Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The end of a new beginning...

What an amazing end to a new beginning I had yesterday...

I began the pursuit of my master's degree at the University of South Florida about 16 weeks ago. The timing, although I have a hard time accepting it, was perfect. I had finally brought myself into a better functioning place, physically, emotionally and psychologically and I was so ready to come back to my alma mater and really do this this time.

The beginning of my journey started on Tuesday, January 4th at 9:30am with Dr. D and 12 other (fabulous) women. I felt a mix of emotions but, peace took precedence. It just felt right...cliche, I know, but simply true. Over the last 15 weeks, we have discussed counseling theories aplenty and real life galore. And, it has been nothing short of glorious. These circle-set discussions are nothing like the lecture instruction you expect in a classroom, thank God. This intimate educational yet personal space has transformed me. It all came to an end yesterday...

We took an hour of final class time to reflect as a group, because that's what we are and have become. A group full of individuals, NOT individuals in a group. We have all connected to each other in some way. Unlike most semester long classes, I can actually say I know each one of these ladies in some kind of a uniquely personal way. And, they know me. As we reflected, Dr D. allowed us to speak to each other, one person looking and speaking to one other person at a time. We all observed and engaged and took in and appreciated each others kind thoughts, as per the usual.

I sat there in complete humbleness. I was looked at and I was spoken to, numerous times. Beautiful things were said in that circle yesterday; I was humbled and cherished every statement directed at me. What a beautiful thing...women actually looking at each other and simply saying nice things, out loud, with no other mission but to show appreciation for one another. The world would be a better place if that happened more often...

A common theme of testimony so kindly given to me was that my openness in sharing is appreciated and overall moving. Wow. I have spoken, raw and truly, and it moved someone...? That is amazing and beyond flattering. To think, the thing I want to do most in life...inspire, touch and move lives...I have been doing this whole time. This is the thing I undoubtedly call peace and fulfilling contentment. And, I wasn't even trying...I didn't even know. Humbleness...extraordinary humbleness.

To the ladies I am referring to, you all definitely know who you are. I have been blessed...God has blessed me with you all and with this new beginning. In reflection of my path to readily getting here, I wouldn't change a thing. With every past and passing moment, good or bad, I have been arduously but sacredly prepared.

Now, I know. I know my path and now, I understand it. He has lit it for me with bright lamps and He has situated me in the best surrounding, with the best people, in the best program, at the best University (Go Bulls!), and at the very best time. I am very much so obliged.

Psalm 119:99, 105 <3

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter. Today suggests were part of a bigger story, one in which ultimate love wins.

Remember, you cannot truly love or be loved if you don't love yourself first.

May peace, humbleness and appreciation of life in grace be with you today and everyday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

To all the people who read this...

Thank you... Thank you so much. I just want to make a difference. If you know anyone who might benefit from reading this, please share.

I have been told from about 5 people that this page has touched them and their lives. Wow. How does one to respond to that? Touching lives...what better is there?

Mission accomplished...

When she was tiny...

I'm preparing for two job interviews (that I have been seeking for 2 years!) next week for positions in children/family-based case management. As I look through my limited-professional laiden closet trying to figure out what to wear, I become baffled. I realize something that astonishes me. They don't fit. That's not exactly what astonishes me...
These clothes used to fit. They fit me 3 years ago when I wore them to work in the US Senator's regional office I worked at in West Palm Beach. 3 years ago...some of my darkest times. 3 years ago, I probably never ate much more than 1,000 calories a day. I purged things like salad, lean cuisines, fiber bars (after I binged on 1/2+ a box), whole grain english muffins, natural peanut butter, brown rice & whole wheat get the picture; I was the healthiest binge/purger ever...if there is such a thing. And, I was tiny...what I always wanted (or so she thought).
I wore these clothes, some sizes XS, 2, & 4, and I was tiny. For my body frame, I was super thin.
It took eating like a rabbit, purging when I ate "too much" rabbit food, and some menial cardio (nothing like the intense, heart-healthy cardio I do now).
If you wanted to find me on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, you'd have to look towards a club (Ruuuumbaaaass!!). I probably drank in more calories in vodka-cran-club-soda-extra-lime than I ate in food on those days. And, the food I did eat was most likely burnt off on the dancefloor via DJ Monsta & the Babalu Bad Boys hip-hop, reggae & reggatone spinning turntables. It was a good night if we danced so much our knees hurt the next day, right Melissa?! :)

I was tiny. I was tiny and I never stopped giving myself a hard time, ever. It was never good enough. I never enjoyed what I had. Wearing size 2's didn't fulfill me and make me happy when I had it...

No, I wasn't happy. I was devastated. I was unhealthy; I was physically, mentally & psychologically unhealthy...but, I was tiny. She was tiny. I was broken.

But, I was smiling. What an awful, awful facade...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My experience with guided imagery-based meditation

In school today, we discussed Trans-personal Psychotherapy. This is a form of psychotherapy that allows someone to go beyond their usual boundaries...Transcendence. Meditation, guided imagery, positive visualizations, and any other mindfulness based interventions are utilized in treatment efforts based on trans-personal psychotherapy.

My (ingenious) Professor, Dr. D., led us through a guided imagery-based meditation intervention this morning. This is the first time I have experienced such an intervention and wow did I have a great experience. I will describe my experience to the following directions given by my Professor. (Note: the directions were given in steps during our meditation experience)

*Instructions (in bulk) from Dr D.: Begin by closing your eyes and imagining a place you'd like to be in complete relaxation. Once you've established such an atmosphere, imagine a road you hadn't seen before. Take a walk down that road and be aware of the smells, feelings, and sounds you're experiencing. Notice a house in the distance and go to it. Enter the house and look around. Vividly imagine what you would find there. Make yourself ready to leave the home. Take any one thing you want to keep with you. Make your way back down the road, back to your spot of relaxation.

*My subjective experience:

I find myself under a large shade tree next to a small sandy beach. The sky is bright and the temperature is perfect. I am wearing comfortable linen.
I see a narrow road in the distance. As I make my way down this road it begins to become surrounded by massive trees and the sky disappears. Behind me, the road I have just came from is fogged. It is slightly dark here, and I feel neutral and alone.
As I continue to make my way down the road in seek of a distant house, the road widens and the trees lighten. I see a
Victorian style house, complete with 2-stories, painted in light yellow and a beautiful purple.
As I make my way inside the house, I imagine in detail its dark wood floors and stair rails and earth-tone clad walls. Downstairs is a large, but homey kitchen and two large living rooms. Upstairs are two fully decorated but empty children rooms. A large immaculate office full of dark wooden accessories was at the end of the hall. Across from it is an elaborate master suite. Once again, I found my favorite style of dark wooden furniture. There is a reading nook in the corner, a large exquisite bathroom, and a white lace net hanging over four tall bed posts. The bed is slightly elevated; it takes three steps to get to its own personal flooring. Above the bed is my wedding photo painted on a large canvas. I could see my face, but not the other.
As I looked for something to take with me, I noticed a simple picture in a frame on the night stand. It marks a special night spent with a special someone. This was a night that changed me (and
her) in multiple ways. I took it and made my way back down the road I came from, more confident this time.
This time, waiting for me at my relaxation spot was a man. Consistent with my reality, I imagine him saying: I'm right here waiting for you. He's right where he always is...

The lesson I took from this exercise is that rather than looking towards the future in finding the perfection I hope to have, I should focus on what's here, on what's present, on what is waiting for me... Though the road to get to that place was dim and weary at times, I couldn't have gotten there without taking a chance and navigating through it. Although I experienced a sense of uncertainty about what would await me at the end of the road, taking the trip was worth it. I should not be scared...

This is the picture I took with me from the house...Here's to you, Galo :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blogging in the 3rd person

I mention this in the beginning of the blog...referring to myself in the 3rd person. I was asked about it in a very sweet email from a fan of my Eating to Live, Not the Alternative Facebook cause page:, I thought I would expand.

I truly feel a seperation from myself and my eating disordered self...its almost like split personalities. I feel like an entirely different person when I'm having a "bad" day versus a "good" day. It is easier for me to speak of her as someone separate from myself because I feel she is truly another person. Her obsessive tendencies compared to my go with the flow attitude; her depressive outlook compared to my positive, self-actualizing outlook; her fake smile compared to mine aglow; her timid voice compared to mine in confidence ...its all so different. Like a she compared to a ME.

[stay tuned for another blog on the phenomenological view of a "bad" day vs a "good" day for her].

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I feel differently. I feel tall. I feel strong. I feel bubbly. I feel pretty...

Brings me back to a previous blog entry:

Its amazing how much prettier and just completely different you can feel when you're happy compared to the alternative...

Smiles! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

5 minute rule...

I was reminded today of a technique she has used in her past. I will coin this the 5-minute rule...


I have just come out of it. I have just broke out of the trance. I have just snapped out of the mindless binge eating episode that just-like-that happened. I just came to the realization that for the past few minutes, I have stood there, in front of the pantry and/or fridge, and I have just consumed lots and lots of calories without even taking a seat or making a plate :::insert gasp:::

Possible Solution:

Purge...immediately. Take control of my mistake...the binge. Take control...purge. She has to try to get back her control...isn't it control? Isn't it control to rid myself of this mistake?

Alternative Solution:

5-minute rule... a personal time-out of sorts... a time to breath... a time to possibly listen to one of my favorite in-that-moment songs (i.e. Superwoman by Alicia Keys or Tell Him by Lauryn Hill)... a 5-minute pause to give myself a chance to make a choice... a choice to REALLY take CONTROL of herself right now. Do not purge. Do not contribute to the purge devil on my left just because the binge devil on the right already won.

1. Purge, head down.
2. Walk away, head up.

Choose 2. Choose will power. Choose choice! Choice is freedom. Choice is control. Choose to walk away, head up! doesn't always work but, when it does, its powerful. She feels empowered again. She might have lost step one of that battle...she did just binge. However!...she didn't lose it all. She stood up for herself. She stood up to half the devil...she took and conquered that step. More than half way there...Success.

And it only took 5 minutes...

Monday, April 11, 2011

A life altering evening of Eating to Live...

I went to a beautiful wedding this weekend. It was full of fun and great looking people and a very active DJ & entertainment group. There was a lot of fun to be had...! As I sat through dinner service, I had a realization. I was Eating to Live, NOT the alternative. What an experience for her to have...such a breakthrough.

This was so amazing to me, I had to write about it right then and there at that very dinner table, #5. This is what I wrote, right in that moment:

I feel different tonight, I don't feel like "her". Not at all. My food is sitting there, and it's not in my concentration. The night is, the handsome man sitting next to me is, the beauty of the wedding is, life is. Right now, right here...she is Eating to Live and NOT living to eat, the alternative.

Amazing...simply profound...

I'm not here to eat. I'm not here to be "her". I'm here to be ME. Finally. I'm here, not "her". It's so nice to
finally be right here, smiling.

(Shout out to my iPhone "Notes"...without it which many of my most meaningful, real, spur-of-the-moment thoughts would be forgotten and left unshared!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A logotherapeutic view of her suffering

I am sitting at the library at my University of South Florida (yes, its mine :) ). I am writing a reflection paper on Victor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. He is the founder of logotherapy. Logos is latin for meaning. Logotherapy is all about finding deeper meanings of one's life. The following excerpt I had to share:

The meaning of life is momentous based, not a constant. Meaning of life is also extremely subjective and personal. People can only answer what their life means by looking to himself; by being responsible for deciding and working to achieve whatever endeavors he feels are personally self-actualizing.

For a long time, I questioned what I was put on this Earth for. I have been interested in different avenues, so to speak, but never felt drawn enough to one to actually pursue it. The world of psychology was brought to my life as an elective. During which time, I was struggling to maintain a sense of peace and was faced with a rough eating disordered battle. Fast forwarding to present day, I now know exactly what it is I am here for. I have brought great and positive meaning to my life-experience as a disordered eater.

My attitude and my belief is that I was meant to suffer; I was meant to know exactly what the authentic hideousness of such a disease can feel like. I was meant to know exactly how hard it is to overcome and how the process of overcoming never ends; the work never stops. I was meant to know that this hard work is amazingly worthwhile and that even in the darkest of hours, it never becomes impossible to surpass. What amazing feelings to know I have all of this genuine knowledge that absolutely will help others surpass and overcome as well. Quite literally, with tears in my eyes, I can stand tall and say: I know the meaning of my life; I know the meaning of my suffering. I am so thankful and humbled to know it.