Tuesday, May 31, 2011

a short {angry} rant.

i'm fairly sure that the majority of my posts serve as evidence of the fact that i am a selectively religious follower of grammar/punctuation rules.

although i disregard capitalization and find it simply unnecessary to avoid run-on sentences, i try my best to use its and it's in their correct contexts respectively {i've probably erred by sheer carelessness in a number of posts}, and i do not and will not end sentences with prepositions.

a preposition just before a period disgusts me about as much as another branch of grammar atrocities- the kind that fill female facebook walls and sorority girls' text messages- the kind involving unnecessary repetition of letters and exclamation points, obnoxious abbreviations and overuse of the words "sexy" and "girl" {the gym shorts and uggs combination of the english language, if you will}.

as much as these atrocities make my skin crawl by themselves, what brings me to a boiling anger- the kind so frustrating it's uncomfortable- is when these degradations of the english language are used to congratulate a girl on her recent weight loss.

i'm fully aware that there plenty of people whose health depend on them losing weight and that these people deserve to be encouraged when they succeed with healthier lives. but this morning, when i saw a photo of an alarmingly frail version of a friend of mine with comment after comment beneath it, i found myself clenching my jaw and both my fists.

"OMGGGGG my girl you look PERF!!!!!!!," one of the comments said. as horrible a version of english as the quote is, what's worse is the fact that "perfect" {or "perf" as the individual behind the quote has chosen as her means of conveying that her friend looks flawless} is something that young women in today's culture are taught to believe is achievable on any level, particularly through starvation and over exercise.

"sexxxxxy!!!!!!" another comment said. what isn't sexy at all is that the type of thin the girl photoed has reached, the type of thin our culture embraces as attractive is also the type of thin that disables a woman's estrogen production- virtually shutting off her reproductive system- disabling menstruation and poising her for premature osteoporosis by sucking calcium from her bones.

what's worse than any of the heinous abbreviations or abuse of exclamation points is the fact that the commenters continued throughout the facebook album's remainder to marvel over the photoed girl's weight loss, without realizing that their encouragement was much the same as telling an alcoholic to keep drinking- that they'd grown more successful, lovable and worthy since they'd taken to the bottle.

when i started losing weight, i remember the influx of congratulatory remarks that quickly became my daily sustenance. i lived for each one of them. family, friends, friends' families, teachers and people i barely knew all seemed to notice and all seemed to suddenly hold me with higher esteem than before. i thought i must have been doing something right, and as behavioral psychologists always say, behaviors that elicit reinforcement will be repeated. in other words, the comments made me feel really good, so i kept doing {and not doing} the things that got them coming in the first place. i do not blame any people or their attempted encouragement for deepening my dependence on my disorder. i blame our culture, rather, for being one leads its people to seek redemption and worth in physical appearances and obtainments rather than in things that actually matter.

the heart of the problem that's going to cause the photoed girl to read the comments on her album and continue doing {and not doing} whatever it is she's been doing {and not doing} is one with a long and difficult fix. changing a culture was never something that one person could do in one lifetime.

but helping one person with an eating disorder means as much as to me as helping a million, so i hope that this short {angry} rant will open at least one pair of eyes to the importance of cautiousness with weight loss comments.

you never know to whom {or what} you're talking.

love {and a little frustration, perhaps},


Friday, May 27, 2011

one-year anniversary.

two days ago, i watched the sun rise from a plane that was 12 hours delayed. my dad and i made our way into the house, dropping our luggage inside the back door and rubbing our eyes as we stumbled up to our beds.

i woke up a few hours later with no sense of direction or purpose for the day other than to lie on the couch and watch crime shows on tv.

it's rare that i resign myself to the television for an entire day, but i was too tired and dull to really accomplish anything, so i thought it was fitting that i remain worthlessly on the couch and watch other people who hadn't spent the night in an airport terminal solve crimes.

it's also rare that i go a day without looking at my computer, but i was so tired that pulling my computer out of its sleeve in my backpack seemed like some unreachable task, so i let may 25, 2011 slip away without even realizing that it was may 25th.

i'm actually really good at going a fair number of days without ever knowing the actual date of any of them. i've managed to make it through life without ever missing any huge deadlines or events (not to say i haven't come close), but unfortunately, as i lay there watching CSI on wednesday, i let the first birthday of the blog go unacknowledged.

i don't suppose it's the blog's birthday that holds so much significance as it is the fact that it's been one year and two days since i let everyone know i was starting, "the rest of my life." this is the longest period of time since 2005 that i have lived life outside of my disorder, the longest period of time since 2005 that i have maintained my body weight within a recommended healthy range, and the longest period of time since 2005 that i have experienced consistent joy and peace.

{click the links! they are old posts :) )

on may 25, 2010, i wrote the first ever post of this blog. i wrote that i was mourning the loss of my disorder, but that i was persevering with the hope of a new morning- one that would be worth all my tears.

i was mourning the loss of my skinny body, of my size 0 clothes, but i tentatively embraced new sizes and months later, found myself basking in the morning glow of accepting my new self.

i was mourning the loss of what i felt made me worth something, but i awoke to a brilliant morning light, the light of Christ, and i learned i can't make myself worth anything, but He is worth everything and it is only in Him that my life can have meaning at all.

i was mourning the loss of my protector, but i awoke to a morning in which i felt strong enough to feel, to seek Christ's healing through the pain rather than my disorder's numbness outside the pain.

i was mourning the loss of the ease of restriction to combat bad body image, but i found myself thankful for the morning of my last final of college when i was able to succeed because i fought body image, instead of fighting my body itself.

i was mourning the loss of my "eating disorder foods". it's taken awhile, but i now celebrate morning after morning, each of them starting days during which i choose foods because i want them, not because i'm not afraid of them.

i now find myself mourning the sweet life- the morning- that this past year has unfolded. i'm going to miss my friends being next door and down the street, my apartment and my school.

but i look forward to the morning to come:

the morning when my friends and i adjust to living in different cities and fall into a rhythm as easy as what once was- the rhythm in which we stay close through phones and computers and girls' weekends- the rhythm that will result in our kids meeting each other one day.

the morning (the morning i was traveling last weekend to confirm): when i've grown accustomed to life in denver, colorado, where i'm moving in august to obtain a master's in counseling from denver seminary.

and all the mornings to follow. i've got no clue how they'll look, but i know how they won't look, and how they won't look, i've realized, isn't something to mourn.

it's something to celebrate.

thanks to each of you, whether you've been reading for a year or for a week. i can't describe what it means for caring people to walk beside me in this journey.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

experiencing instead of ignoring.

It’s 11:20 pm and I’m sitting in the love field airport in dallas, texas. I’m typing this post in a word document, which I find strangely less inspiring than typing it directly into blogger©, but my wireless doesn’t feel like connecting, so I don’t have much more of a choice.

The reasoning behind my travels is for another post. I’m sorry to be shady, but when a new post begins to pour forth it’s a process I prefer to allow in uninterrupted succession, and if I’m going to mention why I’ve been all over the country this week, I’m going to have to devote the remainder of this post to that mention, and I don’t want to abandon my impending idea. A post devoted to the purpose of my travels is coming soon.

i am currently stuck in a texas airport 11:20 pm because of a day’s worth of bad weather. It started this morning, causing me to miss a first connecting flight and then the following flight for which I was rebooked when I missed the first.

We’d boarded our third attempt at a flight when hail began pounding the top of the plane. Moments later, we were de-boarded and then herded down a little known flight of stairs to a dingy hallway inhabited by a number of crew-people in orange vests. i don’t think anyone would have been so concerned, but given recent events, the tornado sirens and weathermen yelling at love field to take cover had gotten some hearts pounding and some faces hardening.

I found myself fearful at first, but moments after everyone had settled in the hallway with their phones and ipads under their noses, hoping for some semblance of service, the orange-vested crew people began to make their way up and down the hall with cups and bottles of water. They were filling the cups and handing them out as fast as they could. Nerves make me thirsty, so I was thankful for the water, but what truly refreshed me was the smiles and the willingness with which the crew served. They were laughing and stepping with spring and looking us all in the eye and acting as if the delay was going to benefit them in some way, rather than extending their work day by an undeterminable amount.

I mentioned this in a recent post, but there’s something about crisis (or in tonight’s case, a minor interruption of the expected schedule, which many of unfortunately consider a crisis) that opens a unique perspective in which we think about ourselves in terms of being aware of how frustrated and let down and disappointed we are, but mainly, we find ourselves projecting that awareness onto our perceptions of others, trying as hard as we can to help because we know how it feels and we just want to make it better somehow.

As I sit here and type, i find my heart bleeding for the individuals who surround me. and I think that their hearts are bleeding for me too. there’s a woman with a peaceful face and a consistently soft smile a couple or so feet away. A moment ago she got up and gently covered my bare toes with an airline blanket. minutes later when I’d squirmed and shifted and re exposed my feet, she covered them again. when I told her my mom would thank her, she told me she’d expect someone to do the same for her little girl. I’ve conversed easily with many people tonight. their smiles and sarcasm and laughter and genuine interest in where I came from and where I’m heading have made these hours ones I no longer feel are wasted.

moments ago, an update on the icelandic volcanoes appeared on tv. a man in a striped shirt to my right began to describe the area of Tennessee in which he lives. the man explained that he lives near some of the richest soil in the south, but that the soil is only the way it is because of a huge earthquake that occurred years ago. the earthquake was so massive, it actually moved the mississippi river. what is now some of the south’s richest soil was riverbed of the mississippi before the earthquake. “so you know,” the man said, “we think these natural disasters are so horrible- and they are- but something good usually comes out of them.”

as I’ve had an abundance of spare time to sit here and rediscover chocolate-covered pretzels (yes.) and think, I’ve found myself realizing how counter productive it is to ignore or numb ourselves to our problems. so often, we think we’re saving our lives by living around our problems rather than through them, but in doing so, I think we end up losing our lives (or at least potential pieces of them) instead.

I suppose I should have reviewed, for those less immersed in the eating disorder field, that eating disorders are in most basic terms, destructive efforts to escape negative circumstances or emotions. For me, I cared so much about being thin, that I felt no more than mere fondness for most other aspects of life. As long as I was thin, as long as I knew I ate less and worked our harder than anyone else, it didn’t matter what went wrong or what I lost. In my eyes, nothing could touch me.

But the thing that I failed to consider was the fact that things were touching me, regardless of whether or not I felt like they were. When I experienced disappointment, hurt, failure, betrayal, I thought that the sizes I could wear and the meals I could skip served as some sort of exemption for me from life’s faults- that the bad things weren’t actually bad because they didn’t matter in comparison to my size and I had my size under control.

The times I have been rejected have been most predictive of my downward spirals into my disorder. But no matter how many miles I ran or how many calories I denied myself- even if I would have starved to death itself- there was no way I was ever going to erase the rejection. instead of living and learning through my problems and imperfections and becoming the woman I could have been, I chose to become a person who’d been crippled by her struggles. I sought shelter in what I thought was a tunnel that would allow me to escape life’s troubles unscathed and I immerged a self-afflicted victim of the escape itself.

It is 12:50 pm. I am still sitting, seven hours late arriving home, still going to be thrown off tomorrow after crawling in bed whenever I’m finally afforded such luxury. A few moments ago, a short woman with spiky hair and stark white tennis shoes announced that those of us headed to little rock won’t be leaving until 6:30 am. in other words, i’m about to sleep in an airport.

Tonight, I have experienced to the minute-most degree, how it feels to be displaced. The airport venders are closed and our belongings are in the bottom of a plane- each of us is at the mercy of southwest airlines, and thankfully, they’ve come through with all the food, water, and sodas they have.

Tonight, I have been reminded of what people really need. once our basic needs are satisfied, there isn’t a whole lot we can collect for ourselves in an external sense that’s going to make our lives that much better. Once our basic needs are satisfied, it is to love and be loved, to meet the basic needs of others and to encourage one another the best that we can, that will leave us with feelings of overabundance.

Tonight was a problem. But as I sit here with a heart full from the ways total strangers and I have served one another in a time of need, I have trouble calling tonight a problem at all.

I don’t know who I would be if I’d have lived through my problems, rather than around them via my disorder. but I do know, that I want to bear my problems to their full extent from now on, and trust God to bring beauty from all the ashes.



Friday, May 20, 2011

the girl with the blanket.

one summer night after my sophomore year of college, i remember sitting on the kitchen counter of a friend's apartment, swinging my legs and chatting with some little rock people i love.

a couple of younger kids- all boys- showed up. they'd all gone to my high school and had just finished, i suppose- it was one of those situations in which each of us knew the others names, but we'd not necessarily met or conversed before.

after a few awkward moments of deciding whether or not we were going to plow through and talk as if we really knew each other or take the time and effort to do official introductions, we opted for the latter.

i was somewhat full of myself that summer. i slanted my gaze a yard or so across to the other counter, a slight grin on my face, and told them my name. "yeah, yeah," they said, "you hung out with so and so and what's her name."

a dark-headed one, leaning on the backs of his arms against the counter tipped his head upward and piped in, "hey," he said, "you're the girl with the blanket."

even then, amidst one of the less-severe stints of my disorder (i'd decided the key to recovery was to maintain my weight ** pounds below healthy but no lower. it didn't last long.), i remember it stinging a little to think i'd been remembered that way.

when my eating disorder first started, towards the end of my sophomore year of high school, i remember finding myself in a state of constant cold. it wasn't the kind of momentary cold that passes on to be forgotten. it was a cold that lived its own life from the inside of me out. for awhile, i wore this massively oversized fleece sweatshirt of my boyfriend's, but when we broke up, i started to bring blankets.

i remember wrapping myself from my neck down to my feet. the blanket protected my underweight body the way i thought my underweight body protected me.

looking back, i must've caught more eyes than i know. i not only covered myself up in class, but i walked the halls with the blanket, too. i wore it wrapped around my shoulders like some kind of old woman who'd used up all her objectives in life other than to remain comfortable.

its been a long time since my blanket-covered body roamed the halls of little rock christian academy. so long in fact, that a new high school building's been built and the old building became a new middle school. my mom teaches in it.

yesterday mid-morning, i went to see my mom and my old art teacher. i made it through the parking lot, in the front door and past the office feeling just fine, but when i hung a sharp left into the bathroom i'd used a hundred million times, it was as if an overflow of nostalgia had pressed itself against the wooden door, waiting to envelope me when i opened it.

the bathroom had been painted a random shade of apricot, but somehow felt the same. i stepped inside and stared at myself in one of the medicine cabinet-sized mirrors above the sinks. i felt one with myself- i thought back to the times i'd stood there and stared blankly, the times as a senior that i'd excused myself during class and reached under those very countertops into the skinniest freshman girls gym bags so i could try on their jeans, the time i'd become so overwhelmed with hatred of my body that i'd left spanish class and sat on those same white tiles and sobbed- i wondered where the person i am now had been all those times. i wondered where she'd been hidden and i shuddered at the fact that my disorder was screaming so loud that i'd forgotten i had ever been someone else.

those moments i spent in the bathroom, staring at myself like a long lost sister i'd newly found, enabled me to step back and to rethink the past few weeks of my life.

graduating college is a scary and slightly painful endeavor. it's uncertain and it's overwhelming and to be honest, it's left me longing for the old comforts of my disorder.

although i've not given in, temptation to restrict lurks in the back of my mind. working out has become equal in priority to things it should fall far below. just moments after i typed the previous sentence, a dear friend called. i immediately threw on shoes so and ran outside so i could walk as we caught up. i found myself having to apologize for breathing so loudly into the phone. as soon as we finished talking i figured i may as well do a workout dvd if i had my shoes on, so i started one up. i pushed play and i went for 60 seconds or so, but felt a pressing urge in the depths of me telling me to stop.

when i looked in that same mirror yesterday morning, i thought about the girl with the blanket, and i couldn't believe that she and i were the same person.

but the truth is that the hands typing this post were the same hands that clasped the edges of my blankets closed around my chest, and the voice that's pressing me to spend far more time working out than i should is the same voice that talked me down the road to becoming the girl with the blanket.

i will not listen.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the

one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and

despise the other..."

Matthew 6:24



Saturday, May 14, 2011

what happens when we fight.

towards the end of my last post, i said i was going to click "publish", put my computer down and continue to study for my last final of college.

i said i was confident that everything would make sense because in spite of my less-than-desirable body image, i had eaten all that i needed for that day and the one before it and that one before that one and so on.

the final took me nearly the full two hours. i did my very best and i felt okay about it.

yesterday, i checked my grade;

it was a 96%.

i considered the circumstances surrounding the final and the day leading up to it. it would have been easy and comfortable and natural for me to restrict food. i could have combatted body image with the knowledge that a few more days of sparse eating and all would be well (except it wouldn't have).

but i had my research methods final and i wanted to do well, so i ate.

and now i'm thinking about a 96% on a test versus bad body image. it would have been really funny, i think, if i would've restricted to improve my body image, because my own perception of my body is false. so in essence, i would have deprived myself of the necessary fuel to do well on a test so that i could advance myself on some continuum of body satisfaction that is based in delusions and lies in the first place.

instead, i chose to fuel myself for function, and i achieved a score that cannot become an object of distortion or delusion, a score that is an exact reflection of the intelligence on my inside rather than an false projection of my outside.

i think i made the right choice.

in a little over two hours i'll be graduating from college.

i am infinitely thankful i didn't waste my last year on my disorder.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

today wasn't fun...

...it started wonderfully.

the sun was bright and the sky was clear. i had oatmeal with blueberries, almonds and flax seed for breakfast with some wonderful south american coffee.

around 7:30 i started studying for a final i have tomorrow. at 7:45 i got a text message from a friend wanting to go for a walk.

at 7:47 i was brushing my teeth and liking myself in the tank top i'd thrown on.

around 7:50 i was putting on my shoes and running out the door.

i'm not sure when or where things went wrong, but by noon i found myself fighting back tears. bad body image came out of nowhere and nestled itself in for the duration of my day.

i had a counseling appointment, which i'd hoped would help. i purposefully wore a tank top because i wanted to tackle this unhealthy obsession i have with arms. my counselor had two points of advice: that i need to accept i'm not perfect, and that some people's bodies don't respond to exercise.

i think she wanted me to cope with the arm issue myself, and that was why she took such a non-directive approach. but i didn't want to be brave today. i just wanted her to say all that i wanted to hear.

i left counseling aching more deeply than before.

hobby lobby is a peaceful place for me, so the fact that i'd been planning on going all day worked out beautifully.

i wandered inside and thought i'd sneak past the aisle of full body mirrors for sale and see if i couldn't reconcile myself with my body. i stepped in front of a mirror, hopeful that it might right the day's wrongs and soothe the ache in my chest. i saw a belly poking over the waist band of my white gauzy skirt and two chunky arms fluffing out from either of my rounded shoulders. the overweight young woman staring back at me grew red-eyed and she began to whimper. I walked away, vowing to forget what I'd seen and suck my sobs dry, when a familiar voice called my name. i turned around and my eyes met who i knew was already there: one of my very best friends. She put her arms around me and i told her what i was feeling. my friends have grown to learn, i think, that there isn't a lot that they can do when i'm attacked with body image other than to love on me.

hobby lobby calmed my mind and softened the stabbing pain that accompanies bad body image days. i left feeling slightly stronger. i studied awhile, then cleaned my kitchen just in time for my friends to come over and make breakfast for dinner.

i didn't want to eat because i spent the majority of the day thinking that i'm heavy.

i ate anyway because i only had one reason not to eat, but i could have named a million reasons to eat.

in roughly 60 seconds, i will be finished typing this post.

i'll put my laptop down and pick my study guide back up. everything will make sense to me because even though i saw a fat person in the mirror today, i fueled my brain with carbohydrates and i got plenty of fats and protein too.

i'll wake up tomorrow and i'll eat breakfast and i'll do my best on my last final of college.

i don't know how long i'm going to have to look at the fat version of myself in the mirror, but however long it is, i'll keep eating and i'll keep living.



Monday, May 9, 2011

right now...

...i'm sitting in my bed, leaning against some pillows as i type. heat is coming off of my back shoulders, making this daily ritual a littles less comfortable than normal. the reason for the heat and its accompanying sting is something that happens to me far too easily: sunburn.

it happened on saturday as i spent the day cleaning up yards in pratt city, alabama, a small area that was hard-hit in the disastrous series of tornadoes week before last.

i kept having to remind myself that i was merely 20 minutes from my apartment, not amidst the impoverished mountains of tegucigalpa, honduras. it's hard to believe that a mere drive down the interstate from the regality of Samford and mountain brook's castle-like homes is devastation so severe it appears third-world.

i kept having these swells of emotion that left me near tears, but i think what kept me from losing it was the vast spectrum of feelings that were occurring simultaneously and with equal intensity. i was too overwhelmed to start crying.

part of me was undone by the damage and the pieces of peoples lives- teddy bears, parasols, tricycles- that had come from who knows how far and clothes hanging in closets without walls or roofs and the church building, crunched like a dollhouse dropped in a driveway with a pew sticking out of the top of it and the national guard armed and uniformed on every street corner.

other parts of of me swelled with joy and amazement at the number of volunteers and especially at a tent full of women beside the doll-house church. a huge grill sat just outside the tent and they were surrounded by tables with hundreds of brown lunch bags sorted on top of them and coolers full of water and soda. the bags were filled with food and the women offered them to any and everyone walking past. they weren't rationing the food or soliciting forced gratitude the way people helping sometimes do. they were a bunch of mothers and the white tent was their temporary kitchen. they were there to love and serve and care and laugh. their common desire was that every person who walked past left with more food than they needed. as i watched them serve i couldn't help but think i was experiencing a micro-sliver of what heaven will be like.

working all day was the perfect outlet for the intensity of my feelings. at first, it was hard to feel like i was really doing anything. the damage in a single yard was seemingly endless, and alone, i am capable so little. but the thing is, no one is really capable of that much alone. it's not until we all get together and do the the little bit of which we're individually able that anything can really happen.

during the second half of the day we found ourselves standing in an oblong circle around the edge of a mass of the branches of at least two trees that had overtaken a man's backyard when they'd fallen wednesday night before last. the man was kind and seemingly peaceful. he needed a chainsaw and our group had one and so we went to work, moving branches as the men cut them. i found myself using my strength training, squatting low to the ground, grabbing huge limbs and pulling them up and out into the yard's outer edge, trying to use my legs more than my arms so i wouldn't strain anything.

we worked for hours, moving branch after branch. some of them were big enough that it took two of us to move them. i was loving that i was capable of moving whatever i wanted. there was this one section of the tree's trunk i'd watched the men cut. i'd had my eye on it for awhile. when we'd moved all the limbs and were waiting on the chainsaw to cut more, i made my way to the piece of trunk and started to move it. i was making some headway when an old man with a round belly and a straw hat took several bowl-legged, hop-like strides towards me, "too heavy little lady!" he crowed, "yer gonna hurt yerself."

i was annoyed, pissed actually. but not wanting to be disrespectful, i smiled and said, "sorry, sir. i get a little ambitious at times" then he offered me some sunscreen for which i was apparently too late, hence the redness of my back and shoulders.

but regardless of whether i moved the branches alone or with someone else or not at all, i was just so proud of myself for being physically able to move them. there are times throughout the past five years that i remember reveling in my physical weakness, wearing it like a medal of honor, feeling completely capable of incapability. i could run with the best of anyone, but when it came to muscle and strength, i wanted to feel like i'd reduced myself to such a skin and bone state that i was unable to lift anything. i went from being a base on the cheerleading squad my sophomore year of high school, to people telling me i was going to have to get a bone density test if i even wanted to try out again as a flyer ( which i didn't end up doing). sometimes i would attempt things of which i knew i was incapable, just so i could hear someone tell me a little scrawny thing like me shouldn't try such things. those comments were to me as a rush of water is to a dry tongue. nothing could've satisfied me more.

the larger implication of me loving that i was weak was the fact the i loved that i couldn't offer anyone anything. as my group and i moved branches, we watched a man's yard slowly reappear. it was an incredible feeling to know that taking care of myself had played a small, indirect part in a man being able to walk outside his house and see more of his yard than he had seen in a week.

life is not about me, and that's why i make sure i'm up for it.



Sunday, May 8, 2011

my mom...

...makes this pie. this chocolate chip pie. i grew up on it and several other staples- one of them being egg and cheese sandwiches.

mom's pie is a big deal. sometimes i feel like other moms only bring us Christmas gifts to ensure that their yearly pie will appear all wrapped in green and red cellophane on their doorsteps. and then they end up fighting their kids and husbands for it.

one thing i never did give up for my eating disorder was my mom's pie. i think deep down i always knew that i would look back one day and hate myself for having an eating disorder for so long, but i didn't ever want to look back on time with family and wish i'd invested myself better. so whenever that pie was around i took one for the team and i ate a piece. granted- i somehow managed to keep my caloric intake vastly beneath what i needed- even on the days i ate the pie. and if not, i always made up for it afterwards- sometimes one piece of pie projected implications as far as a week ahead for my diet and exercise. but it was worth it to me to be present with my mom and her deep-dish chocolatey masterpiece surrounded by steam swirls from coffee, beneath the kitchen lights at our raw wood table.

my mom is a lot like her pie. this pie- it's got a layer of dark, dark chocolate chips and then another layer of some other-worldly kind of goodness. my mom is the same way in that she isn't just one flavor of woman.

she's got a heart so vast it's intimidating- she nurtures and she loves with an artful brilliance- but she's completely willing to say what needs to be said- even if that means telling someone close to her that they're being an idiot. she takes life seriously enough to know that laughter is sometimes the only appropriate resort. she is gentle and kind but genuine and real. she is sweet, but never so much so she is limitedly tolerable.

eating disorders are often stereotyped as being rooted in the mother/daughter relationship, but recent research does not support such stereotypes. although the idea that a mother could play an integral role in the development of her daughter's eating disorder is more than valid, it is hardly generalizable across the entire eating disorder population. and it certainly is not generalizable to ginger wade.

i remember being a little girl, walking down the sidewalk in my red mary-janes after school. i was in awe of how beautiful the autumn leaves were, and i noticed two or three that i just couldn't bear to leave behind. i picked them up and put them in my backpack. in the moments that followed i became so overwhelmed by the beauty of the leaves that i realized i was going to have to save as many as i could. i ended up 20 or so feet behind my class, stepping and pausing, stepping and pausing, putting flame-colored leaves into my backpack until it was full. when i got home, i ran inside, opened my backpack and dumped the pile of leaves onto the living room couch. mom asked me please not to do that again, but not before she thanked me for bringing the leaves home so she could see them and for appreciating fall because it was the best season.

when i was in second grade or so, i had this smelly red slicker. it had navy blue lining and big pockets. my mom has always loved cinnamon rolls and i somehow knew that. mom made my lunch almost everyday, and they were the best lunches, so when they served cinnamon rolls one day at school i had an easy time trading some kid something for his. i wrapped it in about 30 napkins and tucked it safely into the pocket of my slicker. i tapped my foot and bounced in my chair the rest of the day because i was so excited to hand my mom the sticky white package and watch her open it. i didn't take off my slicker until i walked inside my house, just to make sure the cinnamon roll would be safe. when my mom pulled the sugar saturated napkin away from the gold-brown roll, her face lit up and she went on and on, thanking me as if i'd just presented her with a gift she'd been wanting all her life. she had this soft yellow sweatshirt with red writing on it and that it seemed like she wore more often than not when we were around the house. i remember her standing there in that sweatshirt, microwaving the cinnamon roll and then eating it. she told me it was the most delicious thing she'd ever had. she ate a cinnamon roll that had made its way from an elementary school cafeteria tray to the pocket of a second grader's rain slicker to her kitchen counter, just so i could feel like she appreciated me thinking of her. years later, she told me she didn't even mind eating it- all germ-covered and tasting like wet rubber- she was just so touched by me bringing it to her she was happy to eat every bite.

i remember my mom coaching my basketball team and getting so into it. all the girls loved her because she was perfectly real with them. there was this one girl who was really tall, but just a little bit slow. my mom told her all the things that made her good at basketball, and that if she would just anticipate what was going to happen, that she could intercept any pass she wanted. i don't think there was a game that followed that the girl didn't end up with 4 or 5 steals. one practice, my mom sat the whole team down and told them about Jesus.

when i turned 16, my mom found a barn some way or another and she planned the most magical surprise birthday anyone has ever had. it was perfectly chilly and the barn's wooden beams glowed with white twinkle lights. music was playing and there was fire for roasting marshmallows. she had gotten me this wonderful poncho, woven in a million colors of yarn and i felt special and beautiful and loved. it was the best birthday i've ever had.

it was roughly three months after the surprise party that my eating disorder started.

my mom always says that having a child is like pulling your heart out of your chest and letting it walk all around outside your body. i suppose it was for that reason that my mom fought when i wouldn't fight, ate when i wouldn't eat and loved me when i wouldn't love myself.

even when recovery felt unnatural and all wrong, and i couldnt think of any reason i wanted to keep going, knowing that i was giving my mom her daughter back made perseverance worth all the struggle.

thank you, mom.

i love you.

happy mothers day.

in Christ,


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

february 20, 2010

i saw my nutritionist today and she wasn't happy with me.

my weight was down * pounds, and although she seemed to understand why, i don't.

i feel like all i'm doing is eating, and that's even with me shaving off a few servings of carbs and fat here and there. i didn't think it would hurt anything to miss a serving or two.

she asked me to tell her what i've been eating each day. i went through the past couple of days intakes and told her that although i've been skipping a serving here or there, i feel like i'm doing well overall, and i feel like i have gained weight.

apparently i didn't figure things correctly, because she went on to say that its my refusal to eat the amount of carbs and fat i'm supposed to thats keeping me stuck where i am. she mentioned something about going back to treatment if i didn't get back on track. she also reminded me that i'm supposed to be gaining, not even maintaining yet. i felt like a dead horse being shot for the millionth time.

i, for one, would love to go back to treatment. i'm tired of planning each day around food. i'm tired of going to all-out war with myself over whether or not i'm going to eat each meal and snack. i'm tired of calculating grams of carbs, fat and protein and figuring the lowest calorie ways possible to technically follow my meal-plan.

it was so much easier at magnolia creek. yes- they stuffed our faces with things i didn't necessarily find comfortable to eat- but at least there were no choices or decisions involved with any of it. the first time i tried hiding a bag of chips at the creek became the last about five minutes later when i was caught. i knew i was going to have to consume the calories one way or another, and so i did it. i didn't have to feel guilty or gross or self-indulgent because i was being forced. i had the benefits of taking care of myself without it being my fault.

all of this to say, it'd be easier than easy to keep on the path i'm going and to nuzzle myself back into the safety of the creek.

but then i think about my dad. i think about the pain that seeped from the lines in his face when he came to magnolia creek. i think about the time he picked me up at the airport for thanksgiving break and how scared he looked as he asked if i'd been eating. i think about the surprise new york trip we went on my freshman year and the time he came home early from the masters so he could be there for my indian princess camping trip. i think about his shiny eyes staring at me through the car window when we parted ways at the gas station down the road from the creek last month and the large dent in his bank account all thanks to the cost of treating my disorder.

i can't go back to magnolia creek.

i'm going to have to do this right here and right now. and if that means eating a few extra carbs, so be it.

i cannot and will not do it for myself. but today, i can do it for my dad.