Figuring Out My New Life

Happy almost Friday everyone,

Since I last wrote, I have officially moved to Washington (the state, not D.C.), got my own apartment and started my new job as a reporter for the main newspaper where I’m living.

When I used to talk about living in the gray, I had no idea just what that totally meant, and I still don’t think I know what it totally means, but I think I have a better idea of it now.

When I first started recovery, living in the gray meant not weighing myself and not knowing that number.

Then it meant letting go of my standards of self perfection.

Some days it meant going with the flow when my plans fell through.

Today, living in the gray means accepting that I would rather sleep an extra two hours than go to the gym before work.

Today, living in the gray means not knowing how I will meet all new friends and people, but that I will.

Today, living in the gray means not being able to try on all the old Ed clothes I gave away before I moved.

For now, the gray means this and only this: I am figuring things out.

And maybe it’s always been that simple all along.

One of the biggest changes that I’ve had in recovery since I’ve moved to Washington is that I no longer have a mirror in my room.

I actually only have one full length mirror now and it’s in my bathroom.

Not only is it in my bathroom, but it’s hanging on the inside of the cleaning supplies closet door in the bathroom; basically,  it’s as inaccessible as a mirror can be.

This means that I no longer wake up and do body checks in my bedroom.

I know that if I wanted to, I could stroll myself up to the bathroom, open the closet and lift up my shirt and do a check, but 9 days out of 10, that walk just feels defeating, like I am letting Ed start my day for me.

The three times that I have made that morning walk to that mirror and did my body check, I never once felt better. I didn’t feel relieved, I didn’t feel sad and I didn’t feel happy.

I felt empty. It didn’t bring me anything. It didn’t get me a cover story. It didn’t get me new friends.

My jeans still don’t button how they used to and I am still not comfortable in my skin how I would like to be, but that mirror is not going to bring me any of that.

On the days that I fight the urge to make that morning walk to my mirror, and on every single day since I’ve been here (with the exception of two days) that I didn’t go to the gym because I wanted to sleep more, I thought to myself, “good job Shira. You love you baby, love you.”

Yes, I really do talk to myself like that.

I love myself when I make sure I come home for lunch every day.

I love myself when I eat a snack every day.

And I surely loved myself when I left my very first city council meeting mid–way to go eat dinner and come right back.

Some nights, I  love myself so much I even have two desserts after dinner.

Tomorrow there is  a BBQ at my work and a going away party with cake, and I guess I’ll love myself through that too.

But above all, on my hardest days here, it is my family, friends and fellow fighters who have lifted me up.

I don’t care how much success I have in Washington and I don’t care if they make me a world known writer-I moved here never forgetting where I came from.

And I will never forget that.

I came from the fighter who started this blog.

I am still her and I will never let her out of my sight.

tattoo

For all of us fighters…Hello Life.

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Day 365: Let’s Smash This Thing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYWK0oWuc78&feature=em-upload_owner#action=share

scale

Hello Life.

Day 327: Hello To My Strong And Ass Kicking Alter Ego

Hello everyone,

Today is one of my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah, which is a big celebration with a big party.

A big fancy celebration of course means a nice fancy dress to celebrate in.

For me, this meant potential Ed destruction.

Which dress do I feel good in? Which ones still fit me? How do I know which one to try on without getting sucked into Ed chaos?

In the past, when I’ve been faced with situations like these, I’ve been known to try on every single outfit in my closet; old clothes and new clothes. It never ended up with me feeling good about myself or my new healthy body.

But these are the habits and behaviors that Ed instilled in me for so many years; they were the rules that he told me I had abide by.

If you’re going to a nice party, and you need a nice dress, of course you should try on the tightest smallest dressed you own and see how they fit you. If they fit good, you  get a pat on the back, if they don’t, you know your not up to Ed’s standards (This is what Ed would say).

I had the choice today if I wanted to continue in my old Ed habits or if I wanted to try to break them.

Before I tell you how I broke those habits, let me say that while through my writing, this victory may look like it was an easy one, but it was extremely difficult.

Making the choices I did today took immense inner strength, dedication and courage to stand up to Ed.

So, what did I do?

I took out the dress that I knew I would not feel good about myself in out of my closet yesterday and gave it to my sister. She didn’t even have to ask why I was giving it to her, she already knew.

But I told her if she wanted she could consider it hers because I am never taking it back.

Then I took out the last dress that I remember wearing that I felt good about myself in and put it out to hang on my door.

That’s it. My decision was made yesterday.

That was the dress and that’s what I’m wearing.

I told myself yesterday that there will be no trying on anything else.

I am writing this post 10  minutes before I need to get ready on purpose; so I am left with no time to try on any new outfits in case Ed starts to creep in.

Today took strength.

Giving my sister my old dress took strength.

Putting on this dress right now when I’m not in the greatest place with my body and still going to the Bat Mitzvah and putting a smile on my face because I know tonight is not about me, takes strength.

I think more than anything, that is what I am priding myself on today.

I don’t like my body right now, I don’t like the way I look in any dress right now, and I don’t particularly love the fact that I can’t wear the dress Ed once thought I looked so skinny in because it no longer fits the same.

But regardless of all those things,I am able to put them aside and step into the shoes of Shira the recovery warrior, she is kind of like my alter ego.

Shira the warrior doesn’t let those things ruin her cousin’s Bat Mitzvah and she doesn’t let those negative thoughts swallow up her personality.

Shira the recovery warrior is present,and she’s strong and she’s ready for tonight.

We already have gone ahead and named my eating disorder with his own name, so why not run with the concept of taping into my alter ego?

If it works, I say I like it. And so far, it’s working.

Hello to my strong and ass kicking alter ego and hello life.

Day 298: Is This Real Life?

Happy Friday everyone,

I apologize for writing such a late post today, I just have been so busy and only got home now.

So despite all my negative feelings about the way I look, today was a big stomp on Ed day, and let me run you through why.

There were three particular moments where I stomped on Ed today.

Moment number 1: I went to lunch with a friend. And my friend wasn’t Ed.

It was a my friend Anna. We had lunch together and then we went to a bakery and shared a piece of cake afterwards with some coffee.

Moment number 2: I ate cake…as a dessert…after lunch.

This is pretty much a self-explanatory moment and one of my most favorite moments of the day because I love cake.

And the best part about this moment is that when I tasted the cake and saw that it actually wasn’t that I good, my friend and I went to a liquor store nearby and picked up a chocolate bar to make up for it.

Moment number 3: I was at a basketball game with my grandma, cousin and sister, when it came time to get food. For years now, I have either brought my own “Ed food” to the basketball game, or I haven’t gotten anything to eat all.

My sister always gets pizza from California Pizza Kitchen at the basketball games and sometimes, just sometimes, I used to let myself eat a  bite of her crust that she didn’t want.

Today, I shared a pizza with my grandma and had some other snacks.

I had an entire two pieces  of pizza to myself. This was the first time, in years, that I can remember eating the same food as everyone else at a basketball game.

While  I have learned that recovery is about far more than just food, today, food was a big part of it. It was a big part of it because it gave me a social life.

Lunch with a friend was part of being social.

Eating cake together was part of being social.

Eating pizza with everyone else at the basketball game, that wasn’t only social, but that was feeling like I was just like everyone else; it was comforting.

Are these moments scary? Yes. Oh, yes they are.

Am I loving how my body feels right now? Nope. Not at all.

But, I had three moments of recovery today.

Three moments of freedom. Three moments of Shira in charge, not Ed.

Three moments towards the rest of my new life in recovery.

I mean…cake, candy and pizza in one day? Is this real life?

I guess in recovery it is.

Hello life.

Day 289: She Is Living Proof That Hope Exists

Hello lifers,

Today’s post has nothing to do about food or about calories or about scales.

Today’s post has to do about hope.

As part of my senior project in one of my classes this semester, I have to present someone’s oral history to my class.

So today, I got the honor of sitting down with the woman who I chose to present and hear her story.

I’ve known her since I can remember, as she was my neighbor growing up and over the years she became family. 

During my entire journey of this year without a scale, she has been an undeniable source of strength and wisdom for me and she has become to know my entire story as I am writing it everyday, yet I never knew hers.

I could write pages about the things I learned from her today, but to sum it up for blog post sake, I will leave you with the most important elements.

This woman is truly the definition of a fighter and a conquerer, and let me tell you why.

She experienced an extremely unfair and unjust childhood, she didn’t have an easy adulthood and she never had anything handed to her.

She could have let life defeat her. She could have let her own Ed (whatever kind of monster he may be, doesn’t have to be with food) defeat her. 

But she didn’t.

She told me that it took her until the age of 50 to learn a lot of life’s major lessons, such as that everything happens for a reason and that there is strength behind that.

At the same time, she told me how happy she was for me that I am getting my life together at the age of 23, at the very beginning of it.

Lesson number 1: It is never too late to change your life. It is never too late to change your destiny. And it is never too early to start either. Regardless of the place in life anyone reading this is at, it’s never too late to strive for the changes we know we deserve.

Secondly, at the age of 70 (how old she is now) she has signed a book deal where she will publish three books and on January 7, 2014, her first published book will be hitting book shelves.

She said that this is the most accomplished she’s ever felt in her entire life, as well as the most proud of herself she’s ever felt.

Now, keep in mind, this book is partially a memoir about herself tied with a mystery story.

It was her way of using her hard life experiences and turning it into something for other people to read, learn from, and enjoy.

Writing this book, along with quilting that she also does, gave her a chance to reflect back on the hard things she endured as a child and both as an adult and it helped her turn those negative experiences into something she learned from; into something that healed her and into something that inspired her.

This woman is hope.

She is living proof that hope exists.

Lesson 2: She is living proof, that regardless of the fight each of us is fighting, wether it be an eating disorder or any other fight that life has told us we need to become warriors for, she is proof that it is possible to not only use our suffering and pain as a way to grow, but proof that it is possible to find self acceptance and happiness at the end of it all.

Above all, she was a fighter turned conquerer. 

I left her house, the house that I once sat in every Wednesday afternoon and quilted dresses for my dolls, leaving truly inspired.

One day, I will be a conquerer too.

Hello life.

Day 285: Let’s Make A Toast

Hi everyone,

I was thinking about what to write about today thinking that I have nothing to say, until I read a saying in a positive thinking book that I have that said “If you could make a toast to yourself today, what would you raise your glass to?”

So of course, you can see where this post is going…

It took me about an hour or so to go through my entire day thinking of what positive thing to toast to when I realized I actually had way more positive things to cheer to than I thought.

Some of them may come off as small or insufficient to someone else, but to me, these things are worth toasting to.

So here we go onto my virtual non-alcoholic toast to myself for today. And please feel free to share any toasts you have for yourself as well.

Today I make a toast to…

The laughter I experienced when talking to my sister about me sleep talking last night

The two more spoons of chocolate peanut butter ice cream I had

The cream (yes cream, not milk) that I totally did not measure and used in my coffee this morning

The delicious piece of black and white cookie that I got for my sister yet ate some for myself anyway

Today I make a toast to…

The 285 days of hard fought recovery that led me to be able to even acknowledge these small victories today

The fact that my voice, while maybe shakey during hard times like eating today, was stronger, louder and more definite than Ed’s.

Today I make a toast to…

Another day without a scale.

Another day without a number to define me.

Another day that reminds me of why I chose recovery.

And to the fact that these good days seem to be coming more often than not.

Today I toast to…

Another day of hope.

Today I toast to…

The fighters, warriors and souls who are all on the journey to self acceptance just like I am. It is your strength, perseverance and commitment that inspire me everyday.

And of course, Ed is trying to interrupt my toast right now and that’s OK. I’ll continue anyway.

Lastly, I toast to another day of living in recovery and I toast to being able to say “hello life. “