Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Holidays

The holidays have come and gone. We spent an entire week - a busy, car-trip-filled week (sorry and I love you, Jim) in Ohio with our families. I love them - my family and his. Thank you, whatever cosmic/godly/karmic forces there may be, for giving me future in-laws that I like very much.

And now we're back. I'm sitting in a Panera, selfishly taking up a table for four with all my crap, staring down the mountain of work that I did not even THINK about during my one-week vacation.

I don't want to go back to work. Ever.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Randoms in the snow

1. The D.C. metro area is being socked by the BIGGEST MOST MAJOR-EST SNOWSTORM OF 2009 OMG GEEZ buy toilet paper. It's actually almost as bad as local newsmedia (hi Matt!) is making it out to be - we have pretty substantial drifts in the parking lot.

2. Yesterday I tried on pants that I haven't worn in a while and they did not fit. And I did not freak out. They were too small and they looked too small - like, ludicrously small. I thought to myself, I'm not the same person I was eighteen months ago, so it's okay if my body isn't the same, either.

3. Today that justification seems a little thin (no pun ... okay sorry).

4. In addition to being stuck in a job and a body I'm not currently fond of, now I'm stuck in the apartment. But I like the place and I like the company I have, so it's really not so bad.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peanut M&Ms

God love my Secret Santa, but I ate about 2.5 servings of peanut M&Ms today. I'm trying to let it go, forgive myself, and rationalize it by saying that at least I got some protein.

....and fail. Nope. Beating myself to pieces over this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Welcome to the Self-Loathing spiral, where everything you think about is further proof of what a shitty person you are. Especially thinking about how much you think about yourself! Selfish, narcissistic, whiny.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fail confession

I got sick this morning in my classroom and went home. Thank goodness I have a bathroom in my classroom.

I thought I was just sick, but once I got home and slept for two hours, I realized it was a panic attack. I've never had one make me puke before, so that threw me.

I feel like such a failure for going home. I'm starting to think the same voice that's always telling me to try harder, to be stronger, to be better is the same voice that was always telling me to be thin, to be better.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


1. I am scared shitless about this week and the big review. A bird flying into my classroom would be the least of my worries (that really happened this past Thursday).

2. My hair has finally grown out a little from my recent disastrous haircut and is starting to look normal again. This is probably racist or discriminatory, but I need to find an inexpensive salon where the language barrier between me and the stylists is not so great.

3. I'm so, so afraid that people will give up on me. I'm afraid that I will give up on me. I really am quite fearful that people will drop out of my life, which is strange because I don't have a history of abandonment.

4. I'm frustrated that my new therapy sessions aren't immediately having a miraculous effect. Which is silly, because I know from great experience that while therapy is many things, it is not fast.

5. More about therapy - my new doc, Dr. L (actually a grad student, but whatev) looks exactly like a younger version of Dr. M. Their mannerisms are completely different, but the eyes are eerily similar.

6. Jim makes the. best. black bean soup EVER. I could eat bowlfuls of the stuff and not care about the resultant gastric distress.

7. Instead of a tree, we put up lights around our hydroponic garden. I'll post a picture later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


My classroom - not just my school, but my classroom in particular - is being inspected by the FEDERAL Head Start next week. Yeah. NOW everyone above me is finally paying attention and realizing that I never received the training, support and supplies that I was supposed to - because I didn't even know they existed. And if I go down, they go down too.


Sunday, November 29, 2009


I need a lot of work.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The week at school started out magnificently crappy and then got better toward the end. I'm trying so, so hard not to derive my self-worth from others - something I'm beginning to realize I've done all my life. Just because I was me didn't mean jack - I still needed to be something good, anything, in someone else's eyes. I didn't have - and I still have trouble finding - a sense of intrinsic worth.

But Friday and Saturday were okay. I went out both nights (nothing wild or crazy, just some time with Jim and a friend) and I managed not to cry or feel horrible about myself.

I have an appointment with a new psychologist on Tuesday. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Diversion

Or, Why People from the Midwest Should Undergo Training before Moving to a Large City:

I am walking to the metro from Gallaudet University, where I was attending TFA professional development. I pass two middle-aged men waiting for a bus. I make eye contact, and because I am from SE Ohio, I smile.

Man 1: How you doing?
Me: I'm good, thanks.
Man 1: Lookin' good.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

At sea

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know where my head is half the time. I'm itchy. I can't sit still.

I'm at a loss, but I don't know what for.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not doing so well

Ruined another weekend night with Jim. I got upset over something stupid, then I kept beating myself up for getting upset, and then it just went downhill from there.

I try so hard to be less self-critical, but how do I just stop noticing all of my glaring faults? I try, I fail, and then I feel even worse because I'm a) failing and b) whoppingly self-centered. This kind of narcissism isn't the fun kind, people. It's the kind when you just can't think of anything else but what a craptastic person you are - lazy, boring, fat, self-centered, a shitty teacher, insecure, whiny.

I just feel paralyzed. I don't know how to make this better and I'm afraid it's going to make things even worse.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And here we go again

Two more bad days. I know that teaching is going to have its ups and downs, but dammit I really thought I was on the right track.

Trying to think of something positive to hold on to. I guess what's really keeping me going is the thought that I have one person who has decided, for some reason or another, that he wants to spend not just this year, not just next year, but a whole bunch more years with me. Like all of them. And that long after Teach for America is a memory, Jim will still be there.

The same goes for my family - no matter what happens, I've still got them.

So that's something. If that's what it takes to get me through, then so be it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Expending Energy

I have spent the last two hours HATING myself, my body, my lack of self-control. I bought some much-needed khakis and there was no denying it, from my reflection to the larger size. I am bigger. All over. And I am making myself schizophrenic over it.

Dinner parties. Wine and cheese. Bread. Chips and salsa. Candy. It has to go. It all has to. Because I can't even handle a little bit of it.

But it can't go.

But it has to.

It can't.

It goes.

It stays.

It goes.

I hate this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I can't move forward, I can't move back.

I've been doing well about cutting out the fat-talk. But the fat-thinking? Ohh, that's still there.

I look in the mirror and I know I've gained weight. My stomach is different. My hips are different. But I don't know how much I've gained, because I haven't weighed myself in months. Good lord - not since January. So when I say I want to lose weight, I don't know what I'm really saying.

I'm eating things now that a year ago I would never have considered. Last weekend I had a fucking enchilada, cooked for me by a couple we're friends with. An ENCHILADA.

Do I want to give up these new things? Do I want to give up the freedom I'm starting to have with food and drink? Give up candy corn, cider, wine? Okay let's be serious, I'm never going to give up the grape. But do I want to go back to non-stop gum-chewing at social functions? No alcohol due to the empty calories? No crunchy cereal at night before bed?

What do I give up? What do I change?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mind Games

I am sick. My throat hurts, my head hurts. It's actually not as bad as it was this weekend, but it's still pretty unpleasant. And I'm exhausted - the kids were nuts today.

So I'm not going to work out. I'm going to take a nap and then I'm going to do some work and cook some spaghetti squash and then I will watch Mad Men with Jim.

Having made this decision, my brain is SCREAMING at me to work out because my fat lazy ass hasn't been on an elliptical since Thursday and holy cow, that's right COW I'm so huge it's not funny.

I just want to get some rest.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Got to admit

It's getting better. A little bit at a time. The past three days my aide has been out, which is usually a recipe for disaster. But I've had an AMAZING parent step in and help out most days, and today I had eleven out of my usual 16 - it is sicky season. I am sick myself - sore throat, stuffy nose etc. But yesterday and today I think I actually TAUGHT something. And my kids fucking understand syllables.

And Jim is amazing. Of course.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week in review

Or not, because last week was so epically bad that I never even want to think about it again. I managed to piss off so many people, from people at work to parents to Jim. Jim. Of all the people I do not want to piss off, I pissed off Jim and ruined the Friday night that was supposed to be my respite from the crap of work.

But I digress.

Last week was so, so bad that it forced me to take a really hard look at myself. I looked at my attitude, my actions, my words. It was kind of like when I look in the mirror before I take a shower - troubling. I found a lot of things that made me squirm. A lot of things that I want to change.

Of course change is hard and scary and whatnot. But I have to do it, or I'll keep having shitty weeks and pissing off the one person who's keeping me together.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bad days

Two terrible days in a row. I mean full out awful, complete with yelling and lectures. And Jim feels sick.

Can I handle another one?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Home and home

I went home this weekend to see my family and get my car. Oh goodness. My family. They surprised me by bringing my older sister - I hadn't seen her since Easter! Everybody got along and there was good food and I ATE and I don't hate myself for it.

Now I'm home in D.C. (two homes, eh?) and there is a shiny car in the parking lot that is mine (well, after we get it registered). On the drive back I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Cheesy, yes I know. But I really think it helped. I'm setting goals. I'm taking action. I am going to be a good teacher, a good wife-to-be, and a good person. I think.

I'm just trying to like myself, regardless of what anyone else thinks of me. If you've never done it, it's harder than you might imagine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Going home

Back in my RIDIC GMU class. We have been here an HOUR and have yet to discuss content.

But I digress.

I am going back to Ohio this weekend! Jim and I are leaving early-early on Saturday and spending the night with his family. My parents and younger sisters are coming up and we'll all eat dinner and hopefully the experience will not be terribly awkward. And then I WILL HAVE A CAR. For the first time in my life, I will have a car of which I will be the primary driver. It's a Buick Century, nothing flashy, but it drives and it will reduce my commute by 45-60 minutes. That means MORE SLEEP for tired Miss Howison. I am Miss Frazzle, not Miss Frizzle.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


A snapshot in my brain:

Ohmygod you ate so much pizza jesushchrist stoppit lessonplansaaaaahhhh you don't have time fatfatfatfat fattttyyyyyyy gaah howonearth will you ever behungryagain fatfatfat

You get the picture. And I sit here very calmly while Jim and our friend play video games on our new tv and they have no idea I'm about to go into the bathroom and hyperventilate for a little bit.

I am SO FUCKING SICK of this. Recover already, Lisa. Enough of this in-between shit.

But can you ever really leave it all behind?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Moving Images

Today I endured something that can be excruciating for anyone, let alone someone in recovery from an eating disorder: I watched myself on film. On Wednesday my TFA mentor came in and taped the beginning of my day. We watched the film today during my planning period.

Awful as it was, I learned a shit ton. We talked about some solutions that would be quick, easily implemented, and would go a long way to improving things.

I also realized that no, I'm not thin and lithe but I am also not a fatass. Not. A fatass. Of course I hate the way I look naked but at least in clothes, I'm okay.

And I have good hair.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why are we here?

I'm sitting in my masters' class at GMU and aaallllll I want to do is go home. This isn't really helping.

I FINALLY got my aide today. The rest of the week is going to be bumpy, but we should get the hang of each other soon.

I got spit on today. I really don't care - it's better than pee.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


It has been and up-and-down kind of weekend.

Friday: came home and vegged out - good.

Saturday: cleaned in the morning and Jim came home - very good.
Had a nice dinner to belatedly celebrate my birthday - also very good.
Got into an argument (it involved calipers) - not good.
Made up and talked about it - very good.

Sunday: lesson planning/progress reports - okay.
Anxiety - not good. Very not good.

I'm just so keyed up and tense right now. I need to get this teaching thing right, and soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Today is my birthday. Someone told me it's my "golden birthday," because I'm turning 23 on the 23rd. Unfortunately the only "golden" thing about today was the two students who had accidents during naptime.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thinking about food (trigger warning)

There's a KitKat commercial on TV that shows people working in cubicles, taking time out to blissfully enjoy the chocolate-covered wafery goodness of a Kitkat. Men, women, black, white, Asian - all of them taking a bite and savoring it.

It made me realize I could never do that. I could never walk to a vending machine and select a KitKat. I could never tote it back to my cubicle (or classroom) and unwrap it. I could never sit down, eat the KitKat, throw away the wrapper, and go back to my life.

No. I can't eat food without thinking about it. If I do - Jim made candied walnuts the other day and I ate a ton of them - later on it comes back to haunt me. I can't just make a meal. I stand in the kitchen and agonize - what will fill me up with the fewest calories? What will give me the most nutrition for the fewest calories? What will taste good?

There's a tug-of-war, always, in my head. No, don't eat that, says one part of my brain. And then the other part says Go ahead, have a little cashew butter. Have a triscuit. Have a bite of sugar-free pudding. Eat eat eat, it'll make you feel better. But of course it doesn't, I feel like shit.

Not that it matters. No matter what I eat I will never, ever be thin.

It doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter. But it does.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Keeping on

I'm still a craptastic teacher, but at least I didn't leave in tears on Thursday. My aide won't be there Monday, so who knows what will happen then.

I'm not quitting. I"m NOT. I have to convince myself that's not an option.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Error message

I may have made the biggest mistake of my life doing Teach for America.

I am terrible. Terrible. I have no authority and I don't know how to get it back. I will tell the students to do something and they laugh at me. Another teacher will walk in and say the same thing and it's done without a peep.

I am a basket case. I have Teach for America staff sitting in on my class nearly every day of the week.

I can't remember the last day I didn't cry. I am dreaming about my students - even in my sleep, they don't listen.

And I'm stuck for two years.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One Two Three

One: If you are pissed off about government/taxes/healthcare/a black man in the White House/the high price of oolong, feel free to congregate in the nation's capital to make your feelings known. This is a democracy where free speech is held near and dear, and I am genuinely happy to see people exercising that right (no really, I am. I don't care if you think Obama is the Antichrist and women belong in the kitchen barefoot, I'm happy that you have the right to say that in any public place you want).

Two: If you DO decide to congregate in the nation's capital, please educate yourself on that city's public transit system BEFORE you set out one cloudy Saturday morning. Please note that "step back, doors closing" and "step back to allow the doors to close" means get your flags/posters/children the FUCK out of the door.

Three: If you choose to wear a shirt that says "don't tread on me," then please avoid treading on the young teacher on her way to professional development who already doesn't want to be out early on her precious, precious weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Kiss your brain

I tell my four-year-olds they're so smart, they should kiss their brains*: kiss their palms and then pat their heads.

Because they are smart. And you are too, so you should kiss your brain.

My kids are actually learning. I don't know if it's because I'm teaching them or because they already knew, but they know the difference between a triangle and a circle.

Did you kiss your brain? Do you think it's silly? I did it in front of my class. Kiss your brain. You deserve it.

*I should note that I did not come up with this. That's a TFA thing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good weekend and anxiety

Yesterday Jim and I went exploring. There's a little river town called Occaquan just south of us, and we spent a few hours walking around the shops. I ate *gasp* two truffles (well, one and a half; the raspberry filling was weird). We got great deals on Irish wool scarves and found a couple cute wine shops.

We did, however, have a spat about food. I didn't believe that the gelato was 98% fat free, and I wouldn't have gotten it anyway. Jim wanted some, then I said I didn't want any, and then he said he didn't want any. So then we argued about it.

Still, we had a good time. I really want to take my parents and his parents there when they get down here to visit.

And school starts up again tomorrow whether I want it to or not. And believe me, I don't.

Friday, September 4, 2009


It is the end of my first week of teaching and I am alive. I think.

I've had three of my colleagues tell me my kids don't listen to me because I'm not black. Well. There is nothing I can do about that. I don't even tan. I have to find another way.

I don't know why I thought I could do this. I think my application and decision to do TFA was done in a five-month fit of arrogance.

Update: still can't stand my stomach. Yep. That's no changing anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Learning Curve

Mother. Of. God.

Yesterday ranks as one of the worst days of my life. I was a puddle of tears by 3:30. Four-year-olds defeated me.

But they did not defeat me today. Well, not entirely. I have two that are especially fractious - one that might have something a little off upstairs, and another who's just oppositional. Not "just," I suppose. He called me a bitch. He's four, remember.

So this will be a challenge.

I still hate my body, but at least I'm not thinking about it from 8:40-3:30.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Bitch is Back

All right, y'all. I'm back. Thank you for the concern and care you guys showed in the comments on my last post. It meant a lot to me. I'm thinking that all the adjustment of moving and starting a new job (more on that in a minute) just got overwhelming. There have been tears. There have been small meltdowns. But I'm getting the hang of living a) where the traffic patterns are RIDICULOUS and b) in the same space as that guy, you know, the one I agreed to live with forever. We're doing well.

The big news - I got a job! I will be teaching Head Start to a bunch of four-year-olds. I've seen my classroom and set it up - it's enormous. Plenty of space, but not a lot of supplies: I don't have any paper, markers, blocks, manipulatives (those bears and blocks you used to count). Supposedly Head Start will send me things ... but I don't think I'll have them by Monday. I'll beg a dry-erase marker off another teacher and things will be fine. The other teachers, by the way, are some of the nicest women I've met in a long time. They're very no-nonsense, but I like that. I just hope I can figure out how to teach as well as they do. I also hope I can figure out the day's schedule, which I don't actually have. Hmm. Tomorrow's going to be interesting.

The body woes continue. I've had a couple of meltdowns that I'm not particularly proud of. I really, really am not happy with my body right now. I feel bad for putting Jim through my freakouts. Part of it is that our dryer shrinks everything, but part of it is just that I'm heavier than I have been in a long time.

So the journey continues. The anorexia is screaming in my head, but Jim's cooking delicious things, hell, I'm learning to cook delicious things, and there's nights out with friends. I feel like I can either have the body I want or eat potatoes and bread and dessert. It's tough. Duh. Y'all know that.

I need to go pick out my book for storytime tomorrow. I'll provide an update tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another apology

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin at all." --Thumper

I'm taking a break until I can say something that does not smack of self-pity and ig'nance.


Right now I am seriously debating having lunch. Not debating what to have for lunch, but whether to have it at all. I feel hungry and that feels good.

Why is this suddenly happening? I stuff my face for weeks and now I think about skipping lunch?

What do you do when you're suddenly gobsmacked by the Do Not Eats?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A year ago

A year ago a girl walked up behind me in the gym and asked, "Mike?"

Now you would never mistake me for a boy. You wouldn't think I ever had an eating disorder, either.

If this is recovery, why don't I feel happier? Why don't I like myself more?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Current worries include:

Not getting a job. School starts in a week - even if I find out where I'm working tomorrow, that gives me only a week to plan ... everything.
Failing at being a roommate (and eventually, you know, a wife and all).
Continuing to gain weight.
Getting sick (I have a cough I can't shake).
Being a shitty teacher, whenever I actually do get in the classroom.

Guh. I am a bundle of nerves.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Keep on Keepin' On

I am spinning my wheels - actually, I'm spinning on the elliptical mostly. I don't have a placement, I still hate my body, blah blah blah.

Believe it or not, though, there are some things that make me happy. It takes a bit of mental scrounging, but here's a list:

1. My fiance. Living with Jim has taken some adjusting, but I can't get over how lucky I am to be living with my best friend and husband-to-be.

2. My friend Tamsin, who is living with us for a while. Not only has she valiantly put up with sleeping on our couch and having us wake her every morning, but she's one of the most fun people I know.

3. I do not currently have a job, but I will have one. At least I keep telling myself that.

4. The website F My Life. No matter how shitty my day has been, someone else has had it worse.

5. The Ikea website. Going through it is just so soothing.

6. Our mini-garden. Right before I moved in Jim planted herbs (basil, spicy basil, marjoram, rosemary, and a few others), and after I got there we planted hot peppers, habaneros, and bell peppers. The herbs have already been awesome and I can't wait to until the peppers (not the habaneros, though) are ripe.

7. Television. Holy moly, there is some awesomely bad stuff out there.

What are the things that make you happy right now?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Note to self 34,543

Dear Lisa:

You have been writing some exceedingly self-centered, triggering posts. It is time to get a grip. You have plenty of other things to deal with besides your love handle hang-ups. No, you don't have a placement yet, but you can think of what you want your classroom to look like and what your management strategies will be. You can draft a letter for your students' parents. You can think about data tracking and organization. You can actually start using your damn planner.

Oh, and you can enjoy yourself, too. You're living in a beautiful apartment with your fiance. That's quite a good thing.

And you can work on your body if you want to. You can get back to where you were before Institute - but it is not going to happen overnight.

Get over it. Get over yourself. Get a grip.


I know I cannot get fit and toned in a week. I cannot expect my body to be what it was five weeks ago. But I'm not seeing ANY progress, and it's frustrating. I don't like the way I feel.

Deep breath. Patience is a virtue. I have time. When you do this too quickly is when the problems start.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Still waiting

I don't have a position yet. I can't figure out the buses here to save my life. I need a haircut like you wouldn't believe.

And I'm large. I'm carrying more weight than I have for a long time, and it's getting to me.

I just want my life here to come together, and it's not fitting. Much like my shirts.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I slept until 1 today. IN MY BED. And I never have to go back to Temple again.

Now I just have to actually start teaching.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

They say the JumboTron adds twenty pounds

Tonight were the closing ceremonies for Teach for America's Philadelphia Summer Institute. Some of my colleagues shared stories, there was a speech, and then the most amazing video montage (a la Lifetime movies) ever. Teachers and students hard at work, learning and instructing - and I was in it. Only for about two seconds, but I was up there. On the GIANT SCREEN.

And to be perfectly honest, I did not notice what I looked like. I did not notice if my recent additional poundage made me look chunky. All I saw was how happy I looked and how happy my kids were.

So I will be okay. I will take care of my body and get to a place where I am maximally functional and comfortable with myself, and dare I say a bit sexy. I am going to be a good teacher - not tomorrow, not the first day of school, but I will be.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Trying to live up to what I said in my earlier post. EPIC FAIL. I cannot stand myself.


Yesterday Jim told me that every time I come home to visit I look better. I hear this and know he's sincere (he's never insincere), but it doesn't change that I am very uncomfortable in my body right now.

I have not done any kind of regular exercise in four weeks. I have been eating dining hall food for four weeks. My eating choices have been influenced by stress, too - cue the bowls of dry Cap'n Crunch and Life. And there's still one more week to go.

I am trying hard to think about this in a positive way. Yes, I am uncomfortable now. But it will not be forever. I will not continue to gain weight uncontrollably. These circumstances are not forever - there's another week, yes, but it's just one more week. Then I can get back ... in control.

If there was ever a red-flag phrase, that's it, isn't it? But how I say it now is not how I said it in the past. I have tools now, strategies to help me think about and navigate the tricky world of food and my body. I have Jim with me now, who loves both exercise and food. And me, too. He loves me.

Prepare yourselves for major cheesiness - I am a work in progress. There will never be a point where I am stuck in a body that's unhealthy - too thin or otherwise. I can do this.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why I am Engaged

Jim's Whiskey Security System, utilizing the groundhog our friend made out of an empty Heiniken mini-keg:

I mean, really. How could I turn this down?

Monday, July 20, 2009


Am having a slight panic attack. About my lesson plans? No. About closing the achievement gap? No.

No. I am sitting here panicking over my goddamn love handles. In under five weeks of little exercise and dining-hall salads (which are not your typical salads) and cereal I have become enormous.

And yeah, I know this is stupid, and compared to everyone else I'm probably not eating all that much. But fuck comparisons, I'm me and I'm eating way more than I normally do. And without exercise (and with an impending period) I have become the fucking Hindenburg.

I hate, hate hate how I can seemingly make so much "progress" and still think that because I'm fat I'm worthless. No one else's worth is contingent on their mass. Just mine. And believe me, I would give anything to stop being this "special."

I have a job, I have a fiance I love more than anything, I have the best friends a girl could hope for. Why can't I let this one thing go?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This past winter I took a class called The Anthropology of Infectious Disease. It was about how diseases and our socieities and cultures are so intertwined, and it was hands-down one of my favorite classes ever.

Now, though? Now I am living the anthropology of infectious disease. Teaching a roomful of four-year-olds who have not yet grasped how to wipe their noses or cover their mouths results in one sicky, sicky Lisa.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things about me

1. I feel enormous.
2. All I want to do is color.

Sorry to whine. I mean, this is just for two more weeks. Then I can get my life (and my body my body my blobby blobby body) back in order.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oh my goodness

Today was not terrible. No one kicked me or bit me and everyone peed where they are supposed to. And I think about seven or eight kids really, really understand patterns. Which I taught them. I successfully taught something. Holy moly.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mr. Feeney

For all of you Boy Meets World fans, one of my best friends here at TFA Institute has the last name of Feeney. I am mad jealous.

Whew. I think I'm ready for tomorrow - well, almost. I have to make some mama and baby animal cards - I'm using them to teach capital and lowercase letters. Oh, and I should probably review my lesson and make sure I know what I'm actually saying.

I know there are at least a couple of teachers who meander through this blog now and again. I can't say much due to TFA's policies on bloggery/facebookery, but have you ever been ... ah ... bitten by a student? Punched/kicked/slapped in the face? Because I have. On Friday. By the same girl.

I hope tomorrow is a fresh start for my students and my teaching group. I hope we can establish more order. It's not fair to the kids at all - if we can't give them the support they need to behave, they can't learn. And if any kids need that extra boost at the beginning, it's these adorable, frustrating, smart-as-hell four-year-olds.

And I hope I don't get peed on.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


1. Today I took a little girl's lipgloss because she wouldn't put it away when I asked her to. I forgot it was in my pocket when we left for the day. I am a terrible person.

2. Today is a victory because I didn't get peed on. No. Really. That happened to one of my colleagues.

3. Today I was videotaped. I have to watch it tomorrow. There is little I despise more than seeing myself on camera, except seeing myself on camera as I UTTERLY FAIL to get any educational message whatsoever across to my students.

4. Today I was always. Sticky. Always.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First day

Thirteen four-year-olds. That phrase didn't terrify me before today. And my class is supposed to have a full twenty-two students.

Granted, there are two student teachers in the room at all times. This does not, however, guarantee that any of your students will learn a darn thing.

No one bled. No one hit. No one had an accident and only three people cried. I'll take that for the first day.

Eating like a hoss. Stress eating is never a good thing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Doing better

Friday was much better than Thursday. I don't really see how it could have been worse. However, I was so wrapped up in myself and how sucky I was that I completely forgot my brother's birthday! He turned 221 so he probably wouldn't have remembered my call, anyway. Still. Bad Sister.

Tomorrow I start teaching For Real. There will be 20 four-year-olds that I have to corral, control, and somehow convince them to "work hard, get smart."

Friday, July 3, 2009

I am That Girl

Yep. I am That Girl. You know. That one. The one who stayed up really late last night (and is up late again) and got up at five. That girl who drank two enormous energy drinks that tasted like your tightwad neighbor's stale Halloween candy. That girl who just got so goddamn frustrated when she couldn't get a straight answer about what had to be done. The girl who just got more and more stressed out until something had to give. The girl whose body decided to deal with the stress by crying. In front of nineteen other people and two of her supervisors.

Not a good day. Not at all. I'm eating too much and I can't keep my tear ducts in check.

But tomorrow will be better. It has to be. Right?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Locus of Control

First day down. I will be teaching students going into first grade. Finally, my earring collection will be truly appreciated (especially the cow ones). Walking through school today was a hoot - it brought back so many memories. Giant jugs of paint, posters everywhere, pictures and projects on the walls. I know this is going to be intense, way more so than my previous internships and jobs, but I know the staff are going to support me and help me get to the place I need to be.

As for food ... it's hard. Today was hard, because the routine is so new and I didn't know what exactly to expect. I really, really had to talk myself into going to dinner tonight. My stomach's been hurting on and off - not nausea, actual pain. Might be psychosomatic, might not. But I have a plan. There's oatmeal in the morning and I can handle the sandwiches at lunch (eat the turkey and tomato, leave the sad lettuce, sticky cheese, and soggy bun). For dinner I have the luxury of a loaded salad bar and fresh pineapple. Today I found out where they hide the hummus. I went for a jog and now know which streets are not good for a lone woman jogger (I stick to well-lit places, do not listen to music, and take my phone).

The staff talk a lot about your "internal locus of control." This means that you honestly assess what you can control, take responsibility for it, and take the rest in stride. This should be an interesting endeavor.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Things that may or may not be true

1. I am in over my head.

2. I can do this.

3. I am huge. Bulbous.

4. I want to take a shower in MY bathroom. Sorry, honey, our bathroom.

5. My new roommate just saw me spill cereal and thinks I'm a slob.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Before I left for TFA Dr. M reminded me "there are no rules."

What if that were true? Really true, in things besides food?

Forget the implications of chaos and pillaging. Just think about what life might be like if there were no silly rules about food - or about how we talk to one another, or the way we think about our bodies, or the way we see each other and the world.

I can't decide if that would be liberating or terrifying. Maybe I wouldn't get funny looks for smiling at people on the metro. When I told someone I liked their hair/shoes/dress/tattoo, they wouldn't think I was creepy. But then maybe the ugliness in people would come out and it would get nasty.

Rules can be good, I know, but some exist that we don't need. I'm going to think more about this.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Do the Right Thing

No, I've never seen that movie. But given the racially charged situation I'm marching into, I probably should.

Oh my goodness, you guys. I'm exhausted. I apologize because I'm incredibly far behind on all y'alls' blogs. But we were running places today. It was so jam-packed.

Food is still not going so well. For breakfast this week, we all got a $25 gift card to Starbucks. Incredibly generous, yes, but I am not going to eat a danish or donut or a bagel. Lunches are crap - I know we shouldn't complain, but I'm talking sandwiches with stale bread, a bag of chips, and a piece of fruit. I usually eat the turkey/lettuce/cheese out of the sandwich and the fruit. Luna Bars and Pure Protein bars are saving my ass. Dinner is actually decent - but we're so hungry after lunch that we just fall upon it like angry wolves. I'm eating and the whole time I'm thinking fatass fatass fatass. Last night was really difficult; thankfully I was able to call Jim and chat about it for a few minutes.

Oh, Jim. I miss him so much. FYI, honey, people love the ring - they think it's so original. You did good, babe.

And thank goodness all the people I'm meeting are wonderful. My roommate and the girls in my hall are fantastic.

And even though there's so much going on in my head, so much that's just fucking with me - the longer I'm here, the longer I realize I'm doing the right thing. This is where I'm supposed to be. Marrying Jim is the right thing to do. Teaching kids is the right thing to do. I know this much.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ED Panic

Oh holy shit guys. I'm huge. Enormous. The food is weird and I'm either starving or stuffing myself.

I know this is just all the stress coming down on me and I know I am not going to die or fail because of my size. But holy moly this sucks a lot of balls.

I miss Jim. I miss my family. Thank goodness I'm surrounded by fun, engaging, smart people to distract me. Of course nothing can ever be distracting enough.


Made it!

I was NOT ON THE TRAIN. Thank you to all my family members for texting/calling.

But I am in the dorm at George Washington University for Induction. My roommates and neighbors are delightful. I did not cry at all yesterday - on my first night in Delaware last summer, I cried myself to sleep. I believe this is a sign of emotional growth.

Am I horribly intimidated? Yes. Am I excited out of my mind? Also yes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

So here goes

What if I can't do it?

What if I fail?

What if I gain thirty pounds? What if I lose thirty pounds?

What if everyone thinks I'm an idiot?

Just had to let those out. I'm heading for my TFA registration in less than an hour. I'm going to look like a crazy bag lady trying to get from here to GWU, albeit a well-dressed one.

This week is going to be spotty, internet-wise. Bear with me and I'll keep you all posted.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Obligatory Father's Day Post

My dad is wonderful. He also has the ability to exasperate me unlike anyone else. He'll set up any and all electronic devices, but you're going to get a lecture on their inner workings and a stern reminder to "read the manual." He is gruff. He is opinionated but is also open to change - after almost 40 years of voting Republican, I believe he cast his vote for Obama last November. He has, at some time or another, spanked all of his progeny, but he has never laid a hand on us otherwise. Once, he called me "shit for brains." But on many, many other occasions he has told me he's proud of me.

There are things about him I will never understand. Watching golf. Watching NASCAR (they. are going. in circles). Sneaking treats to the neighbor's dog. Becoming irrational when the dishwasher is not arranged precisely as it should be.

But for every one of those things there's another that astounds me. Fixing up his daughter's old bike and not making a peep when she lets it rust (sorry, Dad). Taking team pictures of our soccer and t-ball teams and giving away prints to kids he knew couldn't afford them. Eating breakfast with us every morning throughout elementary school. His willingness to do anything for his kids.

Thanks, Dad. I can't wait to have you come visit.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shiny and new

Holy moly. My new apartment is beautiful.

It's big. Much bigger than I expected - I knew the square footage, but I couldn't visualize it. And I have so many closets! I was worried that I was bringing too much stuff (our poor minivan was almost scraping the ground), but there are still dresser drawers going unused.

The million-dollar question - does it feel like home? Yes and no. All my magnets are on the fridge, my stuff is in the bathroom, my clothes are hanging in the closet. Jim and I made dinner for a couple of our friends last night, and that was homey.

I start my TFA training on Monday. That's got me tied up in knots.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just to clarify

Oops - I wasn't particularly clear in my post a couple of days ago. I am still doing TFA - otherwise I would not be sitting in OUR NEW DINING ROOM (!!!) typing. How it works is that you get selected to do TFA, and then you interview for a teaching position within your region. So I'll still be teaching; just not at the school I was really digging.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life 2.0

Tomorrow my mother and I will spend eight and a half hours in our packed-to-the-gills minivan. We will unpack for a few hours. Jim will make us dinner, and Mom will spend the night. Then she will leave next morning, and I will be Moved In. On My Own.

Tonight is my last night in the family house. I mean, not the last as in I'm never coming back. Enough of my shit is here that I'll never really leave. And technically I didn't live here most of my last two years at school. But this isn't like temporary, until-school-is-over housing I'm heading into. This is I'm-An-Adult-Now housing. I'm-Engaged housing.

Have you had your fill of hyphens?

Life 2.0 is about to start. And I'm scared and excited like you wouldn't believe.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Slightly imperfect

Those "slightly imperfect" shirts and bags and jeans at outlet malls are fantastic. You can't really tell that they're screwed up at all.

However, feeling "slightly imperfect" is not so fantastic. You're not so bad, but you're just not good enough. Like when you get rejected from a job - and when you know that 85% of TFA teachers get accepted after their first damn interview. But not you. You are not quite good enough.

I really wanted that one, too.

Boxes and boxes and boxes

Out of the apartment. I didn't walk at graduation, so moving day was somewhat less stressful than it could have been. I showed off my ring at my grandparents' house the other day, and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking and sorting and packing. I'm moving to D.C. on Wednesday.

My body is still giving me fits. And we're going shopping today.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Tonight was the annual dinner honoring the graduating Honors College class. Being the Honors College, these events tend to be a little (okay, a lot) self-indulgent. I ate too much (it'll make me nuts tomorrow) and spent the evening sucking in my stomach, but still managed to have good conversation.

My professor/mentor/boss/friend was seated at the same table as my family and I. When all the grads went up for a picture, she leaned over and told my mother, "If I had a daughter, I'd want her to be like Lisa."

Um. Wow. Not even going to lie about having things in my eyes. I cried a lot and I definitely had not been expecting to. I learned one last lesson tonight - I can't be cynical about everything, hard as I might try.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Are you ever afraid to look in the mirror? To take a shower? To change your clothes?

Anything that makes me pay attention to my body is a minefield now. I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dying of embarrassment (almost)

So I have really low blood pressure. And sometimes I get lightheaded, and sometimes I get dizzy when I stand up. And sometimes when something really hurts, like a muscle spasm, I pass out.

Which I did today. In the student center coffee shop.

They took me out on a stretcher. I would have been fairly comfortable with dying at that point, as long as people would STOP LOOKING AT ME.

Three hours later I was discharged. I am FINE. I walked home from the hospital (we live next door). Pee normal, blood normal. Healthy appetite. Hahaa. When the nurse gave my discharge papers she said "no dietary restrictions." I laughed.


That is what Jim will say to me when he reads this entry.

Today I was so anxious that I actually had to get off the elliptical. Usually exercise makes me feel better, but today my mind was spinning just as fast as my legs. I just had to ... leave. And now of course I'm worried because I didn't do the full 40 minutes.

This has got to stop. Really. If I can't get a handle on my anxiety now, if I obsess over food and exercise, if I allow my OCD to get out of control, then the summer TFA institute is going to be a nightmare. I cannot - I will not - let my fucked up brain chemistry keep me from teaching ankle-biters how to read.

I can do this. I can. I will.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Baby I'm amazed

It really is incredible how differently I feel about my body from day to day. Yesterday? Felt okay. Felt kind of good about it, amazingly enough. Today? Not so much. I'm too thick, too awkward, too much. There is just too much of me, everywhere. I take up too much space, and I'm not even aesthetically interesting as I do it. Just an oozing sort of lump.

Ew. I just grossed myself out with my own hyperbole. I can't possibly be that bad. This is my eating disorder whispering how hideous I am. It is not reality.


The shopping excursion yesterday? Waaaay better than I expected. I did not have to relegate myself to the books and earrings. I actually tried things on - after eating lunch.

And I got some fantastic bargains, all on clothes that I will be able to wear teaching. The best of the best were the Anthropologie pants: originally $88, marked down to $20. Why yes, you overpriced faux-boho yuppie haven, I will take a 77% discount.

That fabulous deal was followed by a respectable jean skirt for $8, denim pants (they really don't look like jeans) for $7.50, and a gray shirt for $4.50.

Did I hate myself a couple of times? Yeah. Did I buy clothes that are bigger than I really am, because I hate things that are even remotely tight? Yep. Do I still think the trip was a success because I didn't run screaming out of any fitting rooms? Yes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's not a problem, it's just a challenge

I am going shopping today, despite my perilous lack of money. There may be trying-on of clothes. In the recent past, this has not gone well for my psyche.

I'm going to try really, really hard not to get down on myself. If I have to, I'll steer clear of clothes and just look at books or earrings or whatever. You do what you can, when you can.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flowers are expensive

Mother of god. I refuse to spend $700 on flowers. We'll carry puppies down the aisle or something.

I am working on Dr. M's latest advice - "there are no rules." It's harder than you might expect ... unless you have an eating disorder, in which case you know exactly how hard it is. I ate a cupcake today - the Honors College gives them to seniors when they finish their thesis. Rule-breakage FTW.

I move out of my current abode in six days. I move to DC in less than two weeks. My teacher training starts in three weeks. I have no idea when I hear back about the job. I hope it's soon, and I hope it's good.

Deeeeep breath.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tattoos and taboos

It began as a conversation about pretentious tattoos, then half-sleeves, then skinny arms, then blood pressure cuffs. And then I looked at the other two students in the Honors College common room and asked, "Have all three of us had eating disorders?"

We had. The ensuing conversation was fabulously cathartic. Don't get alarmed - it wasn't a competitive thing (although I of course think they are much, much thinner than I ever was). We talked about our families, our low points and our successes, and the things with which we struggle. We cracked jokes that probably wouldn't be funny to anyone else.

And we talked about how difficult it is for people to understand, how we've come up against obstacles and frustrations. How it's such a taboo to talk about it. We talked about how silly that is - shame is one more thing we don't need. We have eating disorders and we work to overcome them, every day. Dammit, that's something to actually be proud of. You'd think with our society's Puritan work ethic that working to overcome any illness, mental or physical, would be a lot less stigmatized.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And the big things keep coming

Seriously, if one more significant thing happens this week I will explode.

You all know my news from the weekend. You know I am graduating in a week. You should also know that I am moving to D.C. in TWO WEEKS. And today I finally, finally finally got my interview set up for Teach for America (they give you an age range at first; later you have to interview for your actual position). I've been reading up on the school and holy moly, I'm excited. The school looks great.

But I'm also feeling a tidge overwhelmed. Okay, a lot overwhelmed. There is a lot to do, a lot to handle. I just have to keep reminding myself that there is so much GOOD that is going on.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Aw and awwww

Thanks for all the congratulations and well-wishes. It means a lot to me that you all are out there reading and thinking good things my way.

I did well with food all weekend, and then today ... I was not happy with my body when I woke up. I was talking to Dr. M about it today. My thought process was, if I already am so unhappy with my body, then why did I eat all that food/drink all those drinks this weekend? Why?????

She stopped me and made me think about that. And then I got angry. How twisted is it that I can be so damn happy about my life and still hate myself for eating. Why was I eating and drinking so much? Because I got fucking engaged! The crappy thing is that I can recall dozens of weight-loss articles that urge women (always, it's always women) not to "celebrate with food." Well, fuck that. We should not be made to feel guilty about eating good food with good people when good things happen.

Someone agreed to spend his life with me. I'm doing TFA. I have an apartment. The size of my belly does not matter. Or at least it shouldn't.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Post 400: Big Times

Sorry I've been AWOL for the past few days. Jim came down this weekend which is always a Big Weekend, but this weekend was quite a bit bigger than I had expected.

He drove down with his roommate on Friday. We had dinner reservations in a nearby town - the restaurant is run by a local culinary school, so the food is muy tasty and muy inexpensive. We had some cocktails and then sat down to a delicious meal, capped by beignets to die for - big, fluffy, warm balls of fried dough covered in powdered sugar. A Fear Food, definitely, but one that I'll willingly eat.

We dropped off the car at our friends and began the walk back to my apartment. We detoured and wandered by the dorms where we used to live. "That's where we had our first kiss." "Do you remember what we did there? And there?" We were even getting nostalgiac for the dining hall, and that's pretty hard to do.

Probably none my dear readers have been to Ohio University (well, maybe some of you), but our campus is hella pretty. College Green, the center of campus, is criscrossed by brick paths and lamps; at night it's beautiful.

Jim stops in front of the oldest building on campus. "Do you remember what we did here?"

I look around. "Uh ... no. What did I forget?"

"We did this."

And then he actually GOT DOWN ON ONE KNEE and pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.

And I said yes. I mean. Duh.

The ring (because I know at least the ladies are interested) is white gold, with a large sapphire flanked by two smaller diamonds. It is flabbergastingly gorgeous.

Of course our parents already knew. Jim is sneaky. The parents-meet-the-parents dinner went even better than I expected. The good news helped break the ice.

So yeah. I'm getting hitched, probably late summer 2010. Jim and I spent yesterday afternoon reading bridal magazines - talk about a feminist's nightmare - scouting venues online, and watching Bridezillas. Emasculation trifecta complete.

All kidding aside, I am insanely happy. I get to marry my best friend - what more could I ask for?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dear Readers,

You rock. No, really. You are fantastic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Blob

Feeling a little better than I did yesterday, but I'm still really, really unhappy with my stomach. I am back to obsessing about it. Today I tried to wear a shirt that actually touched my body - big mistake. I just hate walking and feeling everything jiggle. I know that part of my stomach is actually composed of muscle, but it's coated in a layer of jiggly fat. Jiggle. Jiggle.

Sorry. I don't mean to be so negative. When I'm healthy I don't have the body of Giselle. When I was sick I never had the body of Giselle. I know I will never look like a model, but I would at least like to look ... slender. Fit. Athletic, in control, healthy. Good.

I need to get my head out of this place. Jim is coming down this weekend, and we have some gastronomic adventures planned. I don't want to be anxiously sucking in my gut the entire time. He doesn't want me to do that, he wants me to have fun and enjoy myself. And on Saturday my parents are finally going to meet his parents. Over dinner. So I'll have more than enough to worry about at that point.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Maybe someday going through my closet won't be the traumatic experience it is now. My body has changed drastically since last fall, and nothing, nothing at all, fits the way it used to. Things are tight. There are bulges.

My head says this is wrong wrong wrong. What happened to you? What did you LET happen to you? You're out of control. You don't have any discipline.

You'd never believe I was once so thin. Fuck, even I don't believe it sometimes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

When it rains

The gym opened at 6 PM today due to the holiday.

It started raining at 5:45. I thought, I'll go. A little rain won't hurt me, right? Plus you had all that wine and cheese last night. Plus you've been eating like a hoss anyway. Plus you just need to go, it'll make you a good person.

I go. I make it about 100 yards before my sandal falls off (I had my shoes in my bag).

Keep going. You need to work out. You need to do this.

I stood there. I turned around and came back. Tomorrow would have been my "off" day anyway, so I'll just go then.

Is it still a victory if you hate yourself a little?

Won't you be my neighbor?

Dear Neighbors,

One of the reasons our rent is so wonderfully low is that our place is rather shoddily constructed. That is, the walls are extremely thin. So when you stand on your deck at 9:30 in the morning on Memorial Day, I can hear every second of your cell-phone conversation. I'm sorry you got wasted and started picking fights in West Virginia. I'm sorry that your friends are giving you a hard time for it. I hope your father/mother/whoever you're talking to is sympathetic, because I certainly am not.

In addition to early morning ranting, you have the bass up far too high. I don't have a massaging desk chair, but thanks to you it sometimes vibrates. By the way, Beyonce's repertoire includes more than "If I were a Boy." Thanks for ruining that song - sometimes I hear the buuum, ba-bumm, bummm, ba-bumm bass line in my sleep. Maybe because you're playing it.

And quit sunbathing in the yard. Your bathing suit, or lack thereof, is annoying.

I'm debating whether or not to confront you about this, given that we have to live next to each other for about three more weeks. If your phone conversations don't get more interesting, I think I will.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Turning my brain back on

Yikes. No concentration whatsoever. Well, I take that back - I read Q&A, the book on which Slumdog Millionaire was based, in under 12 hours. I have a book of short stories (Joyce Carol Oates' latest), but I can't seem to get started. My attention span is that of a gnat or goldfish or small child, except when it comes to bootleg online episodes of Six Feet Under. I've gone through those like a knife through butter. Hey, when you're a new-born slacker, you have to take your accomplishments where you find them.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My sister

Since I've demanded that all of you watch my sister tonight on Jeopardy!, I figure I should at least tell you a little about her.

Hmm. I've been sitting here for ten minutes and can't think of what to say. How do I describe someone who's been such a formative part of who I am? Sarah knows me better than anyone. We shared a bedroom until she went to college, and then of course I followed her to the same college, to the same honors program within that college. I followed her my whole life, I suppose - how could I not, she's less than two years older. Teachers called me "Sarah" all through elementary school. I confess that I occasionally resented her abilities, how things just came so easily to her. That was before I wised up and that she had struggles, too, just different ones than mine. She gave me innumerable rides before I got my license. She gave me a lot of who I am.

I can't count all the books we've read together, all the movies we've seen, all the inside jokes we have. I can't really express, even our shared love of words, how much she means to me.

And I am so fucking proud of her it isn't funny.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bad body day

So my neighbor is laying out in the front (communal) yard, working on her tan, and wearing one of the smallest bathing suits I've seen. Untied. Because the little string leaves such a tan line, you know.

And I feel like a sausage in a t-shirt and jeans. Not a good-body day. But I guess like a bad-hair day, I'm the only one that really notices.

However, anyone within 50 yards is noticing the horrible hip-hop she's blaring into our shared space. Thanks, hon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This is just to say

That EVERYONE should watch Jeopardy! this Thursday and see MY SISTER chat it up with Alex Trebek! She's the one with glasses and a green-and-white top.

Do it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Get your herr did

I've been meaning to write about hair for a while now, but Sarah beat me to it with her excellent post. Losing my hair was a very difficult part of my eating disorder - it was already baby-fine, so the loss was noticeable.

Oh. I just remembered gathering it behind my head (it was about shoulder length) and being able to twist it around two fingers. Holy crap, that was a visceral memory.

Now I'm patting my head to make sure my bob is the same as it was the last time I looked in a mirror.

Why does this society put so much emphasis on women's hair?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Tomorrow I will be picking up printed copies of my thesis from Kinko's. I'll take those copies to the three professors who are doing my mock review. And then I will, in effect, be done with college.

And I don't know what to do with myself. Thankfully my paid-work boss isn't terribly demanding, because my motivation has gone out the window. I finally don't have to worry about at least a few of the things I've been worried about (don't worry, there are still plenty). But there's a bit of a psychic void, I suppose.

I kind of feel a little ... depressed? It seems silly, but this is the same kind of blankness that I associate with depression. It's a lack of motivation to start anything.

I'm sure this is temporary. I just need to shake it off.

Friday, May 15, 2009

If wishes were horses...

... then I'd finally have my pony.

I wish I could buy one of those ridiculous iced-coffee concoctions and drink it without hating myself for it later.

I wish my healthy mindset about my exercise break would have lasted through the night.

I wish there were not bees nesting above my bedroom window. They're on the outside. But still.

I wish my skin were not freakishly sensitive.

I wish I were buying a couch instead of plugging away at my thesis.

But alas. Wishes are not horses but annoying self-indulgences.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Today's Random

1. I love love love The Office.
2. I'm starting to freak out about the lack of exercise this week.
3. I'm shopping for a couch. That is both weird and wonderful.
4. The closer I get to finishing my thesis, the harder it is to work on it.
5. Online TV is the greatest thing ever.

Slightly icky

Last Thursday I noticed a weird rash on my stomach. When I went to the (slightly less-awful this time) student health center, the nurse practitioner told me it was probably a heat rash. In all likelihood it was the result of my horse-like sweating during my workouts.

So I did something this week. I didn't work out.

Yep. Skipped my 6:40 AM workouts from Tuesday-today.

And I didn't balloon. I ate normally and I haven't noticed my pants cutting off circulation to my legs. I even had a couple of cookies yesterday and didn't reprimand myself. Also, the rash is gone.

Is my workout-stoppage permanent? No, I still like to exercise. And I'll deal with spotty skin. But I think I've learned something here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've mentioned before that I'm in the Honors College. It's a little pretentious - okay, a lot pretentious. The night before graduation, the College hosts a sit-down dinner for all the students and their families, at which we will receive a booklet describing all our exploits and those of our classmates.

Our assistant dean emailed a questionnaire about said exploits. The questions for the most part are pretty basic: volunteer activities, extracurriculars, etc. Then they ask
1. What is your most significant academic achievement?
2. What is your most significant personal achievement?
The first is pretty easy - completing my thesis. That 75-page sucker (it's only an undergrad thesis) represents a year of blood, sweat and tears.

But the second question is rather ... personal. My significant personal achievements include:
1. Gaining 20 pounds
2. Being able to pop a handful of chocolate chips in my mouth and resisting the urge to spit them out (just now did this)
3. Managing to sustain a romantic relationship for three years
4. Learning to live on my own
None of which I really want to put in a booklet for all to see. "Gained 20 pounds" would just confuse people. I'll have to think of a BS achievement - I'll ask my mom.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


If I were to write everything I feel about my mother, y'all would be here for hours. So I will just tell a story about her.

Mom played every sport she could in high school. Back in the day before Title IX, girls' sports weren't officially recognized as such. They were a "club" called the Girls' Athletic Association (GAA), and as might be expected, they often got the short end of the stick. Mom and her teammates used to put the numbers on the backs of their "jerseys" with masking tape. Mom was always eleven - it was the easiest number to make.

When spring rolled around, the GAA put together a softball team. They practiced and played at weird times because the boys' baseball team got first pick of the only field. So right after school on weekday, Mom and her teammates changed (out of their skirts, of course) and hurried down to the field for their game.

A few minutes into their warmups, the baseball team, which included my mother's older brother, arrived and began to hover. They wanted to practice, and they wanted to practice now. The girls ignored them at first, but then the boys started badgering, teasing them. One by one, my mothers' teammates left the field.

My mother looked around, scooped up a softball, and walked to the pitcher's mound. She blew a bubble - she always, always had gum - and tossed the ball up. Caught it. Up, caught it. Up, down. Bubble. Up, down.

"C'mon, Mike," the boys said. "Get your sister off the field." My uncle shrugged - he knew she was immovable. "Get off the field!" they demanded.

Up, down. Up, down. Glare. Bubble.

Grumbling, they left. Mom's teammates rejoined her, and the game began.

Thanks, Momma. You're my hero.

Friday, May 8, 2009


My sisters went to prom tonight. Where did these beautiful, half-grown women come from, and what did they do to the little eight-year-olds I remember?

It's even more poignant because Kathy is wearing my dress, the dress I wore to my senior prom. I bought it in March - after I'd been losing weight for two months. I loved the slinky, Hollywood-starlet way I felt in it. And then when it came time to wear it, I'd been losing weight for almost five mon
ths. I was a very well-made-up head on a spiky, bony frame. My mother grimly took pictures and didn't smile when I asked how I looked. "Not good," she said. Six months before I would have been devastated to hear her say that. By then I was numb, and too chronically angry with her (well, with myself) to care.

It's been four years. I thought about trying on the dress when I arrived home today - to see if the fabric still felt like water on my skin; to see how it fit me. I didn't. It's not mine anymore. Kathy wears it in a way that I never did - tall, confident, strong. It's hers now, more than it ever belonged to me.

I'm so proud of those two.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Whoa, that was some serious self-pity I laid down in that last post.

Anyway, I generally don't believe in signs and omens. If there is a God or higher power of some sort, I really think - and kind of hope - s/he's working on big problems and simply doesn't have time to toss things in my path. But desperate times evoke strange reactions to commonplace events, and so I am probably reading too much into these things:

1. It's not raining. That's a plus any time.

2. I went to get fingerprinted today for Teach For America. "That'll be $58, cash or check," says the police officer behind the desk. I choke a little, collect myself and my things, and trekk to an ATM. The previous person had left $5 in the tray. Now, I know most people aren't going to come back for $5, but I turn it in anyway.

I return to the police station and fork over the money. "Wait," she says. "Do you just need a fingerprint card? Oh, in that case it's just $6." Yessssss.

3. I saw baby triplets. Asian baby triplets. Jim and I are convinced that Asian babies are the cutest of all and it's become an inside joke with us.

These things probably mean nothing. Or maybe they do.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Giving up

Do you worry that people will give up on you? Not doctors or acquaintances, but important people.


Thanks to everybody who commented on my last post. I'm ruminating and hopefully things will be clearer soon. Like the sky, for one thing. I have spectacular sunglasses and no reason to wear them.

In other news, I'm approaching the finish line on my thesis. It feels odd. It's been this big, amorphous thing for so long and now suddenly (almost) all the pieces are in place and it looks like something a real adult person would write. It makes sense.

Once that's done, I'll be able to breathe a bit easier.

Monday, May 4, 2009


My session with Dr. M did not go well today. I kept telling her I feel like I'm stuck, and she kept telling me that I just have to be patient, and I am tired of being patient. I am tired of disliking myself so much. I am tired of regarding my scale with a mix of terror and longing. I am tired of avoiding the mirror when I get out of the shower. I am tired of not believing the people I love when they tell me I look better. I am tired of thinking about my body so much.

And then Dr. M made this weird quasi-suggestion, not that I lose weight, but that I get to a weight that I'm "more comfortable with." Huh? DOES SHE THINK I'M FAT????? Whoa, okay, she hasn't actually seen you in six months. I just really don't know how I could eat differently" as she said without it crossing into restriction. I'm exercising six days a week. I'm so rigid about foods that are "safe" and foods that aren't. I don't want to stay here but I'm so afraid to change.

Deeeeep breath. I know this is exacerbated by all the other stuff that I can't control, all the things that are up in the air and make my recently-consumed dinner burble uncomfortably.

I don't know, I don't know, I kept telling her. I don't know.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

However far

I often joked with my psychiatrist (as much as anyone can joke with a pdoc) that I had "anorexia lite." Oh hahaha, get it? My weight never dipped into scary five-year-olds-weigh-this-much territory. I passed out once. My electrolytes never got out of whack. I mean, really, I just got a little carried away with a diet. There wasn't much to worry about - everyone was all worked up over nothing.

But just now I looked through my Facebook photos. Not pictures I've taken, but pictures that have been taken of me. From freshman year through now.

God almighty. I was so, so thin.

No wonder people gave me funny looks. Remember that girl I talked about, the one who could take out an eye with her sharp knees and elbows? The one I said I never looked like? I lied. My collarbones looked like razorblades. My face was half its current diameter; same with my arms. Where did I go?

I can see my reflection now. The only way you'd know I was ever once so thin are my wrists - they're still a little bony. This body I'm in now is radically different from the body I was in - the body I was - four years ago. So many things are radically different.

The battle with my body is mostly won - my weight is "normal," and I have a decent (I think too decent, of course) padding on me. My arms don't disappear above the elbow, and my thighs allllllllmost touch, right at the top. It's a battle in my head now. And that's the hardest to win.


Probably not going to the gym today - there's just not enough time. I might not have time tomorrow, either.

This does not make me a bad person. This does not mean I'm a slug/Jabba the Hutt. BELIEVE THIS, DAMMIT.

Friday, May 1, 2009

TGIF ...

So far today I have
1) Worked out
2) Printed some forms
3) Watched four episodes of The Office (I'm caught up)
4) Finished my thesis bibliography (four pages)

So far today I want to
1) Go back to bed
2) Have a vanilla rum and diet coke. Or four.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Something good

Since I sort of reinforced the "Africa is a hellhole" attitude in a previous post: South Sudan's bike ambulance lifeline.

And speaking of Africa: today's soups in the student center food court included "Somali Pirate Peanut Soup." I'm not kidding; I wish I were. LOLZ international incident! >< I went down there just a minute ago to take a picture - I didn't think y'all would believe me - but they changed the sign to "Peanut Soup." Good move.


Dear Elderly Fellow in the coffeeshop,

Ah, that familiar burgundy bottle of Boost. Dude, I'm sorry - that stuff tastes awful. Or at least I remember thinking it tasted awful; maybe that was just because I knew it was CALORIES. Gluggy, thick calories. But I suppose the Boost was better than the el-cheapo CVS brand that my broke-ass self used to buy, much to the confusion of the salesclerks. Lord knows how long those cans had been on the shelf - I don't imagine generic Ensure moves well in a college town. You, Elderly Fellow, are in the appropriate demographic. I hope you're okay.

It's strange how this one small thing can take me back, so quickly and vividly, to those desperate, shameful, horrible days.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Weighed down

No, that's actually not a reference to ED. Wonder of wonders, I do possess the ability to talk about something else.

It refers to the way I felt after reading this article on the BBC website. If you can think of a more forgotten and neglected group of people than mentally ill prisoners in Nigeria, please let me know. Thing is, there are plenty - too many - people who are as forgotten, as abused and hurt. See Sri Lanka, Darfur, the Congo. See trafficked children, see favelas. And so on.

I know it's solipsistic navel-gazing to bemoan the state of the world, but life is a crapshoot. So much comes down to where you're born. And for some people life is just grinding, unmitigated suffering. And yeah, I know I say that from my comfortable Western point of view. Still.

Bah. Sadness. It makes me think of Theodore Roethke's poem "The Meadow Mouse," and I know it's "emo" to post poems in your blog, but here it is:


In a shoe box stuffed in an old nylon stocking
Sleeps the baby mouse I found in the meadow,
Where he trembled and shook beneath a stick
Till I caught him up by the tail and brought him in,
Cradled in my hand,
A little quaker, the whole body of him trembling,
His absurd whiskers sticking out like a cartoon-mouse,
His feet like small leaves,
Little lizard-feet,
Whitish and spread wide when he tried to struggle away,
Wriggling like a minuscule puppy.

Now he's eaten his three kinds of cheese and drunk from his
bottle-cap watering-trough--
So much he just lies in one corner,
His tail curled under him, his belly big
As his head; his bat-like ears
Twitching, tilting toward the least sound.

Do I imagine he no longer trembles
When I come close to him?
He seems no longer to tremble.


But this morning the shoe-box house on the back porch is empty.
Where has he gone, my meadow mouse,
My thumb of a child that nuzzled in my palm? --
To run under the hawk's wing,
Under the eye of the great owl watching from the elm-tree,
To live by courtesy of the shrike, the snake, the tom-cat.

I think of the nestling fallen into the deep grass,
The turtle gasping in the dusty rubble of the highway,
The paralytic stunned in the tub, and the water rising,--
All things innocent, hapless, forsaken.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It's been rainy since the afternoon, and now everything feels ... damp. There's soggy air coming in the windows, but you can't close them because then the damp will just linger. For some reason it makes me all itchy.

I'm trying really, really hard to change the way I'm thinking about my body, but with the weather, PMS, and the lack of any clothing that fits properly, it's been hard.

I will like myself. I will be okay with clothing that actually touches my body. I will believe Jim/my mother/my sisters/everyone else when they tell me I look good. I will recognize and appreciate the diversity of the human body. I will say hey, my boobs are kind of nice.

I will. Someday. Soon, I hope. I'm working.

Monday, April 27, 2009

El futuro

Funny aside of the day - today in my African American Studies class, the Black Family, one of my (black) classmates made a comment about his father, who's one of nine. I was about to chime in - my mom is one of nine - but then I realized - whooa, oops, I do not have a black family. It's a good class, I really get into it!

Anyway, I have been battling the globbies today - focusing on every lump and jiggle. It seems screamingly obvious through my shirt. Did I mention it's almost 90 degrees and people are damn near naked? I'm struggling with a t-shirt and jeans. I envy how so many people can just let it all hang out.

And I'm engaging in "metacognition," as they say in my educational psych class. I'm thinking about how I think about my body - I hate my stomach, my hips are flabby. Clearly not healthy. So I'm going to make an effort - yet another one - to change this. I will be healthy. I will eat foods that nourish me - but sometimes ones that just taste good. I will exercise because it makes me feel good. I will, I will, I will.

And now I will go outside and say hello to the hand-size puppy that is sitting with his owners.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hillbilly burn

Note to self - when it's 90 degrees in the shade, do not attempt a seven-hour drive in a vehicle without air conditioning. My left arm is a much pinker shade than my right - you can even see where my bracelet was. Also make sure you have a partner for the road who is the rare combination of level-headed and good-natured (you're pretty amazing, T).

Our cookout actually did not involve any food cooked outside - we made coleslaw and baked beans, but the star was a seven-pound pork roast that pretty much fell off the bone. Well, the roast co-starred with the dish it was cooked in, the absolutely gorgeous 5.75 quart Le Creuset casserole I gave him as the main portion of his birthday present.

Yeah, I ate. I tried to just bracket off all the eating I did this weekend on the ride home, but I'm sure I'll be ranting about that sometime this week. I'm a bit too tired to care at this moment, and there's that thesis chapter that needs to be revised by Tuesday. Woot.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Octopus sushi? Yes, please!

I survived the drive out. Did I say we were going to get through the mountains before dark? Well, that was a lie, because there's nothing but mountains between Athens and D.C. It's a whole lot of steep and dark. The scariest part, though, wasn't until we were almost to Jim's - I watched a car spin out behind us and hit the barrier. My friend called 911, and when she said it was only one car they responded: "Oh."

Jim had all kinds of food and wine set out when we arrived, even though it was 12:30. I have an excellent boyfriend.

Yesterday we hit D.C. We planned on going to the newly-opened American History Museum, but we went through the memorials first. For some reason I thought they would be more spread out, but no - there's WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln. I liked the WWII memorial quite a bit. I got a little burned because, well, I'm dumb. But my dress was cute.

The museum was a bit of a dud - it's not very well laid out. To see the ruby slippers and the other popular stuff, you wind up backed up and crammed into these tiny rooms. However, the sushi place we went to afterward more than made up for it. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but Cafe Asia has a fantastic happy hour. We got edamame, which was about $4, and then a bunch of different sushi at $1.25 a piece. I was the only one brave enough to try octopus - which I know I like grilled from our meal at Lima - and it was very worth it.

Next we got rush tickets to a show which, lo and behold, included several instances of full-frontal male nudity. I'm from Ohio - that just doesn't happen!

More wine and cheese at home followed. Today we're having a cookout!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stern note to self

Hey. Hey, you. Quit looking at that girl. Stop it. Yes, you could take an eye out with her elbows and knees. Yes, even though you know full and very well that you not all anorexics are super thin, this kind of muscle wasting doesn't usually happen unless something is wrong. That little voice in the back of your head? The one that says "oooh, she must be so strong." C'mon. You've heard that lie a thousand times before. It doesn't make you strong. It makes you miserable and sick and crazy.

You don't look like her. You never did, you never will. And really, you don't want to, because then weird strangers will stare at you. So get on over that. You have more important things to think about, like how much fun you're going to have this weekend, and how you're going realize a little more how independent you can be.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I admit, I'm a little nervous about the trip tomorrow. Okay, really nervous. I've never driven that kind of distance without my parents along. My friend is coming along, so I won't be alone. It's not that tough of a drive until you hit the Beltway, and by the time we get there any traffic will be long gone. We'll be through the mountains before dark, so my dad won't be calling every hour to make sure we haven't hit a deer. I'm twenty-two years old, too; that has to count for something.

Then there are also the non-tangibles that put me on edge - sitting on my butt for seven hours, the disruption of routine, the uncertainty about food. And what if Jim doesn't like his present? I think he will, but I've got some catching up to do after his Valentine's Day surprise. I know it's not a competition, but still.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A fly in the ointment

That's such a weird saying. "Ointment" is kind of a gross word.

In any case, there is a fly, an elephant in the room, some other egregiously out-of-place animal. I am afraid of a small white square in my bathroom - my scale.

Kara wrote about her scale-hatred the other day. I empathized. I haven't weighed myself in at least two months. I don't know what that little digital number would be if I hopped on today - and that terrifies me. It could be "big" - scare quotes because I know that what I think of as large is not necessarily shared by others. I don't know what my reaction would be. It could be smaller than it was before - if that's the case, I know I'd be relieved. That's scary on its own.

I know it would be okay not knowing. Some of the clothes I wore last summer don't fit or fit differently, but I expected that. It's not essential that I know my weight. But I think about it every time I'm in the bathroom. It's hardest first thing in the morning, the time I always used to weigh myself (no water weight). It's like when I'm confronted with an ice-cream cone or a doughnut - I want it, and I don't. It's yet another example of recovery's limbo-like state. It's so frustrating.

Some better news

Sunday was depressing, yes, but the sun came up the next day. Well, sort of. It was rainy, but the gray got a little bit lighter. As definitive proof, the sun is shining at the moment.

And I get to see Jim this weekend, w
hich makes the rest of the week look a lot nicer. I'll only be a week late with his birthday present. I owe my mom big time for letting me use the kids' car (the one that my sisters usually drive to school - so actually I owe them too).

Have you smiled today? If not, see below: