Action vs. Reaction

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I walked into my apartment last night, and I began to talk to myself. I had to. The drive home was like walking on eggshells. I knew that I was vulnerable. I had made a bad decision that I knew would make me feel this way. This decision that I make over and over again despite the consequences was my fault. Time to accept it. I had to harness every ounce of strength I had not to react to my decision.

A couple minutes into my crazy motivational speech to myself, I said, “You can make the decision not to react to your bad decision.” I was floored. This isn’t something particularly brilliant – it’s been said before. It’s something I almost never consider though.

I had trouble falling asleep for a few hours. I tossed and turned in the midst of writing and talking to myself more. I wrote about how I felt angry and jealous, consumed with resentment and ill-feeling toward someone else. In my opinion, that combination of emotion is detrimental. I had to remove those thoughts. All of it was futile, and it was brought on by me very blatantly doing something that would put my emotional stability at stake.

I took responsibility, and I eventually fell asleep. I fought off the strongest urges to do anything that could possibly make me feel better in that moment. I know now that fighting those feelings isn’t instantaneous. It is a process. It’s not unbearably long, but there is no quick fix. It’s been awhile since I felt so aware and in tune with the relationship between my emotions and my actions. Today has proven to be difficult, and I’ve definitely felt out of control and on the verge. I desperately wish that I could just move through my day with ease, without all of my internal thoughts and feelings turning into food anxiety.

I didn’t mean for my identity to become my diet, but it is. At this point, it’s becoming a little stressful. I am afraid to admit that because a) I truly love and feel passionately about eating paleo and b) It’s my job, which makes it more acceptable to identify with. The truth is that it burdens me a lot. I feel like paleo or not, I would be burdened with the same thoughts about food. It’s just that I have a lot of rules on top of all those rules I made up the past decade I’ve spent in this whirlwind. I don’t know how to heal at this point. I can only go so long (not very long at all) focusing on what truly matters, what will bring me health inside and outside. Then it’s back to the drawing board – how can I tweak my diet or my workout to fix this or that?

It’s not about that, but how do I make a serious step forward – outside of that – for good?

My morning started off strong, though. I did 168 snatches in 15 minutes today! My total is 684 this month, and I have tomorrow morning’s session to seal the deal aka win ALL THE PRIZES. I heard from a little bird that we have 15 minutes of straight snatches on top of another circuit, which I’m oddly looking forward to (despite my right hand being split, and some pretty sore muscles). I’m spending the weekend dog-sitting and making chicken soup. It’s not for me, but there is something really wonderful about making soup. I also just ate an entire bag of frozen figs. Sure, that probably wasn’t the greatest thing, but Trader Joe’s makes these things possible when it’s not July, and for that I am grateful. I also went to the coffee shop today, and a man who was a magician talked to me for an hour about how cool the world would be if everyone just rode their horses off into the sunset for eternity. He literally had an hour of conversation up his sleeve about this. It was a little odd, but I get it. I would do it if I could. Lastly, John bought us tickets to The Antlers omg. I didn’t think they’d tour for Familiars again, so I am beyond excited. Hospice was great, Burst Apart was cool, but Familiars is admittedly my favorite.

Despite all the aforementioned feels, I got home from my workout today, and I felt pretty darn good about myself. The feeling has dissipated (I mean, disappeared into the negatives) as the day went on, but check out these gunz. I mean, I’m getting there, right?

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Kettlebells and NYC: Stories About Friendship

I’m overwhelmed at the moment. The past week has been full of unfortunate circumstances outside of my control, and strangely enough, it’s lead me to a state of truly staggering gratitude. It doesn’t even feel natural.

Tonight, I left the gym with clarity and love in my heart – for me and for everyone I know. I was excited to get back into the swing (literally) of things with my training, and I DID hit 516 snatches this month (WOO!), but my physical workout is merely a small fragment of why I train. Those circuits make me feel good, yeah, but I was not feeling all that love in my heart when I collapsed to the floor to mark my final tally tonight. I went to Janelle, the lovely little lady who runs Primal Fitness, after our session to pick her brain a little about nutrition. If I know one thing about me, it’s that a conversation about food is never simply about food, and this turned out to be no different.

The first day I went to meet Janelle, I told her exactly what it was I wanted and where I was coming from. Off the bat, if I’m meeting someone about anything health-related, I explain my history of disordered eating. It’s necessary because it’s still (sadly) a part of my life, and it’s seriously warped my brain. The way she responded to me then made me 100% positive that I wanted to work with her. Again and again, our conversations make me sure that I made the right choice.

I don’t know how a five minute conversation often has so much impact, but it’s not coincidence. The most meaningful moments and words of my life happen in those five minute exchanges when I’m least expecting it – with my trainer, with my regulars at work, with my cashier at Target, with someone I meet at the dog park.

I train with Janelle because she’s not in the fitness business to change the way you look (although she probably will), but because she wants to change the way you think. The body will respond to the brain in due time. Performance, physique, and number-related goals are a result of  good attitude, self-love, consistency, understanding, and good eats. Straight up. In response to my question about diet, she told me, “Eat when you’re hungry, and sleep when you’re tired” (profound, right?). In response to what I didn’t even have to say for her to understand, she told me to write a love letter to myself. And I’m going to. I feel so lucky to have come across her and have the privilege to work out in her gym. She is an irreplaceable part of my journey to a healthy mind, body, and soul.

Moving on to unfortunate events. Don’t worry, there’s a happy ending.

I took a vacation last week which was turning pretty sour pretty quickly from the moment it began. The night before we left, I found out that we wouldn’t have a place to stay the night we arrived. One night turned into the entire trip. This wasn’t very sound with my bank account, but it turned out to be a better experience than I could have hoped for. On our way to the city, Kate checked her bank account to find that a $400 automatic renewal had been charged to her account. Needless to say, we kind of began to panic. We hadn’t even arrived in New York yet, and things were getting bad. That night, she had trouble getting into the Sharon Van Etten show, but (THANK GOODNESS) they eventually let her in. A lot of wasted money and sitting in a bar in Greenwich Village desperately trying to problem-solve on a laptop with all of our luggage (not weird at all, I know), our journey took a turn in a positive direction. Our original Airbnb host rented us a smaller bedroom that he didn’t have listed for about half the price of the original bedroom, and he graciously took us in for the remainder of our time there.kte4

He lived in Prospect Park in a gorgeous home with three cats. Kate and I came home each night and drank wine together infront of the fireplace. We cooked together in his spacious kitchen. The night it snowed, he turned the Christmas lights on. We stayed up late with his other guest who was visiting from China. He was an amazing host and resource who quickly became a friend. We laughed and had hours upon hours of meaningful conversation. The point is, the Internet is cool and bad things almost always get better. Not just better, but like, really fucking good.

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Despite our tight budget, things worked out. Again, I feel so lucky. Mostly because Kate was by my side for this entire thing – or rather, we were by each other’s sides. There is a big difference. The dynamic we had made this all possible and even enjoyable. We spent the nights running around the city (usually in the wrong direction) taking shots of tequila (ok, maybe that was just me…) and going to every library that we possibly could to take naps and/or read books. We braided our hair in our underwear in our cozy little bed at 4 in the morning. I laughed harder than I have in months about the dude who sat in front of us on the Megabus. We did yoga together, in a studio and at the subway stations (again, maybe that was just me). We made Powerpoint slides that brought us to tears. We told each other every detail of our lives, both good and bad, with nothing but love and understanding for one another. Our so-not-meant-to-be disastrous vacation turned into a glorious honeymoon celebration of the greatest friendship a girl could ever know, and I can’t wait until we can do it again. Everyone deserves a companion like that.

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The difference in my hands might not be very obvious to anyone who isn’t familiar with the physical repercussions of being bulimic. My fingers and wrists are swollem. My right hand is covered in scratches down to my wrist, irritated and cracking from cold weather already. It looks worse now, a few days later.

I woke up with flu-like symptoms on Saturday, although I’m convinced that I gave the flu to myself.

Again, unless you come from the depths of an eating disorder, you probably won’t know what I’m talking about when I say this. I can’t go into details about what my day was like on Friday. It’s beyond disturbing. A 24 hour binge/purge cycle is the most physically and mentally exacerbating thing in the world. The entire world around me was non-existent. If you’ve spent any amount of time reading eating disorder forums, specifically the bulimia section, that’s what it is. It’s money and time and chasing the feeling of emptiness. It’s desperation and shame and anger and loneliness. It’s a complete lack of anything remotely good. Rinse and repeat until you can’t swallow or breathe. It’s beyond painful. I woke up and my entire body was so sore, I couldn’t move. My voice was gone. My throat was on fire.

I’m posting because I think it’s important to say that this happened. This happened in the midst of abstinence and being at peace with myself. And because of that, I really do wonder if I’ll ever get better. Most of my eating is not disordered, but a day like this puts 100 good days to shame; this is the worst feeling ever, and I never want to go through it again.

I’m going to a calisthenics class and leaving for New York City tonight for the week. I’m feeling MUCH better now besides my doubts and fears, so I’m hoping this will be a nice break. Short post because I am rushing out the door. Just needed to get this off my chest.

Progress Not Perfection

I’m sitting in my apartment, drinking French presses of tea like nobody’s business. My podcasts are turned up very, very loud. I listen to music and watch television pretty quietly, but I always turn my podcasts up. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m insane considering I’ve been catching up on Welcome to Nightvale mostly. I am building my puzzle, occasionally laying in the pile of blankets I’ve set up on my living room floor. I have a really big couch, but I only sit on it when I have company. The floor is cozier. It’s also easier for me to watch movies from which is pretty much all I want to do at the moment. Ah, the struggles of having a desktop computer. Just a quick post in the meantime…

Yesterday, I woke up early and went to kettlebell training. I had been drinking cider the night before (because I can get kinda crazy when it’s gluten-free…) and I decided when I got home that I would dedicate the day to doing nothing. It was a marvelous idea. I napped, made lunch, made slow-cooker chicken soup for dinner, went to therapy, and listened to some WTF episodes. I brewed lots of tea. I watched Harold and Maude and I Heart Huckabees back to back. This seemed like a good idea, but it took me approximately 5 miles of aimless city-walking to feel like a real person again today. It was nice though – the weather is amazing today. I walked from my kettlebell gym to the galleries downtown and back. I couldn’t imagine having had a more relaxing morning.

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The point is, take time for yourself. It’s so, so magical. Even when I’m just sitting alone in my apartment, I feel like I’m wasting my time. I didn’t at all yesterday. Maybe it’s because I never watch movies, and I’ve watched THREE this week alone, making it feel productive. Even though I woke up (naturally) feeling a little bit on the verge of an existential crisis due to my movie choices, I didn’t have any moments where I felt trapped, alone, or anything like I normally feel when I isolate myself. I didn’t feel like I had anything to fight – that is an accomplishment. To be comfortable in your own skin, in silence, in uncertainty, in fear.

I mean, the exhibit I visited today was called ‘Absence of Self.’ Pretty fitting, eh?

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Last weekend was a string of birthday celebrations with all of my very favorite people, and I’m so thankful for everything that they did for me! I had a seriously fun weekend including the best dining experience I have ever had at Cure. It was paleo heaven. Despite all the good times, I let my guard down. Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, I know exactly what triggers certain behaviors, namely alcohol and lack of sleep. It was worth it, but I definitely suffered some because of it. My eating was awful, and I felt like shit because of it. But in the midst of the guilt, shame, and regret, I did something weird; I accepted it. I knew I was sacrificing my tools of abstinence, if you will, to have a good time for my birthday. I bounced back quick without digging my hole deeper. I felt fine, I felt like everything would be okay. And it is! It’s better than fine. I did not sabotage my 22nd year on Earth with one bad day. Besides, this wasn’t one bad day in a week – this was one bad day in almost two months. I feel incredibly grateful to have made such progress, and one day does not reflect the rest of my life. I’m approaching it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly – with open arms.

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My birthday in a nutshell still included plenty of dogs, and was obviously spent mostly in dark places.

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