August 25, 2011 § 5 Comments
Let me try this again. I have no real reason to explain my cessation of posting. I suppose the newness of marriage caught my attention the past year. Let me catch you up to speed before I begin my ramblings.
In December we recreated our first weekend together. We went up to San Francisco for the weekend. Instead of seeing Cirque Du Soleil this time we saw the San Francisco Ballet perform The Nutcracker.
Vance and I got married on January 19th 2011 downtown Santa Cruz. It was beautiful. We had his parents and two of our closest friends at our side. It was the low key and intimate ceremony I always wanted.
We went down to Los Angeles for a week. I got to relive my childhood and enjoy my new-found adulthood all at once. I’m married to the perfect man for me.My best friend obviously, but even more than that. A goofy balance to my seriousness. The herp to my derp. The only person who has been able to confront me about my eating disorder without it feeling like an attack on my character but genuinely coming from a place of love and support. Rather than the fear and disappointment others have shown. He has shown me that I am deserving of more. He’s broken down my walls. He has taught me how to dream. I know that as long as I’m with him I’ll be happy in the moment and also have something to constantly look forward to.
In the spring I went on two field trips with my kids. First to the Carmel Mission.
The next trip was on a sailboat around the Santa Cruz bay. It took forever for me to quit panicking over my 30+ kids dangling off the edge of the sailboat. Luckily they all survived. We celebrated with pizza at the harbor afterwards.
That brings us to this summer. I spent two weeks working with an adorable little 6 year old girl. We went to a day camp at UCSC’s Organic Farm. It was a wonderful experience. I’m still mad at myself for lazily leaving my camera at home, failing to capture the natural beauty that was all around me. It truly did not feel like work at all.
Each day was spent exploring the orchards and making vegetarian meals from herbs and produce we picked minutes before. The kids were excited to taste anything and everything. It only furthered my belief that any can child learn to love fresh food. Having them involved in the harvest and subsequent preparation of the food will only make them want it even more. There were so many times I heard a kid say “I hate that” only to see them chowing down after going through the whole process. They’ll eat the veggies when the see where it comes from, the same as how many people would stop eating meat (or certain types) if they saw where it came from.
I was genuinely sad to finish working. Not only at the farm but with the sweet little girl I was with. I’m hoping that I get a chance to do respite with her in the near future. Who else will give me the title of “Bibbity Bobbity Boo Mother”?
I’m a week away from starting the school year with my buddy. He’s now twelve and starting middle school. Very exciting. We had an extremely difficult year in terms of his emotional health. I’m hoping that the new environment, being around kids his own age (he was held back two years and he’s very tall for his age), and being in a class that doesn’t leave him behind will help his self esteem. As an instructional aide, my job is to help him do the work. But last year he wasn’t able to do anything even with my help. It was heartbreaking for me and crushing for him. Being in a SDC (special day class) this year will hopefully be better. There’s no way I could act as his sole teacher for an entire year again (unless they paid me what the teachers make). He’ll now meet the kids socially and academically. I can’t imagine being in a class where you’re two years old, a foot taller, and in many areas three-five years behind. My fingers are crossed.
Now I just have to figure out how to dress so that I don’t look like one of the students. Laugh all you want, but I have the body of a 13 year old and the Vice Principal already mistook me for one at orientation.
August 25, 2010 § 11 Comments
A few weeks ago while perusing Craigslist (I love CL because it led me to my first three jobs and first car) I saw an listing titled “OBSESSED WITH BEING THIN?” Naturally my curiosity was peaked.
To summarize, the ad was calling for people with ED’s who would like to help out with a potential documentary on ED’s. They would film an interview to be shown to network producers.
In return, if the documentary was given the “ok” the subjects would be given free treatment in exchange for being filmed.
I’m a true believer in the saying “If you keep doing a bunch of the same, you’re going to get a bunch of the same.”I’m tired of how my lack of recovery is going so, what did I have to lose?
After replying to the ad, several email exchanges, phone calls with two different producers, I had an interview set up for the end of that week.
I met the creator/producer of the project at a beautiful stone house downtown. She herself has had an ED for over 15 years.
She filmed/interviewed both Vance, me, and Vance and I.
We probably filmed for about maybe an hour. But we talked for about three. She was very open with her situation and the impact that this disorder has had on her life.
Being a producer in Hollywood, she told me she was absolutely disgusted with the type of programming she’d been involved with. And was tired of seeing show after show focused on drug addictions when ED’s are much more difficult (her words but in many ways I believe she’s right). A heroin addict can go to rehab and stay away from it for the rest of their lives. ED sufferers can’t quit cold turkey. We have to face food every day, three, four, five times a day.
The project was barely even in the conception stage. I wouldn’t expect to hear anything about it for a while. But even if nothing happens, it was great to be able to talk to someone who could empathize with my situation for once.
I’ve never had any sort of treatment and I’ve never known anyone with an ED period. Knowing that I’m not alone (at least in the “real” world) was comforting. Having Vance see another woman with similar, maybe even worse struggles probably helped him understand even more.
These past few weeks have been the crossover between Vance’s summer break and my break in between summer school and the school year. We decided to take full advantage of it.
Starting two Fridays ago our buddy Nate came down from San Fran. Along with him he brought copious amounts of alcohol. More than any human being should consume in a weekend. Smashing through 3 trays of Jello shots in two days is never wise.
After spending the whole weekend consuming no real food and dancing on counter-tops, the next few days were spent detoxing.
Thursday Vance and I loaded up the car, and headed for San Francisco.
After an unplanned detour onto the bay bridge and subsequently Treasure Island,
we found ourselves in Vallejo.
There is only one thing in Vallejo, that would be Discovery Kingdom. The roller-coasters did not impress this roller-coaster connoisseur. I need to go bungee jumping or something to get it out of my system.
The great thing about good friends, is that you end up having more fun hanging in the hotel room sipping mimosas, heating V8 juice in a coffee pot to make ghetto tomato soup, and playing poker, than at the actual theme park.
Over these past few weeks my perspective of myself has taken a turn. For so long I’ve viewed myself as such a flawed individual, constantly trying to make up for my defects in every other aspect of my life. Thus, I turned into a perfectionist.
But spending so much time with certain friends of mine I realized how much HUGE flaws are a part a normal person. But realizing that these people I care about deal with certain problems isn’t what changed my perspective, what did that was the fact that they were completely comfortable talking about it. Rather than be ashamed they just accepted it as a part of them. They could try and change, but even if they don’t succeed their value as a human being doesn’t diminish.
Even more humbling, was that each of us knew the gritty details and yet thought no less of the person. We still accepted and loved each other.
This is a crucial thing for those with ED’s to understand. We’re often so afraid that this problem makes us less of a person. Unlovable. But it’s just not true. I finally understand what Vance means when he continually tells me that if I was ever to open up to his mom about my current struggle, she would love me even more than she already does. I knew he wouldn’t lie, but I just couldn’t understand until now.
Flaws humanize people. Even if others may not have the same flaw, just the realization that we are human makes us relatable and approachable. In some way, if we are able to get past the shame, our disorder can possibly help us to connect with those around us. If anything is to be gained from our struggle, let it be this.
August 5, 2010 § 7 Comments
(My youngest brother wrote this song. We recorded it together 4 years ago)
Having an ED for the past 7 years, means that everyone close to me has been aware. It also means that I’ve spent all of my teenage years under a microscope.
Everything I did, in their minds, could be chalked up to a by-product of my ED, rather than my ED being a by-product of something else.
I haven’t felt the comfort of being able to eat in front of others without anxiety in years. Even in front of those who have no knowledge of my problems.
Family members have always scrutinized everything that I consume whether it’s “too healthy” or “too junky”. Moving out and in with people who didn’t know of my disorder gave me a new-found calm. Although I’m still not comfortable eating in front of others, it does allow me to momentarily feel normal.
Of course that didn’t make the problem go away. Sometimes it’s fun to pretend to be someone else.
But at the back of my mind it continued to plague me. Not my disorder, but my dishonesty with the person I’m closest to. He discloses everything to me and yet I’m not returning the favor. That is not the foundation a good relationship should be built upon.
Tomorrow is our 9 month anniversary. We’ve known each other through mutual friends for over 9 years, but we count from the day he officially asked me for my number.
Up until a few days ago I had not been completely honest. He knew about my past with an ED but he didn’t know the truth about my present.
I’d come so close to telling him many times. But often the fear of losing the false “normalcy” I’d acquired kept me from following through. I finally couldn’t take dealing with the burden in secrecy any longer.
If there is a perfect way to react to that sort of disclosure, he demonstrated it. He used to work in the same profession as I, and thus knows how to deal with people in vulnerable situations.
Although he doesn’t understand EDs, he can understand the mentality of someone with a disorder. He understands that he can’t “fix” me. Only I can do that. He understands that he can’t try and control me because that can and most likely will make it worse.
It hasn’t made me worse or better in terms of behavior. But it has made me happier knowing that for once there is someone I can turn to without fear of judgment or repercussions. Which, makes my recovery seem that much more possible.
Once again this special person has given me a hope that I never thought existed.
I’m left speechless in the face of such understanding. Calm waters when I anticipated a storm.
Like most men he wants to fix all of our problems. When I’m sad he starts trying to figure out what he can do to make me happy, when usually there really isn’t much that can be done when dealing with female hormones.
(I love that one of my favorite songs was written by a sweet boy I love)
In this instance I didn’t have to even tell him that there’s not much he can do. It gets exhausting having to bear this weight 24/7 without reprieve. Remarkably, he already knew that he just needs to be there for me to lean on every once in a while.
July 21, 2010 § 12 Comments
July 13, 2010 § 12 Comments
July 11, 2010 § 8 Comments
July 9, 2010 § 15 Comments
It’s curious how often our food and eating behaviors correlate with the way we act in many other areas of life. For me and many others, I have the tendency to restrict only to feel fear of losing my discipline when I can’t resist any longer.
This reminds me of my relationships with others. I moved around a lot as a kid and teenager. Which would make it hard for anyone to stay connected with friends. And for those who are naturally introverted it makes it nearly impossible. As I said before, I’m terrible with goodbyes. So eventually I just stopped trying to connect with others to avoid that inevitable pain.
Abstaining from establishing connections with others eventually made it in my eyes impossible. So I’ve spent the last decade keeping 95% of my thoughts to myself. Never really feeling the impulse to share what was on my mind to others. Not out of fear of them not understanding, I simply became emotionally and mentally self-sufficient.
I would only feel the desire to become close to others simply because I knew it was expected of me. I occasionally would force myself to go out, but I found it so emotionally draining. Socializing was a muscle I simply did not workout, and could barely move. Things that others view as relaxing and fun, I found exhausting, and quite frankly, torturous.
That was until Vance for some reason set his interests upon me. Connecting with him was effortless. For the first time in my life I naturally craved that connection that I had been denying my whole life.
I read once about how certain paraplegics can regain feeling in certain areas by having electrical impulses placed upon specific areas of their spine. That’s what Vance did. He brought back to life a part of myself that I thought had been lost.
How does this relate to food? Depriving myself of something out of fear. And now that I’ve allowed myself this pleasure, no, necessity, I simply can’t get enough of it, and I can sometimes lose my discipline. The issue I have with food is the same issue I’ve always had with my fellow earthlings.
At least there’s no downside to overindulging in love when it’s reciprocated.