Love Your Skin.

I want to talk about eating disorders.

Actually, I don’t want to at all. I need to.

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Recently, a family member of mine told me I needed to go on a diet. Yeah, sure, I’m curvy. Some days I may even go as far as chubby. However, I eat rather healthy—lots of fruits and vegetables, limited sweets, etc. I walk daily, exercise when I can, and do yoga a few times a week.

I don’t need to go on a diet because I’m built this way.

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My reply to this family member was, “No, this is my body and I love it.”

Yet he continued on, arguing with me that I was still a little *he lifted up his fingers and made a pinching motion as if he were pinching my fat rolls*. He argued with me about whether or not I should be satisfied with the skin I’m in.

This wasn’t some stranger on the street criticizing me. It wasn’t even some jerk of a frenemy. It was a family member.

It was these types of comments, and much worse, that led me to have dismorphic thoughts and depression before I even hit puberty, a full-blown eating disorder starting when I was thirteen, and worsening self-destructive tendencies all through high school. It was these types of comments that continue to have me dealing with deep psychological issues at the age of 25.

I’m somewhere between my eighth and ninth year in recovery from anorexia and bulimia. ED recovery is like addiction recovery—you’re never truly recovered, always working towards improving but knowing the issues will continue haunting you.

Very few people know this who weren’t there to witness it. And even those who were there to witness it averted their eyes and pretended nothing was happening. They wanted to believe my smile. They wanted to believe it was just a phase. They chose to believe that I was okay.

I wasn’t okay.

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I literally had it written on my walls.

I was such a chubby kid and a surprisingly large portion of those around me growing up commented on my “baby fat”, how I needed to cut out desserts or else I’d be fat forever, told me I needed to dress this way or that for a slimming figure, and much worse all before I hit my thirteenth birthday. I shrunk down so quickly my first year of high school that today I’m shocked no one intervened. The compliments I received about how thin I had become and how great I looked was the most accomplished I had ever felt. I loved feeling my ribs, collarbones, and hip bones poking through my clothes. How come no one ever realized that if that were unhealthy in a pet, it’s unhealthy in a child?

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But I didn’t stop there. I started counting calories, giving myself a limit of 500 a day. No, that’s not a typo. 500. I still remember talking with a friend about how we’d rather use our calories on candy bars rather than sandwiches because we were never properly educated on the importance of proper nutrition, empty calories, or the fact that calories are energy for your body. Calories became the enemy—a poison that must be avoided. Thin became an addition. Hunger became a positive feeling.

 

As I was nearing fifteen, my body started to broaden out. My wide hips and broad shoulders are simply the way the beautiful women of my family are built. I love them so much now, but the tiny teenager me saw them as a curse. None of the women in the magazines had them. None of the protagonists on any of the shows I watched had them. I continued to watch my intake of food and worked out as much as my low-energy body would allow.

 

My hair started to thin and fall out. My skin was dry and blemishes (which I was already prone to get due to genetics) were taking over my face, chest, shoulders, and back. However, I was still mocked by kids at school for my thighs and hips. I’m not joking here, despite all of this I was still bullied about my body. I very clearly remember someone telling me not to go to the county fair because my thighs would break the ferris wheel.

 

Then I hit my worst.

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My body stopped properly regulating my blood sugar and I began passing out from it. A few of my guy friends intervened and made sure I ate lunch at school daily. They were the first ones to ever tell me that I needed to eat and show that they care. However, I needed to be thinner and purged everything I ate in front of them.

It wasn’t long after this time that the switch finally flipped in my head. I would go to school, barely able to function, and come home, immediately falling asleep. All of my personal relationships were falling apart. I barely had the energy to eat even if I wanted to. I continued to have issues with getting incredibly dizzy or even blacking out.

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I never had a specific moment when I decided that I wanted to start taking better care of myself. I slowly began introducing more foods into my nonexistent diet and eventually had full meals. Gradually, my body became mine again.

I had a few relapses as my body filled out. My hips grew broad and didn’t look like any other girls’. Turns out I have what’s called “violin hip deformity”. Yes, deformity is part of the term. Because that’s what every developing girl wants to hear about her unique and beautiful shape. My violin hips cause me to look like I have a muffin top even without clothes, only deepening my hate towards my own skin.

One girl, upon seeing me at a sleepover when I was seventeen, commented that she always thought I had always wore my pants too tight but she then saw that my hips were just “weird”.

Dismorphia doesn’t even cover my struggle with my hips.

I have cellulite. I have broad shoulders. I don’t have perky boobs and they don’t fit into anything smaller than a baggy large. My hips are “deformed”. My thighs are big.

However, I have reached a point where I force myself to compliment myself every time I look into the mirror. One compliment. Two if I criticize myself.

My thighs are killer and amazingly strong, as are my shoulders. My boobs fill out shirts in wonderful ways. My hips are unique and should be used as a powerful body positive tool.

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It’s my body and I love it.

Girls today need to be educated that skinny doesn’t mean healthy and fat doesn’t mean unhealthy. They need to be shown different body types. They need to feel that they are beautiful for their minds and bodies, despite how they may look or develop. They need to be taught that the number on the scale, the number in their jeans, or the number assholes at school rate them does not define their self-worth.

All bodies are wonderful and deserve to be loved because they all house beautiful minds that deserve to be nourished.

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Hot Mess

To say that Virginia mountain weather is unpredictable is like saying that plants are nice to look at. Although it’s an accurate statement, it doesn’t really cover the insanity that occasionally brings in thundersnow. But with the illness-inducing mood swings of Mother Nature, there’s amazing days that come along.

Which is why I’m sunburned in February.

The out-of-nowhere 70 degree weather (it was literally in the 20s two days before) was the first opportunity the husband and I had to sit out on our porch in our chairs and enjoy our new view. It was the perfect way to celebrate his return from the predictably frozen Rocky Mountains! I couldn’t resist throwing on a tank top and flipflops and working on getting the extensive weeds out of my garden beds. Despite the fact that my mother lectured me my entire life on the importance of sunscreen, the thought to put some on never crossed my mind (not that I could even find any in the half unpacked, half piled up furniture mess that is my home at the moment) especially since it is February. I mean, who gets a sunburn in the mountains in February.

The sun was worth it, though.

And, as my grandpa said when he saw me, I look good with some color in my cheeks.

A week of setbacks

My husband hasn’t spent more than two nights in our new home since we moved in a month ago. I’ve been anxiously waiting for him to come back from his business trip, only to learn about a week ago that he’ll be spending five weeks in the mid-west rather than four. So, yeah, he hasn’t even come home yet despite his flight being scheduled for last Saturday.

My heart is a little bit broken.

However, I started to try to think positive thoughts that maybe the workers would be done with the ceiling before he finally came home. That way he wouldn’t have to come home to a construction site and they wouldn’t keep him awake if he ended up back on night shift.

And then all the air was blown out of my balloon of optimism when the man who was supposed to come work on the ceiling starting Monday delayed me until Wednesday. I’ve been here for a month and haven’t been able to start work on anything because I’ve been anxiously awaiting this to be finished.

In the meantime, I’ve been prepping the walls to be painted, trying to get all the materials I will need together, and have been stalking the stores to find things to decorate the space with.

So while my home is barren and sad (with cats being weird stalkers), I’ve been looking at my cute little finds. My favorite is a large trunk. The outside has been painted so I can’t find any maker marks or brands, but the inside has all the original paper. I also found a clipping from a newspaper of the date September 12, 1919!

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At the same antique store, I found some darling silhouette pictures. I haven’t decided which room I’ll put them in, but I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them.

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Another favorite find was this creepy unicorn. I’ve never seen anything like it and my macabre side was drawn to this cutie!

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On the softer side of my decorations, I found this lovely tray depicting a farm scene. I think I’m going to hang this in the dining room, where there will be light sage colored walls.

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We also had an amazing run at Goodwill! I found a lot of things that I’ll repaint or refinish to match my colors. Somethings I just couldn’t turn down such as this wooden Christmas tree for only 99 cents!

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Now to be able to get everything out of the piles of furniture in my back rooms and actually decorate with them….

An emoticon would make a better title

I admit, my last written post was a bit weird and ramble-y. Cut me some slack, I was getting sick — hence the lack of written posts since then. Forgive me if this post feels a little jumpy at times as well. I’m baking up a horde of gingerbread men to give to the neighbors. Yes, I realize it’s nearly February and no longer gingerbread season. I don’t care. I love them and didn’t get to make them at Christmas! Plus, my house smells amazing right now.

Illness and gingerbread fiascoes aside, renovations will be beginning soon! Hopefully, at least. Past events have made me slightly wary about setting my heart on any sort of schedule. Okay, slightly is an understatement. I don’t expect the renovations to actually begin for months.

The ball is rolling on them however. After a couple days of being tossed around between different prospective people and a little confusion about who can actually do this sort of work, someone finally came to look at the worst of the damage on the ceiling and the wall in the breakfast nook. (Yes, I’ve now taken to calling the one odd room that I’ve been debating a name on the breakfast nook. Apparently this is what it’s been called for longer than I’ve been alive, so I have no choice in it. Despite the cats’ things in there, it would probably make a lovely breakfast area.) Both projects will require more work to completely repair than I expected, but it’s better to over-do them than under.

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The ceiling will probably be the first renovation started. I was expecting the hole to be cut out and patched up at the site of the damage, but there seems to be water damage in other areas of the living room and dining room too. The entire ceiling that covers the two rooms will be removed and replaced. It’s a big job and I’m aware the front rooms will end up disgusting before it’s finished, but I’m excited for it to happen. Not only will that fix the gaping wound, but it also gets the ugly popcorn taken down along with the hideous light fixture in the living room. I’d rather have this disgusting thing missing until I buy a new one rather than staring at me with its gross bird gunk on top.

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If this project starts when it’s scheduled, this coming Thursday, then Mister will be coming home to a construction area. That makes me sad since he only had two days here before he flew away for work, and even then everything was in boxes. He never got to see it turn into a comfortable (if still rough looking) home. Also, the idea of the front rooms being worked on is overwhelming because I’ll have to keep the cats locked into the back wing on the house. They’ll still have two rooms to play in, three if I let them into the huge walk-in closet, but I know they love sitting in the windows in the front of the house. I hate the idea of closing them up, even if it’s only for part of the day.

The sagging wall in the breakfast nook is a bigger project than I originally expected, as well.

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The damage runs the length of the wall and, shockingly, cannot be repaired with electric tape. On the other side of the wooden wall is dirt halfway up and then a window. According to the person who came to inspect it, the dirt on the other side will have to be dug out and sheet rock will need to be hung. It’ll take some time to complete this, and my poor kittens will have to be locked away again. However, it’s important to the structural integrity of this old house that this issue gets put right.

Although I feel as if I’m looking down the barrel of months upon months of construction, it will likely go by quicker than I expect. That is, once it gets started. I am excited, however, to know that these great changes are inbound!

Plot Holes

In occasional bursts of inspiration, I’ve been rewriting the beginning of my novel. I have a few going, but there’s one (let’s call it TSP) which has my main focus. I swore to myself that I’d have a solid draft finished this year and I’m determined, despite everything else going on, to reach that goal. Between coffee sips and distracting myself with Pinterest and blogging, I’ve also been brushing up on feeding tubes and suctioning out traches in my old nursing text books.

It’s moments like this that I can’t help but look at the situation surrounding me and wonder if I’ve missed something, as if there are plot holes in my life. Then again, that’s how the past four years have felt.

Perhaps this is one reason why I enjoy writing so much. I can lay out the situation and decide on a logical path for the character to go from point A to point B. However, life isn’t like that. There’s not always a logical path or a moral to the story. Sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense.

On the other hand, there are times when it’s poetic. Such as me moving into a home where I’m the fourth generation of my family to live here. I can see how the house expanded with the family over the years. I am witness to the layers of paint as it’s been transformed with the new trends. Living here has already sparked inspiration in me, a fact that has had a large impact on the rewrite of TSP. 

Despite a deep, deep love for irony in writing, I hate how ironic life can be. For the sake of all that is holy, I’m a dyslexic writer. Although it no longer affects my reading at all, anything I type is likely to have words and letters out of place. Spelling is nearly impossible without Spell Check. But having the ability to create a world where someone can persevere despite an ironic disability is an amazing feeling — regardless of how difficult it can be for me to write it out!

Even now, escaping into this blog and writing about writing, is like cuddling up in a blanket fresh from the dryer. Not because I’m avoiding working on my novel or studying up on medical techniques, but rather because things are still going a little crazy around me and I’d rather not let it sink in. I’d rather stay emotionless in order to focus on the task at hand. I cannot afford to break right now.

Despite the insanity gnawing at the edges of my mind, things have gotten much better since moving into this house. That fact, I’ll gladly let sink in.

 

Moving on from moving day

After a very long few weeks, all of my things are in one house — and as with the theme of the previous events of this move, nothing the entire day went as planned.

First off, I want to say that my husband and I are very lucky to have families willing to help us. Not only did my father-in-law and brother-in-law spend about twelve hours traipsing all over two counties and lifting lots of heavy boxes for us, but my family kept dropping off hand-me-downs and food for us.

My day started with me wanting to throw pillows at my husbands head. Perhaps I’d fill them with rocks first. I go back and forth on that at times. The night before he left after dinner to hang out with some friends (who wanted to see him before he left for Utah) and didn’t come back until 8 am the next day…when I had scheduled our moving day to begin at noon. It’s not too much of a secret that I’m a stickler for organization and planning — a fact that is laughable to anyone who knows my husband and I as a couple due to him running twenty minutes late as a rule and refuses to plan more than three days in advance.

So my husband comes in only four hours before we’re starting the huge process of moving day without a wink of sleep. Yet, somehow, he was more energetic than the man who rented us our U-haul. This poor fellow needed reading glasses and a typing class. To state the obvious, we had a late start.

Our first destination was the house the Douchelord double-crossed us with. And, of course, the Lord and Lady both made an appearance. Although they didn’t talk to me (they knew better…they fear me…I’m fearsome…I’m terror wrapped in a sugar coating), seeing them again made me so angry that I wanted to cry. How they handled the situation, from the start to the end, was not only unprofessional but disrespectful and manipulative. I haven’t even mentioned that they’ve been bad mouthing us to other people in real estate. The person who rents to our friend went on and on about an exaggerated version of the story where we’re painted as the villains who trashed our rental home. Not only were there already damages from dogs before we moved in, but I keep a very clean home. I haven’t been so insulted in a very long time!

Things only got worse as I headed down to the basement where our things were. Literally, as I headed down I fell and hurt my ankle. Once I was down there, I saw that some of our things had been tossed around. I’m not done unpacking yet, so I’m still concerned that some things were broken. More disrespect from them isn’t a real shock. And then I fell again and hurt the other ankle. And then I hurt my wrist because I was too absent minded and overwhelmed when taking off that day to remember to put on my wrist brace. I’m supposed to wear one anytime I’m doing any heavy lifting or anything that would put strain on my carpals because a couple years ago I dislocated my thumb and it loves to pop out randomly at times. Off to a good start, am I right?

However, as we moved the last box out and locked the door behind us it was as if we were locking the door on the Douchelords. We were done with them and wouldn’t have any need to interact with them ever again.

On to location number two: our friends’ basement. We headed down to our things (I didn’t fall in mud this time!) and I almost broke down in tears right there. At some point after Mister left their house that morning, the rain — did I mention it was raining on our moving day too? — caused the basement to flood. Water puddled right under our boxes. When I saw that, all I imagined was everything soaking wet and ruined despite it only being a few hours. Luckily, my husband had the foresight to do what he could to stack as many of the plastic bins on the bottom and try to keep the cardboard boxes piled on top. Only three cardboard boxes were wet, one had paintings and the other dry foods like rice and flour as well as some kitchen appliances. The paintings we’ve been able to look at and are, shockingly, perfectly fine. The kitchen things have all been transferred out of the wet box and into plastic bins, but I haven’t had a chance to check the food or see if the appliances still work. The third box was full of random things (obviously packed towards the very end of our thirty day notice) and, like the paintings, everything was okay.

However, at the time all I could see was every single item sopping wet with water. It was in that moment that I hit my breaking point. We were so close to the finish line, yet I slipped back into the despair that the previous couple of months had continued to wash me in like waves bashing rocks into sand.

My husband, seeing that I was blind to anything happening around me, knew that I would no longer be any good at moving things out of the basement. He sent me home with a car full of breakables and told me to start unpacking it and preparing for the flood of boxes.

Despite being in a significant amount of physical and emotional pain, the day finally hit a plateau there, no longer getting any worse but also not getting any better. It became a blur of the guys unloading not one, but two, loads out of the fifteen foot U-haul plus additional items in my father-in-law’s truck. Although I had my three cats safely closed into our large closet, I kept trying to cat proof our front rooms as we went so I could release the hounds — I mean, fluffs — as soon as we loaded in the last box.

Then it finally happened. The last box came in the house. The last piece of furniture (although it fought us) was brought it. The cats were released and appeased. The U-haul was returned.

All the horrible things that happened to us in the past couple months had come to a close. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. No, I’m not sure if I believe it but I’m trying to revive my positive voice.

It may still need a bit more resuscitation but I’m getting there.

Now to unpack the boxes that are stacked to my ceiling while my husband is across the country for a month. Oh, goodness. I need alcohol.

Snapchat Insanity 

While I was cleaning up the house pre-move, I was stuck without internet. I only had my phone for entertainment and even then I knew I was on the clock to get things done. I was driven a tad bit wonky at times, as evident by a few of my snaps on Snapchat.

You can follow along with me on Snapchat with the username bethdotlove. I’m going to try and be very active about posting my DIY projects, but I also post about my cats, my gaming, and whatever else interests me!