Thursday, December 30, 2010

Overcoming Disordered Eating & Relapse Prevention

I saw a link to this website on twitter that may be useful to people in all stages of recovery. This website, Centre for Clinical Intervention, offers an "Eating Disorder Workbook" with links to a multitude of interactive .pdf files to help you work through symptoms, identify and manage triggers, etc. There are two different workbooks. The second one, Part B, was most helpful to me, especially Module 7 "Relapse Prevention." Here are the links:

Overcoming Disordered Eating - Part A

Overcoming Disordered Eating - Part B

Hope this helps!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to love yourself

Christmas was better than I thought it would be, seeing as though I spent it virtually alone. I had my cat, my miniature Christmas tree, and even a touch of snow. My mother shipped the presents she bought me overnight so that I had something to open on Christmas morning. It was sweet of her. I called home and spoke with my nieces. I miss them so much. They're growing up so quickly. They asked why I didn't come home for Christmas. They don't understand the tension that exists between me and the rest of our family. Then again, it's better that they don't.

This is the first time in 6 years that I treated myself to a special meal on Christmas. And, I did it all for myself. There was no one else to cook for. There was no reason I should eat anything at all. For the past 6 years, I ate nothing on Christmas, or at least very little. This year I made myself some vegan lasagna, some garlic bread, and vegan chocolate chip cookies. I only ate one, but I can't even begin to stress the progress I've made. I've never felt like I was worthy enough to eat. Maybe that sounds strange, maybe it doesn't. I always thought I didn't deserve food. I hated myself so badly. I realize now there is no reason to hate myself. I shouldn't torture my body. It has done nothing wrong. It has never failed me. It has never asked for anything other than to exist as it is, without me torturing it. I decided to treat myself out of respect. I respect my body. I want to feed it, nurture it, and keep it strong.

I've spent too much time and energy being sick. Now, I'm focusing all that time and energy on being healthy.

I know that respect for our bodies is something a lot of people struggle with, even those who have never had an eating disorder. Most women and girls especially hate their bodies. They starve them, nip them, tuck them, tan them, criticize them, torture them, overexert them, abuse them, hate them, loathe them, wish and pray for nothing else but to change them. Why is it so hard for people to see how beautiful they are?

Why was it so hard for me?

I don't have the answer, but I have the solution: love yourself the way you love those dearest to you. Treat yourself. Nurture yourself. Believe in yourself. See the beauty and divinity and strength that exists naturally in yourself, just the way you are.

I've posted this before in another entry, but I've been thinking about it a lot today. At my old church in Las Vegas, one very memorable sermon was about self-respect. The pastor spoke about how critical people are of themselves, especially of their bodies. Then he asked:

How do you think God feels when we criticize his creation?

Because that's what we are: his creations. Beautiful. Holy. Special.

As is.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I am back from my hiatus, and now, a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing graduate! The experience was great, though bittersweet. It's sad (yet somehow liberating) to know I'm on my own. There are no more mentors to guide me. It's my turn to guide myself. During the graduation ceremony, the MFA program chair said when we, the graduates, return home to our desks and work-spaces, we shouldn't arrange the books that are already there; we should sit down and finish writing our own. So, that's what I'm doing. I'm writing my heart out.

Eating during the residency and graduation process was tricky for me, as I knew it might be. There were some days that I didn't eat even a fraction of what I should have. Other days I had three square meals. Part of it was due to stress and anxiety. I had to teach a 50 minute lecture (about anorexia in poetry!) and read one of my pieces to a room full of friends and students and faculty at my senior reading, so there was a lot to worry and stress over. I'm a worrier. I always have been. I tried to take time to just enjoy the Los Angeles sunshine. Sit beneath the palm trees. Watch the ocean waves. Breathe the salty air. It helped me to focus and unwind, until the rain came and wouldn't go away for days and days, but there is beauty in that, too. Luckily, everything turned out okay. There's nowhere left to go but forward.

I'm spending Christmas alone this year. Well, not completely. I'll be here with my cat. My boyfriend is in Minnesota with his family. I'm not exactly sure why I'm not home with mine. That's a wound I don't want to open up at the moment.

Regardless, I'm sending warm Christmas and holiday wishes to whomever is reading this.

God bless.

(Here is me in my graduation robe and hood. I know it's only my back but I like the picture anyway!)


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Eat them in joy

Dandelion Greens

They will be bitter but rich in iron--
your spring tonic, your antidote to sleep.
Eat them because they are good for you.
Eat them in joy, for the earth revives.
Eat them in remembrance of your grandmother,
who raised ten children on them. Think
of all the dandelions they picked for her,
the countless downy seeds their laughter spread.

This is the life we believe in--
the saw-toothed blades, the lavish, common flowers.

-Jane Flanders

I'm going to be very busy for the next few weeks. My time as an MFA student (Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing) is coming to an end. I graduate December 19th! Woo hoo! I will spend the time until then going to lectures, reading beautiful things, writing beautiful things in the company of beautiful, beautiful people. I deliver my senior lecture this Saturday morning bright and early. My topic is Anorexia in Poetry. I have a lot to say, a lot of great poems to analyze and dissect. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

With all of this going on, I probably won't be lurking around the blogosphere as often as usual. I'm hoping that my eating disorder does not make an appearance. She is not invited to my senior lecture, my senior reading, the graduation ceremony. I don't want to see her at all during this happy time. I should be proud of myself. I have worked hard and accomplished a lot in spite of her. She will not take that away from me.

The night before I graduate, my boyfriend booked a dinner reservation at my second favorite restaurant in Los Angeles-- Rustic Canyon. Mmm. Did I mention my eating disorder is not invited to that either? This is a time to celebrate, not a time to count calories. I'm having a glass of wine. I'm not worrying about anything. I'm going to breathe and relax.

I just hope I remember that when the time comes.

On a side note, I bought a little tiny miniature Christmas tree yesterday. It's alive! I grew up in a house that only had synthetic trees, so this is my first time ever having a real, live, sap covered Christmas tree. It isn't decorated yet, and it looks a little Charlie Brown, but I like the little guy. My cat likes it too.


Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 3, 2010

(Re) cover ed

The last few days have been a whole bunch of blah. I've been super busy finishing up with grad school. (I graduate in two weeks! Yikes!) In addition, I've been sick with the flu or maybe just a bad cold. Regardless, I've been sniffling and sneezing around my apartment feeling down in the dumpster. I've had difficulties the last few days with eating. I've had no desire to eat. It's not that I'm not hungry, and it's not that I'm consciously trying to restrict. I just don't want food. It doesn't sound appetizing.

But I've been fighting.

Appetite or not, I'm eating anyway. I'm pushing myself. It's the right thing to do. Actually, it's the only thing to do.

Starvation is not an option. It's a horrible feeling. It's a horrible word. And there's simply no place for it in my life.

There shouldn't be any place for it in your life, either.

There is, however, room for health. There is room for happiness. And there's room for hope.

Today I forced myself to eat even though I didn't really want to. I ate chocolate "ice cream". I ate chips. I ate pasta. Holy cow. I know, right? I rarely eat any of those things, let alone all of them in one day. But guess what: It didn't kill me. The world didn't stop turning. I didn't throw up. I didn't work out afterward. And I didn't gain even a pound.

Not to mention, it was yummy.

I'm so tired of being a slave to my eating disorder. The bitch doesn't own me anymore.

I have regressed, restricted, revolted, reacted, rebelled, repented, reflected, rededicated, regrouped, revamped, readjusted, refocused, reconciled, renewed, rediscovered...

and am well on my way to being