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.