Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Brag

For the first time in my life, I don't have the need to prove myself to anyone.

With that said, here is my shameless brag. I got recruited for an executive position within a prestige cosmetics brand. The VP of sales flew to St. Louis to single-handedly rescue me from the hell that is my current work situation. He offered me a salary and bonus opportunity that I couldn't refuse; offered to pay for me to move; offered me a chance to live in my favorite city with my favorite amenity- lakes.

I'm moving to Minneapolis!!!!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Brief Reflection on the Last Year

Despite my best effort at mindfulness and staying present, I find myself reflecting on the past year.

Considering where I was a year ago, I think the ability to be present at all is a considerable achievement.  It took everything I had and then took what I didn't have to pretend to be OK for all of 2011 and in November I couldn't even pretend anymore. I took a medical leave and went in to an intensive outpatient program at OSU's psych hospital. Finally dealing with the horrors of the year was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Last December was a blur- not working at holiday time is an incredible freedom for someone like me who lives in Retail Hell. I went to the hospital every morning, left at noon, took a long nap and then wrote, or listened to music, or went on a walk with my friends. I learned to stop beating myself up when I wanted to take a long nap, or do nothing, or avoid everyone; I learned to accept that that's what I wanted and who fucking cares if anyone thinks I ought to be doing something else?

It's a glorious gift to finally be able to let go of abuse, death, grief, avoidance, pretending to be ok, pretending to be normal and perfect and lovely regardless of losing everything I had worked for and having to build a brand new life and how do you do that when you're 27 and depressed, lost, bulimic and miserable in general? How do you learn to just accept that what was was and move on? I have an answer now, and here it is: lots and lots of therapy.  (I also learned to accept it if I want to write the run on sentence of all run on sentences. You need to get over it now, too).

I took a 10 day, impromptu trip to see my closest friend and soul-mate in San Francisco. I did a lot of nothing on that trip- it was exactly what I needed. Ten days- Christmas Eve to New Years Day- of good company, rest, hiking through the redwood forest that Mitch lives in, bad movies, loud music, sunshine and fresh, crisp, perfect air. Throw in sunset on the beach on Christmas Eve and nothing could have been a better choice for me.

This year has been amazing. I followed my time at OSU with an intensive outpatient program at OSU's eating disorder center. I learned to eat and how to not binge, I continued working on my breathing and meditating and I felt normal being around others with all varieties of eating disorders. I finally learned to stop hiding things and ask for support.

I met a guy who I told from the beginning not to ask me out to eat, that I'm bulimic and recovering and that going out to eat gives me anxiety and is generally not enjoyable for me. I found that I can say this to people- take it or leave it, and the world doesn't end because I'm not perfect. I learned that it's ok to require support and understanding from people that I meet, and how my dating anxiety was infinitely better when I did this, and dating was actually fun!

I had my mid-year freak out and I got over it. I'm in the middle of my end-of-year travel anxiety freak out, but I'm making a few plans and I know I'll get over this, too. I'm still experiencing a small anxiety attack once a day or so about living with someone again, but I know that it doesn't have to be permanent and to stop worrying about the future and just enjoy now. Now, now, now.

So I've spent my day reflecting and I love that the decisions I have made- good or not so good- have made me who I am. Because I am kind of perfect (and not perfect in the way that I was pretending to be before. Now, for real, I really am).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Some Notes about St. Louis

I've not written in a hot minute, moving is awful, so is trying to adjust five cats to a new surrounding (and new siblings), and my new job is exhausting. So, I think it's fair to start out with some observations about my new city.

1) People here can not fucking drive. I mean- CAN. NOT. DRIVE. Speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down, slow down even more, get into the left lane, speed up as I try to pass you on the right, match my speed so I can't get around. Stop at yield signs, take 5 minutes to go at a stop sign, go 15 miles under the speed limit at all times. 

2) The radio is terrible. Your station choices are the following: Shitty pop, country, Christian, ghetto and Christmas. Good luck.

3) St. Louis is kind of neat. In a, I could live here for a couple of years max and do things once and get it out of my system and then move to Minneapolis and live happily ever after kind of way.

4) Finally, my biggest complaint: People here are really unattractive. Seriously, even the people who try really hard still miss by a mile.

I do like it here, though. I've got a big company recruiting me out of Minneapolis, so it's been hard to tell them no (several times... and they're still coming here next week to meet with me in person), but I can actually see living here for a bit.

Friend and I live in a great location, close to the highways, across the street from Forest Park, groceries, bars and cafes and restaurants, but very quiet. We're getting settled and making our house a nice little home. It's been really pleasant other than the few moments of panic and flashing back to past experiences here and there.

To his credit, Friend is amazing. He doesn't get upset when I get defensive because he asked me if I was done with my water bottle, so he could throw it away. He understands that my immediate reaction to defend myself and cover my ass is directly related to the way I was treated for 6 years. Despite my best efforts, things have come together, for now, and I'm enjoying every second as it happens. I think my therapist would be so proud!

Friday, October 5, 2012

holy fucking shit.

For the first time since spring I can’t eat, can’t breathe, I’m losing my grip; getting ready for the end of the world. I know it’s happening; I felt it start.

...I’m anxious that I haven’t been eating my meal plan.
...I’m anxious that I am moving 7 hours away to a city I never thought I’d live in.
...I’m anxious about taking on a new job.
...I’m anxious because I ended up in a relationship despite my best efforts.
                I’m anxious that I am really happy.
                I’m worried because I’m in love with him.
...I’m worried that he thinks I’m better and I’m not.
...I'm worried that I think I'm better and I'm not.
...I’m anxious that I can’t stay present.
...I’m stressed because I need to find a place to live, find the money to make this happen, rent a truck, pack my shit, relocate my three cats and stress them out.

I can’t eat. I don’t eat. Is this relapsing? My best guess is yes, this is always how it starts. Who do I tell? How do I say “I’m not well, I’m not better anymore?”

I turned off the TV that I rarely watch anyway because of a commercial with plastic food in it. I’ve barely eaten today but what little I have threatened to come back up. My body image has been pretty positive, especially lately, so this is not supposed to happen, right?

Why is it that my reaction to very stressful situations is to stop eating? To stop doing one of the few things that I need in order to sustain my life, to nurture not only my
body, but my mind as well. 

And of course, whenever Ed comes knocking, old habits rear their ugly heads. Restricting and binging doesn’t apply only to my nutritional habits in this sense. I ordered a new coat today.  The coat is perfect for what I predict is coming: Binging, restricting, more binging and weight gain. It’s sort of homeless-looking; truly, I look like a bag lady in it and it’s glorious. 

I left work an hour early. I’m nauseated, I’m sore, I’m short of breath, I’m beat down.

I’m finally ready to admit that I am not better, I still need support. I still need counseling and people who get it. I need my people to not act like this doesn’t exist; like it was just a phase. It wasn’t, isn’t, will never be just a phase I went through. I was getting better, so much better; I had started to believe maybe it was just something that wasn’t really serious. Is this how it works? Did Ed trick me into thinking I was cured so he could manipulate me again?

Of course, it’s Friday night and I can’t call to make an appointment at The Center. Will I be feeling like I’ve hit the bottom on Monday and make the call? Or will I tell myself that I caught myself just in time, just before I hit the bottom- grasping a ledge and telling myself that I can climb back up and do it on my own?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Deuces, Ohio!

I’m trying to figure out how my parents have not asked me about my recovery for months. Like, I’m relatively convinced that my parents never believed that I am actually sick. They don’t think I’m really not well; despite attending family night at The Center and attending a family counseling session with my counselor.

In regards to support, my biggest fan Lovie left for Texas two months ago and I’ve been doing surprisingly well. I spent a week or two (or maybe three) in full panic mode because I was still here. After a bit, I stopped actively looking for jobs outside of Ohio. I decided to chill out, accept where I am and stay through the end of the year and then resume my search.

I didn’t think I was running. No matter what Lovie said, I swore I was ready. And it really felt like I was ready, until a month or so ago I knew I was ready. I thought I didn’t give a fuck what people thought before, but then I realized the other day- fuck them! This is my home, too. I refuse to let the chance that I see someone I don’t know keep me from living in it.)

It’s funny how things start to come together when you relax, let go and just be. I have been feeling really content; my pieces are falling into place. I have a great apartment, a job that I don’t love but is pretty fun, easy and pays well, and three awesome cats. (Ok ok, I have way more than that- family that is close, so many amazing, amazing friends to take care of me when I need it.)

So I unpacked the boxes I had packed in my hurry to make some major changes happen. I reorganized my closet, cleaned up the mess my apartment had become, allowed myself to get closer to friends I had started to cut off. I even continued to see Friend and learn that I can meet someone who I genuinely like and want to see on a regular basis. And, to my shock and horror and despite everything I’ve learned and every self-sabotage I tried-I’ve gotten quite attached to him. So attached, in fact, that I think we may become roommates soon; roommates who sleep together, of course, but just roommates.

And I’ve just gotten unpacked, re-settled, content and present when a job opportunity was presented to me. I think the reason I am sure it’s the right choice is because I really thought hard- hesitated, even- before I got excited about the city it was in, the job and the perks of the job. I interviewed and completely dropped the bomb; just something about it instantly felt like I fucked it up. I spent a week feeling that familiar failure, another opportunity that I really thought would be great gone. But I was wrong! Today, I went in for my second interview and nailed it; I will be getting a job offer in the next few days. I can’t wait to get to know my new city and continue my path to getting where I ultimately belong in my industry.

I have to move by November 1, so I guess it’s a good thing I hadn’t had time to get rid of the boxes I unpacked, since I’m going to be loading everything right back up!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Making New Friends & Dating as an Adult

I've been seeing this guy for a while, like since the end of winter (I know, it's probably some kind of record and yes, it does freak me out), and to my shock and dismay, he's becoming a really good friend and someone I enjoy having around. I enjoy having him around so much that I invite him to sleep over and I like it.

I've even introduced this new Friend of mine to some of my friends and met a few of his. This whole dating as an adult thing is so new and foreign and interesting and glorious to me. Imagine- being friends with someone before coming to the conclusion that you like them enough to commit to them. Who knew that it was possible? Certainly not 21 year old me who committed to a guy she met online within a week of meeting him. Definitely, 100% not 18 year old me who was convinced she would marry the 23 year old Baptist virgin co-worker she fell in "love" with and corrupted.

Saturday night I went to a get-together for my new Friend's friend's birthday. Here's the best part: The party was for Friend's ex-girlfriend. Yes! I know, it's kind of awesome.

It does flatter me that he would introduce me to his ex, who is now simply a good friend to him. I've told a couple of my friends about my weekend and their first reaction was, of course, "Ok, that's weird. Is he using you to make her jealous?" and no. It's definitely not like that. People, stop trying to make drama and create doubt where the should be none.

So ex-girlfriend (who is also a redhead), is asking Friend about his parents, how they're doing. She turns to me and asks me if I've met his parents yet. I couldn't help it, my reaction was to laugh sort of hysterically. No, no I have absolutely not met his parents yet. But it got me thinking, how do adults go about deciding when the time is right to introduce new friends to their parents and isn't it fucking awkward? Because I feel like it's going to be awkward when I do decide to take someone to meet my amazing (read crazy) family. Do I wait until I have decided I, like, love someone to introduce them? Do I bring this person who I've already decided I care about home to my parents' house? But then what if I already care about this person and know that I want them in my life but my family hates him?

Or, should I introduce them right away, before I even know how I feel about them so I can get an opinion from my family, since they're usually right?  Do we go to dinner? Lunch? Why the fuck am I thinking about this so much? Now that it's been brought up, it's giving me slight anxiety to think about. Maybe I should just add "parents deceased" to my list of requirements for men I date seriously?

Friend's parents aren't deceased and I'm not sure I'm willing to cut him off of my potential boyfriends list any time soon. So maybe, if it gets to the point that I'm introduced to his family and it doesn't go well, I'll start my search for the perfect guy- with dead family- after that.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Seem to You to Seek a New Disaster Every Day

Be kind to me, or treat me mean; I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine.

This Fiona Apple lyric has been on loop in my mind for the last few months, particularly since I saw her in concert in St. Louis in July.

I'm constantly reminding myself of how resilient I am, of how much I have bounced back from. I really am an extraordinary machine, I have the ability to choose how I let things affect me, of how I react to them. And I've done a pretty stellar job of dealing with things lately.

I am finally able to talk about the things that have happened in a matter-of-fact way. I've accepted that I played a role in the events of my past. I'm ok with this because of how much I learned and where it has gotten me. I think I know more about myself than most 28 year old women ever will, because I've allowed myself to take a time out and get it together.

There are things that I know, without a doubt, about myself that took me a while to come to terms with but I have. I respect these truths, even try to nurture them and grow them into things that will shape my future in positive ways. At this point in my life, I only want to surround myself with people who can respect these things because above all, I have decided that life is too short to spend time with people who make you fucking miserable.

Thankfully, I have an amazing family who, for the most part and to the best of their ability, supports the choices I've made in my past and seem to understand and support the things I want for my future. How many girls can really say they have really considered their choices in life- not what we are "supposed" to want or do, but what they really want? I hope it's more than I think it may be, but I don't think many of us take the time to consider our options.

No matter what I'm dealing with or how down I am, I can always know that I have never stopped nurturing the relationship I have with myself and trying to find what makes me happy regardless of how uncomfortable it may be or how abnormal it may seem to others. And that's what makes me the amazing, crazy mess that I am.