Love And Spaghetti Squash And Jeans

Today’s I am proud of myself because: of how open and brave I was that day in the park when I met USB.  At that point in my life, I was truly convinced that I was unlovable, romantically speaking.  That no one would ever want to be with me. Sure, there were parts of myself that I liked.  But I thought that I was just too weird for anyone else to ever like those elements of me.  I wanted to meet someone.  I was 20 years old, about to start my senior year of college and had never had a serious relationship.  I had made out with a few boys.  But that was about  it.  Nothing ever clicked.  With USB, everything clicks.  I didn’t know it then, but I think a big part of the sadness I have felt over the last three or four years — the constant aching in my chest — was simply because I wanted to share my life with someone.  And now I do. And it is even more wonderful than I imagined.

I didn’t do a happy note!  It was really hard for me to change, lol.  But sometimes change is good, as USB has taught me. 🙂

Just wanted to say hello quickly and hear about your weekends!  I haven’t done any full workouts yesterday (Friday) or today.  The social time is infinitely more important for my health.  I probably walked a few miles both days anyways.   I also got in plenty of studying.

Other exciting things:

My first spaghetti squash!

Believe it or not, spaghetti squash has always been a secret fear of mine!  I steamed it in the microwave for about 10 minutes (cut in two halves, with the flat side down).  At first, I took it out and didn’t see any spaghetti!  I freaked out, thinking that I was a spaghetti squash failure.  That, or the farmer had simply sold me a different type of squash by accident.  But then I noticed about a teaspoon worth of “noodles” and scraped those out.  Lo, and behold, the scraping produced more noodles.  So I kept scraping and more and more noodles appeared!  Slowly, a giant smile crept onto my face.  It was great fun.  Seriously, if you’re ever super stressed, try scraping the noodles out of a spaghetti squash.

Totally unrelated, but relevant to the blog as a whole: yesterday, I went shopping.  Clothes shopping.  Clothes shopping is not easy for someone who hates every little part of her body.  I went to a bunch of different stores and kept telling myself over and over again, “you will look fat and horrible in that; you should not even try it on.”  I was starting to get really down on myself.  Eventually, I wound up in a designer jeans section at a discount store.  I am NOT a clothes elitist — I don’t have the money to be — but I truly believe that with things like jeans, and dresses, a really nice brand can sometimes look and feel better, making it worth the price.  I got into my determined mode and said “Caronae, you are going to try on some jeans and find a pair that you like and you will look beautiful and you will buy them.”

And I did.  I found a pair of jeans.  They are Seven brand.  I have never had a pair of Seven jeans before, but these really are quite nice.  I like them a lot, and a tiny part of me thinks I look decent in them.

So there. Take that, jeans.

Time to go find USB! 🙂

What are you all up to this weekend?

A Critique of Certain Responses to the Marie Claire Article

Today’s Happy Note: For the first time ever, this afternoon, a reader recognized me — in public!  It was so strange.  It made me happy — not because I care about how many people read my blog but because I like meeting new friends!  Hi Jen!

Marathon Training: I basically had back-to-back rest days yesterday and today, although both were active rest days.  Well, sort of.  I did not leave my floor until 10:00 PM last night.  I literally stayed on my bed or in the kitchen the entire day. Then I walked three miles because I was getting antsy.

Today I had yoga class and 20 minutes of weights. I would have done a bit more (I enjoy strength training) but had to rush off to the doctor’s.  I finally got referred to an endocrinologist so let’s keep our fingers crossed that my health issues get sorted out soon!

I’m sure you’re all up to speed on the big controversy that hit blogland this morning — there was a libelous article in Marie Claire magazine about “The Big 6” healthy living bloggers (no one uses that term — I’m pretty sure the author made it up).

If you, by chance, have not read the article, read it: The Hunger Diaries.

Here are each of the “Big 6” blogger’s responses:

Kath

Heather (part II here)

Meghann

Caitlin

Tina

Jenna — I have not seen a response from Jenna and, FYI, I do not (and never have) read her blog, so I won’t comment on her blog or her posts.

I know that many people have already responded to the article, primarily in two ways: first, there have been the “Big 6” themselves and their supporters (of whom I definitely count myself as one) and second, there have been those who support the “Big 6” but tenuously, acknowledging that the article raises some legitimate points.  If you want a good synopsis of this perspective, read the post entitled “Please Blog Responsibly” from Hollaback Health.

I would like to respond to the responders; in other words, I am taking a third path. In so doing, I intend to engage with the article in a new way.  I like to think that, given my blog’s unique combination of honest musings on physical and mental health, I am situated to talk about some of the issues raised by the article in a new and, hopefully interesting and relevant way.

I would like, however, to make two points, before beginning:

1. I am not an expert on anything besides my own life. I do what works for me. I eat what works for me, move the way that works for me, and most importantly, take care of my emotional health in a way that works for me.  I am not a dietitian, a doctor (although my parents are!), a psychologist, or any sort of professional.  I am, however, applying to law school!  Note: This has nothing whatsoever to do with my credentials as a healthy living blogger, I just wanted to say it.

2. I think that we can all agree that the article was downright mean, poor journalism (if we can call it that), and should never, ever have been written. It was cruel and wrenched my heart; I can’t imagine how those who were mentioned are feeling.  Not to mention the fact that it was just plain old wrong about 99% of the things mentioned; the degree to which quotes and posts were taken out of context astounds me.

Okay.  Onto my thoughts.

My main problem with both the article and the second group of responders (those who say that the article makes valid points) is that both of them presume some degree of stupidity among readers.  They assume that healthy living bloggers (with the ladies mentioned above being the paradigmatic examples) are some sort of breed of obsessive, blind, health addicts who have an inherent inability to be introspective.

This is wrong and an insult to my intelligence.  Here is the thing about blogging: I can guarantee that no one has ever held a gun to your head and said “you must read this blog or I will kill you”.  I guarantee it.  Yes, there have been moments in my own journey where I thought “wow, she is so much thinner than me and eats less — I must suck”.  But guess what: I got over it.  Real fast. And this is coming from someone who clearly has had a lot of mental health struggles, disordered eating patterns, and severe body image/self-acceptance issues.

If you are unconvinced, you can read about my mental health struggles on my Mental Health page and in this recent post about therapy.

I consider myself a painfully honest blogger.  It is simply the way that my blog has always operated.  If something is happening in my life, you all know about it, usually not too long after my family and my therapist (L).  That is the premise of this blog and it always will be.  With that said, I understand that not every blogger can (or wants to) share as many details as I do.

Let’s say a blogger posts pictures of all of his or her meals from a day, with interesting commentary and recipes, and talks about their morning run, in a post.  Does the fact that this is the contentpresented in the post make me think that that blogger has no issues with eating or body image or perfection?

No no no! Why?  Because I am an intelligent, cultured, educated, powerful young woman who makes her own damn decisions. While I recognize that not every reader is 3/4 of the way through an Ivy League degree and in the process of applying to elite law schools, I also understand that it would be naive and insulting to assume that a majority of bloggers and readers in this community cannot make their own decisions.  We are adults (if a 12 year old girl in the throes of anorexia is reading these blogs, I think that is a different issue; one that I will not get into).  We know our bodies and ourselves and our limits.

Guess what?  On Saturday I had at least five servings of peanut butter pretzels and three or four servings of chocolate covered ginger for dinner.  Followed by some cereal.

Do I hate myself for it or think I am a lesser blogger?  Absolutely not.  I think that Caitlin makes it especially clear on her blog that we each need to do what works for us.  She candidly eats salads for dinner sometimes and entire boxes of macaroni and cheese for dinner at other times.

Whether or not certain bloggers exhibit tendencies of disordered eating or “pseudo-anorexia” is simply not relevant: in a niche of the blogosphere where everyone goes out of their way to celebrate differences in lifestyle (including eating and workout patterns) , it’s time for us to recognize the fact that some women (and men — hey Evan!) need to eat differently than others.  As someone who has struggled with her weight being too high, I can sympathize with bloggers who eat less: it is my genuine belief that many of us need to eat more or less than others.  It is also my genuine belief  that, the vast majority of the time, the “Big 6” bloggers — and others — do not cross into disordered eating territory.  And if they do, I simply don’t read that blogger’s blog.  It’s that simple.  It’s painfully obvious.

Furthermore, the precise intricacies of a blogger’s body weight and menstrual cycle are nobody’s business but the blogger’s, her close friend’s/family’s, and her doctor’s.  If she chooses to share some of this information with readers, that does not give them free license to criticize. I can guarantee that she is doing it for one of two reasons: either to help or inform her readers in some way or to help herself in some way.

I am responding to the article and the responses to it because I believe, with all my heart, that the blogging community I consider myself a part of is about the little guys as much as it is about people like the “Big 6”. It’s about all of us — everyone from the celebrity bloggers to those getting 10 page views a day. Moment of honesty: I typically average 100-200 readers a day.  Not a lot.  By anyone’s standards.  I don’t have any ads.  I make no money through blogging.  I have, a few times, gotten free samples.  Probably totaling less than $20 worth in the last nine months of blogging.

I say all of this to illustrate the following point: blogging is meaningful to me — healthy living blogs are meaningful to me.  They have illustrated to me that I can eat normal, whole foods in normal portions and still eat healthfully — I can even eat dessert, every.  Single.  Day. (And I do).  They have given me the confidence to train for my first half-marathon and a marathon.  More importantly, I have become so much more accepting of my body exactly as it is, since starting to read healthy living blogs (and eventually starting my own).

That said, I recognize that this is not the case for every single reader.  And my response to that is simple: do the adult, mature thing and don’t read blogs that are upsetting or triggering for you.  Like Heather, I do believe that bloggers are responsible for their content, but I also believe that readers need to be more responsible.  I would never to tell you that your diet should consist of celery sticks and plain grilled chicken breasts.  I don’t know any bloggers who would.  BUT even if they did, I expect that it would be your responsibility to recognize that that was disordered and wrongheaded.

There, I said it: I expect educated readers. We are a smart, vibrant group of young people.  We are not stupid.  None of us is.  Those readers who are going through serious eating disorders and are seeking “thinspiration” on the web are going to find it somewhere, regardless of whether or not the “Big 6” blogs exist (or any other healthy living blogs that share daily eats).

I think it is careless to say that the article raised issues that needed to be raised — to say that it was “The Elephant in the Room”, as I have heard some bloggers refer to it. By no means do I think that we are perfect: but that is the entire point of healthy living blogging!  Acknowledging that we are not perfect — that every single one of us will eat differently, wokrout (or not workout) differently, and just generally take care of ourselves in different ways — is central to the healthy living blogosphere. I see bloggers who eat more than me and those who eat less than me.  Run more or run less. Some don’t run at all.  Some are way more in touch with the aspects of their spiritual health, and I really admire that.  

I would argue that non-perfection is the premise of the community, and saying that the article made a valid point by reminding us that we shouldn’t all be perfect and certain bloggers try to influence us to be perfect like them is like saying “(y=(x+10)/0)”.  Okay, so maybe all of us aren’t geeks like me.  If you didn’t know, that is an equation that does not exist.  It is impossible.  You cannot divide anything by zero.

It just doesn’t make sense.

The End.

Obviously, I would be thrilled if you shared your thoughts with me!  Agree or disagree, I don’t care — if you articulate yourself well and aren’t mean about it, I would be happy to listen to you!

Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Despite my long, stressful day I was able to consciously take some time for myself.  I got up early to do a little workout and ate a quick dinner when I got home at nine so I could read/blog/read blogs. These few small moments have made a big difference in my anxiety level (compared to the middle of the day).

So. I ended up at four different doctors today.  Four.  That’s more doctor’s appointments than I would like in a year. Yuck.  I had two in the morning, then therapy, then went to my office for a whopping half hour, scarfed lunch, then headed to see my doctor for lab stuff, then went to another doctor/radiology for more labs, then rushed to my other job.  So, long day.  Not a bad day, just exhausting, physically and emotionally.

The first doctor I saw (reproductive endocrinology) was The.  Biggest.  Bitch. Ever.  She treated me like I was a complete idiot who knew nothing about my condition or my body, was shockingly rude, and did a hurried and poor physical exam.  She tossed all my questions about fertility aside.  I’m not really one to complain about these things, but my hormones are one of the major components of my health affected by the PE and I just don’t want them to be screwed up.  I have PCOS, I cannot now (or ever again) take birth control or any other hormones, and I have concerns about how this will affect my ability to make babies in the future.  I think that’s valid.  She told me that concern was irrelevant, and didn’t hardly even explain why.  She then spent the rest of the visit screaming at me to lose weight, which I had told her at the very beginning I was trying to do.  She seemed to have little concern for my psychologically precarious position regarding weight and body image.

The other doctors were wonderful and understanding though.  I still need to have a lot more tests done to determine the cause of the PE.

Meh.  Not documenting all the eats today because I need to write about therapy.  But I kept track and didn’t do any unnecessary snacking.

I know I have some new readers out there!  In case any of you are wondering what Therapy Tuesday is: I go to therapy with my lovely (although sometimes we clash) psychologist L.  It has been a very important experience to me.  I know that people often don’t “get” therapy or just don’t know what it’s about.  For me, it has meant several things: I have someone who consistently cares about me, listens to me, and thinks about me; I have someone to relate to, vent to, or cry to, every week, rain or shine; I have someone who helps me understand  how the different pieces of my life fit together; I have someone who wants me to live a happy and satisfying life and will do anything to help me get there.

I usually write about both the content and the process of each session.  I don’t always share it all on the blog, for obvious reasons, although I am pretty open about it, so please feel free to ask me questions about my experience or what therapy is like.  I think it’s really important to record my feelings and thoughts from the session and from after the session.

Therapy Tuesday

The overarching theme of today was dealing with stress in healthy ways (although that is a slight oversimplification).  I have had a lot of stressors lately: being so ill, family issues, anxiety/panic about work, confusion about the future/law school, and just generally feeling a bit run down by my busy summer (not to mention the stressful doctor’s appointments I had just come from). I told L about all these things.  We had a nice back and forth thing going today.  I love that she actually talks to me and doesn’t just sit there like a piece of wood.  So I would talk a little bit about a stressor and then we would look more closely at what it felt like, what it reminded me of, how I might respond.  I felt like our conversation, particularly her responses, was very direct today (which is nice), but also very intimate/emotional.  I didn’t cry at all.  That hasn’t happened in a long time.

We also talked about how I connect with the people I love in my life.  How I reach out to them and how I perceive them and how they might perceive me.  It’s sort of funny; we tend to think that we are always doing everything “right” in a relationship, but it is so easy to overlook the intricacies of the other person’s feelings, thoughts, and concerns.  I think it’s important to really think about how our actions affect those around us, and how we might be more compassionate (always).  I am not so good at this yet, it’s just a seedling of a thought in my head right now. Friends and family are truly lifelines.

It sort of felt like we kept reaching dead ends today – we would talk about one thing and look at my feelings or concerns and then have trouble connecting that to something else.  But I don’t know that that was really the case.  Instead, I would say that we simply leafed through a lot of different “pages.”  It wasn’t necessarily disconnected, and I wasn’t uncomfortable.  Feeling physically comfortable in the moment of discussion is very important.  I have gotten better and better at this – there were times in the past where I would just sort of sit in the far corner of the couch, away from L, and not look at her, and just sort of be in my own little world.  It sounds a bit hokey, but I feel like our little physical worlds are connecting more and more, and I think that this means our emotional worlds are moving closer and closer together as well.

One other thing we talked about was yoga.  I was telling L about my newfound discovery that soothing myself or talking myself down or doing nice things for me is “allowed.” She pointed out that it’s okay for me to feel all those stresses mentioned above (they aren’t just going to disappear!), but I can learn to just be with them and not have them take over my life.  In order to do this, it is helpful to be kind to myself.  At some point she sort of randomly asked me if I do yoga.  Looking back, it wasn’t so random, since we were talking about being kind to myself and learning how to manage my feelings, and I feel like those things are absolutely tied to yoga.  I told her yes and we had a whole wonderful conversation about that: what it means to me, why I like it, what sort I like to do, when, how often, what the class is like, what the spiritual and emotional components are like.  Her curiosity made me curious and I asked her if she does yoga.  She said that she does.  We talked some more about each of our practice.  It was really nice to connect with over this.  It just felt soothing, or right, or comfortable.  And the truth is that yoga has helped both my mind and my heart grow so much in the last year or two.

Adventure Saturday: Ocean, Body Image/Weight Concerns

Today’s Happy Note: Vitamin D overload.  Sunshine! 🙂

I ended up walking 5 or so miles yesterday; I also did a 20 minute yoga core download.  Today I did 3-4 miles walking, 2 miles running (on the beach!!!) and lots of playing in the water.

I had an awesome beach trip.  I always forget that Manhattan is so close to the ocean.  Twas lovely!

Confession: I felt so unbelievably, ridiculously fat in my swimsuit.  I wanted to hide in the changing rooms and cry.  I told my dad that I should not be allowed on the beach without a sign that said “whale.”

And then I hate myself for hating myself so much.  Oh, the irony.

The reality is that, between the GI illness and the hospitalization, I have gained about ten pounds.  I am not someone who could afford to gain ten pounds.  I’m pretty sure this makes me borderline overweight.   I don’t care so much about that label as feeling good and feeling confident.  I don’t feel either right now.  I feel enormous.

I am not necessarily mad at myself: I have hardly been able to workout in the last month, and I have been quite stressed.   I respond to stress by eating emotionally and gaining weight easily.  Seriously, I probably even gained weight when I had my GI thing and all I could eat for three or four days was the occasional piece of toast.

I played on the beach today for hours and ended up having a lot of fun; I dug my toes into the sand, ran up and down, jumped over the waves, swam through the waves, and bothered my sister (endlessly entertaining).  So I am not entirely focused on my body, but it is still there.  It’s this painful, nagging thing in the background.  It’s like something isn’t quite right, and my body knows this, physically and mentally.

The thing that works best for me is not obsessing, but not being lax either.  Counting calories, tracking meals, only “allowing” certain food: none of this works for me. This all creates more tension and anxiety and makes me more sad and I feel worse about my body and I end up eating more.  Funny how that cycle works.  But at least I can recognize it.  In fact, I think I do know what works: eating three wholesome meals a day (plus an afternoon snack and a small dessert), with lots of healthy fats, protein, and veggies, and not snacking in the evening.  It’s as simple as that.

Pretty straightforward.  That’s my plan.  I do intend to use the blog to keep myself accountable. Accountability is where I have failed in the past.  So I intend to do a tiny little check-in with myself when I post, mostly to note whether or not I have been mindlessly eating in the evenings.

Once in a while, I might share a full day of eats.  Like today, since I figured it would be a good idea to have a baseline image of how much I need in a day on an active day where I don’t overeat.

I am sorry if this upsets anyone: if you feel like this would not be a good idea for you to read about, PLEASE skip over it.  I would not want to hurt anyone, especially if you have a history of ED/disordered eating.

Breakfast was flax oatmeal (TJ’s brand) with part of a peach (would have used it all but parts were squishy and I hate that) and a giant scoop of AB.  One of my favorite breakfasts!

Lunch=giant salad with cucumbers, zuchinni, carrots, microwaved eggs, and avocado.

Afternoon snack — it was super melty since it had been at the beach with me all day and it was a hundred degrees!

A few bites of coleslaw and a giant Asian chicken salad for dinner (the size of my head).  You can’t see the chicken and other toppings, but I promise they’re there!

On the left is a peanut butter cup shake I had before going to a play with my dad and sister.  Right was my before blogging/bed snack of a small Godiva truffle.  I REFUSE to go without dessert.  Ever. Regardless of my weight.  I’m sure this is some kind of dieting sin.  But I don’t care.

So there you have it.  I do want to lost a bit of weight.  It’s very hard for me to find a balance between vigilance and obsession; I am aiming to use the blog to help me find a balance over the next few months (that won’t be the only thing on the blog though, don’t worry!).   Due to my body’s natural  (and rather unfortunate) chemistry/metabolism, I do need to have a certain vigilance.  It sounds bizarre, but if I am not careful and I gain weight now, I could screw over my fertility in the future.  Very random, I know.  But I want to be a mother more than anything in the world and so I am not going to take any chances with this.

Any thoughts?

I can Move! And Restaurants Galore

Today’s  Happy Note: My dad and my sister are here!  They came to visit me because they were so worried.  I still don’t feel sick but I know I am on the inside.  Kind of an odd feeling.

I inadvertently walked about five miles today — I wasn’t trying to go that far.  It was never more than one to two miles at a time.  It wasn’t a struggle at all.  I wasn’t short of breath and had almost zero chest pain.  I could actually walk quickly without having to gasp for air!  I am NOT pushing myself or anything, it’s just nice to feel like I can move a bit.  I went to a yoga class yesterday and might do a yoga video tomorrow.

I kinda miss  serious cardio — running, stair-climbing, kickboxing, swimming, dancing.  But at the same time.  It is nice to have a break from the gym or the running path.  Not for too long though.  Another week of this and I’ll be bored.  My doctors said I could start exercising as soon as I felt better/within about a week.  Which means I might go for a run this weekend; maybe three or four miles, nothing intense, I promise!  And I’ll stop if I get tired.  I am NOT doing it because I feel like I have to exercise.  I like running: it clears my head and calms me down and gets all my nervous energy out!

In other health news: my INR is not high enough yet which means that my Coumadin dosage is not right.  Grrrr.  It is a very delicate drug that has to be carefully tweaked.  This just means I have to continue on the Lovenox injections a little longer.  I have another blood test on Monday.  I have had so many needles and IVs and shots in my body in the past week that it honestly doesn’t hurt any more.  I used to be quite squeamish and hated needles and now it’s just like “eh, whatever.”  Weird.

I have been able to go to several wonderful restaurants since being out of the hospital!  Which is good.  I need to make up for all that inedible hospital food.  On Saturday I was still feeling quite tired and a little out of it, but I had  already made plans with Joanne and reaaaalllllllyyyy wanted to go.  So I went.  And had one of the best evenings I have had in a while.

We went to The Meatball Shop, a most interesting place.  I was in the mood for some serious red meat, and this satisfied that craving in about two milliseconds.  I loved how the menu was simple and straightforward.  I think single-concept restaurants (i.e., peanut butter  or sliders or squid…well not squid, but you get the point) do well in NYC.  You get to choose your ‘balls, your sauce, a side dish, etc.  The only problem with this type of menu is that if you don’t like one component of the meal, the whole thing could be thrown off.  Good thing I liked it all.  Joanne and I practically licked our plates clean while gossiping about boys (why oh why can’t there be any good ones at our schools?) and other very important things.

I went for the beef meatballs with parmesan cream sauce and a simple salad on the side.  You get to write your order directly onto the laminated menu!  I love fun touches like this.

Delicious  delicious meatballs.  We couldn’t possibly pass on dessert when we saw our options.  Ice cream sandwiches. In which you could choose a cookie  flavor and an ice cream flavor.  We were instantly sold.

Peanut butter cookie and caramel ice cream.  There are no words.  So I’ll stop now, before I turn into a rambling, spewing, meaningless, incoherent…

Next up in my restaurant adventure-ing: Russian Tea Room for restaurant week!  One of the best parts about having my parents around is having my parents pay for things.  I  would never go somewhere for restaurant week on my own.

A real live samovar.  Awesome.

And the food.  Also awesome.

I need more salmon in my life.  I was about to say “I need more chocolate in my life” too, but if I added any more chocolate to my diet, I would pretty much be subsisting on it.  No judgment.

It was a wonderful (albeit expensive) meal.

Have you gone anywhere for restaurant week? It’s pretty fun, I must admit.  Other cool restaurants in the city you’ve been to (and want to tell me about, hint hint)?

Goodnight my friends! Again, thank you for all the love and caring.  You are wonderful. 🙂

Storytime: Bodies

Today’s Happy Note: The sky was a special color of blue today.  It was blazing yet calm, somewhere between bright blue and midnight — the exact center.  A perfectly stunning mix of bold and subdued.  Made me yearn to fly.

Storytime: Bodies

I often envision my body as primal: I believe in the beauty of motion (graceful, powerful, rough, gentle, fierce, long) and see a fundamental humanity in a lurching person.  Sometimes when I walk through my grandmother’s blueberry patch I have a sudden urge to arch my shoulders back and fling my pointed left leg into the sky.  Or, here in New York, I want to run to the end of the island and then leap into the Hudson and swim and play.  In my office, I excuse myself to the mail room every few hours, eight flights downstairs, just for an excuse to feel the way my legs bend up and down into perfect right angles.  I like to count the steps.

Last winter, I read Born To Run.  The segment about the Africans who ran and ran and ran left a special impression.  Apparently, there is a tiny, dwindling tribe, somewhere in a giant desert, who simply run.  This is their whole life: they run up to fifty miles at a time to hunt their prey – a gazelle or other sprinting mammal, perhaps.  They simply run until their dinner dies of exhaustion.

I did not make it to the gym today, nor did I run alongside the river.  I did not dance or sweat through an endless series of sun salutations in yoga class.  I did not go swimming or diving or biking.  And I have to reconcile this with the fact of my body and the fact that I know I was born to run – among other things, maybe.  This is the hardest part of my life: to know when my body should or should not be moving.  At my mother’s house, the front door mat is littered with running shoes; maybe there are sixteen pairs around the house.  And maybe I strolled two or three miles in my daily activities today: ambling back and forth between my work desk and our archival collection, two flights below, or prancing into the grocery store in search of frozen blueberries (never as good as those from my grandmother’s wild patch).

It seems petty to think about my law school applications or when was the last time I called my sister or even the taste of wild blueberries when my body is still.  I can’t honestly say that I have found a balance.  I know that I have a kind heart and a solid head.  I think on my feet; often I work from nine until nine.  But that’s exactly it: I think on my feet.  Movement gives my mind and body important clarity. A spinning body might be blurry, but something happens in the brain.  This evening one of my high school students spilled a cup of water in the center of a crowd of all the students.  In a split second, as I turned around for a pile of napkins, another student came running through and slipped.  My body rushed to her.  My mind was not on; it was all physical.  I knew that the first thing I had to do was help her, physically. Was she bleeding or bruised or dazed?  My body took me through the steps.  And when it turned out she was fine, my body bent down and my quadriceps held me up while I wiped away the water.

L explained to me just the other day the importance of feeling things in the body.  I quickly dismissed her.  But deep down, in the crooked space where I can feel my spine descending into my pelvis, I know she is right.  Right now, at this moment, I feel lazy.  Unhuman.  This is, of course, exaggerated – more a manifestation of my disordered body image than reality.  Nonetheless, I can’t shake the image that my legs should be churning and my hips should feel exhausted.  I want to move all the time.

I crave the soreness that comes after a long day playing on the beach.  I want to sync my head, my heart, and my hips.  I want to run after my food and catch butterflies in my mama’s backyard and climb willow trees with my sister.  I want to toss my body into a handstand wherever I go.  I want to find the balance between sitting and flying.  Between being still and running through the desert after a gazelle.

Sunday Funday Frienday

Today’s Happy Note: Looking at different gyms for the summer.  It’s fun, but some of them are expensive!

Caronae is a very tired pumpkin seed today.  Lots of walking and time in the sun = one exhausted girl.  I’m going to have to let the pictures do (most of) the talking.

Festivals in Brooklyn with friends are fun.

BAM is fun.

Piles of blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and whip cream are fun.  My friend’s dad invited us over for brunch.  These were divine; I have no idea how he got them so fluffy, but it was like eating a pillow.  A pillow stuffed with mountains of wild blueberries.

Rooftop gardens are spectacularly fun.  New York City in the summertime is fun (when it’s not deathly hot).

Bowls, drums, jewelry. All fun.

Fun fact about Caronae: I love elephants.

Fresh fruit = fun snack (strawberry and pear).

Free new shoes are very fun!  I got these from my friend’s dad’s girlfriend.  I have very few dress shoes so these will be nice for work.

Egg puffs in salads are always fun.

Not obsessing about exercise or precise calorie intake is pretty fun too!  I got in my fair share of walking today too.  I don’t have a picture, but McDonald’s sweet tea is wonderfully fun.  I am aware that it’s mostly sugar and I don’t care.  It is one of the best drinks in the world and is the only thing I go to McDonald’s (or really any fast food place) for.

What was fun for you today?

It’s easy to forget how important  fun is for our mental health.  If you have trouble letting yourself have fun (I think many women, especially, do), make a list of your favorite fun things and try one out when you’re feeling down.

My list includes things from this post and…

  • new swimsuits
  • word games and sudoku puzzles
  • picnics with friends
  • adventures in the park
  • any type of flower, especially orchids
  • collecting bird pins
  • baking
  • frozen fruit in the summer
  • checking out books from the library
  • cooing over fuzzy ducklings
  • reading poems
  • reading blogs
  • finding discounted kitchen appliances
  • wearing dresses

And many more things, of course! 🙂  What does your fun list look like?

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