this keyboard, I pronounce that she and her powers that encouraged me and provided such compulsive thoughts of thievery is gone.

I apologize as being the body in which she controlled at that time. I apologize for my dishonesty to all of my friends and family regarding the incidence. I especially apologize to my mother and father. My father was the one who said, "Jessica, if you did it, you can tell me. I will back you up and support you and lie for you til your dying day...please tell me." I didn't tell him...  My mother was the one that came to court with me. I practiced my story with her and I told that story right in front of her and the judge. I didn't tell her the truth either...

Even more so, I publically apologize to myself. I apologize to myself for not allowing myself to live in truth and for binding myself in lies and in chains. I am living in truth now. I am living in truth and she is not welcome nor invited here, ever. Never, ever again.

R.I.P. Shape Up! lie.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's it take to be an "Angel"?

...who knows what these girls really do before they hit this runway. In case you didn't know, the Victoria's Secret 16th Annual Runway Fashion show hit the airs of CBS recently.

There were rumors of what these girls ate (more accurately, what these girls DIDN'T eat) for up to 2 weeks before the big show.

Really? Is this necessary? Is the amount these models weigh, or don't weigh, really necessary?

Is the below an example of what girls growing into women really need to look up to and strive for? Is this what runway perfection really needs to look like?

Personally, I could NEVER look like that. I would be emaciated to the point of near death if I looked like that.

But, do I, for a shear moment, think that I SHOULD/NEED/HAVE TO look like that in order to be "angelic" and worthy? Yeah, honestly. I cannot lie. I do, for a moment. But then, I take a deep breathing step back, really look at these (frail) women and think.... really?

Curves. The only curves these girls have are in their bust line and pelvic bones. Sexy?

Is this Victoria's Secret version of sexy? Very Sexy? Dreamy Angel? Showstopping? Unforgettable? Miraculous? All of these describe VS's lingerie line's names. But, is the below really show-stopping and miraculous and unforgettable? Well, yeah... I guess it is.

Show-stopping in the sense that their faces look show-stoppingly sunken and frail...

Miraculous in the sense that hard work (hard RESTRICTIVE work) must have been done to achieve miraculously protruding pelvic bones.

Unforgettable in the sense that I will NOT soon forget that I, I am thankful for the curves I have. I will not forget. I am thankful that my curves lie in reality and not in a restrictive, stringent, pelvic-bone-protruding facade. Thats the best most unforgettable thing I got from this show.

Pretty? Yeah, they're pretty. Sure.

Realistic? Realistic for the more realistic VS shopper? Uhhh, you tell me...

Oh hey Karlie! The model shows off her spunky side.

She sells seashells by the seashore.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How did I recover, you ask?...

I have had numerous people in numerous situations ask me in numerous ways a question that always bites my tongue:

"How did you do it?" 
"How did you recover?" 
"How did you stop?" 
"How did you get over it?"

Anytime I have been asked any of the above, I feel as though I cannot speak. I have always been bad with words, well, spoken words. So, I have been thinking "hmmm, if I can't SAY it, maybe I can WRITE it..."

Well, here goes...

I have prepped for this blog with an attributable list of 3:

1. A miraculously divine work I could have never dreamed up - Thanks be to God.
[Psalm 119:105; 1 Peter 3:3-4; 1 Corinthians 9:22; Jeremiah 1:5, 17; Joshua 1:9]
2. REBT - Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
3. The most impactful question I have ever been asked: "How would your life truly be different right now at this very moment if your body looked like that, that perfection...?"

1. God. Divinity and purpose... A miraculously divine work I could have never dreamed up.

I have mentioned number 1. in a number of blogs. I recently re-read a blog from July in which I spoke about my revolutionary experience of giving it up, my battle and my restless perfection seeking behavior, to God.
[mentioned July blog: Did I really just say that...?]

Holy chills, no pun intended. I believe the chills I got from re-reading that blog verify its truth and its divine power. I was always envious and vastly intrigued by those who make that statement: "I gave it to God."
How freeing and relieving does that sound? Well, let me tell you, it is way more freeing and relieving than it ever could sound. It is revolutionary. Since that day, I have evolved immensely for I am no longer her...

Not only am I no longer her but, I have truly started being me. I truly love myself (well, most of the time). And, I truly forgive myself. I no longer bruise myself with harsh thought and harsh emotion. I recognize harsh  thoughts and harsh emotions I have every now and then (we are all human, ya know) but then, I let them go. Like inhaling and exhaling, I let them in, I see them, I hear them and then, exhale.

Not only am I no longer her but, I have embraced my divine path as I have openly and willingly allowed myself to recognize and accept it. I am courageous and no longer nervous. I am real and no longer living a facade. I am confident and no longer afraid. And, I am proud and no longer ashamed. I am proud of myself and I am proud to have known her, for she has provided me with a priceless and divine gift -- knowledge, experience, humility, recovery. You can pay for school but you CANNOT buy real, raw, first-hand experience.

Accepting that what I have gone through is priceless and nothing short of divine has freed me.

2. REBT - Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

I have come to know the field of counseling through the University of South Florida's master's program in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. I have been introduced to many a techniques and models of therapy. One that has truly changed my life as I knew it is REBT, short for Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy. In short, the model's goal is to redirect a person's irrational, catastrophic thinking  about an activating event in order to produce a different emotional response.
A: Activating Event - So, something that happens...
B. Belief -  You form a subjective thought and belief about the situation
C. Consequence - Your emotional reaction
D. Dispute - change your thoughts from irrational to rational (hence RATIONAL emotive behavioral therapy)
A. You eat too many oreos.
B. You think of yourself and downright label yourself as a failure. You label the eating as an end-of-the-world catastrophe
C. You feel guilty, anxious and ashamed
--> The point is that A. does not cause C., B. causes C. Your subjective belief of the situation or event causes your emotional reaction.
--> The goal of REBT is the D. in the ABCD
D. Dispute - change your beliefs in order to change your subsequent emotional response
So, D. - Dispute - Why must it be a catastrophe? Is it really the end of the world? Will the world really stop spinning because you ate too many oreos? Maybe a better belief would be that "hey, it would have been better if I didn't eat that many oreos...next time."

This reminds me of two other blogs that will knock this dispute ball out of the park:

I Shouldn't/Musn't/Cannot vs. It Would Be Better if I Didn't.....


Pressure busts pipes...no pressure, no busted pipe.

3. The most impactful question I have ever been asked: "How would your life truly be different right now, at this very moment, if your body looked like that, like the perfect that you imagine...tell me, what would be different?"

Stumped. I was stumped by my short-lived therapist.
Dr. Langer at USF's Counseling center stumped me as she asked an entirely open-ended question. No, I did not "dump" her because she stumped me. I stopped attending therapy after 3 sessions this summer at USF's counseling center because she helped "cure" me.
This question absolutely stumped me in the best possible way. I had no answer then and I have no answer now. The world would and has remained just as it is regardless of my waist size or my legs'/behind's presence of cellulite. Nothing would truly change. Nothing.

Insight and inspiration. That is what I hope to provide to anyone of you out there reading this blog.

Counseling is all about "ah-hah moments". Those moments that you have that masterful and meaningful, eye-opening, brain-shifting epiphany... those moments when your beliefs and your perspectives suddenly shift.

Ah-hah...one for each, 1.-3.

1. Ah-hah - This was all a divinely planned, divinely designed miracle. I was meant to suffer. I was meant to suffer so I could fulfill my ultimate and divine purpose in life. To speak (or write) and to do it LOUD and to do it REAL.
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22

2. Ah-hah - it is NOT the end of the world. Ever. And, this shift in belief and in perspective is a choice. It is a choice I can decide to make on every single new today.

3. Ah-hah - Nothing would truly change. Nothing would change if my waist size changed. Nothing would change if my cellulite disappeared. Nothing would change if I was body "perfect". NOTHING.

This is my testimony and my story. My story of recovery 3 indisputable, undeniably divine AH-HAH moments later...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Real look Inside a Bulimic mind...

Sitting next to my bed is a mini-journal. This mini-journal is turned to a particular entry from the latter part of 2009. Every night, I see it. And that is precisely why it's there. It is there so I can be silently reminded of what used to be. I have left this particular journal entry next to my bed for a few reasons:

1. it keeps me in check. I never have to actually read the entry because I know exactly what it says. Just a mere glancing at the lines of ink on this mini paper is enough to remind me of the horrors that used to be me... of the horrors that used to be her. 

2. it is my motivation. This '09 entry motivates me in more ways than one. As mentioned in reason 1, it motivates me to keep a check mark over that recovery box. It also motivates me to do anything I can so that less people in the world end up here.

3. it brings thankful tears and a calm smile, every single time; pride. The entry, as dark and raw as it is, serves up humble, thankful pride. I once was the writer of this journal entry. I once was a very different, shattered and shamed soul. I once was her but, I am no longer. Pride. Utterly humble, deeply-rooted pride.

Recovery is possible.

People have asked me what it is like to be a bulimic. I believe if you have not lived it and experienced it, it's near impossible to understand. Even having gone through the below, I don't completely understand; I don't know that I ever truly will. But, here it is. The below is real, I assure you. It was written through tears of the devastation that surrounded my disordered eating lifestyle. Sadly, it is the same devastation that surrounds many other's...

Below is a real look inside the bulimic mind. I will leave you with the entry as the end of your reading. This is a real look, a real experience, a real journal entry by a real former bulimic. Make sure you grab that grain of salt 'cause you may need it to swallow the below:

I have only one provider of complete control. When I lose control in life and with food, I know I can get it back in just one act. This act is far from attractive and no one would know I do it unless I told them. No one would know that I force myself into feeling in control when control is spiraling down all around me. It is the only way I can control the guilt and rid myself of the consequences that my loss of control will incur. 
My mind obsesses at the thought of expelling my guilt until I give in to it. Until I do it, I will be in an anxious whorl of compulsive thought. Nothing else can rid my mind of these compulsive ideas. Nothing else can rid myself of the compulsive binge I just trance-like endured.
I have to do it. 
I don't want to do it. I'll be mad at myself if I do it. I'll be so disappointed if I do it. I swore I wouldn't do it anymore. I swore I would never do it again. 
But, I have to! 
"Just do it." Thats what the devil on my left shoulder says. 
"It'll be okay, you don't have to do it. It's bad for you. It's not the only way. Don't do it." Thats what the angel on my right shoulder says. 
"Just fucking do it." Thats what the devil on my left shoulder aggressively and obsessively repeats.
Almost always, the devil wins. And, I do it. I just do it. I throw up. I throw up until I think I've rid myself of enough to feel relief. I throw up enough to lessen my guilt and enough to get rid of at least a part of what I have done.
When I feel like I've lessened the impact and consequence of my binge, I feel incomparable control. I feel relief. Finally, I am at ease. I take a deep breath. And then, reality sets in.
Guilt, shame, disgust... I did it again. I am such a coward. I am such an idiot. I am such a failure. I will never ever do that again... (yeah, until the next time...)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Her history of "Cheat" days...

I caught myself (herself). She almost made an appearance for the 2nd time this week...

She has a history of declaring "Cheat" days. I have often times used food almost like a reward. If I was "good" for a week or two, she earned it: "Cheat day!" Some of my friends reading this may have heard me say that before. I am sure they didn't know that it was an aspect of my disordered eating lifestyle...

Sundays usually ended up as my cheat days. I had all week to work and work out and then Thurs-Sat were days of binge drinking and dancing the night away. I had to look good for that, duh. She had to feel like she looked good enough, anyway. Looking good enough for who, though?...couldn't tell ya... for her, I suppose. So, all week we, her and I, would work together to get to the gym and resist-n-avoid any food temptations. Then, after a week of "good"ness was over, Cheat time! And, cheat we sure did.

This was in the latter years of my disordered eating. I was not a full-time bulimic. I was not anorexic. I was just plain out disordered. Nothing about the way I ate was consistent or "normal". It was thoroughly irrationally thought out, planned out and obsessed over. I knew myself. I had to have a day of "rest". A day I could let go and stop restricting. So, unnaturally, I did the obvious, right? I set aside a special day to binge. This was my "cheat" day.

Well, this week at work, she pierced her irrational head into my life...she tried to, anyway. One of the supervisors that works at my location with MHC, Inc. is getting married next week in New Orleans. So, on Wednesday this past week, we had a potluck style luncheon in her bride-to-be honor. There was quite an array of food; there was quite an array of desserts. Cookies, brownies, cake and pie galore. On a "cheat" day, this lunch room would have been heaven on Earth for her. But, for me, not so much... torture is more like it.

Now-a-days, I have more rationality and forgiveness in my thought processes, thank God. I imagined what it would have been like to be in that room in her shoes. Instead of giving into her ridiculousness (first one-word I thought of to describe her), I was able to just eat. What a concept?! I just ate. I ate what looked good--a little turkey sausage baked ziti (delicious, Sean), some home-made Dominican style rice, some salad (guess who brought salad--ME. haha, shocker), some creamy dips-n-chips, rotisserie chicken... it was what it was--Food. Good, yummy food. I ate until I was full. Then, dessert. I wanted it all. She did, too. So, I had half of it all--rational! :) I had half a slice of divine peanut butter pie, a Publix sugar cookie (one of my all-time favorites), and half of a decadent brownie.

I wanted it all so, I had it all. Ya know why? Because I KNEW that if I didn't, if I had restricted and denied myself, herself would have came back for more anyhow. So, why not just give in to ME now instead of giving in to her later? If I would have left it up to her, I am certain she would have done a lot more damage than I did or could have done. She would have declared it: "Cheat" day! And, cheat she surely would have done.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Serenity Prayer...part two (dedicated to the 12-step crew)

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

From my first school-assigned attendance to OA, NA or the like meeting, hearing this familiar prayer moved mountains for me.

So did, especially, the NA mantra, as I would call it, "Just for Today."

I was reading the serenity prayer last night before bed. The familiar part is not what spoke to me so loudly this time. It was the second part; the part which is usually left out and not recited. This second part is SO good. It goes like this:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

"Living one day at a time..."
Just for Today.

"Enjoying one moment at a time..."
Each day, and just for that day of today, enjoying every moment for what it is: a moment that can only exist right now, in the here-and-now, Just for Today. Not for yesterday or last week, not for tomorrow or next month, Just for Today.

"Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace..."
Acceptance. Accepting your suffering, your weakness and, more importantly, accepting your strengths! Give yourself credit for your strengths in every one of your Today's. Don't run from your past or your weaknesses. Don't make excuses for them. Don't catastrophize them. Get to know them, accept them, recognize them and allow yourself to let go of them, Just for Today. Acceptance...of your whole self. This is a key piece of finding peace and recovery.

"Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it..."
Accept the world; it is as He would have it (whoever "He", someone/something greater than yourself, is to you). It should be this way because it is this way. The world is not as you may fantasize or write silent fairy tales about. It is not as you may wish it is or what you sulk about because of what it isn't. Take it, this life, as it is, daily and Just for Today.

"That I may be reasonably happy in this life..."
Key word: reasonably.
Not supremely. Supremely comes next...

"and supremely (happy) with Him forever in the next. Amen"

Just for Today.

Just because I am almost 7 months "clean" from ED does not mean that tomorrow, when that Today comes, that it doesn't deserve my undivided attention.

Every day is a new day. Every day is a new Just for Today.

I choose, Just for Today, on every single new Today, to stay clean.

Keep coming back.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Inspiration in coffee, chocolate and pastry...

No inspiration is better than the inspiration I provide for myself, all by myself. I found inspiration today. I found it during my third bite into my second mini Hershey's chocolate bar post-mini coffee cake...

I semi-randomly found myself at a quaint, eclectic coffee shop behind an overrated Starbucks late this afternoon. I knew I wanted coffee. I knew I needed to wind down after my work day and before I would be able to concentrate on my pressing paper. I saw hand painted signs to this coffee shop located behind the Starbucks-plus-some plaza. I went for it.

At this adorable coffee shop, I was served a freshly brewed cup o' joe in an equally adorable mug rather than the typical hoping to be recycled, recycled paper or, worse, the un-recycle-able styrofoam to-go. I was also served the yummy mini-coffee cake I mentioned on a mini-glass plate. Water was available near cream and sugars; this water was serve yourself out of a glass carafe style into real glass...nice. Speaking of sugars, they were served, not in to-go throw aways but, in glass syrup style servers. I hope you can see it just as it is...

While sipping my 'joe and nibbling on chocolate and pastry, I had a thought... an evil, unwelcome thought:

"Ehhh, I don't have anywhere to really dress up and go this week so, it (this pastry and this chocolate) is okay..."

I literally "PSSHHHH'd" myself.

Some of my most powerful words to myself: "Psshhhh, get the heck (more like fuck) outta here."

Of course, I'm talking to her when I speak these powerful words to myself. I am talking to her because she is no longer welcome here. She is no longer welcome nor accepted here. This I choose, daily.

I choose to remain myself as myself, NOT as herself. I choose to remain in my own existence...my own perfectly imperfect, God-given, beautiful existence. I decide that she and her self-righteous, selfishly self-loathing, distorted existence is NO longer welcome in my repertoire. She is no longer in stock nor of things available. She is sold out; I sold her out.

So, goodbye to you, her.

I won't see you later, she.

Good fucking riddance, bitch :)

(...sorry for the language but, that feels phenomenal...)
[And, for any of you who may not know, I have historically written/spoke in the 3rd person regarding my (former) eating disordered self.]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Who am I to dwell...

Who am I to dwell on cellulite?

Currently, I am working as a clinical case manager at a mental health care agency in Tampa, FL... if you are a regular reader, you know that :)

Gosh, I love my job... some days are rough but, there is nothing like someone who was homicidal/suicidal yesterday look at you in the eyes today through two decade growing and flowing tears say, "Thank you, Jessica, you help save my life."

Now, who am I to dwell on cellulite? Who am I to dwell and to take issue with not being physically "perfect".

There are people in this world with broken hearts and shattered spirits. Some of those people are the people I work with. Some of the people I work with have had their hearts broken and their spirits shattered by unspeakable traumas... rape, molestation, pain, violence, neglect, murder and otherwise serious abuse and wrongdoing. These people are broken and shattered now. To some extent, some of these people are broken and shattered beyond repair.

Now, I have to ask, who are they thanking? Me? For what? For listening and empathizing and meeting them where they are emotionally? Nah, I should surely be the one doing the thanking. Thank you, to my wonderful but sadly broken and shattered client today that provided me with a big, bold check mark I so desperately needed this week.

Yes, indeed... Thank you to my anonymous client that put me in God-sent check today.

Who am I (or you) to dwell on physical appearance. Who am I (or you) to be so shallow?

My cellulite knows nothing of their trauma. Cellulite? I say cellulite because that has been my biggest personal issue with my body for as long as I can remember. Who am I to dwell on cellulite? I have never been raped, molested, neglected or otherwise abused...

Who am I to dwell?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pressure busts pipes... no pressure, no busted pipe.

Ever heard that expression? Pressure busts pipes?

I have mentioned the mentioned expression before... it is very fitting in the world of eating disorders. It definitely was for me, anyways. Over time...seconds, minutes, days, weeks... pressure, pressure, pressure then, BUST. Pressure busts pipes. Then, you have a catastrophe on your hands. But, it doesn't have to be that way...

During a period of anorexia or a lull before a binge, I restricted. Like, seriously restricted. A cookie was NOT just a cookie. When I didn't allow myself to have the one cookie I wanted, when I restricted and demanded myself not to have even one... that had "pressure busts pipes" written all over it.

If you disallow yourself of something with such strong focus and cerebral demand, when you (inevitably) eat a cookie, what else can you call it at that point except an utter fail. According to your determinant demands, you failed... you ate the cookie. Instead of a cookie, it is now a catastrophe. Because it's a catastrophe, instead of one cookie, it will probably turn into a box of cookies, which will probably turn into a box of something else... ---> Binge.

But, what if it wasn't a failure? What if you stopped telling yourself what you absolutely cannot eat? What if you stopped trying to restrict, restrict, restrict and control, control, control? What if you stopped all of those mind games and, when you wanted a cookie, ate a cookie...

How different could giving into one cookie be? How different could that feel? How different could that be for you? Could you just be Eating to Live, not living to control what you eat...or, more accurately, what you don't eat? Could you just be Eating to Live, Not the Alternative?

If there was no pressure, wouldn't it be much less easy to "bust pipes". In other words, if you put less pressure on yourself, wouldn't it be much easier to keep from cyclical & catastrophic failures?

For me, personally, this epiphany (that may sound obvious or menial to some) was nothing short of a miracle in my recovery. Now, when I want a cookie, or whatever, I eat it...just it. Not a box, not a binge...just it, whatever it is. And, I'm good. I enjoy it. I like it. And, that's IT!

...It's a miracle, truly. Try it. Try letting go. Try removing the pressure and, just eat it. 

Cheers to Eating to Live, Not the Alternative.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What a prescription without psychotherapy did for her... Nothing.

I remember it vividly. I always will. I was a wreck. A not-so-hot mess. I was devastated and I looked devastated. I had been battling something I didn't understand for a while at this point of my devastation. Somehow, I made a decision... I was going to seek help. So, as a USF student, I called and made an emergency appointment at their counseling center. I was scheduled with a psychiatrist whose name I don't care to remember. Her name isn't worth remembering, not for anything positive.

So, I came to my appointment with my boyfriend at the time. I was scared and ashamed and nervous and, like I said, a not-so-hot mess. I was given intake papers to fill out with all sorts of protruding questions to which my answers made me more upset; I realized then what I already thought: I was a sick, devastated young woman. I now know that these questions were part of a screening for co-occurring disorders. Oh, I was definitely co-occurring. That is for damn sure. I was depressed. I had an eating disorder. I was a full-fledged depressed bulimic.

When the psychiatrist was ready to see me, I was called into her office. I consented to bringing my boyfriend in with me. I'm sure he never really understood. All he knew is that I was devastated. As soon as she started talking to me, I bawled. I cried so hard I could hardly speak. I told her about what I did and what I was doing on a daily basis. I was binging and purging, regularly. I was also ruining my relationship. I'm sure he far from enjoyed any of it.

I told her my binging and purging secrets. My deepest, darkest, thoroughly embarrassing and devastatingly overwhelming secrets. I told him too, as he was sitting right next to me most likely feeling just as overwhelmed. I told her I felt hopeless and sad and that my thoughts were no longer mere thoughts, they were obsessions. These obsessions were running my life; correction, these obsessions were ruining my life. These thoughts were controlling me and no matter what I tried, I could not control them. I had totally lost control and I was admitting it through gasping tears. It seemed like I cried for hours in her office. But, let's be real. She is a psychiatrist. I probably saw her for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Here was her lofty conclusion: a prescription. An anti-depressant. A pill. A fucking pill.

Let me switch gears here for a second. I don't regret what I have been through. It has provided me with priceless education and extreme humbleness in my grateful recovery. Without my experiences, I would not be who I am today. For that, I thank my past and my battle and my suffering. I embrace it now. I talk about it. I blog about it. But... I wonder...

I cried and I sobbed tears which were screaming "HELP ME. PLEASE. Help me..."

She gave me a prescription. An anti-depressant. A pill. A fucking pill...

I can't help but wonder. How different could things have been if she would have done more, suggested more, demanded more? I presented all but verbal suicidal ideations. I was borderline baker act material for Christ's sake.

But, she just gave me a prescription. An anti-depressant. A pill. A fucking pill......

Taking one or a cocktail of pills was NOT an acceptable or worthy solution. No pill could have "cured" me. And, it didn't. I needed more than that. I needed education. I needed therapy. I needed help. I sat there begging for help. And, she gave me a pill.

I wonder how it all would have been different. I wonder how so much of my life could have been different. To this day I catch myself endlessly wondering. Not regretting... I don't regret my experience, as I have said numerous times here on this blog. I don't regret, I just wonder...

Could it all have been different if I would have been given a recommendation for therapy? A demand that I seek therapy? Or, shoot, even if I had been baker acted? I wonder how different it could have all been... my eating disorder, my health, my relationships--my familial, friendly and sorority relationships and, especially, my intimate relationship.

It couldn't have been different though. I know that. It wasn't supposed to be different, not for me anyhow. It was all apart of my divine destiny. I believe that with pure and true conviction. Because it wasn't any different and never can be any different than the journey that it was, it has defined me. It has fueled my passion and predicted my future. For that, I am more than appreciative and I am more than proud. That is why I am able to do this... to talk, to speak, to share...

I know now, for certain. I know now, not because any empirical data says so but, because I say so, because my experiences have showed me so. Drugs without psychotherapy? No. Hell no. Her lofty conclusion: a prescription. An anti-depressant. A pill. A fucking pill... borderline straight up unethical malpractice. I will NEVER stand for that. It was a disgrace. Her and her prescription were and still are a disgrace to the world of "treatment". That wasn't treatment. It was a neglectful travesty.

She gave me a prescription. An anti-depressant. A pill. A fucking pill... What a shame...? Nah, not for me. But, if I can help it, and I will try... that will never happen on my watch. And, the rest of the world, you, you shouldn't let it happen on yours either.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love is Not...

Love is Not

Love is not just a function of the eyes.
Beautiful objects will, of course, inspire
Possessive urges - you need not despise
Your taste. But when insatiable desire
Inflames you for a girl who's out of fashion,
Lacking in glamour - plain, in fact - that fire
Is genuine; that's the authentic passion.
Beauty, though, any critic can admire.

Marcus Argentarius (20 BC - 30 AD)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Sexualween...er, I mean, Halloween

I have plans to celebrate Halloween this year with my girl friends from High School. I am so excited to see my original crew. We have a costume plan for 5: the 4 of them as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle each and I'm starring as April O'Neil for the night. Gosh, it's been years since I saw TMNT! I couldn't even remember what she even wore. So, naturally, I searched for Halloween costumes. I found April O'Neil and her yellow jumpsuit. I found a lot of other costumes, too.

No matter what the costume type, they almost all had one similar variable: BLATANT OBJECTIFICATION of women.

Now, I am no prude. The people who know me personally know that I like to have my fair share of fun and I can definitely appreciate a sexy outfit. But, I also appreciate class. "You can pay for school but you can't buy class."- Jay Z ...true story, Jay.

Some of these costumes are much more like lingerie than anything else. Halloween is an excuse to wear lingerie in public. I will repeat, I am not a prude, I swear. If adults want to have fun and dress up and feel and look sexy, hey, I'm all about it...to a certain classy extent. I take issue with something else.

Here, I'll show you my issue:



So... you tell me the big difference.
"Adult" costumes on the left.
"Tween" costumes on the right.
...yeah, those are the one's, on the right, that your 7-12 year old daughter, granddaughter, niece, et cetera might wear this year...

They all share similar qualities: super short skirts, exaggerated lace, sexy hose or knee high tights... SEX. They all have SEX in common.

In fact, in the row displaying our choices for french maids, the "tween" costume is called: Maid to Tease. What 10 year old needs to be "maid" to tease?!?
And, let's talk about the nurses... now where in the hell have you ever seen a nurse that wears anything like those outfits at all? When I think nurse, I think scrubs... no?
And, wait? Sexy Nem-OH?... yeah... thats right. That one's called: SEXY Nem-OH! What does that "OH" mean to you? Probably not anything you'd want your daughter or niece to know about... And how in the world did media, society and costume designers come up with the idea that an animated clown fish is sexy?

In regards to adult costumes, the blatant polarization of these adult female halloween costumes reminds me of a scene from Sex and the City. Miranda is at a small store in NYC and takes a look at the displayed choices for Halloween costumes: "The only two choices for women; witch or sexy kitten." Truth... that is the damn truth. For Halloween, as an adult woman, you can either be frumpy and witchy or, SEXY in spandex, mini-skirts, corsets and thigh highs. Be it with bumble bee stripes or little red riding hood print, its for sure gotta be one thing: SEXY. Or, you're frumpy. Its one or, its the other.

*Oh, and, by the way, I googled "princess costume". Ya know what came up? A link to free pornography... Note to parents: watch your kids on this world wide web. They don't even have to be looking for porn to find it. I wasn't trying to find it but, I did. I found porn via a google search including the word princess...a term every single young girl knows and probably looks up to. Watch your kids...watch their unsuspecting backs.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Just For Today" prayer...FROM: NA, FOR: LIFE

"Just For Today" prayer from NA

Just for Today

Just for today my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.

Just for today I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.

Just for today I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.

Just for today, through NA, I will try to get a better perspective on my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid, my thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life.

So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear. 

(keep coming back)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reebok Easy-tones: Wear these & wait...just don't hold your breath.

Anyone ever heard of Reebok Easy-tone shoes? Ya know, the shoes that shape the perfect bottom (whatever that means) and tone the perfect (??) legs? Reebok has called them "your secret advantage". But, is there such an advantage? Their advertisements claim to increase muscle tone anywhere from 10-28%.

This line of advertisements from Reebok is just like many of the mixed societal messages media portrays. They blast ways to "become perfect" but, how do you become perfect when perfect doesn't exist? Perfect...? Says who? Says what? What the hell does perfect mean? As a society, we don't just buy into these perfect ideals, we live for them.

These ideals that are so cleverly designed to appeal... they're fake. A facade. A gimmick.

Is that what you're looking for? Don't be a sucker. It's an overpriced gimmick.

Media advertisement is a multi-billion dollar overpriced gimmick. Ethical issue? I think so... We are taught not to lie, to tell the truth, to abide oaths and follow orders and rules. Where's the rules in advertisements? They don't play by rules. They make their own rules. They make their own rules, their own "perfects"and they do it through false claims and computer technologies, airbrushing and photoshop. Reebok made sure to find "perfect" women to use in their advertisements... I'm sure no woman was "perfect" enough for them, actually. But, they never had to be really "perfect", they just get really touched up.

Is this what you're looking for?

Really Reebok? Really? Seriously? So I just gotta put on the shoes and I will make my boobs jealous of my super toned, "perfect" rear end? Really? This is blatant objectification of women...


Nah, I don't think its sexy. It's blatant and as far as I'm concerned it's blatantly unethical. Don't be a sucker. It's a gimmick...an overpriced, unethical, pitiful gimmick.

Advertisements like these from Reebok are everywhere. Don't buy into it. The Federal Trade Committee ain't buying it. And, you really shouldn't either.

Enjoy that $25M lawsuit, Reebok. You deserve it. And you ain't the only ones who do...

The Reebok Easy-Tone shoe demise

FTC says: Get your refund here

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Substance Abuse: Choice or disease?

Currently, I am taking a graduate course called Substance Abuse Counseling. Today we were asked to write a discussion post taking a stance on whether substance abuse is a choice or a disease. Although smoking crack, shooting heroin, snorting lines of coke or drinking liquor by the liter all sound much different than an eating disorder, to our brain they are much the same. An addiction, an addiction that grows from the time of initial use. There are all kinds of deeply-rooted emotional, personal and/or societal reasons one chooses to start abusing a substance. 
Although I think this may stir up some controversy, I believe that eating disorders are not much different... ultimately a choice. Below is my discussion post that defends my opinion:

   I believe that anyone who initially chooses to pick up a cigarette, a pipe, a joint, a bottle of beer, a shot glass, a needle, et cetera does so by matter of 50:50 choice. Its a rather simple choice if you think about the easy hand to mouth, or similar, movement they all involve. Either you say yes and grab the substance or, you don't. Yes or No. Accept or decline. All are a choice on a dangerously polar scale.
   Once a person says yes and accepts a substance, this is where disease grows. We all are likely to know that some substances are more addicting than others due to their chemical make-ups. Because of this variance in addiction qualities, some substances are easier to say yes to only once or twice and then, never again. Others, not so much. 
   When the more addicting substances are involved, disease grows quickly and inevitably. In order to rid yourself of the more addictive substance driven diseases, detox may be required. Once detox is completed in success, this leaves the substance abuser with another choice: to pick it up again or not. This is where the disease gets more complicated.
   Because of the reward center in our brains, some people may have a genetic disposition to crave and continue to seek, not the drug but, the previously experienced "high". Can't forget about one's environment... if a drug user or abuser is located in an environment where substances are prevalent, they may be left with more of the same use-or-not-to-use choices than those who are in cleaner environments. Because of our brain's stronger recollection of the pro's rather than the con's of previous substance use, the brain will urge a person to give in and just say yes again. 
   By no means whatsoever am I saying this yes or no question is an easy 50:50 choice. No. However, ultimately, it is still what it always was, a choice. 

As a recovering disordered eater, I will tell you that my substance abuse was NOT easy to say no to. However, I always had a choice. My acceptance of that fact, that it is MY CHOICE, has been one of my biggest saving graces. It never had to be catastrophic, I just had to make a different choice. Although my brain and mind might have urged me to binge and/or purge, it has always been my right and my ability to say yes or to say no, no more.

Gratefully, I can now say I have learned and adjusted and accepted... I choose no.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's the reward in Anorexia?

In a discussion the other day, the topic of rewards in disordered eating behaviors came up. One of the questions I was asked is: "what is the reward in anorexia??"

The person asking me the question spoke about how they could understand the temporary rewards or pleasures from binge eating behaviors in disordered eaters but, could not grasp the reward in restrictive eating patterns found in anorexics. So, I pondered...

So... what IS the reward in the seriously restrictive eating patterns found in Anorexics?

Part I: --> Hunger Pangs

I battled anorexia here and there in my fight with disordered eating. Borderline Anorexia is how it all started for me... (I will make sure to remember to blog about my eating disordered start, soon). Basically, I had gone through months with horrid stomach pains due to eventually diagnosed gall bladder disease and pancreatitis; the mentioned caused me to undergo a cholecystectomy or, gall bladder removal surgery. I had an NPO order upon my hospital admission meaning: absolutely NO food or liquids, whatsoever, by mouth. And, when they said NPO, they really meant it; like, I was seriously instructed to spit out my spit. No saliva. No nothing. This, literally, taught me how to go weeks without food. It taught me that, if you let it go long enough, your stomach will just give up and stop growling. After 2-3 days, I didn't even care to eat. And, after surgery, I really didn't want to eat because, well, it hurt.

A natural bodily reaction to hunger is hunger pangs. According to Webster's Dictionary:

Definition of Hunger Pangs: pains in the abdominal region which occur in the early stages of hunger or fasting and are correlated with contractions of the empty stomach or intestines.

Hunger pangs is your stomach's verbal unhappiness with being hungry!

Part II: --> Hunger Pangs = Restrictive Game ON

The moment hunger pangs start is when the anorexics restrictive dieting game begins. Holding out until the stomach gets the hell over it and moves on is the goal.

But, what's the motive?

Part II (cont.): --> CONTROL meets COPING mechanism

From the research I've done and the experience I've had, establishing and maintaining control and/or coping via disordered eating mechanisms are almost always the motivating factor in restricting. And, by restricting, I surely don't mean just not eating that extra dinner roll or that cookie after dinner. No, no. This is a much more seriously-restricting matter.

Once an anorexic has passed the point of hunger and their hunger pangs cease to pang, they have (for now) won the hold-out, restricting game. If you ask an anorexic, they will more than likely tell you, this is not a fun-and-games type-a deal. Nah... this is a terrifying, anxiety-laden, life-or-death-matter type-a deal. They must restrict and they must beat the pangs and win the game, or... well...

Disaster in Part III: Euphoria meets Failure

Euphoria is to restricting just as catatonic states of binging is to a binge eater or bulimic.

...Euphoria turned Failure.

Failure like minutes-pre-binging to a bulimic. Guilt like minutes-before-purge to that same bulimic. Shame like minutes-post-purge. Anxiety like minutes after moments of revelation to any disordered eater. Revelation. Disordered eaters are well aware at some revolutionary moments in time that what they are doing is nothing short of disastrous. But, sadly, the devastating and irrational cyclical game usually wins and continues to spin... and, spin... and, spin...

And, Repeat:

Part I...
...Part II...
......Part III...

So, what's the "reward" in Anorexia. Well, I guess the (sad) answer is:

To continue, and, to continue & continue to WIN...

The goal and the reward is to continue to win a quite literally, continuously losing, restrictive game.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Incredibly humbled, post-OA meeting...

As part of my master's degree program and substance abuse counseling class, I was asked to attend two 12-step meetings of my choice. Naturally, what do you suppose I chose?

Overeaters Anonymous.

OA, like AA or NA or et cetera, is based on a spiritual plan of 12-steps. Each step, completed in order and in successive completion, until you reach the ultimate goal. Abstinence. In the case of OA, abstinence entails refraining from all types of disordered eating. Compulsive overeating, binge eating, bulimia, anorexia...all so different but all the same = disordered eating.

Tonight I attended my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting. From the moment I walked in the door, I was greeted with acceptance and with cheer. I introduced myself as a student from my mental health counseling graduate program coming here not only to complete a class assignment but, to learn. And, learn, I did.

I learned a lot tonight. I learned a lot and it was overwhelmingly humbling. I listened to those who suffer speak of moments of hopelessness and moments of grieving with guilt and with shame. I listened to those who are abstinent all the time, some of the time, and, sadly, some that are abstinent almost none or absolutely none of the time. I listened as they defined Freedom as Abstinence; Acceptance as thee way; recovery as indescribable gratefulness; Surrendering as a way to peace.

They, as an OA group, described themselves as self-contributing. As they readied to pass around a basket for monetary donations, they asked the circle to give as they could and, as one did, to recall their last binge. This, I assume, to be a way to substantiate your donation to a cause whose purpose is to promote your future abstinence.

As I sat there swallowing my tears, I donated the lone $5 bill I had in my wallet, and I tried to think of my last binge and my last purge. It was then that I was overwhelmed with an unbelievable sense of grateful humbleness. I really had to think back; I had to think 5 months back. I haven't binged in months. This, I realized, as I sat in that circle, was a huge and meaningful, hard to come by, total victory. I sat there victorious amongst others who may not have ever been quite so victorious. Joyous, proud humbleness...

My heart beat steady but staccato as I listened to a middle aged woman introduce herself and describe herself as a bulimic. Everyone said hi to her name, but I sat there silently and vastly intrigued. She spoke of her very long-time battle with bulimia, how she swore to change after marriage, after childbirth, after relocations. She swore she would not do it again. Everytime she did it again, she swore the same thing again. "With bulimia, there is no end. I can empty myself and start over." This is raw, unedited, sad truth.

As the meeting began to come to it's close, they began their coining ceremony. One chip denoting newly committed membership and 1 day of abstinence; another chip denoting a month or multiple months of abstinence; another chip denoting a year or multiple years of abstinence. As my heart beat almost out of the walls of my chest, I raised my hand for the month-chip. I raised my hand and as I was handed a chip I followed the 12-step lead: "Hi, my name is Jessica, and I am a grateful 5-month recovered bulimic." Everyone said hi to my name and I was changed.

I had never gone to OA. I had never really gone to counseling. I had never seeked inpatient or outpatient treatment. Yet, I was months in recovery. Why me? Wow... what a blessing... a blessing I have no other choice at this present time or any future present time but to give myself undeniable, insurmountable credit for. I did it... and I am doing it.

After the meeting was called to an end, the woman sitting next to me asked how I did it. In short, I told her I relabeled my suffering as divine destiny. I told her with complete and real conviction that I believe I suffered for a reason. And that reason is now my passion and my purpose. It is my passion in Eating to Live, Not the Alternative. It is my passion in future counseling and inspiring. It is my passion in speaking, writing and promoting.

This is my passion and I know it has been given to me by something greater than myself. I am humbled and I am certain; I have undoubtedly found, via blessing, my ultimate and divine purpose in life.

Eating to Live, Not the Alternative... this cause, this passion, this purpose, it proudly and humbly defines me.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My first speech... feedback, please!

On September 18th, I have scheduled my first public speaking engagement. This will take place in the ballroom at the University of South Florida for Kappa Delta's National Women's Friendship Day celebration. I would love any and all feedback from my readers :)

My very first Eating to Live, Not the Alternative speech:

Did you know that approx 8 million people suffer from eating disorders? Did you know that 86% of women who suffer from an eating disorder claim it’s onset by age 20. Did you know that as many as 20% of college women suffer from bulimia? Did you know that eating disorders are the deadliest of ALL psychiatric illnesses?
-How many people in this room know of someone who suffers or has suffered from an eating disorder?
The fact is that everyone in this room is highly likely to personally know of someone who suffers or has suffered from an eating disorder. The purpose of my project, Eating to Live, Not the Alternative, is to promote positive body image and the prevention of eating disorders through education and awareness. 
The societal based thin-ideal has taken it’s toll on our standard of existence. In media, a woman’s worth is portrayed as being dependent on their appearance. The standard of appearance lies in the perfection-seeking ideal that achieving and maintaining thin is the only way to be in. Little do women and girls growing up today know, the images they see in media are a facade. Media images are photo-shopped and airbrushed. Without an educated awareness of media’s unrealistic body-perfect ideals, women in our Western society are likely to determine themselves as unworthy and not good enough unless they achieve this thin-ideal.
As women in today’s perfection-seeking society, I urge every one of you to take serious note of the prevalence of such disorders. The sad but true fact is that your fellow peer or sorority sister may be suffering in silence. This silent suffering is all too common and is what I find to be the scariest element of eating disorders. Even at the worst of times, a disordered eater can fake it to make it. During the lowest and shameful of days, a disordered eater can put on a show and fool a crowd. All the while, they will be suffering in silence.
During my tenure as a Delta Eta KD lady, I, too, suffered in silence. There were less than a handful of my sisters who truly knew anything about my battle with poor body image and disordered eating.  My suffering led me into a trail of depression. I was depressed and full of shame. All I wanted to do was isolate myself. If it wasn’t for my membership in Kappa Delta, I probably would have done so... Without the love and undying acceptance of my sisters, I don’t know if I would have made it. I am certain I wouldn’t be here to speak with you today.
Because of my involvement in KD, I had to face the world and face my sisters. Coming to chapter meetings and socials, being involved with the executive board and just simply coming to hang out and bond with my sisters was, at times, the only thing that motivated me to get up and get dressed, go out and face the world. At any time, on any day--good or bad--I could come into the company of my sisters and feel acceptance through love and true unfailing friendship. This friendship and sisterhood kept my head above water. Being a member of the Delta Eta chapter of Kappa Delta saved my life.
The presence of my sorority sister’s truly saved my life. I know that the love and influence of my Kappa Delta sisters is the one thing I can honestly say put a smile on my face or pride in my heart at a time where I may have otherwise felt hopeless and numb. Today I can stand here and proclaim that, without my sisters, I do not know where I would be. 
Because we are here in celebration of Kappa Delta’s National Women’s Friendship day, I want to encourage every woman to be mindfully aware of what their mere presence in another woman’s life can truly mean. Because you, too, could be unknowingly saving another woman’s life. Never underestimate the power of friendship and sisterhood.
It took me years to change my irrational thoughts and beliefs regarding my body. I am standing here in front of you today as a recovered disordered eater. Today I can stand proud and say, I am a phenomenal woman. I am a woman who is in acceptance of myself and my body. Recovery from eating disorders is possible. As a woman, always remember, your weight is NOT your worth. As a woman, you are entirely too intricate and incredible and unique to be judged, labeled or defined by a number on a scale or an image in a mirror. Your worth goes way beyond what man-made items can measure or reflect. Your worth is beyond that... you are beyond that.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Your worth is beyond that...You are beyond that...

As many of you know, I am a graduate student at the University of South Florida (GO BULLS!)
My Master's program is called Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (RMHC). The Rehabilitation side never seemed like much of an interest to me...in fact, I didn't even realize what the "R" in RMHC really stood for when I started the program. I was thinking Rehabilitation as in trauma-rehab, not vocational and lifestyle rehabilitation. 
Anyhow, one of the classes I am currently taking is called Career and Lifestyle Assessment. The reason I give you the background is because, as we were learning career development theories, one of the perspectives in particular stood out to me. It is called Happenstance Theory. This perspective suggests that, over one's life span, chance events can create and/or turn into opportunities for learning and exploring one's true passion. These revolutionary sparks of opportunity are said to provide momentum for and clarity of one's true career and lifestyle purposes.

Curiosity, persistence, flexibility, optimism and risk taking. There are the five critical skills involved in allowing this perspective to become a reality. Hmmm...

I was always curious, so to speak, why I suffered the way I did. I was always curious why I had to go through the things I did. My curiosity was saying, Why me? My curiosity wanted to find out first hand what life was like when you lived in acceptance, personal acceptance.

I was persistent in my disorder for a long while. Lately, I have been persistent in finding and maintaining acceptance of my physical, emotional and cognitive attributes. Now, I am persistently pursuing a new way to label and think about my previous suffering. My persistence has allowed me to accept my suffering as meant to be because it just so happened to lead me to discovering my passion-driven purpose...

I have learned to be flexible with myself. I have learned to be flexible with my ideals of my physical, emotional and cognitive attributes. I have learned to be flexible with my life and career goals in order to adjust them to mold around my life's experiences. I am flexibly looking at the opportunities my previous suffering has provided me with in order to think outside of the career box.

I am so optimistic. I am certain that this idea of happenstance is not without an element of fate and divinity. I am optimistic about my previous sufferings now. I am optimistic and proud of what I have been through and overcome. I am SO optimistic that I can and I WILL make a difference. I am optimistic that I will continue to touch lives as I have been told I already have. I am completely positively optimistic and excited.

I am a risk-taker, so I've learned... I take risks by speaking up and speaking out; it is risky speaking personally and sharing my stories and testimonies. I took that risk and here I am. I am speaking; well, I am writing and you are reading (Thank you, readers!). I am ready to take more risks. I want to take the risk of dedicating myself to writing a book. I want to take the risk and attempt to start a nation-wide speaking campaign to promote positive body image and an awareness of eating disorders. I want to take the risk as an activist against faux-media advertisements. I want to take the risk of dedicating a part of myself and my life to rid society of thee thin-ideal.

I have been curious, persistent, flexible, optimistic and a risk-taker

But, was it ever happenstance that I suffered from eating disorders and poor body image? Was it happenstance that I suffered and recovered and relapsed to recover again. Was it happenstance that I have, over the last 8-10 years discovered that, with acceptance and faith in myself, I could change. My (irrational) thoughts could change therefore my behaviors and emotions could change. 

I could change...and, change I did. This change, this growth, this self-acceptance and self-love...it could all be yours, too.

Wouldn't you rather know the world in optimism and pride? Self-acceptance and confidence are yours for the taking. No one but you...no one but YOU can make it happen. No one but YOU can make YOUR recovery happen and stick around. 

Just remember, your weight is NOT your worth. You are entirely too intricate and dignified, transcendent and incredible, mystic and unique to be judged, labeled or defined by a number on a scale or an image in a mirror. Your worth goes way beyond what man-made items can measure or reflect. 

Your worth is beyond that... 


    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Your Weight is Not your Worth...

    I have undergone so many changes in my life and lifestyle as of late...

    Aside from those lifestyle changes, I have made personal and emotional changes, too.

    I have realized that the people who matter don't care about my weight and, the people who do care or judge me because of it really do not matter.

    The people who really care and truly matter love me...
    These (wonderful) people love me NOT based on my dress-n-jean size...
    These (amazing) people love me for me... They smile and positively regard my perfectly imperfect imperfections...

    My worth to them is most definitely NOT measurable by weight in pounds. My worth to them is based so much deeper and more significant and meaningful than that...

    My worth is based on my passion and my conviction, my purpose and my commitment, my effort and my determination, my humor and my sarcasm, my influence and my strength, my optimism and my unconditional positive regard...

    My worth is based on my HEART and on my SOUL and all these beautifully immeasurable qualities, characteristics and ideals...

    For years I have measured my own sense of self-worth by my outward appearance...by my weight and how I looked (or, how I thought or felt I looked) in my own skin. And, let me tell you, I haven't always or commonly felt fabulous in my own skin. Even today, I still have my moments...some moments last mere moments while others last for moments upon moments. Isn't it a beautiful thing that Every day is a NEW day, each with a new sunrise and a new sunset...?

    My weight is NOT my Worth...

    My weight is NOT my worth to those who really care and really matter...

    To those who really care and really matter, my worth is immeasurable. Previously unbeknownst to me, this has almost always been the case...

    For the first time in, well, ever, I can say, aside from other people in my life feeling this way, SO DO I! I no longer weigh my worth in pounds or in appearance or in superficial regard. To others who matter and to me whom really matters, my weight is not by worth.

    My worth is vast and vastly worthy.

    My weight is not my worth because my worth is immeasurable.

    My weight is not my beauty because, it too, is IMMEASURABLE!


    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Yes! I AM Powerful...

    Woooo! I am feeling good... I am feeling strong... I am feeling confident. You should, too!

    You know why? Eating to Live... and, spinning to live... what a way to live!

    I just rocked my unofficial spinning mix CD (well, on the elliptical, but, still...)

    I felt the music and I felt the power. MY POWER.

    My power doesn't come from diets or from restricting and it sure the heck doesn't come from binging or purging... NO, absolutely not.

    My power comes from way deeper than that. My power comes from my soul.

    My soul that food cannot satisfy nor can it destroy.
    My soul that is unique and perfectly imperfect.
    My soul that is capable and damn powerful.

    My powerful soul does not let my days of Living to Eat bury me 6 feet under.


    My powerful soul keeps me treading water at the very least and minimum until I can lift up my head and say:


    At any time or on any NEW day, I can regain my power...because, I ALWAYS was powerful and I will ALWAYS be POWERFUL!!

    Want to feel powerful, too?? Look to your soul... don't look towards earthly things or earthly ideals... look within.

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    The Summer of Yes

    A friend of mine planted this idea in my head the other day...he said he was living by only one single motto this summer:
    Saying YES...
    ...to anything anyone asked him to do!

    I thought, wow...that is genius! And, I thought about it more... and more... and, that is exactly what my summer has been like; but, instead of saying yes to others, I am saying YES to ME...

    All summer I have been saying yes... to whatever I want to eat, wherever I want to go, whomever I want to meet or talk to and, most importantly, I have been working towards saying YES to my heart and my head at the same time.

    I remember when I sought counseling for the first time ever a few months ago, my therapist mentioned a writer to me (whose name I have sadly forgotten!) who wrote a book based around this very idea. (I have to find this book...) From what I know of the book, this in-recovery disordered eater took time off...

    This summer I have taken time off... she and I have taken time off from guilt and from shame and from calorie counting and body obsessing. We have taken time off from the two most fear-laden things in this world: food and my body.

    My body, I have now learned, is resilient and strong. This body has taken many-a-beatings from food I have either kept it from or drowned it in for years. This summer, I eat when I want to eat and what I want to eat, and, more importantly, I don't when I don't want to. And, what do ya know...?? I have discovered that the world as I know it will not end sans obsession! It doesn't even skip a beat when I don't worry or ruminate. In fact, it smiles back at me and says, there ya go girl! Keep on saying YES.

    I have just been saying YES. I've let go of the heavy and overbearing pressure of being "good" and I have just said YES. This has been my SUMMER OF YES!

    "Pressure busts pipes"

    ...my dearest friend David always said that to me. He usually was referring to a pool game we'd be playing out at a bar but, yes David. David had lots of insightful things to say. And, this one is just absolutely, undeniably true.

    Pressure busts pipes... pressure pressure pressure. Pressure I put on myself. Pressure the media and faux advertisements put on me. Pressure the shape of jeans and tank tops put on me. Pressure busted my pipes for years. I had been a broken, leaking pipe for quite some time. But, no more.

    I will not succumb to such air-brushed, photo-shopped standards. NO MORE. I will let go of and just ignore its pressure and I will be ME the way in which I was made by my wondrous Creator. I will continue to only succumb to ME and my heart!

    Cheers! It is the SUMMER OF YES!