It is a common misconception that people with eating disorders hate food. The reality is quite the contrary. In most eating disorder sufferers, food is obsessed over, constantly thought about, and researched.In the depths of my disorder, I constantly baked and cooked high-fat, delicious dishes that I wouldn’t let my own tongue even nearly close to, but that I served with glee to those around me.
Edema and Joint Pain and Night Sweats, Oh My!: The Signs of True Physical Recovery No One Talks About
Cold all the time? I used to be known for it. Also for genuinely never sweating, never turning red when I worked out, and having dryer than dry skin, especially in the winter. Well, guess what? I typically sweat easily now (the underboob sweat I […]
How are you?!
This post is a long time coming. But it is being written for the one who finds his or herself in the same position that I am about to outline here.
It’s a position I feel a heavy call to write about, share about, and, hopefully, encourage others while doing so.
And it is this:
I have not told the whole truth, many times, directly related to my eating disorders.
Let me reiterate: I have, many times after eating more than anorexia would have wanted me to, said that “I am doing Minnie Maud!! I am!” When really, I needed to say that in order to justify the immense guilt, shame, and disgust I felt for eating against “Ana’s” rules. Then, I would often go days without eating anything but chicken breast and spinach again.
I would eat “too much” again. Back to spinach. Back to “too much.” I thought this was Minnie Maud…. but deep down knew it wasn’t.
I told doctors, “I’m eating so much!”, because I would… sometimes. But then I wouldn’t eat for days. Not ONLY because of the eating disorder voice, but also because I would be very stuffed – because I hadn’t continued to eat normally, eat meals and snacks, eat to regain health and body fat and my period.
This severe cycle took place over two years ago now. It has been a long time since the habits and cyclical eating and obsession has been like this, praise God.
And while I now eat a more “balanced amount every day,” not hyper-thinking about that balance, but just “doing it,” I have never gone through a real and true period of Minnie Maud recovery. I have said I’ve done it… but I haven’t.
I believe my body is still in an energy deficit, am convinced that it’s still malnourished, and have been convicted for some time that ACTUALLY doing Minnie Maud would probably fix this.
I just didn’t think the time to start, kick into gear, and have my brain and hunger cues enlivened would be one month from my wedding, but here we are.
25 pounds above my lowest weight, and feeling that physically, mentally, and emotionally, I am having a more difficult time with this than I care to admit.
But here’s the thing: I know it’s a mental battle. I know it’s a battle against legalism and rules and rituals.
It’s dumb, because even though this number is 60 pounds less than my pre-anorexia weight, all my brain wants to think about– or, should I say, all the devil wants me to think about — is that it’s 25 pounds higher than the lowest.
I should be the lowest on my wedding day of all days, society, the disorder, and the devil scream. At least I know where this thought comes from now, have confidence that this isn’t really me speaking, but the devil.
It’s funny, because, just prior to discovering this weight gain, I had looked in the mirror and thought, Dang, I look good. Healthy. More vibrant.
But the number. Something inside of me haaated the freaking number.
There was a time that I numbingly jolted in disbelief at the thought of how LOW this number was… but, even still, it wasn’t low enough.
Nothing is for an anorexia.
So I’m using this space to choose vulnerability and to say that I am not fully okay mentally with these changes.
It’s a struggle and a battlefield in my mind, but I’m choosing to trust Jesus.
I am fearful and know that my fears seem fickle and small, but my word, how much more great do the blessings feel.
How incredible that I can be so fully honest with my incredible fiance, who pushes me onward and says that he knows the weight gain is good.
Who helps me to refocus on my goal this season: of gaining my period, health, and a normal relationship with food.
I wish I could say it was all easy. I wish I could align with so many of the blog posts and health guru articles and eating disorder bloggers who say that recovery, that being on the other side, is great.
Honestly, I have days where I don’t want it. Days in which the devil reminds me of the comfort that came with starvation and what felt like control.
But it is knowing this, knowing that these days occur and these moments in which hope feels bleak creep in that convince me of my dire need to be on guard, to be rooted in Truth, and to practice what I preach and believe.
An evil voice sees this photo and sees…. You look more like your old self than ever. Your fat, out-of-control self.
Another voice entirely sees this photo and sees… You look more like YOU than ever. Literally ever. You’re healthy, you’re putting “underweight” behind you, and you’re not overweight either. You should be thrilled! What’s more… you’re truly not defined but what you weigh or what you look like.
And JESUS says… My child, stop fixating on YOU, and fixate on me.
Oh Jesus, I know that is the way. I know that YOU are the way. Help me, complete me, and fix me. I love You entirely, and YOU are my identity. More of YOU, and less of me, Jesus.
Frustrated is my word of choice. I am overwhelmingly frustrated. I’ve read every blog post about hypothalamic amenorrhea. I’ve spent months eating as much as my insides could take without exploding and remaining sedentary. Then I’ve tried adding in light exercise, eating high high fat […]
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Happy Monday! Does anyone else write stories in their minds? The place most conducive to “Story-Writing” in my thought-life is the cafe I work at, Smile Tiger. […]
“My mom made me do Zumba with her the other night because she was feeling fat and didn’t want to work out alone.”
I was startled by how casually my 10-year-old hip hop student told me about her Zumba night with her mother.
“You eat McDonald’s all the time,” another 10-year-old in the class said. “Better watch out!”
A few years ago, I likely would have been so triggered by this kind of conversation that I would have been distracted and distant for the duration of the class I was about to teach.
Instead, I knelt to my sweet, sweet student’s level – a conscientious young woman who asked me when my birthday was on the first day of class, remembered it, and asked me how I celebrated after it had passed – and said, “I’m going to tell you something really important. And I want you to try really hard to remember it, forever. I mean forever. When you’re 22 like me and someone asks you about a childhood memory, I want you to tell them that this is what your hip hop teacher told you when you were 10. Okay? Do you think you can remember?”
She nodded, put her fingers to the sides of her head, and closed her eyes. “Okay, I’m ready,” she said seriously.
“If you EVER… “feel fat”… remind yourself that that is a lie of a feeling. It’s not part of you or your beauty. Remind yourself that you are beautiful and wonderful exactly how you are, and you don’t have to ever punish yourself for a negative feeling. Remind yourself of the reasons you love doing exercise, and do your favourite ones. “Feeling fat” is a lie. Okay?”
“Okay. I promise to remember!”
My heart broke for the mother who could only muster the will to do a workout because she “felt fat.”
My soul hurt passionately for the many people around the world who try a million things prescribed to them for the purpose of fitting into the Western world’s current prescribed ideal body (which changes).
I taught that hip hop class with an uncanny emphasis on fun, shoving off the ever-so-tiny voice in my own brain that sometimes still wonders how fast my heart rate gets when I dance or how many calories I burn.
And I said a promise to myself, to my future child, and to God, that I would remember the words I gave my beautiful, perfectly imperfect student, too.
It’s been a while since I’ve had even a moment to update you here, but today I am finally able to sit down and write a bit about something that has been on my heart to share for some time:
Multiple Streams of Income.
Since graduating uni a few short months ago, I have experienced drastic changes that have been both challenging and wonderful. I’m engaged… went from moving back in with my parents after years of living with my best friends to soon moving into what will be my first home with my almost-husband… I went from working in customer service, full-time minimum wage, to freelancing for multiple clients as a writer, barista-ing at a professional coffee roaster’s, teaching tap and hip hop to kids ages 6-11, and having one almost full-time client whose office I am in for half my working hours of the week.
It’s been absolutely stinkin’ FUN, and absolutely stinkin’ overwhelming.
I have had extremely high “highs,” as well as some scarily low lows, as I’ve navigated what this season of my life looks like. I’ve wrestled with my calling, I’ve dreamed more than ever about house decor, and, ultimately, I’ve become more confident than ever before in my life.
I have really and truly loved having multiple streams of income, and getting to do so much of what I love and what I am gifted for, but there have been challenges too.
Today, I am sharing my top tips for managing multiple streams of income.
Keep a strict calendar.
I’ve always used a planner, and love using them, but I used to schedule my time only vaguely. In my current season, I absolutely MUST write everything down by the hour, or else I am bound to affect someone else in a negative way. Part of the service I provide as a freelancer involves my time efficiency, and I am proud to say that I always complete projects prior to their deadline. It is so important to me to be timely with my projects, as well as completely courteous of my clients’ time.
Figure out how you want to manage your invoices, and keep them organized.
This is definitely a skill I am still working on. My invoices are organized to ME, but if someone else looked at them, they would probably freak out a little bit. I do have a record of all my payments and invoices, and keep them in one place. Freelancing can mean that it is difficult to budget accordingly, because your income can change extremely drastically from one month to the next. This is why keeping a record is helpful, in order to understand your average income, and establish an estimate based on how much work you will complete in the next month.
Stay on top of the “little things.”
For me, this means planning my dance lessons well in advance (and writing them down!), mapping out everything for each of my writing projects from research to creation to proofing, and keeping track of when I need to do personal things, like errands and other tasks. Staying on top of these things, aka planning them and writing them down, helps me to avoid stressing about when and how I’m going to get everything done.
Don’t take on any projects or clients that don’t align with your values.
This is huge, and it’s one of the beauties of freelancing: LEARN TO SAY NO. No client whose morals don’t align with yours is worth money. Your craft should not just be about your income: it should be a source of joy, and, most importantly, a valuable service. But no one is serving anyone when they disagree with the morals or content.
Establish your boundaries, and maintain open communication with clients.
Setting boundaries in terms of your working hours, discounts, rate increases, and amount of communication with clients is so important– and these need to be communicated with your clients, too. Maintaining open and flexible communication is important, but, as the contractor, the boundaries you set must be respected.
Remember– life is not about money.
When you work for yourself, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the income, the excitement of an increasing rate and increasing volume of clients, and the fact that you’ve MADE IT as a freelancer in first place. But, if there is one thing I have learned since I’ve started doing this, it’s this: I want this to be about excellent customer service and excellence in my craft, as well as making genuine human connections.
I don’t think freelancing is my calling, but I am grateful to be learning about it and growing in it in this season while God has me here. And it gives me nothing but joy to share what I’ve learned, in the hopes of helping any freelancers or aspiring ones to find their rhythm and love what they do, too.