All I Want For Christmas

No…I’m not about belt out  a Mariah Carey song! Your ears will thank you!

Apologies for the post coming a day late. The last week has been a whirlwind of emotion and stress and crazy decisions.  But that’s neither here nor there….

Happy Christmakwanzakah to you and yours!

If you’re still shopping around for things to get me (I kid, I kid) there are a few things on my list…

All I Want For Christmas is….

1)   To be closer to my family. – I’ve loved living in Florida. I love what it has meant for my health, for my love, for my worldliness. (Yes…worldliness…if you’ve ever been to Miami, you know what I mean.) What I haven’t loved is the distance between me and my people…My friends…my family…my new family. I miss the impromptu brunches, the holiday celebrations, the birthdays, the Sunday afternoon cookouts. Call me a homebody…call me a wuss…call me whatever you want, but I adore my family in the most amazing way.

I am happy to report that this Christmas wish will be a reality in the next 7 days as we move 8.5 hours north of Tampa. A new start, and new beginning, new jobs, a new home, and much, much closer to the ones we love in a city that both Allen and I adore. Nice going, Mr. Claus!

2)   For Allen to know how much I love him. – I’m not saying that he doesn’t. I’m not saying that I lack affection or act like a frozen hermit crab when we’re together but I have been quite impatient and testy lately. A lot of things had been up in the air with regards to our move and I certainly wasn’t the most peaceful person about it. Allen, as usual, was the ever cool, ever calm, ever collected partner. His stress doesn’t show…his love and his affection, never waivers.

This man has been an incredible gift in my life. One that I will spend the rest of my life cherishing and being in complete and total awe of.  I cannot wait to call him my husband. I cannot wait to be forever bound by the sacrament of marriage.

I am a different person because of the way he is with me. I’m proud of him every day. I proud of the man he is, the woman he makes me, and the life we’ve created together.  He takes my breath away every single day and I am so grateful that he is mine.

My wish is for him to never, for one second, doubt the devotion and the love I feel for him. My best friend…my life partner…my soulmate.

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       Photo courtesy of Hayley Juliet Photography

3)   A new job. – Following my company’s buyout, both Allen and I were laid off in September. Don’t feel pity for us…if it was not for that, we would not be able to complete the number 1 wish on this list. He’s found a amazing opportunity for him to showcase his undeniable skills, but I’m still looking. I’ve had 2 great interviews and hope to know something in the next week or two but nothing solid yet. I want nothing more than to be a financial contributor to my family. Please keep your fingers crossed for good news on the employment front in the near future!

4)   My own food. – We were supposed to move last week…but a few wrenches got thrown in the mix so we got delayed. For some absurd reason, I opted to pack our kitchen stuff first. The pots, the pans, the stuff in the pantry…the fridge was cleaned out and the freezer emptied. All that remains in our culinary mecca is a bulk warehouse sized container of garlic powder, a jar of chow chow, mayo, capers, butter and frozen broccoli. All of which are a little tough to create lunch and dinner out of. So aside from the ham and GF bread we picked up at the store, we’ve been eating out…a lot. Not only is it denting the wallet, but it’s making my insides feel like a war zone. I hate eating out frequently. I hate paying for something that I know I could make 10 times better and 10 times cheaper. I am definitely ready to have my own kitchen again…soon, Han…soon.

5)   For people to stop celeb-obsessing. – Between the Duck Dynasty BS, the Kardashian divorce drama, the McGraw-Hill relationship rumors, Paul Walker’s accident, etc., etc., I am so OVER people posting about it and talking about it and seeing it plastered all over magazines. I can’t stand to watch the news and I despise the entertainment ‘news’ shows for their half-truth speculations. Enough already!

The world has more important problems than the 8 pounds one movie star gained, or the plastic surgery another had, or the divorce filings of the rich and famous. There are starving children, abused animals, crooked politicians…this country has more disgusting, indescribable crimes than a Patricia Cornwell novel. Instead of worrying about making it better for our children and our children’s children, we’re more involved in discussing Miley Cyrus’ twerking or Justin Bieber’s partying habits.  Let’s not indulge these over-paid, under-qualified attention whores and focus on what really matters in the world: our families…our health…the love and well-being of those around us. Let’s take this holiday season to stop fighting about who got the last Xbox or flat-screen TV and take the opportunity to spend time with others instead of playing video games or watching the tube for hours.

Life is short…You will not be remembered for your money, your electronics or your cell phones. You won’t be remembered for your luxury automobiles or your gossip magazines and the ability to spout off the most expensive celebrity divorces in history. You won’t be remembered for your designer purses or your red-soled shoes. Your integrity and your legacy is what matters…you WILL be remembered for your love, your kindness, your way with others and your goodness. Enough with the stuff that doesn’t matter…leave a lasting mark on mankind, and the world will be a better place for it.

6)   For others to pay it forward. – I experienced the rush of this for the first time tonight and it was amazing. Allen and I ate an early dinner (out of course) at a nearby steakhouse chain. About halfway through our meal, I noticed an elderly gentleman (approximately 80-85 years old) who came in alone. He was walking with the assistance of a cane and struggled to keep up with the hostess who was hurriedly ushering him to his seat. When she approached the booth she intended to sit him in, he asked to sit at the back where it was quieter. She obliged and seated him in the back at the very last table.

Seeing him made me sad. I absolutely HATE to see people eating alone. Even if they look like they’re just shooting in for a quick lunch break, I hate seeing it. I feel pain for them even though there may not be any pain involved regarding their reason to be eating by themselves.

Something about this man struck me harder than normal and I’m not sure why.  When I got up to use the restroom, I passed his table and watched him as I approached the hallway next to his table. He looked so at peace…eating his meal and enjoying his beer with a grin on his face. For all I know he could be an escaped serial killer but the sight of him there with no one to chat with pulled at my heartstrings, and I decided to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

I approached my waitress afterwards and told her I wanted to pay for his meal. She grabbed the man’s waiter who looked as if I’d just told him that his whole life had been a lie and his biological father was the lochness monster. Clearly no one had ever requested a total stranger’s tab before. “You want to pay for his dinner?” The waiter said. “Yes, all of it. The entire tab,” I replied. “Uhh…do you know him?” the waiter still seemed totally dumbfounded. “Not at all. I just want to do something nice for a complete stranger” I said as I signed the tab.  As I turned to walk away, the waiter asked me what I wanted him to say when the man asked for his tab. “Just tell him Happy Holidays and to return the favor by doing something nice for an unsuspecting stranger.”

As I walked out of the restaurant, a wave of emotion overcame me. Of all the pointless money I’ve spent on things I don’t need…things that I’ve bought to feel good or make me feel better after a stressful day. All this time I should have been doing this. Please…if nothing else this holiday season, try this. I’m not suggesting that you pay for a man’s steak, but do it somehow…You will feel amazing.

7)   To lose 100 pounds. – Last but not least, for Christmas I’d like to reach the century mark. Despite the eating out and the crazy hustle and bustle, Santa only has to deliver on an additional 1.4 pounds!!

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Under 150…I don’t even know what to say! I must admit, I still struggle daily with my self-image. I see that I’m wearing smaller clothes…I know that my size 8’s are too big and the scale number is dropping. I see the shock when I run into people I haven’t seen in a while, but I don’t see the change in myself. I still see the wide, flabby overweight girl when I look in the mirror. Maybe it’s all the loose skin that has me disillusioned, maybe it’s that I can’t see what’s really in front of me. I logically know there is a change when I think about having lost 98 pounds now…I’m just ready to really see it. Feel it. Believe it.

Maybe I’ll buy myself a pair of size 20 pants…maybe I should get a cardboard cutout of old me (Add that to the list too!)…or maybe I’ll stop acting absurd and focus less on the physical morphing. I’m still the same blonde, crazy, witty, dog-obsessed, pink loving, makeup zealous, sweet, Southern girl I’ve always been…just in a slightly smaller package this year. And you know what they say…good things…the best things…come in small(er) packages.

Wishing you all the merriest of holidays!

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Start a Resolution!!!

Damn those holiday Mondays!! I lost track again of the days again!! I hope you all had a fantastic New Year’s holiday! I did…well the parts I can remember anyway. 🙂

There is no weigh-in this week. I am out of town for work (apparently brought the cold weather down to Florida with me on the plane) and don’t have access to my scale. Back on track next Monday (yes, Monday not Tuesday) I promise.

I’m sure a lot of you made a New Year’s resolution…I did as I always do. And this year, like every other year of my adult life at least one of my resolutions involves losing weight. Only difference is that this year my goal is to KEEP losing weight versus to START losing weight.

To all of you who made a similar resolution to change your life and your health this year….then this post is especially for you.

Focus – and listen to what I’m saying…(do it!!!)

There is no excuse, no logical reason, and no remote possibility why 2012 can’t be, and won’t be the one where you finally get your act together and make a little something amazing and life-changing happen on your weight-loss.

If you’re anything like me (for fun and giggles, let’s just assume you’re exactly like me in each and every way), then this isn’t your first rodeo.  How many times have you set a New Year’s resolution to rearrange your life? How many times have you lost sight of the goal you’d vowed to achieve? Maybe the other times you tried your motivation held strong for four weeks or maybe it was closer to four hours (remember, we’re pretending that you’re exactly like me).

Maybe you followed an unhealthy, ginormous breakfast with a declaration of “No more!” and then followed that declaration of “No more!” with a ginormous lunch.

It’s possible you’ve even convinced yourself that you can’t do this, that it’s simply too difficult for you. Well allow me to respond with one thing: Schnozzle flubberdusters ate bowyangs on an absquatulate hemidemisemiquaver.

Hey, it you’re going to delve in the crazy talk, then so am I! Telling yourself that you can’t do this or that it’s too hard is crazy talk.

Check out my stats and see the progress I’ve made.  I’ve lost the weight of an average 6-year old. Insane. When you get your head in the game and your ass in gear, you’ll see the same reduction. I had no idea what I was doing when I started on this crazy journey, but I did know that it was time for me to make a drastic change.

Your journey will not be completely like the one I’ve been on. Yours will not be like anyone else’s before you. You have to create your own path.

And at this moment in time, when you look at yourself in the mirror, may feel like I once did: as though I was defined by all the things I wasn’t instead of all the things I was. This is your chance to make a new start and to really bring it home this time. Take this opportunity to redefine yourself.
Trust me. Shedding pounds on the scale doesn’t instantly fix anything in your life that might have been bothering you. Dropping the weight won’t necessarily make your life picture-perfect. It won’t get you that guy/girl you wish would fall in love with you (but if they do finally start to pay you some attention, they might not be worth your time anyway), it won’t make you a millionaire and isn’t likely to immediately land you on the cover of Playboy, but I’m willing to wager you a hot dollar that it’ll make your life better. That it’ll make dealing with whatever you have to deal with ten times easier because you’ll be happy to be in your own skin, and learn to love your imperfect life perfectly.

Abandon the “I can’t do it” notion…leave the feelings of worthlessness at the door and let’s start the slow, steady journey back to where you want to be, where you deserve to be….Where you belong.

 

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them … If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney

Walk On Water

I’ve always been of the belief regardless of your specific spirituality that it is sometimes hard to deny that there is a divine power. A higher being of some sort watching over all of us.

Being a person that is so nerded out in the science world, having things happen that I can’t explain really throws my brain into a complete tizzy.  As much as I want to believe that there has to be a scientific explanation for everything, I know this isn’t always the case. While I might have a hard time wrapping my mind around it…I know there are many occurrences that can be explained only as something heavenly or godlike.

I had one of those Tim Tebow-esque interventions last week…

It was Tuesday afternoon. I was in my car, stuck in random mid-afternoon traffic, feeling the initial tinges of road rage creep up as I got frustrated with sitting through the same stop light one too many times.  The fear of my impending unemployment was extremely heavy on my mind.  Stressful thoughts were firing one after the other: Right now is a horrible time to be searching for a job.  What path do I take? What direction do I go? Is it time to go back to school? Do I follow my passion and pursue a medical career? Do I take a safe route? What about money? What about insurance? Will I lose my ground? Will I lose my faith in myself if I can’t find something right away?

A wave of emotion rushed over me as I sat there. I felt defeated. I felt myself going backwards 10 steps in that moment and didn’t know what else to do but sit there at that red light as my mascara started to creep down my face.

The radio had already been turned up…I was listening to K-LOVE. Partly because there had been commercials on all the local stations it seemed like and partly because I thought I’d explode if I heard another Katy Perry song that hour.  I wasn’t really paying attention to the songs that were on…my brain was too busy pumping me full of fear of the unknown.  But then a song came on that I’d never heard before, and my mind stopped running 100 miles an hour…so I listened.

I didn’t know who was singing the song or even the title of it…but the chorus hit me in the stomach like a ton of bricks:

When you take that first step into the unknown
You know that He won’t let you go

So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities, they try to alter you
But you know you’re made for more, so don’t be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes, and you can walk on the water, too

“Walk on Water” by Britt Nicole

Here’s the whole song in case you want to listen – the lyrics are on the video…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The song’s message and the moment it was played can be explained by nothing other than divine intervention.  I had to pull over I was so moved and blown away by what had just taken place. And when the song ended, I wiped my tears. Put a smile on my face, and drove away knowing that no matter what happens to me, I have faith in my ability to handle it, I have faith in my ability to face it, and I will no longer afraid to move.  This feeling that I’ve had about myself over the last few weeks (aside from my minor breakdown at the intersection) has been me walking on water.

I got home and my entire week turned around…which is purely coincidence I’m sure…

I got fantastic news that afternoon…I entered a contest a few months ago sponsored by Jovial Foods, makers of amazing GF pasta. Contestants were required to submit their favorite food memory. Entries would be narrowed down by Jovial the first week of December to 15 finalists, and then the ‘general public’ would vote on their favorite of those finalists. The person with the most votes after the voting closes on December 20th wins an all-expenses paid trip to Italy!!! And if that isn’t enough, there will be cooking lessons alongside my most favorite GF chef and author of all time: Gluten-Free Girl.   I wrote about my sweet Grandmommy and her swimming spaghetti, and found out after I got home that I’m one of the finalists!!! One of the 15!!!! Can you believe it?!   And so I need your help now! Please go to https://www.facebook.com/jovialfoods and ‘Like’ their page…then click on ‘Vote Now’ on the left-hand side – click the link to vote, and then scroll down to the bottom. Please vote!! If you deem my memory your favorite, please take a second and vote for me…I’ve got a lot of ground to make up and would thoroughly appreciate your help!

As if that news wasn’t amazing enough…it didn’t stop there…

My position was being eliminated because one of us was not needed in every single market. In lieu of 1 or more per market, the company was consolidating to 1 per region…my region being the Southeast.  I interviewed for this new regional position, hoping that there might be some chance that I wouldn’t have to be unemployed after all.  Well, my loyal blog followers, I am happy to say that after 2.5 years of hard work, I got the promotion, and got the regional job. Yay! I no longer have to stress (at least not right now) about all the things that I fret over at the stoplight. I am relieved. I am grateful. And most importantly, I am proud of myself and the name I’ve made for myself within the company thus far.

But no…that’s not it either…my week got even better this morning….

Pudge has a lot less pudge now!  I am officially down over 50 pounds!!!!!! 50 pounds – are you serious?! Me?! The girl that has failed at a million diets and attempts at weight loss in her lifetime? The girl who thought so little of herself that she didn’t feel like she deserved to be happy or healthy? The girl who refused to look at herself in the mirror for fear of taking her level of disgust to a new high?  The girl who so many times in her life didn’t feel like fighting anymore?

Yes, this girl. This girl is now happy. This girl is now on her way to being healthy. This girl now thinks she’s beautiful and amazing. This girl now can’t help but stare at herself in the mirror and admire how fantastic she’s beginning to look.  This girl has never been more in love with herself.  This girl has overcome the depths of hell. This girl has overcome her eating disorder. This girl has proved the naysayers wrong. This girl has conquered her fears and overcome her demons. This girl is walking on water.

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.”  – Voltaire

Celebra-She-On!!!

By all accounts I should consider this a really crappy week….

1)      For starters, my beloved Dallas Cowboys lost in the most horrendous, stupid, ridiculous fashion yesterday. Dumb. Just dumb…”Let’s employ really poor time management skills and instead we’ll kick a field goal from here to the South Pole, and after we miss it, we’ll let our defensive guys completely lay down on the field and not do their job. How does that sound, guys?!”

2)      As if the Cowboys loss wasn’t bad enough yesterday – it’s only a blip on the radar compared to my UNC loss the day before. There is no love like the love I have for my Tarheels.  There was a lot of yelling at the TV…even managed to cuss out a poor sweet soul who innocently called me before the game was over. Again…just dumb.

3)      To mimic the inabilities of both my favorite teams – my fantasy football team also sucked ass yesterday.  For those that don’t know how competitive I am, watch out if you’re ever matched up against me. I am mean. I am a smack talker. I am brutal when it comes to winning…and even more so if there’s a monetary prize on the line.  My relaxing Sundays filled with NFL games have now turned into Sundays of high blood pressure and 4-letter tirades. I LOVE it when I’m winning…but when I’m losing…I will warn you now: earmuffs

4)      To top all of this off with sprinkles and a cherry – I found out Friday that my position at work is being eliminated. So, after 2.5 years there, I will be unemployed as of December 11th. I had a sneaking suspicion that the restructure was coming…just didn’t know when and was certainly hoping it wouldn’t be before Christmas. Merry Christmas to me!

And I hear it’s a fabulous job market…not. I don’t know a lot about one thing, but I do know a little about a lot of things – and that’s tough to convey on my resume unfortunately. I’d love suggestions on what my next career path should be: private chef, teacher, nurse, clown?

So given my week of losing and termination, I really should be down in the dumps…I should be sad and dejected…I should be angry at the world. But I’m not. “Why?” might you ask?

Well look who picked a fabulous week to cross a milestone she hasn’t hit in over 9 years?!!!

2-4-6-8 – who’s the chick that’s losing weight? It’s me!!

Oh yeah that’s right! Under 200!!! Woot woot!

I want to thank you all again for your continued support. Whether via a text message or email or comment or in person…the encouragement you all have given me the last 10 months is priceless. Thank you for continuing to remind me that I’m not doing all of this just to entertain myself at a later date.

I came across a picture of myself from Thanksgiving last year. Decided to put it next to a picture from Thanksgiving this year.  It’s amazing how much less swollen I look. Haven’t done any before and after pics…well here’s your first installment…what a difference a year makes:

Here is Thanksgiving 2010 vs. Thanksgiving 2011 – the Royal version. (My sweet cousin, Mary Kate, crowns me the queen of every family holiday…yes, that’s right. I’m kind of a big deal.)

I know there are still more pounds to go, but I can’t help but be proud of myself in this moment. Can’t help but look at how far I’ve come and how baggy my “starter” clothes are.  I didn’t let the stupid humdrum crap happening around me get me down. I let what I have done build me up.  Who am I right now?! I’ve never been that way! I feel like I could take on the world.

I continue to be shocked by my own personal growth every day.  For the first time in my ENTIRE life (no lie…entire life), I looked in the mirror and actually liked what I saw. I had to stand there for a second and take it all in. It’s as if I was seeing myself for the first time…understanding myself for the first time. I liked the girl I saw staring back at me.  I couldn’t look away.  I actually think this girl is pretty cute…and pretty awesome…and has another pretty amazing milestone to cross next week!  Stay tuned….

“I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”  – Muhammad Ali

Law & Disorder

Who’s in favor of the fat tax? Don’t you want to pay a surcharge for fattening foods or beverages?

As if some of the legal aspects of this country weren’t crazy enough (ahem…Casey Anthony anyone?) – here are some of the ridiculous, yet slightly humorous statutes from a few states in the US.

  • Arkansas:  No person shall drive a motor vehicle onto the premises of a drive-in restaurant and leave the premises without parking such motor vehicle, unless there is no unoccupied parking space available on the premises. – So does that make it unlawful to go through a drive-thru?
  • California: In Los Angeles, It is not legal to bathe two babies at the same time in the same tub. – Ummm…has Octomom been arrested yet?
  • California: In Riverside, Kissing on the lips, unless both parties wipe their lips with carbonized rose water, is against the local health ordinance.- Oh yeah…I’m sure this happens.
  • Illinois: A state law requires that a man’s female companion shall call him “master” while out on a date. The law does not apply to married couples. – Alright girls…make sure to call him master. Until you get married that is.
  • Illinois: It is illegal for anyone to give cats, dogs, or other domesticated animals a lighted cigar. – Is this a problem in their state?
  • Indiana: It is illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette. – Well maybe they can have cigars since my cat can’t.
  • Kansas: In Topeka, Servers are forbidden to serve wine in teacups. – I’ve never had wine in a teacup…think I might try that.
  • Maryland: In Baltimore, It is illegal to take a lion to the movies. – Thank goodness I can still take my tiger!
  • New York: It is against the law to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun. – Can’t baseball technically be considered a violation of this law?
  • New York:  A man cannot be seen in public while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match. – Thank goodness! Although NY strikes me as one of the last places you’d have to worry about this…Greensboro needs this law.
  • New York:  You may only water your lawn if the hose is held in your hand. – As opposed to your feet?
  • North Carolina: It is illegal to hold more than two sessions of bingo per week, and those sessions may not exceed 5 hours each session. – Nursing homes, pay attention!
  • Ohio: It is unlawful for a woman to appear in public while unshaven. This includes legs and face. – Remind me not to move to Ohio in the winter!
  • Oklahoma: It Is Illegal To Have A sleeping Donkey In Your Bathtub After 7pm – Good thing my donkey is awake in the bathtub after 7pm.
  • West Virginia: You may not profanely curse or swear or get drunk in public, or you shall be fined by a justice one dollar for each offense. – Well hell…I’d be broke.
  • Wisconsin: The serving of colored oleomargarine or margarine at a public eating place as a substitute for table butter is prohibited. – Only in Wisconsin!
  • Wisconsin: No rider of a bicycle shall remove both hands from the handlebars or practice any trick or fancy riding in any street in the city. – Look, mom! No Hands! Now look! I’m in jail!

You know what else should be illegal?! My freaking weight gain this week!!

 

And here’s where the ‘disorder’ comes in….I’m struggling a bit with something that I thought had hibernated for good.

No, my stomach isn’t hurting…and I’m not having digestive issues. But that’s exactly the problem. I’m not having any issues with eating at all. So why is this an issue?…well…because I’m wanting to eat everything in sight!!!

I cannot remember the last time that I have felt this good. I thought that it was normal to feel like you were turning inside out after eating. So I didn’t do it as much when I was at my sickest. Now that all of that’s gone, my small appetite has gone with it. Thankfully, I can’t eat like I used to. Can’t just raid the pantry or the fridge…can’t run through the drive-thru at McDonald’s….can’t destroy a bucket of fried chicken. I’m too scared of cross-contamination to gorge myself on Mexican food. Having to eat gluten-free has greatly reduced what I can pig out on. I have managed to destroy any popcorn or cheese that has come through the threshold of my house!  Red meat – come to mama! Cool Whip – I’ve annihilated it! All of it!

My food infatuations of late haven’t been all bad…I’m currently on a ridiculous garbanzo bean dependence. At least those are good for me!  If it could be delivered via IV…I’d be first in line. Ok, maybe not. But I have eaten them at every meal the last few days. Here are a few of the scrumptious, gluten-free culinary creations I’ve indulged in….

Don’t those dishes look delicious! They tasted amazing too! And to answer the question you’re currently asking yourself…yes, I will cook for you anytime!

I have the most debilitating fear of falling back into the wrath of my compulsive overeating disorder. I’m not at that point…And I don’t think I’m near that point, but I’m so afraid that because I’m not doubled over in pain after eating something that I won’t be able to stop once I start. Unlike the past, I am very aware of this fear. Perhaps this is the time that I finally persevere through something that clouded so much of my adult life, and led to so much self-loathing.

Despite my weight gain (dammit!) this week, I am not discouraged. I finally realize that food and body obsession rob women (and men) of their power. If we are so focused on what we look like, our attention can’t be invested in more important endeavors: contributing in meaningful ways to the healing of ourselves, our communities, our world. Conversely, moving away from food and body obsession provides the perfect training ground for learning the skills we need to take back our lives and develop our power in the world.

This whole journey is not about just losing weight. It’s about finding an incredibly vital, loving, wise spirit within me as I, patiently and sometimes trembling with uncertainty, strip away years of self-rejection and self-contempt. I am starting to peel the pain away by taking care of myself: eating the foods I want to eat, standing up for myself when I need to, and letting myself grieve for the waste of life that the connection between being “skinny” and “loved” has meant for me, and I’m sure many others going through the same struggle.

The fear of failure has been high, but the risk for personal freedom is worth it. I feel it is a crucial step in learning self-acceptance – identifying who I am, what I feel; rewriting my internal rule book; challenging what I have learned about what a woman should be, about my body, my appetites, my needs, and wants. Learning to accept what I think and feel as being okay – as being the “norm” for my world – has been nothing short of miraculous. It hasn’t been an easy road, but it is certainly worth every minute.

 

“When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, I told them they didn’t understand life.”