Favorite Quotes

  • Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift from God. That is why it’s called the present. Author unknown.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Don't Blink

I blinked, and it flew by, just like I knew it would. 

I’m speaking about the month of August, the whole summer, the past 18 years, actually.

We dropped our oldest daughter off at college two weeks ago. I can’t believe she’s no longer in the house. I can’t believe I survived letting her go. 

It helps that she’s been good at keeping in touch via texting and phone calls. We even Face Timed once. What a thrill that was! I keep telling people I feel like a teenage girl with her first boyfriend. I drop everything when my daughter texts or calls. Sauces can curdle on the stove, my hair can be thrown up in a clip instead of straightened with a flat iron when the phone rings and I see it’s my daughter on the other end. Life be damned!

This summer was consumed by my eldest. The world revolved around her more so than usual. There were AP and IB exams the whole month of May, Prom, Graduation, a bazillion grad parties, her own grad party, dorm shopping, the “goodbye tour” where she bid adieu to friends and family and ultimately our own goodbyes. Now life has slowed to a dull roar. My youngest is home, playing field hockey, getting ready for her sophomore year in high school. The house is less frenetic, there aren’t as many kids hanging around. It’s quieter. 

It’s also cleaner. I’ve found a renewed interest in vacuuming and dusting, activities that had fallen by the wayside these past few months. There aren’t any dishes clogging up the sink, and my counters are bare, wiped and polished. It’s whatever is the opposite of nesting…cleaning and straightening up because a chick has flown the coop rather than come home to it. 

I guess it’s just a way to keep busy, to keep my mind from going where it shouldn’t—to the dark, netherworld that reminds me my daughter is off on her own (sort of) enjoying a life I’m really not a part of. If I let myself, I can feel pretty lonely and left out, like the younger girlfriend whose older boyfriend goes away to school. Parental FOMO. That’s what I have at the moment. 

On the writing front, though, I have two more submissions out for consideration, which is good. I’m sticking to my 2016 goal of submitting something every month. Between the big college move and my “real” writing, the blog has suffered. I’m going to try and pay more attention to my blog and the occasional visitors who stop by. I’m guessing with one less child in the house, and no more tennis matches to attend, I’ll have more free time on my hands. I just don’t want to blink…I don’t want these next three years to zoom by because before I know it, I’ll be taking our youngest daughter to college and then it’ll be just me and the dogs. And my husband, of course. ;o)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

When the Triggerer Comes to Town

So graduation season is upon us here in the United States, and with that comes numerous parties and celebrations, lots of good food and drink and....family. I'm not going to narrow anyone down, should they ever venture onto the Internet and discover my little blog, but let's just say I have a ED triggerer in my midst, and it's throwing me into a bit of a tailspin.

I've shared a little of my eating and body image issues with this one person, so he/she does know I've struggled with such matters for a while. This person knows I've been in treatment, and knows I'm working on my relationship with food and my body. Still...he/she continues to comment and remark about food in horribly damaging ways. In an effort to take care of myself and the headway I've made over the last few years, I've been meditating and trying to be mindful of what's important to me and my family.

Still, he/she does his/her best to wiggle under my skin and pick at all the little nits in my subconscious. I believe in my heart of hearts that he/she does not know he/she is doing this, but that doesn't make his/her comments any less hurtful.

Yesterday, after a round of golf, the group of us grabbed lunch. We were with two teenaged boys and my husband, who were all ordering burgers or sandwiches of some kind or another. I was leaning towards either a turkey burger, or a wedge salad when "The Triggerer" said, "I guess I'll be bad and have a burger and fries." Unable to control the sarcasm that has been brewing deep inside since his/her arrival, I replied, "Oh, it's bad to have a burger and fries?"

I kicked my husband under the table to make sure he was paying attention to all of this negative food talk.

"Yes," he/she said. "I could have a salad."

"And a salad is better than the burger?" I asked.

"Of course."

"Okay, so just so I understand where you're coming from, burger: bad, salad: good?"

"Yes. Or I could have a salad in place of the fries," he/she said. Mind you, this person eats more greens and salads than your average rabbit who has taken up residence in a backyard garden, but whatever.

When the waitress came to take our order, The Triggerer ordered the "bad" burger, then added, "Can you put some bacon on there, too?"

My eyes bulged. "Did you just add bacon to your cheeseburger?" I practically screamed.

He/she laughed. "Yes. I figure if I'm going to be bad, I might as well be really bad!"

Oh, Triggerer, my old self would have said, You are so strong with your food choices. One little cheeseburger isn't going to hurt you. Not if you make up for it and have a salad for dinner tonight, and restrict your intake of anything sweet. Cheeseburgers and fries ARE bad. I wish I could be more like you, but I'm so weak and wrong when it comes to food.

Then this morning....I'd made banana bread yesterday afternoon because I could no longer ignore the brown bananas in my fruit bowl that were begging to be changed from their ugly ducklingness into the swan that is banana bread. When I came downstairs this morning, The Triggerer was eating a Dannon Zero yogurt thing (something we don't usually keep in the house because we no longer buy into the "no sugar/no fat" nonsense). I reminded him/her about the banana bread. He/she followed me into the kitchen, rinsed out his/her yogurt container, then said, "Ok. I guess I'll have my dessert now" referring, of course, to the banana bread, the thing I considered my "breakfast." UGH.

There are more examples I could cite, but in an effort to keep anyone who might be reading this from falling asleep or clicking off my blog, I'll just say that it's taking Herculean effort to not buy into this person's warped food issues. It's taking every ounce of strength I have to tune him/her out and to stay strong in my recovery and my new beliefs about food and body image. Meditation helps, thank God. Having my husband and my daughters on "my side" helps. My girls, especially, are keenly aware of The Triggerer's comments. They shoot me looks of astonishment and understanding across the dinner table.

So this is life, right? Food issues and those who don't have a clue as to what's healthy and what's not surround us every day. I guess because this person is (sort of) in my family and knows my issues, his/her comments are more hurtful than those from anyone in the outside world. Our family often does the most harm when it comes to matters of food, eating and body image. I know he/she is living in his/her own world of screwed up food messages, and I need to understand that and accept he/she for who he/she is, but still, there's a big part of me that would like say, "Shut the hell up!"

Thankfully, I have less than two days with this person in my house. He/she boards a plane in 31 hours and twenty-two minutes.

Not that I'm counting.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Okay...I'm Back

So I deleted my blog a while back because, well...coming up with ideas for new, creative and inspiring posts had grown overwhelming. I wasn't working on any of my WIPs, and the blog had become this daunting black cloud..another task to which I wasn't giving any energy or attention. 

In February, I decided to get more serious about my writing--my REAL writing--not my blog. I set a personal goal to submit something--a piece of fiction, a personal essay, anything literary--every month. That meant I had to put everything else aside, and dedicate my writing time to serious projects. 

I'm happy to say that such dedication has already paid off! I had a piece published a couple of weeks ago on Mothers Always Write, a web site for us mom writers. My piece is entitled "Labels and the Damage Done." Please check it out here: www.mothersalwayswrite.com. Go to Current Issue, scroll down to In Mother Words blog section, and my essay is in there. I hope you like it! 

I have another piece out that has yet to be accepted or rejected, and I received two rejections on a short story about the sexual assault of a teenager. I'm going to try and rework that piece here soon. I think it's a good story. I just haven't found the right home for it yet. 

Submitting something in the month of June will be a challenge, although I did submit some "six word" stories to a journal yesterday. I like prompts like these. They push us to choose our words carefully, to make the most of them, to cherish brevity--something a lot of us writers need to do more. My oldest daughter is graduating from high school, her prom is this evening and we have guests coming from out of town for her graduation party later this month. Then we take off for vacation with my husband's family, so there are many things cutting into my writing time. I feel I've been making this time more of a priority in recent weeks, so I hope to keep it up. 

I shared a picture of the space where I write on Mothers Always Write Instagram, so I'll share it here as well:

That's my eldest, taking up my writing space, but whatever....

And a quote I've embraced as of late:

It feels good to be back in the blogosphere. I hope I return sooner rather than later. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Six Days In...So Far, So Good

I just want to share with anyone who might be checking in...I'm really proud of myself at the moment. For one, I've been tracking my food and activity with My Fitness Pal. I'm eating what I want, but I've been diligent about exercising every day for at least 30 minutes. Not killing myself as I have in the past, just doing 30 minutes of aerobic and strength training at a decent pace. This has made me feel better about myself. I don't know...something may have changed in me...like maybe I finally feel like I DESERVE to take care of myself.

Second, this is what's sitting on my kitchen counter right now:

I made the cupcakes for my mom's birthday on Monday, and the cookies are left over from the holidays. We're all still enjoying them--mostly after dinner--so I'm not tossing them. Yet. But I'm proud of myself because in my former, disordered eating life, I would have totally polished off those cupcakes by now, and I would have lied to my family about their sudden disappearance. But now...here they sit...untouched. To be honest, they're not even calling my name. I've had two since Monday; one at my mom's birthday, and one yesterday. In the past, I would have eaten one for breakfast, telling myself that cupcakes have milk and eggs in them, therefore constituting a healthy start to the day. My ED nutritionist would have said, "It's just like eating a doughnut for breakfast" and she's right. It is. Then I would have had another mid morning. And perhaps a third in the afternoon. Then I would have been so ashamed of myself, I would have had to toss whatever was left of the cupcakes and lie to my kids when they got home from school. "Oh, I just threw them out. I didn't want them around, tempting me." Then I would have hated myself for lying to my children. What a vicious cycle it was. I'm glad I'm off that ride.

It is only the FIRST week of 2016, so check in with me in a week. But I hope everyone else is off to a good start, and finding some things to be hopeful and positive about!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy 2016!!

A new year rolls around, and guess what? I'm back into my old "dieting" ways of thinking. I've loaded Fitness Pal onto my iPhone, and I did a 30 minute P90 workout this morning with my husband. To most people, this might sound like I'm off to a great start on my "healthy living" resolutions for 2016. But to those of us with eating disorders and eating/body image issues, you probably know this isn't the best start. For me.

But here's the thing...I'm not hitting it hard. Yes, I plan to pay closer attention to what I'm putting in my mouth at all times, but I'm not going to kill myself on the workouts. I hope to do something active for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. This sounds do-able and keeping within my hectic lifestyle. And notice I said "P90" not "P90X." The P90 workouts are much less intense, much better for beginners or those of us getting back into the workout swing of things. The one I did today was a "sculpt" workout, and worked all areas of my body within 30 minutes. I feel good right now.

I hope I can keep it up.

I'm really trying not to fall back into my old New Year's ways of hitting the workouts hard and restricting everything I want to eat. I don't feel like I'm in that frame of mind at the moment, but again, anyone with ED issues knows it's very easy to slip back into old behaviors. They're comfortable, they're old friends, they're what we know. I've also backed off on seeing my therapist--her suggestion, not mine, because she felt I was in such a good headspace. And I am, but I have to admit I miss her already. We'll see how these next few weeks go. I may be calling her again...

If you're like me, and trying to get off on the right foot health-wise, good for you! Even if you're not, and you're still wrestling with food and body image issues, good for you, too. We're all doing the best we can. Let's not be too hard on ourselves in 2016. I'm going to try to follow my own advice here...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nope...Haven't Fallen of the Face of the Earth...Yet

I'm still here. Feeling very guilty for letting my blog fall by the wayside, but life took over this summer. It has taken over our fall, too. I won't bore anyone with the details of how and why life has taken over. You're kind enough to stop by, so today I'm going to share with you how I've started exercising again because...I WANT to...not because I need to lose weight.

I do still want to drop some weight, but that's not the primary motivation for my exercise. For the first time in my adult life it's because I feel I'm worth the exercise. I'm worth taking care of. And it feels good.

This epiphany came to me recently, only in the last month or so. I don't know how or why, it just appeared. To be honest, my knees have been bothering me lately, and I don't like the way that feels. Also, I've had a lot on my plate--both emotionally and in life, period--and I felt like moving might feel good to me.

I was right. It does.

I'm approaching this movement differently than I have in the past. In the past, I would have told myself, "You need to exercise because you're overweight and you need to drop some poundage."

I would have hit my exercise routine hard, planning out rigid workouts that would often take 1-2 hours every day. I would tell myself I had to work out every day, or else I wasn't doing it right.

I would have told myself I had to push myself to exertion, really kill myself, or else the workout wasn't "worth it."

I would have quit my routine within a week.

This time around, I'm only exercising when I feel like it. (No rigid workout calendars, or keeping records of reps and weight lifted).

I'm only doing things I enjoy doing (light/dance type aerobics, light weight lifting, fun treadmill routines) and only for the amount of time I feel like doing them (usually it's been around 30 minutes). I'm also doing yoga again, and for 30 minutes. No "hot" yoga.

(Gotta love child's pose!)

I'm exercising because I care about my health, not the numbers on a scale, wherever that may be because I ditched my scale a few years ago.

This change in mindset has been life affirming. Simply by altering my thoughts and approach to exercise, I'm enjoying the act of moving my body more than I have in years.

I also thought about how fortunate I am that I'm even able to move my body and pretty much do whatever activity I want to do. I don't want to lose this privilege. I want to keep being active as I get older. I want to continue playing golf and tennis, walking my dogs, going on hikes whenever anyone suggests it. I don't want to have to hang back and not participate because my body can't move the way it used to. I don't want to miss out on life.

It's such a relief to experience these kinds of feelings in relation to movement and exercise. I've been killing myself for far too long. Being kinder and gentler to myself feels amazing. It may have taken a while, but I'm glad I've learned this lesson.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Insecure in Paradise

Ok...so, it's been a while since I've blogged, but there are good reasons why.

1. Life has been crazier than usual.

2. I went to Hawaii.

I'm going to talk about my trip to Hawaii as it triggered MANY of my eating and body image issues. It was something I wanted to do, I was happy to be invited along on this particular trip, but I was forced to face my issues head-on several times throughout the week I was there. I'm hoping many of you (whoever you are!) will be able to relate.

First, some background info: In late March, I got an email from my husband's sister-in-law. Let's call her Carol. This woman is kind and sweet, (now) but she and I had gotten off on the wrong foot and had a bit of a falling-out five years ago. We spent a Christmas together two years ago, and since then have made nice and exchanged emails, etc and have tried to mend the fence. In the March email, she invited me, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law (husband's sister) to go with her, Carol's sister and a friend of their's to Kona, Hawaii. I was surprised that they had thought to include me on this adventure given our history. I thought about it long and hard for a week, then decided I would/should go. I'd never been to Hawaii, and this had always been a trip I'd wanted to take with my husband. It's very unlike either of us to travel like this without one another, but since it was his side of the family, my husband was very supportive of my going.

So I went.

Here are the major triggering events that I had to face:

This was in late May, so I wasn't exactly ready to don a bathing suit just yet, but I was forced to do so.

I struggle with wearing sleeveless tops because my arms aren't toned like Halle Barry's and I'm embarrassed to show my arms, but it was so hot and humid in Kona, I was forced to wear sleeveless a couple of times.

We went on a snorkeling trip to swim with manta rays, and the dive boat operation didn't have a wet suit big enough for me. I had to first try to squeeze myself into a smaller wet suit and I was mortified. Have you ever heard the adage, "trying to fit ten pounds of s!*t into a five pound bag?" The boat's co-captain had to swim over to another boat and get a larger wet suit for me. Thankfully, that one fit and I could swim with the mantas. Still...I was mortified.

I had the big idea to take a helicopter tour of the island. When we called to make our reservation, I had to get on the phone with a woman at the helicopter tours place and actually tell her how much I weigh. Again, more mortification. On the day we went on the actual tour, I had to step on a scale so they could double check my weight. Of course they didn't shout out my weight for all to hear, but still...they knew my weight. This was one of the most fear-inducing things I did while in Hawaii.

None of the women on this trip know I am struggling with food and body image issues. They don't know that I've been working with an ED therapist and nutritionist for two years now. So I was all alone with my thoughts and insecurities. It was quite stress-inducing. Not to mention the fact that my mother-in-law, (God love her) has her own food issues. I'm not sure how aware she is of these issues, but she definitely has many of them. She will often say things like, "I'm going to be good and not eat any chips" while the rest of us are munching on chips and salsa. One day I had to ask her, "Is eating chips 'bad'?"

"No," she said, "but we're going out for dinner later and I don't think I should eat chips."

I was going out to dinner later with her, and I was eating chips. Before my work with my Dynamic Duo, this would have really thrown me and made me feel bad about myself. Not so much this time. I was just very aware of my mother-in-law's attitudes and behaviors towards and about food. It added to my challenges.

It was weird/difficult to be "alone" in paradise, without any real support system there, and being constantly triggered while trying to work on relationships with my in-laws. Doesn't that sound like a fun trip??

My therapist said she was proud of me for going and enduring all that I did. I am, too, to be honest. Thankfully, my therapist is on speed dial and she allows me to text her, so I was in touch with her a lot those first few days. I also appreciate Verizon allowing Hawaii (and I guess Alaska) to be considered part of my calling and texting plan because had Hawaii not been in my plan, I would have racked up a TON of texting charges.

So here's what I learned:

That I didn't completely fall apart when putting on a swimsuit for the first time this year.

That no one looked at me like I was some ugly, disgusting monster in a sleeveless shirt. That other, larger people than myself, wore and wear sleeveless shirts and probably don't give any thought to it. I should learn from their example.

That it wasn't my fault the dive operation didn't have enough wet suits in different sizes to accommodate their guests the evening we went swimming with the manta rays. It would have been sad for me to miss out on that experience, because I am healthy and fit enough to have participated. I'm glad I did.

That I didn't dissolve into a puddle of mush when I had to speak my weight or weigh in before going on that helicopter tour. Again, it would have been a sin to miss out on that trip. I'm glad I got through it and got over myself. I'm glad I was able to go on that excursion.

Did I have a nice time in Hawaii? Sort of. Kona's nice in its own way. It's desolate, for the most part. I'm glad I got to know my husband's sister-in-law and her sister better. I realized we're all dealing with something be it stress and anxiety or weight and body image issues. Many people have told me that the other islands--Kauai, Maui and Oahu--are much greener and more lush and tropical than the big island of Hawaii. The next time I go, I plan to visit those islands. And I'll be sure and take my support team with me!