TOP TEN TUESDAY: Anxious and Alert

It’s funny how much things can change in the span of a week.

My mood for the past few days has been good, while anxious. Strange, I think. There are a lot of new things happening and I am excited if a little worried. In any case, I’m ready to share some favourites.

Song. I have not been able to stop listening to Raised by a Good Time by Steven Lee Olsen. I first heard it months ago and loved it but lately it’s my repeated song.

Therapy Topic. Like I said yesterday, I always end up talking about things that I don’t realize are on my mind. Lately the thing I’ve discovered about myself is my fear of being disliked, which my therapist thinks had a lot to do with my eating disorder.

Anticipation. In less than a week, my family and I will be trekking to Nashville Tennessee! I’m pretty sure it’s gonna feel like home.

My sisters and I always make a music plan for road trips. This one will be 11 hours, so we'll have to really be on top of CDs and play lists!
My sisters and I always make a music plan for road trips. This one will be 11 hours, so we’ll have to really be on top of CDs and play lists!

Book. I haven’t had much time to read, but I did finally start An Abundance of Katherines. As love losing myself in John Green’s unmistakable writing style.

Great book and pretty oatmeal.
Great book and pretty oatmeal.

Bible Passage. “He knows the burning desires of your heart.” Sometimes we think we want all of these things, materials, stuff, less boredom, more time, better people. Only God knows what we really want and need. Pray for him to lead you there.

TV Show. Orange is the New Black honestly keeps getting better. I’m writing this post whole eating oatmeal and watching Season 2 Ep 8. I sound like a really predicbIMG_20150619_113803table person, wow.

Food. Again, I’m trying to eat what I want to eat, which is sometimes so painfully difficult. Lately that has led to lots of bananas, again suggesting that I haven’t been eating enough carbs.

At Home Activity. Writing! My goal for the summer is to completely finish and “publish” the novel I’ve been working on for years and start the new one I have so many ideas for.

Negative Energy. Over thinking! I think it’s something that all of us suffer from, but I’ve been allowing guilt and dislike to well up inside me more than I care to admit. I’m turning this around!

Rite of Passage. I had my final piano lesson a little bit ago and it’s only now sinking in what a change that will be! I’ve been with my teacher for seven years and know that piano is something I don’t want to stop playing.

I’m in a bit of confused state, but as always, writing is amazingly therapeutic. I’m off for lunch and shopping with a friend who I know will cheer me up! Have a fantastic Tuesday.

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MOTIVATION MONDAY: Spirits Up

Hey guys! Happy Monday!

And it is a happy Monday. Mostly.

I just got in from an exhausting therapy session. I shed a lot of tears, to be quite honest. I released so much pain that I’ve held in, leading me to write a post about happiness.

IMG_20150528_204550I can tell you that now, overall, I am genuinely happy. I am grateful beyond belief for the life that I have, and the incredible people in it.

When I was deep within my anorexia, my foggy, malnourished brain convinced me that what I felt was happiness. My days were spent at home, lying in bed, pacing my room, exercising in the middle of the night. My brain was unfed and so I couldn’t even think straight or properly.

A photo from my now-public instagram, cassiescookery
A photo from my now-public instagram, cassiescookery

Once I started recovery, and my brain was fed, I could have conversations with people again. I could listen to them without thinking about food. I was no longer a walking zombie. It was terrifying and incredible all at the same time. I used my instagram account as a way to make food feel safe and for me to take ownership and control of what I ate. I think it was a good decision.

I will definitely do a blog series about how I recovered, but for now, I want to talk about how I motivated myself to true happiness. This is relevant to anyone!

Humor. Learning to laugh at what scared me really, really helped. I still struggle with eating unmeasured food, particularly peanut butter. Learning to look at that in a normal and funny way helped me to rationalize that fear.

It sounds crazy, but laughing at your fears works.
It sounds crazy, but laughing at your fears works.

Prayer. Prayer is, in my opinion and experience, the answer to anything. Did you a fantastic day? Pray. Did you hsve a crappy day? Pray. Are you carrying a heavy load? Pray. It doesn’t matter who you are, or whether you’ve ever spoken to God in your life. He loves you and he wants to hear from you.

Therapy. If you don’t have access to a therapist, I strongly suggest finding ways to get in touch with the root of your feelings and struggles, because there is one, and you cannot heal unless it’s acknowledged and dealt with. I went into therapy today and ended up talking about things I never would have dreamed I’d discuss, but all very relevant to my disorder.

Loved Ones. People with eating disorders I’m particular are notorious for thinking of every possible reason that they are undeserving, of practically anything. When I’ve had those thoughts, such as, She deserves to eat but I don’t, I ask myself, what would that friend of family member say to me if I thought that way aloud?

I care so, so much about Sara and how she's doing. I know it's very positive when she's eating lots and thinking positively, and I remind myself that she wants the same for me.
I care so, so much about Sara and how she’s doing. I know it’s very positive when she’s eating lots and thinking positively, and I remind myself that she wants the same for me.

These are just some things that I have done to motivate myself when I sometimes think that I was “happier” when I spent my days isolated, fearing social gatherings, and thinking about calories and measurements. Sounds like a blast, right?

Wrong. I know YOU don’t think it does. And if you told me that’s what you spent your days doing, I’d rant away and tell you you deserved happiness.

I know you’d do the same for me so yeah, I deserve happiness, too.

MY THOUGHTS THURSDAY: People over Places

HELLO! Today I’m ranting. About people and places. And it goes something like this.

It has always bothered me so much, the idea that in the blink of an eye, someone who you say means the world to you, and they agree, doesn’t put on effort. Says, “we lost touch.” That just irks me. The quantity of time you spend with a person does not dictate their importance in your life.

I’ve also always loved the idea of traveling, but have never been able to relate to someone wanting to move far away from loved ones, without a care as to when they’ll be seeing them again. To me, a place is just a thing without the people you love. I don’t know, if you disagree, please enlighten me.

Along those lines, I thought I’d share with you the best people in the world. I am very biased in that I have the best friends in the world.

Family. My parents are the best people in the world. My older sister, Krystal, is so strong-minded and caring. Courtney is an independent free spirit.

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Family is a good place to start. I have two out of this world sisters and amazing parents.
We are always laughing when we're together.
We are always laughing when we’re together.

Sammy. Sam is my best friend. We are like two peas in a pod when we’re together. We care about each other so much, and it’s nothing but fun and laughs. She is the most non-judgemental person I have ever known.

She brings out all the best parts of me.
She brings out all the best parts of me.

Daniella. This girl is LITERALLY my other half. We think exactly the same way and have a very similar personality. Our lives always fall in the same patterns, too. Daniella and I talk about things that I don’t know how to talk about with anyone else. She is such an unmistakably compassionate and genuine person.

Little brother, big brother, twin brother.
Little brother, big brother, twin brother.

Noah, Kodie, and Jake. I truly think of these guys as brothers. I am so close with each of them in different ways, and can tell all of them literally anything. They are incredible people that have shown me so much kindness.

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The closest thing to sisters as it gets.

Haylie and Chloe. They are best friends and sisters and words cannot begin to explain the impact they’ve had on my lifetime. With Haylie I have had some of the deepest, most-life changing conversations and she is the most selfless person in the world. Chloe has this incredible personality in which she is the funniest person on earth, but also the wisest.

The Franklin to my Bear.
The Franklin to my Bear.

Natalie. Natalie has a heart of gold. We have had some of the most incredible conversations, and she is such an active and inspirational person. She is a role model to anyone, and I am so blessed that she is such a vital part of my life.

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Sara came into my life so suddenly and I already know she will never leave it.

Sara. Sara and I have so much in common, and she is one of very few people I have met with an eating disorder. She is an indescribably kind person, and we really and truly lift each other up. I now don’t know how I lived without her.

I have known Kaitlyn since I was seven years old. She, Krystal, and I are like three sisters.
I have known Kaitlyn since I was seven years old. She, Krystal, and I are like three sisters.

Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn has been in my life for well over half of it, and we know each other like the back of our hands, yet we’re still always growing together as people. She has such a huge heart, and is so thoughtful.

I am truly missing so many people that are in my life every day, changing it and making me better. I think sometimes having meeting new people gets misconstrued as boasting about having too many friends.

I’m not talking about myself. I’m boasting about the amazing people I am LUCKY to know. And it amazes me that there are more out there. I just want to get to know everyone, because I truly think that’s the best way to grow. Sharing perspectives and learning from others is an incredible experience.

I hope to never stop growing in this way, but also to keep these people in my life forever. People aren’t replaceable.

WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY: Beach Adventure!

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Sara and I have the EXACT same taste in music. We jammed to Luke Bryan, T Swift, and Dan and Shay both ways, amongst others.

Today, my gorgeous, compassionate, soul mate friend and I journeyed to the beach.

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Sara is a gift from God. She reached out to me when she found my recovery instagram (cassiescookery) and we began talking. We have so much in common, and she tried anorexia recovery through the same FBT I did, and we both hated it. In the span of a half year, she has become one of my best friends, and she is such an unmistakable light in my life. We really lift each other up!IMG_20150624_143517ALRIGHT, well today is all about what I are today! I used to post a full day of eats on my instagram, but that became disordered for me. But I think doing it every once in awhile couldn’t hurt! Now, if you’ve never read this style of post before, remember: this is not about comparison. This is what I ate today. That’s it.

Breakfast. Before getting ready this morning, I nommed a delicious bowl of cooked oats with goat milk yogurt, frozen berries, and a glass of almond milk. I also took my vitamin d, c, and e! Oh and I sang Starships by Nicki Minaj all morning while getting ready wooohoooo! IMG_20150624_093249

Lunch. After a perfect drive, Sara and I arrived happily– and tiredly– at Grand Bend. We both really just wanted to hit the sand! We lay out towels and fell asleep for a couple hours which was perfect. We braved the water as much as we could and used a selfie stick. And eavesdropped on conversations. And laughed.

A lot.

We both had rumbling tummies and had a really late lunch at Subway. I got a foot long veggie stuffed with pickles, cucumbers, onion, pepper, and mustard and… I think that’s it.
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Snack. After a perfect day and a ride home full of jams, I was exhausted. I got home at 6pm and took a nice nap. When I woke up, I got in a quick workout, did some laundry, some therapy homework, piano, yahtay yahtay. I also ate some carrots and peanut butter because that is the world’s best combo.

I can't get enough of this!
I can’t get enough of this!

Dinner. My parents had already tucked into a dinner of their own, so I settled on what I really, and always, want: baked oatmeal. That may seem like a strange dinner, but it’s substantial, and something I truly enjoy. Tonight I made cacao raspberry baked oats and topped with peanut butter and goat yogurt. IMG_20150624_202802

There you have it! Today’s summer food. While Sara and I just relaxed, it was the perfect adventure. Sara always helps me to find myself.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: I’m Excited!

Check it out guys, I’m back! And guess what I did today? Well, it was really similar to yesterday. I slept in, was productive through the afternoon, and then went out to the mall and to the works for a second night in a row with

Here's the three of us in our
Here’s the three of us in our “spot” at starbucks; the bottom one was today!

my sister and our longtime best friend from dance! Months ago, going to the same restaurant two nights in a row would freak me out, or, should I say, my eating disorder. I had a bit of unease, but nothing compared to what it used to be.

Today I’m doing my current “Top Ten,” a little snippet of what I’m into lately.

Food. Lately, I’ve been eating a loooot of oatmeal. I think maybe my body is carb deprived. I’ve been focusing a lot on listening to its needs, and that has led me to eat about 80% carbs lately. The body is brilliant and my eating disorder is not!

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Music. Have you guys heard of Halsey? My little sister is OBSESSED with her, and lately I’ve been loving her sound, too. My favourite song is here http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xKnG2d9tZdU.

Clothing. A few weeks ago I bought a cute Hollister sweater on clearance. I haven’t even worn it yet, and I usually hate clothes with the brand name but for some reason this one is almost hipster and I love it. IMG_20150605_144737

Word. This will probably be the only time I use this category because I don’t think my favourite word will ever change. It is wholesome. My dear friend Daniella and I always experience these moments of wondrous joy that almost brings tears to your eyes, this euphoria and feeling that you are living in the greatest, most wonderful moment possible with the best person possible (that is her). Have you ever felt this? Yeah, well it’s called wholesomeness.

Daniella and I smack in the middle of a wholesome moment.
Daniella and I smack in the middle of a wholesome moment.

Book. My friend Ryan lent me a classic called The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. It is brilliant. Seriously, you must read this book if you called yourself a literature junkie (I’m very biased about my opinions on books). IMG_20150606_170521

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It’s true, it does accelerate. I recommend.

Make-Up. I have never been into make-up, though I have two beautiful friends, Chloe and Haylie, who are brilliant at it. But I went on a mission to find a mascara that wouldn’t make my lashes stick together and I succeeded!

TV Show. I finally jumped on the OITNB bandwagon and I’m already obsessed. I just finished season one, and I looove Lorna.

Quote. I don’t know who wrote this, but I saw it the other day and it really resonated with me. “Hate is a disease; love is a healthy condition.”

Mood. Lately, I’ve just been overwhelmingly… excited! Not by anything in particular, but by my life. By the beauty of it. While I have painful days, there are always bright spots; in the people I love, in the things I do, in what I choose to invest my time in. I’ve been seeingeach new day as an adventure, an impossible viewpoint to have without recovery.

Addiction. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. If you cut me open, venti sugar free caramel dark roasts from Starbucks would pour out.

Your turn…

Do you watch OITNB? Who’s your favourite character? 

What are you reading right now?

MOTIVATION MONDAY: Meditation & Yoga

Yoga has helped me to take the focus of movement away from the things I dislike about my body, and to appreciate what my body does for me.
Yoga has helped me to take the focus of movement away from the things I dislike about my body, and to appreciate what my body does for me.

HAPPY MONDAY! I am so excited to be publishing my first blog post. Bear with me as I navigate this new world, if you don’t mind. I am honoured to have you tagging along for a while.

How was your Monday? I had a pretty lovely one. I wrote my last exam of high school, had a really eye-opening therapy session, and met up with my best friend Daniella for dinner. It was one of those great days in which I just felt productive, besides being extremely tired. That’s where coffee comes in.

The therapy session got me thinking a lot about mental health, and how important it is for everyone. Thus, today’s topic is motivating oneself to have personal meditation time. Ooh, sounds like a fancy doctor term. Does it draw any images to mind? Maybe monks or hardcore yogis?

Personal meditation can look very different for everyone, but finding a form of it that you can fit into your own daily lifestyle is so important for mental health. Let’s look at a few different forms of meditation.

Yoga. That picture above is of me striking a pose on a trail. Sometimes getting outdoors is meditation in itself. Gently moving your body and focusing on the senses connects you back to yourself and away from a hectic life.

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My current devotional; highly recommended.

Devotion. This doesn’t have to be religious. Personally, I have daily prayer time, and read a devotional each night before falling asleep. The focus on God’s Word really grounds me and gives me a focus for my day. A non-religious practice may be a book such as Chicken Soup for the Soul. 

Hobbies. Singing, reading, playing sports, etc. My personal meditation hobby is baking. I blast music and take the kitchen for my own, and pretty soon I gain perspective. Sometimes you just need to take your mind off things.

Coffee Dates. Or cookie dates. Or dinner dates. Or roller skater dates. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as it’s with someone you trust. Oftentimes, getting out with a close friend and just talking/ranting/venting is exactly the kind of rejuvenation you need. I have a friend named Sara, and she is an angel from above. We have weekly coffee dates set aside for the sole purpose of talking through our struggles.

Sara and I... isn't she lovely?
Sara and I… isn’t she lovely? You’ll hear more about Sara, Daniella, and many other friends in the near future.

Journaling. Write whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense– just don’t let the pen leave the paper. You’ll remove a stream of conscience you didn’t even realize existed.

Once you get yourself into the habit of adding one or a few of these mediation practices to your everyday life, you’ll notice the benefits and suffer in their absence.

Your turn…

Is there something I missed? What do you do to meditate? 

What keeps you motivated to invest in yourself?