Thursday, December 13, 2012

Well, in my opinion...

Today was a struggle for me.

I was in class. It was our last day. My professor brought in juice boxes, cake and donuts for everyone.

#1. I do not like fruit punch. Never have, never will.
#2. I do not like jelly donuts. See above.
#3. I did not really want to eat less than two hours after my breakfast.

The majority of my class picked up both a slice of cake and a donut along with a juice box.
I ate nothing.
I received multiple offers. I politely declined.

And then the anxiety set in. Do they know I was anorexic? Are they thinking that right now? Are they judging me? Am I being rude?

I had feelings of immense guilt for not eating and it occurred to me, my feeling of distress was because I felt like I was drawing attention to myself. Because, well  I was afraid they would somehow know. That they'd think something was wrong with me. Because all my life, all I've ever heard when I experience any sort of food related anxiety, all I get told is "You're skinny. Shut up and eat."

It can be really frustrating and hard to know, is it my choice or is it anorexia's choice? Sometimes, its a mix of both. I think the actual fear of possibly having ED thoughts is more anxiety provoking than anything. I knew eating something like that at 10AM would probably upset my rather sensitive stomach. So, I asked myself some questions. Is eating this food so people will stop bothering me worth the potential repercussions? I know I've been having some bad days - is it worth me possibly not eating enough today? What if I feel shitty afterwards? Will I even actually  feel more comfortable right now if I eat this?

I like to think of it as risk-assessment. The obvious answer here was no. And if we're going to be really honest, no one in that room probably gave a damn one way or the other, but I felt uncomfortable so I removed myself from the situation.

I'm pretty sure any therapist or ED specialist would insist I did the wrong thing and should have eaten the cake. But I didn't want it. I didn't really feel comfortable with being pressured into having something I didn't want. And ya know what? If I want cake, I will eat it. If I want pizza, I will eat it. If I want a crispy chicken sandwich and fries, I'll eat that too. But if it's being offered to me, it doesn't mean I have to have it. That's still something that's hard to grasp for me, I think, because eating is so often a social thing. And we all want to be part of the group. But is it really normal to make yourself eat something you don't even like, because other people are eating?

I really think that normal eating is a myth. Well, maybe not a myth per say. But it's not what they make you think it is when you're in treatment. Three meals and three snacks a day? Once you start living your life, you don't reaaaallly have time to do that in many cases. I mean, I still have a snack at night before I go to bed because I sleep better. And if I'm hungry, I eat. But I don't schedule it out anymore. I hardly think about it most of the time - unless I'm starving, in a boring class counting the minutes until I can go somewhere to get food. But that's a special scenario.

Back to my point: normal eating is really just a fancy name. Its more a state of mind than an actual thing. Normal eating is eating when you're hungry (or sometimes just because you have a yen for chocolate) without overwhelming anxiety. Can you eat a few slices of pizza by yourself and not hate yourself for a week? Do you need to eat certain things every day at certain times, or will you be just fine if you eat at 8PM instead of 6PM?

Congratulations. You're normal. Not because you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, and not because you eat 2000 calories a day. But because you aren't afraid of these meals or numbers or what time it is anymore. I can remember a time when I was eating my 3 meals and 3 snacks. I used to eat with my mom. I would panic if it went past a certain time, for anything. Last snack had to be had by 8:30, etc. What a different life it is now.

So to summarize my rather lengthy post: After your weight-restored I am almost positive there will still be times when you feel uncomfortable in social situations pertaining to food. And that's OK. Just because you don't want a jelly donut doesn't mean your ED is usurping control of your brain. That's something I learned today. And other times, just the fear of possibly having an ED thought popping up might be enough to say "Nope not worth it." As long as you're healthy and doing alright,  do what YOU think is right for you in the moment, you're doing just fine. And normal eating is really just an evolution from following a meal-plan every day to not following a meal plan every day. Not so scary after all right?

I personally came home from school and had a brownie with my lunch. Brownies trump donuts any day in my book. And I was much happier with my brownie than I would have been eating a donut I didn't even like with my classmates, whom I was not terribly fond of either if we're going to be blatantly honest. And you all know that's my strong suit.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I am a full-time student. I now only work 16 hours a week. 

I make about $350 every two weeks.

They now tax out $85 on my 350. When I worked 32 hours a week, they only taxed about $90 on my $600.

When I first started working the taxes were significantly less. I know taxes have gone up. But for fuck's sake, I am a student. I drive FIFTY miles to school and back, four days a week. Even with my car that gets 35/mpg on the highway - when we include driving to work, the grocery store, the gym - that's about $40/week in gas - and this is all assuming I don't sit in traffic for an hour (which I frequently do). How am I supposed to save money here?

Why am I paying for people's health insurance, when I wasn't even granted my own until LAST YEAR. I only receive health insurance from Walmart now because I've worked well over 3000 hours. That's right, I worked for it. I work to have my insurance, my car, my life. And I am so appalled that while I bust my ass to make a piddling pay check every week, there are people who come into my store with wads of hundred dollar bills in their pockets and pay me with food stamps. It sickens me. Equality doesn't mean you get a third of the money I worked for. Equality means you have the same chance to make the same money, or better, if you fucking work for it.  Civil liberties means you get the same opportunities as everyone else, regardless of color or religion or what have you - not food stamps, free housing and free cell phones. I understand that people struggle - oh I do. My father worked in construction and sometimes he'd be unemployed for half of the year. But when he was working, he'd work 60-70 hours a week. 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It's called being a good worker, and having a strong work ethic. Perhaps this is where my intolerance comes from - I was brought up being told that you work hard to get where you want, you don't expect handouts. And it seems like more and more, that's all anyone in this country wants.

Tax the people who work, give their money to people who don't. The people in need. Yeah, please. I'm far from being wealthy. And being taxed for $200/month probably doesn't sound like a lot. But when you're only making $700 in a whole month to begin with, that is almost a third of my income. It just doesn't make sense to me, how people justify this. I've worked my ass off just about every day that I've gone to work. I didn't get the raise I was promised, the raise I deserved. But I still work just as hard as I did before. Because I can, and because I really don't know any other way. And because I want to be successful in life and I don't want to be one of those people who slacks off and waits for others to pick up my pieces. Because I was raised to be proud, and to take care of myself. And part of taking care of yourself is doing your job, and doing it well so you can keep that job. And part of being proud is not wanting to fail at something because you didn't put forth your best effort.
I know there are in fact lots of people out there trying to better themselves, and high five to all of us. But there are still also many people who don't try at all.

I'll never stop trying. Regardless of how angry that makes me. Because, if I stop trying, I'll be one of those people too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tonight, we ramble.

I What Not To Wear'd myself.

I have new clothes, all new clothes, for the first time since I was ohhh about 18-20. I've obviously purchased a few things here and there, but mainly in the form of yoga pants and new hoodies.

I own new skirts. Dresses. Jeans. Hair bands with bows, heels, boots. Cute things.

When I look in the mirror now, I feel like I look like a grown up. No one mistakes me for a 16 year old when I wear make-up and have on a nice pencil skirt with cute shoes. It feels good. I like the way I feel in these new clothes. I feel like a new person. I think this is part of why I've let my hair grow so long (currently its only a few inches away from my waist) - its new. Its not the pixie cut anorexic-me had. These are not the clothes that I would have worn back then. And these are not the clothes I would have worn while I was in the midst of recovery, lacking a sense of self and completely afraid of the body that was beginning to develop beneath my over-sized hoodies and men's sweats.

Its a bizarre thing, really. The way wearing things that fit you, that compliment your best features makes them stand out even to you - I hate to sound vain but I do like looking in the mirror and thinking "Damn, my legs look so long and elegant in this skirt/that dress/these pants". The way that putting in the effort to look nice actually has made me feel like I am taking better care of me, than I did when all I wore was yoga pants, hoodies and flannels.

It feels like freedom. Freedom to accept and enjoy my body as it is, and not to be afraid of it. To not hide myself. Which I've done for a very long time. And now I'm not doing it anymore. And it's pretty awesome. I think I was afraid of being seen as pretty. I didn't feel like I had the right to feel beautiful. I'm not sure if that is a leftover thought from anorexia, or if its just because I've never had much self-esteem. Even as a kid, I never believed my mom when she'd tell me I was beautiful. I mean like 5-year old me would tell her "You have to say that, you're my mommy."

 Even now, when R compliments me (which he does every day just about) I can feel my face burn red with embarrassment. I'm not sure when I began to criminalize myself because of my appearance - a therapist would probably tell me its because for most of my life it's been the only reason given to me as to why girls hate me- but, I'm trying to unravel that particular thread of thought and pull it out of my mind. I don't think I'll ever be one to walk around with my nose up, hot to trot, but it'd be nice if I could stop belittling myself. Work in progress, for sure. As long as "I look damn fine today, I deserve to feel this good and acknowledge it" moments aren't going on the decline, I like to think progress is good. I know it sounds vain, but I think anything that one can do to make themselves feel good gets some kind of judgmental term. Wanna take a bubble bath? Oh! Look how indulgent you are. Hey, you enjoy that wine? You're a lush. Oh! You want to feel pretty? Now you're superficial. Oh fuck that. I'm gonna go sit in front of the TV and eat some ice cream sammiches when I'm done writing this post. Come at me, gluttony. Whoever decided these terms should be applied to enjoyable activities obviously didn't know how to have a good time.

OH! And on a completely unrelated note- last week or so, my public speaking professor told me that I am a young Joan Rivers. Which basically means I'm funny in that crass-omg did she just say that kind of way.  I felt so bad-ass. Which also leads us into the reminder that while it's important to feel pretty on the outside, you have to feel good about you on the inside too. I personally don't have much problem with that - unless we're talking about my romantic relationships. Then not so much - I get very insecure when I feel like people are getting close to me. I'm afraid of R seeing me on a bad day with things - I don't think males are equipped to deal with a girlfriend sitting in bed half naked and crying because you've convinced yourself none of your pants will fit when you're on your period. Yes I've done that, but no he didn't see it. And I think that it MAY actually be a normal female thing that goes wild in my brain because well yknow, body image is a big thing for anorexia to prey upon and also I think that being on birth control may kind of give me an estrogen over-dose once in a blue moon.
Back to my point here. We all have shit about us that makes us cool and unique. Maybe you're funny, or an excellent writer, or maybe you do card tricks. Doesn't matter - you're good at it. And maybe you've got the patience of a saint, or a heart of gold or people can trust you. So! Think about all the things that make you awesome. And then go buy yourself something nice - I think shoes are a great place to start since no one ever blames their feet if a shoe doesn't fit.  And then while you're wearing your new shoes, look in the mirror and think about how awesome you are and how great it is that awesome you is wearing such cute shoes.

And now, sick-ass me is going to go take some cough medicine and have a chicken soup/ice cream/movie marathon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life Cycles.

Totally am naming this post after the album comforting me lately.

I am struggling. I'm eating enough, but these thoughts are overwhelming. My self-esteem has been taking some serious blows lately. My job is working me to the bone. I reset 12 shelving units - tore every item off the shelves, cleaned them, restocked them in an organized fashion. I went to the back-to-school department and started in on organizing that for the billionth time. Then I run back up front to ring out customers for an hour, get sent to the service desk to cover lunches and simultaneously take care of customers with site-to-store orders.
This about my average day at work. Mind you; I am only labelled as a cashier.
I also ran layaway, learned how to work the jewelry counter and the electronics section.
I had my yearly review recently. I only got a forty-cent raise because in spite of all that I do for that store - everything they've ever asked me to do, and much more - I apparently don't work hard enough. I don't smile enough. I look like I'm tired all the time.
These were the reasons I didn't get a bigger raise - even though I'd been promised I'd get more this year.
I'm exhausted because my coworkers are the epitome of laziness. No lie; one of them couldn't even be so moved as to turn her head more than a quarter turn to the left  when I asked her if she knew what time it was.
And then her name was on the back wall as being one of our best cashiers.
I have fastest scanning percentage, but they have a new way of calculating our productivity that your daily totals actually appear HIGHER the LESS time you spend actually working.
It just pisses the hell out of me.
In addition to this, my ex - the one who tried to run me down with his car and physically assaulted me - now appears to go to my gym. I nearly had a panic attack when I thought I saw him. It took me 6-8 months to not watch every car that drove past my house at night to make sure it wasn't him. I was afraid to be at home, at work and at school because he would just randomly show up. It took me months to recover from that fear. And now he's in my gym. I've only seen him once so far, so maybe it was a fluke. Maybe a friend had given him a one-day pass. I don't know.
And, one of my friends - my best friend - is struggling with her ED as well. But I don't want to talk about my still-remaining struggles because I don't want to deter her from recovering.

Life for me is better than it was when I was actively anorexic. But I still have bad days. I have days where all I want to do is hide in my bed til its over. Where I just feel ugly. Where I feel helpless because I am once again unhappy with my body and I have no idea what I can do to fix it. I know I am not fat - I am barely at a BMI of 18.5 and I am mostly muscle. I can squat and deadlift my bodyweight or more. I honestly was disappointed when I got on the scale and saw my weight - I thought gaining 10 pounds would have made such a huge difference in my appearance. But apart from the muscular definition in my back, legs and biceps (and the roundness in my ass) - there's  no change. Its frustrating that I work so hard, and the changes are almost non-existent. And then, the thoughts creep up in my head. You'd be happier if you didn't eat so much. You'd feel better about yourself. You'd look better if you lost 5 pounds.
And then I say fuck you, I'm taking a shower. Putting on my favorite green shorts. And I am going to get my nails done and go to the mall with my friend. We are then going out for sushi and girly drinks, because that's what girls do.
And I will continue to listen to this bad-ass album.

I'm still king of the world!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why, hello there.

So, in relation to my last post - that childhood friend I was speaking of? Well, to put it simply - I have learned that my instincts, while some of which are paranoia - are often correct. And that was one of those instances. Blew up in my face like things have a tendency to do. On a happy note, I've been dating someone new for six months. He's really great, treats me better than anyone else ever has. I'm starting at a new school in September. I'll be a registered dietetic technician in 18 months. I'm both nervous and excited. So many things are changing in my life. I'm better than I was a few months ago; I know I am. But, sometimes I long for the nights when I'd just go out and party til the wee hours of the morning with my friends.
      Yes, I neglected to tell you about that. I did a lot of partying in the last year. My schedule consisted of working 35 hours a week, school two days a week, working out 3 days a week, and going out with my friends any time the opportunity presented itself. I am not exactly proud of this. I got over a lot of my fears during this time. But I frequently drank to escape myself, to feel better - no not better. Normal. When I drank, the voices of apprehension about food, about my body - they all disappeared. This led to me finally getting myself to eat enough to gain the last few pounds I needed to reach a healthy weight. It took a year of eating about 3200/day to for me to gain 8 lbs. Now don't we all feel silly for being so nervous about these things? I know I do.
  I still struggle with it at times. All together, I've gained 50 lbs. I've only just reached a BMI of 18.5, so rationally I know its a good thing. But I'm allowed to have my bad days as long as they don't get in the way of me taking care of myself. The new boyfriend can never understand it when I'm upset. He always says how perfect I am. I've always detested being told that - no human is perfect. I just want to be happy with me, and feel human, yknow? That's all I need. Its a work in progress, and the progress is mostly a steady climb upwards.
    I think being a weightlifter has helped me a lot. It gives me this ability to feel good about my body, not because of how it looks but because of what it can do. I used to always be so small and weak, and now I feel strong inside and out. I like the confidence it gives me. It feels pretty badass to walk into the free weight area of the gym and do some squats. Squats are my favorite lift. Its funny really; I'd never done weightlifting before until about two years ago. One day some cute boy decides to show me how to do a lat-pull down and all of sudden its a full blown hobby!  I know it goes against the standard rules of recovery, but I think that when one is physically stable - finding an activity that makes you feel good and does good for your body, that you've no eating disordered ties to (yoga, weightlifting, rockclimbing!) is really paramount to rebuilding a positive relationship with your body. It will amaze you, the things your healthy body can do - things you didn't think you ever could do - and it will give you a sense of pride in yourself that you didn't think you could have, because it's not about the looks of it - but the action, the sensation. And then, hopefully we say to ourselves," Wow! My body is strong, healthy, and it does not just what it needs to do, but all this other cool stuff too! And this cool stuff makes me happy, and this kind of happy lasts. I don't ever want to lose that."

I have unfortunately turned into one of those people that encourages everyone else to do it too because its actually a component of overall physical health. I also make everyone listen to the awesome music that I love. I think I like to share things that make me happy because I am SO THRILLED to have things that I can fully enjoy again. I think that's enough of my ramblings for now. I'm going to go eat my bizarre dinner. Ratatouille with grilled garlic and rosemary chicken, and a smoked salmon sandwich. Yes, girl still eats a lot. My newest food addiction is smoked salmon with tomatoes and cottage cheese on whole wheat. And now I'm really done talking! Love you all, and thanks to those who are still reading.