Monthly Archives: April 2013

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Recovery Tip Tuesday: Spirituality

Welcome to Recovery Tip Tuesday, a weekly update about a skill that’s worked for me in ED recovery.*

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Spirituality.  Why is everyone so afraid of it?  Maybe because we’ve seen those religious extremists who’ve taken it way too far.  Or maybe it’s because the word “God” (Dun-dun-DAH) is involved in it.  Or maybe it’s because self-help groups which claim spirituality as its base struck us as cult-like.  Either way, I personally find it unfortunate that some shy away from this, because your spirituality or God could be a can of tomato soup.

What do I mean?  Well, let me give you an example.  Right after treatment, I worked a job in Harvard Square at an upscale boutique.  I took the T home daily, and got off at Davis Square.  I had been feeling pretty lonely, and fairly lost, because of my recent necessity to quit my regular job to attend treatment.  One day, I had gotten off the T, and all of a sudden, time seemed to slow down.  I noticed everyone around me, walking, running home, all doing and participating in the same thing.  All humans, just trying to achieve the same simple goals, of making enough money to survive or thrive and to be able to enjoy life with their loved ones.

And I, suddenly, felt connected.  Because I was doing the same thing:  I was part of a whole.

And that’s spirituality to me.  That feeling of connectedness that hits you unexpectedly, rendering you ever so present, aware, mindful, and humble.

And connectedness kills eating disorders.  EDs thrive in isolation.

That day was groundbreaking to me, because it reminded me I would never be alone, even if I was alone.  Who knows why it happened – maybe it was some higher power, or maybe, because I was finally feeding my body, my mind was able to be totally and beautifully present.

And I now attempt to utilize it daily.  I’m not perfect, but I try.  When I try to make the right choices about food, I remind myself I’m not alone.  That if others who went before me could trust that eating full meals everyday worked and didn’t make me fat, so could I.  I remind myself that if I need to stop a behavior, I can call someone or pray.  Yes, that scary word, pray.  (To me, prayer is as simple as a dialectical skill, a pause between a feeling and an action, so it’s not that scary anymore.)

What is your form of spirituality, if you have one?  Is it connecting to nature?  Is it healthy exercise?  What other recovery strategies have worked for you?

 

*  What worked for me may not work for you!  So proceed at your own risk.

(Image provided by adaliaconfidenceandsuccessblog.)

Media Mondays: Too Fat to Cheer, My Ass

Welcome to Media Mondays, my weekly post on something ridiculous and stupid I spotted this week that involved the objectification of women’s bodies.  Please feel free to pass along stories you hear at any point; I will profile them on my blog.

 

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This is Kelsey.  Kelsey dances for the Oklahoma Thunder.

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Kelsey was the subject of a literal poll taken by a literal news station (CBS Houston) regarding whether or not readers thought she was too fat to cheer.

Yup.

Since this story broke and it met a crapload of criticism, CBS Houston removed the post.  Who in their right mind approved this?  Someone from the 1950’s via a timewarp?

You know, the first thing I thought of was really inappropriate, but it’s what I thought and here it is:

It’s not like we’re posting pictures of white men and asking, “Do you think his dick is big enough to give him enough macho arrogance he has to embody to maintain his corporate asshole job?”

(So sue me.  It’s what I thought.)

I’m thinking society has fallen pretty low to have to post pictures of women’s bodies for ratings, probably KNOWING that it would cause a firestorm, probably KNOWING that blogs like mine would cover it.  They’re probably not that stupid.

(Or are they…?)

Argh.  And then there’s the “this is nobody’s business but her own” duh viewpoint.

When will we learn?

(Image provided by landthieves)

 

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Blissful Body Image Fridays: I’m Back!

Hey all, Blissful Body Image Friday is back with a vengeance, after last week’s hiatus (which was due to a crazy man running around Watertown.) So…I found some kickass sites today (click the links peeps), and some kickass pics and quotes, so “feast” your eyes on these…love to all of you. Especially those who were so supportive on my last post about the bombings. You help this lady feel put together. Xoxo!

 

1.  So true – it’s crazy how much money we waste on what society wants us to look like.  Check out these comparisons (so blurry yet so good):

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(Source: nowfoundation)

 

2.  Love this quote…

“Reduce cellulite. Be gone dry skin. Vanish unwanted facial hair. Diminish stretch marks. Fade age spots. Eliminate feminine odor. Lose weight. Dissolve belly fat. Erase wrinkles.

I think someone wants me to disappear.”

– Guerrilla Girls, source: Furocious Femme

 

3.  I’ve had the opposite of this feeling, when letting go of old eating disordered jeans and not wanting to…seeing this is inspiring.

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(source: fuckyeahbodyimage)

 

4.  And this is what I want to say to Fiona if she ever asks…

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WORD.  Check out this poem  – Pretty

See ya later, my friends – have a great weekend!!!

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An Open Letter to the Bomb That Didn’t Detonate.

Hi.

You don’t know me.  You don’t care about me.  You wanted to maim and kill hundreds of my fellow Bostonians, but still, I am grateful to you.

Why?

Because you didn’t go off.  You were sitting exactly underneath where my boyfriend stood innocently, managing security for the Boston marathon.

Because you didn’t go off, I am not sitting here, trying to piece together how a thirty-two year old mental health counselor would financially support a one-year-old by herself.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to worry if my daughter will ever know balance, because the one person who embodies calm and humor and fluidity in our family is still here.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to explain to my child how her father used to swing her up in the air and tickle her until she was sick of laughing.  I also don’t have to explain to her how I used to hate it, how I would fear he was overstimulating her, and that now I miss it dearly.

Because you didn’t go off, I won’t have to feebly explain to my daughter her late father’s love of California, Hollywood, and all things L.A.  He’ll be there to show her around.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to search for a second best replacement for a generous man who loves us and his family more than the stars in the sky.  A man who knows that if he keeps his lady happy, he’s happy.  A man who gives, and gives, and gives.

Because you didn’t go off, I don’t have to tell my daughter how her father used to sleep with her on his chest between the hours of nine and two so her mother could get some sleep when she was one month old.  He can do that.

Because you didn’t go off, my boyfriend is beside me sleeping peacefully.  Breathing in and out.

But because you didn’t go off, I have guilt.  Strange guilt, because there are four families out there who never again get to listen to the sound of their loved one’s breathing.  You mystify me.  Why did the others go off and you didn’t?  Was it part of some grand master plan?  Or was it just that you weren’t carefully made?  Because you failed, I feel guilty.  Guilty, because I was lucky.  They will not get to cuddle next to their little boy during his nighttime routine again.  They will not get to walk their daughter down the aisle.  They will not get to listen to their daughter’s dissertation.  He will not get to hold his baby when she turns seven months old.

Those bombs went off; but you didn’t.

Strange that I should be grateful to you, a weapon of mass destruction, a symbol of everything sad and hateful and ugly in our society.  But I am.

And, because you didn’t go off, here we sit, numb and angry and nightmare-ridden.  But at least we get to feel angry.  At least we get to dream.

The line between the here and not here is so very, very paper-thin, so very fragile.

And I have you to thank for helping me to see that.

 

Yours,

Amanda

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I Love You, Boston

I’m taking a break from posting about ED recovery today, and sharing with you a piece I wrote about my beautiful city three or so years ago.  My boyfriend was at the marathon when it happened, so I am counting my lucky stars today. Love to all of you.

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When I am leaving the picturesque peninsula of Winthrop to meander into town, I often stop at the Dunky’s on Rt.  145 to pick up an iced coffee.  The best thing about this Dunky’s is the view from the drive-through window.  It gazes directly onto the Boston skyline in the South, and closer yet the Atlantic gently rocks sailboats into Winthrop Bay.  The tip of the Belle Isle Marsh frames the water with ocean roses and healthy green shrubs, and fishermen lazily cast their lines off of 145, chatting undoubtedly about the latest Boston sports debacle.  And the best thing about this sight is the “Entering Boston” sign that perches on the edge of 145.  It is perhaps miles away from the unassuming skyline, but plays a trick on your vision and seems to take its place amongst the Hancock Tower, the Prudential, and all the forgotten cow paths.

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“This can be a cold place, Boston, and the weather is the least of it.  We’re often unwelcoming to outsiders.  We have a maddening trait of sniping at insiders.  We have equal parts determination and aloofness proudly bred into our native bones like the hunting instincts in a champion dog.”

– Brian McGrory, The Boston Globe, March 2002

So, taking that indisputable quote into question, how could one fall in love with a town such as this?

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As with any love affair of mine, I scorned it at the start.  Starting in high school, I’d felt a pull towards the West Coast.  Who wouldn’t?  The weather was dry, the girls glamorous and the promise of success, especially in theater, was plentiful.  But I hadn’t the means or quite honestly, the guts, to leave my family and the friends I loved for this promise land.  And I despised myself for this.  Oh, how I hated myself for this trait.  Was something wrong with me, I questioned myself.  Was I addicted to the pain and misery of snow, old dysfunctional family patterns, and snobby intellectuals?

Despite this, I would spend my Saturdays as a 16-year-old in Boston.  I felt drawn to it.  I would drive the car into Alewife, and ride the Red Line to Harvard and Boylston and Lechmere.  I would escape into the city and play a rich girl on Newbury, pretend to be Bohemian in Harvard, and make-believe myself a tourist in Faneuil Hall.  It beat spending afternoons in a town I never felt safe in; I could get lost in Boston and no one was there to criticize the outfit I was wearing or the way I looked.  I was free.

Later, through stories my mother told me, I would learn my Nana Pearl would do the same thing as a teenager.  She rode the commuter rail to Boston by herself, spent what little money she had on some little trinket, and would explore the city.  It was then that the seed was planted; I knew both her and I possessed a trait that was so uniquely Boston: a gritty autonomy so stubborn that could not be swayed.

As time went on, I still yearned for California.  I had planned to move at the end of 2005, but illness got in the way.  As I healed myself, I healed my relationship with my city.  I realized that it was not a change of location I needed, but a change of attitude.

In December of 2005, my roommate and I decided to throw a Christmas party, which of course meant the worse ice storm of the decade would hit at 7pm that night.  As revelers called to cancel, I grumpily trudged through the snow and bitter winds to Demoulas to buy too many appetizers for guests who couldn’t come.  I blew my bangs out of my face dispiritedly as I passed a grinning man on Highland Ave shoveling heavy, wet snow.  I muttered a greeting to him, to which he yelled,

“Lovely night we have here, isn’t it?”

I smiled in spite of myself.  “Yeah, lovely night to throw a party too.”  I laughed and gestured towards my grocery bags.

The man stopped, wiped the snow out of his eyes, and put his shovel down.  “Oh no!  That’s too bad my dear.”

“Yeah well, what can you do.”

He looked at me for a minute, and then nodded towards the twinkling Christmas lights at the high school.  “But would you have it any other way? ”

And I knew right then that I was lucky.  Lucky to live in a town where snow fell during Christmastime, where adults could become kids again by making snow angels, and where history and legend was teeming out of every cobblestone.

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Since then, I have spent lazy afternoons on the Common reading , chilly nights in the North End ice-skating, and mornings gabbing over fruit plates and Ole omelettes at Soundbites in Somerville.  I have played the scholar in Cambridge and have browsed art galleries in the South End.  This city has cradled me and allowed me to fall just far enough to find out who I really am.  For that, I will be forever grateful.

Two years ago, a close friend left Boston for a Southern state.  We had met for coffee one last time before she moved.  As we chatted, I noted that she seemed genuinely done with Boston men, sports and anything yankee.

“When will I be done?” I asked, almost plaintively.

“You’ll know when,” She had responded firmly.

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Do all love stories come to an end?  I should hope not.  I believe this particular one will be timeless, no matter where I go or how embittered I become with rapidly-changing forecasts.  This town, with its liberal leanings and humble buildings, helped me to grow up, and nothing can replace that.  Not the bright lights of New York, the music of Austin, or the architecture in Chicago.

And until I am done, I will hold onto the secret that only I know.

Introducing Blissful Body Fridays!

So, I thought I’d start a tradition over here at Another Piece of Cake.  Every Friday I will be posting Blissful Body pics and quotes to help us celebrate our bodies that much more.  (With a little humor added it.  I can be funny.  Sometimes.)  Without further adieu..

Loved this first one because I used to let my weight dictate EVERYTHING in my life…what I did, who I saw…blissful1 “Don’t try to lose weight. Take delight in gaining fitness.” -Alan Cohen

Saw this one on my friend Devin’s feed this morning.  She’s a healthy, dynamic lady and I’m glad she shared this:

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“You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.”

– Geneen Roth

 

This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.”

– Oprah Winfrey

Loved this one from rationalhub because I believed the opposite for a very long time…

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“Eating is not a crime.  It’s not a moral issue.  It’s normal.  It’s enjoyable.  It just is.”

– Carrie Arnold

 

 

 

Enjoy your Friday!

 

Aya De Leon

Recently, my friend Liz sent me the link to this stunning blog entry.  In it, the fabulous Ms. Aya De Leon wittily takes on the media and its inability to make her feel her body is inferior.

Read and enjoy!

Pay What You Weigh: What Do You Think?

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So recently, Samoa Air introduced “Pay What You Weigh” pricing.  Basically, each kilogram that you weigh costs 93 cents.  So, if you’re an average-weight American male, you pay about 40 dollars less than the typical airline rate.  So yes, a tricky way of both encouraging people to fly Samoa air and stay healthy.  Mmmmk.  A couple of things:

  1. This is a Samoan airline.  In Samoa, I’m willing to bet they don’t have the obesity and eating disorder problem that we seem to have here in the US; it’s been reported that the pricing seems to be going just swimmingly there.*  I’m also willing to bet it would be met by cries out outrage here in the U.S.  Some of those cries might be mine (see the next number).
  2. What about people like my partner, who is gorgeous and tall and naturally weighs more because he’s tall?  They have to pay more?  That sucks.  That’s where the motivation to be healthy doesn’t add up – you can be healthy AND weigh more.
  3. Plus the fact that yes, it could  be embarrassing, humiliating, or triggering to some.  Weight is a private issue for some people.  I do think that airlines need to collectively come up with a solution to seating obese individuals, but I’m not sure weighing them is the answer.  That’s usually reserved for a doctor’s office or the Ground Round circa 1985, during their “Pay What You Weigh” dinner era (shudder).
  4. Aaaand…is it proper to basically financially penalize someone because they weigh more than the next passenger?  Isn’t that insulting?  Isn’t that basically shaming people for weighing more?

What do you think?

(Image provided by gizmag.com)

* Those flying Samoa Air are always weighed before boarding because the planes flying there are so small.

Screw the Easter Bonnet…

gender stereotypes start young...
gender stereotypes start young…

“What is she wearing?”

I was asked that question 35 times the week before Easter.  It was as if my child was going to a debutante ball.  I tried to shrug off vague annoyance and proceeded to judge myself for having that vaguely uneasy feeling.  But after judging myself as a “think-too-much Mom”, (Yes, I have been told that, even though I was under the impression it is 2013) I snapped upright and paid full attention to that feeling.  I was annoyed, because –

Girls are supposed to be pretty and feminine and all decked out for everyone else’s enjoyment.  Raiiight??

Perhaps boys’ mothers got asked as much; I don’t know because I haven’t had the chance to ask my mama friends yet.  But I have an inkling that the pressure is on the girls, yet again, to step up to the plate and look pretty.  The fashion industry snaps us up at birth by making girls’ clothing more fun.  I’ve heard a million times from mama friends in hushed tones, “I love putting him in this suit, but it’s much more fun to look in the girls section.  You have so much more.”

Can I please put my daughter in ripped jeans and a wife beater next year?  Please?

OK, I’ll calm the feminist rebel in me for a second.  Do I love dressing my daughter up?  Of course.  Is the baby girls’ clothing department aesthetically pleasing?  Hell yes.  But does your happiness and satisfaction lay in my daughter’s appearance?  No it doesn’t.  And my daughter and I also don’t want your projections of what a little girl should act or be like.

And even though I try to shield myself from the judgment, I then feel like I have to wipe off every frickin crumb off my daughter’s face and straighten out every hair from her ponytail.  Aaaaand, the funny thing is, I don’t, because a kid’s job is be messy and ruin her clothes and fall sometimes.

And the bonnet!  The f^%&ing Easter bonnet.  I had a million frickin comments from people because she wasn’t wearing one.  OK.  If they only knew putting (and keeping) a hat on my kid is like trying to write with a gummy worm.  Or something.  And I’m not going to put my kid in something she hates just for appearances.

I’m not saying change tradition and stop parading kids around in their Sunday best once a year.  I’m just saying, be aware.  Body image and gender stereotyping stuff starts YOUNG.  And it’s not me “thinking too much.”

(Image provided by zulily)