effortlessly perfect

{October 28, 2011}   words of wisdom

I started this blog in hopes of having a place to share my thoughts, feelings, and anything else I struggle to share in real life.  And while it has definitely served it’s purpose on that front, it has also been great to be able to connect with others and follow a random assortment of blogs on a variety of topics.

I ran across a post a couple days ago and wanted to share it… but for whatever reason my computer isn’t letting me reblog it, so you’ll have to check out this link directly.  It’s a great non-eating disorder post that totally relates. I hope you check out the words of wisdom in this post on Six Things to Stop Caring About Today and visit his blog frequently. You’ll be glad you did!


{October 27, 2011}   more pics…

{October 25, 2011}   If you really knew me…

If you really knew me…

  • you’d know that I am afraid of losing this battle.
  • you’d know that I am afraid it will become too much for me and that I will just give up.
  • you’d know that I am just now figuring out who I am or that I am someone independant of who I “should” be.
  • you’d know that I smile all the time because I see emotions as weakness.
  • you’d know that sometimes I just want you to listen… not talk, not interrupt, not offer advice or suggestions. Sometimes all I want is you to sit there and listen and to feel like you care.
  • you’d know that I’m scared that you will leave me.
  • you’d know that sometimes the weight of my sadness is too much for me to handle, like I’m drowning and can’t keep my head above water.
  • you’d know that at any point in the day, I know exactly how many calories I’ve eaten.
  • you’d know that I choose to hurt myself because it hurts less than having to feel anything else.
  • you’d know that there are so many things I wish I could say.
  • you’d know that your words and actions hurt me even though they weren’t meant to.
  • you’d know that I cry when you hug me because of the emptiness and pain I know I’ll feel when you finally let me go.
  • you’d know that I am so incredibly mean to myself.
  • you’d know that I look at the nutritional information of every restaurant menu before I go there with you.
  • you’d know that I really just want to be happy and content.
  • you’d know that I sometimes need your help, but I’m not sure how to tell you this.
  • you’d know that I really do care about you.
  • you’d know that I cry when no one is around.
  • you’d know that I hold back from recovering because I hang on to my eating disorder as an excuse to not chase after my real goals or truly live life.
  • you’d know that I don’t like my eating disorder. I just am having a hard time disliking it right now.
  • you’d know that I feel too ashamed, too embarrassed and too scared to tell you that I can’t cope without hurting myself.
  • you’d know that I can’t see myself as anything but fat and ugly.
  • you’d know that I weigh myself constantly.
  • you’d know that I’m afraid to truly know myself and understand my feelings and wishes.
  • you’d know that as I’m smiling and laughing, I have voices screaming and degrading me in my head.
  • you’d know that my family is more dysfunctional than I like to admit.
  • you’d know that I believe that everyone’s flaws should be accepted and forgiven except for mine.
  • you’d know that I’m always in a state of obsession. My mind is always going a mile a minute and ED is ALWAYS screaming at me about something. I never have a moment of pure peace or silence in my head.
  • you’d know that I’d love to escape to somewhere by the ocean, to eat, drink, dance, and sleep without a care in the world.
  • you’d know that I regret not being more committed during treatment. I didn’t make the progress I could have and I hate myself for that.
  • you’d know that I feel guilty about all the pain I feel.
  • you’d know that I hate feeling vulnerable and I will do almost anything to avoid it.
  • you’d know that I am very sensitive, although I attempt to be seen by others as strong.
  • you’d know that what you said hurts.
  • you’d know that I am crying for help, but can’t find the words.
  • you’d know that no one could berate me more than I do myself.
  • you’d know that I hate being needy and yet I long to be taken care of.
  • you’d know that without this mask I don’t really know who I am.
  • you’d know that I struggle to be trusting of anyone.
  • you’d know that my eating disorder is the only constant in my life, the only thing which feels unchanging regardless of what is going on around me. It is the only guarantee, the only certainty, the only thing loyal to me throughout everything that comes my way.
  • you’d know that the bigger my smile, the bigger my pain.
  • you’d know that I use my body to convey what my words cannot.
  • you’d know that I always feel like a burden, but usually try to hide it.
  • you’d know that I don’t want you to give up on me. I need you to believe in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
  • you’d know that I will not show that I am mad at you. In fact, I probably won’t even feel mad at you, unless someone else reassures me that it IS something that is ok to be mad about.
  • you’d know that I am constantly searching for something that will make my parents proud of me.
  • you’d know that sometimes I cancel plans with you because I feel fat or don’t want to be seen.
  • you’d know that I am scared shitless because I don’t know what to do with my life and I cannot cope without direction.
  • you’d know that I am trying to hold tight to my faith and stay strong in my relationship with God.  It is often harder than I would like to admit.
  • you’d know that I have an immense amount of guilt over my actions and eating disorder.  This prevents me from telling you about them, as I don’t want you to shoulder my pain or know my secret for what it is.
  • you’d know that I am afraid that I could achieve wonderful things in life. But I have never let myself try, because I am afraid of failing miserably.
  • you’d know that I’m scared that this will kill me.

{October 13, 2011}   On my mind…

Too tired this morning to pull together an actual post, but wanted to share a few things that are on my mind… I’ll warn you in advance, they are pretty random…

1. I think I’m having an “emotion hangover.” After crying for what seemed like forever yesterday, I feel like I have a legit hangover… headache, tired, dry eyes, dehydrated, no focus, just want to sleep. It’s amazing to me how letting yourself have feelings and drinking a pitcher of margaritas can make you feel the same way the next day.

2. My therapist said something the other day that really hit me hard. He said that while I value my performance and appearance, I don’t value myself. That I don’t really care about my true self or the person that I am. On one hand it seemed like a no-brainer, while on the other hand it seemed really harsh. Not that he said it, but that it was true.

3. Why is it that I treat myself so badly and in ways that I would NEVER even consider treating other people? I say things to myself that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. And I do things to myself that I couldn’t imagine even thinking about doing to others. Why is it that I will give others all of the love, compassion, and understanding that we all deserve… but can’t give myself permission to be anything less than strong and flawless?

4. It’s amazing to me how our minds work. It’s as if we will notice, believe, remember and process things in ways that support what we want. I don’t want to hurt or feel emotions, so I minimize them, hide them, suppress them, or excuse them away. I wanted my family and childhood to be perfect, so I altered experiences in my head to make it seem like it was. I’m imagining it was a type of self-preservation or coping mechanism for me… and probably still is. The crappy part is that eventually, to truly heal, that band-aid has to be ripped off. And that’s gonna hurt like hell.

5. Never underestimate the impact you can have on someone else. I think we are often times hesitant to get involved, because we don’t want to offend people, get too close, or step on people’s toes. However, I’m starting to realize that most people are just as broken and hurt as everyone else. Could you imagine what our world would be like if we didn’t have to think twice about giving (and receiving) hugs, cards, messages, love, and true emotion?

6. Have you ever thought about your own funeral? What it would be like? Who would come? What you’d want said? What music you’d want played? How you’d want to me remembered?  Do you think you get to see your own funeral from heaven?

{October 12, 2011}   tears. instant tears.

I ran across this picture on facebook and instantly broke in to tears. His eyes, the hand, the words… it was all too much for me. What a powerful and painful message. His sweet little eyes and innocent tears break my heart for all of the young children who are treated as anything less than perfect little gifts from above. My tears also come from a very personal place… for the hurtful words I felt as a child and still feel today. It’s also hard to deny that often times that hand and those words are my own… slowly choking myself, holding myself down and making myself cry.

{October 10, 2011}   more than just a car

So, I bought a new car this weekend. Might not seem like a monumental achievement for some people… or even for me, seeing as how this is not my first new car purchase. However, this particular car and purchase was HUGE for me.

You see, I struggle to do things for myself, especially when it comes to spending money. I am ridiculously good at justifying why my money is better spent on other things or people… or just saved for something more important down the road. It’s as if my happiness really isn’t worth much at all to me.

While I have always been blessed with stable finances and the ability to buy new cars when I need them, I have a real problem even considering what kind of car I want. Instead, I choose the logical car… relatively inexpensive, no bells & whistles, good gas mileage, reliable, etc. I know it sounds like a boring way to buy a car, but it helped me avoid the guilt of buying anything that was more than a need. Just something to get me from point A to point B.

Well… long story short… the car I bought on Saturday is unlike any car I have ever driven or even considered. It’s a car I absolutely love. I seriously haven’t stopped smiling about it since I bought it. 🙂 And while it wasn’t the most frugal choice on the lot, it is something I can afford… but could have never given myself permission to do until this weekend. It felt incredibly selfish to commit to something that is solely for my enjoyment, but I’ve loved every minute of it so far!

Who knew that buying a car could mean so much… not just tires and doors… but an opportunity to start putting myself first.  Something that is long overdo!

If you haven’t read “and then some days it just clicks” from earlier today, I would recommend doing so, before venturing in to this post…. it will make a lot more sense if you do. 🙂   I believe there are two other main concepts that we chatted about that impacted me heavily this morning…

2. I was telling my therapist about a situation this week where I found myself sitting on a bathroom floor at work after purging my breakfast. I remember my hands shaking, eyes watering, and head pounding from the crap that I had just put my body through. I told her that I remember sitting there, thinking about the fact that what I had just eaten wasn’t even all that much… probably less than a normal meal for most people and definitely far from a binge or too much. I remember resting my head against the cold wall and asking myself “what is wrong with me?” In that moment the purging and self-abuse didn’t make sense. The high from purging was gone and it was just me with my (seemingly rational) thoughts.

My therapist then said, “Well, what is wrong with you?” Her simple, honest and compassionate question made me think. I mean, let’s get real, obviously something is wrong with me if I’m going to completely freak out after eating half an omelet and decide to throw it up in the bathroom at work. I know I’m pretty messed up right now, but I still know that isn’t normal. Her question made me think about my past week… what had happened, what was I feeling, what could possibly be making me cling so tightly to ED?

To be honest, my week had been ok. I was working on speaking up, setting boundaries, having a voice, and enjoying life a little more. On the surface it didn’t seem that bad… but the ED behaviors (including the specific incident we were talking about) had increased and gotten worse. I asked her if working on all of the other things could make the ED stuff worse. She said yes, it absolutely could.

Then I tried to articulate something that I hadn’t really thought of before. When I try to create this perfect image, with no emotions or needs, lots of smiles, and be completely self-less, I use my eating disorder to cope with or numb the pain of not having an identity and feeling disappointed and unsatisfied.  This side of things made sense to me. However, then I started to explain that it seems like when I work against that image of perfect, building healthy relationships, setting boundaries, voicing my opinion, being ok with enjoying things, asking for what I need or want, etc, my eating disorder is still there… often times even louder, stronger, and more distructive. I use it to deal with the shame, guilt, and fear that I have for beginning to break down the walls and going against this perfect, self-less image that I’ve held so close for so long. The ED behaviors are my attempt to have control and comfort while I’m dealing with so many things that are outside my comfort zone. It’s this side of things that I never really considered or understood.

I guess I felt that if I was making better decisions and working toward a healthier life that the ED stuff would lessen… not get worse!  However, talking through it with my therapist this morning helped it all make sense. I started to understand that I could make great strides in one area, while struggling immensely in another. That what seems like a good week, can trigger ED even louder than before. I’m also learning that ED is much more complex that I ever even realized. Crap.

3. The last concept is one that I instantly connected with, but never really realized until she mentioned it this morning. She said that with many addictions, people “glorify” the behavior, high, or subject, while minimizing any negative feelings or consequences. She gave a few examples to help explain her point, but I could have stopped her and rambled off about 10 of my own. I would have never used the word “glorifying” but that is exactly what I’m doing!

I instantly thought of the pictures I look at of beautiful, thin models. Looking perfect, smiling, laughing, and posed in a way to show that they are having fun and couldn’t love life any more than they do right now. Yes, that’s what I want. I want to look like that. I want to be them. And honestly, I don’t care what it takes to get there. I browse clothes catalogs and websites, fantisizing about the amazing wardrobe I will have when I get to my goal weight. I think about how everything else in my life will just all fall together… because nothing could be wrong with a life that includes such a beautiful, thin woman.

Right, obviously, this is all crap. I absolutely glorify my eating disorder, addiction, and what I aim to gain from it. And I absolutely minimize what it is doing to my health, emotions, relationships, and life. I plan to put this at the top of my To Do list on things to work on. I can’t get myself to eat breakfast consistently, but maybe I can at least get myself to gain a more realistic idea of the positives AND negatives of this addiction I find myself consumed with.

I met with my therapist this morning. I walked in feel very defeated, hopeless, and lost. Not in a run-away from home kind of way. But more in a lost in the woods without a compass kind of way. No real path or goals (other than lose as much weight as possible), little support, no voice, what’s the point, tired of trying… It’s not the first time I’ve been in this place, but needless to say, it pretty much sucks.

I sat down in her office without much to say. Things aren’t good. ED behaviors are getting worse. Not sure what’s going wrong or what I should do. Don’t want to talk to the dietician. Don’t want to do anything but restrict and lose weight. This morning wasn’t even a determined, because I get strength from it, kind of desire to restrict. It was more like a defeated, because I can’t do anything else right so I might as well be good at something, kind of desire to restrict. Not fun.

The session started kind of slow, as I rambled and she asked questions. But about halfway through the hour, my therapist made magic out of my ramblings. I honestly wish I could have tape-recorded those 30 minutes, because it was like things were finally starting to click in my head. It didn’t make me instantly want to stop restricting, follow my meal plan perfectly, and feel wonderful about myself, but it did make me think about a few things that I had never considered before… or maybe I had considered them, but they didn’t click with me until she explained them the way she did this morning.

I honestly don’t even think that the concepts were all that radical, but it was exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it. I’ll try to share the concepts here, so I can come back to them when I struggle…

1. When I first started seriously restricting, I had a goal weight in mind. I was (and kind of still am) convinced that when I get to this goal weight, I will be happy. Life will be better and some (not all, but some) of my problems will go away. I understand it’s not going to be all butterflies and rainbows, but I truly thought that being thinner would give me the confidence and strength to tackle some of the bigger obstacles that exist in my life.

My doctors, therapists, and a couple good friends have told me in the past that achieving my goal weight wouldn’t actually make me happy. That I wouldn’t be content, because there would always be something else to work on… something else that I would need in order to make me happier. While I truly was convinced that they were wrong, I had noticed this a little already, with my constantly lowering goal weight.  In the past eight months, my goal weight had lowered 25 pounds… and I wasn’t even close to it yet! I can only imagine what it would be if I were actually there.

But today, this concept hit home even more, as confessed that I had already noticed I was becoming more obsessed with achieving the perfect body and appearance.  Once I reached my goal weight, I was planning to get my teeth whitened, do something fabulous with my hair, find someone to give me manicures and pedicures regularly to make sure my nails looked perfect, pick out the perfect perfume, find a trainer to make sure I stayed in great shape… the list goes on. I even found myself looking into the possibility of getting a facelift, because I didn’t like how my eyebrows were starting to droop slightly. I think that’s when I realized my therapist might be right. I mean, I’m 31 and looking in to a facelift for an extremely minor (possibly non-existent) issue. Probably not the best sign of sanity.

As I realized that reaching my goal weight was just the first stop on my never-ending journey toward perfect, a light bulb popped on over my head. Perfect doesn’t exist. I will never be perfect. I may end up killing myself in the process. And I will undoubtedly be miserable during my pursuit of this perfection. I’m still not sure exactly how this new revelation will affect my life and thoughts going forward… but it was a big moment for me to truly understand what they had been saying for so long and actually grasp that they were right.

{October 5, 2011}   dinner

the chaos from my head during dinner last night…

So, I’m sitting at dinner, hungry from not eating all day. Stomach growling, head pounding, shoulders aching. I want to eat. I need to eat. But I can’t. I won’t. Everyone else orders food. I order a diet coke. I can’t eat. I can’t hate myself tonight. I want to feel strong. I need to feel strong.

I pick up my cell phone and google thinspo. I know better. I know I shouldn’t. I know this isn’t good for me. But I need strength. A reminder that I shouldn’t eat. That I need to lose weight. That I need to be thinner, better, stronger.

My phone fills up with pictures of thin, beautiful women. Long legs, thin arms, flat stomachs. Legs, arms, and stomachs that I so desperately want. Looking at the pictures doesn’t make my hunger subside. But my determination to restrict gets stronger.

I can do this. I can get through this one night. I won’t hate the number on the scale tomorrow morning. I will have a reason to be proud of myself. I will be one small step closer to my goal. With one less reason to be mad at myself. One less thing I am screwing up. The battle is constant. But tonight, it is a battle I will win.

{October 3, 2011}   a little sprinkle of faith…

This weekend was crazy busy and has my mind racing with so many thoughts. I am planning to write more later tonight, but wanted to quickly share a few passages and prayers that I have run across throughout the past week or so…

“…put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and clothe yourselves with a new self.”  ~Ephesians 4:22-23

The following prayer was written as the closing to a message that included the scripture above. I liked it and wrote it down…. “Gracious God, I’m back again at the beginning of another day and another week. There may still be old habits, regrets, petty jealousies, anger, greed, and envy I need to get rid of. Help me keep working on it by the power of your grace that one day, perhaps even today, I can enjoy the beauty of life around me. In the name of Jesus. Amen”

This was today’s entry in my Prayers & Blessings daily calendar that sits on my desk at work. It made me smile… “May you know the depth of God’s desire to bless you – His love is unconditional, His promises are infallible, and the good things He has planned for you are unstoppable.”

et cetera