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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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.

Day 3

I really have to prep my day better with food. I am also coming down from the sugar and the carbs pretty hard.

I have been crazy cranky for two days now in the afternoon. And I think if I pack my morning and lunch with MORE protein, I will probably feel better through out the day.

Today I had a smoothie for breakfast, and a giant “Italian chopped” salad for lunch, and then I had some nuts with some cranberries for a snack during the afternoon with some kombucha. I became so cranky that I was really having a hard time focusing, and my head was hurting and I was growling… Well not literally growling, but complaining about everything. It was a busy day, and I didn’t have much time to dedicate to the work at my desk until about 4:20 or so. I stayed there til about 5:15, came home and layed in bed for about twenty minutes quiet, and with my eyes closed. At some point, around 315 I went to get a n/f 8 oz decaf latte. I don’t know about you, but for some reason coffee is something that can calm me down pretty quickly, it’s a really bizarre phenomenon. Coffee is the one thing that I can sit down, close my eyes and when holding it I tend to breathe better. It’s not so much about the coffee, as the ritual and the familiarity in that piece.

I got up after my little nap, did the dishes and ate some veggie burgers, veggies and about 3/4 cup of rice. I felt so MUCH better after dinner. I am pretty sure I just need to eat more, since I’m eating less calories at a time. It really just all looks different when you are eating better foods.

My water intake has been less than ideal, but I’m still drinking it.

I wanted to also bring up something that I admitted to my counselor yesterday. This idea that I think fat is bad, because it’s been ingrained in my mind for so long from being called that and treated so badly when I was younger. I have also been really obsessed with what other people eat, all of the time. The first day, I could tell you all about what other people eat, and then today when we were out celebrating a co-workers last day in her position I was glancing around the table and eyeing all of the people’s food.

My eyes stopped at several people’s plates, and I closed my mind. I breathed. I said… Rachael, it’s not something you need to worry or care about. I opened my eyes and focused on the people around me and the conversation, and engagement. The conversation I had with my counselor was more about if I’m judging myself with my own eating habits, that’s how I’m treating other people. The better I treat myself, the better I treat others. Less judgy and more open and positive.

Anyway, I’m so sleepy and I need a shower before bed. If you have jumped on board with me to eat better, and cut out the crap. Comment below with what has been working well for you! ❤

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Day 2

It’s been a different day than normal.

I was lucky that I had a counseling apt today, she was super helpful and of course on board with my plan. She usually is on board where ever I’m at. She’s pretty good at helping, when I need help, and has given me lots of feedback before about food stuff. A while ago she suggested I had two proteins for breakfast, and two for lunch, mostly because living with a vegetarian, we don’t have real meat at home. I also know that in the past when I’ve been successful, I’ve eaten more meat protein during the day. It helps keep me energized an full longer.

Wednesdays is also bread day at work. I work at a non-profit, we get donated bread and treats from our local Panera for our families and youth at our organization. What sucks, is it gets brought to my floor, right next to my office. Every Wednesday I walk in and will walk into a plethora of bread smells. I have really thought about all of the places that bread could go instead of that room, but there is no other place. It’s a break room, the only break room we really have. It’s where the bread lives on Wednesdays and Thursdays. If there are too many bread snacks there, someone will bring snacks into our office area. So often times there are scones, cookies and bagels right in front of my face. I didn’t eat any today, and that will remain the same as time goes on.

I left early today for an interview. This isn’t normal either. My plan was I was bringing a smoothie, and would leave at 12:30, knowing I would be hungry and needing to go home and eat before I got ready. 12:30 came, and everyone and their mom, or so it felt wanted to talk to me. I at some point, I had to apologize for being cranky because I knew I was hungry and had a plan and needed to execute. I ended up looking at my co-worker and saying… If you could finish this, and completely take care of it I will buy you a coffee. What I was asking him to do, was sometimes my job and sometimes his job, and probably more my job than his. And then I left.

I ate some lunch, went to the interview… And replayed all of the questions in my head with what I wish I would have said differently. After talking with my boyfriend, and replaying some of the things, he said I actually did pretty well. It really felt like a learning lesson more than anything. It’s the first time I had interviewed for anything in a while. It was helpful to practice. We will see what happens.

This is starting to feel like a long post, so I will try to wrap up the evening quickly… Even though it probably is the most important part of my food stuff for the day.

After my interview, I ended up going grocery shopping. If I’m in it to win it, or if I’m being dedicated to my goal, I need to be prepared. I bought easy protein. After brainstorming with my counselor this morning, I found out that they sell cooked, prepared chicken breasts in separate packages at Trader Joes. YESSS! So I bought them, plus some chicken burger type things that are easy to cook and low in calories. I also bought a few other things that will probably help me stay successful.

I ate two cheese sticks in the car, a little package of trail mix (both from trader joes), and then I ate a few bites of left over sweet potatoes and apples from Thanksgiving, and then…. I went out with my boyfriend for dinner and had three tiny chicken tacos on corn tortillas, a 6oz of beer, kombucha, and came home and had a bowl of left over buffalo cauliflower.

I stopped at that. The cauliflower seemed excessive. I don’t know how many calories I’ve eaten today, or yesterday and I’m trying not to care. Counting calories makes me crazy. I don’t really regret food today. I think the only thing I would have done differently would have been the 3pm range to 6:30 range with the cheese, trail mix and sweet potato apples.

I wasn’t sure when my boyfriend was going to come home, and it was almost too early to eat something big. SO I snacked, and after the sweet potato mix, I stopped. If I would have given it more thought I probably would have eaten one of the chicken burgers I brought home instead. That would have curved my snacking and extra eating when I got home after tacos. I also need some sort of snack between my smoothie and lunch, maybe that’s a good time for some nuts? Maybe. 🙂 I’m also going to switch up my breakfast as well.

It’s almost 10:20, I almost didn’t write tonight, but I am glad I did. I’m pooped.

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Day 1

Today wasn’t so bad, but it was tricky.

When I’m on track, or when things get hard, one of the most effective things I can do is be prepared. I didn’t really prepare last night for today, except pull out some taco filling I had frozen last week. I also had plans to make a smoothie in the morning with spinach, protein powder (It’s called RAW, dairy free, soy free, vegan, and vegetarian), almond milk, frozen fruit and water. Today I woke up suddenly, and was in a hurry. I got dressed really fast, and followed through with my smoothie making plan. It really doesn’t take that long, so I shouldn’t have any excuses really.

I toyed with the idea of not bringing anything else, and a little voice in my brain said… Rachael!!! You know better. I have been getting the lettuce and spinach in the container, and threw some in a container to take with me to eat with my taco filling (fake beef (Quoran), corn, onion, bell pepper and chilies). The vanilla creamer is apart of a routine that I can break, and I know it… It just takes practice. I’ve also done sugar free flavors in the past, and they were not triggering to me for some reason which was great.

I ate my lunch around 12:45, and was hungry again around 1:45, which I ate two single serving tuna packets, and some walnuts as a snack later in the day. I keep several tuna packets in my desk drawer at work which help me when I forget to bring food to work.

There were several moments today that I felt I needed or wanted to eat candy. We have a bag of it in my work space. A co-worker was actually eating it right in front of me. At-least they were Tutsi-rolls, I don’t like those. Another co-worker also brought a giant bag of chips into work today and was munching on them all afternoon, AND another one went and got a cheese burger. Tomorrow I think I’m going to practice not paying attention to what they have and how much they have.

I  wanted an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon, but opted for a cup of tea instead.

It’s the end of the month, and I get paid tomorrow. I looked at my bank account today, and realized I had a little bit of extra money. Another co-worker bought a pizza yesterday after work, and it really stuck with me. I could pick up a pizza on my way home I thought! After realizing what I was thinking, I had to shut it down. It’s not that I will never eat a pizza again, just trying to get through this week, and the next few weeks and months. I think pizza will come again. I just need to get through the brain pieces.

Dinner came, and I made buffalo fake chicken (Quoran) and cauliflower. I had seconds, and all I want to do is eat some of the Halo Top ice-cream in my freezer. It’s 745PM, other than being tired because I didn’t sleep well. I’m full and happy. I’m going to finish drinking my 2nd water bottle for the day, and tomorrow I plan on drinking 3. It’s important to continue to increase my fluids as coming down off of sugar and carbs could give me a head ace.

I’ve got this!

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Isolation is it’s favorite form.

I’ve always felt like I was two people. The one who is an addict and the one who is fighting to be herself. As my eating disorder shifts again, I am reflecting on it’s direction and the nasty part of myself that I really hate to admit is there. The addict inside lours me into so many things, and sometimes when I eat things it doesn’t feel like I have a choice.

I recently met with my counselor who talked about the addictive self and how sometimes it reacts and lours you in to things with out you even realizing it’s happening. It’s an entity that takes over and strikes when you least expect.

It’s also that piece that lives inside your brain that allows us to get caught up in a spiral of negative thinking. The one that goes in circles of how bad of a person you are. The one that calls you fat. The one who says, step on the scale and see how fat you are today. The one that says, you are too fat to do anything else so go ahead, sit on that couch AGAIN today (actually, it really says, go ahead sit on that couch again today because no one likes you, or everyone is too busy to hang out with you). Or the one that allows you to make excuses for your behavior, again. Excuses like… Oh you don’t want to go to the gym with me, I guess I won’t go. It’s an enabler for unhealthy behavior. **I chose unhealthy behavior instead of bad behavior because I no longer want to stigmatize myself as bad.

It likes making sure you are alone, so it can fully take over your body. No matter how many boundaries you set up for yourself, no matter how prepared you are the sneaky addicted bastard steps in and says “I know how I can get her to come back to me”. You know how Voldemort takes over people in Harry Potter and makes people act like his puppet? Gets them to do anything he wants, and makes you his puppet!?

That’s it. The addiction, says “drink, go ahead, drink with your friends, you will have fun, it’s the only way to connect with anyone, it’s the only way to not be awkward, its the only way to fit in…” What he’s really thinking is… “If she drinks, she will eat, and in a few days that girl will be all mine again”.

LORD VOLDEMORT also says things like… “It’s CHRISTMAS!!!! Everyone else are eating cookies, go ahead, treat yourself, you’ve been so good this season” What he’s really thinking…. “Later… I will have her with a whole box of Christmas snacks on the couch, where we can be alone together.”

You are probably thinking, what the fuck? This is the best way recently I can really describe it. It builds you up, allures you in with it’s goodness, and then it isolates you, beats you down and abuses you. You get so numb that you just sit there on the couch watching TV, or crying because you don’t think you can stop. Voldemort, at that time is winning.

Unfortunately it’s been isolating me lately, and after my last counseling apt my counselor spelled out all the ways that I had made excuses and was isolating myself in the last few months in about 5 sentences. She called me out, and all I could say was “That FUCKER”, relating to the addict self.

She is helping me get “Clean” again. Cutting out all the shit that allures me in and well of course I will continue to write and see her. I will no-longer be dancing for Lord Voldemort.

**In the future I will be writing about authentic relationships, and the impact while being sucked under lord Voldemort.

 

 

Don’t just put a band-aid on it.

I am a fairly emotional person. Most people I know already know this, though you may have gathered this information from reading my posts, OR you might be psychic. I am also empathic which challenges me on a daily basis. It’s hard sometimes to decipher my own feelings from other people’s feelings often which SUCKS. Through time, I’ve come to figure out ways to find a balance in my life with this.

In addition also have attention issues, which has been a detriment to my writing, food journey, life journey etc. I tend to get derailed often because I have the ability to lose focus quickly. I found some comfort though in coffee shops, with no time agenda, and headphones with loud music from the 90’s helps me stay on track.

One tactic that helped me significantly, especially while I was in graduate school getting through my papers was using a metaphor to describe what I was talking about. I found that it was a great way to merry two of my strongest personality traits when describing things to people. It helped me map out what I was trying to say in a way that helped my thoughts flow easily and effortlessly.

I use metaphors to help describe my experiences, break them down to understand them deeper and when I haven’t gone deep enough I will create a plan to help overcome barriers and create meaning.

With this new blog title I will complete this post.

Passion and direction through metaphors:

I was writing a previous blog post and wanted to use a metaphor to describe my own experience with eating disorders. The deeper I got into the metaphor the more wrong it felt. It is weird because I have used it often to describe my own personal experience to myself. The idea was being raw, raw and vulnerable during some of the darkest times of my journey. I described it originally as an “open wound, deeply cut, fresh, pulsating, hurting and bleeding. What you do next with that wound is very crucial for its healing and with any healing, time, healing takes time”. When you get wounded, specifically if you get scratched by a cat or cut with a knife, you first asses it and maybe ask yourself some questions: How deep is it? Do you need stitches? All the while you may be getting it to stop bleeding. You might clean it, put antibiotics on it and then what do you do next?  Most of the time you then put a band aid on it.

Finishing out this metaphor I thought “Hmm, well no wonder I’m not being successful right now, I just put a band aid on it.” I don’t want to say this metaphor has been the sole reason for holding me back, but it has been keeping me from moving forward.

When I was going to graduate school, we talked a lot about assumptions. We learned to identify our own assumptions on every level. We are always assuming or judging things, no matter what we do they will always be present in our brain and there is no getting over that. It’s what we do with them when they are identified is what matters.

Like everything that I’ve talked about, assumptions are multi dimensional. We have our own assumptions which are developed because of experiences we’ve had, and then there are the stories we tell ourselves based on those assumptions. The stories we tell ourselves are based on things that we don’t know, and based off of an experience we’ve had. In another blog post I will dive deeper into assumptions because that deserves way more attention than this blog post can offer (and understanding my own assumptions has been a crucial part of my healing on this journey).

The metaphor that I was using in the story previously, I was telling myself was that it was okay to just put a band aid on it. Which is what I’m sure you have gathered by what I’ve been telling you.  I’m  giggling to myself as I’m writing this because when I think about it, it’s kind of obvious why I haven’t been moving forward in larger strides as I had at the beginning of my food journey almost two years ago. You can’t just put a band-aid on something so deeply rooted. The story that I had been telling myself with this metaphor was holding me back from letting my wounds heal. If you do not treat a wound properly you can get an infection, and that infection only gets worse the longer you neglect it.

ALSO…. If you just put a band-aid on it, and pretend it’s not there, you are only doing a disservice to yourself. You are not giving yourself the compassion you deserve. Putting a band-aid on it, and ignoring the issue is only making it worse and festering that wound till it oozes over.

At some point, you need to peel back the band aid and re asses what is going on again, and again and again. You have to disengage from the pain, look yourself in the eye and create a list of new things to try to help heal this wound and really try them. If you are committed to healing and committed to yourself and moving forward… You will try them. You will do whatever it takes to over come this beast.

After all it’s a journey, not a destination.