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:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I should have seen this coming

"When life gives you lemons, buy a Coke."

The above is a quotation from a fellow intern this past summer. Unfortunately, when life gives me lemons, I cannot make lemonade. It has calories. Actually I can't buy a regular Coke, either. Damn.

In the past I've responded to stress and depression by not eating. This current situation actually has me stress eating - then hating myself for it. The fluctuating body image is the worst part. Last week I thought for a minute that my face looked thin; yesterday all I could see was my double chin. And of course it's spring - the beautiful weather brings out the shorts, the sundresses, the hundreds of bodies that mine will never resemble. For one thing, I'll never be that tan. And I shudder to think of exposing that much of my body to the public.

I need a good shaking. Last week Jim asked, "are you okay?" This long string of posts doesn't really make me look like the most stable of people.

In other news, it's Jim's birthday and I'm not with him. I'm going back to bed.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'll be guilty

There's a very, very thin young woman a few tables down from me in the coffeeshop. Over the half-hour she's been here, I've caught myself looking over at her, wondering. Is she? Isn't she? Can you really be that thin, naturally ... or is there something more?

I do that. It's morbid. It's also incorrect.

Because we all know, all of us, that eating disorders are about so much more than being thin. And you can have anorexia no matter what size you are. The not-as-thin girl who just walked in could have it. The Macbook boy in an armchair could have it. Older, younger, American, foreign, boy, girl - you just don't know by looking.

Thanks to my father, I know what happens when I assume things - I make an "ass" out of "u" and "me." So no more of that. She might be skinny, she might be anorexic; but then again anyone might be. I mean, you wouldn't know from looking at me that I don't come by my clavicles honestly.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hold me closer

I've mentioned my thesis several times on this blog, but I should say that I'm not the only one doing this. Everyone who had the temerity to join the Honors College has to do one, too. Most are like mine - long, pedantic treatises about esoterica. However, some students in the arts and humanities do "creative" theses - a performance, a book, a collection of poems.

Tonight I saw one of those, a dance choreographed and partly performed by a fellow student, someone I've always found to be interesting to talk to. It was four short modern dance pieces about coal-mining in Appalachia.

And I liked it. Note that I am a complete dunce with regards to all things modern dance. And I still liked it.

I had my reservations. Before I sat down I wondered about her choice to tell Appalachian womens' stories via modern dance - not the most accessible of artistic media and not widely performed in Appalachia. But she wasn't trying to convey "the paradox of being" or "the essence of nothingness" or other such bullshit. She was telling a real story about real lives, grounded in history. It's her history, too; her family has lived in Appalachia for generations and several of her relatives were coal miners.

The best part by far was the piece she performed on her own. She portrayed a coal miner's wife, trying to do all the daily chores with the additional burden of her husband's dangerous work. Her constant tension and frustration were palpable; the piece closed uneasily with an alarm from the mines. Forgive my lack of technical terminology - all I can say is that she was excellent.

Before any of you get the idea that I watched a bunch of slender sylphs flit across a stage for 45 minutes, you should know that this fellow student acknowledges, gracefully, that she does not have a "typical dancer's body." Meaning that she has, you know, curves and muscles. I admire the way she can pick up a cookie and eat it with apparent nonchalance. She might not have done this intentionally, but the other dancers she chose had a variety of physical compositions as well. You looked at her and believed that she worked hard and had children and was able to survive it all. That's not the only reason I liked the show, but it certainly didn't hurt.

A lack of originality

Shamelessly cribbing from Brie today. I harbor a deep love for surveys that dates back to the furiously emailed ones from high school.

Ten Random Questions

1. What is one thing you want to learn to make before you die?
Oh, any number of things. Creme brulee especially. Mainly because it gives me an excuse to buy a mini blowtorch.

2. What is one thing you avoid doing to avoid humiliation?
Sometimes I get nervous about driving with people who I think might judge me. I also avoid making coffee for a group because I'm afraid it'll taste terrible.

3. If money weren't an issue, what's the first thing you'd buy?
A condo in St. Augustine, Florida. Or maybe another location. Really just a place to live.

4. What is one of your favorite blog posts you've ever written?
Hmm, tough one. The spider post certainly got a lot of responses. I wrote this one in December and I like it not so much for the content but for the incredibly kind comment that someone left.

5. Would you rather have a personal chef or a personal trainer?
I'm with Brie, I want a maid (or man-maid). Specifically a vacuuming maid - I love the way a clean carpet looks but vacuuming the stairs sucks.

6. What's a weird quirk you have?
I eavesdrop. I don't know if that's a quirk or a sign of poor moral character.

7. If you could invent any kind of animal, what would it be?
Since childhood I've wanted a pegasus. Yeah, that's right. I am secure enough to admit that.

8. What would you like now, at this very minute?
a) Jim b) a stack of twenties c) a better bottle of cabernet than the one I bought last night. But I'd settle for another pseudo latte like the one I made yesterday from an iced coffee and a free sample of a ridiculous coffee-frosty thing.

9. What was the first movie that ever made you cry?
Pocahontas - when she has to let John Smith go back on the ship but then runs up on that conveniently-placed ridge and watches it sail off into the sun (meaning it was ... 9 in the morning? This is the Atlantic we're talking about). I remember bending over to hide my face when the lights came up so my siblings wouldn't see.

10. What are a few of your greatest fears? Have they ever happened to you?
Spiders. Yes, I have had several traumatic encounters.
Using the handicapped bathroom stall and making an actually handicapped person wait. Yes, yes this did happen. And I knew the person.
Failure. Yep, that's happened too.

I'm supposed to tag ten other people, but that seems like a lot of pressure so I'll just let you decide if you want to devote a post to this frivolity (and remember, all the cool kids are doing it).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Holy melodrama, Batman!

So things are imploding a bit. That doesn't mean I have to become SuperWhiner. Nobody promised me that things would go always go well. Sure, they told me that if I worked hard, straightened up and flew right that things would be more likely to go well. But there were no promises made.

As my dear Dr. M reminds me, there are two kinds of stress - stress that paralyzes and stress that mobilizes. Of course they aren't exclusive and one can become the other. I need to take this paralyzing stress, the stress that transforms me into a melodramatic puddle and make it the other kind of stress. The energy I'm wasting here can be used for better purposes (aka THESIS).

That, and I need to stop beating myself up for choosing sleep over my morning workout. I went to bed at 2, it's okay to sleep until 8:30. And also stop berating myself for using Smarties as a coping mechanism.

Yep, overreacting

Dear Universe:

If you insist upon taking that enormous shit on me and my partner, could you at least give us some softer toilet paper?

Thanks, Lisa

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Everyone overreacts

Until this weekend, I was handling things pretty well. I suppose the familial concern and overdose of Easter candy combined to send me over the melodramatic edge.

But that's okay. Sometimes you need a day or two or three to just freak out about things. I was overwhelmed by some of the rather scary choices I'm facing right now, and in my head things seemed much more dire than they actually are. So I freaked out, cried and moaned and had waaaaay too many chocolate things. I lost faith - not in God or religion, but in myself and in the future.

Are things ideal? Absolutely not - my thesis is stalled, my boyfriend is 400 miles away and it's been pissing rain all day. But those are circumstances. The people in my life, though - Jim, my family, my friends - I couldn't ask for better. If I can't keep faith in the world around me, I can keep it in them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Quit yer bitchin'...

So I've been coping with various things through simple carbohydrates and mopey blog posts.

In an effort to combat this, here are a few things that made me smile recently:

The Washington Post's Annual Peeps Diorama winners

I almost don't believe this, but it's pretty dang cool: Tweenbots (h/t to Jim)

The Peekaru: a snuggie for the upscale-hippie mom in your life

Newly-discovered orangutan colony in Indonesia - hooray!

What's made you smile today?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Not fair

1. Sunday nights suck. I can have a delightful afternoon with my family, but after 5 P.M. all bets are off. I feel like my insides are made of lead.

2. Well, the leaden insides may be due to my obscene consumption of malted-milk-ball eggs. And sweet potatoes and corn. But probably the chocolate.

3. There are things going on that are NOT FAIR. I know I am a petulant child, I know I have more good in my life than bad, but still. This is not how things were supposed to turn out. I didn't work this hard to wind up in this pickle.

All right, Lisa. That was a nice rant, but now it's time to suck it up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


For the past seven years, I've assisted the "Easter Bunny" (aka my mother) put together our baskets. My mom's a bit, shall we say, anal retentive (really, Lisa? hmm, I wonder if that's where you get it from), and we used to count Cadbury and Reeses eggs, making sure that each child got an equal amount.

I was just starting to really actively restrict when Easter rolled around my senior year of high school. I helped Mom, like always, but the next day I quietly distributed the lion's share of my treats into my siblings' baskets. I'm doing so well, I'm losing so much weight, I told myself. One little Cadbury egg, one too many jelly beans and it's over. I'm back to the fat, lazy person I used to be. Except that I never was. I was never fat, and I sure as hell was never lazy. I was never a bad person - but I believed so strongly that every "bad" food that passed my lips made me a crap human being.

Mom and I have come to an understanding: she knows I won't eat as much candy as the rest of my siblings, but she knows I won't completely abstain, either. I will probably bag up most of it and dump it into a big bowl at the apartment. I actually kept back a bunch of gummies for one of my roommates.

Tomorrow ... I don't know what I'll do. Holidays are kind of tricky. However, it's just one day - one "today" in the very long string of "todays" that make up my life. I'm trying to keep the long view. Jim, I've found, is rather good at that - I'll try to learn a thing or two.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I specialize in Pratfalls

From the title of my blog, you'd never know I have/had/am in recovery from an eating disorder. There's very little about the design of my blog that indicates I wage daily guerrilla warfare with my goofed-up brain. The title of my blog, in particular, is a little bit cryptic.

So why "Pratfalls?" In short, it's because Harry Chapin was incredible at being a singer-songwriter and at being a Good Human Being. His epic "story songs" were too long to get much commercial radio play in the 1970s and 1980s. It's unfortunate because many of them are masterpieces. Besides his talent, he was committed to resolving hunger and achieving social justice - near the end of his life, about half of his concerts were benefits. He wasn't a perfect person, but he worked hard for what he believed in. My mother saw him in concert twice. Since his death - he was, tragically, a really shitty driver - his family and friends have continued his efforts to eradicate hunger in the US. You can learn more about him (and I hope you will) here, here, and here. They're not the most sophisticated of websites, but ah well.

So about Pratfalls - one of my favorite songs is Chapin's "Laugh Man." It's catchy and upbeat, but the lyrics provide a deeper emotional pull that's characteristic of his work. Here I present to you the lyrics of the song that gave my blog a name:

Did you ever hear the one about...

Oh, God I love myself
When I've got it on
I know I'll live forever babe
All my fears are gone

Then suddenly I'm dying
They turned the laugh track off
I'm drowning in the silence
Crucified by coughs

Oh, I am the laugh man
Half clown and half man
Half out and half in, oh mister can't you see?
I'm s'posed to leave you laughing, so why don't you laugh at me?

I started out by starvin'
Desperate for money
My belly crackin' dirty jokes
That didn't come out funny
My neck stuck out so far
Like a gawky giraffe
Screamin' on a guillotine
"Come on, sucker, laugh!"

I am the guy who always catches the pie
I specialize in pratfalls
I am the goon who flashes the moon
A mouse in a house of catcalls

I'm your jester your juggler
Your joker your friend
I'm nothing more or less
Than a horse's nether end!

My ego is a bubble
That I realize just broke
And alone without a microphone
My real life's a joke

Did you ever hear the one about...

It still makes me sad to know that I'll never get to hear him play.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


One of the reasons I love my boyfriend is that he challenges me. Jim read my last entry and wanted me to clarify what an "expression of an eating disorder" entailed. I replied that I meant a thought or action that was directly linked to pathology, like calorie restriction, binging and purging and over-exercising. The conversation progressed - he asked why the post was so long. I told him I liked sorting my thoughts out in the blog.

"Why?" he said. "Why a public forum?"

Um. Well. Why do I blog?

I kept a journal all through middle school and high school. Those raggedy notebooks weremy thought-sorting space, where I talked about things I didn't fully understand and sure as hell didn't want to tell anyone else. If I read my journal from senior year, it's like a roadmap to anorexia.

I started this whole thing, ironically, at Jim's urging. His short-lived (but highly enjoyable) blog apparently needed company. And here I am, still clattering away almost a year later.

"Are you an exhibitionist?" he asked (oh baby, you wish).

Well, I'm not posting nekkid pics (be grateful, I'm very Irish), but in a way I do enjoy revealing myself. I like to see that people have read my blog. I enjoy getting comments and feedback. That, I suppose, is selfish. But I'm not forcing anyone to read - y'all do that by your own free will.

But there's another reason. I was astounded - astounded - by the community I found. I have read some incredible stories. You guys have shared experiences that have broken my heart, inspired me and helped me. And I hope, I really really hope, that my stories and experiences and silly musings have, in some way, helped at least a couple of my readers.

So yes, I admit a good portion of my bloggage is selfish. I like it (obvs, otherwise I wouldn't do it). But I hope it serves another purpose as well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ruffling some feathers

Yesterday I was dicking around on the interwebs while a friend sat next to me and read. I had just commented on one of my favorite blogs, KERF, and found someone who professed living in the same geographic region as me. I clicked and found myself looking at her food blog.

My friend leaned over to see the pictures better. She said someone she knows has a food blog as well. "I don't know, I just think it's weird to take pictures of everything you eat. It seems like ... borderline. You might have a problem there."

Which got me thinking - are food blogs an expression of an eating disorder?

... in most cases no, but in some cases yes, I think (come on, did you think I was going to give you a straight answer?). I read several food blogs, including KERF and Tastespotting. Kath is one of the most positive, upbeat writers I've ever encountered; she loves to prepare good-tasting, nutritious food and isn't preoccupied with calories or carbs or whatnot. There are recovery bloggers I follow who periodically post pictures of their foodage. For these writers, it's not a pathology so much as a tool for improvement. They take photos to hold themselves accountable. It's more intimate, more concrete than checking boxes on a meal-plan sheet (y'all have been there, I know). Seeing food, I think, serves as a reminder that hey, this tasted good. I don't have to hate myself for eating. For someone who's been limiting her- or himself to a spartan, no-frills, bare-bones* diet, it facilitates thinking of food as pleasurable and fun again.

For some bloggers, it's a way to share a hobby - vegetarianism or veganism, eating whole foods, creating recipes, or photography. For others - and here's where it gets tricky - it's an online, public food journal, kept for the purpose of losing weight. I know that food journaling will NOT be pathological for the vast majority of people who do it. Food journaling can be a very helpful tool in changing your diet, and if you want to share your experiences with others, more power to you. I'm not entirely comfortable with the "lose lose lose" mentality of some bloggers, but that's the world we live in.

Food journaling can also be a ticket to Crazytown. I can see someone beginning a blog with the intention of dropping a few pounds and then using it as a way to continually decrease intake. Just a little less than yesterday - that's awfully familiar. I haven't seen any pro-ED blogs like this - I'm not out looking for them, of course - but I imagine there are a few. Actually, there are probably a heartbreakingly large number of them.

Like I said, the vast majority of food blogs are a fun way to engage with like-minded others. People in recovery can benefit, too, by fixing their relationship with food and eating. I just hope that pro-ED bloggers stumble upon Kath's blog, or several others, and realize there's a different way to live.

*Cliche Olympics, that was

Monday, April 6, 2009


My body makes no sense.

Does it have to? The world doesn't make sense, so it seems unfair to demand that of my body.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Another annoying post about the boyfriend

Several of the bloggers I follow have written about the effects of eating disorders on romantic relationships. I thought I'd add my two cents (.03 cents in today's economy).

Jim never knew me before I was anorexic. He couldn't tell from my low-res Facebook shot that I was food-averse, but I'm guessing he started wondering when he saw me in person. He definitely wondered, as most people probably did, when he watched me nibble half a veggie burger and a few carrots and call it a meal. I debated telling him about my illness when we started spending more time together - would he freak out? Would he think I was shallow? I put myself in his shoes and realized that I'd want to know if my potential partner had a tenacious, lifestyle-affecting illness. He took it very well - it was kind of "well, duh" at that point anyway.

It didn't stop him from asking me out, but it certainly affected our early relationship. Think about it - how many "date" activities involve food? As my recovery and our relationship progressed, however, I felt something change. It had been so long since I'd felt in touch with my body, and suddenly there was this person who sat close to me, who put his arm around me, who very lightly kissed me one night in March. And ... he put me back in my body. He was so gentle, so patient, and as we grew closer I sort of came back into myself. My body wasn't just this thing I tried so hard to control, something that needed discipline and punishment.* It was mine again; it could feel pleasure and it could make someone else feel pleasure. I have to give Jim credit for much of the progress I made our first spring together.
I learned to love wine and cheese while I learned to love Jim.

Of course it hasn't been all skittles and unicorns since then. There were times when my food issues - rigid scheduling, "fear foods" and painful insecurities all posed challenges. It was hard for him to understand; hell, it was hard for me to understand. I cried in front of him more than once. I was struggling my junior year, and against most medical advice he told me to start moving - but for fun, not for weight-loss. We played badminton, and he taught me how to cook. He challenged me.

It is not easy to love someone with an eating disorder. Even more, it's not easy for a person with an eating disorder to love someone. I don't know if I can give any definitive advice - I think Jim is really an extraordinary person. I guess I would just urge those having issues to give their partners a chance - he or she might just prove to be extraordinary, too.

*I've been reading a lot of Foucault. A lot.


I am so, so lucky in my friends.

I ate dinner with my roommates uptown. The restaurant we originally planned to patronize had a ridiculous wait, so we split up, got fast food (Subway has flatbread sandwiches now) and reconvened on the courthouse steps, which are on the main street through town. We sat and ate and watched people go by. I was surprised at how many I saw that I knew. Then later I met up with one of my very closest friends. We started at her place and planned to go uptown in a couple of hours, but we just kept talking and talking ... and then it was nearly two and the bars were about to close anyway.

I'm ready to leave here, I know. I'm ready to start that new part of my life. But the four years I've been in Athens have certainly been valuable.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Doughnuts or Donuts?

I always favored the first spelling, but the majority of the world - or at least the majority of signwriters - appears to favor the latter. It's bothersome.

Anyway, there are several of the title items on a platter in the honors college meeting room. I have watched several individuals pick them up and eat them; they appear to be unpoisoned. Or at least no one's started puking yet.

So theoretically, I could pick one up and eat it myself. There's a nice-looking white-iced one. After working in a bakery/deli I have a slight aversion to doughnuts, but I remember they are still pretty tasty. I actually can't remember the last time I ate one. They are definitely a "fear food."

But I could eat one now. I can make all the excuses I want - I didn't go to the gym today (it was pissing rain), I might go out tonight, I had a glass of wine last night. It'll make my blood sugar spike and then I'll be tired and sluggish. There's nothing "natural" about it. I "can't" eat the doughnut. I can. I can't. I want one. I don't (I just wrote "doughnt").

There's one left, and it's not the one I had in mind anyway. It's the cake kind, and all I remember about those is that they make my teeth feel funny.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


There was a very interesting post + comment thread yesterday over at The F-Word. The talented Rachel shared her experience covering a local child pageant. She was struck both by the level of creepy as well as the high cost of preparing for and attending these events. That led to a discussion of daily makeup/beauty routines and how much people spend on products.

It got me thinking about my own cosmetic use. I didn't learn how to put on makeup from my mother because my mother did not wear makeup. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I saw her in lipstick (always in her teal-green "fancy" dress and black flats). I was a makeup virgin until the seventh grade. In retrospect, learning makeup skills from fellow seventh-graders was perhaps not ideal. I remembered watching, fascinated, as one of my friends easily drew a thick line around each eye. I was too pale for much eyeliner, but hoo boy did I love silver glitter eyeshadow. That was an unfortunate time.

I toned it down eventually, and throughout high school I went through periods of not wearing any makeup at all. Around junior and senior year I settled into a routine of foundation, concealer, blush, mascara and occasionally liner/shadow that took me all of seven minutes to complete. Now I omit the blush and liner/shadow for everyday. I buy drugstore brands (I was horrified by the cosmetic-counter prices when I went for prom) and the most expensive thing I have now is my foundation, which was about $8. I have a couple of lipsticks that I rarely wear, several glosses, and a couple tubes of balm. Things like lotion, razors and deodorant I consider hygiene expenses. Maybe the razors would be more cosmetic, though.

Hair, too, is a tricky hygiene/cosmetic border-crosser. I use a 2-in-1 shampoo and on rare occasions use a very light gel. Again, drugstore brands. Plus my short hair doesn't need much shampoo at all - I bought the current, half-empty bottle in early January. I don't dye my hair, partly because I'm a little afraid to.

The point of this and the F-Word's discussion was not to demonize or criticize women who use expensive cosmetics or large quantities. There's not a darn thing wrong with wanting to look professional, sexy, cute, fresh or whatever. And it's okay to want to look natural or forgo makeup as a non-verbal "fuck you" to the patriarchy or consumerism or whatever. I just think it's interesting as all hell how we (women especially, but dudes too) create our outward appearances every day.