Monday, May 31, 2010

Baby things change

Yesterday was a good time. We met a group of friends for brunch at 11:30 - should mention this is a champagne brunch with all-you-can-drink mimosas - stayed until the buffet closed at 4, then went back to our friends' apartment and stayed there until 11. Twelve hours at brunch might have been a little excessive, but it was still a good time.

I slept until almost 9 and now my grad school work is weighing on my mind, but so are some other things. I met a a friend-of-a-friend whose job title is "senior scientist." If that doesn't make her cool enough in your eyes, she does research all around Europe on quality-of-life, long-term care, pain management, etc. All of these big, meaty topics in medical anthropology. On top of that, she travels all the time - England, Denmark, France, Finland.

It's bringing up some old emotions. When I was a kid I wanted to have a career, I wanted to love it, and I wanted to be good at it. I never dreamed I'd be 23 and engaged; surely I'd be too busy building a career and anyway, who needs a man to be happy? Of course, life does things and I am amazingly happy to be with Jim. Now I'm facing the somewhat uncomfortable realization that I'd rather have a 9-5 (or 7-5, like it is now) job that lets me spend time with the person I love and the people I for whom I care deeply. I'll be an office drone - actually, right now an office job sounds AMAZING. Prestige isn't a big deal. I don't have to be the best and the brightest. I just want a desk and a computer and a lunch break. And starting at 9 would be great, too.

Do I go back to anthropology after I'm done with Teach for America? That's more school, more money and more time, and an advanced degree in anthropology doesn't always equal a higher salary. And a travel-heavy job would be wonderful, but it would take me away from Jim and the home we've built together. I don't think I want to be a teacher forever, but it might be something I do beyond my two-year commitment (though NOT in DCPS).

I used to think the majority of my satisfaction in life would come from my job.* Now I think it's going to come from sharing a couch, a kitchen, and a life with someone at the end of the day.

*Just realized this post might come off as judgmental or even antifeminist (gulp). It's NOT. The beautiful thing about feminism (or at least my own feminism) is that yes, you can be a CEO in New York or you can be barefoot and pregnant in a kitchen in Kentucky - so long as you get to choose. Whatever floats your boat.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Suck it

Really, the best thing I can say about work today was that there was no bloodshed. It was that terrible.

It sucks when you haven't had a terrible day in a long time, and then one comes along and wallops you in the gut.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A tale of two in-laws*

In high school, I was terrified of my boyfriend's mother. This woman had the power to reduce me to a stammering, quivering heap of insecurities.** To illustrate: my sister S and I both worked at a local grocery store - she was in the photo department, I was in the deli/bakery. S was closer to the entrance, so when my boyfriend's mother would come in (small town, remember), S would call me over the phone system and then I would hide in the walk-in cooler until she left. That's right - my fear of this woman was greater than my hatred of the cold. And this continued long after I'd broken up with her son and even after I'd started dating Jim.

I would like to declare that Jim's mother is not at all scary.

This weekend Jim's parents came out to visit. I was already anxious about all the food and wine we would consume, but I also had a small, stupid, self-centered worry: what if they thought I was fat? As I walked down King Street to meet them for lunch (sans Jim - I am a grown up), my reflection in all the shop windows was enormous. I knew, I knew, I knew they wouldn't say anything, but ... what if they did?

Later that night (lunch was fine) we were eating Jim's delicious (fucking delicious) paella. We were talking about how amazing a cook Jim is and since it was on my mind (and I was slightly tipsy), I said that I'd gained weight. Jim protested that I didn't know how much I'd gained, but I said it was quite a bit.

"No no no, " Jim's mother said. "I think you look great, Lisa, you have color ... you look great."

Yep. No more walk-in coolers for me. :)

*Okay, since I didn't marry my first boyfriend and I haven't yet married Jim neither of these women have actually been my in-laws, but dammit this is my blog.
**To those of you who quote Eleanor Roosevelt and say "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent yadda yadda yadda" I say, you haven't met this woman.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Hypocrisy, a double standard. Whatever you want to call it, I have it.

I preach it - as much as a befuddled agnostic can preach anything. BMI is silly! The ideal of thinness is a cultural construction foisted upon the public by the media! The "war on obesity" is ridiculous! C'mon Michelle Obama, that little girl didn't care about veggies, she cared about her mom's immigration status!

But this week I've been basing my self-worth on my weight, the food that I eat (or don't), the exercise that I do.

What is wrong with me? I am letting fucking number rule my life. NO ONE CARES BUT ME. Jim does not care. My mother does not care. My students do not care (although one asked if I was pregnant and another one apparently likes my boobs). BUT I CARE. I care.

I don't want to trigger. I don't want to be a wet blanket. But this is what my head is like now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Yeah I'm suuuuper angry in this post. Just a disclaimer.

Using my planning period to bring you this breathtaking news - my BMI is in the "overweight" category.

Part of me knows that BMI is stupid, that I've put on muscle and that's going to skew my BMI. Part of me knows that in the early 1990s, the definitions of "overweight" and "obese" were arbitrarily shifted, making millions more "overweight" overnight (I could link you to an article but I'm lazy and rushed).

But part of me is also pissed. Pissed that I thought I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without consequences (wow, that's some judgmental language). Pissed that I drink so much wine.
Pissed that I let myself do this.

I'm also pissed at my old therapist, my doctors, my nutritionist - all of them assured me I'd stop gaining weight. They told me I wouldn't have a weight problem. I just want to go to them and wave this in their faces and say "see? I was right. I didn't stop gaining weight and look what happened. Thanks a lot."

I need to get over this - or at least shove it aside - before my students get back from gym.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Proof Positive and Negative

Oh holy MOLY that last post is full of bravado. Today's events make it absolutely clear that I am in no way "recovered."

Today, I took a half-day (yay!) to go to the gynecologist (boo). During the pre-exam, I told the nurse my spiel: "I'm in recovery from an eating disorder, so I get weighed backwards."

"Okay, that's okay, whatever," she replied. She wasn't mean about it, just kind of blase - just one more weird demand from a patient. So I hop on and she fiddles with the counterweights.

And then she says the first two digits. "Oh wait, you didn't want to know ..."

Too damn late, lady. I looked at the scale and figured out the last one. And oh my dear god it was so much higher than I expected. So much higher.

I kept it together in the office. I mostly kept it together on the ride home and while I was getting the car serviced. At the gym though - all those mirrors, all those people - I freaked the fuck out. Panic attack time. I made it back to the car and called my sister. She listened while I cried and sobbed and continued my freakout for a solid ten minutes. I took another ten to calm down after we hung up, and then I went back inside and finished my workout.

Now I'm furious with myself. All the meals out, all the wine and cheese, all the little nibbles - what the fuck did I think was going to happen? And I've got to stop sharing my internal thought processes because they are majorly triggering. Just know that my head is not a friendly place right now.

So no, I'm not recovered. I'm lots of other things that I don't want to list but I'm not recovered.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Watching Miss USA

Yep, I'm watching the Miss USA pageant. More precisely, Jim and I are watching it while we eat chorizo, cheese and bread.

Did I feel not a twinge but a baseball-bat-wallop of envy when those girls strutted across the stage in bikinis? Well, yes. Their thighs DON'T TOUCH, I thought. Once upon a time, YOUR thighs didn't touch. Wasn't that great? And so on and so forth.

This brings me to the topic of recovery and that touchy, age-old question: can you ever be "recovered?"

I believe that in general, yes, a person can become recovered from anorexia and develop a completely normal relationship with food and the larger world. For myself? I don't know.

I am not the person I was fall 2005, when I staggered onto Ohio University's campus at a ridiculous weight (and that was with pockets full of coins and a heavy belt). I am not the person I was that winter, at my lowest weight, numb, cold all the time. I am not the person I was that spring, grimly downing three Ensures (the high calorie kind) plus dining hall meals just so I could stay in school. I'm not even the person I was a few years later, interning at the University of Delaware and eating gelato but still much too thin.

I'm bigger. I know sizes can be triggering, and I apologize, but I'm working on not being ashamed that I am a size 10-12, large or even extra-large. Part of this is due to my taste in clothing - ie, not-skintight - but it's mostly just because I'm bigger. I have no idea what I weigh - I haven't weighed myself in well over a year - but I know my body is different.

For one thing, I'm a hell of a lot more muscular and I love it. You were right, Jim, you were right - I love weight training. I love feeling so strong and I love that I'm not overdoing it. I know that I can't do weights every single day - I'd be so sore that I couldn't walk. I'm never going to be a female bodybuilder (I have a crazy aunt who does that - one per family is enough, thanks), but I love the feeling of being stronger. I told Jim I was embarrassed when a trainer at the gym randomly fist-bumped me, but I was actually stoked - maybe he thinks I'm legit. And you can't do weights if you don't eat. So I eat.

This year has been one of the hardest of my life. It's also been one of the best, since Jim and I got engaged and moved in together. You can't go through a year as eventful and not change.

I wish that all of this could lead up to a proud declaration that I am recovered. No quotation marks; fully and totally recovered. Unfortunately, I can't. The old anorexia voice is still there - right before I take a shower and I see myself in the mirror; when I try on clothes and nothing seems right. Sometimes even when I see those old pictures I start to think that wouldn't be so hard, you could get back there pretty easy. It's in the choices I make at restaurants, it's in the guilt I feel after a weekend of gustatory events.

Maybe I'll never be "recovered." Maybe some people never do. But even without the "-ed," I've learned that I can still live a full life. I can deal with the anorexia thoughts - they no longer stop me from working hard and loving harder.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well howdy

Well hey there - wait, is this thing still on?

I know my last entry was on a positive note, but March took the fucking mickey out of me. A lot of things piled up, not in the least Jim's car being stolen. We got it back, thankfully - but really, who the hell steals a ten-year-old minivan? April was better, but only just.

You'd think I'd have 8 million things to say, and I'm sure I will when I think of them. One is that I'm glad to be back in the blogosphere. I've been reading and commenting, but I sure did miss y'all. Telling Jim my thoughts and feelings is wonderful, but it's also nice to tell you guys, too.

The one big thing to share is that Jim and I have decided to put off the wedding until next summer. WE ARE STILL GETTING MARRIED. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH OUR RELATIONSHIP. That's something we've been having to explain a lot to our families. When Jim's car was stolen, it made us realize just how hard it would be to put on a wedding this summer - in terms of both money and time. So we argued and discussed and cried (at least I did) and then I talked to my mom and fought and cried some more; and then just as I was about to head for the courthouse everything was all right again. I was sad for a while - the thought of a wedding was something that kept me going through those awful months last fall - but now I feel relieved. I can relax this summer. We can take a minibreak (in the immortal words of Bridget Jones).

I'm a bit rusty at this, so I'll write more later about my body and where I am in my recovery. Dare I put the "-ed" on that word yet? We'll see.