Monday, September 29, 2008

apples & honey.

It's the high holidays, folks!  Well, for about 1.3% of your beautiful country, it is.  For those who don't know what this means, it is that the two most important holidays in the Jewish faith have arrived: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Yome Key - Pour.. not Yahm Kipper).  If you just said - or plan to comment - that you thought Chanukah was the "most important Jewish holiday," just e-mail me.  We'll talk later.

Moving on.  For those who do not know what these two holidays are, they are the Jewish New Year (5769) and "our" day of repentance, respectively.  They are also the days of seeing the entire hometown congregation for the first time since you moved out of your parents' house, shvitzing in the local synegogue for two hours, sneaking Tic Tacs around the back row, and having a silent party in your head when they sound the shofar because you know that means the service is coming to a conclusion.

Unfortunately, the holidays (like the other 98.3% of the population's) come with stress and part of that stress always involves food in one way, shape, or form (no pun intended).  Tonight, my mother received the infamous, "You gotta put some meat on her bones!  Girls these days don't eat enough!" To which she replied, "Oh, haha!  Believe me, she knows.." and we semi-awkwardly walked away.  This duo has a wide range of responses along those lines.

Less than being part of our society, it's a part of my history; Jewish women must be sure that all other people of the world are well-fed.  Truth be told, I would probably still hear lines like that even if I were at the weight I am working towards.  I take about as much offense to comments like those as I do to any Jewish person telling your average "big nose joke".  I think it's mostly because of the generation that is commonly trying to feed every not-as-hungry-as-she-thinks person; they were raised in a different time when eating disorders were never spoken of.  Of course, I think that specific time ended with the "baby boomers" generation, but that really only reinforces my point.

I'm starting to realize that as much as comments about other peoples' weights and eating habits can really frustrate me, the people who makes those comments are ignorant to that.  We have two choices of how to deal with that ignorance: express our discomfort, or let it roll off.  Not saying anything and then being frustrated about it is like hating our president when you didn't vote.  I'd prefer to let it go.  There are more important things.

..Like enjoying our sweet new year.
L'shana tova :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

another way to look at it.

When I was on my high school gymnastics team (5 years ago, good lord), the first two weeks of the season were spent doing a torturous level of conditioning.  I was extremely out of shape and far from flexible.  In fact, I was easily one of the least flexible on the team.  I never thought I would have been able to drop into a full split.  Our coaches would push us until we thought our muscles were going to rip and just as we hit that point, we were told to stretch just a little further.
If you don't challenge yourself past what you can already clearly do, that's as much as you'll ever be able to do.  That is the sort of the mindset I kept during the whole refeeding process.  I would eat until I absolutely didn't think I could finish any more of my meal, and then I would force myself to take just a few more bites.  It's all about pushing past your limits.

When you're in recovery, doing only as much as you (think you) can will never be enough.  You've always got to take one more step past that point.  That's the point where you learn new things about yourself.

I had a split by the end of that season.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

enough about my disease, tell me about yours?

For those who don't know, I am not the only one in my family living with disease.  My senior year of high school, my father was diagnosed with scleroderma.  He was given medication, chemo, and limited other sources with little success.  The disease is so new - and so rare - that no doctor seems to really know what to do with it right now.  At least, that's been the case for the last couple years.  Everything that happened was "expected," and anything that wasn't happening yet wasn't something that we could expect or not expect.

As the disease progressed and we were told there was nothing much else to do, my parents took matters into their own hands and did all the research they could.  Then, my dad found Jane, a woman who had reached about the same critical level of his illness and opted for an experimental stem cell transplant.  The process was long and involved, but my parents eventually relocated to Waterville, ME for the duration of the procedure (approximately 2 months).

Since the procedure - almost 2 years ago - my dad's condition has been up and down (currently up, but with irreparable damage).  The transplant is exremely experimental, so results may (and absolutely do) vary.  However, more and more people are being diagnosed with Scleroderma, and more and more are resorting to stem cell transplants.
Below is an article my mom sent me this morning.  The news "just keeps better and better."

[Click the article to read on at]

For more information on Scleroderma and getting involved, visit The Scleroderma Foundation.
For information on helping raise money for experimental-transplant patients,

walden west.

While I was a patient at Walden - within the past year - there was talk of the program opening a treatment center out in western Massachusetts.  Until now, there were no convenient treatment options for anyone living out that way.

I have recently received an e-mail from Walden Behavioral Care to announce the official open house of the new center in Northampton, MA.  The Northampton site currently does not offer inpatient options, but provides adolescent and adult PHP and IOP programs.

For more information, check out the site here: Northampton Open House.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

losing someone else's weight.

Brick walls are pretty sturdy.  You can lean all up on that for days, weeks, years and it ain't comin' down.  Punch it, kick it, there's no give.  People.. well, people are more like.. not walls.  We've only got so much support in us before we come down and need to pull away to protect ourselves.

Everyone wants to believe that the people we love unconditionally will have an unconditional amount of support to them.  When we're most in need, we can be quick to feel betrayed or deceived by the strength of a relationship when the person we need the most has to remove themselves from the picture.  It can be extremely painful when we realize that we not only have nothing left to fall back on but ourselves, but that the people we feel we would take a bullet for might not do the same for us.

Unfortunately, I've been on both sides of the track.  I think, unless you have been, it becomes much more painful for people on either side to understand the idea of needing to walk away before we've lost so much support, we can't even hold ourselves up anymore.  On the inside of the disease (addiction or otherwise), it can feel like we don't have enough of our head together to depend on ourselves, which - of course - leads to a strong (and, often clinging) dependency on others.  On the outside, it feels like we're being spread too thin and don't have time to take care of ourselves.

People tend to lose a lot of patience for those who aren't willing to help themselves.  It's hard to stay active in someone's life when all they want to do is continue to hurt themselves.  It's even harder when you've put more energy than you thought a human being could possess into removing yourself from that kind of lifestyle.  It's a sticky situation, but we all know that you cannot help someone who isn't ready to receive it.  Some may see it as selfish, and if that's the case, then we need to learn how to be a little more selfish if it means keeping our own health and stability in check.

In the end, we can't really care for anyone - emotionally or phsyically - until we're taken care of; that goes for everyone, no matter which side they're on.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

reality [show] check.

Extreme Makeover, What Not to Wear, The Swan, even The Biggest Loser (since the realization that it was less "becoming healthier" and more "doing whatever it takes").  You know the names.  These are the names of reality TV shows that all share a similar bottom line: "Don't like yourself?  We don't either.  Let us help you fix it."  Now, that may seem a bit Extreme, but let's be honest; one of the above titles even encourages rebuilding your entire body via plastic (and other such) surgeries.  These are the ideas that women (and men) are filling their heads with, whether it's for some prime-time amusement, or to get the feeling that someone else is living their reality dream.  (I know.. the irony.)  Let's not forget the children of these men and women that are plopped in front of the TV while their parents' think it's just mindless entertainment during dinner.  Psssssst!  Hey, parents!  Your kids are ingesting this crap!

Nonsense aside, there's a fairly newer reality TV show brought about by our favorite after-school-special channel, Lifetime.  How To Look Good Naked, hosted by Carson Kressley (of Queer-Eye), puts a new spin on makeovers.
I watched this show for the first time, yesterday, slightly skeptical about the fact that it would be anything different than all the others: "it's a bad cut for you, your clothes are too shlumpy, you're clearly not cool."  I was pleasantly surprised.  For one, the makeover almost comes as an afterthought in the show; it's more of a gift to liven things up (and what woman doesn't want a free makeover?) after all is said and done.

The show starts off with a woman telling her story about how she's lost her confidence, she feels ugly, she feels worthless, in one way or another.  There are tears, as there are in an unfortunate number of stories where women must confront how they actually feel about themselves.  Then, where you'd expect the host to have a team of makeover artists and fashion experts pop out of the bushes and yell, "LET'S FIX YOU!," Carson had her strip down to her underwear, and pointed out everything amazing about her.  Then, he had her stand in a line up of women that range from sizes lower than her to sizes larger than her and have her pick out the one who she thought she looked like.  They always seem to shoot too high, don't they?  Already, you could start to see her attitude change.

By the end of the show, she was struttin' the runway in rockin' langerie and her pre-teen daughter was telling her how proud of her she was.  Okay, so the way I worded that may have taken away from the point I'm trying to make, but it really was a beautiful thing.  She even looked 10 times more amazing, because you could see the confidence she was carrying.  It was probably the most incredible esteem-transformation I've ever seen in an hour (or, if you include all the time it took to film it, 12 or so hours?).

It's sad that only one woman can be on the show at a time.  They should make it into a group situation.  Like.. America's Next Top Healthy Model.  I know, nerdy and cheesy; I get like that sometimes.

If only it were so easy for those of use who have transformed a disease to look like we just don't like ourselves naked.. or clothed.. or.. at all..  At least there's a way to start.  Baby steps, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

back online & rockin'.

Hello, my beautiful, faithful readers!

I have my lap top back and I'm rearin' to go!
A few surprising things happened while I was unable to update:

1) A few new readers commented that they were glad I was offline for a while so they would have time to start reading "from the beginning".
2) My fan count on Facebook went from 73 to 98.  (If you're on Facebook, you can find F.O here.)
3) I watched a disturbing amount of dvr'd episodes of Scrubs..

It's a beautiful thing to see the good word ("recovery," in this case, not "Jesus") spreading.  Thank you guys!!

I'm working on big things for F.O, right now.  An intense redesign project is in the works, as is integrating my hat project with the blog.  I know it's slightly ambiguous, but I think I'll leave it there for now.

Anyways, more to come ;)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

blame apple.

I regret to inform you that the macbook pro is in the shop and, therefore, F.O will be on a short haitus; approximately 5-7 days.

I have about 4 entries in the works and I promise to be more on top of updates upon return.

Love you all :)