Archives for Recovery

Mentoring

My Body, My Self-Worth


It happened again.

Even while I was still happily occupied with consuming my morning carbs, two brunching friends began discussing dieting.

One was on Adkins, the other just beginning some new diet focused on counting (and then subtracting) sugar calories.

Irked, I piped up with a gentle, "I hate diets. No diets!"

One friend (let's call her Ms. Sugar Calories) replied, "This isn't a diet. It is an eating plan."

The other friend (let's call her Ms. Protein) reinforced, "And the cravings really do go away after the first two weeks."

And we wonder why I don't get out much these days.

I mean, with all the pain and struggle in the world today, what IS it about whittling down our thighs (butt, belly, etc.) that has us so riveted?

I have a few friends who are further up in years than I am (I'm in my 40's, and they're in their 60's-70's) and STILL the obsession remains.

I don't want to be 70-something and still contemplating a tummy tuck.

I mean, to be perfectly frank, I don't want to be contemplating a tummy tuck at any age, but by the time I reach age 70, IF I reach age 70, I definitely plan to exempt myself from any further such contemplations.

I also don't want to diet. ever. again. And I don't plan to either.

Unfortunately - if I must admit it - this actually makes me feel left out sometimes.

This is because I don't have anything to add to this still-favorite topic amongst practically everyone I know....and my attempts to shut down the topic typically lead to equally unwelcome side conversations where I am simply left out entirely.

It is like the whole world is still happily sucking down heroin and I'm the sole token abstainer....and I'm also the only one who seems to be aware that the stuff is bad news, toxic, not to be trusted for, well, anything at all.

Worst of all, the part of my mind that is still recovering from my own 3-decade obsession with body shape and size often feels fragile enough to get sucked in, wondering if perhaps I should at least hear my friends out before assuming their shape and size issues don't apply to me.

What if they do?

The other day I tried to be companionable as my mom was talking about her new "healthy eating plan." I told her it sounded interesting and she should send me the link to learn more.

Really, I just wanted to check out this book and its author to be sure there wasn't anything dangerous about what my mom planned to try.

But in the process, somehow I communicated the idea that I was also interested in reducing belly fat and reshaping whatever remains.

It is all so frustrating.

Because it is not as if there isn't - potentially - belly fat to reduce or other areas to reshape. There certainly is that, if I wanted to go there.

And a part of my mind will probably always be interested in - and concerned about - this exact issue....and wanting to go there.

But here's the thing.
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Mentoring

If I Had Only Known


Today I went to the chiropractor, like I always do on Thursdays.

Afterwards (like I always do on Thursdays) I stopped at the cupcake shop.

I got my usual - hot chocolate (with whip) and a cupcake.

I love going in the cupcake shop.

The people are always so happy in there.

The counter staff, the customers, even the "frosters" - visible through a glass wall as they work hard to frost and decorate cupcake after cupcake - everyone is smiling.

And why not - we are all there for a sweet treat, whether for ourselves, for others, or both. No one is there to have a root canal or pay their taxes.

We are all happy, anticipating something tasty we don't get every day.

But today for some reason, as I left I remembered a time (actually a whole decade or two) when a visit to a cupcake shop wouldn't have made me happy at all.

I would have been anxious, miserable, stressed out.

I would have felt like all eyes were on me (instead of on the delicious colorful cupcakes in their little display cases).

I would have been oh-so-conscious of my body as it carried me into the cupcake shop, moved around, looked at everything, stressed some more.

And this would have been because, during these years, I didn't know there was any other path to happiness than through changing my body shape and size.

I didn't know I could be happy - ridiculously happy, actually - without being smaller too.

I had no idea I could live a totally happy, totally fulfilling life at a healthy weight, shape, and size for me.

If I had known this - had known that "happy" and "thinner" had nothing to do with each other - I don't think I would have tried so hard to change the way my body looked.

But I didn't know. 
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Mentoring

Having a Body is Hard Work


A couple months ago I got very, very sick.

It was the kind of sick where you walk around the house muttering to yourself, "I am soooo sick," because you are so sick you are afraid you will forget how sick you are and attempt to do something stupid (like go to make tea and accidentally burn the house down instead).

I was so sick that even the tiniest, simplest daily tasks felt monumental.

Get out of bed. Whew. Check.

Brush teeth. Give me a minute on this one.

Shower. Not gonna happen.

Get back in bed. Whew. Check.

Making meals, brushing hair, changing clothes, answering emails (lucidly), applying deodorant....mostly, these things had to wait.

And in the couple of weeks it took to begin to heal, I found myself meditating daily on what a big responsibility it is to have a body to take care of! 
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Animal Mentors

Why an Apple a Week May be a Better Plan


I went for my annual checkup today.

I really love my doctor - a delightful first in my medical history.

She is easy to talk to, practical, and (a must for anyone who has ever suffered from an eating disorder) non-dramatic when it comes to the normal ebbs and flows of medical test results and daily life.

When she asked how I've been doing, I shared I feel better than I ever have before in my whole life.

I feel more balanced - insides with outsides.

I feel healthier in my relationship with my body.

I feel really good about my mental state.

I feel like a better "me" than I've ever been able to be before now.

But then I told her sometimes I still worry when I don't eat everything I want to include in my meals every day.

And that is when she said it - a nugget of pure, true wisdom I am sure will stay with me for the rest of my life. 
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Animal Mentors

Fighting for Happiness


If there is one realization I would say is both persistent and perfectly-timed for the start of my "Year of Living Intuitively," it is this:

If I want to be happy, I have to fight for it.

I say this because life IS hard.

It is hard for all of us. And if I choose to, I can always find hardships - mine or others' - to focus on.

In fact, without even breathing hard, I could keep myself miserable 24/7 just thinking about the incredibly painful, awful things happening all over the world right at this very minute to people, animals, and the Earth.

With all that grimness so visible and readily available, I have to make a conscious, intentional, and absolutely consistent effort to find the bright bits and hold on tight.

I have decide that every glass that looks half-empty at first glance must also have a less easily seen twin that is half-full....and then I have to muster up the guts to walk over and introduce myself and make a new friend.
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Movie Mentoring

(Not) Sexy Baby

Netflix can be a blessing or a curse.

Truthfully, sometimes I have trouble figuring out which is which on any given day.

Case in point - the other day, I loaded a movie called "Sexy Baby" into my queue.

The synopsis stated: This provocative documentary examines what it's like to be female in today's sex-obsessed culture from the viewpoints of three very different women.

Okay....interesting, right?

And also depressing, frustrating, mind-boggling, rage-producing, and "I'm so over this issue" fatiguing.

The film centers around the completely separate lives of three women:

A NYC tween named Winnifred, 12 years old.
An assistant kindergarten teacher named Laura, 22 years old.
A former porn star/pole dancer named Nichole, 32 years old. For reasons likely having to do with both interest and footage, the film largely hones in on Winnifred, who at 12 (she is 14 when the film closes) admittedly has the toughest challenges of her life yet ahead.

Near the end, she says:

I think this is the same with every teenager. You are going through so many changes, and it is so freaking confusing to figure out how you want to portray yourself. And there's a lot of girls just exploiting themselves and putting themselves out there to be judged by guys and other girls. But at certain point, if you don't want to become a prop in some guy's life, you have to find a goal and a path. And I do want to change people's lives. Um...and I'm not going to do that by being sexy. 

Winnifred is right. However, the fact that she knows this, and can articulate it, at age 14, is an insight many teens her age likely yet lack.

As well, it is easy to forget while watching "Sexy Baby" that these three women are people first and "props" (for the filmmakers to explore an issue common to all three) second. There is a lot of nudity, no small bit of rank language, an uncomfortably bloody moment in the operating room (Laura opts to have her labiaplasty on camera), and a number of terms from the adult film industry all jumbled in with the human beings living amongst it all.

Yet each woman has her own life that she is doing her best to live with what she knows in each moment as it unfolds.
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Animal Mentors

Baby Steps to Tortoise Mama-hood


Can I just say I thought being a tortoise mama would be easier?

I kept several water turtles when I was a girl, and it felt smooth and simple (of course maybe this was because my mom was the real "keeper of the torts" and I just fed and admired them....and fled when it was water-changing time!)

But for years I had wanted a tortoise (land turtle) and one day, after a bit too much "bad day" for my taste, I got on Craig's List.

The next thing I knew I was driving home with a tortoise the size of a silver dollar sitting in a tiny tupperware in my front passenger seat.

It has been like this ever since.

She is 1 year old this month, and I don't feel any more confident (well, only marginally more) than I did on that very first day.

One of the hardest things about being Malti's mom is not knowing where to go to get my questions answered.

With my parrot, Pearl, there are loads of amazing cockatiel groups and communities with wonderful peeps who eagerly respond to all my queries.

It is not the same with Malti.
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Mentoring

A Pomegranate a Day for Patience


I adore pomegranate season.

Pomegranates are so juicy and tasty - like a sweet and a nut all in one.

What I do not love is de-seeding the pomegranates.

In short, it is crazy-making.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, finds peeling pomegranates relaxing.

He says it is like meditation.

(Obviously this works out to both our advantage - I buy, he peels, we both eat).

I love meditation and do it daily, so it is odd I don't find the same quality in peeling fruit.

But truthfully, my "efficiency-oriented" brain always thinks it can improve the pomegranate de-seeding process.

I start peeling, and then a thought pops up. "Hey, look how easy that last group of seeds came off. What if you did the next section this way instead...."

Before I know it, I'm trying to outsmart the pomegranate, creating a faster, more streamlined approach to de-seeding.

This is about the same time the pomegranate pushes back. 
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Good News

You Have Friendly Mentors All Around You


So we are well into the first month of January 2015!

How is it going so far?

For me, it is quite exciting!

But then again, that is because these days, I find the unknown, the unexpected, the un-plannable, energizing and fun.

When I was sick with an eating disorder, this was NOT the case.

I have had to learn that (as one of my favorite mentors, Byron Katie, often says):

"This is a friendly universe."

So beautiful.

But her words alone didn't convince me - oh no. 
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