Tag Archives: Holidays

How x Saved Me From My Eating Disorder

A few years ago, during my second last relapse, I used to imagine writing a book about my recovery. It would be titled “How Saved Me From My Eating Disorder”. That’s a pretty boring title. Maybe that would be the subtitle, with some catchy one word title like “Starved” or “Bones” or “Batshitcrazy”.

Anyhow, the stood for any number of things. At one time, the title even made some vague reference to how one eating disorder saved me from another. I was constantly searching for that one thing or another that would SAVE ME. I read Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me and Unbearable Lightness (Trigger Warning) and Hungry (Trigger Warning) and Wasted (Trigger Warning) and any other recovery book I could get my hands on (all the while pedalling maniacally on the stationary bike) looking for that one thing. That one thing would never come. I had to save myself.

There were many things that helped me save myself, however. Some of them were pretty standard: therapy, yoga, friends, family, the usual, but some of them were a little out there. Over the holidays, I’m going to make an effort to write about those various random things. I don’t know whether any of these things will help you, but it might get you looking at things in your life differently, learning how to find help in the strangest of places.

In the meantime, here’s an article I found on Huff Post Women. It’s a very brave, and very smart how to: Holiday Eating: 17 Things To Consider When You’re Obsessing About Food And Weight. It got so much positive feedback on my Facebook wall, that I decided to share here. Happy Holidays, all. Be safe.

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Filed under Blatherings, Tips and Tricks (The Healthy Kind)

The Turkey and The Stuffing

Yep. It’s a song title. From the lovely Susan Egan‘s Winter Tracks. Because in the US of A, Thanksgiving happens in the winter. Well, almost. It usually snows though. Unless you live in a warmer state. Sometimes it falls on my birthday . . .

Anyhow.

This weekend marks Canadian Thanksgiving. I was going to write a post bitching about holidays, but then I realized I’d already done that last year. Last year, I also wrote what I was thankful for. That list still applies, but it’s a nice time to look back and be thankful for all the things that have changed.

  1. My job. In one week, it will mark a year since I started working at the health food store. At the time, it was just a way to pay the bills and get out of the house a couple of days a week. Little did I know it would lead me to discovering my new career path.
  2. School. New friends, a new career to pursue, and new knowledge. I’ve always liked school, and it kind of feels like coming home. I didn’t realize it, but my brain had been aching for a workout. Intellectual fulfilment is important to me, and now I know it.
  3. Career prospects. After leaving acting, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I remember last summer, hanging out with some lovely friends reading tarot cards (yep, tarot cards), I asked what I should do with my life. They essentially told me that I should let go of rigidity and stop searching for something to fulfil me, that the answer would come from finding myself and figuring out my passion. It did.
  4. A chance to give back.  For those of you who don’t know me personally (because those who do know me have DEFINITELY heard about it by now), I was just honored with the opportunity to join the board of directors for a charity I very much believe in. I’ll be telling you all more about it in an upcoming post.
  5. The tough stuff. This year, I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s been really hard. Part of me wishes I could go back to not knowing. But everything I’ve learned has taught me something, and (hopefully) will be an important tool in making recovery stick this time. “The more you know . . . ” right?
  6. People. It’s been hard learning to let people in, and I’m still not very good at it, but I think it’s worth it . . . I think . . . I hope. But I think people and relationships are what it’s all about, yes? I mean, people can hurt us more than anything else, so doesn’t it make sense that they can heal us more than anything else?

Here’s one of my favorite people. He makes me smile and reminds me why life is good. Ladies and gentlemen, once again, my godson Liam:

He knows how to rock the sandy look, yes?

Happy Thanksgiving to all, regardless of where you call home. What are you thankful for today?

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Un-bait Your Breath

I know you’ve all been waiting to hear what happened with the saga of pink eye and my Christmas plans. Well, wait no longer:

Source: google.ca via Kelly on Pinterest

 

 

The eyes cleared up in time for Christmas! Bright-eyed and somewhat bushy-tailed, I went about my Christmas plans. My shopping wasn’t as carefully planned and thought out as it normally would have been, both my finances and my health having difficulty coinciding this season, but I did my best with a 2 day blitz and a whole lot of knitting. I actually managed to score some pretty sweet deals, because what idiot leaves their shopping until that close to Christmas? This idiot.

I had a better holiday than I could have hoped for, saw everyone I hadn’t seen in a long time, and made it home in pretty much one piece. People spoiled me rotten, and let’s face it, hugs and kisses from relatives under the age of 12 are pretty much the best things ever. Hugs from too-cool teenaged boys are pretty good, too, valuable mostly due to their scarcity.

So all worked out for me. Rather than go on and on about my holiday festivities (my fingernails on the keys look pretty stellar in my new OPI Muppet Collection “Wocka Wocka!” nail polish) I’d like to share with you a story from my first trip out, post-contagion.

I was at the grocery store on my first trip out, and I was pretty excited to be near other human beings. Living alone in quarantine for more than 24 hours is a challenge for me these days.  Now that I’m more-or-less free of my ED prison, any confinement makes me antsy. So, Christmas music playing on the radio, humans around me, the promise of going home for the holidays back on, I was feeling pretty in the holiday spirit.

I saw a woman walking towards me, most likely in her 70s, in one of the coolest outfits I’ve seen in a long time. Furry boots (but not in the awkward yeti-boot, I might be part sheep dog kind of way), opaque black tights, a knee-length furry coat (I’m hoping it was vegan fur . . . My memory would prefer her to not be wearing dead animal), and a super jaunty beret. She was all smiles, so I smiled and told her how much I liked her outfit. She stopped and we chatted about our mutual love of thrift shopping (she maintains that the Salvation Army is where it’s at, Value Village getting too expensive). She had one of those comforting whiskey-and-cigarettes old-lady voices that you want next to you at a bingo game. As we went back to our respective shopping, I wished her a happy holiday, and once again complimented her “cozy and festive” styling. She promptly burst into tears and told me I’d made her day. She said she was all alone in the world, and hates the holidays because of it, so she’d been pretty miserable of late. She had only ventured out that day because cat food was on sale, and she wanted her 2 kitties to have a happy holiday. We had a big hug at the end of the “Household Paper” aisle, and went on our ways.

We ended up in line one after the other, and chatted the whole time. She wished me a happy holiday and gave me another big hug and a kiss on the cheek/ear.

It kind of put things in perspective. While I was afraid I’d be alone on the holiday and couldn’t see my family, at least I had a family and friends that I could see again post-illness. This lady had nobody at any time of year. Now, I know all your positive vibes worked wonders for me, clearing up my eyes in record time, so I was wondering if you could send some love and happiness to the lady in the furry coat. I don’t know her name, but the universe will take the love where it’s needed.

Give love wherever you can. You never know when it can change a moment, a day, or maybe even a life.

A little "Santa Love" from my family Christmas Eve. May the Claus be with you.

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Manifesting Destiny

I’ve talked more than once on here about my awesome therapist (Finally decided on a code name: WGT aka World’s Greatest Therapist). So, WGT has many “isms” and two of them in particular apply to today’s topic:

1. Whenever I get sick, she never fails to ask me, “What’s your body trying to tell you?”

and

2. Whenever I’m freaking out about something that might happen in the future, she tells me that it probably will happen, because I’m devoting so much negative energy towards it.

I said she was awesome, I didn’t say she was warm and cuddly (at least not ALL the time).

So remember those two points while I give you a little bit of backstory. You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been pretty anti-holiday for most of the year (well, since I started blogging, but I assure you, it’s been most of the year). I was dreading Christmas this year, and freaked out repeatedly about scheduling, food, seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while, and the holiday itself. I got as many details squared away as possible, and had the whole holiday planned out, nearly down to the minute. Over-planning makes me feel better about most things, because I’m just not ready to tackle spontaneity. With the details sorted out,  I was starting to look forward to Christmas. The plan wasn’t perfect, but it seemed the best option given the circumstances.

Then, on Sunday night, I get hit with this:

No, I was not asked to star in a holiday production of Swan Lake. Nor did I turn into Natalie Portman. No, I didn’t get knocked up out-of-wedlock (although that would have been in keeping with the holiday theme: Jesus being a bastard and all). I got struck with what they call, “viral conjunctivitis”. While that’s what “they” call it, most people know it as Pink Eye. The kind that can’t be treated with antibiotics. The kind that’s contagious as long as your eyes are pink and crusty and gross. The kind that lasts 8-10 days (although my dad very kindly googled an optimistic article that says 65% of cases clear up in 3-5 days). The kind that means I have to miss work and can’t make money to pay off my Christmas Visa bill. Worst of all, the kind that means I’ll probably have to miss Christmas.

So after freaking out and wanting to skip Christmas, the Universe heard me and said “Ok, here’s your “out”‘. Never mind that I changed my mind about it, the Universe only heard my negativity. If you haven’t read “The Secret“, do. It teaches you all about this stuff, and makes you terrified of every negative thought that crosses your mind. It’s more fun than it sounds. I promise.

That takes care of the 2nd part of the WGTisms. I’m still not sure what my body is trying to tell me with this one. It’s probably just trying to remind me to keep taking care of myself while WGT is on vacation. It would be too easy to consider these two weeks a “free pass” to be symptomatic.  Maybe it’s just telling me I’m too old to wear glitter eyeshadow anymore . . . I’ll keep thinking on this one and let you know . . .

So now for a little pity party (the only holiday party I’ll be attending whilst looking like the Eye of Sauron): while I’m thinking positively that my eyes are on the road to recovery and I won’t infect my entire immediate and extended family, I may be spending my first Christmas alone. I was going to get to spend Christmas Eve thru Morning with my cousin, her husband, and my godson, who is just old enough to appreciate opening his stocking this year. Christmas Day afternoon I was going to my childhood home for the first time in a year, and see family members I haven’t seen in 12-18 months. Boxing Day (the 26th, for all you non-Canucks (Canadians, for those of you who don’t know our national nickname)) was a party with the other side of my extended family, and I had a damned good gift for the pirate gift exchange this year.

Ugh. I sound fucking whiny. I hate that. So let’s wrap the whininess up in a moral: Be careful what you wish (or don’t wish) for, especially when wishing upon the Christmas star. Yes, my eyes look very festive (red and green), but nobody’s gonna get to see them, save for my mirror. So send a little positive, healing energy my way this holiday season, if you can spare any.

Oh! One positive thing that came out of all this: when I woke up Monday and the eye grossness hadn’t gone away, I called my MD. Her office’s voicemail told me she’d moved away, and the number it gave me was a dead-end. So I trekked to a Walk-in Clinic I had visited this summer (and looked cleaner than the one nearest my house). A really nice doctor diagnosed me, and I explained my “My doctor abandoned me!” predicament. She told me that while she wasn’t officially accepting new patients, she’d take me on. So, hooray! Pink Eye got me a new awesome doctor! Maybe my body was telling me that it was time to stop avoiding the doctor and get a check up . . . hmmmmmmm.

I will keep you posted on the saga of eye goo, and what my Christmas will look like . . . hopefully not me on my couch watching Christmas movies ad nauseam, as fun as that would be on, say, a random Tuesday night . . . like tonight. Holiday Inn is on AMC. It’s the movie that debuted the song “White Christmas”. Most people think it originated in the movie “White Christmas”, but most people are WRONG! Musical Theatre Encyclopedia strikes again.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and a blessed Winter Solstice to you all.

Source: bing.com via Kelly on Pinterest

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Dear Santa,

Hi there. I know it’s been roughly twenty years since I last wrote, but I had a 24-hour bug yesterday and watched a lot of Christmas movies on TV, so I’ve been feeling sentimental.

First of all, I want to thank you for last year’s presents. The clothing steamer and eye cream have both given me a relatively wrinkle-free year. Also, thanks for convincing the movie theatres to have a $5 showing of White Christmas on the big screen this year. It made me feel a whole lot better about Christmas, which I’d been contemplating avoiding like all other holidays this year.

This year, my list is a little different. My priorities have changed a lot this year as “living” and “being able to afford the basics” have been the things I’ve focused on most. I’m not an actor anymore, so an audition wardrobe and lessons and visits to the hair salon and good teeth are no longer basic necessities. Nowadays, all I need are clothes that fit, food, basic toiletries, home hair dye, and enough money for rent, loan payments, a monthly metropass, and visits to my therapist and  support groups etc. Oh, and yoga. Lululemon’s free classes are great, but there’s just something about a studio . . .

I’m not asking for handouts though, Santa. All I want is a job that will pay me enough that I can cover these things myself. So if you hear of anything, please let me know.

This year, I’ve learned that I value two things above all others. These two things can give anyone everything they need to change their life and strive for something better. The first is hope. Without hope, there’s no point in trying for anything better. You can’t see a way out of the place you’re stuck in because you can’t find the light. Even a pinprick of light can make the darkest corners of the world seem a little less grim. I found mine sitting in a room of women who refuse to give up, led by another woman who shines light on everyone she meets. It has made all the difference. Please put a little hope in the stocking of everyone you visit this year.

The second thing I value is a gift I received and did my best to give many times this year. Words of kindness are the greatest gift I have ever encountered. They have a strange power, and if you gather enough of them together, they can chip away at the hatred and doubt that grew from strategically spoken words of cruelty. Those are far too easy to find nowadays, and can do more damage than anything else I’ve found. Please help me remember to choose my words carefully this year, and treat others with kindness, whether I think they deserve it or not. I suppose that includes being kind to myself, Santa, because I’ve been pretty cruel to me.

The other things I want in my life I’m not going to ask you for. Yes, it would be nice to have everything handed to me, wrapped up in shiny paper, but that wouldn’t teach me anything. There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from working your hardest for the things you want and finally achieving them. Learning that I’m strong enough and capable enough to take care of myself is a hard battle, and it means that I can’t have everything I want right now, but someday that strength will mean more than, say, a vintage Kelly bag.

Thanks for reading my letter, Santa. I know I haven’t been entirely well-behaved this year, but I’m hoping you’ll accept my attempts to change as passage to the “nice” list.

Please say hello to your wife for me. I met her two years ago on my birthday at Disneyland, and she was so lovely and kind that it made me cry. Take good care of yourself, and the elves, and the reindeer. I don’t have a chimney where I’m living now, but I know you’ll be able to get in somehow. There’s no stocking up, but there are a couple of pairs of boots near my tiny Christmas tree that should be decent substitutes. I actually have both milk and cookies in my house this year, so feel free to help yourself.

Merry Christmas, Santa.

Lots of love, Kelly

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Fun with food!

Hahaha no. Not that kind of fun. The fun that I’m told people have while eating food. Nope.

A few weeks ago, my therapist challenged me to change up the vegetables in my meals (I like my same shit, the same way, FOREVER, damnit!) and suggested I try a relatively innocuous butternut squash. Well, that butternut squash has been looking increasingly sketchy in the back of my fridge for about a month now.

Now, in spite of the fact that I ignore most holidays these days, Halloween has not escaped my notice. Be it the zombies riding the subway, the even-more-whorish-than-usual girls hanging out downtown who obviously don’t walk in those heels on a regular basis (shame.), or the influx of scary movies on tv (I’m watching The Holiday right now, and man are Jack Black’s eyebrows scary . . . ), it seems I can’t ignore the season of ghouls and things scarier than the nutritional labels in my cupboard.

So here’s what I made, in semi-celebration:

Oooooooooh . . . scary monkey! But he’s not your average Jack-o-lantern . . .

Nope. He’s my semi-diseased looking, uneaten butternut squash. Creative carving, ladies (and gentlemen?). At least I interacted with the strange fucking food. That counts for something, right?

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Filed under Fighting Fear, Random Funny-ness

Gee, thanks. Thanks a lot.

For those of you who don’t live in the land of maple syrup and hockey, today is Canadian Thanksgiving.

Isn’t it strange how holidays have become an excuse for EVERY HUMAN ON THE PLANET to have an eating disorder for a day? Every holiday has become about binging . . . to the point where nobody really remembers what they’re about. Think about it:

New Years Eve: Binge drinking

Valentine’s Day: Chocolate coma

St. Patrick’s Day: Binge drinking

Easter: After “fasting” during Lent, hiding food, then finding it and binging

Canada Day/Independence Day: Drinking and bbq overindulgence

Thanksgiving: Bingeing to the point of explosion, as though it’s the last food on earth.

Halloween: Begging strangers for food, hoarding it, and bingeing

Birthdays (this is where mine falls in the year): Telling people we’re glad they were born by presenting them with a cake

Christmas: Another “last food on earth” meal, and a sock full of food (and toys) left by a stranger

Don’t even get me started on the Jewish holidays . . . namely because I’m not as familiar with them, but pretty sure there’s a lot of fasting, bingeing, and strange food combinations there as well. A very eating disordered religion. (Although, having been raised Christian, teaching children that bread and wine can turn into human flesh and blood can lead to a pretty fucked up relationship with food, too)

So, in an effort to get back to what the holidays are REALLY about (while sitting alone in my apartment, ignoring the fact that there is a holiday), here is my “Thankful” list (abbreviated – you don’t need to know EVERYTHING about me).

I am thankful for my friends and family who have stuck by me through everything, because they are my reason for existing.

I am thankful for those who didn’t stick around, because they taught me that, even though people may leave you, it won’t kill you outright.

I’m VERY grateful to have found a therapist who is brilliant and kind, who is there whenever I need her (even when I’m being an asshole), and gives me hope that there is something better possible.

And (this is going to sound very strange, but bear with me) I’m grateful in a fucked up way for my eating disorder.

My eating disorder is an outward expression of all that is fucked up inside me. Everybody has a little “fucked up” inside them, and most people just learn to live with it. You can medicate away a lot of the pain, and live a reasonably comfortable life without ever dealing with what made you that way. Because I will die if I don’t deal with my fucked-uppedness, I have been given a rare opportunity to figure out my shit and try for a better life. If depression or a pot-smoking habit was the manifestation of my issues, I could probably survive, just borderline miserable. Having no choice but to deal with my problems, someday I can hope to be free of them, or at least not let them affect me.

And, having had a vacation home in hell, I can see beauty in smaller things, because everything seems so much better in contrast.

So there’s what I’m thankful for, and I can consider myself having celebrated Thanksgiving. I don’t need a fancy feast to make me grateful. I’m grateful NOT to be partaking in that . . .

 

 

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Filed under Blatherings, Rantings