Monday, August 25, 2008

Hitting rock bottom

As I mentioned earlier this month, I've been under a great deal of pressure on almost every front in my life.
By mid-month, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was done. Flat out done.
But, God sends angels to you and if you're paying attention, the people in your life are there not only for companionship, but to offer you something you need.
Last week, in constant pain, I went to a new acupuncturist. I was filled with dread. I was braced for the lecture on the benefits on vegan lifestyle -- something I think is ridiculous. I was prepared to hear how American farmers are polluting the universe. Then, I expected the sales pitch on $500 worth of supplements that will make my life all better. When he called to confirm the appointment, I told him I didn't want to hear those things. I was there because I hurt and expected him to fix it. That's it. Nothing more. He agreed that he wouldn't lecture me etc.
I arrived to find a cross between Lyle Lovett and Chris Isack. A tall barefoot guy wearing a western style shirt made out of Hawaiian print fabric. In his spare time, he makes the shirts and he has a big ol fury cat named Godfrey. Oh and he's a Shakespearean actor named, Bard. He has the Ramones collection in his cd stack.This is someone I can totally hang with.
To make a long story short he said the pain in my knee probably started somewhere else -- like maybe I was carrying too much spiritual weight. My thyroid problem might have something to do with the fact I wasn't speaking my truth to those who need to hear it. "You know what you need to do," he said.
Those words echoed in my head all weekend long.
"You know what you need to do." --
I do and did. So I started standing up for myself more around here and felt an usual sense of strength. Then I did what I really needed to do. I prayed. I prayed to God and the Universe and to anyone else that would listen.
When I pray I often write -- as it's easier for me to think at that level. Following is an excerpt of what I wrote/prayed.
Aug. 23,2008
This is my prayer today :
Dear Lord – I surrender. I give in – You can have it all – I can no longer live with this weight upon me – I can no longer carry the responsibilities of so much upon my shoulders my heart my knees…
My voice has been cut off by my own devise and it must it simply must come back to me – If not I will continue to die each day – die a little as my soul continues to darken.
I give to you the anger and resentment that hardens my arteries and weakens my knees….
My light is gone…
But I can get it back..
These are my truths –
I know that I was put here on this earth to do something special – to make a difference to someone – I don’t know yet what that thing is, but I know that I have a divine destiny.
I know that I am capable of a lot of things…that I can do many things, that I can stand out and that while it’s overwhelming to me and intimidating to others – it is who I am – but I must use these gifts with grace and good judgment.
I know that there is a little bit more work to be done – before my dreams come true. I know that I must get my proverbial act together… I know that I must get organized… allow my true self to do the work necessary without getting overwhelmed -- that there is indeed a higher purpose… that if I just allow my true instincts to be my guide that if I don’t get caught up in pity
I know that I have a gift of vision beyond my eyes – that I must not be afraid….. to listen to what I see there
I know that I am a good mother but I can’t allow my fear to interfere with my instincts… I have to set reasonable boundaries…. I cannot blow up anymore – I am in control… the power is mine…. I know that I am beautiful – stunning even… that the only person who doesn’t see it is me.
I know that I have a gift with words and that I can change the world – but I have to write the truth….
I know that I must do the things I love – I must create art. Photography cards, anything – but it must come first.
I know that I am a good enough just the way I am and that I never wrote another word or lost another pound I would still be fabulous.
Really fabulous.
So today when I feel so very tired, I should let myself rest without guilt. Everything else will fall into place. Honor my body, honor my instincts. I am in control. I have the power and this is my time to enjoy all that it means.

Is it over? Really over?

I had a rough day last week. The people that were supposed to put in my new flooring had screwed up. The construction project was behind, again. I had a ton of things to do and no time in which to do it. I was mad, frustrated, overwhelmed and just plain cranky. On the verge of tears, I disappeared into my office and asked my sister to keep an eye on the kids. Then the cravings started. I heard the voices in my head telling me what would make me feel better. The action that would take my mind off the frustrations.
Eating? Diving into the refrigerator and staying there until I could eat no more?
Nope. I wanted to take a walk.
That's all I really wanted to do. Walk.
Isn't that cool? When I realized that's what I wanted I about stopped breathing. Recovery. Control. Damn it was weird and wonderful all at the same time.
Not a year ago and I would have polished off a couple of boxes of Girl Scout cookies. But that day, I just took a deep breath and since my arthritis is making it all but impossible to walk without pain, I played with some photography on my computer. Fifteen minutes later, I was calm and ready to take on my next project.
I've noticed a number of new things in the week since. Things I'd been doing for a while, but hadn't really noticed. I don't feel obligated to eat --even if everyone else is eating. If I'm not hungry, I don't eat. When I'm upset, I walk away or write or find something else to do. Here's the clincher: when I'm full, I stop eating.
Novel eh?
While it's all wonderful, it's still a new experience. There are times when I stand in the kitchen and I don't know what to do with myself. When you can eat anything, and don't feel obligated to feel guilty, it's a new experience -- at least for me. I have been tempted to call my doctor and beg her to put me on a diet. It feels like it would be easier if I had to follow a plan, rather than rely on my own instincts. I keep thinking "what if I'm wrong?"
But when I can relax and know that my body will tell me what it needs, when it needs it, I can hang out in the kitchen without fear. The key is trusting myself enough to drown out the voices of Vicki and Ed (see posts starting at Dec. 11, 2006).
Is this recovery? Or, more accurately, is this recoverED? Man, oh, man, if it is, it sure feels great!

Returning to the roots

I started this blog to chronicle my journey in recovery from an eating disorder. I've gotten away from that on occassion -- either not writing at all or writing about my daily life. Sometimes, I feel like I should write something else because my readers will get bored with my story. However, it occurs to me that the people who read this do so because my struggle was familiar to them -- either because you've watched me from a personal level or because you found comfort in these words for some reason.
I'm going to return to my purpose her because I've been hearing from a few of you that you want more about my journey and because I think there are more people to help.
Please feel free to forward the address to others who might find something familiar on these pages.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Apricots and motherhood

I had to walk away.
Just take a breath and walk out of the canning kitchen.
I'm trying to can apricots. Something I would normally enjoy. But my kids were sitting on their butts. Now, this is something for which I have no patience. There is plenty of work for them to do be doing. But they're just sitting there mindlessly watching tv while I was sweating over a hot stove.
So I told the girls they had to pick apricots. CJ didn't show up. So I sent the girls back down to the house to get CJ under the threat if he didn't help he wouldn't be going to the birthday party set for this afternoon. All they had to do initially was pick apricots.
I looked out. CJ is sitting down. Katy is laying down. I can't even see Patti. I told CJ to come in the house and help me.
"But, Mommmm, all I want to do is pick apricots."
He could put apricots in the jars. So he did this to two jar. Then he was hungry. He didn't eat breakfast. Even though I told him to do so at least twice.
Then Clem calls from the main house. The tile guy was there to finish the backsplash. Was there a pattern to this? How far to the left do the tiles go?
Well, let's see. Does it look like there's a pattern? No. Not even close. Wouldn't it make sense that the tile goes all the way to the end of the cupboard? Do I really have to drop what I was doing and come down there to repeat this to the tile guy?
So I put the kids to work. Katy can split and seed the apricots, CJ can fill the jars and Patti can get another batch of syrup ready.
I repeated myself to the tile guy and came back down to my canning kitchen. They had smashed too many 'cots into the jars and managed to get water all over the floor, which was now mud, thanks to their dirty feet. I looked at the bucket they should have filled after more than an hour of at least two of them picking. Half full. Green apricots.
Heavy sigh.
Really heavy sigh.
I told them they had to clean up the kitchen before we could start the next project; a batch of apricot surprise jam. (The suprise is there's no apricots, just zucchini and apricot jello) The girls started cleaning. CJ disappeared. This is a common occurence. If there going gets tough, my son gets going. He was hiding in the pickup. Katy had swept the floor then walked away. Patti was moppping, but the counters were still sticky.
"Mom can we have gum?"
"No. You can't have gum. You need to go back to the house and find something else to do. (I didn't add, but thought: you need to get out of my site before my head explodes)"
"But CJ got gum."
CJ got gum because he stole it out of the pickup while he was hiding there to avoid doing work.
I called the main house and told Clem they were his problem.
I'm sure Dr. Phil would be telling me there was some other way of handling this. But Holy Cow! Clem and I work hard. It's not like either of us disappear when there's chores to be done. Somehow we've raised three kids with no work ethic.
Maybe I'm just not in the mood to be patient and supportive. I just don't want to make this a "teaching opportunity". I want them to use their brilliant little minds and pay attention.
Now this job that should have taken about 90 minutes is pushing 3 hours.
Is this normal? Will they still grow up to be productive citizens or will they be slackers? I know they can work, I've seen them do it.
Sometimes, though, it's easier to walk away now and go back and complete the job later without interruption. But then they don't learn anything. Holy cow. There's got to be an easier way to be a parent.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back in the saddle again

Wow -- Home feels good! That trip was miserable and if there is any justice in the world, it will be the last time I'm miserable on a family vacation.
No rest for the weary though -- Holy Cow!! We got home late Sunday and hit the ground running Monday morning. The construction in the house is, of course, five days behind. But I had to get some stuff out of what is now the garage so the dry wall people can turn it into the new den.
I also caught up on my chores. My young chickens are almost full grown. We should start seeing eggs from them in the next month or so. Something apparently tried to take out Taloose the Guard Goose as his wing feather look like they've been scraped off.
Today got off to a rocky start as well. Clem got a call at 4 a.m. telling him there was a fire on the dairy. A huge straw and feed pile was on fire and jeopardizing corrals and employee housing. He finally came home about 7 tonight smelling of smoke and purely exhausted.
The kids and I went to Twin about 10 and also got home around 7. We got ALL of the back-to-school shopping done, almost all of the shopping done for the remodel (like door knobs and drawer pulls) and made a pass through Costco. Keep in mind I try a 4-door pickup. I could not have put one more thing in that vehicle. Thankfully, my two little ones went home with my sister. If they hadn't, I would have had to strap stuff to the top!
Katy and I are watching How to Look Good Naked on Lifetime Network. This is one of my most favorite shows. Host Carson Kressley teaches women how to dress and carry themselves in such a way that they forget all their body hatred and be who they are. He talks about perception -- how so often we think we're so much bigger than we are. Attitude is everything. I wish sometimes, he'd deal with even heavier women, like me, but the show has really cemented some things I'd already started doing. I've been showing off my chest more -- even bought good bras! I dress the way I feel, not the way I think I should dress. It's rather difficult sometimes I still hear ED (see posts from 2006 and 07 about ED and Vicki) telling me that I shouldn't wear anything low cut because "fat isn't sexy". Then there's things like my sister-in-law that keeps telling me I wear ugly shoes. I caught myself scrutinizing the shoes I took with me on vacation because I knew she'd be there and wanted to make sure she didn't say anything about my shoes.
Earlier this summer, my friend and I made a pledge to swim each morning. I don't really like to swim, but I've been having so many problems with my feet and knees, it's about my only option. My friend, the night before our first "date", called to say she wouldn't go because she didn't want to be seen in hear swim suit -- especially by the zero-body-fat-hard-body pool manager.
I was crushed. Not just for myself, but because she's still trapped by that body shame weirdness.
My kids and husband and I have been going every night when he gets off work. It's not the aerobic workout I had planned, but it's a nice time with my kids -- and WAYYY better than sitting in front of the TV for three hours before I go to bed.
The rest of the week will be hectic -- I have a doctor's appointment in the morning to check on several factors as I seem to falling apart. Mammogram on Thursday. In the meantime, the contractors are coming to finish texturing the new part of the house and the tile guy is coming to do the back splash in the kitchen. Painting gets rolling on Friday and Saturday and carpet and flooring next week. That and my babies start school Aug. 21. All three in school all day. (More on that in another post)
As if all that weren't enough, the apricots are on in a big way and a tree blew into my brand new chicken coop, so I'll have to figure how to deal with all of that hassle. Arggh...
Love to you all -

Thursday, August 07, 2008

And we're back...

Sometimes you just have to listen to your inner voices. OK -- you always have to listen to your inner voices. Especially when they're screaming at you.
I need to write. I need to write because it's what I do and it's what keeps me sane even though I avoid it sometimes as it's just one more thing on a very long list of obligations. But my "voices" are telling me I have to do this -- to myself and others (hopefully) along the way.
I'm on vacation and I'm miserable. It's that annual vacation with my husband where it's, as always, all about him. I've spent a week in a pity party -- just wanting to go home, but can't. Just wanting to cry for a variety of reasons -- I'll get into them later.
So today I scheduled a massage. On the way into the spa, I seeped with tears -- just being overwhelmed with everything.
But I forced myself to turn off my head and turn inward -- to be in the moment (which I totally suck at) and I walked out feeling like I just might make it -- but I can't do it alone.
I've been reading a lot of Kris Radish lately ( and her books are always about women and friendship and taking care of each other.
I realize only about 4 people read this and you're all people I love and cherish and since you're scattered all over the country this site seems to make the most sense. I need to get back to chronicling my life -- and spending virtual time with you.
At this moment, in this bookstore/coffee shop, all I know is that after years of talk, nothing really has changed and it's more than time to step into my power and truly embrace all that is me. I know, you've heard this all before, but I think I've truly hit that proverbial rock bottom -- it's time.
So today, I allowed the massage therapist to massage my belly. The part of my body I detest the most right now. You know what -- it has served it's purpose for me and it felt good to allow someone to touch it in a healing way.
Typically I would have just hidden beneath the sheets. But I really needed the healing touch and I did it.
My challenge to the world today is to do the same: Find that place, either within or without, and touch it. Find a way to accept whatever it is and embrace it. (OK you sick minds, I know where you're going -- and that's OK too)
I'm going to where we're staying now to watch my kids play in the water -- and know that you're there with me -- so when things get weird I won't have to curl up in the fetal position. You're like a giant beach floatie...
I promise this will all make more sense later -- but I'm running out of time on the computer.
I love you all,