For today, at least…

I think I’d rather be full of light
Than lite in weight

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Great big cyber thumbs up to Laura for this one.

My favorite song E V E R is “All is Possible” by Julie Durden and its really fitting right now. She doesn’t have a video of that one. But I love this one too. (PS- check out the interpreter, btw)

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Who’s in charge here!?

Could you tell tell I was having a hard time last week?

I was.

Yesterday, Dr. J didn’t bring instant relief. When I walked in she said she could see which ribs were out, just looking at me (yeah, because I lost 11lbs in the past 6 days!) She also said my c2 hadn’t moved. I even made her double check 3 times! She worked on my knees and hips a lot, put all of my ribs back where they belong, then, of course, did my elbows… And tried to feed me cheese- which I declined.

When my ribs are in place it is easier to breathe and less uncomfortable to eat. So, even though she didn’t move my head, it still helped… just not as fast.

Next week, I have lots of plans! I never in a million years imagined that I’d have a social life to interfere with my practice schedule! Wednesday, I get to go Zentangle again! Thursday is trivia (more on this in a bit), and Friday is a party at yoga- all classes canceled! I knew I needed to regain some kind of order so I can enjoy everything coming up.

This morning I went to RAM, it’s an art and farmers market held every Saturday under a nearby bridge. It’s always a lot of fun. I got an eggplant and some local honey. I even tried the three kinds of honey he had before picking one! The one I chose is called Gallberry, I’d never had it before. I’m not always very good at describing the way things taste. But he called the orange blossom honey “sweet” and the gallberry honey he described as “light”.

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I also got an eggplant. Now, I kind of have rules about eating foods that are blue/purple. So, I don’t really know why I decided to home with big purple veggie today… But I did.

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my eggplant joins my fruit bowl

I breaded and baked it

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to keep it gluten free, I crushed up baked Lay’s instead of bread crumbs

Avery likes to help me cook

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even though it’s out of focus, I just love her crossed eyes here!

I made stacked the eggplant with fresh tomatoes on some zucchini noodles (just julienned zucchini). It was really good… But the skin was still too much to deal with. I cut it all off.

Thursday, I’m going to trivia with some friends at a restaurant downtown. There will also be people I don’t know. I promised my friend two things when we made the plans:
1) I promised to eat something… But it doesn’t have to be from that restaurant
2) I also promised that following #1, there would be no doing “bad things”

I’m really scared. No matter what I do, I’m meeting strangers, who will instantly know that I am a freak. If I order food there, I’ll have a normal kind of unknown food meltdown. And if I whip out my usual 8 frozen grapes for dinner, they’ll be like “who eats grapes for dinner??” Froot Loops is the best stranger food, because they can be sorted and played with for a looooooong time. But I wouldn’t actually eat them. Nor do I want a box of sugary, toxic, GMO, death crispies anywhere near my living space. AND, they aren’t gluten free. I kind of need to decide what to do tonight, because my family is coming up tomorrow, and then once I’m into the work week, I won’t have time/remember to revisit this predicament until it’s too late to be proactive about it.

To review:
• I already looked up the menu where we are meeting. Of course I did. I love menus, right?! There isn’t anything that I’d eat.

• If I eat 8 frozen grapes they’ll think I’m crazy (which is kind of true, but I’m also working on changing that… Most days).

• I can’t eat Froot Loops

• We are meeting on Thursday- which means I will probably be the silent passenger in the MV car just doing whatever I can not to self destruct before getting to Dr. J’s office first thing Friday morning. No matter what I’m doing, it’s always 200 times harder on Thursday nights. For example, this week, trying to run a bubble bath was curl-up-in-a-ball-and-cry worthy by Thursday night.

• SC knows and loves me, and she said even if she hadn’t already known that I was anorexic, she would have figured it out after watching me eat.

• I don’t want the strangers to think I’m a freak.

• I should probably just cancel with them

If you have any ideas….

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We’re just chilling here, open to suggestions.

Untangling My Zen

Last weekend, my friend invited me to a “zentangle circle” that she was organizing, at a bookstore, plus, it would coincide with this other thing, which would be cool. I agreed without requesting the specifics…

Like:
What is Zentangle?

Where is “some bookstore”?

What other thing?

Why?

I did, however, ask if there would be food. (Go figure)

It turns out Zentangle involves drawing.

“Some bookstore”, just happens to be downtown.

The “other thing” was a HUGE street event with about seven and a half million people attending (I live in a BIG city… I also make up numbers).

Wanna guess how much I freaked out???

I am not artistic. I suck at drawing. I have horrible fine motor skills. I can’t draw tiny lines. I can’t draw straight lines. I can’t think of designs in my head. When I do think of things I’d like to create, the brain-body connection is non-existent and I only end up frustrated.

I hate driving. I hate driving downtown… In any town, not just my own. I lived in the upper keys for a while after high school. Now, listen, I know what you’re thinking, just get out of Miami then Duval Crawl not so much, folks!!! It’s still THREE HOURS from the upper keys to the Southernmost Point. Regardless, when people came to visit, the trek was inevitable. I hate busy city driving so much that I would park on the island before Key West and force my guests to walk across the last bridge (not the 7 mile one, don’t worry). I hate parking. I hate driving around looking for parking. I hate 1 way streets. I hate the crazy flip the direction of the roads that our city does. I hate the smell of coffee. I can’t parallel park. I am scared of huge crowds. I’m scared of losing my car. I can’t follow conversations when there is lots of background noise or distracting visual stimulation.

But I really love this friend– I am not going to explain. The only relevant point is that the whole thing originated from HER specifically.

So I decided to go anyway.

I drove there!

I parked!

I figured out how to get to the meeting place!

I found her!

I met her friends!

We met a dude in a van.

I shook his hand!

Then it was Zentangle time. She showed me where to sit at the table- in a corner, on the end, and right next to her. It was perfect and “safe” for me. I was still nervous about drawing though. It took e v e r y t h i n g I had not to resort to finger sucking as a coping mechanism. Yeah, I totally do that when I’m nervous.

She handed me my square, pointed out the supplies on the table, and left to find a noodle truck. I started reading through some of the books she’d brought about zentangle. I considered a few if the step-by-step lessons, then decided against using one, because it’d create an expectation and I knew I’d end up disappointed.

Instead, I thought about the words in the book, the purpose of the art. I picked out some stickers, and just started tracing them. I used a ruler at first, but it was cumbersome and made me feel kind of pressured and anxious. So I abandoned it and just drew.

Me! Perfectionist, anorexic, obsessive…

I drew lines that were crooked in a strange place, surrounded by strange people, music, and FOOD!

Slowly, the most incredible thing started to happen… The world sort of fell away. I left texts unanswered. I left expectations. I left thoughts. I my mind and body quieted in a way unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

Eventually, my friend returned, with her box of truck noodles. She has the most amazing magnetic personality, and the world is naturally drawn to her. As I colored, I listened to her explain (repeatedly) what we were doing to people who passed by.

“This is called Zentangle. It’s only for women, who are survivors.” She’d explain, then pause and wait for the blank.

“Survivor?” Each person would inevitably ask “like cancer?”

“Like anything.” She’d answer with a warmth that said I can sense your struggles and I support you without judgement and they’d tell her. Every single person she spoke to answered immediately.

I met so many strong, brave, beautiful women tonight. I was completely blown away by the honesty and courage each new friend brought to our little Zen table.

“Here’s the deal,” my friend would continue after hearing each woman’s survival story “you make one and on the back you dedicate it, to surviving.”

I listened. And I colored.

And I cried.

Non-stop.

These women, were so brave. Without hesitation, one after another, they picked up pens and laid down their secrets out on our table.

No one asked me. But I thought…

How could I possibly answer that question here? I am sitting here coloring with people who have survived rape, cancer, violence, abuse, terror (ok, she wasn’t actually at the table but she was the inspiration). I’m surviving anorexia. I’m proud of that. I’ve worked hard. I am still working hard. I struggle daily. I fight myself, for myself every single day. I don’t question the validity of my own survivor-ness.

But I cried.
I’ve never said it out loud. I was afraid someone would ask and I’d finally have to.
I was afraid of the judgment- because people don’t understand. Eating disorders are only for overly vain, spoiled pre-teens, right?

I cried for my dad, my Jordan, Jarrett and John. I have survived of so much loss.

I cried for my ears, and my spine. I survived a devastating and life altering boat crash.

I cried.

And drew lines.

And untangled.

It was the most powerful, amazing, moving night. And we get to do it again in two weeks!!!!

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My Zentangle

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Working away (PS- that’s a girl Jordan 🙂 )

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Some finished ones

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My beautiful friend, who organized everything

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This incredible performer singing in the street as part of the other, huge, simultaneously occurring event.

Tonight was perfect.

Losing my heart to save my soul

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This picture was taken while breaking down a HUGE vendor event at a little park in a very metro, downtown city. There are busy roads and a major highway surrounding us. I down-stayed Avery and she didn’t move once the entire time we were packing up. It’s nice having a well behaved dog. But I am so thankful that we had her trained specifically FOR me. At the time, we couldn’t really come up with any pressing reasons to NEED a hearing dog, training together is fun, it’s a strong and positive way to bond with a new pet, and it seemed like the kind of thing that wouldn’t hurt to have in the back pocket. All of the time, effort and small fortune we put into the project 2.5 years ago, made it possible for Avery to live with me anywhere. Our new home has a 20lb weight limit and bully ban, from which she is exempt. It is also illegal to be charged pet fees/deposits for her. It’s true, caring for both of us by myself feels huge and overwhelming, but having her with me will allow me to me safe and independent. I need her… We need each other.

I am having to leave behind the rest of my furry family

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Sam, Chip, and Abby Grace will be staying behind with my roommates, who have sworn to get rid if them as soon as I am gone.

Sam was my first rescue, my first bottle baby, my first clicker trainee, he opened his eyes in my hand and taught me pretty much everything NOT to do with a bottle baby. I have literally hand raised thousands of kittens since him and in retrospect, it’s amazing I didn’t kill him. Sam is also a certified therapy cat, he rides in a stroller, wearing clothes and sunglasses to visit schools and nursing homes- the picture of him was actually taken during a therapy visit. He knows commands like a dog. He can sit, wait (stay), target, high 5, spin, give kisses, step up, step down and come.

Chippy is my whole heart. He caught a virus as a young kitten that left his nasal passages deformed. He has endless projectile blood boogers, needs his nose picked multiple times daily, and gets nebulized in a special box designed for him when needed. 3 years ago, at 14 months old he was already immune to EVERY antibiotic option and struggling so hard to breathe, we decided the kindest thing to do was end his suffering. I had to take him alone and by the time I walked into the vet’s office I was hysterical we were both drenched in tears and snot. Is was the sweetest cat on the planet and only a year old, he couldn’t possibly be through sharing his gifts with the universe. Fortunately, our vet is a treasure. She admitted that medically, we had run out of options, but drugs and western medicine are only half of the picture. She asked how creative I was willing to get, if we held off euthanizing him that day. In that moment, losing him seemed inevitable, but I agreed, just to squeeze out a few more days together. We were referred to a human chiropractor who works on animals after hours for $10 a visit. An appointment was set for two days later. The morning we left for his adjustment he couldn’t even stand up and was breathing heavily through his mouth. His tiny body was hot and limp in my lap as I drove. I figured we would be stopping at the vet’s to say good by for real this time after the chiropractor. Chippy crawled right into the doctor’s lap and purred the whole time she was working in him. After a few minutes, she handed him back to me so she could work from a different angle. I could feel every excruciating breath from his raspy little lungs against my hands, and still, he purred. As the doctor manipulated his neck a strong POP reverberated through his body, and then everything went completely still and silent against my skin. I immediately burst into tears. “Hey,” she said quietly and tapped my shoulder, “it’s ok, look, he’s breathing, you however, are not.” I wiped my eyes and checked, sure enough, my little cat was laying in my lap, eyes blissfully closed, breathing quietly through his nose. Tentatively, afraid to disturb him or ruin that magical moment, I drew my fingers along his side. In silence we sat and watched my fingers ride the waves of each glorious breath. Chippy ran and played for hours with the other kittens that night. He’s still got boogers, but he’s got a long full life ahead of him too.

Abby Grace was just a few hours old when a friend called to say her husband had found some kittens in a hole while he was mowing. Abby and her brother came within INCHES of being mulched. He noticed them just in time. Abbs has a brain problem. Her head shakes, she flops over on her side while standing, and struggled to learn to walk. I got fired from a stupid job right about the time her brother was learning to climb the back of the couch. I felt totally defeated and miserable, sitting home alone all day. I spent lots of time watching the cats play (we didn’t have dogs back then). Everyday, little Abby Grace would flop her way over to the couch and try to climb like the other kittens. At first, I’d try to help and lift her to the top, but she’d get angry, shake her head and make Donald Duck sounds at me. So I left her a line. Slowly, painstakingly, she progressed up the cough, gaining mere millimeters each day. She never ever stopped trying though. Her determination was so motivating and inspiring for me during that extremely dark phase of my life. By the time Abby was getting near the top, I was starting a new job. We were both pretty proud of ourselves.

These cats own so much of my heart.

As rescuers, we can be a pretty hateful and condescending crowd. We are quick to put ourselves on a pedestal and damn anyone giving up a pet. We declare our dogs children and swear to live under a toadstool with our cat before living in an apartment without it. The very community I’ve devoted the greater part of my adult life to will be waiting with pitchforks to skewer than burn me at the stakes when they find out what I’ve done.

I could probably come up with the monthly fees, and ask my mom to help with the deposits. I could probably even hide them illegally. I could put on a face-saving show for the rescue world and promote myself like a one-person-critter-lovin-just-call-me-Wonder-Woman special feature. And many many rescuers choose that route. Gabriel is the product of one of those people, his demons have not been small, or easily vanquished. I’d rather be true to myself, and these cats that I so deeply love.

I honestly don’t feel that I could adequately care for them at this time. So I am making the most responsible choice possible, and giving up a part of my heart, to save my soul. The stairs to the new apartment are flooded with my tears, fore I know, every item moved towards my new life is taking me away from these precious kitties.

I am heartbroken, crushed, devastated.

I have to do this for myself, and for the lives I will be able to save when I am better and stronger and safe, myself.

Please, try not to hate me.

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Safe to Explore

Sometimes, I feel like I have to blog right after eating. Not to brag that I did or anything… Just to try to make sense of it all. I’ve always hated food, always been confused by other peoples’ affinity for it, always worried simultaneously about being different and the same.

At the beginning of 2nd grade, we filled out these little “About Me” posters with things like our pets, siblings, favorite books and food. Every kid in the class wrote pizza… Except me. I wrote spinach. Our teacher hung them up around the room and left them for the whole year. To this day I could still walk you to the cabinet where my poster hung. I’ll never forget, because every time a parent or visitor came in, they’d walk across that back wall reading our little kid scrawl. They’d smile as they read, each poster lead to the next pizza, pizza, pizza, each poster leading them closer the mine, above the water fountain. Four posters left, three posters left, two, I’d slink as low as possible into my desk, heart racing, one poster left, I’d hold my breath and wait. Zero posters left, I’d hear the laughing, and knew they’d reached mine. Next year, I promised myself, next year, I’ll just write “pizza”.

Twenty years later, I still write “pizza” on those things. I still prefer spinach. I still hate pizza.

I think my parents used to tell me “you don’t like this.” If they didn’t want to share something that they were eating. I have long lists of things I’m still unwilling to try, because I have distinct memories of my parents saying “you don’t like this. Here, have a piece of cheese.”

As I got older, it became inconvenient to have an 8, 10, 12 year old who only are cheese. Miss B has been my friend since we were babies. My dad would always say “why won’t you try xxx. Miss B eats it. Miss B will eat anything! Even sushi and coffee! Don’t you want to be more like her?” Um, no. Not really. I just want cheese.

Spinach, cheese, citrus, brown rice, peanut butter and candy… That’s pretty much how I got by. I learned to eat fake meats and ice cream while working at summer camp when I was 20… Until I got banned from the dining hall for lining up my Cheerios, separating the Lucky from my Charms, and sorting my Fruit Loops instead of eating them.

Now, I’m all grown up. I’m independent. There’s no one left telling me how or what to eat, no one deciding for me “you don’t like this”, no one is making fun of me for loving spinach any more. It’s safe to try things. ANY things! And I’m soooo curious! Terrified too. I don’t want to do it wrong.

This morning I put veggies and spicy salsa on something that most folks prefer with syrup and sugar. Breaking the pancake rules was nerve wracking, but when I posted a picture on my Facebook, ELEVEN people said I should open a vegetarian restaurant.

And no one made fun of me.

Try-Food Challenge

Try-Food Challenge
Week 1, Part 3

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Cactus Pear

The final Try-Food from last weekend is the cactus pear, because they are pink, and I like pears. I like most fruits and figured it would be the easiest of the 3 challenge foods I picked…

So, Teenie, if this was so easy why did you ignore it for a week?

Good question! You see, I ran into a bit of a hang up when I started Googling what to to do with it. The majority of the websites I checked advised wearing heavy leather work gloves while handling fresh cactus pears. They also assured readers that cactus pear from a grocery store would be specially scrubbed and safe to touch with bare hands. Nonetheless, the thought was there, and I was now afraid to interact with my little pink fruit.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It’s 4pm. So far today, I’ve had Gebi’s soggy almonds and citrus, but nothing else. It’s hailing, and our power’s been out for hours.

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even my iPhone knows the weather is bad

Everything I have, either needs to be blended or heated up…. Everything, that is, except my scary cactus pear. I’m not exactly gaining (or even maintaining) at the moment. I know I need to have lunch.

If not now, when? (I guess)

So, without touching the pear, I dump the fruit bowl onto a plate. Take a deep breath,

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And cut a line down the length as instructed by YouTube. Can you tell from my fingers I really didn’t want to be touching that thing?

Next, I used the knife to peel back the skin and cut up the edible part.

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It did NOT taste like watermelon bubble gum at all!!! I don’t think it really had much flavor at all, to be honest. What it did have was seeds, which are edible. However, mixed texture with crunchy things in something soft is considered capital offense by my mouth and punishable by immediate death via garbage disposal.

Plus, it dyed my fingers,

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Strike 2 cactus pear, you’re outta there!

Presently, I have no power and no lunch, BUT I do know that I dislike cactus pears!

Little Yogini, Big Day

After surviving yoga, I decided to drive an hour across town to the art and farmers market. I somehow had it in my mind that I was going to buy produce there. Which is, of course, ridiculous and way more than I could possibly deal with. Instead, I spent time with some friends, who I haven’t seen in months, and took pictures of their cute dog, Jack.
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Jack was fantastic. But the humans had a lot to say about my size. I sent Jack’s mom a text after I left, and told her all of the reasons she shouldn’t be jealous. Her reply was really sweet, and supportive. I am always shocked how nice people have been, when I am brave enough to tell them.

Last night, my closest friend/soulmate/secret keeper/sooo much more, there aren’t even words for what she is… Anyway, last night (or this morning), she somehow convinced me that I wanted to know how to make her soup. And, not only that, but, if she spent the time explaining how to do it. I had to agree to actually try. Which I did- with the stipulation, that it had to be EASY, with minimal interaction with the food.

As our conversation meandered through the wee hours of the morning, it brushed on homemade nut butters, almond milk, and banana ice cream- as in, ice cream made FROM bananas, not banana flavored ice cream.

True to my word, I spent the afternoon collecting supplies, ingredients, and my thoughts, in preparation for the promised soup making. And since I was already at it, I decided to take on a bit more than soup. I set the soup up.
T

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And while it boiled, I made mixed nut butter!!!

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I didn’t really believe it was possible, and just got the cheapest nuts I could find to experiment with. Now that I’ve seen it really work, I want to butterize macadamia nuts.

When i finished with the nut butter, I made banana ice cream.

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I cut up the bananas, and strawberries myself, and still ate it- which is HUGE for me. It tasted more like baby food than ice cream. I think the bananas may need to be more frozen. I only used half of what I cut up, so I can try again in a few days.

By the time I finished with the ice cream, I was starting to feel extremely overwhelmed, and had to leave the room for a while. My whole body was shaking, and tense. I got under my covers and cried for a little bit.

When I calmed down, I went back, split the soup out into single serving size containers, cleaned the kitchen, and took another break to relax before actually eating the soup. It’s delicious, healthy, loaded with veggies and things the body loves, made TONS, and I will have something easy to eat all week, so on the very tired yoga days and the days where touching/preparing food is too much to cope with, I will still have something healthy and wonderful.

I haven’t tried the nut butter yet. I have maxed out my food tolerance for this weekend… And don’t feel at all guilty falling asleep wayyy under the daily goal tonight.