Tag Archives: Inspiration

When you’re a little off center…

It took me awhile but after twenty-three years, I’ve finally found my center. You know, the place everyone is referring to when they describe themselves “centered”. The place where peace emanates from, the place where I feel grounded and whole. I am centered when I have a low (but not too low) stress level. I am centered when I am doing work and activities that fulfill me. I am centered when I am making time for myself. I am centered when I am eating regularly and enough. It’s in this place that I can think clearly, laugh loudly and feel good, despite what thoughts pop up.

I am very off-center.

Before anyone gets worried (ahem, mom), I am fine. I am just a normal person who sometimes has bad days and who sometimes doesn’t sleep well at night. Most importantly for myself, I am eating enough (although I do believe I could stand to eat more because I’m a bit more draggy than usual, even for this kind of mood. Oh, the wonders of recovery. Never know when your body suddenly wants to make more repairs).

I started moving away from my center this weekend. I spent my weekend in Rhode Island, which is where I went to college and where a lot of my friends still live. Let’s get two things out of the way first: I’ve had my panties in a bunch because my October weekends are getting eaten alive by life. I just want to slow down, enjoy my favorite time of year, go for a hike in these beautiful NH mountains by myself. I want to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning and get a cookie butter coffee while I’m over there. I want to write and read and bask in the beauty of the Earth. I regret to inform you all that I am selfish when it comes to my weekends. I love seeing people and spending time with my friends but I also love two whole days where I have no plans, no obligations, just me doing my own thang. And I have not a single weekend in October to myself which makes me (again, selfishly) grumpasaurus rex. Second, the full moon was this weekend so this moon child was feeling all sorts of nutty.

Also before everyone I’ve spent an October weekend with feels bad/mad/sad: HI GUYS I love you all so much it’s stupid, I am just being a greedy wench who wants it both ways. 

That being said…I went to Rhode Island this weekend. Which is a place where I spent four long, unhappy years trapped by my eating disorder and unbearable anxiety. It’s a place where I spent many nights crying, feeling unwanted, feeling bad about myself, feeling different, feeling every emotion under the sun. I had some very dark days there. And it’s a place I have not been back to since recovery.So basically, my weekend brought up some unexpected things. And for the most part, thatI spent most of my weekend with four of my friends, all of whom except one had not seen me since recovery (it is worth noting here that I was not worried at all about them seeing me and thinking of me differently. That’s just a thought I had now like hey, they might have noticed you gained 50 pounds but it’s totally not anything I thought of beforehand because they are all good and loving and funny people who don’t judge people based on the way they look. These are the kind of people everyone should hang out with). Anywho. I just wasn’t used to being my recovered self with them. Even when we went out to meals, I started having thoughts about who I used to be when I was with them and how I used to eat and who I am now and what I eat. It’s like looking at a picture from your childhood; suddenly, you are sucked back into the past and you forget where you are or what you’re doing or how you’ve grown.

didn’t stop me from enjoying the weekend. I had a swell time. I laughed harder than I have in awhile and loved up on people who I haven’t seen in awhile and ate delicious breakfast foods. But those thoughts sat in the back of mind, lingering there like smoke after you blow out the flame. And then I continued to let it smolder for a few more hours while I drove home. And then I decided that I didn’t feel like journaling (which I do every night, especially after a weekend of not writing) and I didn’t feel like reading and all I wanted to do was watch mindless TV and get mad over silly things and then walk by the river with a podcast in to distract myself from it all. Note: this is not helpful.

Yesterday, I was trying to be kind to myself but my tummy hurt and work was dragging by and I didn’t like my swollen belly and my hair was driving me crazy and my knee was bothering me more than usual and I went to bed later than I wanted to and I didn’t sleep hardly at all and this morning when I woke up, it was cloudy and colder than it was supposed to be and I didn’t feel like going to work and I had a headache and an ingrown hair and it was raining on me during my outreach stops and they gave me the wrong thing for lunch and I forgot my seltzer water home and how could anyone possibly happy when so many catastrophic things are happening to her?!?!?!

Yes, I am being a baby. But even still, this whole combination of things plus exhaustion brought up some very real depression/anxiety/body image thoughts for me. As I drove home from work today, I just thought to myself: what are you doing? Why are you making yourself miserable? Why aren’t you writing when you know it will help? Why aren’t you reading when you know you would rather do that than watch that episode of Friends for the 27th time (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? Why are you letting those body image thoughts take hold in your brain?

I’m not saying that depression or anxiety or eating disorders are decisions; they aren’t. They are very real, very scary, very distressing and unpleasant. But after seven years of dealing with these things, there are things I know I can do to make myself feel better. It’s easier, yes, to be enveloped by the bad thoughts and curl up in them like a blanket. That is a place I once took great comfort. But that’s not where I want to live anymore. That blanket that once felt warm and cozy now feels scratchy and harsh, like it’s been used too many times. That warm feeling comes when I’m at my center, when I’m honoring my truth in my little bubble of authentic life.

So I need to move back towards that space, back to to the place where I feel like I am serving a greater purpose and am fulfilled, happy, whole.It’s not easy. But it’s easier than getting sucked into that dark place, where the light gets so dim it eventually goes out. Fighting back against that by doing things I love to a place where I feel like I am beaming light? Yes please. That is where I want to be. That is where I’m going. We all have that center, the place where we emulate light and love, to the place where we’re all just feelin’ really good, man. It’s our job to find that place, figure out how to get there and then do everything in our power to stay in that sliver of life where joy and fulfillment and contentment and passion live. We all have that place. And we can all get there. Tomorrow is a new day.

Now I want you to tell me…
If you’ve had an ED, has going back to places/people you associate with that thing brought difficult thoughts up?
Does this post resonate with people who have dealt with mental illness in general? Do you feel like there are times when you are off-balance and can feel yourself being pulled in the opposite direction?
How do you find your center?
What’s the best thing that happened to you today? (In case anyone is wondering, mine would be writing this blog post in my sweatpants under this cozy blanket.)

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Link Love: September Favorites

Happy September! I can’t believe it’s already September. Where does the time go? I feel like it’s been awhile (at least a couple weeks) since I had a regular post on here and I assure you, I will be back to regular programming soon. Between my job, adjusting to the move and the physical therapy I’ve been doing for my knees, I haven’t had much time to write lately. I have about three posts in the works- here’s hoping I finish one soon! (PS as always, I’ve managed to keep up with Instagram- if you’re not already following me, check it out HERE)

 

It’s been awhile since I did Link Love- I got into the pattern of doing it on the first of the month but August 1 was the day I moved into my new apartment and blogging just wasn’t happening  that day or the days leading up to it (I kind of waited until the last 48 hours to pack my life’s belongings up neatly into boxes…oops). So instead, I have two month’s worth of links to share with all of y’all! Hope you enjoy them and if you have any thoughts or comments or questions or general merriment to share, please leave them in the comments below! Happy reading 🙂

Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism
This is a great article about racism in the US. There are so many people I’ve met in my life who try to deny the presence of systemic racism in our country and it makes me frustrated that people can’t talk about it in a reasonable, adult way. I also just need to share the tweet below that so profoundly describes white privilege (don’t even get me started on this Colin Kaepernick situation).

 

There is no social justice without bodies
Linda Bacon, the pioneer of the Health at Every Size movement and author of the book, wrote a great piece about weightism on the HAES blog this month. Linda Bacon is knowledgable, progressive and all-around amazing. 

When will food issues be on politician’s plates?
Food issues- sustainable agriculture, food insecurity and anti-hunger initiatives- are all things I am very passionate about (hence the reason I have the job that I do) but they are issues that politicians rarely address. I met a woman running for State Representative here in New Hampshire who advocates for sustainable agriculture as one of her main issues and it was so refreshing and exciting to see a political who is passionate about the work that is so important to our future.

Body acceptance rises among women
!!!!!! Finally some good news. This makes me so happy. Let’s take our bodies BACK.

We’re so confused: The problem with health and exercise studies
As a dietitian, the amount of nutrition information on the internet is truly terrifying. If I had a nickel for every time someone read that “you should eat XYZ everyday” or that “ABC is the new superfood/magic potion/answer to all of life’s questions”, I would be a freaking millionaire.

What to do with those leftover meal plan swipes
Back to school seemed like a good time to talk about food insecurity on college campuses. Most people don’t think about hunger on college campuses but it is very real. And in many cases, dining halls give you more swipes than you can use in a semester. What a wonderful solution to a big problem!

The problem with thin privilege
THIS IS SO GOOD. Thin privilege, body shaming, feminism, social justice all in one place. PLUS Kelsey Miller is amazing and you should all read her book Big Girl if you’re looking to see why you should give up dieting for good!

That’s all for now! Like I said, please feel free to leave any comments below and have a beautiful first day of September!

New Year Musings

Happy almost 2016 friends! I hope this last day of 2015 is treating you well and I hope you had wonderful, relaxing and gratifying Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan and/or winter solstice!

I’d like to touch on New Year’s for a moment, if I may. Unlike much of America, I am fairly indifferent to New Year’s. It’s fun and all sure, but the celebration part of it doesn’t excite me. I am, however, interested in the clean slate, fresh start aspect of a new year. Now I am not one of those people who operates on the “new year, new me” idea. (I also don’t put it down- if a new year is what it takes to get you going on the path you desire for your life, you go girl (or boy)!)

I’m a big fan of resolutions and I make them constantly. My resolution for 2016 is to remind myself of these resolutions, since half of the time they end up lost within the pages of my journal. I like the idea of starting a new challenge that will help me be a more fulfilled, happier, healthier, peaceful human being.

I’m a big fan of these resolutions, these low-stakes pacts I make to myself. I can’t make promises to myself because I can’t let myself feel bad about breaking them. It would be toxic for me and I understand that. I am a habit person, which is how I got myself into this whole eating disorder situation to begin with. I’m scared that if I allow myself to make habits of too many of these things, it will somehow detrimental to my mental health so I take them lightly. Still, they’re good thing to think of if only to provide myself with better ideas of who I’m trying to be and who I want to be.

There are a lot of these resolutions I make to myself, whether very big or very small and certainly everything in between. Here is a small sampling: cooking one new recipe per week. Going to as many political events as possible. Meditating. Brewing my own kombucha. Embracing the fermentation process and creating my own fermented goods. Eating a “real” dinner everyday. Making my own soaps and other household products. More yoga. Getting my writing published (and paid for) in some manner. Not becoming victim to my habit-following self (kind of an oxymoron of a resolution). Trying to engage my “artistic” side (questionable as to whether or not this side exists). Finding an efficient way to save my favorite quotes and passages from books, besides simply folding down the corners of the page. To get this blog to reach a wider audience. To use my electronic devices less.

The list goes on and on. I’ve been victorious in some manners and unsuccessful in others. Whether I do it or not is not the point for me- the point is to provide a sort of direction, a guide to where I want to go in my life. A sort of navigation tool for bettering myself and becoming the person I strive to be. If that makes sense to you, I encourage you to embark on these little mini-resolutions as you see fit. If I’m sounding like a crazy person, well, what else is new?

Lastly, as a personal reflection and an assignment for others, I’m going to reflect on some of the positive things I’ve done this year in hopes that you will do the same! So here are some things that happened in no particular order.

I started this blog.
I graduated college.
I gained a stronger and more fact-based political voice.
I moved to New Hampshire.
I fell in love with New Hampshire.
I started a dietetic internship.
I told my friends, family and internet world that I have (had?) anorexia.
I began the eating disorder recovery process.
I learned to look in the mirror and not hate what I see (a much bigger accomplishment than any physical change).
I battled anxiety and depression nearly everyday (if not everyday).
I learned what feeling proud of yourself feels like.
I lost a couple friends who I never imagined falling away from.
I gained some friends that make my life a little bit more enjoyable (waddup UNH dietetic interns?!)
I learned that friendships are fluid.
I realized that I will never in my life have better friends that my parents.
I learned how to lay in bed at night and not count calories, over and over and over again, in my head.
I fell a little more in love with my boyfriend (he would shake his head if he knew I was writing so sappily about him).
I learned how to recognize and avoid malicious gossip that I don’t want to be associated with.
Similarly, I learned how to recognize and avoid futile complaints and accusations against others.
I signed up for emails from organizations and campaigns I really care about and unsubscribed from frivolous sites and online stores.
I learned the kind of jobs that I want and the kind of jobs that I don’t want.
I gained two extremely supportive and helpful mentors.
I got a new (awesome) therapist.
I tried my best to embrace life and learn about the world…most days (some days this was too big a task).

2015 was good to me and I’m looking forward to all 2016 has to offer, from the big to the small. I hope you all take the time to consider both the past year and all the new year has in store and I hope none of you take your resolutions too seriously! Wishing you all a happy, happy 2016 and happy celebrations as you ring it in!