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 364: A Goodbye Letter To My Scale

Hi guys,

With tomorrow being the very last day of this one year journey, I have decided that tomorrow will be the day that I smash my scale.

The poll that is up on the website has almost 50 percent of votes saying to smash it, so that’s what will happen.

Throughout my recovery, I have written many letters on this blog. I have written letters to Ed, and I’ve written letters to myself.

And now, I will write a goodbye letter to my scale. I am sorry in advance for it being long, but I just have a lot to say to it.

My letter to Ed was not a goodbye letter, as I don’t think that Ed will ever leave my life forever. However, I can and will and have learned to live above him and to live free of him.

But this letter to my scale, is indeed a goodbye letter, because after tomorrow, when I smash it and then throw it away, it will forever be gone.

I haven’t thought about what I would say yet, so here it goes.

Dear scale,

My precious, only trusted, heavy and white scale.

Where do I begin to start to say goodbye to something that over many years, and pretty much my entire life, (except this one year journey) was such a huge part of my life?

Everyday, and many times, every hour, particularly for the past three years, you specifically were my life.   There were other scales over the years,but you were the one that Ed and I picked for the worst few years of our time together.

I remember standing on you on my 18th birthday, on my 19th birthday, and on my 20th birthday. I remember standing on you the day I had surgery.

I remember standing on you the day my grandpa passed away.

I remember standing on you on my 21st birthday, and my 22nd birthday too.

This year, for my 23rd birthday, you were not around.

Do you remember the many times that I tried to give you up, and yet I always came back?

One time I gave you up for a week. One time it was for a month. And one time, I was even sure I could do without you because I placed you at someone’ else’s house. Only to find myself speeding over to that house once everyone left for work to go stand on you once again.

Do you remember when your batteries ran out, and I was late to my family dinner, because I had to go to the drug store to buy new batteries for you?

Do you remember the times at 3 a.m. when I would pull you out from under my bed and stand on you when everyone around me was asleep? It was like our own little secret. Just you and me.

Do you remember when I came rushing home from my vacation in Big Bear last year just to run and stand on you to see what bad news you would give me?

I’ m sure you remember everywhere I put you; under the bathroom sink, under the bed, and even in the kitchen one time.

I’m sure you remember the way my feet felt when they stood on you, because I sure remember the cold metal parts of you on my feet too.

I remember the clicking sound you make when I had to turn you on.

That sound will haunt me forever. It was the sound I woke up to every single day, and sometimes in the middle of the night, for years.

And no matter how many other scales I stood on at a doctors office or someone else’s house, you, my dear scale, you were the only one I trusted.

You didn’t even start out as my scale.

You started out as someone else’s scale who I lived with. At first, I only took you out of her closet when everyone was asleep.

And then, you moved with me into my new apartment.

And then you moved with me into a new home.

Somehow, along the way, Ed and I made you ours. We didn’t even care that you once belonged to someone else.

But last January 21 of 2013, I gave you up for good.

For the past year, you have resided somewhere with E (my therapist). I don’t know where, and I really don’t care to be honest.

And I know that E does not care about you either. I gave you to her because her strength is far beyond yours and I knew your presence wouldn’t bother her like it would bother me.

I wonder how you feel now that you haven’t been turned on for an entire year?

Do you feel lifeless? Do you feel dead?

Because that’s how I felt every time I stood on you.

Maybe now you can understand my life with you for those years.

And I might add, dear scale, that tomorrow, I will be smashing you.

But before I smash you, I will make sure to remove your batteries.

You will never be alive again.

I am not sure if you will break completely, but I will be using the heaviest hammer that I can hold and I am going to read you this letter, and then I am going to smash you as hard as I possibly can.

And then I am going to throw you away.

Do you know what I’ve accomplished this year without you, scale?

Do you know that I was the top senior reporter for my university newspaper , even without you telling me what number I weighed during it?

Do you know that my brother called me his hero all because I decided to value myself on who I am, not on you or Ed?

Do you know that without you, I graduated college? I graduated college on a day that I have no idea what I weighed that day.And it was at the best day ever. My Facebook status for it got over 140 likes.

Your weight for me could never get that kind of popularity.

Do you know that my family still loved me this year? Even though I wasn’t the number I always wished you would show me?

Yup, they loved me, supported me and carried me through even without your number.

You used to be my only truth; my only definition of who I was.

But I’ve learned over this past year, that I am not a number.

I am not a size. I am not even a definition of anything.

I am me.

And me is no longer a part of you, and you are no longer a part of me.

And therefore, tomorrow, we will officially part ways.

And I am not only smashing you for me.

I am smashing you for every single person who is part of this journey.

I am smashing you for the other birthdays and days and lives of others your’ve ruined; I am smashing you for every single fighter in the support group ,and I am smashing you for the many people who said this blog saved their lives.

Do you remember when I gave you to E, my only words when she asked me if I had anything to say, were “hello life?”

I remember that.

I’ve found that my soul is my new truth, and your number no longer defines me, dear scale.

And because of that, I officially say goodbye to you.

Sincerely,

Shira.

Hello Life.

hammer

Day 362: My First One Year Hello Life Celebration and Getting The Hammer That Will Smash My Scale

Hi everyone,

Tonight I had my first celebration for my one year mark of this blog, which is officially on Tuesday. It was at the same steakhouse in San Diego that I celebrated my 6 month milestone.

All I have to say about this dinner is that I love bread and butter, and wine, and steak and mostly: I love the icing and frosting and whipped cream that comes on chocolate cake.

And I love the family who I was able to celebrate this first celebratory dinner with.

And I also loved my menu that said “Congratulations Shira on one year, hello life!”

And I love icing-just one more time for the record.

I also went today to go get the hammer that I will be smashing my scale with at the end of this journey.

I set up a poll for everyone to vote on what to do with my scale, and the results overwhelmingly say to smash it.  So that’s what I am going to do.

My step mom and my brothers had actually taken the time to make me a special hammer for this day about a week or so ago  and even painted it yellow, hello life’s colors, and wrote “hello life” on it.

It was a beautiful gesture and it is a big indicator of the kind of role they played in this journey.

But as they were making it, I wasn’t able to help them. I didn’t even want to pick up the paintbrush.

I wasn’t ready yet to come to terms with the fact that this one year journey is almost over.

I realized that in order for me to truly prepare myself for the moment of me smashing my scale, I had to go through the preperation process myself.

At first I ordered a hammer online, but it wasn’t sufficient enough.

I decided that if I am going to mentally prepare myself for this moment, then I need to start with going to the store and picking out my hammer myself ; feeling it, imagining me using it to smash my scale, and sit with that idea for a while.

This scale was my everything for so many years. It was my definition of who I was. It was my good days. It was my bad days. It was my birthday. It was everyday.

While smashing it will be one of the greatest acts of self love I can ever do for myself, it is also going to be smashing away a part of who I used to be.

So today, I went to pick my hammer.

I even got yellow spray paint to color it with Hello Life colors.

I picked up every single hammer in the isle. The light ones, the big ones, and even the ones I couldn’t pick up. It took a while until  I found the right one.

After practicing picking it up and pretending to smash something with it, I had chosen the right one.

My hammer that my family made for me is going to stay with me and in my room forever as a reminder of what it symbolizes; love and unconditional support. For whatever reason, that hammer was meant to serve that purpose for me as a reminder of that love.

But this hammer, the one I got today, this will be the destroyer of my scale.

So today I took one step toward accepting the ending of this journey and also one step toward celebrating the end of this one year journey.

I celebrated with my mom, aunt, sister and grandma, and had the most incredible dinner ever.

My sister even asked me how I feel, and I told her that I can’t believe it was real. And when I looked at her when she asked me that, I couldn’t help but remember the very first day I got my meal plan, and she came and ate lunch with me because I couldn’t do it alone.

Tonight was a celebration of not just this one year of recovery and one year without a scale; but a celebration of the relationships and love that come from being in other relationships than just with Ed.

And I got the hammer that will be used to smash my scale.

I am still not sure I am ready to accept that Tuesday is quickly approaching as this blog has become a huge part of my life, but I am doing all the right steps to mentally prepare for it.

Hello to my first celebration for this one year journey, hello to the hammer that will smash my scale and hello life.

mortons 1 mortons 2

Day 338: It’s The Holidays Ed, Watch and Learn.

Merry Christmas everyone,

Quick update: The first recovery fighter support group email will go out on Friday, so anyone who still wants to be a part of it, please use the contact me form and let me know. We have a great group of some very strong fighters so far and I am very excited for it.

It was only yesterday in my therapy session with E that I was telling her that I hoped I would get sick so I would have a valid reason for myself to not workout.

I was tired, and my body was tired, and I just wanted to take some days off, but being in the place I am with Ed and with Christmas being here with all the food, I couldn’t find it within myself to do it.

When I was locked in my eating disorder, I would workout even when I was sick-but in recovery, this is not something I allow myself to do.

Well, in the true way that the law of attraction works, I woke up this morning sick. I have such a sore throat I can barley swallow.

At first, when this gave me permission to cancel my running plans with my friend, I was kind of relieved. And then Ed woke up too and the madness began.

“You’re sick, so you don’t have an appetite to eat today, right Shira?” he was saying.

“You’re sick, so you can’t go to all the lunches and dinners you had planned for Christmas today, right Shira?”

Uh…wrong Ed. Very wrong.

I tried to listen to Ed, it’s not something I am happy about. But I did try.

But I sit here now, one lunch and one dessert session later, and two more dinners ahead of me (which doesn’t mean I have to eat at all of them but nonetheless they are there), and I can honestly say Ed was wrong.

I still totally had my appetite. And I ate. And ate.

And ate desserts too.

Delicious amazing deserts.

And I will probably eat more desserts today.

Do I wish that I could take days off from working out without needing an excuse of being sick? Yes, very much so.  But at the same time, I don’t blame myself for not being at that point yet.

So I think this was the universe’s way of giving me a day off, or possibly a few days off.

And maybe  I deserve that.

I am sick, so I can’t workout. Go me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t need to have my appetite, even if Ed wants that to be true.

How could I not have an appetite with all this yummy Christmas food in front of me today and yesterday? How can I not have an appetite to eat the desserts that I handpicked myself to bring?

Having a sore throat doesn’t affect that.

Oh, and may I add, that I tried ham for the very first time yesterday.

Oh my God. Wow. I will never go 23 years again without it.

So with that being said, and with sitting here now feeling sick with my sore throat because I pretty much asked for it, and yet still ate what I wanted today anyway and didn’t workout, I only have one thing to say:

It’s the holidays, Ed.

People enjoy the holidays.

People take days off from working out even if they are not sick, and they don’t need to hope to get sick to do so.

People eat when they are sick too, because they like the food in front of them and it’s social component.

It’s the holidays.

Holidays is a word you don’t know, dear Ed, but that’s ok because I will teach you.

Now it’s time for you to watch and learn how people enjoy the holidays without you calling the shots.

And if my clothes start to fit a bit tighter in the mean time of me teaching you, oh well.

If I gain a few pounds that I’ll never be able to see since there is no more scale, then oh well.

It’s the holidays, Ed. Watch and learn how we in the recovery world celebrate.

Hello to my first holiday season in recovery, hello to any other fighter’s first holiday season in recovery, and hello to all of us teaching our Ed’s how we celebrate.

And last but most definitely not least, hello life.

Day 334: This Is How We Celebrate One Month Left

Happy one month left of our one year journey lifers,

Before I start today’s post, I just want to say the Facebook forum will be up soon and I am still figuring out how to do it so I need a few days. But please continue to let me know if you want to be part of it =).

Today marks the official one month count down of our one year journey together.

So, how did I celebrate it?

I had a movie date with my 8-year-old brother, the one who said he would like to switch brains with me so he can have all the right answers in school.

Let me explain something about this little boy to you: not only is he funny, but he is warm, loving, and he loves sweets almost as much as me. So there was no one else I would rather spend this day with other than him.

I would like to say that I am the one who took him out, but he had two free movie tickets, so besides the candy and cookie we ate, he actually treated me.

Before we go to a movie, I always take my brothers to this candy store by the theatre so they can pick whatever they want.

Last time we were at this candy store, I remember exactly what I got: a few sugar free chocolate covered almonds and sugar free jelly beans. They were horrible.

Today, each my brother and I got our own bag, and this time, there was nothing sugar free in mine.

We watched the movie together and laughed together and I just kept thinking to myself how lucky I was that out of all the people in the world, he chose me to go watch it with him.

You know the craziest part? He had no idea that I was celebrating the last month count down of my year without a scale today; no one actually knew.

On our way out to the car, we stopped to get some pastries for a friend, and of course for us too, and he said to me, “Shira, if I could make a rule for the world, it would be that everyone loved pastries.”

And then we both laughed and said we both wish it could be true.

The entire way home, we talked about funny lines that we remembered from the movie, and we talked about how the boys bathroom in his school are not as nice as the girls bathroom (he says he only knows this because a girl, who he made very clear to me is not his girlfriend, told him the girls bathroom is nicer).

This is what I am celebrating today.

I am celebrating the world of loving pastries being a rule.

I am celebrating the world of sharing movie lines in the car.

I am celebrating the world where the fact that the boys bathroom is not as nice as the girls bathroom is a major issue.

I am celebrating the world where the girl you talk about when your 8 years old, is a girl, but make bi mistake, but she is not your girlfriend.

I am celebrating the world of things that really matter in life: the small, innocent, touching moments that no number on a scale and no job and no fancy title could ever give you.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my one month count down.

Hello life.

Day 295: Being A Recovery Olympian

Hi everyone,

I normally go to the gym if I am going to workout, but today I decided to go running outside on a hiking path that I really like.

As I was  running, I was reminded of how I felt when I ran cross country in high school.

I had initially joined the cross country team for Ed, because he told me to find some kind of exercise. But once I started it, it wasn’t about Ed anymore.

It became about my team. It became about beating my best time. It became about learning how to listen to my body, how to fuel it, and how to make it run as efficiently as it could.

When I was running today, I could literally hear my old coach telling me from the sidelines, “You’re tall, you’re strong, you’re beautiful.”

I was honestly not thinking about calories or numbers or miles today.

I was stuck back in the 11th grade, with my other cross country girls, just trying to enjoy the feeling of running.

And just for the record, I wasn’t even one of the fast runners on the team who won us any titles.

I was the one who came in second or third to last, and truly pushed myself for even that. But I was known for my perseverance, a quality that I think has gotten me through  a lot of rough days in recovery.

So there I was today, running, imagining that I look like some kind of olympic super star, while we all know we never look like that while huffing and puffing as we run hard, but it was nice to imagine.

And then, out of no where, I tripped and fell over a rock and landed right on my face.

The olympian moment was over and now I was back in real life. My real life where yes, sometimes I start to feel like I’m flying  and then I fall. But isn’t that everyone’s life?

Anyway, as I limped my way back to my car with my two scrapped and now severely bruised knees and two fake nails broken in half (most painful part), I realized something.

And no, I am not about to use the metaphor, “when you fall, pick yourself back up,” although that did cross my mind too.

I realized, that for the first time in a long time, that when I was done exercising, (obviously I was very done after my fall),  I wasn’t even mad that my run was cut short because I fell.

I wasn’t mad that I couldn’t spend more time burning calories.

I wasn’t mad that my one hour of running turned into 30 minutes.

I was mad that my nails broke and that my phone fell in the dirt and that my knees hurt.

Don’t get me wrong, those aren’t fabulous things and in no way am I happy about it, but I am actually really happy with myself that I was mad at that, instead of being mad that my exercising got cut short.

That is recovery.

To care more about myself and my body (from my knees to my nails), is recovery. That is self-care 101 and it’s something that Ed knows nothing about.

However, it is something that I know about now.

And now that I write this, I honestly still think I was like a mini olympian today.

I finished my own race. While it might had been flat on my face, it was my way-and it was without Ed judging me for it.

Who knew I would ever be more upset over some broken nails and cut up knees than about not being able to run and burn more calories?

That sounds like a recovery olympian to me.

Hello life. 

 

Day 279: Oh Yes, I Ordered The Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Happy Sunday everyone,

Every year for my birthday, my aunt takes my sister and I out to brunch, just the three of us.

Every year we go to the same place. This place is very well known for their pancakes.

Every year for the past three years that we’ve gone there, Ed came with me.

I remember going last year and wanting to order these chocolate chip pancakes, but there was just no way Ed would approve of that, so I got egg whites.

The year before I ordered the same egg whites, but my sister got the chocolate chip pancakes, and I remember the one bite I let myself have of it. I think I went home and binged that day,because I thought that even one bite was too much, so I punished myself for it by bingeing.

Needless to say, that restaurant was always Ed’s restaurant, not mine. Until today.

I knew that we would be going there for brunch today, and I even talked to E (my therapist) about it on Friday.

“I really want to go and take this brunch back from Ed and make it my own again. I just don’t think I can get the pancakes, not yet,” I told her.

But when I walked into that restaurant today, I was determined. I was doing it. I was going to take back my birthday brunch with my aunt from Ed.

He had it all to himself for three years now, and now it was my turn to take it back. I mean, after all, it’s my birthday brunch, not his.

So  I was starring at the menu, still kind of nervous and still thinking how I would actually get the words “I want the chocolate chip pancakes,” out of my mouth to the waitress, so I decided to tell my aunt and my sister about what I was going through.

My sister, knowing what an incredibly hard thing this was for me, helped me conquer Ed, and she helped me take back this brunch.

Together, she and I not only ordered and shared the chocolate chip pancakes, but eggs and bacon too.

We divided everything equally and we each had our own plate to ourselves. I made sure we did this, so I could feel mindful of what I was doing. Eating off plates with other people is often times really eating disordered behavior, and it’s become important to me to have my own plate at meals.

I remember spreading the chocolate chips around on the pancakes before I took the first bite and I was just thinking to myself, “Oh yes. I did it. I ordered the chocolate chip pancakes.”

I felt like a mini hero in that moment.

This was the first time  that I have had my own plate of chocolate chip pancakes in many years. And wow, did I miss them. I don’t think I can go years again without them again.

Ed lost today–majorly lost. And I on the other hand, took back my birthday brunch with my aunt and my sister and I took back this restaurant from Ed too.

Hello to eating chocolate chip pancakes, hello to being my own mini hero today, and hello life.