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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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.

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.

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.

 

 

Avoiding.

Avoiding anything, especially the inevitable packs the pounds.

My weight spirals because I emotionally eat, I make excuses for my behavior and I spend more time playing video games, or watching re-runs of my favorite shows instead of living my life. Wait, I spend time checking out in-stead of living through the pain, and emotions of life.

I noticed myself doing this recently. I also noticed my teeth grinding increasing. Meaning, I’m not taking care of myself and whatever that means. This time it means, too much caffeine, not enough water, and drifting further away from my dreams than I anticipate.

I am in love with my partner, we have a pretty good thing going. We are fairly balanced, we enjoy doing things together, we make an amazing team in the kitchen, the yard, the house etc. Or at-least that’s my perception. He’s my person, what can I say? He listens when I’m not doing well, he’s patient and kind, cares about my well being, and happiness.

But we have different life goals, and I’ve been avoiding leaving, because the loss of him would be so great and grieving sucks.

I also have a really good thing where I live. I have a whole room to myself where I can paint and I have a garden to grow fresh vegetables and fruit. I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to live here, and share my life with him.

I’m not serving myself continuing to stay here. I am deserving of something that I’ve always wanted (Marriage and at-least one child) and he doesn’t want those things. Which completely sucks.

I also have really tried not to want those things, which really only affirmed that I want them more. Also, I think what sucks out of all of the thought process I did around being married and having children, is I think my self worth is dependent on it and that If he really loved me as much as he did, he would want to marry me and have children. Which isn’t true. But I’m trained to think that my worthiness is depended on it, and also that because he doesn’t want those things… He believes that I’m not worth anything.

It’s a complete mind fuck of a situation actually. The longer I stay in this relationship (even if I think it is good), the longer I will deep down think that I’m truly not worthy, which only mind fucks my ED thinking and circulates the food intake. It’s pretty messed up.

I’ve been neglecting my writing not necessarily because of this, but it’s been a part of it. I’ve been spending more time disassociating with video games and re-runs than I have been engaging in life. Growing up in a DV home makes you a pro at disassociation, well at least for me it has been.

Sneaky grateful moments

It’s funny how my last post was about the changed girl, and then today I’m writing about something unexpected that came up that made me feel crappy at work.

Actually it’s been an off week, period, because of my period. Sorry if that is TMI, and not sorry at the same time because it’s totally a real thing for me and I shouldn’t pretend like I don’t get my period.

I couldn’t believe what happened on Monday and I was left embarrassed and on the verge of a panic attack. I had forgotten to turn in a paper to receive some money that I needed for my job. There is a process, a process which I’m familiar with and had used several times, over and over again. It was a surprise to me when I went upstairs and things had changed. I wasn’t able to formulate sentences about what I was asking for (Not really un-common for me). But my usual process usually looked like me putting a paper that I had signed from my boss in someones box, and then I would go to the front desk and their would be money in an envelope. I had forgotten to do the step where I put the paper in someones box, and when I went upstairs, I explained the process in which got miss understood for a different process. I am probably not making any sense…. Anyway, what ended up happening was 3 people were telling me something that I couldn’t identify with. What really happened, was I realized that maybe I forgot to turn the paper in. I put up my hand, stated I was feeling frustrated and that I needed to walk away. The result for me was: I felt stupid, unprepared, didn’t know my job and everything I strive not to be. I don’t like looking like I don’t know how to do my job. I literally stated to someone I worked with on my way back to my desk that I “was stupid” and with out anyone knowing I went into a back room and cried.

*On a side note: After hearing myself say “I am stupid” out loud to someone, made me stop in my tracks. At that moment, I wasn’t sure if I was going to laugh at myself or cry because it sounded so silly. I chose the latter.

Who is this girl?

It was triggering and un-expected. It was also a miss-understanding and a mistake. I haven’t had a melt down in a while, and I haven’t felt so negatively in months about myself. While I was in the back room crying, I could feel my body fill with anxiety. I took some breaths, and talked myself down. I really was okay. I had to remind myself that they were not intentionally attacking me, and not intentionally making me feel stupid. They were explaining a process that I knew, I just didn’t use. Also… because of being in that moment, and being confused, I couldn’t find my words.

Having practiced new patterns, positive self talk and self soothing… I am now able to recover from these moments quicker, and they happen less and less.

I am grateful for that.

 

The next best thing.

Last week my counselor gave me this language to describe this over arching thing most of american’s are going through “Weight loss culture” and it struck a chord with me.

I maybe have touched on it before, but I don’t think I dived into the depth that I was ready for yet. I’ve actually had something saved on my google drive for about a year that is titled “The next best thing”. The next best thing, for me was whatever the new thing was for me I would follow, to accomplish the weight loss goals I was after. The goals, of course mean weight loss.

I talked about the unrealistically about this previously. But the bottom line is, no matter what you do, or how much you do it, and or how much weight you’ve lost.. You may never be satisfied with how you look… We are obsessed with this idea that we are NOT GOOD ENOUGH AS IS. We are trained to think that way, and get stuck in this weight loss culture obsession and get sucked into the “next best thing” or trend.

For me these trends would be the end all to everything: every eating problem I’ve ever had, every weight loss issue, everything and all of it. I WOULD BE CURED.

Here I am, 227lbs, highest ever 279lbs and I KNOW those trends don’t work for me. I have fallen for Weight Watchers, Solutions (a weight loss clinic), Nutritionist, Fitbit, My Fitness Pal, other running apps such as C25K, a personal trainer, HTC (for a hot minute), juicing, joining and dropping out of gyms several times a year, paleo, vegetarianism, and more.

Some of these ideas I’ve catered to briefly but have not fully fallen into their trap. Some, I’ve committed to for a significant amount of time and have had a lot of success with. Either way, I understand the commitment piece, the HIGH of accomplishing goals (weight loss), being rewarded for it, and then when you are no longer loosing, the disappointment and let down of being unsuccessful long term. I understand the BATTLE to stay committed, the mind games… and other things that go along with this addiction.

I read recently that Americans have spent 60 billion dollars over a year on gym memberships, weight loss products, trainers, apps, programs and more… If 75 million people are working towards loosing weight that’s an average of $800 a year! This culture is such a misconception. It has been a way for people to feed your insecurities while making a profit. If it works for them, then it will work for you! Plus, they know they can make money off of it. THEY KNOW PEOPLE WANT IT, SO THEY MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO CAVE INTO THEIR RESULTS, to make a profit. Poor fools like me (probably you too) fall for it every time.

What we don’t focus on is, what works for us? What works for you? What does your body want now? How do you want to treat yourself? How do I want to treat myself, and what works for me?

Always, more to come!

 

Snow day!

Remember when you were a little kid and you prayed and prayed for a snow day? Once it started to snow you would sit by the window, and watch it fall, or go outside and run around, make a snowman out of hand fulls of snow that barley even covered the ground. Or… Stayed up late, watching it fall, and praying for school to be canceled. Only to wake up and there is more snow on the ground and school actually has been canceled!

That’s like me today, big kid snow day!!! YAY! And I’m using it to my full advantage. I laid in bed this morning, so tired from staying up the night before, fully taking advantage of the not having to wake up early for work thing. So it was 9 am when I blinkingly opened my eyes. I groaned a bit, and closed them, wishing to be sleeping again, but said NO RACHAEL.

Backing up a bit, I’ve been watching Glee re-runs. I know I know, cheesy right? Well, after the last year I’ve been sitting on the couch a lot, playing video games and watching TV. I’ve been running through re-run after re-run of the same old shit, and well… Glee makes me happy. So I started to watch it, and I started to get excited with all of the dancing and movement that takes place… So before going to bed I googled some youtube beginners dance videos to prepare for the next day, well… I wasn’t sure if I was going to actually do them, but I knew I had to at-least start somewhere.

So… This morning when I woke up. I thought about coffee as usual, and a shower, and then I thought.. Well if I’m going to shower today at some point, I should work out, and if I’m going to work out I need coffee. I pulled out my work-out clothes from the bottom of my dresser drawers, and put them on almost unwillingly, took my socks from my top drawer and bobbled down the stairs. I didn’t have any coffee at my house, and assessed the road situation with the snow. (PS it is still snowing) The main road looks fine, but in order to get there I’d have to plow my driveway. PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR WORKING OUT… DID I DO IT. NOPE!

I did make some green tea, I did pull my laptop out and set it up for a work out video. I did two-15 minute intensive dance video’s. A friend was writing to me through out the first one, so I took a lot of breaks, and the second one I went right through. I mean 30 minuets isn’t a lot, but it’s a start right?

I also have a small coaching business on the side and at this time I only have one client. She had written back to some questions I had asked her, and I jumped on board with responding, and here I am writing this post.

My short term goal: Work out for 30 min three times this week, or every week at any point in the day.

My long term goal: Get up early, like 6 am early, and work out for 30-45 minutes every morning.

Mindful eating.

This weekend in addition to my painting, I tried being mindful in other ways.

We went out to lunch yesterday and I caught myself in the moment, being in the moment and allowing myself to stay present with my food. Okay, with the chips and salsa, and some with my entree also. We went out for Mexican somewhere we’ve never gone before. They obviously make their own salsa there and it was tasty. With every bite, I stopped and paused, I was trying to figure out what was in it. It didn’t dawn on me for another 5 minutes that I was actually being mindful when I do this. I mean as an obvious lover of food, figuring out what is in food…  is second nature. It was a surprising moment in my day catching myself being mindful

I also spent a few more countless hours painting this weekend, and writing.

Mindful eating is hard for me to do… and It’s something I need to prioritize more over the next few weeks… and years of my life.

This post was short, only because the last one was a bit long and I wanted to include this. Thank you for reading.