Monthly Archives: July 2016

Lost and found.

I got lost on my run today. I guess that’s what I get for turning down a random path I found in the woods (it was well-marked parents, don’t worry). I ended up on some road and had no idea how to get home but I got there eventually. Here’s the thing about getting lost: sometimes it’s fun. If you have the time and no place to be (and it’s not a hot July day), then it’s pretty nice actually. It’s not so much getting lost as it is wandering and just wandering can be good. It can be refreshing. You almost always learn something new after. But sometimes, if you’ve been in the car for hours or you’re hungry or tired or driving or running or moving, it is exhausting. You just want to get to the end point and you just can’t get there. It is the best feeling when things start to make sense again, you recognize where you’re going and you know you’re close.

I have been lost for quite some time in an abstract, metaphysical kinda way. For the majority of the last four years, perhaps longer, I have been lost. I was riddled by uncertainty and insecurity, a recipe for disaster. I felt like I just couldn’t get to where I wanted to be. College is supposedly the best time of our lives, but it wasn’t for me and I’m not ashamed to say it. To be clear, I don’t regret my college choice. I have only the best things to say about URI and I love the people I met there. It’s not about where I was because I think it would have happened anywhere.

If you were privy to the inner workings of my life the last few years (bless those who were), you know that it’s been more than a little bit rough for me. I’ve struggled a lot. I had some good times in college of course but I also had some really bad times. I went down roads that I hope to never go down again. I spent days where I was so stuck in my own head and so very uncomfortable with myself that all I could do was cry. I never fit the typical college kid profile. I have no desire to drink until I can’t see anymore or have sex with strangers or spend days hungover talking about what a great night it was. I didn’t skip classes. I got a stomachache every time I went out to a party or to the bar. It just didn’t appeal to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some of these stereotypical college kid experiences. I’ve done the college kid thing. I’ve drank more than I should have, I’ve crashed house parties, I’ve worn the short skirts and put too much make up on. It’s not that I never tried it. I did and sometimes it was fun, but mostly it was just okay. It wasn’t me and it never was something I was excited to do. All of freshmen year and even sometimes beyond that, I dreaded the weekends because I didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing but I wasn’t comfortable enough with myself to do what I really wanted to do.

I’ve had this really awful habit almost my whole life of comparing myself to other people. What they’re doing, what they look like, what they like and care about. All during college, people were more interested in what other people were wearing than what they were saying. They wanted to talk about plans for the weekend and I wanted to talk about plans for the future of the world, essentially. I wanted to talk about life and it was hard for me to find college kids who really want to sit down and talk about life and politics and saving the Earth and why we’re even here on this planet, which is what I think about. Of course, I understand that this isn’t what most college kids want to think about. There are very few years in our lives where it’s socially acceptable to wake up drunk and to stay up all night and to experiment with activities that may not exactly be legal. I get that. And I’m good with that. I’m not judging this lifestyle even a little bit. If it makes you happy, I wholeheartedly encourage it. But it didn’t make me happy and I didn’t enjoy it, not really. It felt like a chore.

I realize this makes me sound like the least exciting person ever and that’s okay with me. I’ve fully accepted my role as an 80-year-old woman in a (almost) 22-year-old body. I’m okay with this. But it took a VERY long time for me to be okay with this. I think I pretended for far too long that I enjoyed being a partying, fun college student. So much so that by the time I graduated, I was over it. I spent the last semester of college going out very seldom, and normally spending Friday nights on the couch with a glass of wine with two of my roommates. Honestly, that was better than any bar/party experience I had ever had. I realize this would bore some people to tears but it did the three of us just fine.

The habit of comparing myself to others is a habit I am finally, finally starting to grow out of. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else is doing. If they want to do the same things as I do, that’s okay. If they don’t, that’s fine too. My body is my own and it doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s (it took me extra long to learn that lesson). I have an unnatural love of Fleetwood Mac and Simon and Garfunkel. I genuinely enjoy NPR. I just spent $25 on a drill so I can make my own compost bin but I would hardly ever spend $25 on an item of clothing. I asked for a book on fermentation for my birthday.  I am a tree-hugging, nature-loving, liberal feminist who is compassionate to the world. I like reading and writing and sitting and being. That’s just who I am.

I was lost during college. I felt like I just kept moving, I wanted to slow down, I wanted to get there. I wanted to be the person I wanted to be and because I was surrounded by people who were different, I didn’t trust who I wanted to be. I didn’t trust my thoughts or my opinions, I didn’t really feel like they counted.  I don’t feel that way anymore. I picked up from college, plopped myself down in the middle of New Hampshire and I’m doing just fine. I spend my days at the internship and my nights doing work for it but it’s things that I care about it and I don’t view it as a chore (unless I’m grumpy and tired). I’m surrounded nature and people who care about the same things as I do. I voice my opinions and I’m not riddled by anxiety about whether people feel the same way or agree.

It’s a very strange thing when you’ve been lost for a long time and things start to make sense again. It’s an even stranger thing when your life starts to make sense again. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so comfortable being myself. It’s been so long that I actually question when the last time I was so completely comfortable was. That makes me sad. It makes me feel like I missed out on what could have been really fun years. But it was a journey and like my dad told me yesterday, “it’s not where you’ve been it’s where you are.” And where I am now is really, really good. If I hadn’t spent the last few years lost, I would never have gotten to know myself so well. I think that it’s something I had to go through and though I would never want to do it again and I hope I never do, I’m glad I did. I came out on the other side better than I was when I went into it.

I’m glad that I know myself as well as I do and to be honest, I’m really freaking proud of myself to have gotten to this point. In all fairness, I did not do this on my own. I couldn’t have gotten here without my friends and family, whether they knew they were helping or not. And to be completely honest, I don’t think I would have gotten here without a few years with a good therapist. To be even vaguely comfortable in your own skin is a very new concept for me. It makes me realize how very uncomfortable I’ve been these last few years. I’m not done with the whole journey yet and I know that. Of course, there are still the unwelcome and unexpected self-hate thoughts that pop in sometimes. But I’m getting better at slamming the door in their face and that’s a pretty incredible feeling.

Oh, the thoughts you have when you get lost on a run.

23 Years, 23 Things

Today is my 23rd birthday- it’s not a milestone, it’s not a monumental one by any means but I find myself feeling more thankful for this birthday than I did for the last few. My heart over the past few weeks and months have been full, overflowing even. Here’s 23 things I’m grateful for (in no particular order).

  1. All of the wonderful, loving, kind, funny, generous, gracious people in my life. My mom and dad for being my best friends always. My step parents for their support. My sister for being the coolest oldest sister ever. My best friends for being the best people I know and keeping my head above water on days where I’m struggling. My partner for making me laugh while also making sure I feel loved and protected- and his incredible family for graciously welcoming me in over the past four years. I’m thankful for all the people I interact with on a daily basis, who keep me going, keep me laughing, keep me loving.
  2.  RECOVERY. Obviously. The past year has been unreal. I hardly recognize myself anymore. Sometimes when I’m reaching for the ice cream scoop at night or picking up an unexpected IMG_6201snack before work, I allow myself a few minutes to marvel at who I’ve become. Someone who’s unafraid of food. Someone who doesn’t force herself to exercise every day. Someone who can fully embrace life and can live spontaneously, without worrying about what and when she’ll eat, where and when she’ll exercise, if she’ll be “safe”. I’m so proud of that girl.
  3. Clean water. Such a simple, often overlooked thing but I am thankful each and every day that I have access to clean water- for drinking, for showering, for brushing my teeth. It’s such a simple thing but it’s something that so many people live without and something I remind myself to be thankful for daily.
  4. A new, full-time job at the New Hampshire Food Bank where I’ll be doing community outreach (working with SNAP, Summer Meals Program and Cooking Matters) and helping people who are food insecure. I am so excited about this position and feel grateful that this opportunity came up so soon after completing my dietetic internship. My start date is in a week and a half- wish me luck!
  5. A cozy, bright one-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire that is 100% all mine. After my internship year, I decided that I needed some time to myself to continue down this road of self discovery. My plans vacillated between a few different options, including living with my partner, but I realized I wanted (and needed) some time to myself in a place that I wanted to be before committing to that kind of change. Putting myself first was a very new feeling for me and I gotta tell ya, so far it feels good! I’m moving in Monday and I can’t wait to make it all my own.
  6. The opportunity to work with my big sister this summer! During the in between months going from
    my internship to my job, I’ve been working in a cute little shop that my sister manages. This marks the most time I’ve spent with her since before she left for college (in 2007) and it’s been so nice to spend time with her, her husband and her puppies. I’m so grateful for this time and so sad about not being able to see her everyday or hang out at her house or hunt for Pokemon together after work (she got me hooked guys). She’s so cool and conducts herself with a grace and style that I just do not have. I’m so lucky to have her. Also- she crafts some very cool things and has a cute little Etsy shop. My favorite are her Payne Killers which are aromatherapy scented pillows that are wonderful for recovery aches and pains. If you want to see her stuff, check out her site HERE.
  7. The democratic system. I, like many others, have been glued to my TV each night this week watching the Democratic National Convention and last week, I watched bits and pieces of the
    RNC. I have unabashedly been a Bernie fan from the beginning- well, that’s not true. I was a Hillary fan right out of the gate. But once Bernie came on the scene, he had my political heart. I have never seen a candidate that I agree so strongly with, nor have I ever seen such a genuine, down-to-earth, bullshit-calling  candidate (although it’s worth mentioning, I have only become wildly interested in politics over the last few years). I was blessed to be in New Hampshire during the political season- and had the opportunity to see Bernie (three times, not that I’m bragging)and 14 of the 16 Republican candidates. That being said, I was immensely proud and happy for our country to finally nominate a woman (a progressive, experienced, passionate, smart woman at that) for a major party presidential candidate. Even though I cried when Bernie gave his speech this week, I got chills watching Hillary accept the official nomination last night….but I’m still not taking this bumper sticker off my car.
  8. My two months home in between my internship and moving out for real. It’s been two months of family, good friends, relaxation, stress (the good kind), gin cocktails, eating dinner outside on summer nights, puppies (not mine, unfortunately), journaling and lots and lots of ice cream.
  9. A warm bed- in fact, more than one. So many people go to bed every night without their own bed or without a bed at all. There are so many families, living in the US and elsewhere, who live with no privacy and no space to call their own. For the last 23 years, I have always had my own room. After my parent’s got divorced, I had two beds all to myself. I still do. Without my own space, I wouldn’t be able to relax and read or concentrate on my writing or be able to watch as many episodes of Parks and Rec as I wanted to late into the night.
  10. EARTH. I got a love of nature from my parents and it runs deep. I love everything about the Earth- the stars, the sky, the trees, the grass, the dirt, the creatures. During my internship, I would say a little prayer out loud to myself on my way to work- a habit I’ve gotten out of now, but really need to get back into for my own peace of mind. The first thing I always gave thanks for was the Earth and all the things it has brought to my life. Part of the reason I’m moving to NH is for the hiking, the way everything is spaced out, the trees, the trails, the lakes. All that good Earth hiding away up there.
  11. Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. Coffee with milk, coffee with cream. Coffee ice cream. Coffee gives me life. Note: I used to NEVER let myself have cream in my coffee but man sometimes some cream in your coffee really hits the spot.
  12. Wine. Wine, wine, wine. White wine, red wine, or a nice rose (my personal favorite). Cheap wine, expensive wine. Wine makes my already wonderful life just a tad better. Note: I used to avoid drinking alcohol to avoid the extra calories but now I am unashamed to have a glass of wine at the end of the day. Not that I’m some alcohol fiend but still, a good glass of wine every once in a while is quite lovely.
  13. My health and my access to healthcare. Ironically, my body had less aches and pains than it did last birthday when I was beating it into the ground. Eventually, obsessive exercise will catch up with you, as it did with me which has resulted in all sorts of knee, hip and foot pain. However, even though I’m achy, my body is recovering from all the hell I put it through over the past 7 years and I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for my access to healthcare (not something everyone has, unfortunately) and the doctors who are and have treated me.
  14. Similarly, THERAPY. I love therapy. I think everyone should go to therapy (if it is available for them). I left my therapist in May when I left New Hampshire but am hoping to see her again soon. Even if I feel like I’m doing much (much) better than I was in the days I was seeing her, there’s still little pieces of things that come up where therapy really makes a difference. Seriously, go to therapy. It’s the best.
  15. I already mentioned him above but- my partner, Charles, is one of the best people in my life. I tend not to talk about him too much on my blog since I don’t think he feels great about being discussed in the big blog world but it’s my birthday and I’ll talk about him if I want to! Charles makes me laugh, he reminds me not to take life so seriously (something that I work on nearly daily). Throughout the last 4 years, he has seen me at my absolute lowest point. He saw the raw, real, miserable part of me that I tried to disguise to most other people in my life. And he saw me through it and loves me just the same. Our relationship has gotten stronger and simpler over the past few months and I’m so thankful for that.
  16. I have never, not ever, had to worry about where my next meal is coming from. Food and I have a complicated relationship but food insecurity has never been a part of my story. I’m thrilled to have accepted a job that will help people get access to food.
  17. My uncle’s healing and recovery! For almost 2 and half months now, my uncle has been in the hospital after a whole bunch of complicated, scary health problems. I am so happy that he is finally getting better and that I’ve been able to visit him twice now and see him on the upswing. Even though it’s been a long process, it’s so great to see him getting back to his old self.
  18. Books. Obviously. All books- fiction, juicy beach reads, memoirs, biographies. I’m particularly thankful for books by funny women like Amy Poelher, Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler (books I also re-read during moves to alleviate stress). There’s nothing I like better than curling up on a couch and getting sucked into a new book. It’s my favorite way to travel.
  19. The recovery community online! Honestly, I’m not sure I would have gotten this far without the community I’ve discovered. As I’ve mentioned before, I relied (rely) on the Minnie Maud method for recovery and at first, it took a lot of support and reliance on the people who were using/have used MM to recover. I’m now part of many different recovery/body positive forums that I use for inspiration, support and compassionate understanding. If you’re looking for extra support or want to hear more about things like this, please feel free to comment or email me at [email protected]!
  20. I’m equally thankful for the recovery and body positive accounts that I follow and connect with on Instagram. Some of my favorites include- @bodyposipanda, @nourishandeat, @thefuckitdiet,@thelifeofandie, @goofy_ginger and @dothehotpants- all of whom I’ve connected with in some way or another and have immense respect and gratitude for. Seriously, if you’re looking for badass, uplifting and refreshing badass women, there you have it. There are lots of other accounts that keep me motivated and show me love and support on the daily. If you’re not already following me, check it out here!
  21. The ability to be present for my own life. Since I started recovery, I realized how many times I was
    absent to my own life and that makes me so sad to realize. I choose not to feel sorry or sad for myself, and instead choose to show up everyday to my own life.
  22. The people who read this blog! When I first started blogging, I was a bit (a lot) uncomfortable with both the process and myself in general. I had always narrated my life in my head, like I was writing a novel or magazine article, so starting a blog was natural in some ways but also took a leap of faith. I was nervous to put myself out there but have been met with warmth and love and support, all of which I cannot thank you all for enough.
  23. This past year of unequivocal self-discovery. I’ve learned more about myself this year than I have in my whole life. It’s so empowering and makes me a more confident and happier person each and everyday. I’m so incredibly, wonderfully grateful for all I’ve learned about myself and all the ways in which I’ve learned to love myself.

I have so much goodness in my life. Honestly, I feel guilty sometimes for all that I have. There are so many people who have less. It was a full and grateful heart that I say thank you to all of you who keep up with my blog and thank you for reading this today. Happy weekend my friends!