Three Year Flashback To When Coffee Was Lunch

Happy Thursday beautiful fighters,

I came across this photo today.

brothers

It’s a picture of my three little brothers that I took three years ago today.  I had taken them out for a fun day of lunch and bowling.

Do you see that cup of coffee to the right hand corner on the table? That was my lunch that day–my lunch and breakfast actually.

I remember that day because I specifically remember every single Ed thought that I had that day. I even remember the jeans that I wore. (I remember because I chose them because they were my baggiest pair).

It was a Sunday so that meant that I was going to my then-boyfriend’s mom’s house for dinner that night. How was I possibly going to go out to a lunch and to a dinner? I remember not knowing how it would be possible to do both.

But I wasn’t going to give up my time with my brothers, either.

So, this was my solution: coffee all day and that’s it.  I remember us sitting at that lunch table and I remember all I could think about was the food. I had one tortilla chip and I broke it into several tiny pieces so it would last me as long as it could.

I don’t remember any of the converastions I had with my brothers at that lunch and I don’t remember what we laughed about. But I remember what each of them ordered because I remember wishing I wanted a bite of it so badly.

I remember every ounce of my time being consumed by Ed and that’s what made me so sad today when I saw this photo.

It reminded me of the heavy and overwhelming thoughts I carried around with me for years when I was suffering from my eating disorder.

It reminded me of the thousands of moments that Ed took from me.

It reminded me of the kind of role model I was for my brothers at the time: the sister who didn’t eat.

My heart has felt broken all day thinking back on that day and the many days I had like it with them and with others.

But at the same time, this photo gave me a chance to appreciate where I am now.

Recovery ebbs and flows, and lately, I haven’t been in the happiest place with what I look like, and while I know it will pass, I needed to be reminded today of how far I’ve come and why I choose to live in recovery.

I would rather spend every single day for the rest of my life fighting to learn to love my new healthy self than spend another second back at that lunch table being a prisoner of Ed.

I don’t want to go into the past two years of recovery and how I got here because I’ve told that story already through this blog over the past two years. That’s not what this post is about.

This post is about remembering where we used to be and never forgetting it.

I feel like sometimes it can be easy to forget where we used to be and focus so much on where we are now. Focusing on where we are is great because it shows we are present- but without remembering the pain of where we once were, we forget how special our recovery is.

It’s also a reminder of the pain and suffering other people who are suffering from an eating disorder are going through right now at this exact moment. If you are one of them, please know that you are not alone in that pain.

For me, this picture will always speak emotions of sadness.

It will forever be the day that I was so stuck in my eating disorder that I don’t even remember what I talked about with my three little brothers.

And it will forever serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come and where I never want to be again.

But to put things in perspective, all five of my siblings were visiting me in Washington two weeks ago, and not only do I remember every single tiny thing each one of them ever said, but we all went out to dinner at a steak house to celebrate Hello Life’s second birthday.

We all got steak, including me.

And we all got dessert, definitely including me.

And coffee was no where to be found.

Hello life.

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Day 356: Don’t Eat Dessert Without Me

Hi guys,

I apologize in advance for this blog post being a little shorter than usual, but I came to write this right as I finished dinner with my brother and sister and some of our friends, and they are still here, so I don’t want to keep them waiting for too long.

The reason that I cooked dinner tonight was because my brother, who is 20, is leaving tomorrow for two weeks, so I wanted to give him a nice goodbye dinner with my sister and I.

I invited him last night, before I knew that I would wake up with my body sore this morning (yet again).

Right away, Ed wanted me to cancel this dinner.

I actually thought about it. And I thought about ways I could get around it.

I thought that maybe we could go to a restaurant where I could order something different than everyone else. And even if I did decide to do that, it wouldn’t be bad, but the point was that I had said I would make dinner, and I was really looking forward to it.

I used to cook for my brother all the time when I was locked in Ed, and I never got to enjoy the food with him, so tonight was going to be a special occasion.

I didn’t have to think about it too much. It was one of those days where I just knew what I had to do, and so I did it.

Stuffed salmon, roasted butternut squash, roasted brussel sprouts, champaign and bread rolls later, I can say that although Ed is not happy with me, and he is very much with me right now, I am happy.

I am happy because when I hear my brother laughing right now from up in my room, I know it is this dinner that made that happen.

I am happy because him, my sister and I just sat around at a dinner table and enjoyed good conversation.

Regardless of how many times I have to shut Ed up tonight, this dinner was worth that; it was worth the connectedness, the selflessness and worth the company.

My brother even came wearing his hello life bracelet, which I forgot he he even had.

And right as I left the table to come write this post, I told them very seriously and matter of factly, “guys, don’t eat dessert without me.”

On that note, I am off to enjoy my dessert, even with Ed next to me.

We’ll be fine , Ed. It’s time for dessert.

Hello life.

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Day 352: Chef Shira Is In The House

Hello everyone,

Let me start this post by saying hello to the good days that we have after the bad days, because it is after the bad days,that we can truly appreciate the good ones, and that’s where I am at right now.

I am appreciating this good day that I had today, and I am really excited to tell you guys about it.

I don’t know what inspired me today, but I decided I wanted to cook myself dinner.

I was home alone, and it wasn’t even dinner time, it was in the mid-afternoon,but the feeling  just came over me. Knowing that it’s sometimes difficult to eat when I am by myself, I decided to seize the opportunity before Ed could talk me out of it.

And so I made dinner. Well, I made it and then saved it for when I would later eat it, but I made it.

And it was fun. I had my TV on, I could hear my pan sizzling, I felt like a real chef.

I used to cook all the time when I was locked in Ed. I would cook for everyone in my family and for my ex-boyfriend who I lived with at the time,but I would never enjoy my own cooking.

I would cook them something really yummy, and then make myself my “Ed” food, which was usually a plate of veggies.

And even throughout my recovery, cooking is not something I’ve done too often just because I am usually really busy.

But I decided that if I still don’t have a job and am graduated out of school, I guess I can take advantage of the time I had today to cook myself dinner.

It was a dinner that I’ve made in my head many times before, but I just never did it. It wasn’t anything insane or difficult or so gourmet, but it was what I wanted.

It had all the components a balanced meal has: proteins and fats and carbs and just deliciousness.

When I went to go eat it about an hour ago, I decided that for the first time in a while, I am going to eat just at the table with no distractions.

I usually watch TV when I eat alone so I have something to do, but when I do that, I often times can’t focus on my food, which sometimes works for me if Ed is there.

But today, I really wanted to focus on this food; I cooked it and it’s something I really wanted and have been wanting since I made it earlier in the day.

At first, sitting and eating in silence felt really lonely. But then, I began to really enjoy the act of what I was doing.

I was enjoying my own cooking. It was a beautiful moment.

And even though I had portioned out my meal according to my meal plan, I went back for seconds.

No meal plan in recovery is ever against seconds, right?

I took my plate to the sink thinking “wow, I am a good cook. Chef Shira is in the house.”

It was just yesterday that my little brother, who is now 5, asked me if I still eat prunes.

Prunes used to be my Ed diet, and there were many occasions where I took my little brothers out to eat at a restaurant and instead of eat with them, I would just bring my  little plastic  bag of prunes to eat for myself.

They always asked what it was and  I didn’t really know how to explain it, so I told them they are my special healthy food that’s good for you.

Last night, out of no where, he asked me “Shira, do you still eat those things in a bag that are healthy for you,”?

At first, I couldn’t even believe he remembered that. But at the same time, I guess it’s kind of a hard image to forget when you see your sister eating from this little plastic bag whenever you ate together for a long time.

I looked at him and smiled and said “nope, not anymore.”

If only he would see the dinner I made tonight, he would give me a big high five.

No more prunes baby and no more plastic bags at the table.

Hello life.

Day 294: Today’s Scorecard: Shira-3, Ed-0.

Hello everyone,

Because today is Veteran’s Day, a federal holiday, a lot of the U.S. had today off work and school.

Before I begin about writing about today, I would like to say thank you to any of the veterans reading this post, as I know there a a few who follow this blog. Thank you for your service, courage and bravery.

On that note, because my university was closed today, it didn’t feel like a typical Monday.

To begin with,  I didn’t work out today, which is something I usually always do on Monday’s after I indulge over the weekend.

But the truth is, I did my hair yesterday and it still looked really good this morning and I knew if I went to workout it wouldn’t look good anymore and then I would have to re-do it after I showered.

I know this may sound crazy, but today, Ed was just not worth ruining my cute hair, so I decided to not workout.

Scorecard: Shira-1 Ed-0.

Not working out was just the start to my mini Monday vacation that I had today.

After seeing E, I came home and my grandma and sister were going to lunch and then going shopping.

Needless to say, I really wanted to go with them.

So, despite my usual type A controlled personality, I cancelled both my tutoring sessions for today (and let’s hope the parents never find this blog and find out I lied about being tied up in an interview for a story I am writing, and that’s why I couldn’t come) and I decided to go with them.

Part 2 of my Monday vay-kay: lunch with my grandma and my sister.

Yes, lunch.On a Monday- and not on the weekend and not even on a day that I worked out.

Scorecard: Shira-2. Ed-0.

Part 3 of my Monday vacation: Shopping.

I didn’t go for my old “sick” size.

No. I went for my new healthier size.

It wasn’t easy.

There were one pair of pants that didn’t even go up my leg. There was one shirt that could have ripped off me had I turned one wrong inch.

But it was OK. I was OK. And the moment passed.

And, to my pleasing, my sister’s pants didn’t zip up on her either, and while she doesn’t suffer from an eating disorder and therefore that doesn’t affect her in the same way, she was able to look at the pants and laugh about how poorly made they were.

And so I did that too. Stupid, poorly made pants.

Them not fitting me doesn’t mean anything.

How ironic is it that last time I was in this store was the day that I weighed my least in all of my eating disorder, only to go back now walking in there with recovery on my side? And walking out laughing at the pants that didn’t go up even a quarter of my leg?

Scorecard: Shira-3. Ed-0.

So, yes, even after five days of pretty much eating what I’ve wanted, three days of body soreness because of it, and four days of not working out, I still gave myself a Monday Vacation.

And Ed got a vacation today too.Well, OK, not a vacation he wanted, it was more of a lay off or firing, but I just didn’t want him around today.

And also, we already ran out of hello life bracelets after yesterday. But more are on their way =).

Hello to the scorecard being 3-0, and in my favor.

Hello to Monday Vacations.

And hello life. 

Day 282: Excuse Me Ed…But I Have Something To Say

Hi everyone,

As you all know, the past few days have been extremely chaotic, hectic and stressful for me, which really tested my recovery for all that it’s worth.

When I used to be stressed out, pre-recovery, I would turn to Ed for support and guidance anytime I felt anxious.

“If I have to be stressed out about life, then the last thing I need to do is stress about gaining weight, so I won’t eat and it will be one less stressor for me,” is what I used to think.

Well, recovery is not like that and that mindset is no longer an option.

To say that I have not listened to Ed at all while being stressed these couple of days would be a lie, because I have listened to him.

Usually, I am more open and flexible with myself in terms of letting myself eat what I crave or what  I feel like, even if it’s an extra chocolate here or extra frozen yogurt there.

But these past few days, I have stuck exactly, and I mean exactly to the meal plan. Nothing less, but definitely nothing more.

Even though I was eating what I needed to, it still kind of felt like restricting because I wanted foods that Ed wouldn’t let me have, and I listened to him because I didn’t have the energy to fight him at the time.

But today, I told myself that I had to put my armor on and become a fighter. If I couldn’t fight Ed as being Shira right now, then I will fight him with a coat of armor pretending to be some kind of warrior.

And oh, did we fight…all day long.

Finally, at 5:30 p.m. I had a break from class and I really wanted a some m&m’s. I wanted them, Ed didn’t of course.

At first, I sat there in the classroom and told myself I won’t get up to go get the, because it was too far of a walk to go buy them.

Um…it’s a 3 minute walk at most, and I know that. And I had a 15 minute break, so time wasn’t an issue.

In that moment,  I had enough.

I want some m&m’s and Ed is not letting me?

Excuse me Ed, but I have something to say.

“I am getting my m&m’s.!”

And I did get them.

I didn’t eat all of them; not even half of them.

OK, so I actually only ate 5 of them.

But the point is, I got them. It was symbolic of me gaining my power back from Ed.

And to set Ed straight, I got what I wanted for dinner, not what he wanted-and I ate it in bed with him while watching one of my favorite TV shows. It was the best 30 minutes that I’ve had all week.

Ed was there for all of it.

He was there when I threw away the rest of the m&m’s, yes, that is true . But he was also there to witness me buy them in the first place, and that’s a victory in itself.

A small victory, but nonetheless, a victory.

Having him watch me actually enjoy my dinner tonight (and finish it) is a victory.

Sometimes, it’s the small victories in recovery or even in life, that deserve some recognition to remind ourselves how far we’ve come.

Hello life. 

 

Day 281: Raised Spirits

Hello lifers,

I don’t know what it was about today, but after a day like I had yesterday, someone somewhere must have known I needed a little extra support today, and not only was I lucky enough to receive it, I was overflowed with it.

From private e-mails, to comments, to tweet messages and to Facebook messages, and a special phone call from my mom, there was a beautiful person sending me a positive and inspiring message at the end of every media outlet today.

Some gave me words of encouragement.

Others told me how this blog has touched their lives.

One girl even told me this blog has saved her life.

But what no one knew, is that deep down, getting everyone’s support, is what lifted my spirits back up from my hard day yesterday and brought them into the place of hope that they are now.

Because of your love and support, I had a good day in recovery today.

I didn’t have a good day because I worked out (because again, I didn’t workout today yet again).

I didn’t have a good day because I didn’t think about calories in my food (because I most definitley did do that).

And I didn’t have a good day because my newest story for my university newspaper ran on the front cover today.

I had a good day because something so much stronger, bigger, and more fulfilling than Ed could ever make me, surrounded me all day and all night; and that was the support from all of you.

A year ago, I was the girl who would have said that I could handle everything on my own. I was the one who never needed help. I was the one who helped everyone else.

And even though I still tend to feel that I am expected to be this super hero all the time, I am no longer afraid to say that I cannot do this alone.

I cannot do recovery alone, and I don’t want to do it alone.

I am not afraid to admit that it is because of other people that I made it through today with a sound and hopeful mind.

Ed was the one who was afraid of other people, not me.

And now, I get to embrace the love and support I was missing out on for so long when I was letting Ed rule our lives.

This blog is truly no longer only my journey, but the journey of an entire community leaning, encouraging and supporting one another.

Thank you for being the reason I sit here tonight with raised and hopeful spirits.

Hello to the beautiful souls who have made today’s recovery a gift and hello life.

Day 277: Talking To Myself In The Bathroom Mirror

Happy Friday everyone,

Well, today’s title kind of explains everything in one sentence, but let me further explain myself so it doesn’t come off as crazy as it may seem. Or maybe it still might look crazy, but that’s OK.

So I had just finished getting dressed this morning when I was standing in my bathroom attempting to do my hair, when I caught myself just starring at myself in the mirror, thinking about how this sweater doesn’t fit me how it used to last winter.

At first I was thinking these thoughts in my head, like why the material is bunching up on this part of my arm, or why it looks a certain way, and then before I knew it, I was talking to myself out loud.

It’s kind of funny now that I write about it, but honestly, in that moment, it was not funny.

I couldn’t believe that I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror having a conversation with me and myself about why my arms look too big in my sweater…this explains only a small fraction of the crazy making things that an eating disorder can do to you.

All by myself, I went through all of the reasons why I don’t think I look good anymore. Out loud. I was actually trying to be kind to myself and justify why it is OK to not look the same as I used to. I’m not saying it worked, but I did try.

And Ed was watching this the whole time because I could feel his presence around me, laughing at me thinking how ridiculous I am for trying to convince myself that these were actually legitimate reasons to not look good.

There is never a legitimate enough reason for Ed to not look absolutely perfect.

Is this really that crazy, or don’t we all have conversations with ourselves on a daily basis?

Those conversations might stay inside our heads and not always be verbalized, but I know for me, I have conversations with myself about the way I look in the mirror almost everyday.

Sometimes they are good conversations and sometimes I tell myself how great I think I look.

Today just happened to not be such a great conversation and it happened to be out loud. I am thankful no one was home, although I guess that doesn’t matter much anymore, now that I am telling you all about it here.

And then later in the day, I found myself having the same conversations with myself in yet another mirror, yet this time it was at my dad’s house and I was looking at the way my jeans looked on me.

But this time, I didn’t talk to myself out loud because my little brothers were there and I would never let them hear the kind of negative thoughts that Ed taints my mind with sometimes.

So, there you have it.

I talked to myself in my bathroom mirror today, out loud, about why I didn’t look good in my sweater.

Was it the greatest day in my recovery? No.

But, it also by far was not my worst.

At least with this experience, I can kind of look back on it as I write this and laugh at it.

Sometimes laughing at even the things that hurt us the most, can help speed up the time it takes us to heal.

Hello to laughing at talking to myself in my bathroom mirror, hello to not judging myself for it, hello to moving past it, and lastly…

hello life.