Freedom of choice

Not sure, but I wanted to start this blog post with Hi, how are you, as if I was writing a letter to someone. Writing this blog, has been a way to capture moments in my life and share them with people. This specific post, perhaps is mostly for myself.

I have had this topic turning over in my head the past few days about jealousy. I’ve almost cracked open my laptop several times to write about this jealousy I had been having about other women and their bodies. Today… Perspective hit the fan and the wheels wouldn’t stop moving.

I work with homeless youth ages 18-24. A lot of them are from very poverish families, and even more s have very intensive and complex histories of trauma. Some of the things we are asking of them: Get a job, pay rent… are really far from their scope. Their idea’s of normal, are so wrapped up in anxiety and are consistently living in survival mode. —in many different forms. My co-worker was talking about this with me as she was reflecting on a youth who was making a lot of excuses about why she couldn’t do something. The crappy part is, at the end of the day, despite the complicated levels of trauma, they have to do it.

With this example, just touching on the surface of the real issues… and going back to my own life. I recognized this level of privilege I hadn’t seen before. It has taken me nearly 12 years to get to this place, and on-and off counseling. But… It is a privilege to say that there are a lot of consistencies in my life, and I don’t feel so crazy all of the time. Until the last few years, I’m not sure I would have been able to see that. I have lived in a very dark victim world, where I couldn’t see positives, I’ve been “lazy” as people may call it. ALL of my past choices perhaps have been due to overcoming past trauma.

Because I have put in work to un-due all of the shit I was taught to believe about myself, I’m in a better position to make choices. I have the power to do, or not do. The youth’s excuses to not do those things, she has those choices to do… But her brain isn’t anywhere near where mine is, and her excuses are far more out of trauma and learned behavior than mine. She has the power to do or not do as well… As any of us does. But until she accepts she needs mental health help, she may never get of of living in a victim mind set.

My excuses for not working out, are fucking stupid. We don’t work out because we like it… (well some people love it) We work out because we know it’s good for us, we also know that in the long run it will make us feel better.

Just interesting to put it in perspective… Is it hard? Yes! But we do it anyways because if we don’t, we spend a lot of time being jealous of other peoples lives when we are able to make changes ourselves (if we can). Did I work out after writing this blog post? No way! Will I tomorrow? Maybe? —What I learned is, It’s okay if I hate exercising…Like really okay if I hate it, but I could find ways to make it more fun, and more engaging so I don’t totally hate it. Either way, I’m making a choice, and I know that I can work out if I wanted to.

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3 Christmases ago I hit a deer

It was 5 in the morning, and I was driving to my job to help make breakfast for the youth at the shelter I was working at on Christmas morning. It was dark, and all I remember was there was a deer and it ran in front of me and then hit the side of my car. I remember staring him or her in the eyes and then it ran off. It was a moment that I will never forget and try to tuck away. I mean I hit a deer, on Christmas morning, while I was trying to drive to work to do something nice for some people. There was no damage to my car, and I was okay, well besides the anxiety of it all.

Well today, I walked around the block, well, several blocks, for about an hour and on my way back, in the exact spot I see this woman pulling something tan from the road… In the exact spot I had hit the deer 3 Christmases ago. I walk closer and I notice it’s a fawn, it didn’t quite have any spots anymore, but it definitely was little and it was breathing. I watched her, and there was this younger guy that walks up. He was the one that had hit the deer, and he explained it as the deer hit him. Which in this day and age, lets get realistic, I mean… The deer probably hit him.

I didn’t tell him about my story, because I didn’t think it was appropriate, but I did say that I was sorry that it had happened, patted his arm, and asked if he was okay. After he let me know that he had called someone and he was okay, I walked away. I didn’t really think I needed to keep standing there interacting.

I mean what else can you do? And what did it all mean? I mean I had this amazing walk where I was listening to someone’s story about their life, and I was feeling pretty good about myself, and then I walk into this literal deja vu. WTF?

It’s September

So I haven’t written all summer… and I should have. I’m getting over this idea that I go through these periods of writing and not writing. It’s okay, I’m writing again, and I’m grateful for these moments of clarity.

I moved out of my ex’s house. I wrote earlier that I probably truly wouldn’t be able to take care of myself there, knowing that it would never end the way that I wanted it to. So I had to leave. It’s not something I really want to write about right now, but I’m sure it will come. Just know that it was one of the hardest and easiest things I’ve ever done.

I spent the majority of August, playing and taking care of my new place and the fucking fleas that still live here. I’m calling my landlord Tuesday in hopes he has better news and hopefully send these fuckers packing, they are not welcome here..

Either way, it’s September now and I’m trying to look up into the world in a new light.

Yesterday was tough, I cried all day because I didn’t feel good about things. I was sad because it suddenly sunk in how lonely life can be with out waking up to your person, and going to sleep with them by your side. You are suddenly solely responsible for yourself. Your own eating, your own waking up on time, your own bills, your own everything and not to mention your emotional well being. I ended my day among friends, while watching friends, drinking diet coke with vodka and smoking a cigarette. It was exactly what I needed, and I felt okay about it. I don’t make a habit of smoking, but I’ve been known to throw back a few every once in a while.

I went to sleep last night with this new mindset in mind. I was going to go for a run. Well… Walk run… okay mostly walk. But I did get a wave from a cute guy recognizing I was out taking care of myself. Now I’m not going to dive too deep into this because I want to write a post in a bit how I hit a deer with my car probably 3 Christmases ago…. It will make sense when I write it and the weird symbolism in it.

Anyway, It’s September, I have a lot of ideas, I have a lot of things that have changed besides my current relationship status, and I have goals to write more often.

 

 

Shattering effects.

I smashed my scale a few weeks ago, on the pavement in my driveway with a sledge hammer.

What I learned from this experience was more than what I anticipated. I wanted to do it as some sort of relief, and ritual in order to finally stop the worry and get rid of the thing in a way that was more fun than just throwing it in the trash. If you decide to take on this endeavor, I suggest put it in some sort of container before you actually do it, wear long pants, and goggles.

What happened: When the sledge hammer hit the glass, it exploded. I didn’t realize until after I had cleaned it up that it had actually hit me, and made my knee bleed. Also, the glass was everywhere, under our cars, in the grass, on my body… everywhere. I did not expect this to happen… But I guess I’m not surprised either.

When I was cleaning it up, it became this metaphor of eating disorders and weight obsession. Anything could trigger me at any point, which would leave this shattering effect on my life (or so I felt). When ever I felt like I had accomplished something (weight loss goal, conquering food goal), things would come up that I hadn’t fully addressed and then more would unfold, and then suddenly I was entrenched in food again and the obsession.

When I was cleaning the glass up with the broom, I would find new patches of glass I hadn’t quite gotten and would find more as I would push it to the main pile.

And after all the glass was swept up, all that was left were shards that were glimmering in the sunshine. Letting me know that the issues will probably always be around in some form or another.

Few weeks, or months later—–I can’t believe that I didn’t actually post this or finish it when I had written it… At this point it’s just this distant memory of shattered memories. Unrecognizable and I’m glad I thought It was something that I deemed important to write about. Smashing it was liberating and super telling. As I moved into my new place, I no longer have a scale to determine my worth. I’m not sure if it’s liberating or if I’m just curious. At this point, I am not in a mind set to be curious. I’m pretty stressed about my weight.

May 6th

My childhood home has been vacant for the past three years, and recently I had a realtor friend of mine take me there. It was a weird, time warping experience.

I lived there from ages 6-14. What I remember from this experience was a collection of memories filled with community, grief, sadness, solidarity, joy and well all of the things. My house was white, the tiles were pink, the master bath had a jet tub, and it was two stories. There was a back yard, and my dad had built a swing set for me to play on where I spent many hours alone conjuring potions and sweet memories.

The road up to the house was over grown, uncomfortable and sad. I think I had this weird underlying expectations, at the same time had no expectations. The house itself had one large change, and other minimal changes. It was green on the outside with a purple door and the land surrounding was overgrown and changed (there were more outside changes than inside changes).

The person had rebuilt the back deck, added a hot tub and a door off of the back master bedroom. They had also taken out the swing set my dad had built, the garden beds, and planted trees where my dad’s RV use to live. My memories of the space though were so present, the nostalgia was there and then it hit me: I cannot get back any of it. It was gut wrenching.

I wasn’t really expecting to get any of that back by visiting there, or even by dancing with the idea that I could even buy the place.

What I did get out of it, was that no matter how sad I was there because my dad was so yelly, it was a reminder that he did do nice things for me. As an adult I value that swing set memory more than I ever had. I appreciate it more now because when I was a child I didn’t understand or value the time it took to him to build that swing set. At the time I was fairly selfish, and impatient. It was the one memory I had of him that didn’t include traveling, playing video games, or sourdough pancakes. It was the one thing he did that was outside of his comfort zone, it was something he did for me. In all that I’ve processed about my childhood, him doing nice things for me wasn’t something that I’ve been able to see.

 

 

 

 

Bread day.

Every Wednesday where I work we get a donation from Panera at the organization I work for. We call it bread day, but we get a variety of pastries, bagels, flat breads and whole loaves of different kinds of bread. Sometimes we get a lot, and sometimes we don’t get very much at all. On a side note: I work for a non-profit where we distribute the donations out to the people we serve. When there is an abundance, we tend to get a little excited about our personal interest in the donation.

I have always been triggered by this day, and I consistently wonder where else we can store this crap as right now it lives near my office and in the staff lounge. Last Wednesday, I noticed somethings interesting, that I too have been guilty of before. Greediness.

Because the staff lounge is so close, and Panera just happens to be so fragrant, we know when it’s arrived. The first thing that happens when it arrives, is it gets sorted. It gets sorted into boxes and then gets distributed to other programs through out the county. Then whatever is left, goes to our youth and families.  I got to work last Wednesday with out having ate breakfast, knowing that there would be a bagel that would be left behind with my name on it. As soon as the donation came, other staff members were in the staff lounge, excuse my french but like a bunch of hyenas. There was this scarcity in their voices, and sense of entitlement over whatever was present. It was an obsession with this bread day, what was available, what they could get, and who could get it.

It made me in the moment, take a step back, and really assess how I was feeling about the situation, which was; At first I jumped on the bandwagon of yes I needed to go grab the everything bagel I so desired, and then I breathed out and realized I just didn’t care. I didn’t care that Panera was there and I didn’t care what king of bagel I got (as long as it wasn’t one of those sugar bagels, cause those are disgusting AND if that’s was the only available bagel, I just wouldn’t eat it).

It made me realize again how far I’ve come. It was also awesome to be able to react to my own accord and be okay with not caring about which bagel I get. With this said, I remember eating my bagel, finishing it, not believing it was all gone and then wanting another one. I didn’t eat another one, just said out loud what I wanted and let it go. Next time I’m going to work on enjoying my bagel a little bit more. I will probably write about it.

 

More thoughts:

If you are eating to your diet, you shouldn’t have to worry about weight loss.

I was watching minimalist videos today, and stumbled upon other Youtube video’s and caught myself watching someone’s weight loss journey’s questions and answer’s youtube video. I could only make it through the first 5 minutes or so before I had a reaction.

The questions she was answering were base off of her weight loss. The questions were “what size are you now, what size were you when you started, how much weight have you lost” and finally “how do you get rid of pesky fat in certain areas (like back, leg, etc)”… She started at a little over 300lbs and was in her 180’s. She started at size 18-20, and was presently size 12-14. She started at size 3x top, and ended at a medium-large top.

Her response to the last questions was “I gained weight in different areas at different times and places in my life, and I lost weight in different places at different times.”. I really appreciated her objective answer.

 

My perception is that people see those who have lost a lot of weight, and calculate how they can get there. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed in myself and also with my friends. It’s something to I was starting to notice more and more as I got sucked into the diet culture.

The questions that were asked were specific, superficial and almost irrelevant.

I was going to share my starting weight and sizes, but decided that it was irrelevant also. The point is, our bodies are different, our bodies respond to things differently. We are all different, shapes, sizes and we have no-real control over what our bodies look like. We just have control how we take care of them inside and out, and how we dress them.

Short thoughts:

There was an anti-inflammatory nutrition class offered this past weekend and I went to it. The class itself scared me into wanting to drink more water. It also makes me want to take a larger scale nutrition class. I think with my new mindset, I might be more receptive to it.

When I showed up, I saw someone I had met once before though in a different context. She was my current partner’s ex girlfriends sister. I’m not going to give out any real information, more or less an interaction that we had. After I sat down, she stated she had some health problems and she needed to find new avenues and that’s why she was there. For some reason, I didn’t feel the need to tell her why I was there, also there wasn’t really an opportunity to share this information. I just found it interesting, that being in this space, in the nutrition class, we need to validate our presence.

I was there for more complicated reasons, and I didn’t feel the need to share, or validate why I was there. When it came down to it, I was asked to go, and I felt like I needed to be there. I mean, I’m re-learning how to eat, and take care of my body.

Things I learned: New recipes, malnourished cells vs nourished cells, ways to incorporate turmeric into different dishes, that most of the nutritional value of veggies are in the skin, and also… prepping and more in line with the patience of prepping.

Today

I went to a quarterly, or bi yearly all staff meeting, today. You know the ones, 100+ people in the room, participating in trainings, ice breakers etc. 

I write about it today because I’ve worked in 3 different areas of my organization. Some of the people, actually most of them have seen me at my heaviest, and they have seen me at my lightest and TODAY I walked in 30lbs heavier than my lightest.

What does this mean? Well nothing other than that really. My obsession with it, probably means more than anything. But it feels awful walking into a room with this expectation I should be lighter.. or the idea of the expectation that I should be lighter. But I’m not, and it kind of feels embarrassing, and a little shameful. 

And at the same time, I don’t care. I wore the most comfortable clothes I could today because I knew I would be sitting a lot and I wanted to be comfortable. I didn’t try to hide it. I wanted to be okay in my skin right now. So I practiced this feeling of being okay with how I look.

I also know that where I’m at right now is temporary and I’m trying to figure out what  my diet is and taking ownership in that. While doing that I have to learn to be okay with the present moment, and the person I am right now.

Hard stuff.

I don’t mean to brag but…

I’m an extremely good cook.

I’ve always loved cooking, but since watching Michael Polland’s documentary series on Netflix, I’ve tried to explore cooking in a new way. In the last year I’ve also bought several vegan cook books (okay 3) which have allowed me to explore a little bit outside of my comfort zone. I’ve worked really hard to make cooking more mindful and the result has inspired creative deliciousness.

I’ve been following vegan recipes, which have been more complex and over all so much more delicious. Cooking isn’t always simple, it is delicate, complex, meditative, and endures a lot of patience.

My relationship with food is changing. I can see it, and feel it. I do know that there is still a struggle, and that’s why I mentioned it in my past post. The struggle is there when I’m not following my intuition and passion. It’s there when I don’t recognize the present feelings.

But in the last few months I’ve been challenging myself in the kitchen. I’ve been working harder for the food I put into my body. I’ve been soaking cashews, letting dough rest, and baking vegetables in the oven in ways that I’d never tried before.

I don’t cook like this every day. But, I try a few days a week to explore something new.

What it’s done to help with this ED process: It slows down life, creates a more intentional vibe and process. Also, the slowing down piece creates a mind space that is less likely to be impulsive and compulsive.  It has helped me explore my intentional passion for food. I have developed more patience in the kitchen, which has allowed me to wait for things to be done cooking, and cool down enough to eat. I’ve also been able to access my creativity in a new way and try out new things. I’ve tapped into my curiosity and my desire for wanting to try new things just to see if I can do it.

I think it also has inspired a higher level of care of what I put into my body. I’m less and less interested in packaged foods, and more interested in making it. When I make it, I know exactly what I’m putting into my body, and I’ve worked for it. I feel more accomplished, and satisfied.