Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Stupidity Ditch- A Place I Hang Out In From Time To Time

 I decided to post, today, after thinking that maybe I wouldn't- because I didn't necessarily have anything profound to say.  But, as I pondered stupidity, in various forms, I decided that maybe I didn't need to be profound this evening- maybe I just needed to be real.

So, here's my "real."

Thirty years of disordered eating doesn't disappear easily...and after several stints in treatment, it may not disappear at all. It may appear around every turn in the road, for the rest of my f-ing life.   But I never fail to be surprised when the first solution, I can create, to every problem, I am facing, at any given time, is FOOD- it is my AK ticking time bomb.

Tonight's problem: I'm fighting with this dude.
I used to call him "Peach," when we were inseparable and totally in love, and making out during the breaks at our office, when others were smoking in stairwells or grabbing a latte.  We were often told, by passersby, on the streets of D.C., to get a room.  And we did.  We got a lot of rooms.  And apartments. And then we got pregnant.  And we got married. Yes, in that order.  Gasp.  And, as my breasts were pouring milk, and we slept almost never, and our first child cried her friggin' head off, for hours, every night,  we made out a lot less, and wanted to maim the other person a lot more.  Because, let's be honest- sometimes, when you are really exhausted, the idea of having children is really ONLY a good plan for Christmas cards- so you aren't sending your Great Aunt Betty photos of you, your spouse,and your cat, when you are 42.  But we kept procreating, because, seemed like a good idea to me- the mentally vulnerable partner.  And, really, we are optimists, to a fault.  And, we actually do love our offspring.  Long story short, four kids, and nearly seventeen years later, and we are sometimes done.wore.out.  Like my bladder.  And my shins and their splints.  So, the Peach likes to pretend we are back at the office, where we met, sans children- and snuggle up and watch Downton Abbey, in the middle of a Saturday, except those children, that he agreed to, while caught up in the moment,  keep asking him for money, to pass lacrosse balls in the backyard, to rent movies, use his I-pad, and to buy them new phones because they've broken theirs.  Then loverboy (that guy up there) gets bitter.  And he says a lot of four letter words, out loud, with the windows open...and then the whole night goes to sh**. 
 I really have zero tolerance for grumpiness, since I wait all week, for the weekend, to have my hubby around for two whole days.  So, I'm throwing myself a pity party over his meanness, and what do I do? I start searching for food, in my refrigerator, and my pantry, that will stuff down all of my disappointment and frustration.  Then, when that doesn't work, I start surfing the net.  Not for articles on how to make my husband kinder in five easy steps.  How to be a better wife in Seven Days.  How to Cope When Your Lover's a Dope.  No... I begin feverishly looking for ways to not be fat anymore. To drop a million pounds in 24 hours. To undue everything I hate about my body with the weapons of restriction, starvation, self-harm, loathing and rejection. As if I don't already know how that happens.  As if there is some secret lurking, online, that will enlighten my foggy fat brain.  As if me being skinny will mean that the people around me behave better.  This, people, this nonsense, is what I'd like to call "the stupidity ditch"- a term I coined, when a girl, I met in treatment, whom I loved dearly, would relapse into self-injuring behaviors.  I would whisper, to her "_____, don't go there.  don't fall into the stupidity ditch." The truth is, I spend half of my God forsaken life in the stupidity ditch. 
Friends...for all of my sappy posts on recovery and betterment, which are also very real pieces of my journey, there are about five posts that I need to write, which share, with you, the gut sucking hard that is being human, fat, and warped in the brain, and trying to not be fat, and coping with life, as it comes, (which has nothing at all to do with being fat). 
Some days are just hard.  And sometimes life sucks. 
The End

Friday, July 4, 2014

Breaking The Cycle- Freeing The Next Generation To Soar

"This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions." Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

"I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world...I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.
I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness...Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.
I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.
There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn't matter anymore.
I am thawing.”

― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls 

Today we set aside hours to celebrate, as a country, the freedoms available to us, as citizens of this great nation.  As a child, it was one of my favorite holidays, and one that holds many special memories for me: trashbags of homemade popcorn on a blanket, with friends, at a local park, sparklers (until they were illegal, in the state of Maryland, where I grew up), fireworks on the National Mall after the Beach Boys concert.  My own children, now, have the same fondness for the 4th of July, and anticipating enjoying the sky, all lit up tonight, with them, never ceases to excite me.

My husband, daughter, and I, spent the bulk of our morning, at Crossfit Mt. Lebanon.  As I worked my way through a (modified) WOD, and some a la carte exercises, which I added on my own, I began contemplating freedom, and the significance of the term, for me, today.  I thought about the freedoms I have gained, thus far, this year- recovery from thirty years of disordered eating, or all of the healing that is taking place on my journey, away from body dysmorphia, but my greatest joy is this:

Doing the dreaded burpees, last Saturday,
while Tom and I finished required singles
Cooking a paleo breakfast for her
parents, this morning, after
open studio at the box.
See this girl, here? She is my daughter- the product of all of my good intentions.  From the moment she entered the world, I fought to make her life better than my own. Despite struggling with the demons of  constant weight gain/weight loss, I worked to shelter her from language and habits that teach self-loathing and disordered eating.  I never, ever discussed my feelings, as they related to my body, in front of her.  If I had nothing positive to add, I said nothing.  We pleaded with family members, who had issues of their own, to refrain from using words like "diet" and other self-deprecating dialog, when she was in their presence (family members who considered me a complete nutcase for worrying about such pettiness).  I knew, in the very core of my being, that when you are a child, surrounded by women who  express hatred toward themselves, that you begin to believe that you, also, must be terribly flawed and unworthy.  I knew,firsthand, that a good percentage of eating disorders (though not all) are learned from the behavior of care givers- and I didn't want one more kid to grow up in the hell that is numbers driven, weight obsessed, and filled with nothing but agony and disgust.  Lily is 16 years old, and she has broken the cycle that at least two generations of women, before her, were enslaved by.  She has never dieted, has no eating disorders, and spends most every day, now, actively pursuing her own fitness goals- through Crossfit- goals which she is killing, on a daily basis.  In addition to the WODs, she spends time to practicing moves which she struggles with, or needs to improve, and two days a week, she completes a second workout, in the evening, with Crossfit Teens.  This week, she began a serious overhaul of her nutrition, and has chosen, on her own, with zero input from her parents, to begin eating 'paleo',
Lily, post work-out,
July 3rd
being cognizant of food labels, sugar content, and the quality of the ingredients she is consuming- in an effort to strengthen her body and increase her potential for mastering difficult exercises. 
I am not a perfect parent.  Far from it.  My children experience my mistakes and will, no doubt, fight to overcome some less than beneficial habits that they may have inherited from me.  But my daughter, who stood to profit the most dysfunction, statistically speaking, from my battle with eating and body dysmorphia, is free from both, and headed in a very empowering direction, with health and fitness.  Life is a process..and there are no guarantees.
Though, there are always going to be obstacles that our children must learn to overcome, on their own... by mirroring, to your children, loving self-talk and acceptance, you are then freeing them to focus on all of the other aspects, in their daily journey, which can absorb that positive energy, and, inevitably, allow them to soar.

Are you a parent (or a role model) to a young girl, or boy, who needs to hear you speak loving kindness about your body?  How are you breaking cycles, in your life, that sought to hold you in bondage away from joy and happiness? How are you free, today?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends....

 Last Wednesday, along with my good friend and her family, who were visiting us from Florida, we loaded up the cars and headed to Sportsworks- a  hands-on, sports facility, run by the Carnegie Science Center.  Our children spent hours enjoying the Body Cam, the Bounce, the You-Yo, and the rock wall.
Seth, working his way up the rockwall.  Such
a feat for him, but he keeps trying.

As it was nearing 5:00, and everyone was getting tired and hungry, we headed toward the exit at the front of the building.  All of a sudden, my 7 year old son, Seth, stopped and did something that has stuck with me, ever since.  He began cheering for a kid, about three, who was making a valiant attempt to scale his way to the top of that rock wall.  He had stopped about twelve inches short of being able to ring the bell, at the very top, and Seth kept saying "keep going, little boy.  You can do it...You are so brave...Hold on!"  And I thought about how that kind of support, what my son was dishing out, is the very foundation of kindness- its very soul, and how awesome it was that my kid, who is, in many ways, an athletic underdog, had the instinct to encourage a stranger, at doing something that he, himself, cannot yet do.

I thought, after that afternoon, that I'd be writing about the opportunities I have had, as of late, to cheer for people whose abilities soar way above crucial it is to be on the giving end of encouragement,  when you feel like you need so much of it yourself...but then today happened..and I needed to share it with you...

This morning, found me face to face with a WOD that threatened to swallow me whole...
 3 Rounds, for time:
150 singles
50 air squats
25 kettle bell swings 
I have shin splints, and the compression socks I purchased, yesterday, aren't making much difference....after the first round of singles, I knew my legs could not take more jumping...then there were the squats- they. just. burn, period. And kettle bell swings? Coach Brad was having none of my attempt to use my normal 18lb. kettle bell...he insisted on the 26 pounder, which was scarey....and way out of my comfort zone.  

Pretty blurry- but after that WOD, what would
you expect? Tim, Nicci, Amy C. and myself.
soaking wet, with sweat, but feeling great
to have survived- on my way back home. 
Though I was able to switch from jumping to the rowing machine, during round 2, I could tell that I was already way behind my classmates, so the fear took over...suddenly I wanted to quit..and maybe vomit...and the negative voices in my head kept taunting me ...telling me how stupid I looked and how I was just not cut out for this...I so wanted Brad to rescue me with a scaled version- to cut me some slack- I kept staring him down, pleading to him, with the weariness of my eyes...I was down to my last round, and the whole of the 8:30 group surrounded me ..the attention, when I am struggling, is so difficult for me to accept, but typically at these points, I'm in too much pain to care..Then Amy C. showed up on my left side, and Tim on my right side, and out of the corners of my eyes, I watched as they began squating next to me, in solidarity...encouraging me to press on.  Even though my senses were in overdrive and I was fighting for every rep, a part of my soul, stood outside of my body, in those moments, and saw breathtaking beauty there- in the agony on my face and in the kinship from every single member in that space.  Until my last kettle bell swing, I was in despair,  and as close to crying as I've ever been, working out, but to witness the humanity in that box today? That is hopefulness in all of its glory, folks. And it's how I'm getting by- one WOD, one set, one rep, at a time.