tripping on stars

Have you ever been star tripping?

You look up and spin around in circles and get dizzy and fall down and get your composure and do it all over again. DSC_0090

But you do it because it is fun. You do it because it is beautiful. You do it because it is captivating and unique and changing.

Sometimes you fall down and it takes a bit longer to get up. Maybe you spun around a bit too much and the dizziness overwhelms you. You might scrape your knee or bump into something. So you take a bit longer to pick yourself up and start spinning again–head held high, looking up.

There is nothing wrong with falling. It’s part of the experience.

That is kind of the most wonderful part of it. You never know what is going to happen. You laugh and smile and openly accept that you cannot control where you fall or when. But you know that you do get to pick when you stand back up and how you hold yourself and move on.

You know what’s neat about star tripping? It’s a lot like life.

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sacrificing the wants for the want mores

because choices have sacrifices and, inevitably, that means giving up something that you want for something that you want more.

I found those words in a White Collar episode of all places. But I wrote them down, because the message is one of utter truth.

When I heard this, I immediately thought of my eating disorder.

But wait, I thought I had broken up with that bitch? I did. I have. But the thing about break ups is you can still want. You can still want that which you KNOW you cannot have. But if you really look at it…do you really want that relationship back or are you just missing the feeling that came along with it?

For me, it is the feeling.

I miss the feeling of “safety” which was going back to my anorexia. I miss feeling like I had all the willpower in the world and like I could control my life. I miss feeling like I was special because I had this “friend” who was steering me to “success.”

All of these feelings were lies. They were elaborate concoctions of my disordered mind that told me I had it all. But, in all actuality, I had nothing. I didn’t have control, willpower, success, safety. I was slowly dying. I was starving my soul.

Maybe I am grieving my loss. I am grieving the loss of the image I have of what I want to look like, because I know it will never happen unless I begin to slowly die all over again (which is NOT an option). I am grieving the loss of my coping tool for all the fucking shit life throws at you. I am grieving the loss of an identity I held for so so many years. I am grieving the loss of the control I thought I had. I am grieving the loss of the feelings I had in my disorder.

The thing is, I remember all of these feelings that I liked… but I also look back and see all the misery. I remember (and still experience) the depression. I see the shit I put myself through and the tired, sick form of myself. I see the way I pretended to have it all together and then cried to myself in the shower so no one could tell. I remember the fear I had walking into a college cafeteria, party, club, etc. I remember the constant worry and thoughts about food and weight and exercise. I remember the darkness and how I couldn’t have cared less about life. I remember feeling the intense secrecy of it all. I remember feeling the pain. I see the scars that illustrate the points I thought there were no other options and it was all my fault. I remember how I really did feel like I was falling into a hole I would never leave.

“Choices have sacrifices and, inevitably, that means giving up something you want for something you want more.”

I want those feelings of control, identity, success, safety. But I want recovery more.

I’m giving up my wants for the ones I want more. Because life is a gift, and I want to really live it.

in pursuit of direction

In Kindergarten, I always thought I would be a vet. Then, in third grade, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. My eighth grade self decided maybe a journalist was the correct choice. And my high school mind decided it was time to give the fuck up on picking out matching clothes, let alone deciding what I wanted to do for a living. And, to be very honest, right now recovery me just wants to like the person in the mirror.

But life doesn’t come with a compass. Life doesn’t have a map that says you need to turn right here. Life simply shoves you into the action to learn from experience. Life is completely ambiguous as to what you do with yourself—it is those around you who question and prod until you determine an adequate answer. However, a problem arises when what is desired by you clashes with what is deemed adequate to them. Suddenly, your direction no longer seems so much like your own as it does like the ever pushing will of those surrounding you.
What happened to making our own decisions and sticking with them? If we wave the decision to pick our own course, we will never discover the irreplaceable skill of navigating life’s unmarked trails. If we simply succumb to the desires of others, we release the opportunity to create ourselves. Granted, we will make mistakes. We will go left when we should have gone right and run a few red lights along the way. However, our misdirections will show us that the circuitous route enriches us more than the straight and unchanging freeway ever could.
We focus far too much on getting to our destination as quickly as possible. Subsequently, we neglect to experience along the way. But experience is what will bring us wisdom and happiness and fulfillment. Experience is what will show us who we are and allow us to develop ourselves. Journeys are not meant to be boring. Journeys are meant to seek adventure and novelties and emotions. Life is a journey; we need to treat it like one.
My direction is not fixed. My direction is fluid. And, for this reason, I will happily be ever pursuing my direction.

a break-up letter

Dear Ed,

It’s been a long haul. We’ve been through a lot together. But it’s over now. I’d say “it’s not you, it’s me,” but that isn’t true. It’s all you. You served a purpose for a while, you gave me a sense of control and safety-albeit incorrectly- but I don’t need you anymore. I don’t want you anymore.

I want life and love and laughter. I want adventures. I want smiles and spontaneity. I want health and happiness.

I want cake and chocolate. I want fast food on busy days and comfort meals on rainy, cold nights. I want to eat candy and popcorn at movies. I want to listen to cravings and eat to my desires. I want foreign foods and the chance to try new foods. I want to go out to a restaurant and have the full course meal.

I want to look in the mirror and accept what I see. I want to see myself for who I am as a person and not how my clothes fit or what I weigh. I want to meet new people and not think about how I look to them. I want to go on trips and learn new things and be able to feel the wind on my face on the top of a mountain. I want to run for fun and enjoy movement because it makes me feel good inside.

I want to be me, authentically. I want to discover who I am and fill the spot in my soul you take up with gold. I want to breathe in freedom and exhale rigidity. I want flexibility and variety.

Ed, I want life. And you do not bring me life. You do not bring me any of the things I want above. You hinder me. You hold me down. You tell me I am less than I am.  You abuse me and manipulate me and take me away from my dreams.

We don’t work. We never will again. It’s over. We’re done.

that’s it. i’ve had enough.

Going into recovery, if it is your choice, you probably WANT to recover. I did. I do.  But in the past week or so, I came to the realization that I will never really recover until i’ve decided i have had quite enough of Ed and its shenanigans (read him f-ing me over and destroying my life).

But over the past few days, I have.

I think up until now I wanted recovery… I really did. But I still had a small part of me that was okay with my eating disorder; the part of me that was content to stay in the kinda-recovered stage.

But I can place exactly when I destroyed that last little grip: Sunday night.

I’ve spent a lot of time doing recovery. It takes a lot of time, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve missed a year of school, life events, and so much more because of my eating disorder and the time it is taking to recover from it. I knew that it had and was taking away opportunities, but on Sunday it took just one more thing and I had enough of it.

I got invited on spring break trip that would be about two weeks from now. But I can’t go. I can’t go because I am in treatment. I can’t go because my EATING DISORDER put me in treatment. I literally lost it that night. I stared at my rice bowl while I ate and was very quiet. I couldn’t talk because I thought that I would start sobbing if I did. Eventually, I had to quickly leave the apartment (after finishing dinner of course, because meeting the needs) because I couldn’t hold the tears in anymore. I sat outside and rocked back and forth with my head in between my knees and sobbed. I sobbed my heart out.

My therapist in residential once told me that if I needed to cry, then I should “do it with all my fucking energy and then be done.” That is what I did on Sunday.

I was miserable because this was just another thing to add to my “miss list,” the list of things that I missed because of my eating disorder/treatment. But it was more than that; it was something that my boyfriend, my best friends, and the people I wanted to spend time with the most were going on together. Without me. I was jealous (and still am) that they could spend time together and I couldn’t. I was jealous that they got to be with my boyfriend for a week and I couldn’t. I was jealous that they could adventure and I had to sit in a room and talk about my feelings. I felt miserable. I pitied myself.

And then I didn’t. I was still sad. But more than that, I was FURIOUS. Because this was my eating disorder ruining my life. This was it getting in the way of experiences. This was ED stealing the time I had with friends and the adventures I could take. This was ED being selfish and trying to make me be only with it. This was ED trying to control me, again.

That piece of me that still wanted ED died with the lost opportunity. It was that that pushed it away. And now, I’ve had enough.

The only thing I am gripping to is recovery.

why do numbers have power?

Today I almost saw my weight.

After 4 years of not weighing myself and being SOOO careful not to see it, I almost did on a discharge sheet from my visit to an urgent care last week.

I bet some of you are like what…why is that a problem? But it’s actually horrible. It’s terrifying and mind-controlling, and preoccupying, and just miserable.

Because numbers still have power.

I bet you are also wondering how I almost saw my weight. You know how you can do the thing where you blur your eyes a bit? I did that. And then my brain started to wonder what I saw. It started to try to compare numbers in their most basic of shapes. Like when you look at something from far away and it is blurry and a 3 could be a 5 and the 1 could be a 7. That’s what my brain did.

Because ONE of those digit options was okay. The other one DEFINITELY wasn’t.

Why was the other one so taboo? Why did x number of pounds in the up direction make a difference? Here’s what my ED brain thinks:

  • having that x amount of pounds makes me heavier than other people in my friend group and I already don’t fit in because I can’t run and they can and I can’t just enjoy food whenever and they can
  • if I am x then I definitely look the f-word (fat)
  • if it really is x does that mean I am now unhealthy in the opposite direction???
  • that’s too high. period.
  • obvi you are out of control. Don’t follow that meal plan.
  • yup, you’re the f-word

Why do numbers have that amount of power? Enough power that I actually question my BODY DYSMORPHIA and wonder if it is telling me I am thinner than I actually am…. wow, what a turn to the opposite.

Why does a number have enough power to make me think I will automatically not fit in with my friends? How could it do that?

Why does a number make me think that all these professionals have it out for me and don’t care if I get the f-word?

It shouldn’t. But it does.

I partly blame society for putting so much emphasis on weight and numbers in general. But I also know that I can eventually be strong enough not to care… I am just not quite there yet.

So why do numbers NOT matter….. let’s see:

  • Numbers (your weight) cannot tell you who you are on the inside
  • Numbers do not show your personality and your love for life
  • Numbers do not define your self-worth or your worthiness.
  • Numbers cannot make or break a friendship or relationship.
  • Numbers cannot show love and comfort you.
  • Numbers are simply a mental construct that we made in order to explain natural phenomena and life.
  • I am not a number.
  • You cannot know what my weight is by looking at me.
  • Weight does not determine my worth.
  • I will never be happy with the number I see, and I don’t need to know it because it is just a fact, and not one that will help me.
  • Numbers are simply digits on a page. I am a soul.

I might have almost seen my weight…. but there is so much more to life than whatever number was on that page. And it’s going to take a bit to stop worrying about it, but I will give myself the grace and time I need to process and become stronger from my almost viewing of an unhelpful, meaningless number.

an honest post about hope

When I simply search the word ‘hope’ on Pinterest, here are some of the quotes that come up:

“hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness” -desmond tutu

“May your choices reflect your hope not your fears.” -Nelson Mandela

“a single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing.”

“hope is the only thing stronger than fear”

“Hope is not pretending that troubles don’t exist. It is the hope that they won’t last forever. That hurts will be healed and difficulties overcome. That we will be led out of the darkness & into the sunshine.”

Those are great and all, but sometimes I actually hate the word ‘hope.’ I hate what it says. I hate that I don’t always have it. I hate that I can’t hold on to it. I hate that it disappears and then reappears at its own will.

I hate that I cannot always hold onto the vision of my life that I think is filled with hope. If I could only see that version–that life I am shooting for–then maybe the struggles would feel more purposeful. That is what I think hope is. Knowing that, yes, right now is hell and every moment feels like a year, but you see that thing in the future? That is what you are going for with all of this work and struggle. That is your hope.

So, stop telling me to be hopeful. I can’t be hopeful if I don’t have/see the hope. Let me find it. Let me search for it. Let me find MY hope. Because if it isn’t MINE, it won’t push me, guide me, motivate me.

It will only be a thing that someone tells me. It won’t have power. To have hope means to believe in yourself and your capabilities. It means that you find it in yourself. I need to find that hope on my own.

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.

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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.

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.