the mask

brain of mine

you lie to me.

you tell me it’s fine

if me I be.

but in this place

of many days

it has no face

only plays

and so you see,

brain of mine,

if me i be

no move is fine

a role to me calls

costume i must wear

so i away from me i fall

separating with a tear

on is the play

out to the stage

tricks, lies stare my way

costumes they all wage

so brain of mine

you have lied to me

in life it is not fine

if me i try to be

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x things better than being skinny

*Disclaimer: what I write here is true for MY personal experience. However, eating disorders are unique to the individual, and though we may share some thoughts and feelings, the way that an eating disorder manifests is NOT identical person to person.

IMG_1536.JPGEating disorders are NOT about appearance. They aren’t. But that doesn’t mean that appearance isn’t a sore spot. Eating disorders are sneaky little bitches. They trick you. They tell you that if you just lose ONE more pound, you’ll be perfect. And, if you do, they say it again… and again…. and again. They tell you that the number on the scale is your self-worth. It is your blue ribbon. If it goes down, you’re winning. They say that space between your thighs, the illustrious thigh gap, means that you are okay; if your thighs touch, you failed. They tell you that having “fat” on your thighs, stomach, arms, etc means you are out of control. They show you a false reflection in the mirror.

But there are SO many wonderful things out there better than being skinny. Because skinny does not define your worth. The eating disorder lies, manipulates, distorts. Skinny is not everything. Skinny, really, is nothing…

What, then, is better than being skinny? So many, many things.

  • having the energy to walk up the stairs to see a sunset on the top floor
  • smiling a REAL smile, one that includes your eyes
  • taking a walk on the beach and feeling the sand in between your toes
  • laughing, and truly laughing, because it’s enjoyable and not just something you do to make people think you are happy
  • the smell of coffee in the early morning
  • feeling the wind come off the water as a storm moves in and not think you would fall over from the gusts
  • having color in your skin and looking vibrant
  • midnight Wawa runs
  • dancing to music because you want to and not feeling like your legs were going to collapse
  • being able to get out of bed in the morning without working up the energy to do so for 10 minutes
  • adventuring… because you can!
  • the view of the world through a camera
  • the smell of flowers
  • being able to enjoy the crisp fall air without 10,000 layers
  • pillow fights
  • bubble baths
  • jumping in puddles after a rain
  • amusement parks you can actually go to without feeling like you were too exhausted to move around them
  • bright eyes
  • book plots you will remember because you have cognition again
  • spontaneous drives
  • fire crackling
  • walking around to explore and not to burn as many calories as possible
  • a warm bed on a winter morning
  • breakfast in bed
  • journaling in a cafe and enjoying just sitting there
  • being able to sit on the ground and play with puppies, kittens, children, etc without your butt hurting because you don’t have anything to sit ON
  • taking a day to do absolutely nothing
  • reading on rainy, cool days
  • curling up in a blanket
  • movie marathons with best friends (or just you! because time to yourself is necessary)
  • having the energy to go out with friends
  • SO SO SO MUCH MORE

You will never be defined by the size of your clothes or the number on a scale. A scale can not show you who you are inside. It cannot tell you how important you are to the world and to those around you. You are so much more than a body. You are a soul. You are a free, independent, capable spirit.

becoming a tree 

If you made it past the title, I like you. (I would like you anyway, but I like you a lot cause you gave this a chance.)

I’ve always liked trees. I used to like climbing the cedar trees at my childhood home. (And those are realllllyyyyy sappy, so my mom loved that I made this a regular thing.) I climbed the huge magnolia outside of the church I went to as a kid. If I’m being honest, it was the only part of the church day I liked. But I like trees for more than just climbing.

I like how resistant they are. They weather  storms the world throws at them. And though they might lose a limb in the winds, they persist. And, eventually, they regrow the branch and continue on.

They root into the ground and find stability in themselves. Their foundation allows them resilience and autonomy. (And there’s stuff about nutrients and sunlight and water and stuff… of course.)

Lexi… what. Okay, stick with me here… get it? I want to be like a tree. I want to be able to find comfort and safety in myself. I want to root into my life and take hold. I want to withstand storms and regrow and thrive after them. I want to be resilient.

But trees… and recovery? What? During a embodying recovery group, we discussed how you have to first ground yourself if you want to push out and expand. You must find your footing before you lean into something else, or you may lose balance. So too must a tree establish itself before it can grow taller and stronger.

img_1436
Haphazard tree attempt on a wiggling chair…

I think one of my all time favorite yoga stances is tree pose. It’s powerful and connecting.
You must anchor yourself to the ground using the ball and side of one foot while balancing. It takes strength, focus, and persistence.

But so does recovery. You must find a part inside of you to grab hold of and never let go. You must find your “roots.”

****Side note. I wrote this waiting for my medication. Small moments (or 30) of reflection.

praise for Cheryl Strayed

tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed.

What a tiny, beautiful thing Strayed’s book is.

Sometimes I feel like all I  can (*should*) read in recovery is (are? struggling with grammar right now..)  recovery related books on eating disorders, mental health, depression, etc. But to tell you the truth, I don’t want to. Those are well and good and have there place, but I don’t believe they should be everything.

I came upon tiny beautiful things when I was scouring the shelves of Barnes and Noble for just that… recovery books. I had never heard of Dear Sugar or Cheryl Strayed before… ever. I kinda just took a gamble and bought the book on a whim because the title said “advice on love and life” under it. And good gosh could I use some of that.

Strayed collected her answers to anonymous letters sent to her “Dear Sugar” column into one book. She comments on writings of love, loss, abuse, occupational desires, gender identity… you name it. But her advice is so applicable and thought-provoking.

Excerpt: Let’s start at the introduction written by Steve Almond. He states: “Inexplicable sorrows await all of us. That was her essential point. Life isn’t some narcissistic game you play online. It all matters-every sin, every regret, every affliction” (Strayed 5).

My thoughts: God, really… you’re just going to drop that on me? 5 pages in and I just got hit with that doosy. But, it’s so true. I can’t even start to comment on the reality of it… so… MOVING ON.

Excerpt: “Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor, and “loaded with promises and commitments” that we may or may not want to keep. The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love” (15).

My thoughts: First off… that phrase “motherfucking shit.” Thanks for speaking to my sailor mouth soul. But, in seriousness, I have experienced quite a few love’s facades. Love hurts a lot sometimes. I have cried so much out of love. I have cried because I am afraid of losing love. I have cried because I love too much. I have cried because I haven’t felt loved. I have cried because I DID feel loved. I have cried because I thought I could/would NEVER be loved. It’s been emotional. But maybe that is because love really is that important. It is a drive. It is a blessing. It is a curse, sometimes. It is pure. There is such a power in being pure. I would love (ironic use here) to tackle the shit out of love… but I am afraid too. I am genuinely scared of the repercussions of being so forward and so authentic. It’s a work in progress.

Excerpt: Nobody can protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal” (29). 

My thoughts: Damn it, really… that seems so hard. But wow is she right. There is never going to be a cure-all for suffering, for anything. When I read these sentences, I immediately think about my eating disorder. I really did try to starve away the suffering… and then I tried to eat and therapy away the suffering that the starving caused. This is a passage I truly need. It reminds me that I need to survive but I also need to love and be better for my past and my struggles and my suffering. It reminds me to dream and to picture a better time. It reminds me to strive. And it goes back to kintsukuroi… because you will be BETTER for it.

Excerpt: “Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true” (52).

My thoughts: I always question if I know what is true. I think that is something that happens when you lived with two voices in your head for years. “Trust your gut.” People say that all the time. But I don’t even know what my mind is saying… let alone my gut. What does that even mean? I really don’t like that expression. It feels out of control. It feels un-thought-out. It feels rash. But it is also raw. Truth is raw. When I think of truth, I think of a line from The Big Short (the movie on the housing bubble): “Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.” But why do people hate poetry? It is so beautiful, so expressive, so authentic, so unique, so personal. And that begs the question… why can I not trust the authenticity of my gut? Why can I not trust the feeling through my bones that tells me what IS true? Why… can I not trust myself?

I’m not yet done with Strayed’s book, and I anticipate I will comment some more on her writing. If you decide to check her stuff out, please let me know what you think!

 

society’s claim

i don’t mean to leave you;

don’t intend to be untrue.

but often my brain conceives

that i do indeed do.

i lied, i do.

for what am i to tell you

all the world says is reality

when it’s never new

always filled with some brutality

it’s true.

stigma, dogma, and the like

offered up unsolicited

all of which you dislike

but still allow in your head.

you can’t resist.

what are words to hold you back

in one side and out the other

you’ll try to cease

the wounding of the attack

you’ll fail.

who did you think you were

to resist the societal pull

the urges and the whispered slurs

of those who wish you null

you can’t.

give up on your strength

give in to the voices

for you have no right to assume

that you can make your own choices.

it’s the small things that heal

As much as we may hope, there is no big turning event when it comes to healing. We do not wake up one moment and decide that whatever has be plaguing us is not an issue anymore. The worries and the thoughts and the obsessions don’t just disappear after a night’s sleep.
Healing comes from the small things.

Healing comes from the simple. Healing is taking out earphones and walking around on a crisp, quiet night listening to the sounds of nature. Healing is looking up at the sky and noticing a cloud shaped like a flower. Healing is in the smile that a stranger throws your way as you pass in the street. It is the morning sun trickling in through the blinds on the window.

Healing comes from the delicate things. It is the shimmering dew resting quietly on the grass in the early hours of the day. It is the fog that glides gracefully off the water. Healing is the sound of an owl communicating across an open field. Healing is the twinkle of glass as it catches the sun just so. It is warm bathes and bubbles that tickle the skin. Music that dances through the wind from a party miles away.
Healing comes from the unique. It is the wind rustling leaves on a cool autumn day. It is the sound of a train whistle carried by the night. Healing is noticing the flowers when they first bloom. Healing is the smell of the hot pavement after rain. It is the whisper of crickets as they serenade the night. It is the lovingly worn pages of an old, well-read book.
But most of all… healing is personal. Healing is not loud and boisterous. Healing does not broadcast its progress. Healing is modest and reserved. It is internal and placid. It is slow and variable, but there all the same.
Healing is learning that YOU are enough. Healing results in simply and purely being an unadulterated you.