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NaNoWriMo October 31, 2007

Posted by Jae in Me, myself, and I.
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While cruising the FA blogs, I find many, many inspiring things. Usually these are things which challenge me to love myself exactly as I am, and stop worrying about the magical number on the scale. However, the other day I saw something on The Rotund’s blog that had nothing much to do with FA, her announcement that she was going to be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month–write 50,000 novel (or more) in one month), and it inspired me just the same.

I have been writing since I was in middle school and I recently graduated from college with a degree in creative writing. It is something that I love doing more than anything else; I am rarely happier than when I am immersed in a story. However, the past couple of years have found my production to be on the decline. I gave up thinking, gave up trying. I hated what I was doing by being so lazy about my writing, but for some reason I couldn’t seem to turn it around. I’m not really that creative anyway, the line went, it’s much better if I sit and watch five uninterrupted hours of TV.

However, reading that post got me thinking. Perhaps I was just doing to my writing what I’ve always done to my body: I’ve told myself that it’s not good enough for so long that I’m starting to believe it isn’t worth my time. All I’ve ever done to my body is hate it and trap it inside the diet/binge cycle. I’m trying to break myself out of that now, and I think it’s time to set my writing free too. So starting at midnight tonight, I will be participating in my first NaNoWriMo. I don’t know if I’ll win (aka hit 50,000 words), but I’ll do something and that’s…well…that’s something.

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Version 2.0 October 24, 2007

Posted by Jae in Aimless Conversation, Me, myself, and I.
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Every Sunday, one of my best friends comes over for our weekly date with the dark and dangerous <i>Dexter</i>*. It’s only been going on for a couple of weeks now, but I really look forward to it, not just because I’m addicted to this show, but because it feels like our time. We often are lost to each other, even though we are such good friends, because of the demands on our time, but now we have this one night a week where we can sit together and talk and squee over Michael C. Hall.

This week as I listened to her talk about her life and how lucky she is to have such caring friends, I realized something: amongst all my close friends, I am the caretaker. When something goes horribly, terribly, wrong I strap on my cape (metaphorically of course…I don’t actually own a cape…*looks around nervously*) and try to make things right. I never made the decision to do this; it just seems to come naturally to me. Whenever one of my friends is breaking up with their significant other or having trouble at work, I am the one they come to looking for answers or an understanding ear. And I love being there for them. Their problems become my problems, and there are no words for the joy it brings me to see them work out what troubles them.

Unfortunately, for all these bright sides though, there is a dark side and that is that sometimes it can be easy to forget that my own soul needs the occasional bit of maintenance. Sometimes this makes me angry at my friends; yesterday though, it made me a little angry at myself. Because, though I am willing to walk on broken glass to help a friend, I often tell myself that I do not require that kind of effort–not from my friends and certainly not from myself. But I do. I might hate that I do (because I have a problem needing anyone or anything), but that doesn’t change the fact that I have certain needs. I need love. I need respect. I need to be shown compassion and patience. And I can’t expect that everything in my life will go smoothly whether or not I have them.

When I decided that perhaps it was time to jump off the crazy-diet train and start working on loving and accepting myself I never really bothered to go through with the daily business of change, but I think perhaps that it’s time I start.

*If you read the books or watch the show, you know it’s all about the alliteration.

Pity Party October 21, 2007

Posted by Jae in Me, myself, and I, The Crazy.
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So…I promised a post (for anyone who cares) about my recent departure from my own blog. I wish that the reasons were dramatic and exciting, but really it all boils down to one simple fact:

I feel kinda lost.

Part of me knows that I’m still young, and that I’m not supposed to have everything all figured out. However there is another (loud, growly) part of me that wants everything to fall into place now-now-now. It’s so hard getting up every morning to go to a job that I don’t really like. I sit and daydream about getting into grad school (if I haven’t already mentioned it, I’m hoping to enter an MFA program next fall and I am in the process of applying), but I don’t feel like there’s much hope of me getting into any of the programs, let alone any of my top picks. Also, every now and then, if I let myself think about it, I start feeling the tiniest bit lonely.

And I have no idea what to do about any of it. Realistically, I know there’s not much I can do right now. I can’t control whether or not I’ll get into grad school; I just have to put my best face forward and hope, and try not to take it personally if I’m rejected. Once I’m more sure about the school situation I can decide what to do about work. And the lonely…well…it’ll pass eventually.

Unfortunately, knowing all this doesn’t quiet the voice inside my head. It keeps begging me to fix all this, and it just doesn’t seem to understand that I don’t have an answer right now. In the past, this kind of thing would have driven me crazy, but these days it just makes me want to curl up in bed and listen to sad songs until it’s over. I console myself with the fact that life isn’t so bad, in fact, my life is probably better than it’s ever been, but still that doesn’t seem to be enough. As guilty as that makes me feel, it’s true. I don’t want anything extraordinary out of life, I really don’t; I just want to feel like I have something to look forward to instead of stumbling around in the dark.

I’m just tired of feeling so messed up. I’m tired of being so messed up. It’s been so hard just to get here, I almost can’t bear to do any more work. Why isn’t this enough?

Overheard in New York October 18, 2007

Posted by Jae in Body Image, Jerks.
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(Note: This should have been posted several days ago, but I have been lazy for reasons which I hope to blog about soon.)

The other night as I was leaving a concert I happened to overhear the conversation of two men behind me. At first they were talking about nothing especially interesting, the concert, a story about their friends, etc. But a suddenly one of them pipes up:

“Dude, that’s the girl I’m talking about right there…that girl needs to lose like ten pounds.”

The girl he was talking about was about 5’7″ and weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 120lbs. I had already noticed her, probably because I was a little jealous; she was beautiful.

The man making the comment was an idiot, and probably jealous himself as she was walking arm and arm with her boyfriend, but my heart still sank. What kind of world are we living in? Perhaps I’m naive for never having noticed this before, but I always assumed that these kinds of criticisms were exclusive to me aka The Only Person Who Deserved It. I never imagined that even a tall, thin, blond in a sparkly silver top was not immune from the judgment of these jerks.

I remember one time several years ago I was on vacation. It was my first trip after having lost a good bit of weight due to starvation and dieting. I was walking back to my room after having spent an hour in the hotel fitness center, and I passed a couple of kids in the hallway. After I was out of sight, but not out of ear shot, one of the boys said: “Wow, that’s the fattest girl I’ve ever seen.” This destroyed me. I remember scribbling notes in my journal, crying, begging God to tell me when it would be enough. I had lost fifty pounds and it still wasn’t enough to protect me from these hateful morons.

Now it just makes me angry. Who was this man to act like this beautiful girl was worthless because she didn’t meet his own personal height/weight requirements? I only wish I possessed the courage to turn around and ask him that instead of just blogging about it.

I guess I can take some small solace in the response of his friend who said, “I don’t know about that; she’s pretty thin as it is.”

It wasn’t exactly the same as saying “Shut the hell up you jackass,” but it’ll have to do, for now anyway.

Nightmares October 6, 2007

Posted by Jae in Body Image, Dreams, Me, myself, and I, The Cast.
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I intended for this next entry to be about clothes, but I had the most disturbing dream this morning that I just had to share it.

It was Thanksgiving and I was moving into a new apartment that looked like my aunt’s house before it was remodeled. Because of this, I couldn’t go (to my aunt’s house) with my family for Thanksgiving dinner; my uncle called me on the phone to tell me that he missed me, but he was excited for my new apartment.

Then…I was out, shopping I think. I remember coming out of the subway. I had a choice of two different exits: one was closer street-wise to where I wanted to go, but I would have had to walk across town, and the other would have left me on the right side of town, but twenty streets away. I opted for having to walk across town.

The next thing I know I was sitting somewhere on a large, indoor, balcony. It is sort of dark, but I didn’t seem to be bothered by this. I was doing something, writing, reading…I couldn’t tell. And there are people behind me who I am talking to, but not really looking at. At first, I don’t think I knew them, but when I do finally turn one of them is my sister. She asks me to demonstrate some dance move that looks something like belly dancing; I do this (while still sitting down) and she and the others laugh; when I turn away from her, I hear a picture being snapped. I jerk my head back around just in time to see her trying to hide a tiny camera from me.

“What are you doing?” I ask. “Are you trying to take pictures of me because I’m fat?!”

“Yes.”

“Why?!”

“It’s funny…can you blame me?”

The next thing I know, I am in my parents living room with my sister and three of her friends, only one of whom I recognized; in real life, she hasn’t been really been friends with this girl for some time. I am yelling at them, screaming at them, asking them what makes them think they can do this to me. I yell right in my sister’s friend’s face, but I get no answers from anyone. I follow my sister into my parents kitchen and scream at her and she won’t even look at me; she is paying attention to something she is knitting, and though I can’t tell what it is, I can see that it’s brown.

My mother comes in, because of all the yelling, and I try to tell her that my sister has done something horrible and won’t answer me, but she brushes off my concerns.

And then, I woke up.

I have no idea what this means, or where any of this comes from. I think I’m going to need to think about it some now, even if it’s the last thing I want to do.

The Weight October 3, 2007

Posted by Jae in Body Image.
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I got rid of the scale today.

I didn’t throw it out, but I did store it up on a shelf in my closet. I can still get to it, and probably will, but at least it’s not staring at me from the bathroom floor anymore, begging me to hop on.

Consequently, all I did today was think about how much I weighed; the way I craved certain foods when I dieted, is the way I’m craving the scale now. Even when I was distracted, the thought was in the back of my mind. The funny part of that is, I didn’t weigh myself every day, but I guess it was somehow comforting knowing that I could do it whenever I wanted.

But the scale is trouble for me, there’s no doubt about that; it was a big part of my disordered eating behaviors. When my anorexic behaviors reappeared in college, I weighed myself every time I passed my scale. Morning on the way to the shower: get weighed. After the shower: get weighed. After I came home from class: get weighed. After I ate: get weighed. After I worked out: get weighed. Before I went to sleep: get weighed. When it went up, I knew that I was doing something “wrong,” and when it went down…when it went down I was on top of the world. Later, when my behavior stabilized a bit, I weighed myself every, single, morning, and recorded the weight in my food journal.

For years good days were ones when the scale displayed a smaller number than it had the morning before. I would walk out of the house feeling better about myself. Now it’s hard to know how I should feel. It saddens me how much my worth has depended upon the size of my thighs; I’ve wasted a whole lot of life worrying about that, and I’m never going to get it back.

Though I guess in a way I’m lucky too because I have the chance to escape from this, to find a self-worth that is not tied to my weight, and that’s a chance that some people will never get.

Love is a many complicated/nauseating/confusing/painful (and don’t forget splendid) thing October 1, 2007

Posted by Jae in Hearts & Butterflies & Cupcakes, The Crazy.
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I have a complicated history when it comes to relationships. I guess though that there isn’t anyone alive who doesn’t.

I haven’t dated anyone in over a year, and everything before that was…messy. I met a boy who I promptly fell for who said he was falling for me before something changed his mind; I managed to get past my heartache and he became my best guy-friend. After him there was someone else. We got to know each other, we spent some time together, and it fizzled out. After that, I quit. I was hurt and I swore that this was just a sign that I was meant to be alone forever because I was a fat and horrible human being who clearly didn’t deserve love.
These days, I’m not so sure. Obviously I know my old hypothesis is a load of rubbish, but I still have my demons and I’m trying to work through them. That clearly tells me that this isn’t a good time to be meeting anyone, that there are things I need to straighten out first. But I’m lonely.

And how is waiting to be “normal” different than waiting to be thin? Am I just substituting one for the other or do I truly just want to work on some things before I start putting myself out there again?

It’s easy, too easy, to keep doing what makes me comfortable, even if it’s destructive. Whether we are talking about food or relationships or self-treatment, life becomes what we allow ourselves to get used to, and I am used to being single and it doesn’t make me miserable. On the whole, my life is happy. There’s no reason to change.

Except for the fact that just writing this entry has made me want to eat a bag of candy corn.