In Loving Memory...

If there is one thing I learned from my wonderful grandpa it would be to live life to the fullest. It sounds rather cliche but that is exactly the way in which he lived. He and my grandma were always on the go. They were very involved in and dedicated to their community, their church, and the UNICO National organization. My grandpa would meet with "the guys" at the local diner for breakfast. He was in charge of Bingo at the church every week. He was a dedicated family man and just last month celebrated 60 amazing years of marriage with my beautiful grandma. There are no words to describe what an incredible soul he was.

My heart is so heavy and so shattered right now. I am weighed down by the guilt of living not that far but far enough away. My mind is flooded with so many memories and his voice. Over and over again I hear his voice, "Hiya, Kris!" "When are we going to see you again? We miss you." He would always shove a $20 bill in my hand when I left even when I insisted it wasn't necessary, "Here's some gas money."

The next time I walk into the apartment he won't be sitting in his recliner watching TV or working on his computer. He won't walk into the kitchen and sit down to eat with us. He won't get to see his precious great granddaughter grow up or meet his great grandson. Never again will I hear my grandma shout "Mickey!" or "D'Arminio!" I won't see him and his gang at breakfast at the Arena Diner. I cannot believe I will never see him again.

No matter how far apart we were I loved him dearly and I know he knew that. I know he did. I know he asked about me and looked forward to my visits. I know how much he loved us all. He was always supportive and without judgement.

I know I am mourning the physical but that his spirit will always live on inside of me. I am so grateful to have been able to call him Grandpa.


Authenticity vs Conformity

As far back as I can recall I have always considered myself different, an outsider, a rebel, unique. Moreover I have always stayed true to myself. I wore whatever I wanted. I styled my hair differently and dyed it different colors. I didn't match and I didn't care. I didn't look like "normal" kids. I didn't worry about fitting in. All that mattered was that I stayed true to my core and visually expressed who I was on the inside.

For some that goes away once you've entered adulthood. That didn't happen to me. I never conformed to a societal norm of how to look or how to act. Who I am on the inside has grown and maybe I am not as spunky on the outside anymore but there are still certain ways in which I externally express myself, mainly tattoos and piercings.

I haven't ever cared what anyone thought of my tattoos or piercings. They are a part of who I am. Honestly I forget they are there until someone stares or asks me about them. Every bit of ink in my skin has meaning to me. And well, the piercings are something I enjoy. I do not look 'freakish' nor do I adorn my body with anything offensive.

I have always and will always have the attitude that this is me, take it or leave it.

Usually this isn't a problem. I seldom feel judged or like an outcast for the way that I look. My tattoos and piercings haven't ever been an issue when it came to dating, making friends or my job. Body modifications have become extremely mainstream. However there are still people and places who find them to be unacceptable for a professional appearance.

My brand new place of employment, a large retail chain, states in their handbook that tattoos must be covered and piercings are not allowed except in the ears. Had I known this I would not have applied for the job. This kept me from applying for another large company but I respect them for being upfront about it. I was asked on my date of hire to cover the tattoos and I agreed. Did I like it? Absolutely not but I would manage. Then today, my first day of training, it was brought to my attention that after further discussion I would need to wear a clear retainer in place of my Monroe. This comes after I had already been told that since I was hired with it in I would be able to wear it. And quite frankly I feel this is extremely unfair.

During my job search these last few months I was adamant about finding a job that would except me as I am. If a company was going to discriminate based upon body modifications then it wouldn't be the place for me. I still believe that.

I feel stifled. At this age this is not the way I want to feel. Especially for a part time job. Yet I feel like in this moment I have no choice. I have bills to pay and I need flexibility in order to complete my internship. And so again I feel stuck. A feeling I worked so hard to escape has now come back around and smacked me in the face.

I don't see this lasting very long as I cannot be in a place that does not foster individuality.

Letting Go of Bad Habits.

See also: Nothing changes if nothing changes.

After two hours and nearly seven miles something my friend said to me really made struck a nerve. I need to let go.

What I would say was the biggest factor in my anorexia and the continuity of disordered eating is control. When everything else in life is unsteady and not going as I would like I freak out and do what I know best, I exert extreme control over my eating. I haven't relapsed although I've teetered on the edge a few times. But it made me reassess my mental state when the going gets tough. It made me realize there are still some behaviors that do not serve me positively on any level and I need to let them go.

Marching into a second year of dealing with HA is frustrating to say the least. I have tried several medications, adjusted my diet, adjusted my exercising, and yet nothing seems to correct the problem. When I take on an outside point of view it seems rather obvious that changes need to be made. If what I've tried has not worked up to this point why do I continue to do the same things yet expect different results? That's preposterous!

I learned a lot from the intuitive eating challenge I took on in April. And while I continue to incorporate intuitive eating into my life, there is still that last bit of control that I need to sever ties with. I truly believe that I can heal my body holistically if I simply let go.

Today I am doing just that.

No more food logging. No more measuring. No more 'good foods/bad foods'. No more restriction.
No more weighing myself. No more scrutinizing myself in the mirror. No more pushing myself to extremes. No more stressing. NO MORE ABUSE.

From this day forward I am going to listen to my body. I will eat when I am hungry and I will eat what my body tells me it really needs (or sometimes just wants!). I will move in ways that make me feel strong and alive. I will rest when my body aches. I will laugh a hearty laugh when my soul needs it. I will meditate when I need centering.

I am going to stop worrying and truly start living.


If I had to choose three words to describe myself one would surely be independent. I am fully capable of taking care of myself, thinking for myself, making my own decisions, taking care of my finances. You name it.   I don't rely on anyone for anything. Not that it's necessarily bad if you do (unless you're taking advantage of someone obviously), but I pride myself on being independent and free of need. I have busted my hump for years to save money, to learn to rely on my instincts and know that I know what is truly best for me, and to take control of my life in every area possible. So when something goes amiss it's usually difficult for me to accept.

You mean I have to rely on someone else? Ask for help? How do I do that when I have been relying on myself for so long?

This is a situation with which I'm faced at the moment. It's nothing terrible. It's nothing that is long term. The auto shop caused a problem and can't fix it until next week when they can get a part. It's an awful inconvenience, sure. Yet I'm not thinking of it as a case of "bad luck." No, I've decided to turn it around.

It's an opportunity for me to learn how to depend on others.

I will have to cancel my internship hours tomorrow which is a huge bummer, but it isn't the end of the world. I start training for my new job on Monday and have another shot at internship hours on Tuesday. What's great is that these occur while my mom is working and she has agreed to again lend me her car as she did today. That solves that. It is going to be a little maddening being stuck home all weekend, save for any time I can borrow the car to run errands. But I have things I can do that I have been feverishly avoiding and I will be forced have time to spend with my sister and niece who are coming by for the weekend. See, optimism at its finest!

I struggle with asking for help. It's not that it makes me feel weak or needy. It's not that I don't have a few people on whom I can rely. It's just frustrating to be in a position that is out of my control and which forces me to feel as though I am inconveniencing someone else. It really is as simple as that. I like doing things myself and when I can't I have a hard time with it. I'm stubborn! But it's these times that show me on whom I can truly rely. It shows me that people love and care for me and are willing to go out of their way to help me. And that can't possibly ever be a negative.

I'm choosing to turn this little blip into something positive. I could let it bother me and go bananas on the shop for screwing things up. But they owned up to it. They apologized and even offered to pay for a rental which I declined. They were willing to go above and beyond and in turn I am willing to be patient and understanding.

Positivity will always beget positivity.


“I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.” - Alanis Morissette

Living With Less.

Something I have learned in the week and a half of being unemployed is how to live with less.

I have never been materialistic. I don't own a lot of 'stuff.' I'm not into electronics. I don't drive a fancy car or wear designer clothing. The main thing I splurge on are cosmetics (hey, we all have our vices). I would sooner spend my money on my family than on myself. I live more for the experience than for possessions.

This has been something that has been growing inside of me with age. I slowly started letting go of materialistic things. I've gotten rid of so much clothing, so many tokens of memories, photos of people I am no longer friends with, just anything that no longer serves a purpose in my life. Let me tell you it feels great! And whenever I need a little more inspiration on becoming more of a minimalist, I look to Lindsay at Happy Herbivore and her Minimalist Monday posts. They have really been a huge help, especially since my finances are currently in disarray.

So what does this have to do with being unemployed?

When I was working and had a steady income I didn't think as much about my spending habits. Mind you I am not in any way in massive debt and often pay my bills way ahead of time (I am really incredible when it comes to money management). But I would food shop frequently rather than finding a way to use what I have first. I wouldn't think twice about stopping at Wawa for a cup of coffee or how much gas I am using to get around (although I was trying to work on this in an effort to be more environmentally aware). If I was shopping for something in particular and happened to see something else I fancied I would give more consideration to buying it because it's ok to "treat" yourself.

Now I am forced to be more aware of where my money is going since I don't have any coming in.  Stop at Starbucks for a latte? No - make coffee at home. Out for shoes to wear for an interview and see a dress that is cute? I ask myself "do you need it?" and the answer is always a big fat NO. I spend on what I need out of necessity only. And with that I wait until I am just about out of something completely before it gets replenished. I plan my daily outings in a way that will use the least amount of gas. I spend more time outside with myself, talking with my family, reading books, connecting with friends, and bettering myself. Not only are all of those things great for the soul but they are free!!

I may not have a job right now but my life has never felt richer.

That is what living with less is all about. I'm not worried about having the latest gadget or wearing expensive clothes or having my hair done. In the grand scheme of life none of those things truly matter. Connecting, living, being... those actions matter. I have my struggles. Not every day would be deemed a good day. But I embrace the bad with the good. I embrace feelings and experiences. Because that's what life is about.

Life isn't about things you can hold in your hand but about what you hold in your heart.

So I'm unemployed.

Being unemployed sucks. I don't understand how some people prefer to not work. I am going absolutely bananas being home everyday. And I'm not even really home the entire time. I go to the gym, go to the park, go to the library, and run errands. I keep myself busy and out of the house as much as possible. But I know once the task at hand is over I am going home. Going home with no direction beyond that. Going home without having had really any interpersonal interaction.

What does having all of this time to one's self do to the mind - my mind? It's a breeding ground for relapse.

Yes, I admit it. I have been struggling to maintain balance for the last week. Some (most?) people may associate being home with that fear of becoming lazy, eating emotionally and thereby gaining weight. I associate being home with having too much time to overthink and drive myself crazy with negative self talk. Self talk about how I got myself into this situation, how I am doing nothing with myself right now, what good am I, how am I going to succeed, and so on and so forth.

In order to keep that talk at bay I keep myself busy and I keep myself moving. Not so bad, right? Well, for me, this seems to be sending me back into the throes of overexercising and restrictive/disordered eating. Negating any efforts to reverse my HA and stay on track with recovery. I am at the gym nearly everyday and I am walking and/or running every single day. Some people would question what is so wrong with that. We should be active and healthy, right? Of course. But I also know that rest (boy, how I hate that dirty little word) is also necessary. The thought of rest and being still terrifies me. How will I stay outside of my head if I don't have much else to focus on?

I do have moments of clarity. I have moments where I stop and remind myself that I am unemployed by choice because I felt a stronger pull toward something more fulfilling. I needed to get out of a bad working environment. I am no longer stagnant. I am actively working to accomplish a huge goal. It may not be happening at a quick or even the most steady pace but it is happening. I have faith in myself and in the universe. I have faith that my goals will be met and I will be propelled into something soul satisfying.

It just takes time.

I give myself credit for being vocal and conscious of my behavior this week. Although I may have taken a few steps back all is not lost. I know this is part of the process of recovery.

Today is a brand new day.


Eat More.

Something an active anoretic hates hearing is "eat more." If it were as easy to "just eat" as many people tend to think then anorexia wouldn't be such an issue, now would it?

Fast forward to being in recovery. And hearing that although you've made great progress and have put on enough weight to be physically recovered 'you probably aren't consuming enough calories.' What?!

This is what I heard from a registered dietitian in-residence. From a dietary standpoint it doesn't sound as though I am eating enough in order to completely nourish my body and reverse the hypothalamic amenorrhea I've been experiencing for two years now. What was more concerning was her pointing out some behaviors and that being told to eat more and having a fear of weight gain translates to the fact that I still struggle with ED behavior even if I have made great strides in my recovery. The thought of eating more when I often feel I've eaten too much is scary for me. That I instinctually associated more food with more weight is of much concern to me. Intellectually I can discern that properly nourishing my body and reversing HA will solve my physical problems and my weight will stabilize. But deep down, locked in that cage with the key thrown away, ED tells me that eating more will make me fat no matter what.

I'm not really sure how to process this. I've been doing really well eating intuitively and I mentioned that during the conversation. I would likely feel as though I am force feeding myself in order to consume more calories. That is sort of damaging to the progress I've made in repairing my relationship with food. I certainly don't want to go backward in that respect but I also want my body to be back to 100%. So what do I do?

This woman gave me some other great suggestions that I intend to pursue, such as seeing new doctors and having my blood work checked. But those are easier in my eyes. Those are scientific and based on fact. Eating more and dealing with the emotions that are involved, drudging up the past and going in the ring with it for Round 2, are far more unappealing. It almost feels like the windows in my house of recovery have been cracked and soon the ghost of ED will seep in.

"The hardest part is getting started."

How true that is. I know I am a strong woman. I know I've battled far worse situations and I've overcome them. I know I can do this. I'm just not sure how to start.


I feel like I've challenged many deep rooted fears lately. The biggest one would be leaving my job of over seven years. The time had come and I knew what needed to be done. But I had nothing lined up behind that decision. I had no idea what came next and I had that dizzying fear of falling flat on my face. Still, I couldn't remain stagnant so I followed my heart and resigned. Two weeks later I landed an interview and the next day received a job offer. Excitedly I snatched up the opportunity and figured it was presented to me for a reason. I needed to find my next source of income and while it's far less of an income it's better than nothing. Right?

This new job I've accepted is not what my soul aches for. There is growth potential and it's a completely new field for me which is both exciting and scary. I'm not ruling out the possibility of liking it. Yet for the last few days I have had this nagging emotional feeling about it. I busted my butt through the personal training course. I've completed a third of my internship in a matter of days and nights this week. Getting into the health and fitness field is where I long to be. I understand and accept that it is going to take time to reach each of my goals. I understand and accept that I may need to 'suffer' through certain periods of time in order to stay afloat and ultimately get ahead. I don't expect anything to be easy nor do I even want it to be. Not at all. I rather enjoy putting in the work and earning my place. That makes reaching my goals so much more gratifying. I guess I have started to question if this is really the next step for me.

I've come to the realization that a standard 9-5 desk job is not for me. I did it for so long and it served its purpose but it is not where I see myself. I need flexibility. I need movement. I need a bit more freedom than that. I have, for far too long, been a slave to some sort of restriction and structure. I thought I couldn't handle spontaneity. I needed a plan and Heaven forbid a wrench be thrown into it. But that's not me anymore. I've freed myself from self imposed restraints. I feel so much more in tune with who I am at my core and really ready to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

I'm terrified to fall back into the trap of staying if something becomes comfortable. I fear following logic over instinct. I know these are conscious decisions that we all make and I can control whether or not I allow myself to be stagnant again. With the last job I kept telling myself I would one day get out. I worked at a slow pace to accomplish some things. I assured myself it would get better. Then seven years happened and I had to make a very tough decision to take a blind leap and force myself out of the nest. I don't want to wake up one day and be right back in that moment. I don't want history to repeat itself even unintentionally.

I have no idea what to do right now. Logically I feel I "should" give this new gig a fair try. What have I got to lose? I don't want to waste the company's time or my own though. And I don't want this new job to get in the way of pursuing what I really want to do. So now again I feel a bit trapped.

If you were in my position, what would you do?