I’ve found…me.

Remember the girl who started this blog; her biggest worry was losing control of her life by gaining an unknown number of weight. She feared missing the “comfortable” feeling of having her hip and shoulder bones protrude grotesquely. She bemoaned the prospect of feeling and experiencing a flow of emotions in contrast to being numb and tuned out to the world. And when the beginnings of a nourished brain prompted her to confront the root of her depressions, she was dangerously close -repeatedly- on turning back to that twistedly safe nothingness.  Would it be all that surprising when I genuinely admit…I barely know her – if at all!?

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With reaching a healthy weight, a free mindset and the return of Aunt Suzy; I still struggled with knowing and understanding myself. I had a constant sensation of nurturing a gaping hole in my heart, a restlessness not willing to be quieted for any given period and through the busyness of everyday life, I was aware of a probing concern of feeling uncertain in my actual personality. Over time however my traits and quirks were surfacing..the real me, in all her loud annoying glory. I didn’t even realize the personality establishment taking place, until it unexpectedly fell into place so to speak on few day’s of vacation as off 2 weeks back. Or more appropriately explained: I became aware of it then; a strange place, interacting with others, a change of routine…it dawned on me how comfortable I am with who I am. I accept and love my quirks and demeanour, whether they serve in drawing others to me or rubbing someone up the wrong way, it all collectively makes me the person I am. And that’s enough.

We don’t need to be anything other than ourselves. Do you enjoy hyperventilating over the tiniest of things? Bouncing around uncontrollably when excited? Incessantly chirpy when content? Own it. Regardless of it irritating your brother or that new human you’re trying to impress…be you!

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Grief can take a toll

We are familiar with how a callous develops right? Repeated chafing on a tender spot and the skin grows a protective hardened layer. A recent tragedy has had me contemplating deeply… I’m pretty certain that my heart is nurturing a callous, stemmed from repeated exposure to grief. I don’t want to give the pretence of a hard life when I am utterly blessed, but I am on a journey to better my understanding of the complicated human I seem to be… and I have a heart–callous that’s preventing “me” from coming through. I don’t believe I myself am a callous soul (well, I should hope not) – rather I am beginning to recognise a change in my response to grief – from the person I recall myself to be at a time I remember – before I delved into an eating disorder, when everything became fuzzy and days were a blur.

I hate to sound like a right old drama queen, but for as young as I am; I’ve had my heart broken too many times to count. I’ve always loved hard.. the problem with loving hard? Hurting hard. And at some point in life, as long as you love – you’re bound to hurt. First was my Gran, the only grandparent I was blessed to have met in my lifetime. When I lost her, it felt as though the grief was insurmountable to overcome. A similar sensation with my instructor/therapist/mother-figure. Yet time heals wounds of the heart, but not without leaving a scar.

All the creatures! To other humans they were just pets, just animals. To me? A soul is a soul. Once you connect and bond, there’s no looking back. At least that’s the way it was. Glimpses of our lives entwined flash before my eyes.. it’s all just a memory, but the stab of pain in my heart is fresh and vivid. With animals it’s even more of a delicate, unpredictable situation; your heart is at stake on the constant. By the chance of a eagle stealing my adopted hand-raised starling “son” as its lunch when he follows his “Mama” on an outride … by my old boy J rearing up in play and hooking his foreleg in the iron gate, and I feel every ounce of pain as he screams in terror and thrashes wildly, my heart shattering into a million pieces as I watch helplessly… by a dog attacking my orphaned lamb and having to acknowledge the painful reality of the only option being euthanizing… by the bull calves I reared and bottle-fed to be overcome by hormones and suddenly too lethal to be around… by the time I was brought to bid goodbye to a solid friendship, having become too weak to handle such magnificent strength. I loved with devotion, only to be broken.. I loved again, and broke again… and again. Then I stopped loving with such an intensity, my heart built up its protective layer.. now even when it loves, it doesn’t give it all away. I don’t exactly feel as though I’ve got a say in the matter. However, I am suddenly strangely aware of my internal battles. At a recent passing of a family member, I felt like a pillar of strength amongst the grieving. But I was hurting of course – a notably lesser degree than I am accustomed to. It’s almost like I’ve grieved myself out.. cried myself dry, and have succeeded in convincing my mind of the hidden goodness in every tragedy.

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I wouldn’t have been too concerned, but with my instinctive detachment from both humans and animals (the warning signs engraved in my brain: love, but be careful) is resulting in a gaping feeling deep inside. I am stepping out of the shadows of my eating disorder, and the heart wants to love.. wants to connect. But the callous has grown tough and resilient; a firm reminder of what grief feels like.

In my head : The science behind eating

I’ve struggled with it for the longest time. Even once I started embracing the crazy hunger.. even when I had began to put into play the quest of listening to cravings; my brain was constantly pushed to exhaustion at debating on what to consume, when. Why do I only speak of it now?.. when it is basically a memory – albeit a vivid one. Well, it was a complex situation back then. I couldn’t quite grasp the exact connection between brain and body; it had become a desperate attempt to do whatever it takes to stop my belly screaming for food. The only factor getting in the way – desiring at least an inkling of ‘control’: my mind. I don’t think I’ll ever halt my marvelling on how unreal it all felt, which is the basis of my desire to talk about it. It’s fascinating. To wrap my head around the process sends me into a tizz; a mixture of disbelief and triumph.

I strongly believed that without a plan, lacking a dictator to command my food choices – I would never be able to just eat. I had all these strategies of setting out meal plans to gain in a ‘controlled’ manner. And then the mystery called “hunger” hit.. and the tables turned. But I was afraid.  The more I tried to schedule snack and meal times, the more the hungry beast rebelled. I’m aware that I’m running off my focal point; allow me to drone on please. I could not eat chocolate or cookies like a normal human (all I wanted to be really – normal. Buut I settled for special 😉 ) because hunger would have me eating an entire box. Of course I would not allow that sort of incident to incur, therefore I – most of the time – avoided that category of foods in favour of a loaded bowl of oatmeal (which I genuinely do love however). And that’s what drove my brain in a flurry of panic. Picture the circumstance: Lunch is done with.. still verrry hungry and would appreciate chocolate. But I know a few squares of chocolate is not going to cut it. Do I go for the chocolate, and fearfully deal with an unsatisfied tummy afterward – from experience – or build up a breakfast sized bowl of oatmeal that surpasses the calories in the chocolate by 10 miles but hosts a load of goodness and will do a more reliable job of taming the hunger?

I always chose the oatmeal back then, yet my mind would almost die with shock at consuming a large number of calories after a recent meal.

chocolate oatmeal

So either way, I was going against my ED, all the while experiencing great mental trauma.  The further along I journeyed in honouring my hunger and eventually every.single.craving – resulting in a lot more dessert in a single day than considered sane – the importance of calories against nutrients lost its significance. Because you know what? It doesn’t matter. As per the instances I crave chocolate brownies, at my next meal I’m almost guaranteed to hanker a more wholesome state of affairs.hummus/tuna dip

That’s the process that usually transpires as I’ve observed.. yet a human with a past of restriction should not expect that in a hurry. Give yourself a break from being a normal  eater and enjoy the food you’ve denied for so long. It will be scary. You will feel insane. But the freedom that follows? Worth it.

 

A Promise To Myself

It’s one of those rare instances where I am ecstatic that I am wrong..for now. You see, I was anticipating the weight gain to be a journey of continous mental anguish, where I would despise the ‘process’ 24/7 and need to vent and moan about it on my blog every day. I was 120% wrong. I anticipated that it would take me a few hundred years to learn to ‘love’ myself. Wrong. While I’m not sure I could be a poster for self-love, I can say I am happy and confident with the way I am. At my lowest weight I suffered with my poorest body image. 

I’ve moved up 2 pant sizes…in my head I am pretty sure I have reached a healthy place..and I would have believed it, but my lack of something-very- important states otherwise. Which brings me to ponder; the fact that I’m delving into the unknown. Having had anorexia during an intregal period of my life – where all the development jazz gets sorted – I very simply, have not reached my ‘adult’ body though I am at the age where I should have. I was worried that I had lost out after putting my body through all that damage. Wrong again. Our bodies are marvelous machines, and I’ll guess that I’m having a delayed growth spurt!? It all seems strange somehow. Strange doesn’t automatically equal unpleasant you know 😉 ..strangely exciting, strangely freeing, strangely good. I’ve come to realise that I can’t and don’t want to hold my level of health to my 13 year old self pre-ED..how unfair is it for me to expect my healthy size to be the same as when I was a younger kid? I may be fashionably late, but I’m done with trying to hold onto my childhood -physically-…and comfortable with allowing my love of Disney and playing outdoors like a 5 year old suffice.

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I hereby promise

…to respect myself.

…to take care of myself.

…to entertain my dreams regardless of the chance they have of turning into reality.

…to put my health before work.

to love the way I am now, and however I may turn out to be.

When choosing to be “Rather safe, than sorry” is a problem

Before I get caught up in bunch of words, let’s have a looksie at the latest culinary masterpiece I’ve whipped up, which is now one of my favorite snacks. Would you believe me if I told you it was of the savory kind? Aahh bummer… you know me too well!

chuncky monkey bites

Chunky monkey bites!!! So mines look kind of awesomely weird?..well head over and check out Amanda’s alluring photos, and take both mine and her word for it..these guys are gooood. They are a chocolate chip away from being my favorite snack of all time – these muffins hold spot no.1 – and that is saying something! I had a bit of a rough time handling the prepared dough; it was very sticky and thick – probably because I used regular rolled oats, and so delicious I may have wanted to keep shoving spoonfuls into my mouth rather than forming cookies. Even prior to adding in the chocolate chips, I was very tempted to sit down with a bowl of the warm dough. Gahhh why didn’t I!? Next time for sure 😉

Chunky monkey snack bites

Getting into details about cookie dough on an empty belly is not an apt scenario. Worse than that however is trying to swallow (literally) when there are things to get off my chest (figuratively).

 

The reason why I would rather stay home than go out, choose the lower-calorie option, push myself to do X workout for 45 min. instead of calling it quits when I’m tired after 3o..because I’d rather be SAFE, than SORRY. I think I need to reevaluate my perception of “safe”. I’ve practiced the “Rather safe than sorry” rule for so long, yet where did that get me? Since when was being underweight and acting like a loner all the time appropriately “safe”? Going out is a big factor for me. I analyse the situation from every angle; where are we going? how long will I be there? what will I eat? what it I want to come home and the others aren’t ready? I try my best to avoid the chance of going somewhere, wishing I was home and feeling sorry that I came. But I fail to see that this measure of safety is preventing me from living. From filling my heart with joy. From love and laughter. How will I know if I could have a good time out if I prevent myself from going in the first place? There is only so much contentment that my ‘structure’ and ‘schedule’ of my day can bring.

Yesterday I was invited to a family tea party. I had consented to going in the week already, and was expected. Yesterday morning however, I felt…unsociable unpleasant. Getting out of pj’s seemed like a daunting task.. smiling required too much effort..laughter and chit-chat was out of the question. I spent the morning moaning to Mum (poor Mummy – so busy she was and having to put up with my irritable self), looking for a leeway to escape going. But I’m a human of my word Mum held me to my word and insisted I come. Boy am I ever grateful. Just the act of getting ready was enough to work up a slow and steady excitement, that by the time we were on the road I was some chirpy, happy person that I couldn’t recognise.

The day wound up being one of the best of my life.

 

 

Getting past the danger zone

I only got around to taking care of my roast potato craving at dinner last night.

Seasoned potatoes roasted in olive oil, mushroom/onion scrambled eggs in coconut oil, saladroast potato/scramble eggs

You’d think that was the craving taken care of, done and done. Alas it’s the beginning of a love story 😉 . I made them in the airfryer <- a genius contraption I tell you. I always use oil even though you apparently don’t need(?) and it is just so convenient. Set the timer – it takes quarter of the time the oven does – and come back when you’re hungry 🙂 .

A remark made by my sister yesterday during a random conversation – which was just an inch away from ‘recovery’ talk – opened up the floodgates of my memory. To a time when I was in the midst of my eating disorder… I would be marveled at the amount of ‘willpower’ I had while people simultaneously declared -in concern I now believe- that I was getting too thin. Then and there I sucked it all in; that really I must have good willpower and be really disciplined. Well must I tell you a secret? There was no willpower involved. I had trained my brain so well to dislike all food I deemed unsuitable, that I had completely lost all memory of what it tasted like. I didn’t have to make an effort to hold myself back from that chocolate cupcake. I didn’t need to push myself to exercise. I was on auto-pilot. Which is what makes recovery more difficult…it seems less-agonising to keep yourself ignorant of the realness of this world. But believe me, it’s not worth it.

I started a fake recovery (with too much of uncertainty and fear to fully commit) in the middle of last year. Three weeks in – of eating what I want, and I was running for the hills the miserable safety my comfort zone entailed. The little bit of freedom threatened to drive me to lunacy, the extreme hunger was starting and I was losing control fast. From a living zombie that was numb to emotions and hunger, my body was giving me different messages..all of which I didn’t agree with. Plagued by “what-ifs”  to contradict the solid information I had armed myself with (that I NEED to eat and REST) I was back where I started. But I was craving recovery like I now crave a slice of milk-tart..I wanted it, I was going to have it. I knew where I slipped up. No matter how much the ‘freedom’ and the ‘unknown’ scares me, I had to push through it. No matter how I resented feeling exhaustion, it was time to embrace it. In that first few weeks it was like hanging precariously at the edge of a an iceberg. (Iceberg of all things! Hah!) Every comment, article read, or work-related stress held the capacity to send me falling. I was sure that period of vulnerability would never end. Through it all I stayed firm with my rule: to continue nourishing myself well.

And now all that insecurity and uncertainty seems like an eternity ago. I can read any material whether it be about clean eating or hard-impact workouts to HLB’s actually living it out, and even if I go “Wow they are so healthy, fit etc.”  it doesn’t have an impact. Different diets interest me and allow me to broaden my knowledge, but not for a second am I tempted to fall back into old habits. I do not feel inadequate. There have been quite a few remarks as off recently to how ‘well’ I am looking. And depending on my state of mind at the time, it has either annoyed me or made me pleased, but I can confidently say that no outside force could propel me to regress. I would say it has to do with my sense of ‘self’ growing..my identity becoming strong.

For anyone who may be going through this phase of ‘weakness’, it does pass and you aren’t weak. Do whatever you need to in regards to removing undesirable information from your path for as long as you wish.

With every gram gained, an extra bit of mental strength is too.

Thinking Out Loud #13 The potato edition

In between the hecticness that is March, I’ve been doing my fair share of pondering thinking. It doesn’t do any good to keep musings contained in ones nervous system <- abit of gibberish right there..so I assumed it best to join Amanda and Think Out Loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. I have daily fantasies of how cool it would be to have 7 or so clones just so I could get to read ALL the blogs. Of course I would need 7 or so forms of internet access (and I currently work with two very limited forms), but let’s ignore the finer details of my dream. My saving grace just so happens to be dedicated Link-love posts. Whenever I click on a link that hits close to home or proves entrancingly captivating, I immediately think how awful it would be if I had missed it. If my brain did not have the opportunity to grasp that magnificent content, how would I live?

2. So thank you to all my lifesavers 🙂 . Miss Polkadot’s latest round-up featured Becky’s “When I grow up”, which was exactly what I needed to hear read. A huge wave of relief washed over me as I read everyone’s ‘voice’ on the matter and it prompted me to make the final decision on an integral life choice. Basically something that teens usually have done by 18, I’m starting soon. No it’s not going back to school – I  kind of wish! At my age I thought I should have it all figured out…doing what I love. Only I don’t have anything figured out because I’m still in the process of finding out what I do love doing.

3. Orange sweet potatoes are a scarcity in my parts. I literally do a little squealy dance when I happen upon them. I was struck with a sweet potato-nut buttery-cottage cheese craving a few weeks ago, but after 2 grocery runs and no luck with the orange guys…I resorted to settling with their dull but suitably delicious cousins.

White sweet potato, cinnamon, crunchy peanut butter, cottage cheese.roasted sweet potato

If I am correct, in other areas of the world people are doing the happy dance when they find white sweet potatoes!? Like they say..the grass is always greener 😉

4. While we are so involved with sweet potatoes, can someone please break down the roasting procedure in easily comprehensible English. I scrubbed, poked, rubbed with some coconut oil, and laid it on tin foil. Baked at 200C for -40 min. turning halfway through. The outer area cooked perfectly, but deep down in its core things were a tad rock solid. Maybe I need to poke them holes deeper? I ended up having to slit it open and microwave for a minute to get that fluff factor. YUM!

5. I have a confession. I have never had a regular ol’ baked potato. It wouldn’t be a problem, but you see I’ve been envisioning one with a blob of melty butter on *gasp*, and now I can’t get it out of my head. What is the best method of baking a potato?

6. I like to think I am allergic to butter. Except not really. I have no qualms consuming the richness if someones else cooks/bakes. But spreading butter on bread or using it in recipes for myself? Nothing doing. But I have a hunch that I will willingly smear some on a baked potato.

7. All this potato talk, goodness! Did you ever hear an owl hoot? I’m not referring to movies or when Mum told you a story when you were a tot, but an owl outside your window just before dawn – calling out a soft, mysterious, haunting tune. It gives me a delightful shiver…love it! We have two that often honor us with their esteemed presence.

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8. I don’t know if you guys have ever taken note – or maybe it just happens in my world (of aliens and fluffy socks 😉 ) – in summer, sunsets are layered with soft colors including pink and purple. As the season turns colder, the residual daylight appears duller and contained to orange and yellow. Breathtakingly beautiful nonetheless.

sunset

9. Sometimes I just feel so sick and tired of being responsible. Crazy huh? It’s like I’m done with playing by the rules and being known as a human who ‘stays on top of things’, ‘meets deadlines even if it kills her’, ‘puts work first’. It’s disturbing, because I should be gearing up for more responsibilities as I get older. Lately I’ve been slacking with living up to my punctual reputation…

10. Errh I’m kinda not yet done with talking about potatoes. Ever had that time where a certain combo sends you to taste bud heaven, and you forever regret not capturing that meal? On a whim for lunch the other day, I mixed 2 spoonfuls of tuna with a few tablespoons of Roasted Red pepper hummus, a good squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Then proceeded to scoop it up with roasted sweet potato and broccoli. Gahhh so good. Do it! You are required to like fish to enjoy it though 😉 .

11. Who’s going to be having a baked sweet potato after this chat?

                                                                                   Happy potato eating Thursday 🙂