Monday, September 28, 2009

Creativity.

So, its been a hectic week or so for yours truly. Thus far, I've worked 30 hours, spent 20 hours working on a paper sculpture for my art class (and its not even finished!) and I've gone to school four days this week. I've also managed to squeeze in time to still have a social life. Never in my dreams did I think it was all possible for me to do all of this, and still maintain myself in recovery. But I'm doing it, I'm really doing it. The best part of all this is that my biggest achievements and crowning glories are no longer things that are food related. Sure, I can measure PB without the tablespoon measure anymore. I can eat an apple without wondering "Is it bigger than the one I had yesterday?" Hell, I can even go to IHOP for brunch with the boy, despite having eaten my own breakfast at 6:30 that morning (pancakes for lunch? Oh yes I did) without much of a second thought.
The things I am proud of, feel good about right now:
I am actually PASSING algebra so far this semester.
And I am ruling my Sculpture class.

Paper Sculpture - 3/4 of the way done. 300 squares of folded and rolled paper right thurr.

On top of that - I have received the Kreativ blogger award from two lovely, beautiful girls - Julia and Eliza.


So! Seven fun facts about me:

1. My eyes change color very frequently. Sometimes even within a day, I'll go from having a bright green with a ring of a terra cotta brown in the middle, to eyes that are golden brown and red (I kid not.). Or vice versa. People often think that I wear contacts.

2. My favorite thing to do is going to local concerts. I started going to shows in town - local punk, hardcore and ska bands - when I was like 13. I still love going, even though the venue in my town was shut down. It was what I missed most when I was too entrenched in ED to go. Its hard to explain, but music frees me. My favorite shows are ska shows. Skanking is the hyper active, friendlier brother of moshing. And its the most fun you'll ever have if you let yourself go enough to try it out.

3. I moved twice when I was 17. First to Charlottesville, VA to live with my older brother, and then to NYC to attend Pratt in Brooklyn.

4. I read incredibly fast. I actually read "Atlast Shrugged" in about three weeks. Its around 1100-1200 pages. Go me.

5. I had pneumonia when I was 14. I still have scar tissue in my left lung from it. My doctor told me I'd never be able to run again. I now run 3-4 miles two or three days a week. (And now I also eat PLENTY to make up for it)

6. My father and I are born exactly 40 years apart from each other. We were also both the youngest children in our family growing up. My mother and brother are born exactly 30 years apart from each other, and were both the oldest children growin up in their families.

7. Loosely translated - my name in Italian means "Victory for the stars". Sweet little irony there eh?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rise Against.

I know everyone has their music of choice. But truly I have got to share this album with you guys. This band, and these songs got me through the worst of days. And even now, when I am having a bad day, I pop in one of their albums and I instantly feel stronger and more capable.
My album of choice during my recovery was "The Sufferer and the Witness". Every song on that album empowered me and reminded me that I was human. A person with struggles that could be overcome. My favorite song though, is probably Survive.
"Life for you has been less than kind. Take a number, Stand in line. We've all been sorry, we've all been hurt. But how we survive is what makes us who we are."
Those words always pushed me to keep going, to stop pitying myself and berating myself for what I'd lost all these years. I have come to realize that the past does not matter anymore. Sure, its important because, yeah, I've learned a lot from my mistakes. And they have shaped me into the person I am today. But my past does not dictate my future. It doesn't determine what I'm worth now, or what I deserve to do and take for myself. The amount of stupid things I've done, the times I've tried and failed, the times I've just given up entirely - they have given me the strength to see what I need to do for myself to make things better, and the determination to stick to it.

That being said - I still struggle with myself at times just as much as I did in the beginning of recovery. Just the other day, I had an issue at work with the ED. "Those girls you just checked out were buying weight loss shakes. If they can lose weight, you can too"
Immediately after those girls came through my register, the phrase "Do you really need to eat that extra snack when you get home tonight? Really. Are you even going to be hungry? Nahh. You're fine. A little hunger never killed anyone."
AGH! I don't even know where it came from or why. It really startled me honestly. I suppose I'm still sensitive to the idea of weight loss, but only concerning people who really don't need to lose weight. The minute the ED thought entered my mind, I knew I had to rebel against it and make myself eat what I needed when I got home. And I did. After about a minute or two, the thoughts were gone, and when I got home I happily made a Nutella milkshake. But the fact that they even appeared frightened me.
I've felt many a victory before, but somehow this one felt different. I suppose it was easier for me on some level when I was at the very bottom. I knew I looked ill then. Now I just look very thin. So in my head, its not quite as necessary for me to gain as it was six months ago. But I also know that my body is freakin' weird and I need to meet or exceed the 3K mark every day or else I will start slipping. I fought too hard for too long to let little things like that bring me back.

I had a talk with my therapist for the first time in a while. He said that I had a very real belief that if I can conceive of something, then it can be done. "Conception equals implementation in your mind. You have a mentality now that says if you think you can do something - it will be accomplished." He said that kind of determination and confidence in myself would serve me well. But I'm not quite sure if its bordering on a bad belief, given that I also have black and white tendencies. I can honestly say, I have a hard time understanding why other people don't just do things. Maybe its because the real me is coming back more and more. I'm not sure. But if you talk about doing something, say you want to do it and really mean it - then fucking do it! (pardon my language) There's no reason not to. And the only thing that can ever truly hold you back is yourself. So hey! Live your life with open arms and reach for whatever is within your sights - even if it feels beyond your grasp. Nothing is ever as far away as it seems. At least that's my philosophy. ^.^

I was going to leave you all with a photo of my awesome breakfast of champions, but Blogger is being ridic. And I have to get my butt to class. So! Perhaps later I'll have the pic for it.
Be that as it may, breakfast was a darling mix of oats and Dorset Berries and cherries soaked overnight in vanilla soy and Fage, topped this morning with dried figs, sliced banana, almonds, and 2TBS of creamy peanut butter. And of course the usual cuppa with my new favorite - Hazelnut Biscotti creamer. <3

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reflections.

Sometimes, my body amazes me. Through taking care of myself, I have come to see that I need far more than I realized to maintain my weight. I had not lost weight over the summer, but since I've increased my calories, to keep up with my schedule, I physically and mentally feel better than I did before. I am more myself - I am happier, more energetic and overall just feel more alive. I suppose this shocks me. I thought that was I was eating was plenty enough to maintain. And while I didn't lose weight on what I was eating - I can see now that it is very possible to eat an extra 200-300 calories a day, maintain the same weight, and FEEL better. I suppose I haven't actually maintained *sigh* I now have to gain an additional 2 pounds since I lost a bit after adding in an extra snack or two. Surprising? You bet. But its nice to feel even better than I did before. Granted I now need to eat an absurd amount of food and will need even more to gain at least another five pounds. But its what I have to do and its what my body apparently needs. So be it. I'll be damned if I won't do my best to enjoy this.

I see so many of us struggling lately, and it breaks my heart. There is so much I want to say to so many people, but I am afraid that I am just being redundant. First and foremost - I want to tell you all who are struggling that things will get better. I know it seems impossible, especially when you've slipped back so many times. I cannot put into words what kind of hell I was living a year ago. I was beyond emaciated. I was constantly sick and cold and could barely digest food. It took me 5 weeks to raise my calories from under 100 a day to 2400. I had to give up the obsessive compulsive exercising. I had to drink about 1400 calories in milkshakes every day because my body rejected most solid food for weeks. I thought I was going to die. The only reason I survived the summer was because my mom is a secretary in a school and had time off. The minute she went back to work, my calories slipped down and I started running every day. Then it became twice a day. I lost three of the four pounds I had managed to gain. I spent two months getting my calories back up to 2500 and ended up needing even more than that to gain. I went back and forth between pushing and failing until sometime in February when I finally had enough. I was sick of myself. I couldn't take the pressure, the fights (oh, were there fights. Slammed into the kitchen floor, punched in the face) I thought about giving up. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking "What are you doing?" I had been playing games for so long, I didn't even realize I was doing it anymore. I had been eating pretty much the same food day in and day out for months and had been whittling my calories down from 2800 as I became more and more depressed. But one morning, I decided not to let the world break me down anymore. I couldn't. I didn't have the strength to fall even further away. On that morning. I raised my calories back up to 2800. And ten days later, I was up to 3600. Sure, I was afraid. I had spent so much time in that little shell. I was used to my own misery - I lived, breathed and basked within it. Anorexia was my crutch. Even as I ate more and more - I could hardly believe what I was doing. It seemed so surreal. The entire duration of my recovery - I was in a trance. None of it seemed real, and I was never sure that it would work. I hoped, but in the back of my mind always lay the question "Will this ever change? What if I just gain the weight and the voice is still there, the fears still present?"

I can tell you now, that with proper nutrition and sustaining what has been determined to be a fairly decent (though not great! I'm still getting there!) weight for my height and frame - so much of it all has disappeared. The food rituals disappeared. The anxiety, the nerves, the guilt - all of it slowly fell away. I strongly believe a part of it was purely conditioning - getting used to being around and consuming food. But the other part was the healing of my mind and body. I am no longer depressed like I used to be. I don't sit and think of all the reasons I should be dead or have died anymore. I don't wish to punish myself and I no longer believe I don't deserve to live. All of these positive things take time. You don't need to believe in it right off the bat - its hard to really truly want recovery and have faith in it when you are still so sick with the eating disorder. But you have to give it a chance. That's all you need. And sometimes, its all you've got.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Amalgum.

Its 9/11. I know everyone is doing posts in honor of it. I hate thinking about that day. My cousin Kelly was in one of the towers as it collapsed. She is fine, she survived, though she had to go through therapy for PTSD. But we are very close, and just thinking about this day reminds me of how terrified and how sick I felt at school that whole day. I also have cousins and uncles in the military. So my feeling on this day is generally "Remember how lucky you are, and hope it stays that way."

So I've had a cold the past few days. Its been making eating very hard for me - I keep drinking so much tea that I feel full without eating anything. The added cough and sneeze miseries aren't helping. I've been sticking to calorically dense foods and that seems to be working out perfectly fine. New favorite thing to snack on: Black and White sandwiches. What is that you ask?
Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate peanut butters on whole wheat bread. <3 I'm sure you all can imagine just how awesome that is.

Also have been enjoying muesli a lot lately. Though, with the quick and sudden change in temperature, I believe some hot oats may in store for breakfast very soon. Also lots of pasta lately too. I'm thinking tofu casserole tonight perhaps since its cold and rainy, and will be for a few days. Just gotta get out the penne, some sauce, blend up some tofu, walnuts and spinach, add some spices and some olive oil and bake away. Will post a picture if I manage to find my camera beneath my mass of books, sketch pads and work clothes.

I am really frustrated to be honest. I apologize if my rant seems triggering. I can NOT find a single pair of khaki pants on the planet that will fit me. I bought TWO pairs of khaki crops in my usual size and I swear, the back pockets are sagging down to my knees! Its so silly looking. I found ONE pair of actual long pants at Target that were two sizes too big out of desperation since its getting cold up in New England. I look ridiculous. People tell me its cute that I'm always pulling up my pants....but I feel like its such an AN thing. It reminds me of back in the day, when nothing fit because I was emaciated. I am not emaciated anymore. I want clothing that fits. My jeans are OK, they fit good. Khakis must run bigger. But its upsetting. And then when I put jeans on after work, I admit to having to reassure myself that they are not too tight - its just that my work pants are too big.

End rant about clothing.

More and more of my guy friends and coworkers are hitting on me. A guy at work bought me dinner a few nights ago. Another one wants to go to the movies. One friend of mine travels from two towns over to come to the store I work at, just to visit me. A friend of mine in Florida wants to date me when he moves back to CT. Another friend who's studying abroad keeps messaging me, telling me how much better everything about France would be if I was there with him.

i want to be flattered. Part of me is. Part of me wants to hide. I know I should be used to the attention. But it feels like so much pressure. I feel like a lot of people around me seem to expect that somehow, I can fix their problems and make things better. But I can't. I don't have that capacity. On top of that is the fact that I cannot reciprocate their feelings. The boy and I are not really in a relationship anymore - we both consider ourselves single. But neither of us seem to really want to let go either.
Conversation from the other night:
D - "One of us is going to have to move on at some point. I think its going to be you."
T - "How do you figure that?"
D - "There are at least 5 guys who want to date you right now. You could be with anyone."
T - "Just because I could be with anyone does not mean that I want to be with them."
T - "Besides, who's to say you won't find someone else soon either?"
D- " Because I haven't met anyone else and I am happy and content with you."
T - "Did it ever occur to you that I might be content too?"

Blah. How's that for confusin, eh? We also have constant arguments over his paranoia that if I'm not with him, I'm out with another guy. (Newsflash Daniel: we aren't technically dating!) It just bugs me. I feel like there is something going on with him that I can't see, and that he won't talk about. Maybe its in my head, I don't know.

I don't know why, but I keep having this urge to move. Like this need to spread my wings so to speak - find out what else there is out there. I love my school - for a community college, its great. But that's all it is - community college. I know I can do better, go somewhere more challenging. I don't want to school myself into debt though. But I desperately want to go back to art school. It aches being stuck in this small town, working retail. I love the people I work with, don't get me wrong. But that is not the life I want to lead. I want so much more. And I will be damned before I let anything keep me down again. I feel so determined to rise above my circumstances. I don't even care what it takes, but next year I will be somewhere better.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What I've learned thus far.

Things I have realized in the past week:

I work hard.
I play hard.
I can do anything I put my mind to (including increasing my calories to hault a minor weight loss, despite how busy I am)
I do not ever have to worry about being alone.

As of today, I will have worked about 12 hours over time between Friday night and 9:30PM this evening. Holy shit, right? Here's my layout for the past three days:
Friday - worked 1PM till 10:30PM
Left work. Went out with Daniel and came home at 7AM Saturday morning.
Saturday - worked 11:30 to 4:30PM. Went out for bit. Got to bed around 11PM.
Sunday - went out with Daniel in the afternoon. Worked 4:30 to 9:30. Went over to Daniel's. Came home and went to bed around midnight.
Monday - working noon till 9:30PM. Probably going out again afterwards.

I think I may be taking on too much. Daniel is rather stressing. We aren't technically dating anymore - but as you can see here, it kinda still looks like we are. He's already been asking me today what time I get off of work so we can hang out. He also keeps badgering me about other guys and if I'm going to be dating anyone else some time soon. To be honest, there are at least three guys interested in me. One of them I work with. one of them moved to France for a year to study abroad. And one of them I know from being IP (he was in the depression/SI group). But really - I'm not sure I want to be dating any of them. And I hate that Daniel seems to think that whenever I'm not with him, I must be with someone else. It makes me sad. He's so hard to read. I swear, he was texting me almost my entire shift, every day. But then he says he wants us to be able to be friends. And then he kisses me at the door (and TBH, more often than just that). So I'm kind of like "WTF". I understand not knowing exactly what you want. But its not cool to not even be able to decide on "friends" or "possibly more than friends.". (sigh)
I also have three classes (so far doing quite well in all of them) I seem to function better when I'm doing more. Its like the bigger the challenge, the more able I am to desire and push for success. I've found that I need to eat even more than I initially figured, but I'm OK with it. Hey - more peanut butter and pasta for me? Like I'd really complain about that haha. I feel like this is my final frontier. Learning to live and eat at the same time, and still getting myself to a healthy weight. I can do it. And I will.

Also: I concocted the best chocolate-strawberry smoothie shake you never had yesterday.
~Chocolate soymilk
~Vanilla greek yogurt
~ Fresh strawberries and ice (or just use frozen strawbs for the same slush-effect)
~Chocolate syrup
~Nutella

Blend. Pour into your favorite glass and add a neon pink straw (that's how I do it up anyways!) and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

48 hours plus some extra days.

So! I have been a very busy girl. I am SO sorry for not commenting people back, but I have been reading. Just not had the mental energy nor time to keep up to date with commenting.

In the past week, I have:

Been in a car accident. But I'm fine! Just a little tap to the rear kinda thing with a Nissan.
Worked 32+ hours within a four day time span. Apparently, getting out of work at 10PM has become more like 10:30 or 11PM.
Had three classes, and even aced my pretest for Algebra yesterday.
Started an art project based on the Brave Little Toaster (will update with pictures of my sketches and my low/high relief carving)

In the past 36 hours, I have:
Broke up with Daniel
Eaten whatever I damn well wanted because I knew I needed calories and was in no mood to be caring about how much fat or protein I needed (yours truly brought a 3-cup tupperware container filled with my mom's homemade pasta salad, a can of tuna, a chocolate bar and a Larabar to work that night)
Is now dating Daniel again.

Sigh.
Those italic ones sent me through a loop. Big drama about us being too serious and him being afraid of getting hurt, so on and so forth. Being the way I am, I do not see anything as being pressure. My views of love and relationships may be skewed, I don't know. I tend to want to just let things come and go as they may and I like to see where life takes me. I don't force things or push for them to happen. At least not in that sense. So it was hard for me to be able to accept his logic. Just as it was hard for him to understand how I could not be afraid. The break up biz lasted less than 24 hours. We walked and talked Monday night. I don't know why, but since I started school and work, I have become more and more like myself again - I am happy and full of life again. For awhile, despite my feeling better, I was kind of in a rut and felt pretty unhappy with my life because I didn't feel like I was really living it. Now I am. And I am happy, with or without a boyfriend. Anyways, long chat with the boy. And by the end of the night, we agreed that we had jumped into the boyfriend/girlfriend business too fast. And now we are just dating and getting to know each other better. Which truly works perfect for me. I was incredibly nervous about being in a relationship. I like him and all, but I have not had a real relationship in many years, so I am really glad that while he is still definitely going to be around and we'll be seeing each other - we both are still living our lives and not putting any sort of pressure into it.

I keep forgetting to do meal pics, but I'll let you all in on the secret pasta salad recipe:
Whole wheat pasta (my portion was about 1.5 cups)
4-5 chopped sun dried tomatoes
Olives (OK I hate olives so I usually pick them out, but my mom does put them in there)
Sweet peas and broccoli
Handful romaine, shredded
Salad dressing
Spicy tofu (or other protein of choice - I occasionally do tuna instead)
Almonds (these last two are my own add ins)

Now - you mix all the pasta, veggies and nuts together (obviously) BUT for my tofu I like to do the following:
"Glaze" tofu in dressing first (I think Zesty Italian or Thousand Island work best), sizzle on the frying pan with a spray of PAM or bake on the grill wrapped in tin-foil. Roll in red pepper flakes while its still warm and a bit "sticky". Cut into cubes and put on top of salad. Drizzle whole thing with a bit more dressing.


Edit: Woo! This was my 100th post! And what a doozy it was, huh?