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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?

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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.

Avocados and Other Demons. September 28, 2007

Posted by Jae in Jobz, The Cast, The Crazy.
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Today was one of those days were I felt guilty every time I took a bite of food, and now all I want to do is jump on the scale.

I have long denied any connection between my emotions and the way I feel about my body. The most I was willing to say was that my body got in the way of my happiness, and it did, but not in the way that I meant it. My body got in the way of my happiness because I made it my enemy and swore that I would never be truly happy until I had vanquished it–lost 50 pounds, shed five inches off my thighs, wore a size 8–however, that was the only connection I was willing to acknowledge between my body and my emotions.

Today though, guilt followed me around like the proverbial trained puppy. I wanted everything and nothing for breakfast; I picked on dried fruit and pretzel chips, and felt bad for even wanting pretzel chips, let alone eating them for breakfast. At lunch, every nibble of my grilled chicken wrap felt like one bite too many. And when the pilot light went out on my stove, leaving half my dinner undone, I didn’t even bother to relight it, even though that was the part of the meal I most looked forward too. The strange part though was that I wasn’t really having any (more than normal) negative thoughts about my body, but I still felt tremendously guilty for having a body that needed things.

Tonight I think I figured out why.

My best friend got a new job yesterday, and I truly am very happy for her, but a part of me is envious. We both graduated college this year; I graduated in the winter and she escaped just this past May. It took me until the end of July to secure a job, and I was only able to get it because someone else left the small company where I was interning, and even then they waited nearly two months to offer it to me. In spite of having a degree, with a double major, in spite of having graduated with honors, in spite of having some experience in my field, I had no other job prospects. I never even received a call-back for the jobs I applied to.

My best friend on the other hand, had several interviews scheduled, and blew many of them off or didn’t take follow-ups as seriously as she might have. She went weeks without applying or even looking for jobs. And then, this one fell into her lap, and it seems like a fantastic job. Don’t get me wrong, she deserves a fantastic job; she works hard, she is smart and talented, and she has suffered more than her fair share at work and in other areas as well. But that’s why I feel so guilty.

She’s my best friend and I love her, and I want her to be happy, yet I can’t seem to shake my petty jealousy. She’s going to be making more money then me. She’s going to have better benefits than I do. She’s working for a well-connected company, so she can build a big network. She has an assistant. She’s also going to get to travel and go to some pretty exclusive events. And I get to work in a shabby loft in a no-frills neighborhood, making less than she would have if she’d accepted a management position at her retail job, in an area of my field that doesn’t interest me that much.

Are there perks to my job? Of course there are. In fact, most days I’m sure it is the right place for me to be right now, but sometimes I just get so tired of working so hard and feeling like I have nothing to show for it–especially when I see someone else work just as hard and get so much more.

That’s a hard thing to admit though. It’s much easier to feel bad about eating half an avocado.

You can say that I’m one curly fry in a box of the regular September 26, 2007

Posted by Jae in Me, myself, and I, Yummy!.
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This morning I felt like having a muffin for breakfast so I stopped by a little coffee shop on my way to work. After tearing off a couple of pieces, I made an unsettling discovery: bits of the inside of the muffin appeared to be moldy. Whether it actually was mold or just some unknown muffin phenomenon, I do not know, but I decided it was better safe than sorry and threw it away. This left me with a breakfast comprised solely of mango slices.

I love mango slices as much as the next person–maybe even more so, but a filling breakfast they aren’t. At eleven, not quite ready for lunch, I decided to make that 100 calorie bag of popcorn I’ve had at my desk for the past few days.

While my corn was a-poppin’ I made a passing comment to my coworker about using popcorn to make up for my lack of a filling breakfast, to which she said:

“Well, you had that mango.”

And it made me kind of sad. Okay, I won’t lie: first it made me freak out to the tune of “OH NOOOES OMG SHE THINKS I’M TEH FAT.” What can I say? Old habits die hard.

Once I mentally smacked some sense into myself I realized that this was really a much more telling comment about the way we think about food. There was a point where I would have agreed with her; I would’ve said that yes, a few chunks of mango did make a tasty breakfast, and oh boy I was full up until my lunch of 90 calories worth of tuna and a big ol’ lettuce leaf. I spent a long time making food my enemy, and I did my best to convince myself and everyone else that I didn’t need it.

And it still goes on today. I went out for dinner tonight with my best friend and I had a turkey sandwich and she had a fruit salad (not because she was trying to diet, but because she had eaten a big lunch late in the day) and I still found myself trying to pawn half my sandwich off on her. However, I still managed to eat what I wanted of it and the world managed not to end.

It’s only been a few days, but I think I might really get to like this not-torturing myself stuff.


Think I’m gonna stay home, have myself a home life. September 24, 2007

Posted by Jae in Jobz.
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The worst time to call in sick is when you actually are sick.

In my life I have taken a few *ahem* mental health days from work/school/life in general and though I’ve read quite a few articles telling me that I should feel guilty about that, I don’t. I’ve never done it when it would wreck someone else’s day, and in my opinion, they make me a better employee/student/person because they keep me from walking around grumbling and plotting anyone’s demise.

However, when it comes time to call in sick because I’m actually sick, I usually cannot shake that nagging feeling of guilt; today was no exception. I felt off all day yesterday, but as I was getting ready for bed I got sick to my stomach. My mother had a stomach bug over the weekend, and I spent time with her, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised. In addition to (or perhaps because of) the icky stomach, I found myself unable to fall asleep. I was hot and jittery, not to mention wide-awake until about 4:30 a.m.

So when my alarm went off at seven, I vaguely remember waking up, resetting it for eight, and falling back asleep. At eight I woke up and emailed my boss to tell her about what was going on and to apologize. After that I laid on my bed feeling guilty and watching T.V. until I drifted off to sleep again.

I didn’t do much else all day, and eventually I stopped feeling so guilty. I wish I understood why I get that way. I guess I just don’t want to let anyone down. If I’m having a planned day-off, I feel like I’ve taken care of things beforehand: tied up my lose ends at work, given everyone anything they needed from me, picked a slow, relatively harmless day, etc. But when I get sick out of the blue I haven’t planned anything, and though I’m sure the world can turn without me for one day, I hate to think that I had to make anyone’s life more difficult.

Perhaps I have some control issues. 😉

She’s a warrior September 23, 2007

Posted by Jae in Me, myself, and I.
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I’m miserable at introductions.

I’m Jae. I’m twenty-three years old. I’m a writer/editor living in New York City. Aside from ones focusing on applying to grad school, I’ve not been much of a blog reader, but the other day I stumbled across a blog that grabbed me and gave me a good, hard, shake.

I sat and read all in one day about this woman, this funny, intelligent, woman who was learning to love her body and live without dieting. Having been on a diet myself for most of my life what she said touched me.

I have never been thin. When I was little, my pediatrician told me that I weighed too much for my height and put me on a diet; that’s the first time I remember thinking that I was fat and needed to be fixed. I was probably about six years old. From that point on, I lost and gained (but mostly gained). I made little diet and exercise plans and wrote them out in my diaries. I followed them, failed, failed miserably, and tried again.

Looking back on it now I can see the truth, I wasn’t thin, but I wasn’t fat. At thirteen I was the same height that I am now, and my weight was probably at its set point. But you couldn’t have made my thirteen-year-old self believe that. I still heard the voice of my old, curmudgeonly, doctor telling me that I was too fat. So when an immature boy or two hurled insults at me, I believed I deserved them. When my chubby Spanish teacher pulled me aside to ask me if I had gained weight and if my family was torturing me about, I believed she did it because she was concerned, and not because her family had tortured her (as she told me) and she didn’t think I was getting humiliated enough.

All this might have been brushed away as part of the normal torture of adolescence, if not for two things: my best friend, who I had known since I was six and who had been abusing me just as long, and suffering a major knee injury at fourteen.

Post-injury I was terrified to move-terrified of getting hurt, terrified that my operation could be undone, terrified that I would need more surgery. I was depressed, confused, and didn’t know what to do. I had escaped my bad best friend, but the effects of her actions were starting to reveal themselves. I was starting to lose my mind. I drowned myself in food to escape, and because I wasn’t moving, gained a ton of weight. This changed the occasional comments from boys who didn’t know what to make of the fact that I had hips and an ass to out-and-out abuse. I can’t say I suffered as much as some did, but I was definitely aware of what the world apparently thought of me.

So, for the first time in my life, I chased anorexia and I caught up with her quickly. In fact, I caught up with her so quickly, that I didn’t lose any weight. My body hung on to every calorie I gave it, and sent me constant reminders that what I was doing was killing me. I had dizzy spells that lasted for hours. My hair, already fine, became stringy and thin. I felt sick to my stomach pretty much all the time, and at times I think only sheer stubbornness kept me from fainting.

Somehow, I broke away from this, began a more “sensible” diet, and lost weight. It didn’t last though. I gained it back and then some. I alternated periods of dieting, periods of binging, and periods of anorexia all through high-school. I spent the night before my high-school graduation with my hand down my throat wondering why I couldn’t just throw up.

In college I didn’t have to chase anorexia; it found me. By Christmas I weighed myself every time I passed a scale and thought I was having a good day when my first bite of food came at dinner; bad days were when I ate some grapefruit or drank a glass of milk before going to class. This time I lost weight though and eventually alternated periods of regular dieting and starvation.

The weight loss stopped though, and after that I maintained a weight-range for awhile. Then, I started binging (still with alternating periods of anorexia though!) and I gained weight. I have tried to diet since then, and haven’t had a sustained period of anorexia for awhile (probably since last year).

Reading this blog though made me realize that I have to stop this. I don’t want to diet and I don’t want to starve myself, and I don’t want to overeat. I don’t want to ignore my hunger or feed myself when I’m not hungry. I don’t want to stuff myself with junk because I feel deprived or feel like killing myself because I ate a cookie. I don’t want to work out until I’m crying or lay on the couch feeling like a failure. I want a healthy relationship with food. I want love myself for once.

So that’s my story with food, weight, and my body. I felt I should share it for anyone who was interested because it is important to know where I came from to understand where I’m going-and that goes for me as well as anyone who happens to read this.

However, that’s only a part of my story. Like I said, I’m a writer and an editor. I’m also a music-lover and a TV junkie, a total bookworm, and a baseball freak who likes to pretend she’s crafty. And all of that is going to be floating around in here somewhere.

So welcome to my blog; make yourselves at home!