child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Friday, April 29, 2011

more 200

  • 11.   I didn't allow myself to be manipulated in a situation that a year ago would have sent me home emotionally weak and feeling guilty.  (This is a HUGE thing!)
    • 12.   I put together my coupon notebook and a grocery list.  Between store sales and my coupons I saved over $30!  Go me!
    • 13.   6 years ago, I gave birth to a wonderful little boy who is kind and lovable and funny and quirky and passionate and stubborn and makes me want to scream sometimes and snuggle tightly other times.  Hmmm, sounds like I just described my hubby not my son ;-)
    • 14.   I have run about a bajillion loads of laundry the past few days simply to make a dent in it big enough to fully open the door to the laundry room.
    • 15.   I prayed for someone who really angered me and prayed before I responded to said person.
    • 16.   I am learning finally how to parent without the tv (unless I am really in need of a nap!)

      Thursday, April 28, 2011

      amazing things said by others

      I have been mightily touched by a few things I have recently read.  Touched to the point of sharing.

      Make sure to check out Julie at Beautiful You.  Her link is on my side bar but this is the one that really hit me this time.

      I have also, like many others, been stunned to learn of the death of David Wilkerson.  For those of you who don't know, he was an amazing Christian man who founded World Challenge and is famous for his book The Cross and the Switchblade.  The words he typed just hours before his death were amazing and perfect for where I have been often.

      Wednesday, April 27, 2011

      shameless solicitation for your help

      I'm in a pretty good place right now.  I'm the girl who 3 weeks ago had once again forgotten how to eat and my jeans were ceasing to fit right.  This past week however, I feel like I haven't stopped eating.  Ok, so my jeans are still loose but I have eaten more in this past week than I probably did in the entire month before.  I've been so unbelievably hungry that I actually took a pregnancy test just to be sure and it is NOT pregnancy that is causing me eat. 

      Here is what I am finding though, even though I am in a good place, I am still finding it hard to be kind to myself.  It is so much easier to see every mistake I make and every imperfection.  It is so much easier to see that I was drinking orange juice out of a wine glass tonight simply because my other glasses are all dirty and I didn't feel like washing them.  It is much easier to get down on myself because I broke our families "no yelling rule" and totally lost it on my middle son one evening when he refused to go to sleep and was keeping his brother up too.  It is so much easier to see every shortcoming.

      I am trying really hard to see what I do right.  I may be ok right this moment but I can only mentally beat myself up so much before I quit trying and relapse yet again.  I know this.  I have lived this many many times.  So here is my shameless solicitation, can you tell me why the heck you like me?  Tell me what I do right.  Give me an arsenal of positive weapons to help me when all I can see is failure, stupid, ugly, not good enough.  I adore my hubby and he swears he sees so much more good than bad in me, yet my brain insists that he has to say that because he is my hubby.  I need to hear it from someone besides him.  I'm already convinced he must be missing some important discretionary gene for him to be so head over heels in love with me, especially for the hell I've put him through.

      It feels weird and all wrong to specifically ask for you to tell me that I'm ok.  I kinda feel like the attention whore right now.  And I am putting aside my pride and asking anyway because I want to beat this more than I want to introvert right now.  I'm listening to my bodies needs, this week anyway, but I have to find it to be worthwhile. I have to know that I'm worth taking care of because I know that a good week like this is often followed by a huge crash.  I crash because I don't believe it when I hear that I deserve to be taken care of and therefore I quit taking care of myself.

      Tuesday, April 26, 2011

      a common princess and a royal wedding

      My husband is sickened by the excessive media hype over the royal wedding.  He is angered by the fact that the cost of one dinner at the wedding would be our grocery budget for a month or maybe two.  Heck, $33 million will be spent on security alone.  Hubby sees frivolity.  He sees money being spent on a wedding that could be spent on starving children.  He thinks the concept of royalty is a joke.  Why are they any better than the rest of us?  He even brought up the fact that in most countries when you have a leader who rules for their entire lifetime and then their child rules after them, we usually call that a dictator and there is a push to get them out of power.

      As he said all of this, continuing on his rant about Lifetime's non-stop coverage and the obsession of people who care about it, I felt myself get smaller and smaller.  When he was done, he asked me if I understood why this wedding is such a big deal.  After all of his very valid points, I felt a little sheepish to admit that to some extent, I do understand.

      Let me start with a little background. When I was a little girl the only person on the planet that I wished I could be was Princess Di.  I wasn't allowed much t.v. and no magazines so my glimpses of her were not often but every time I did see her, something welled up inside of me that made me feel like I was special.  I felt that through the t.v. glass she could see me hiding behind the curtains in our living room and that she liked me, exactly how I was.  I know that is ridiculous but it is so true of my child self.  I felt warm fuzzys when Prince William  was born.  He made my childhood hero smile in a way I had not yet seen.  He made her happy.

      When it came out that Diana struggled with bulimia, I cried for her.  It didn't make her less of a hero in my eyes.  It meant she was hurt and needed someone to love her.  I don't think I even fully understood what the disease was at that time but I knew it didn't mean she needed to be judged.  It meant she understood what it was to hurt so deeply and not be able to tell anyone you hurt.  I needed that.  I wasn't allowed to talk about my hurts.  I also had to bottle them up and pretend to be perfect because that was what everyone expected of me.

      When she and Charles divorced, I secretly applauded her for having the courage to stand up to the royal family and finally pursue real and true happiness.  As I watched her hold starving children and saw her face light up when she helped them, I felt an inexplicable bond with her.  When I would be asked, "If you could sit down and have lunch with any person in the world, past or present, who would it be?", my answer always was Princess Diana, though admittedly I sometimes said other things to avoid people realizing what a dork I really was.  She was more than a beautiful royal face to me.  She was what I wanted to be when I grew up.

      When she died, I cried.  I tried not to because I felt stupid, but I couldn't help myself.  My family totally didn't understand why it was such a big deal to me.  I bought every newspaper and magazine that came out with anything Diana.  I obsessed.  I even felt like a piece of me died as well.  I stayed up all night to watch the funeral and even taped it (yes, that was  back in the days of VCR's!).  My hubby, who then was still just a really good friend not my significant other, even stole a cardboard sign with her picture from a newspaper machine for me.

      Yes, I am a dork and have just revealed enough that you may point and laugh at me if you need to. Today on the radio I heard the best statement of why the upcoming wedding of William and Kate is so easy to get into.  The woman said, "It is every little girls dream come true.  It is the story of a normal girl who gets to be a princess.  It is the Cinderella story of this era." Oh so true.  It makes the little girl in me who always wanted to grow up to be special and beautiful and, well, Princess Diana, feel like anything can happen.  It makes me want to believe in fairy tales.  It gives me hope that my true love isn't the only true love story.

      Now, all of that said, I will not be waking up at some ungodly hour just to watch Kate walk down the aisle in Westminster Abby.  I will not be recording it or buying the "official cupcakes of the royal wedding" or any of the replicas the ring or commenting and obsessing about Kate's weight and dress.  I do kinda understand the hype.  It is too much hype, but I understand it.  If money were no object and I could have a wedding as beautiful as this one promises to be, I can't say that I would actually turn it down.  I wouldn't want to live my life in frivolity, but I would love to have lived my wedding in frivolity.  I know every bride is the beautiful center of attention.  But ladies, have you honestly never daydreamed about having a real life princess wedding?!?

      So here's to Kate who is absolutely stunning no matter what her size or her dress style and to the love of her life Prince William.  May they be blessed with a long and loving marriage and always find time to still be in love with each other.

       And just to prove that every girl really does want to be a princess........

      This is me and my dear friend Denise shortly after high school.  We were at a retreat where the emphasis was that every woman is a princess because we are daughters of the true King.  As cheesy as we both looked back then, this is one of my favorite pictures in the whole world.

      Friday, April 22, 2011

      the first 10 of 200

      At the suggestion of another blogger, I am going to think of things that are good about myself, things I have accomplished, things that I like about me.  It takes 10 compliments to overcome 1 negative comment.  It is time that I start thinking of good things about myself instead of my faults. 

      1. I took all 3 kids to a Barnes and Noble book fair by myself because hubby was working.  We were there for 2 hrs, left with 4 books, lots of face paintings, all limbs,eyes and other appendages, and also with most of my sanity.
      2. I bought BOTH chocolate cake AND oreo ice cream last time I went to the store.
      3. I got my kids to school on time this morning.
      4. I remembered to take all of my medications, including my vitamin supplements, this entire week.
      5. I learned how to change the alternator in my car.
      6. I cleaned out all the expired food out of my pantry.
      7. I have a dress that makes me feel pretty for the memorial and for Easter.
      8. I gave 2 of my kids baths yesterday.
      9. I can read and write and love to do so.
      10. I have learned to cook without using my oven or stove.  I have only microwave, crockpot, grill, and waffle iron in my cooking armory right now and I have been able to get some creative meals going.

      Ok, so the list is still short but that was much harder to do than it looked!  I'm supposed to get to 200! It is very difficult still to not think of all the things I don't like as I am thinking of ones that I do like.  I'll get there though. I can use every accomplishment, including but not limited to..... every grade I passed, every thing I read, each thing I teach my children, every thing I have ever learned to do (drive, walk, run, tie my shoes, cook, write, read, laundry, iron, color, make beds, mop floors, change diapers, pull weeds, mow the lawn, take out the trash etc......) and other things that I can do or are beautiful about me. 

      Stay tuned for more on the list of 200 :)

      Saturday, April 16, 2011

      Dear Beautiful,

      Dear Beautiful,
           Yes, I am talking to you.  Stop looking over your shoulder to see who else is around.  I am talking to YOU!  Yes, I did just call you beautiful!  I wish you would stop punishing me.  I'm not your enemy.  I'm not lying to you when I ask for food.  I'm not trying to betray you when I long for nourishment.  Treat me with the same care and grace you give your kids.  When they ask to eat, you don't berate them.  Why do you berate me when I ask to eat?  Why do you think you are above needing to listen to me?  Why do you continue to hate me and hurt me?  I haven't wronged you.  I don't need to be punished.  I am simply fulfilling the purpose that God designed me for.  I am here to be loved and cherished.  I am here to care for you.  I ask only for my needs to be met.  God designed me to need food, stop denying me that.  God designed me to be a strong house for you, yet you are causing me to be weak and unreliable by your mistreatment of me.  You are beautiful, I am just an accessory.  I am simply your house, you are the beauty.  I long to take care of you, but to do so, you must also take care of me.  Please stop treating me like your worst enemy!  Be kind to me, love me as you love others.  We can be a great team but only when we work together instead of trying to work apart from each other.  Listen when I talk.  I promise I'm not out to hurt you!
      Your Body

      Thursday, April 14, 2011

      femininity and feminism

      An ifeminist is a REAL feminist that does NOT:
      1. Turn to the government for help (unlike radical feminists)
      2. Become a butch lesbian vegan hippie communist prude that hates men, and chastises one for being a heterosexual woman that likes men, looks pretty, and eats meat (unlike radical feminists)
      3. Believe women are weak, helpless victims of patriarchy, and men are strong, powerful oppressors (unlike radical feminists)
      4. Believe a "Big Bad Patriarchy" exists to systematically oppress women (unlike radical feminiss)
      5. Turn horrible HUMAN problems like (for example) terrorism, war, rape and domestic violence into gender "women good, men bad" issues (unlike radical feminists)
      6. Be intolerant of dissent from one's own political beliefs (umlike radical feminists)
      7. By into fascist political correctness (unlike radical feminists)
      8. Blindly agree with NOW, the Democratic Party, the Feminist Majority, Ms. Magazine, or any other PC leftist group or person on EVERY f***ing issue without any knowledge on the issue in question (unlike radical feminists)
      9. Believe guns, porn, etc. are inherently evil patriarchal tools of oppression (unlike radical feminiss)
      10. Advocate hypocritical equality by preaching "tolerance" and then discuss how evil whites, heterosexuals, and/or men are (unlike radical feminists)
      11. View well-thinking masculists as evil regressive enemies, not allies (unlike radical feminists)
      12. Call capitalism oppressive patriarchal inequality and fascist communist and/or matriarchal societies peaceful and equal (unlike radical feminists) 
      Some of these things are really good things.  In some of these definitions I could easily be labeled a feminist.  I do not believe that men are evil or that all problems stem from them.  I do not believe women are weak.  I do not believe that every institution on the planet is set out to suppress and demean women.  I don't believe that guns are evil (also another subject that I could write an entire blog about).  
      And yet, I still hesitate to call myself a feminist.  I am an advocate of femininity not of an organized movement.  This is what I believe about women (and life in general):
      • God designed us to work together with men, not to be above them or below them.  Eve was made from Adam's rib, not his head or feet.  
      • Women bring exquisite beauty to this world.
      • Mainstream, Hollywood, publicized beauty is not realistic and not real beauty.
      • Beauty doesn't come from a waist size, boob size, butt size, flawless blemish free skin, full lips, long eyelashes, perfect makeup or fabulous hair.
      • Beauty was born in each of us and we were each created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27  So God created mankind in his own image,  in the image of God he created them;  male and female he created them.)
      • Women are strong, very, very strong.
      • Men are not the evil enemies.  There are bad men in the world, but not all men are bad or desire to hurt or oppress women.
      • Dysfunction in this world is not because of gender differences but rather because of sin.  We all sin.  Sin is what causes dysfunction.
      • Women reflect God in a way that men cannot.  *please do not hear me saying that men do not reflect God's image, they most certainly DO!  But God created the genders to reflect Him differently.
      • Government, guns and men are not evil!
      • Women are not better than men.
      I have been trying to think of a word to describe myself other than feminist that still calls to mind the amazingness that is a woman.  I have a phrase rather than a word.
      I am an advocate of femininity.

      Heaven, Hell and Nothing

      *****This is NOT a suicide note.******

      Thought I'd better preface that before I start.  I don't want to leave my family.  I love them and have fun with them.  I don't think I actually want to die, death is permanent.  But I kinda do.  If death weren't permanent, this might be a suicide note.  But it is and so this isn't.  I feel like I'm going crazy.  I'm having weird and very real dreams about boring things.  Things like an email in my inbox with a subject line of "PLEASE do not do this" that never really happened. Stupid things.  But things that make me feel like I have lost my mind.  Paranoid thoughts that insist that life is not ok are attacking my brain. 

      To some extent, those thoughts are right.  Life is not ok.  It is not ok that my friend has now delivered 2 still born babies in just over a years time.  It is not ok that we cannot use our stove or oven because it blows a fuse and sends sparks flying if we do.  It is not ok that I fantasize about death.  It is not ok.  But it is life.  Everyone has problems.  Everyone knows what it is like to feel like you keep getting kicked when you try to get up. 

      I have plenty of things in my life that I love.  Thinking of those things redirects my thoughts of death.  I'm not writing so that everyone is worried I'm going to do something stupid.  I am writing because this is where I am right now.  I don't want to stay dead, I just want to die.  I don't believe that death is a place of just ceasing to exist, and yet that is what I long for with death.  Just not existing.  Just not hearing my thoughts torment me.  Just not feeling anything.  And yet, even if I were to die, I don't believe I would just stop existing.  Heaven is paradise, hell is torture.  I just want to be nothing for a while.

      Tuesday, April 12, 2011

      a disordered eating stranger

      There is a girl at my husbands work who is very, very unhealthy.  She is one of the few that I have met that there is absolutely no question that she has an eating disorder.  Her arms are so bony, her skin is pale and unhealthy and her hair is brittle and falling out.  The first time I saw her, I asked hubby about her.  He didn't really know much about her yet.  Every time I would go to his work I would specifically look for her.  Every time I was mildly afraid she wouldn't be there because she collapsed or went into treatment.

      I ache for this young girl.  I ache for the struggle she is going through.  I ache because I understand.  I wonder if her family judges her.  I wonder if she even tries to have friends anymore.  I wonder who emotionally supports her.  How long has she been sick?  How long have her bones been sticking out of her skin?  How long has her hair looked like it should be shaved off and start over again?  How long have her eyes been hollow?  How long has she been hurting?  What was her life like before ED ravaged her body?

      In the time since she started, my hubby has now finally told me her name.  He has agreed that she is definitely sick.  He also is only barely acquainted with her.  I long to support her, to tell her she is not alone, to remind her that she really is beautiful.  But she doesn't know me.  Here is what I do know about ED.  We feel invisible and when those around us don't know what to say, we are convinced that we are indeed invisible.  We long to be visible and yet are terrified of being noticed.  We can't see the disease in the mirror, because the stupid mirror lies, and so we are certain that those around us can't see the disease either.  No one knows our little lie.  No one can see the problem and therefore it isn't really a problem.  It doesn't become real until you are passing out from malnutrition.  It doesn't become real until every bone in your body aches so badly that you want to die.  It doesn't become real until your husband informs you that things have changed sexually and it isn't as enjoyable when you are afraid you will break your wife in half if you are intimate.  It doesn't become real until you long to run your car off the road so that your family doesn't have to watch you slowly die.

      So what do I do?  Do I introduce myself?  And if so then what?  Do I continue to let her think that no one knows she is hurting?  Do I tell her that I understand?  I am struck by the comment Holly made on my "what's her story?" post.  In a college setting where eating disorders are said to be prevalent there is little evidence that others share her battle.  Sure, 1 in 5 struggle with it, but how many hide it well?  So do I continue to let this girl think it is impossible to see her disease and that she is invisible or do I let her know I see her?  I question things like this.  I question because I think I would be furious if a stranger came up to me and accused me of being anorexic (despite how true it may be).

      How do you handle seeing an eating disorder that is really not your place to intervene in?

      Wednesday, April 6, 2011

      tears for a friend

      I have thoughts in my head that I had wanted to express but right now they are a jumbled mess and will be saved for another time.  I just found out that my pregnant friend just lost her baby boy, just a few weeks before due date.  She will be delivering tomorrow.  It is hard, it is excruciating and it is made even worse by the fact that this has happened before.  Last March this same friend lost her baby girl one month to the day before her due date.  I'm in a place of grief stricken shock.

      I don't understand.  I want to make it better.  I can't.  Please pray for her and her family.  She and her husband have 2 little boys also.  I can only imagine how difficult it is to have to once again explain to them that the new baby has died and will not be coming home with them. 

      scales vs. beauty

      No scales allowed!  My clothes just didn't fit quite right today.  Hubby did say he was aware of that.  I made him promise he would tell me when he notices it because I often don't notice until it is too late and I am spiraling.  Clothes a bit loose, collar bone a bit pronounced, hands and feet freezing, and yet all in all it was not a bad day.

      I ate breakfast at MOPS, or at least I thought I did.  Someone commented on how I didn't have much to eat.  Here I was proud for the array of foods I did try but it was pointed out to me that I didn't really eat as much as I thought I did.  I'm finding myself getting really pissed off at "fat talk" lately.  I'm tired of hearing beautiful women talk about needing to loose that extra 5 or 10 pounds.  Don't they know that their perfection and dissatisfaction only fuel my own obsession?  Of course they don't, they don't even know I struggle.

      I want to ring the necks of the new moms complaining about the baby weight when their babies are still newborns.  I want to shake them and tell them how beautiful they are.  I told a friend with a newborn just last week that her body had sustained life within itself and should be celebrated for the miracle it is rather than demeaned for what it just did in carrying and birthing and caring for that new life.

      Why do 5 or 10 pounds really matter to us?  Would those same women be happy with their bodies if the did lose those last few pounds?  I doubt it.  I know I wasn't.  So you lose the pounds and become your "ideal" weight, then what happens?  You find something else to nitpick your body about.  Trust me, I know!  For those of us with disordered eating, the ideal weight may be reached but then it becomes a few pounds lighter and then a few more pounds lighter and before you know it, your ideal weight is unhealthily low.

      When will we, especially as women, learn that our bodies are amazing and capable?   Our bodies are beautiful and intricate.  Our bodies are gifts and and temples.  Our bodies are wonderfully made.  I see it in you.  I see beauty and strength you never knew existed.  I see fierce determination.  I see (as Steven Curtis Chapman says) the fingerprints of God when I look at you.  You're a masterpiece.  Now if I could only look in the mirror and see that same beauty and perfection!

      Will I ever learn to love the girl in the mirror as much as I love the ones sitting across from me?  Will I ever look at the girl in the mirror and say as I did to another mom today, "Wow, you are so gorgeous!" ?  Will my ideal weight ever be enough for me?  "Fat talk" is pissing me off.  If someone is healthy and yet super concerned about those last couple of pounds, it says to me that those pounds really matter.  It says that I am right to continue to worry about mine.  It says my waist size matters more than living healthy does.  It says the scale matters more than being really alive for myself and for my family.  It confirms that beauty is only skin deep and I should fight just as hard as the others to firmly grasp fleeting beauty.

      Ladies, love yourself.  Love who God made you to be.  Love that we are all different shapes, sizes and colors.  Love that some are tall and some are short.  Love that some are thin and some are large.  Love the small chests and the big chests, the large booties and the nearly non-existent ones.  Love the purple hair and the natural hair.  Love the diversity and strength and grace and dignity and beauty that each of us brings to the world.  For heaven's sake, stop obsessing over yourself, you only encourage me to obsess as well.  Obsessing over numbers, when skipping meals actually feels good, is highly detrimental to my health!

      You are beautiful, extra 10, 20 50, 100 pounds and all.  You are beautiful over 6 foot tall and under 5 foot tall!  You are beautiful with or without makeup.  You are beautiful in sweat pants and a pony tail.  You are beautiful exactly how God made you.  And so am I.  Now let's go together on this challenge to love the bodies God gave us and stop fretting over ridiculous and unreachable standards.

      I know it sounds difficult to hear from me that you should love and accept yourself in every stage, size and style of life when I oh so often don't give that to myself.  But here is the deal, when you stop freaking out about your weight, hair color, boob size, face shape, makeup and everything else that isn't your real beauty, you give me permission to do the same.  When you stop panicking about the calories you consume, the jeans you put on and how you look in this year's swimsuit, you give me permission to try to learn to accept my body too.

      Yeah, I'm like most women.  I detest my body in a swimsuit, despise the way I look without my push up bra and cute butt jeans, and fret over every hair, every dimple, and every blemish.  (Sound familiar?  I know you do it too!)  And yeah I have added elements to my body image issues and struggles, but that said, they aren't really that different.   If you are free to love you, you give me permission to love me.  I may not take it, I may still beat myself up.  I will still probably worry about every detail of beauty.  BUT I will compare myself with me instead of trying to live up to your beauty.

      Today I wish you, light for the journey, help for your burdens, peace for your soul and beauty for every part of you!  Today I pray that we both will see the inherent beauty that God created in us when He knit us together in our mother's wombs.  Today I'm going to allow God to show me that beauty in me because I already see it in you!

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      the little girl

      Once upon a time........

      There was a beautiful little girl.  She was the joy in her mamma's life and the light in her daddy's eyes.  Someone tried to steal her beauty though.  Someone was curious.  Someone thought she would make a good test subject.  Someone took her innocence.  She started to look at the world through jaded eyes.  Then someone else hurt her.  Someone told her she could never be beautiful unless she did ugly things.  The little girl did those ugly things but never found the beauty and value she searched for.  She began to think beauty was only a fairy tale.  The beauty she was born with was still within her, but she didn't realize it.  Someone told her that her beauty had been stolen and she believed them.  So much else had been stolen that it seemed obvious that beauty had been as well.  She cried herself to sleep often wishing she could be beautiful again.

      She grew up, and continued to believe that the beauty born in her had left her as a child.  She continued to search for it but it still remained elusive.  Eventually she came to the conclusion that the beauty was not missing but rather that it had died.  If beauty is dead, she needs not to search for it.  It cannot be resurrected.  She hurt herself in unspeakable ways hoping to dull the pain of beauty's death.  When death refused to take her too, she decided that punishing herself must be what was required of her.  Torturous days of no food or sleep took their toll.  She became weak and pale.  She became the ugliness that she already saw.  She burned her skin and drank her fears.  She proved to herself that beauty was not achievable and was never returning.

      Someone told the girl they loved her.  Someone held her tightly.  Someone told her she was pretty.  And just as she began to smile again, that someone hurt her too.  Someone told her she wasn't good enough and never would be.  Someone told her she was fat and ugly.  Someone told her she could never measure up.  Someone else stole what wasn't theirs to have.  Someone used her.  Someone abused her.  Someone made her cry.  Someone convinced her she was still not worth loving.

      As the years passed, a new someone told her they loved her.  He told her she was beautiful, though she thought he was lying.  He insisted there was beauty born within.  He insisted that the beauty had not been killed off but had been hiding behind a fort afraid to resurface.  He told her he loved her and then he set out to prove his words.  He gently beckoned her beauty to come back out.  He made beauty safe.  He never stole the beauty away again, he never abused her heart.  He saw the beauty in the midst of her self hatred and self abuse.  He saw the beauty when she was convinced it had long ago died.  He truly did love her and took the time to win her heart.  Then he took the time to prove he would protect that heart and the beauty within.

      He was the someone who showed her that not every man had evil intentions.  He was the one who loved her back to beautiful.  He was the one who showed her how much God must love her and how beautiful she was to God.  He was the one who made her heart sing and the one she wanted to love for eternity.  He is still the one who tells her she is beautiful, even when she thinks he is lying.  He is still the one to love her even when she is self abusing.  He is the one who believes in true beauty and somehow sees it in her.  He is the one who helped her to trust again.  He is the one who showed her how to believe that beauty is not just a fairy tale.

      Once upon a time, there was a very scared woman.  She almost lost it all, simply because she forgot how to be beautiful.  She got lost in the idea that she could never be that beautiful little girl again and forgot that she is now a beautiful woman.  She so wants to be beautiful and is terrified of being beautiful at the same time.  Some days she hates her body and harms it.  Some days she gives herself grace.  Most days she still thinks beauty is just barely eluding her.  She doesn't understand how that man can love her and tell her she is beautiful.  Doesn't he see what she has done?  And yet he daily assures her that he does indeed see beauty.  She struggles to see it and wonders if there will ever come a day when she can see her own beauty not just that of those around her.  She is ready for her own happily ever after!

      Monday, April 4, 2011

      the next right thing

      So after a night of bitching and moaning and longing for the comforting parts of this disease, today I am determined to do the next right thing and get back up again.

      Morning arrived bringing with it coffee and the promise of having breakfast with my hubby at his work.  It wasn't much, just yogurt, but it was SOMETHING!  Talking with a friend made me realize the depth of the hurt I was feeling over events of the last week.  Hurt was hurting even worse.  Hurt was making it difficult to breathe properly. 

      What is the next right thing I asked myself.  Feeling overwhelmed and anxious, I braved up and called my pastors wife.  She is an amazing woman with great compassion.  She has never been on this side of an eating disorder but she has never judged when I have confided in her.  I told her how much I am struggling to believe the truth that I know.  I told her how hurt I am.  I told her how I desperately do not want to eat.  She listened.  And then she prayed for me.  She prayed that God would give me strength meal by meal and moment by moment today.  She prayed that He would envelop me in His grace and that I would look to Him to make it through each difficult stage of the day.  It was helpful to have someone aware that sometimes this journey is moment by moment not just day by day or week by week.  It was helpful to have someone pointing me back to the cross without judging.  It was helpful to have someone raising my arms up when I didn't have the strength on my own.

      I got home this afternoon and wondered how I was going to make it through the entire day.  I turned on the radio and the song playing was, "When I call on Jesus, all things are possible. I can mount on wings of eagles and soar."  Ok, Jesus, make today possible!  I'm so not hungry.  Possibly a medicinal side effect but still discouraging.  I ate lunch though with hubby when he got home from work. 

      A few moments ago I sat down at my computer and read this  from Christie over at Nourishing Circle (one of my love-to-read-it blogs).
      "Life isn’t rainbows and butterflies. It isn’t perfect. And sometimes, it hurts so damn bad that my mind tells me that I won’t make it out alive.
      But, what I’ve learned is that those painful times are a part of life. And when I allow them to flow, when I allow them to show me a new side of myself, when I allow them to knock me on my knees – I am allowing life.
      The fullest expression of it."

      So I suppose that I will see today as doing the next right thing and as allowing life, the fullest expression of it! I'm not all better, not by a long shot. Today I am going to get back up on my recovery horse and ride again even if I fall off again tomorrow.  And if I fall off again, I'll get back on again and again and again until I have beat this stupid disease.

      what if I told the truth?

      What if I told you I'm all better and don't have food issues anymore?  What if I told you that I am actually ok with my body and see the beauty that my husband swears is there?  What if I told you that I have finally learned how to intuitively eat and give my body what it needs and when?

      Or what if I told you the truth?  The truth this exact moment is.....
      • I'm up over 2 hrs past my hopeful bedtime and still not really tired
      • my stomach is a feeling a bit empty right now
      • I have no intentions of remedying the above problem tonight
      • I have all evening been trying to think of ways to be "different" in my eating disorder.  In other words, I wondered all night if it was possible to stop eating and not experience the emotional disaster that follows.  I tried to figure out if it was possible to "defy the odds" and only lose inches and nothing else.
      • I truly don't understand why God made our bodies to need food.
      • I wish the above statement weren't true (that our bodies need food, that is!)
      • I sweat again, and I don't really like it.  
      • I hate that my stomach makes horrifying sounds (growling) and my body produces gross liquid (sweat) again.  Those are definitely NOT on my "pro" list of recovery!
      • I think that someone I know has orthorexia.  I also think that sometimes my anorexic symptoms sometimes can come close to orthorexic behaviors, even though it is still not an "official" eating disorder.  I wish it were not the "socially acceptable" form of disease but considered for the disease that it is.
      • although my medical chart says "anorexia nervosa" I have discovered that I actually am more of an EDNOS for the fact that in the midst of substantial weight loss I still had a period (they got much lighter and much shorter but they didn't stop completely). 
      • eating disorders are confusing and complicated and very full of intricate complexities and no one actually has a full out answer about them because each person is entirely different
      • I am whining and moaning and tired of hearing myself so I am guessing you are too!

      Sunday, April 3, 2011

      What's her story?

      This weekend I went to a MOPS leadership seminar.  There were somewhere around 300 women there, all of us moms. Women of every shape and size, some tall, some short, some slender, some not so slender.  Brown hair, red hair, blonde hair, who knows what color it is hair, and even shaved hair.  Blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes, eyes behind glasses, eyes with contacts.  Hips widened from childbirth, bosoms small and large.  Moms come in every shape, size and color.  We all had something in common.  We were all women, we were all moms.  And we were all different.  (The funny part is that the topic was "Same Difference" talking about how we are each the same and each different, and yet that is not why I am writing about it!)

      One woman in particular stood out to me.  I wondered if she and I may have more in common than one would think.  She was so thin that I struggled to believe that she could have ever birthed children.  She smiled often but I also noticed that her cheek bones were high and well pronounced.  Her arms were tiny.  And though I tried to not do this, I wondered if she, like me, struggled with anorexia.  I didn't want to judge. Maybe she was just naturally a small person.  Maybe she adopted her kids and never had to sacrifice her figure to 9 months of stretching and growing.  Maybe she just eats super healthy.  Maybe she exercises regularly.  Maybe she takes really good care of herself.  Or maybe she is just as insecure as I am.  Maybe she looks perfect because she is terrified of not being perfect.  Maybe she hates her body and denies it nourishment as punishment.  Maybe she buys into disordered eating.  I wonder what her story is.

      According to The Renfrew Center Foundation 1 in 5 women struggle with eating disorders. (Renfrew eating disorder stats) . In a room of 300 women, statistically that would mean 60 women in that room struggle with eating disorders.  In a room with that many people, I knew I was not the only one hiding an eating disorder.  I wondered the stories of those around me.  I wondered what was behind the eyes of those who looked sad or scared.  I wondered if those who looked at peace truly were.  I wondered how many of them were ill physically or emotionally.  I wondered how many of them were just as scared and insecure as I was.  I wondered how many of them actually had it as together as they appeared.

      Maybe, just maybe, it is time to stop hiding.  I wonder what the world would look like if we stopped trying to appear perfect.  What if we actually let people know our fears, our hurts, our struggles?  Would we find that many more than we think understand?  Would we find we are not as alone as we often feel?  Would we judge or have compassion?  Would we hurt with those around us marred by hurt from this world or would we take on a "better than you" attitude toward them?  I wonder what the world would be like if we all stopped hiding.

      Friday, April 1, 2011

      Danger Zone

      ****Red Zone!  **** Danger Alert*****Relapse Watch in effect until a date to be determined......*****

      Tonight I was goofing around in the mirror while my son was brushing his teeth.  One of the silly faces I did made my collar bone more noticeable. My necklace gently fell into the hollow of my neck and suddenly I missed it.  I missed "the look".  I don't miss the lack of energy, the hair falling out, the constant paranoia, the suicidal thoughts.  I have to remind myself that anorexia is my enemy, trying to steal the light from my eyes, the hope from my heart and the life from my body.  Anorexia is NOT  a long lost friend.  It is not a true comfort, it is not beautiful, and it is not me. 

      Not for you, my reader, but for me and my own sanity I am going to repeat the truth. ANOREXIA IS NOT BEAUTIFUL!  My necklace settling in a hollow that could easily become far too deep is not the look I want to achieve.  ANOREXIA IS NOT BEAUTIFUL!  I exhibit true beauty when I find my hope and peace in the Lord.  I exhibit lasting beauty when I take care of my family (that includes taking care of me!)  I find true beauty in being a woman who's husband praises her and her children arise and call her blessed.  ANOREXIA WILL NEVER BRING ME TRUE BEAUTY!

      Anorexia will bring hurt.  Anorexia will rob me of my treasures.  Anorexia will rob me of joy, of peace and of beauty.  It will never bring me beauty.  It will never be my friend.  It will never be right, even when it feels good.  Anorexia lies to me, it causes the mirror to lie as well.  I won't give up.  I just have to say, right now, it is definitely not the looking in the mirror that is keeping me pressing on.  Looking at the sweet faces of my children sleeping is what, tonight anyway, will help me keep pressing on toward the goal.  Knowing what anorexia will rob them and my dear sweet hubby of is the motivation tonight.  I'm going to keep saying the truth until I hear it.  ANOREXIA IS NOT BEAUTIFUL! I am also not going to be too friendly with the mirror right now.  If you see me tomorrow with no make up or my hair not brushed, just know it is because I still don't trust the mirror! 

      And one last time, just for good measure, ANOREXIA IS NOT BEAUTIFUL AND IT NEVER WILL BRING ME THE BEAUTY I DESIRE!