I saw this Zen Pencils comic, and thought it was worth sharing. What fears do you need to face?
Tag Archives: Favorite Quotes
Strange title for a post, I know. Always calls to mind Zoolander: Orange Mocha Frappuccinos, anyone? More importantly, it was the #1 song this week in 1984: the week I was born.
Tomorrow I’m turning 28. (Shocking, I know. In all the pictures of the back of my head I’ve posted I look 25, 26 tops.)
The past year has been quite the ride. I’m not sure what I expected from it. I think 27 was sort of my leap into the unknown. Repeatedly.
I think I expected that once I’d started eating (and had been for a few months by the time my birthday rolled around) that things would just get better and easier all the time. Where food was concerned, that was mostly true. Once I’d conquered a food mountain, it was an easier climb the next time I encountered it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how hard the rest of it would be. 27 has arguably been one of the hardest years of my life. Actually doing the work behind the eating disorder made me realize why I battled the eating disorder for so long. It’s been a lot of white-knuckling and, when that fails, unhealthy coping skills until such time as I learn some healthy ones.
Some things are better, though. I’m learning to actually stay present in life. It’s exhausting and overwhelming, but it’s better to be a part of things than apart from things. I’m learning to actually let people in: to trust people with my spirit and trust that they won’t break it. I’m learning to be selective at who I let in my life. I have met (and kept around) some incredible people this year who inspire me, astonish me, and teach me what it is to be a real person.
I realized recently that there aren’t really “things” anymore that define me. My life doesn’t revolve around dancing, singing, and acting anymore, nor an eating disorder. While I’m in school for holistic nutrition, I’m not a “foodie”. I enjoy yoga, but it’s not my whole life. It’s really the people in my life who make me what I am.
Therefore, I am declaring the year of 28 to be “the year of the people”. May it be the best one yet.
I’m exhausted. I know, I know. That seems to be the human condition these days: everyone is tired. But honestly, I haven’t felt this bad physically since the depths of my eating disorder. I’m worn out, dizzy, weepy, and a flight of stairs can do me in. My naturopath says this is normal, as everything in my body and mind is shifting, and the only remedy is rest.
Rest. Totally got it. Work a 9 hour shift, sit on my ass for the rest of the night. Go to yoga, do a bridge instead of full wheel. Go to ballet, do single pirouettes instead of triples and mark the jumps.
Apparently, that’s not resting. I don’t know how to rest. Even now, as I recline on my couch, I’m doing research, cleaning, and blogging. I’m constantly terrified of what my mind will do if I let it be. I can deal with it in controlled doses, but if I gave it free run of the place, who knows what it will come up with? I prefer my brain safely battery-caged. And if I don’t exercise . . . well, there’s no telling what my body would do. It’s a process.
Interesting things have been happening emotionally, too. It’s funny how out-of-control exhaustion makes me feel. Historically, I have tried to control my emotions through silence or cover them with a mask of anger. If you’re silent, nobody knows you’re feeling anything. If you’re angry, people leave you alone. But if you’re sad . . . people can sense weakness and exploit it. It’s a dangerous thing.
Yesterday, in group, I decided to try to express myself without using anger to cover it. My usual response to everything: “This is BULLSHIT! This doesn’t actually work for real people. I’m SO DONE!”. Not so productive, but it’s my way of saying “I disagree, I don’t understand, I’m feeling hopeless” without sobbing. Yesterday, I tried the latter. And sobbed. And sobbed. I don’t remember the last time I cried that hard. It kind of sucked. But you know what? Don’t tell WGT, but I actually feel somewhat better. When I don’t let it out, I ruminate and just get angrier until I explode. When I explode, I feel like an asshole, and hate myself even more.
So now I’m living with sadness. I’m really sad. I have a lot of years of unexpressed emotions to work through, and it’s not going to be an easy or fun process, but on the other side of fear is freedom. Gotta hope.
Six years ago today I got home from treatment in Utah. (It also happens to be my parents’ anniversary. 37 years!)
Two weeks after that I started back to school. (Musical Theatre . . . not so much fun jumping back into a very appearance and exercise focused world straight out of lock-down)
It was pretty much just a slippery slope to relapse from there.
I used to count and celebrate that anniversary every year. I felt really guilty about it after a while, because I wasn’t doing well in recovery, but I had to keep celebrating or people would ask questions.
I felt like a complete failure. I was symptomatic, therefore I’d relapsed. It was over.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. As much as I hate to admit it, life isn’t black and white, and neither is recovery. There is a lot of space in between. If you tell yourself that you either have to be in recovery or in relapse, you’ll never win. Humans make mistakes, life gets hard, old habits are hard to break.
If you trip and fall walking down the street, you wouldn’t just give up and roll all the way home. Hopefully, you’d stand up and walk. The same goes for recovery. A lapse is not a relapse. Get back on the “recovery” horse.
So many metaphors getting tangled in this one. Still with me? Good. Here’s a little something to help you remember.
The “learning from it” part is one of the most important things I’ve learned from WGT. You can’t figure out how to fight the monster unless you figure out why it beat you in the first place. What causes the lapse is more important than the lapse itself.
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing – Henry Ford
Live. Fall. Get up. Look to see what tripped you. Try not to trip over the same thing again. This is what life is all about. This is what recovery is all about. I’d rather have a wise recovery than a perfect one.
Sorry for the delay in posting. Thank you to everyone who expressed love and concern. It’s been a busy couple of weeks with a lot of changes, so I’ve been trying to honor the part of me that needs more rest.
The changes: I’ve mentioned in previous posts some lingering problems I’ve had as a result of my eating disorder. I decided it was time to try to fix it. Since “Western Medicine” had either told me I was fixed enough, or just gave me a band-aid solution to get me through the symptoms, I looked elsewhere. I saw a naturopathic doctor two weeks ago, and she told me that she could make things better, with a combination of herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies.
I know a lot of you are probably rolling your eyes right now, picturing witch doctors and medieval blood-letting, and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. All I know is, as a child I had chronic throat infections, and after a remedy from a naturopath, I haven’t had strep throat again.
But I’m not here to argue the “east vs. west” point any more than I’ll argue religion with anyone. The point of this particular blog post is hope.
When she told me she knew the cause of my problems, and how to fix them, I felt hope for the first time in a long time. Apparently things that I thought were just character flaws are actually symptoms. But beyond that, every day this week I woke up with things wrong, hurting, tired, and instead of being miserable, I said, “It’s okay. Soon things will be better.”
Hope makes all the difference. It’s the thing that keeps you going when everything else goes to hell. Where do you find your hope?
(Back to the song titles)
This is going to sound kind of stupid for a while, but bear with me. I hope it will make sense in the end. You know. One of those recovery metaphor things I’m so fond of. Kind of. Blah. Here goes.
As per usual, a little bit of back story is required.
I’ve always REALLY sucked at picking up choreography. Like, really really. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I focused, no matter how much I practised on the side, unless I had a night to sleep on it, I wasn’t going to remember the choreo. Didn’t matter if it was someone else’s moves or my own steps. This was just a fact of my life. It didn’t matter if I was in a somewhat normal state of eating, a somewhat restrictive state of eating, or a full-blown anorexic state of eating: no amount of food would allow me to know the choreography well enough to dance full-out at an audition.
Now, I have a pretty damned decent memory for other things. I can recall conversations from my childhood verbatim. I can remember what I wore on specific dates days, weeks, years ago. I can tell you what grade I got on my geography test when I was 12. In my nerdiest times, I can look at a playbill and tell you:
- Who in the cast I’ve seen in other shows
- What roles they played in that show, and sometimes
- What name they went by before they joined Equity. They call me the Musical Theatre Encyclopaedia. Nerdiest superpower ever.
This freakish memory, however, has never extended to choreography. Frustrating as hell, but that’s my life.
Or . . .
that WAS my life.
This weekend, I decided on the spur of the moment to teach a musical theatre class instead of a tap class. I haven’t danced a step of musical theatre choreography in about 18 months. I had 15 minutes to pick music, choreograph a dance, and be ready to teach. I started scrolling through my iPod (which is, conveniently, filled with showtunes) and began to panic: I don’t think I can do this. I can’t come up with something worth teaching in this little time, and there’s no way I’ll remember it once I do! Maybe I can just teach choreography I already know from a show I’ve done before . . .
I decided to make an effort. I put on a song I know and enjoy, and just started dancing. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. I tweaked it, and kept adding on. By the end of the 15 minutes, I had a workable dance. It wouldn’t win a Tony award or anything, but it wasn’t basic “recital” choreography either. I started teaching, waiting for the moment when I’d forget.
I taught the whole dance, and we danced it together, full out. It ended up being good enough that the studio owner filmed it for promotional use. If it had been an audition, I think I would have booked it.
I’ve been semi-noticing my memory improving in ballet these past few months, but I didn’t realize the extent of it until Saturday. I can remember choreography now.
Cool. Good for you, Kelly. But where’s the metaphor? What’s the point?
A few weeks ago, I was reading a post from the blog A Life Unmeasured. She looked at the definition of “recovery”: the regaining of something taken away, or a return to a former condition. Her take on this:
“I want to create my life, not get back what I’ve lost. I want to be more forgiving of myself, less perfectionistic, more adventurous, less cautious. In other words, I want to let go of this idea I have that I will be “recovered” when I am like I used to be. I can’t be that way anymore, unless I choose a life of relapse, which is what I’ve gotten in the past.”
I don’t want to go back to the life that I had before, either. That was the life that I starved to get away from. I’ve spent my entire life trying to destroy what was and put something better in its place. I’ve gone about it the wrong ways, but even now, trying to do it “for real” this time, I never really believed that my life would be anything different than it was before.
This may be a silly, small thing, the memory for dance, but it gives me hope that maybe things will be “better than ever” in other areas of my life, too.