Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Send My Love

I've been thinking for a while about what to write. I didn't want to write a post of just me rambling. I have felt the need for this next post to be important. Here we go, I suppose.

I have been struggling for a long time to feel that I am of worth, that I am loved and important. I got in a car accident almost a month ago that totaled my car and brought to halt all that I was doing to try and better myself. With my car totaled, I had to quit my job, and again come home to an empty house with my extroverted mind crawling up the walls. Having this accident happen to me has caused me to really dig deep and reflect on my life.

As the Holidays roll around, they have me thinking of all that has happened to me over this past year and with that, me struggling to remember all of the good things instead of the bad. Because there has been a lot of bad. But there has also been just as much good.

About a year and a half ago, I got diagnosed with all of my chronic illnesses, and honestly, my life changed for the better. Now, instead of being home-bound and bed ridden, I can walk! I can run (if I so choose), I can climb the stairs without passing out from the pain, I can hang out with friends, go to the bathroom without someone helping me, and can drive a car safely and carefully. I have come so far. I have pulled myself out of the very depths of hell to leave myself, shaking with exhaustion and effort, to crawl once more and be a part of my journey. I have come back from being engaged and jilted twice in 2014. I have overcome family issues, money issues, health issues; all within this past year. I have made progress! I have shown to myself, others, and God that I am willing to do whatever it takes to learn, grow, and move. 

So, knowing all of this, why does my brain forget all of these good, amazing things and focus on the bad? Why does it focus on the fact that I'm not working and therefore that means I'm useless? Why does it focus on the fact that I'm not anorexic anymore and that means that I'm fat and worthless? Why does it focus on the fact that I am chronically  ill and that means no one wants me? Why does my brain just spin with all of this toxic waste and pull me to a place that I struggle to get back from?

So, how do I get out of this deep-seated funk that I'm in? How does anyone do that? Sometimes, and I hate to say it, prayer is not enough. We, I, have got to find some sort of action that I can grab onto to haul myself out. Action goes hand in hand with prayer. You can't just pray, do nothing, and expect all of your problems to be solved. But knowing all of this, having done everything the right way, why am I still the way that I am?

How is it that I can send my love to everyone else and love them for who they are, when on the inside, on the other side of my mask, I'm a struggling mess?

How do you send love to yourself? How do you get out of your deep-seated funk without being too damaged when you come out the other side? What do you do to lift your spirit to a place where darkness has a hell of a time touching it?

Sending my love to all,


Friday, June 12, 2015

Waiting for Superman

Isn't that what every single girl, young or old, eventually dreams of? A Prince Charming or a dashing Superman to come and sweep her off her feet and carry her off into the sunset of her future dreams?

Well, I'm here to tell you that it usually doesn't turn out that way. Unfortunately, most of the time they come as an abuser, deadbeat, jerk, or heart-breaker in Prince Charming or Superman's clothing. And that's when the ugly work begins. Us poor things, we have all had those times where we were completely blindsided by these circumstances thinking that it was OUR fault that the relationship ended the way it did, even if we weren't the ones that ended it.

All through our adolescent and young adult lives, we have turned ourselves inside out searching for our Superman because of our own expectations or even more cruelly, because of the expectations of others. And I am here to tell you that it is time to STOP.

You are worth SO much more than being made to feel like are a stupid, uncaring, worthless failure because you aren't able to fulfill certain divinely appointed roles at this moment in time. It is OK to be single.It is OK to LOVE being single. It is OK to pursue more education. It is OK to travel, and to learn, and to better yourself just because you want to.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this and you should tell whoever thinks otherwise to go stick it where the sun doesn't shine. Since when did they have any say in how you lived your life?! The answer? NEVER! It is absolutely none of their dang business.

So do you know what? You go take that trip to Ecuador to go help underprivileged children. You get that Masters degree in Political Science and International Studies. Move to New York City and break into Broadway.You go write the next great American novel. Go buy your own home. Go and be that foster mother to be a parent to children who don't have anyone in the world to call their own. Go and live your dreams. You do YOU. You do not need a man to make you feel like you are of worth and that your life is of value. You can be absolutely fabulous all on your very own and it is time that you start feeling like that is ok to do.

Now, I should be one to talk, because I don't feel like this yet, but I am working on it. I am working on being my own brand of fabulous and working on knowing deep down in the far recesses of my soul that I am and can be of worth without a man to make it so.

My final words to you are this: BE the Princess Charming or Superwoman that you KNOW deep down that you are. Whoever said that you couldn't? And then only if it strikes your fancy, you go rescue that poor idiot of a future husband who got himself stuck in a tree.

You don't need to wait for your Superman. You can be your own.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Struggle

Anorexia Nervosa 

an eating disorder primarily affecting adolescent girls and young women, characterized by pathological fear of becoming fat, distorted body image, excessive dieting, and emaciation.

It's about to get real here, so if the thought of that scares you, you know the way out. 

When I was in junior high I was overweight and it continued into my high school and college years. In junior high I was the quiet, teacher's pet-bookworm who loved school and checked out books three at a time at the library and did countless numbers of service projects to keep myself busy and tried to be friends with everyone. That didn't always work out... Not only was I picked on and teased by my classmates, but I was picked on, teased, and abused mercilessly by my father about how I looked. I looked around at all of my tiny friends who loved to go shopping and share each other's clothes and eat whatever they wanted because they never seemed to gain any weight. After all of the teasing and the hurt, I looked in the mirror, and at over 185 pounds, I was ashamed and resolved that I would do something about so I could look like everyone else. To blend in. After dieting and walking and exercising with no success, I turned to something that changed my life. And not for the better. 

The first time I attempted my foray into anorexia I was caught by one of my best friends and she gave me a lecture/pep talk the likes of which no one has ever heard and it scared me into eating again. Even though I was afraid and ashamed every time food passed my lips. 

Throughout the years my weight fluctuated. I lost 20 pounds in high school my sophomore year and managed to keep most of it off. But then college came and the fear of being fat grew. In a heartbreaking twist, I noticed that the more weight I lost, the more men paid me "positive attention". Because of my father and other circumstances at school, I didn't have any idea of what positive attention from men *was*, but because I was so so desperate for approval from at least one man in my life, I kept at it. And I kept at it. And I kept at it. I was around 150 pounds-ish my last semester of my senior year of college. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2013, just after I finished my student teaching in Riverton, Utah. Just before I left Riverton, I made a plea to my Bishop to help me with my anorexia. I was beginning to get scared at how much weight I was losing. He dismissed it as only a coping mechanism for my stress as a flighty girl (he didn't actually say "flighty girl", but he might as well have) and I left his office and didn't give it another thought, though I was furious with my Bishop for how he treated me. 

 After I finished my student-teaching, I moved to Provo, Utah because it sounded like a good idea. And it was. There I made some of the best friends I'll ever have, but it was also there that my anorexia would again rear its ugly, emaciated head. Once I started working, I was eating around 700 calories a day. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less, but despite that I was ruthless and organized and careful about my calorie counting. Nobody could know. No one noticed because at parties and get-togethers they already knew I was intolerant to just about everything and they didn't give it a second thought as to why I wasn't eating. 

A mere three months later I was offered a teaching position in Phoenix, Arizona and I took it. It was one of the best and worst decisions I've ever made. In Arizona, my stress level sky-rocketed and most of my money went to rent; a perfect breeding ground for my anorexia. It all went down-hill fast when I went through a hideous break-up with my boyfriend who was still living in Provo; it was the straw that broke the camel's back and I became even more determined to stick to my twisted sense of nutrition. 

It was only when I was skyping with one of my best friends from college that I realized that something was hideously wrong. After chatting for a good long while, my friend paused and she said, "Stephanie...you're losing a lot of weight..." and I responded with, "I know!!! Isn't it great?!" I swooned over my teeny-tiny clothes as I showed them off to my friend and the light-bulb didn't flicker on until days later when I was looking at myself in the bathroom and I saw the deep, dark circles underneath my eyes and my prominent cheekbones. Something was wrong. A month or two later, I was on a plane home so I could convalesce in my mother's care with my, at the time, debilitating chronic migraines. I was around 130 pounds when I arrived home. 

Below is a picture of me at the end of my Freshman year of college:
And below here is a picture of me just before I came home from Arizona:

It's a big difference, isn't it? I gained back some much needed weight (Around 40lbs) during the end of 2013-2014, but now, the anorexia monster is rearing its ugly head again. It is something that I'm dealing with, but there are things that I am asking you not to do because it could, in fact, make me worse. http://eatingdisorders.about.com/od/family_and_friends/a/What-Not-To-Say-To-Someone-With-Anorexia-Or-Bulimia.htm

I'll keep this blog updated on my continuing journey, but just know that right now, the right people are aware and that this is being handled. It is a tumultuous time in my life while I try to handle my diseases and figure out just what exactly I'm supposed to do with my future and I'm often a stressed out crazy-mess of a person, but also know that I love you and I will do what I can to help you with whatever you need too. It helps to have people to serve. Love you. 

"Something has changed within me

Something is not the same

I'm through with playing by the rules

Of someone else's game

Too late for second-guessing

Too late to go back to sleep

It's time to trust my instincts

Close my eyes and leap!"

p.s. And please, for the love of Pete, don't mention the anorexia to me in person or force me to talk about it. That just makes everyone feel 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Part One: A Letter to Lost Love

Lost Love,

 I need to make peace with you. You have not been kind to me.

First, I did something that I never thought I would do, never thought I would be capable of. I fell in love with an abusive man. Someone, who slowly, but surely began to cut me off from my friends and family. Someone who made me feel that I was only worth what my body looked like. Someone who was so physically forceful, he bruised me. Someone who made me afraid to say no. He never hit me, but there are other ways for bruises to show.

And then, I thought that after all I had been through, I finally caught a break . I met a wonderful man. A man who started to make me forget all the Hell I had been through. We decided to get married. A date for an August marriage was set. We prayed. We made plans. The official engagement ring was ordered, the temple was booked, I bought a dress, travel arrangements were made; everything was falling into place. And still, when I thought nothing could go wrong, it was all pulled out from underneath me. Two days after meeting the family, he left. Almost without an explanation. And I was broken.

And, a few months later, just when I had put myself back together, I got into a relationship that was perhaps the most damaging. One that you know very well. I loved you and you loved me. It was that simple. We had everything in common and we fit together like a hand and a glove. We were the couple everyone wanted to be. You put me back together. We were head over heels for each other and even though we knew that your internship in just over a month would force us to make some very difficult decisions, we weren't worried. We were happy. Ready and happy for whatever the future saw fit to bring us because we knew that after all we had both been through, our love for each other would keep us strong. Keep us together. If only. If...only. A week after meeting your family, you too, also left.  What you did tore me up one side and down the other. I had to be watched; babysat, for lack of a better word, so that I wouldn't hurt myself. After all that I'd been through before you, what you did triggered a mental and emotional breakdown. What you did was the straw that broke the camel's back; my poor heart, soul, and spirit were nearly broken irrevocably. You left everything so hideously open ended that to this day I am still struggling to find closure.Which brings me to this next point.

I need to move on. I need to put myself back together. As hard as it is, I need to leave you behind. I need to leave behind the dump of toxic, hazardous waste that you have made me become. As much as I still love you, as much as I still ache for you in places that I didn't know existed, I can't keep doing this to myself. As much as I know how much you loved me, I need to find someone who will love me enough to stay. I need someone who will follow through on the plans they make with me. Someone who won't tell me how much they still love me, and still leave anyway.

I love you. I wish you the best.