Puffy Coats

There is a great freedom to calling eating disordered thoughts by name.

Saying them out loud exposes them for what they are… For their ridiculousness, however based in reality they may be, somehow out loud they are put in perspective.

Having a friend who lets you do this is a God-send… Who doesn’t jump down your throat or look at you with disgust for thinking such a thing.

THE THOUGHTS WILL BE THERE.

But you just have to let them be there. I’ve spent a lot of time learning new ways of thinking. But I’ve learned that fighting with the disordered thoughts never gets me anywhere but frustrated. I just have to replace them with other, louder thoughts. I don’t invite in eating disordered thoughts, they are there. But I can invite in healthier, positive ways of thinking and focus on them.

And with time, I hope the eating disordered thoughts get quieter and quieter. 

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I used to spend up to half an hour a day searching for some quote online or on Pinterest that would motivate me. I have a hidden Pinterest board called, “Free One Day!” with all the phrases that have motivated me. I’m teaching my brain to think in a new way.

I was so motivated by this book – that showed me that it is possible to change the way I think. It was probably one of the most instrumental books in my path to recovery.

On Saturday night, my friend and I were talking about my North Face jacket. And there it was – the thought. “I like it because it isn’t so puffy that I feel fat.” Things like that sometimes just slip out. The truth is many people have that thought. But it can have a snowball effect in the mind of someone with an eating disorder that is dangerous.

I look at my friend and she looked at me and we laughed. We laughed at the shared experience, at the challenge, at the freedom of saying it out loud without shame.

The goal is to be free one day!

Get-a-beach-body

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Itch Me Where?

Thanksgiving break… The last five days have been filled with joys and experiences.

Wednesday coffee with three friends, a little work, a workout, conversation with my spiritual guide, and dinner with another friend viewing Christmas lights. Thanksgiving brought another great run, Mass, time with family and a sleepover with the cousins. On Friday I met another friend for lunch before seeing one of my high school friends who was in town with her three darling boys over flavored coffee and pastries. On Saturday I ran my fastest mile recorded (6:29!) at the end of my nine mile run with dad and spent an incredible evening (until way too late) with my best friend and her little girl. Today brought church, lunch with my second family, and my parents coming over for dinner. (Have I mentioned I love to cook?)) Could I be any more blessed?

Sure there were tricky moments too… challenges… tears… but the overwhelming feeling I have is peace and GRATITUDE – which is what Thanksgiving is all about.

(This marked my first holiday without the support of my therapist. This time last year I was struggling and I’m sure I will continue to struggle. But this holiday was a huge step forward.)

Last night my friend and I stayed up way too late talking into the night. Talking about changing the world… Talking about the restlessness, the itch, to do more, to be more, to help more…

Time will tell.

In the eloquence of my dear friend, “itch me where?”

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Bucket List

Why I want to run the Boston Marathon…

I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m crazy, my friends think I’m an overachiever, and my “second” mom just has a sour taste in her mouth because one of her friend’s marriages fell apart during her marathon training.

To tell you the truth I never wanted to run a marathon. I didn’t even sign up when my friends signed up.

“I don’t run to win races. Nor do I run to get places. I run to escape this world. I run to find peace with myself. I run to feel free. And I run to feel strong.”

And then, I needed to make sure I was healthy enough to run. So I signed up. I waited to sign up until I was sure that if I realized it wasn’t good for me I would drop out. (Goodbye, $180.)

Making it to the starting line was a huge accomplishment – more than you can imagine given a few hiccups along the way on race morning.

I was so happy running. I beamed ear to ear. I was strong. I was healthy. I had proven to myself that I was stronger than I thought I was – that I could work through mental blocks not only in the race but also in real life.

I finish my first marathon with a decent time – 4:10. This fall I ran my first race half marathon – with a pace of 7:54. To qualify for Boston, I need to run an 8:10 pace. (What’s 13.1 more miles? Right?)

I think I’m going to try it. It is worth a shot. Because it isn’t about the achievement, it is about being strong enough to try.

I received this email after my first marathon:

How are you? I hope you are doing well. I know how Monday morning feels after Marathon Sunday. It is a mixed feelings day. A day with pain but also with a huge satisfaction for what you have accomplished. Iam so happy for you! Congratulations on a job well done. What you have done is something that you can keep forever. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment and self esteem and it sends all of the people you know a message that you are a strong girl and that if you were able to overcome everything that comes with running a marathon you can do almost anything. If you were able to train and discipline yourself to achieve your goal, if you were able to overcome the pain that goes with running such a long distance you will be able to do and accomplish many more things. That is what I like about running and especially about marathons. The pain you have to go through in running makes you stronger and teaches you to overcome in life. Because there will always be times in our work, with our family, with our friends, etc  when things will be difficult and if you have thought yourself to endure during difficult times you will always have that extra confidence to come out of it faster and stronger.

Enjoy what you have achieved and wear that medal. You deserve it!

That is why we run! #26.2

One Thousand Gifts…

“No, I’ll never stop the counting, never cease transcribing the ballad of the world, the rhyme of His heart. He and I, a couplet. Count one thousand gifts, bless the Holy One one hundred times a day, commune with His presence filling the laundry room, the kitchen, the hospital, the graveyard, the highways and byways and workways and all the blazing starways, His presence filling me.” – Ann Voskamp

This book!

I believe I’m going to take her dare – maybe as my 2016 New Year’s resolution.

So far I’ve been success in incorporating my 2014 resolution into a part of my daily life and hoping to do the same with 2015…

Hopefully 2016 will bring more in the same. But first to finish off one more month of 2015.

Each day my heart is full. Sure I have bad days – plenty of them – but one way or another each day I end is full. My heart is full. My students help a lot with that. (Perhaps a foreshadowing of what one day I will receive from the gift of children.)

A month or so ago I received an email from one of my students’ parents. She asked if there was an objection to her sending her daughter flowers every month (I work at a boarding school) to remind her that they love her. (Of course there was no objection.) Yesterday a beautiful bouquet arrived. It warms my heart every time.

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I’m Grateful for Me

I’ll never forget the first time I saw myself – really saw myself – in the mirror.

With just two days to go to Thanksgiving, I must be honest that I’m getting nervous. This is my first Thanksgiving that I’m not in therapy. I don’t have a safety net of someone to fall back on. I’m not just getting through and if it falls apart someone will be there to pick me back up. This is me.

I am strangely alone and not all at the same time.

Holidays are a challenge for me – and it isn’t just about the bird. My mom is bipolar. The family dynamic is a challenge. I never know quite how things are going to go down.

Today I’m grateful for me. I’m grateful I am where I am today. I’m grateful to myself for:

  • Never giving up.
  • Being brave.
  • Knowing that it is worth it.
  • Learning to accept the setbacks.
  • Growing through the mistakes.
  • Not expecting it to go perfectly.
  • Being proud of myself.
  • Loving myself.

 

The truth is Thanksgiving is another day. It might go well. It might be a challenge. I may have a rough day. But it is just another day. The purpose of Thanksgiving isn’t to do it perfectly. It is to try my best… but not to eat perfectly or make it through without messing up. It is to try my best no matter what comes – to be there for myself even if I do mess up. The challenge is not to avoid failure; it is not to leave myself alone come what may.

That – and to be grateful. On Thanksgiving, amidst all the emotions, smiles, food, family, tears, and emotions – I want to at least be grateful. That is what it is all about.

And I’m going to do that with myself. I’ve got me and I’m so grateful to me for not giving up on myself. We got this!

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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

Busy airports…

People headed in all different directions…

For different reasons…

TSA workers…

Another week – a busy week for them…

The airline representative behind the podium with the frustrated family that didn’t get seated together who aren’t aware that her  computer crashed…

Her kind, patient smile…

New cities…

Different style traffic lights…

Beautiful sights…

The homeless…

Every city has its homeless…

Visiting family…

Meeting new people…

New churches…

Same faith…

The farther away I wander, the more I find myself.

Fostering Gratitude Part 4

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As part of this Countdown to Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful for my support group. Years ago when I started therapy, my therapist asked me to identify six people who I would consider my “core team.” It was a struggle. I think I came up with about four.

I am loving this book by Brene Brown right now. And this quote made me realize how grateful I am once again for my friends, but also for all the others who have been here for me on my journey: my therapist who accompanied me for three and a half years, my spiritual guide, my mentor, my big brother, my “adopted mother”, and my three best friends.

Thank you for standing beside me and loving me, as I learned to love myself.