Saturday, January 31, 2009

ladies & gents, our society.

Man, I can't wait for my beautiful, innocent 15-year-old daughter to think that this is the way she needs to dress for school. I'd like to think I'll be able to raise her with a little more confidence, but you know how kids get tangled up in societal-induced peer pressure.

The following is just absolutely terrifying. The photos are from the newest issue of Teen Vogue. Yes, Teen. This is what they're admiring and aspiring to. (God, I hope I'm lying.)

Credit to Jezebel who, by the way, is absolutely hilarious with their captioning.
Click the plasticized model to our left for the full article.

By the way, as a professionally-trained retoucher.. they ain't real. The boobs, the tan, not even her make-up was that flawless.

And on the last day of the month, I hit my promised 10th post. Holla!

Friday, January 30, 2009

vote for MEDA to get $25,000!

Via Betsy H, MEDA's office manager:

VOTE FOR MEDA TO GET $25,000! Through their partnership with Virgin Unite, Virgin America wants to support organizations focused on youth education and the environment, such as the Multi-service Eating Disorder Eating Association (MEDA)! Virgin America is gifting $25,000 to Virgin Unite to support these organizations and $25,000 to a Boston cause of your choosing based on your votes. Submit a non-profit cause that matters to you and be automatically entered for a chance to take your revolution global and fly across the world.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

stop, drop and roll.

If (god forbid a million times) I were caught in a burning building, I know the rules: stop, drop and roll. I got it. It sits, stashed away in the back of my mind. But, should the alarm sound, I know all the right steps to take.

All through treatment, we are told that "relapses happen" and to always be prepared. They can be sneaky little bastards and hit you between the eyes before you even know what's happening. I have fallen victim to this many times, as have many people I know. It's too easy to miss all the red flags if you don't know to look for them (and, even more so, if you don't want to look for them..).
Learning the red flags (i.e. smoke) and knowing what to do when you see it coming (i.e. drop it like it's hot) is extremely important. However, I feel that treatment all too often enforces that it stays at the front of our mind at all times. I strongly believe that this is the reason I continued to lapse and relapse. When you constantly think about it and "know" it's going to come, it will. I didn't start to really recover until I thought it was possible that I could live the rest of my life without another relapse.
I used to get into slightly intense "debates," if you will, with one of the Walden counselors (M). One day, she was asking me about how I was holding it together so well. I told her that it wasn't really something I think about anymore since I let go of the assumption that I'll eventually crash-and-burn. She voiced her concern about me not being prepared if I'm not always ready for a relapse. See, I don't think that's true.

Don't get me wrong; this takes a lot of time and work. You do need to know that it can happen and it takes a long time to really recognize a red flag and what to do when you see one coming. It should certainly stay in the front of your mind until it becomes almost an instinct.. the same as being mindful of meal times until your body learns - on its own - that it is hungry/satiated. No, it's not as cut and dry as "stop, drop and roll," like we learn when we're three. This is something that needs to be learned, internalized, continuously repeated so that it's ingrained in our out-of-our-own-control-ed minds. There is a lot of emotional work behind this.
However, you have to also know that full recovery is obtainable. If you prepare yourself to have an eating disorder for the rest of your life, no matter how hard you fight, then you're probably going to have an eating disorder for the rest of your life. I had to let that idea go and realize that I could, in fact, go on to live completely free of a disordered life before I really began to move towards it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

i'm mrs. "she's too big, now she's too thin."

I've been telling people I don't want to do my H&I speech until I'm more - how did I word it before - "visually appropriate?" In speaking with my MEDA "advisor" about this a while ago, she told me (per usual) I'm being too hard on myself and to just do it. I'd be worried about the fact that I've heard of speakers getting ripped apart for telling their story of being recovered and not "looking" recovered. I want to be taken seriously. She told me, "Maybe write that into your story."

She makes a good point. I think too much emphasis is put on physique when it comes to recovery. I think the point is being missed and it needs to be addressed. I'm skinny. I'm just a tiny person - always have been, always will be. Am I underweight? Yes. Is anyone worried about it? For the first time in my life, no. Weight is merely just an unfortunate side effect (sometimes, yes, a symptom) of an eating disorder. None of my doctors or family members or friends (as far as I know) are worried about my weight any longer because, mentally, I am very healthy. That's what counts for recovery.

It seems strange that I should be afraid to tell my story because I don't "look" fully recovered. What's even more strange is that I felt like I wasn't sick and didn't need to be in treatment because I didn't "look" sick (enough). A lot of people in treatment aren't too thin. Some are "normal" or average weights, some are overweight. Sickness is not necessarily determined by the way you look, and health shouldn't be either. Of course, it plays its part. You cannot be emaciated and healthy, you cannot be morbidly obese and healthy. But you also never know the circumstances of someone's weight. I think it is just a ridiculous way to live, feeling like my level of recovery is constantly being judged by how I look.. and not by doctors or family and friends, but solely by friends that I've been in treatment with or people looking to me as someone who can prove that full recovery is possible. It's frustrating and really not worth my time.

I am actively working on restoring my weight. It takes a very long time and is difficult after what my body has adjusted to, but that doesn't mean I should put off a great opportunity because (as I've been told from experience) it could take me another year or so to get to where I need to physically be. I'm not going to let someone else's judgement (who does not know me medically or personally) lead me to waste valuable time that could be spent doing something that means a lot to me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

sharing is caring.

Fainting, seizures, heart monitors, plans of suicide.. EKGs, EEGs, echocardiograms.. How often do you hear about these things in relation to your friends (assuming you're under 70)? How often do you hear "ER"? I hear them a lot, especially lately. These are people I know and love, whom I've lived with and shared way too much personal information with.

I sat next to a good friend of mine from Walden at dinner Saturday night. I met her in PHP just over a year ago now, which is strange, as it feels like it's been years. As she talked, I looked at her face and thought, If I were emotionally removed from this community, it would send a chill down my spine to think of the things she's done in her past. But, I'm not. And it didn't.
I'm not much phased by any of it anymore, which is odd knowing how those who haven't experienced it, personally, are so overly shaken by it, it seems. This, of course, is not to say that I don't care. I care very much. I care every time I hear a friend is going to the ER or back to treatment. I care every time I receive an e-mail or Facebook message from someone I've never met that wanted me to know s/he is going to treatment for the first time and was hoping I could settle their nerves about what to expect.
I think the difference is that I no longer worry. Worry is wasted energy and, let's be honest, it doesn't help anyone. Action and care help, worry does not. Maybe it's because I know the routes or because I know that everything will turn out how it's meant to. I can support someone, but I cannot save them. They have to save themselves and, when they're ready, they will.

It's hard when you form these relationships. You grow to learn these peoples' stories and to love them during some of the hardest times of their lives. Meanwhile, you're fighting for your own. I just hope people are able to find where to draw the line so that they don't lose sight of what's most important: their own recovery. You can't be much of a wall to lean on if you can't even hold yourself up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

smells like change!

In honor of our newest president being sworn in today, I would like to present you with this really adorable letter sent to Mr. Obama by one of the country's younger concerned citizens.

Now, you may think this letter was written by a cute little 7 or 8-year-old, but no. It was apparently written by my 26-year-old brother, Jayme. Way to disguise your boy-writing.
(Coming up: Jayme's "angry" comment calling me an idiot!)

For more childrens' letters to our new president, check out Jezebel! You'll laugh, you'll cry.. you know how it goes.

Here's to the start of a new era.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

the taste of her cherry chapstick.

"I'm really critical of my posture, it makes a big difference," Perry told Tarts at Thursday night's Critics Choice Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. "And I try to suck my belly in. Everyone should do that whether you're on a red carpet or not. Even if you're just going out to dinner with your boyfriend you should try and suck it in."

This is a quote from Katy Perry, via (and my brother, who keeps me updated on sweet ED-related news stories). I like her. She's got spunk. I like her edgy-type pop sound. But, seriously, this woman has a doll. She clearly has some influence on younger girls.

Does this scare anyone else??

Friday, January 16, 2009

a plug & my work.

Hey, girls and boys. I'm determined to stick to my "10 posts per month" quote, despite having fallen a little behind for this month. It's alright; there is still plenty of time! Things have been crazy and my schedule is filling up quick. On top of work and my internship at MEDA, I have also been offered a teaching gig for an elementary school's after school program. I'll be teaching little kids how to knit, and I'm wicked excited about it. I start next Friday. I'm also auditioning for a show on Sunday, sweet lord.

Anyways, MEDA's first event (with me on board) is coming up and I've completed the flyer for it. Not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of it. If you're in the area, you're more than welcome to attend! More events coming soon, and I'm sure you'll hear all about them.

[The image is a little small. If you're interested and can't read,
shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you the PDF.]

Thursday, January 8, 2009

water challenge.

Dehydration can be a huge problem with eating disorders and, actually, the human race in general. It can cause serious health problems including (and in my specific case) chronic orthostasis. Far too many people not only come nowhere close to how much water they should be drinking in a day, but don't even know what the required amount is.

Water has always been a huge problem for me. I was required to drink a large amount of Gatorade while I was in treatment, and still try to keep up with that regiment. My friend - a far more active and healthy human being than myself - found a website today that calculates how much water you should be drinking in a day. I thought it would be interesting to challenge myself to drink that amount - 51 oz - which is far more than I do drink in a day. This is just a one day challenge. Baby steps.

Here is the website if you would like to join me: Hydration Calculator.
(The site asks for your weight. If you don't know the number, just plug-in what you think a rough estimate would be.)

Fact: if you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

so this is the new year..

Happy 2oo9, everyone!
Hope you all have a great new year. I personally spent my new year with some good friends, hot cider (mmm) and.. quite a bit of Guitar Hero, actually. I had to work the following morning, so that kind of sucked, but yay for holiday pay!

Big things are in store for this year. First, let us reminisce over the fact the one year anniversary of my discharge from Walden is approaching. This, of course, means that, for the first time since 2oo6, I will have gone one year without treatment. That's pretty kick ass, not gonna lie. I actually got to catch up with Kyle for a bit tonight who, one year ago this time, was fighting his way through the day program with me. He's doing pretty well and seems to be pretty happy these days; always a beautiful thing to hear.

As some of you know, via Facebook, I started my internship with MEDA today. It's going to be pretty fantastic, for sure. The run down seems to be that I'll be mostly in charge of design work (flyers and whatnot) which is amazing because I'll actually get to combine my interests and I'll get to use my work for portfolio. I'll also be doing some clerical duties (which I love in some sick way), hopefully getting to do some presentations (e.g. school health fairs), and.. apparently a little acting? I can't even put my excitement into words.

I also seem to be getting little pushes from people to start up my Hope & Inspiration story. For those who don't know, H&I is an open forum at MEDA on the first Saturday of every month. A recovered speaker shares their story and opens themselves up for Q&A afterwards. Apparently, after doing so, you also have the option to become a group leader at MEDA, which I pretty much dream of.
I guess I should get started on writing it so I'm prepared when the time comes. As I told someone today, I would like to wait until I am a little more "visually appropriate" before speaking. Somehow, people don't take as well to recovery stories spoken by someone who doesn't physically look the part. And, from a patients' eyes, I can understand where the skepticism comes from. So.. I continue to work.. and eat.
Before I head to bed - which I am crazy overdue for - here are some goals for the new year:
  • minimum of 10 posts per month.
  • completing my redesign by Frozen.Oranges' 1 year anniversary (2/o8).
  • some serious work on time management (which will help the above two a lot, as well).