I hate housing.

“Based on the number of cancellations we have received to date and the higher-than-usual number of applications from students on the non-Guaranteed Wait List, it looks like we may not be able to accommodate all requests.”

—xo housing

Thanks, thanks a lot my dear friends. What am I supposed to do now??? But seriously, living on campus is REALLY important for me to take care of myself ED-wise and be a part of the campus community. Living off campus would just be so lonely, especially since I’ve spent the last year away and don’t really know very many people.  And if I don’t get housing this year, then I won’t be able to get guaranteed housing the next year. I also go to school in a city so that complicates everything. I contacted the dean to try to see if there is something that can be done, but right now it is really frustrating.

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Endings and Beginnings

Yesterday was my last day of work at the newspaper where I have been interning since the end of January, a few weeks after getting out of treatment. Much of my time over the past six months has been spent in that office, sitting at my desk under the vent and making graphics, so I still can't believe that I'm not going to walk back into that news room or see most of those people again. I was going to work through the end of the summer, but with moving and all, it was time to go.

Towards the end of the day, everyone stopped to give me a little farewell party, a tradition they usually reserve for full time staff, not interns. The editor-in-chief made a speech, and one of the photographers brought out a chocolate chili cake she had made (which I ate even though I usually only eat dessert-like things for my evening snack, it was so good!) with a bar chart as decoration on top. It felt so good to hear what people had to say about the impact of my work at the paper and how much I would be missed. They are even looking to hire a full time graphic artist to continue my work now that I'm gone. As I was driving home, I realized that I really felt proud of what I had accomplished. I felt like I mattered. And that's a big deal for me. Usually, instead of “I think I can,” what ends up getting repeated in my head is “not good enough.” But even though I wasn't in school this past year, I've barely been dancing, I don't really like the way that I look and have been living at home, I felt, at least for a few hours, that I who I am and what I do is enough.
 

The chocolate chili cake!

 

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Change and Boxes

I haven’t posted anything of real substance in awhile because things in my life have been changing so much lately that I’ve been having a hard time processing all of the things that have been going on.

The big thing is that my family is moving halfway across the country to Chicago. Officially. At the end of the month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love living in New Hampshire. Throughout high school, I begged my mom to move, or at least send me to private school to get out of our small town. I was eager to be part of a city, meet new people, see actual diversity (not just the one kid adopted from Africa) and have the ability to reinvent myself. But now that I’m in college, I’m sort of  sad that my family is leaving. This is the only place I really remember living, so whether I like it or not, it will always feel like home. Also, staying in New Hampshire has let me keep in touch with my friends from high school and my best friend from treatment. Their support has meant so much to me, especially over the past year, and I know it will be harder to stay connected with them when I don’t live close by. I’ll also be a lot farther away from my dad. I don’t see him very much to begin with, but this will be an even greater obstacle in whatever relationship we have.

Leaving out the emotional aspect, the logistics of it all are stressing me out. Starting in August, I’ll be on the road almost non-stop. Grandparents. Step sister’s wedding. Grandparents. School check in. Chicago for a week or so. Grandparents. Finally, school. It is insanely hard to pack for all of these places at once, and I just know something is going to end up in the wrong place or forgotten somewhere. To get a head start I’ve begun putting my stuff in boxes, and already my room looks vacant.

Because of this and some other recent stuff, I feel like the concrete foundations  in my life have been shaken, and it has been too easy to slip back into my safe routine with food. I’ve been having more eating disorder thoughts, and some days I want to shrink from it all. But with school being so close, I don’t want to risk anything, so I’ve been trying, really trying, not to let myself slide back in. It is so tempting to grab onto my eating disorder as if it were something solid I could rely on, but life is not about constancy. Life is filled with change.

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Looking Back

I was cleaning up my room yesterday and found all of the art I did while I was in treatment. It was interesting to see what I still identify with in my drawings and which of the emotions that I was feeling so strongly then have, for the most part, faded from my everyday experience. I also realized that I’m able to express some things in art that I wasn’t able to get out in my journal. It’s funny how different methods of communication work better for different people for different ideas. Anyway, I decided I would post some of them. Here’s the first one!

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Dryer Jeans—Guest Blogger!

Here is another post from my wonderful friend Livie (xliviex.tumblr.com) who I met in treatment. I completely agree with her that the way clothes fit, especially jeans when they come out of the dryer, can play with your mind. But enough of me, I’ll let you read what Livie has to say.

So without further ado, I present to you her post:

Today I had a scare. It was the first day of my internship at a children’s museum and I spent ages lying in bed mentally planning the perfect outfit. I thought I had finally figured it out. I was going to wear my green jeans, a grey tank top under a navy and orange flannel, and brown leather boots. It’s summer, and yes it has been hot, but I figured I could get away with a more fall like outfit since the office I’m interning in is air-conditioned.

What I didn’t consider is that I’m in a much different place in my recovery than I was in in the fall when I bought this outfit fresh out of treatment. I knew I’d grown taller since then (oh the joys of recovery and my “second burst of adolescence”) but I hadn’t known I’d grown outwards! I had left these jeans untouched in my closet for months because they were too big. Now they didn’t just fit, they were snug. I panicked.

My doctor and dietitian had assured me that my weight was stable in our last appointments. But I was filled with rage at the thought that my team had been lying to me. By that point I was running late. No time to change. So with some extra anxiety I went to my first day of work.

Three hours later, in between press releases and newsletter articles, I noticed that my pants had gone from feeling too tight to too loose. That’s when I realized my mistake. I had suffered from an extreme case of dryer jeans!

Looking back I feel silly for how I overreacted. I had texted friends this morning while I was still in panic mode and they gave me some wisdom that seems a lot greater now than it did when I was still freaking out. My best friend told me to be happy. I’d bought those pants to wear out, not to look at in my closet. If they fit it meant I simply had more clothing options. Another friend made me think about whether going up or down a size really mattered. Being a bigger size doesn’t make me a worse person and being a smaller size doesn’t make me a better one. I got this internship because they think I’m capable of doing the job, and I know I’m certainly more capable of dealing with life when I’m taking care of my body. So when it comes down to it, who cares if my pants were a little tighter this morning? Dryer jeans suck, but the size of my body doesn’t dictate my worth.

 

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Putting my passion in the recycling bin

Yesterday I made up my mind to finally recycle all of my ballet magazines. I haven’t been dancing much lately, and who really needs issues of Pointe from 2008? But before I put them in the bin, I flipped through their pages one last time, and looking at picture after picture of rehearsal, class, pointe shoes, and tutus, I realized I miss ballet a whole lot.

For the past month or so I’ve been taking ballet once, occasionally twice a week. Adult or open classes, no pointe, definitely not enough to build technique. But when I do go, I’ve really been enjoying myself. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been letting myself take pleasure in the movement and the music. It fills something inside of me that yoga or anything else can’t. Standing at the barre feels like going home. When I dance—not the compulsive “I must dance or I’ll get fat” ballet that I was doing while I was immersed in my eating disorder, but the true art form where I dance for myself—I really feel inspired. Yes, it is hard work, but it is so rewarding, especially to get up on stage and perform.

Yet even with this newfound enjoyment, I can’t help comparing my technique now to what it was like before all this. I see that my leg doesn’t go up as high or that my feet don’t move quite as fast. My pirouettes are off. My beats aren’t as refined. Adagio, allegro, it is all harder coming back from such a long break. Only the enjoyment part comes easier, well, until I remember how bad I am. I wish I could have jumped back into to dance where I left it. Instead, my body needs coaxing, training, pushing to get itself to the same level of technique. I know deep down it’s still inside of me. I can learn. I can grow stronger. But part of me doesn’t know if I really want to get back to that level of technique. I can’t ever be good enough at ballet to make a real go of it, so what’s the point in even trying? Maybe I’m missing out on something else by keeping myself bound to dance. Or, if I do decide to step into the ballet world again, how do I know I won’t let it consume me? If I do something, I give it my all. So if I can be better, why would I hold myself back?

All I know is that this sort of do-si-do where I dip my toe into ballet just enough to feel that the water is great and then pull it back out again isn’t making me happy. Every time I step into the studio, it’s just a tease, a test to see if  I’m ready to commit again or not. Sometimes I think my relationship to ballet is more complicated than my relationships with people.

And while I’m going through old ballet stuff, just figured I’d post an old ballet pic…

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Happy Father’s Day…

I like stuff. I like clothes, shoes, bags, the works. But stuff will never make up for time lost and love withheld. You can’t buy back the months without calling, or the weekends you spent golfing instead of with my brother and I. You invite me over for one day and say that the time is so short. But it wouldn’t have mattered if I saw you more than once. You ask about how things are going without really wanting to know. You ask what I want to do with really listening to my answer. All this time I kept thinking that you cared, that you just didn’t know how to share what you felt. But now I’m not so sure. You care about you and your life and appearances, but not so much about me.

It’s true I’m your daughter, but you don’t really know me.

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Metamorphosis

Jabba the Hutt

My reality keeps changing. Some days I look in the mirror and actually like what I see. No, I’m not perfect, but I’m me, and god forbid, almost pretty. Then other days all I see is what is wrong. I see the fat, the curves that models and ballet dancers don’t have but I do, the ones that make me look like I’m still fifteen (a fact recently verified by a saleswoman when buying a dress—more about that later!). They aren’t womanly or sexy, just there and I can’t stand their existence, especially on me. So many times I shift in my own eyes, pixie to Jabba the Hutt. I don’t know which one is reality, but I know they can’t both be correct. Which one am I? I’m dying to know. But at the same time I’m scared that if my view of myself stops shifting, I’ll wind up staying forever on the one I can’t stand. I’m scared the truth will hurt too much. Of course, I recognize there are many levels in between fat and thin, athlete and couch potato, but I want to know where I fall on that sliding scale. I want to see myself from other people’s eyes. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with the view from my own.

Day of Judgement/Affirmation

I told my story three times.

Once to the dean.

Once to the director of counseling services.

Once to the director of health services.

Each time I went through the beginning, middle and end, highlighting what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve learned, what I’ve struggled with. Not a day of judgement, but a day of affirmation, a time to reflect.

In the beginning, I was insanely nervous, freaking out. This was the chance I had to set things in motion. But as I talked, I made it through. I could do this. I had struggled with anorexia since I was 10. I had survived three months in resi. I had been working hard. I had come so far. In the morning, I had found my fearlessness necklace in my suitcase. I thought I had lost it, but as it tumbled onto the floor, it gave me the little boost of confidence that I needed. I realized I could do this.

And I did.

Each one said that there was no reason why I couldn’t come back. They were impressed by my hard work. And as long as I maintain (necessary check-in in August), I can be a student again. For the first time in years, I’m confident I can do this.

I also wanted to share with you one of the most important things I learned this year. In treatment, stripped of academic success, dance, fashion and control over my weight, I saw that people still wanted to be friends with me. They liked me not because of what I’ve accomplished or what I look like, but because of my personality. And my friends from before, they supported me through it all. They didn’t care if I was in school or a mental hospital, they were there for me. And in the end, everyone liked spending time with me better when I was healthy. Imagine that.

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Give a Cheer for Readers!

First off, thank you so much to Roxy for nominating me for the reader appreciation award! Her blog is one of my favorites to read. I admire the honesty in her writing and drawings, whether its about her recovery, her relationships or her inner geek (I am one too…) Her comments have been very helpful and encouraging, and I thank her for that too!

The Steps to Take, Preferably with Joy:

1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
2. Answer these 10 questions, below, for fun if you want to.
3. Nominate 10 to 12 blogs you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

The Questions:

1. What is your favorite color?

Blue or yellow-orange.

2. What is your favorite animal?

I’ve always loved cheetahs. They are athletic, fast, smart, beautiful. I actually have no idea if cheetahs are smart, but I’ve always imagined them to be so.

3. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Coffee. I started to drink coffee when I was about 7 when my mom would pour a little of hers into my milk (hence, coffee-milk). I loved the smell and the taste and drinking it made me so grown up. Since then, the ratio has reversed. I like mine strong and dark, splash of milk, no sugar.

4. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?

I use them for very different things, but I’m going to have to go with Facebook. What’s better than creeping on people you used to know? But really, I don’t use it a ton, but I like how it has helped me stay in touch with so many people.

5. What is your favorite pattern?

I’ve never given this much thought, but I guess either spirals, or squares. Then again, those are more shapes than patterns, so I’ll have to keep thinking on that one.

6. Do you prefer giving or getting presents?

Not gonna lie, I prefer getting presents. I also love giving them, but I always worry that they won’t like whatever I’ve picked out.

7. What is your favorite number?

When my grandpa turned 37, my mom wrote his age on every single piece of underwear he owned. My grandma, of course, didn’t replace them, so my grandpa went around wearing underwear branded with the number. I have loved this family legend since I was little, always hoping I could come up with something equally clever.  And so, my favorite number is 37.

8. What is your favorite day of the week?

Sunday. I love Sundays because I give myself permission to be lazy, read the paper, do the crossword. It is a day when I don’t have to change out of my pjs or put in my contacts. It is the day to play board games or read books in big chairs.

9. What is your favorite flower?

The rose. Beauty and the Beast, bouquets at the end of performances, who I am named after. Really, there is no other choice.

10. What’s your passion?

Right now, I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. French, ballet, spending time with other people, wandering around museums, playing scrabble, reading a great book, laughing, doing almost any craft—these are all things that I love. But I don’t know if any of these things are my passion. I keep thinking that my true passion is out there, waiting to be found. But in reality, it is probably something that is already right in front of me, I just haven’t noticed it yet.

The Nominees

Some (or all) of these writers may choose to not participate in this award process but I still want this chance to help you to find these blogs and perhaps be inspired by what they contain, if you haven’t found them already. I’m choosing to nominate 3. Enjoy!

1. http://rewritinglife.net/ Kaleigh’s writing is beautiful. She was also one of the first people to reach out to me through this blog, and has been very encouraging. She also is working on some really cool projects like HUGstronger.

2. http://fightingmywayback.wordpress.com Kate has a great blog. I identify a lot with what she writes about, and always enjoy reading it.

3. http://xliviex.tumblr.com/ Livie is one of the strongest and most inspiring people I know. I am truly grateful for all of her support and friendship. Her blog is also great. Definitely worth the trip over to Tumblr.

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