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Posts Tagged ‘addiction’

This is the third Friday I’ve been in my new home.  The third Friday that I’ve taken as a day off.  I have no desire to do anything and nowhere I really have to be.  But there are things I’d like to get done.

As I’ve been unpacking boxes I’m piling them in my kitchen.  Today I broke them all down and put them together for recycling.  The community bin is across the street, which makes this OH SO convenient.

My kitchen is ready save for a couple of small things.  I’ve been prioritizing wants from needs.  I’ve got everything I need for the kitchen.  There’s a few things I’ll obtain as I want them.  For example, casserole dishes.  I didn’t have any.  I really didn’t need any but was out one day and came across an incredible deal.  So know I have one that I purchased at 75% off.

I’m embracing a new attitude about “stuff”.  If it’s something I will use (more than once) and will enhance my life, I will obtain it. Otherwise, nope.  Don’t need it.

On my list still to obtain are a creamer and sugar basin for when I entertain, which I will be doing on Sunday.  An iron and ironing board.  Something I will be using, especially once I start home communions and will have linens to launder.

I am in need of new clergy shirts; the one’s I have are starting to come apart at the seams…granted, I have had them for 6 years.  But I’m waiting for a sale as they are EXPENSIVE.

I also need new bras.  The two I have are uncomfortable, too big and leave a weird line in my clothes.  Living where I do means there’s no easy access to buying them, so I’m beginning to look online.  Being a plus size gal makes it a tad more challenging.  But I will succeed.  I am determined!

Slowly I am mindful of a routine being established in my life.  I like routine, I like order and I am finding for the first time in a long time, I have both.  I work as hard as I ever did, and am mindful of myself and my needs.  If I’m tired, I rest.  If I’m hungry, I eat.  I’m still struggling with food addictions, and overall am making healthier choices most days.

There are times I abuse myself with food.  And I’m aware that I’m doing it.  It occurs infrequently and I am pleased that I can recognize that it’s happening.

So today I’m going to have a shower and get dressed.  Make my bed, go to the post office, drug store and grocery store, all of which I can walk to.  I’m going to go to the hardware store on the other side of town.  I could walk, but I’m going to drive.  And if I don’t get what I am looking for there, I will drive to the next largest community; an hour away.

There is nowhere I must be today and no commitment I must keep.  Today is a day just for me.  And I LOVE that.

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All my life I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food.  I am a self-described food addict.  When I eat, I tend to eat a lot and when I crave, it’s never for healthy food.

Something that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately is articles about foods you should “never” eat.  Foods that are “poison” and foods that can kill.  Seriously?  Toast is evil?  Give me a break.

I should eat better than I do.  And I will admit that on occasion supper is a bag of Smartfood.  Which really isn’t all that smart.  I know what I need to do to eat healthier and better.  The problem is being motivated enough to actually do it.

In just over two weeks I’m heading to southeastern British Columbia.  A whole new way of life.  A new culture, a new geography, new grocery stores, and a whole new level of panic and anxiety.  I know my local grocery store.  And I’m sure it won’t take me long to learn my new grocery store.  But the fear is real.

I am not moving with any food.  I’m taking some of my favourite tea with me, the rest I will buy when I get there.  Stocking a pantry, buying spices and condiments is both exciting and terrifying.  I’m taking reusable bags with me to never use a plastic shopping bag again.

I will buy cookwear when I get there.  And bakeware.  I’d like to stay I’ll plant a little garden, but the reality is, I likely won’t.

I’d love to homestead where I grow my own food.  But the reality is I don’t have the knowledge, experience or motivation to do any of these things.  And that’s okay.

I am recommitting myself to a pescatarian lifestyle.  A pescatarian is a person who is a vegetarian but eats fish.  I have the proper supplements so I will be healthier in myself and in my diet.

Yes, I’m fat.  Yes, I shop in fat girl stores.  I’d like to lose weight but I don’t think my body is ready to let go of a lot of the stress it’s been holding.  If I was a betting person I’d say that my cortisol levels are extremely high, due mostly to the stress with which I am surrounded.

Once I get moved I will re-establish a healthy routine that will include exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer and silence.  I will eat healthier than I am right now.  Because I will be ready.  The weather here has been mild but also slippery.  I’ve fallen a couple of times in the last two weeks, and while the injuries were minor, it’s scared me, to the point where I don’t want to venture outside.

This morning it was raining.  Rain in January scares me because when it changes it’s almost always to ice first, then snow.  Sure enough a winter storm whipped up, and there’s a thin layer of ice beneath the snow outside.

I’m not sure why I’m so scared.  I suspect, in part, it’s because I don’t want to arrive in my new pastoral charge physically damaged.  They hired someone with all appendages intact, I’d like to arrive that way.

I’ve started bookmarking recipes again, especially ones that replace pasta noodles with veggies.  That kind of thing makes me very happy.  I’m looking forward to buying a soup pot and I have two special soup bowls that are coming with me.

My goal as I pack and prepare to move is to downsize and simplify my life.  I don’t need much to be happy.  Open space, uncluttered, is good.

I think I will be writing more regularly as I prepare to move.  I may even blog at the end of each travel day.  Only time and wifi will tell.

 

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Recently there has been a great deal of attention given to fat shaming, usually in the guise of “concern”.  There is a You Tube “comedienne” who recorded a video called “Dear Fat People”.  I started watching it, got frustrated, angry and then started to feel sorry for her.  I didn’t finish watching it because I’ve heard her arguments before.  The thing is, this woman does not know me.  She does not know my struggle.  Yes I’m fat.  But that’s not all I am.  That’s not who I am.

I am a 47 year old woman who has battled demons that she would likely never imagine.  I wouldn’t wish my burdens on anyone.  They have strengthened me.  They have formed me.  They have softened the hard edges in me.

There was a time when I was under-weight.  And I was in terrible shape.  Psychologically I was unwell.  Physically I was frail.  I wasn’t anorexic, I didn’t struggle with an eating disorder.  I was naturally under-weight and extremely sick.  At 16 I was in a car accident that changed me.  I became afraid of everything and everyone.  I sought comfort, in food.  So I ate, and I ate and I ate and soon I was a “healthy” weight.  But still sick.

As I have aged I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food.  There was a time when my diet was almost exclusively ready to eat or heat and serve.  And I was malnourished although I was overweight.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a delicate person.  I have an above average skeleton so I “hide” my weight well.  But I am overweight; I am fat.  You may think you know me, but you don’t.  And you likely won’t ever get to know me because all you see is my size.  Not my heart.

I am an Anglican Priest in a small town.  With my arms I have held those who were in mourning.   I have hugged those who are celebrating.  I have anointed those receiving the sacrament of baptism; and anointed those who have died.  I have written hundreds of pages of homilies, read thousands of prayers, and heard more stories than my heart can hold.  Some of those stories are of triumph and hope; some are of death and despair.  All of them are held sacred.  They are part of me.

I have witnessed people seeing the face of God for the first time.  I have listened as folks poured out their heart and soul, looking for forgiveness which they didn’t feel they deserved.  But they do.  We all do.

To those who feel sorry for me because of my weight, please don’t.  I have no desire to be on the cover of a magazine.  For those who judge me when I order dessert or french fries, go ahead.  Your judgment means nothing to me.

I have a weird relationship with food…I always have and likely I always will.  I struggle with food addiction, but instead of feeling a victim to it, I am re-learning to enjoy food, without guilt or shame.

I walk every day, sometimes more than once a day.  I walk for me, to see the world around me.  I don’t listen to music or compete with besting my time, but instead, I walk to feel the rhythm of my feet on the ground, to feel the rush of air into and out of my lungs.  I walk to strengthen my body.

My hearts desire is to make a difference in the world.  I have the best vocation in the world…to teach people about love.  I live that the best way I can.  And in doing so I am learning to love myself.

So for those of you who cast judgment when you see me; my clothes, my hair, my weight, my diet…go ahead.  I’d rather you cast that venom in my direction, then to someone who isn’t as strong as I am.  You see, your words mean nothing to me, they don’t define who I am.  Only I get to define who I am.  Only God will judge me.  Actually, many will think they can judge me, but only God’s judgment matters to me.

So go ahead, bring your fat shaming.  I know who I am.  I know of what I am capable.  You don’t.  And likely, you never will.

I am Fat Woman, hear me roar!

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I’m not even sure if that is a word…but it is now.  It’s been ages since I last posted and that’s for a variety of reasons.  Since Easter I’ve had a funeral, a wedding, have met with two couples who are getting married.  Spent time in hospital at bedsides, attended meetings, and contracted a devastating 48 hour ‘flu.  Aside from that there’s been not much happening.

This Spring I’ve been overtaken with the need to de-clutter.  I’ve been consumed with the need for open space, for clean shelves, uncluttered tabletops.  In short, everything in it’s place and a place for every thing.  I decided two summers ago to empty the room that was, at one time, my home office.  It became a storage wasteland for all the things that entered the house but didn’t have anywhere to go…so they ended up in that room.

That room is now empty of my stuff.  There’s a growing pile of garbage at the sidewalk in front of the house because this week is the community garbage collection.  There’s broken clothes racks, broken glass, broken chairs…just about everything but broken hearts…

And while there’s been a great deal of space opening in the house, there’s still boxes of things that need to be sorted through…books to be returned to friends or put in the box for the Church Yard sale.  There’s more stuff than space, even though there’s a whole empty room.  Thus, the discombobulation.

In the course of a couple of extremely busy weeks, I reached for Coke Zero, my go-to caffeine kick at Seminary…and in short order I was guzzling a horrifying about each and every day.  I’ve also been eating a great deal of food that is little better than garbage and not drinking nearly enough water.

So last week I decided that I needed to get my unhealthy self back to healthy..

I purchased a Fitbit that tracks my sleep patterns, steps, stairs, water intake, calories in and out. So far I”m using it to track steps, stairs, sleep and water…will work up to the caloric thing eventually.  I know I feel better when I drink water.  I can motivate myself to drink enough with Fitbit.  I”m not competing with anyone or anything but myself…even though that is an option.  I need to spend less time in my head and more time outside, moving my fat ass around.

And while I am learning to love myself, I am in need of health and that will come by caring for as well as loving myself. It’s not about losing weight, although that is something I want to do.  It’s not about scoring points on a chart.  It’s about doing all these little things that will help me to feel better, look better and be better.

If I don’t lose one pound, that will be okay, because I know with more water, more movement, less stress and better eating, I will be healthier.  And my body will thank me for that.

So while the de-cluttering of the house continues, the cleansing of the body begins.  As the garbage goes out and the treasures go to the Yard Sale, I will still and quiet my mind.

I believe it will be then that my discombobulation will begin to lift and I will feel more like myself.

Oh, how I have missed myself…and as soon as I find where I tucked my yoga mat away, that will be another goal realised.

Time to get up and get moving, the administration will wait until later.

Now where’s that water bottle…

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It is true that I am my own worst critic.  I don’t hold anyone to the same standards I hold myself.  The last few days have been unbelievably difficult, and I’m not really sure why.  I am scheduled to undergo laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery (gallbladder) on the 23rd of January.  We have our annual Vestry meeting on the 25th.  I have no idea what kind of reaction I will have to the surgery, so I am attempting to get as many things done, ahead of time, as I can.

This includes putting together the Vestry book.  Organizing baptism meetings, pre-marriage counselling, pre-surgical appointments, pastoral visits and bulletins.  Oh, and there’s writing homilies.  Right now the pile of things I need to do feels overwhelming.  Between that list and the housework, child-care, spousal support, I am having difficulty seeing daylight.  And my  motivation has dissipated…in other words, my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone.

I am beginning to think that my work/life balance is off-balance again.  I haven’t even sat on my yoga mat in weeks.  I am not drinking water like I was doing.  I’m not eating properly.  In short, I’m not caring for myself.  And that’s wrong.

Tomorrow I am meeting a friend for coffee.  I haven’t seen him in years.  This week was his birthday so we are meeting for a birthday-week hot drink.  I’m excited to see him as he always fills my day with light.  I have a list of errands I’ve been putting off all week, mostly due to weather.  So after I see him, I will get my list of things done.  And in the afternoon I will set a list of priorities, and put them in proper order.

Lists and organization soothes me.  I cannot work in chaos.  So I plan, prepare, clean, file, dust, organise, and while I do this I breathe.  I’ve not been breathing properly for awhile.  All shallow breathing.  It’s affecting my sleep patterns and my mental health.

And I have decided that instead of wishing my life away, starting tomorrow, a fresh new day, I am going to put myself higher on my priority list.  Do what is right for me, instead of giving myself what is left.

And while that will mean a trip to the grocery store, which is always an emotional land-mine, I have a list and a plan.  So I’m ahead of the curve already.

Starting tomorrow, I will get it right.

And, exhale.

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As a rule I generally don’t feel compelled to respond to articles I read, but this one made me cringe with every paragraph.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathleen-brooks/being-fat_b_6097544.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

What upset me most was the undertone of self-loathing and helplessness.  It devastates me that people walk by this delightful human being and don’t recognize her humanity.  It’s a basic feeling that everyone needs and deserves…to be recognized for our inherent human dignity.  I am not skinny.  I haven’t been since high school.  I look in the mirror and most days I am comfortable with what I see.  Yes, I’d like to lose weight, but I don’t think weight defines my personhood.

I have called myself fat.  At times I still call myself fat.  And I am fat, by society’s standards.  My mother is underweight, significantly so, and is the first person to notice any weight gain.  It bothers me, but I don’t see her every day so I can usually shake off what she says.

There are times when I get looks from people, but I don’t care.  I know skinny people who have body dysmorphia, the same as me.  I am a food addict and I work at making healthy choices every single day.  Some days are better than others.

But I am more than what the scale tells me.  I am a gifted preacher and pastoral presence.  I connect with people on a spiritual and individual level.  I am an attentive and mindful listener.  I work hard at what I do.  God has blessed me in many ways.

I have curves, I have cellulite, I don’t like having my picture taken because I have not learned (yet) how to smile without looking artificial.  I am not as active as I should be.  I know I should get off my ass and move more than I do.

Yet I refuse to be judged because I cannot shop the petite section of a store and my dress size is in the double-digits.  I like my curves (for the most part).  I like how a dress hugs my hips and shows off my breasts.  I like feeling sexy.  And sometimes I actually do feel sexy.  I don’t think I would if I was as skinny as I was in high school.  Back then, I was built like an ironing board…and ironing boards are not sexy.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud women of all sizes.  I know women who have struggled with  and are currently struggling with eating disorders.

Being fat is not a sin.  While it may be seen as socially unacceptable, so is smoking in public places.  So is child abuse.  So is ignoring the homeless and refusing to see them as anything other than a nuisance and burden on society.

To Kathleen Brooks, know that you are a beautiful and remarkable woman.  Stop projecting what society is saying and making it baggage to carry around.  it is not your burden or cross to bear.  You are a talented, remarkable warrior woman. You have curves and hopes and dreams.  You have lived a remarkable life.  You have an incredible story to share.

Live your life out loud.  Don’t wait for someone else to make it okay.  Please stop putting yourself down.  You have a great life NOW.  You are successful and have survived kidney disease and transplantation!  That is no small feat.  You are woman, learn to roar…and share that roar.  Live your life larger than life.  And live it out loud.

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As a depressive I was shocked and saddened at the death of Robin Williams.  I was disgusted with a lot of the media coverage and especially of the term “commit suicide”.  To use the phrase “commit suicide” is to incur that a crime was committed.  He didn’t break the law.  Robin Williams died from side effects of deep depression.  I read a great deal of articles that talked about how “selfish” he was, because he took his own life.

There is no doubt in my mind that Robin Williams was loved.  He was loved by his wife and family, his co-workers and his fans. The fact that he struggled with depression and addiction all of his adult life meant that he found it difficult to love himself.

What most people don’t understand is that depressives are often great actors.  We force ourselves to clean ourselves up, pull ourselves together and face the world with a smile.  The saddest part of Robin Williams suicide is that he is, in some cases, being vilified after his death.  And that is repugnant.

He suicided, because he could no longer find the strength to pretend.  Chances are, when he made the decision to suicide his behaviour changed.  He appeared to be “better”.  He appeared happier, more like his “old self”.  This happens when someone who has been in such pain for so long has decided how they will escape that pain.  A great burden is released, a weight lifted and there is finally relief.

Some articles suggested that he had it all.  While that may be true, he, most likely, did not feel deserving.  He had an incredible gift; the gift to help people escape the misery of everyday life and laugh.  He knew he was loved by so many people but he could not love himself.

When depression appears it is usually unexpected, and it can feel like staring into a deep, dark precipice.  It can feel like a dark cloud descending, smothering the light and all air.  It can start slowly, like a long, slow dive.  It can be a sudden shock, like a trip, stumble and fall.  Regardless, depression is not something that you can “snap out of” or “think happy thoughts” and be instantly better.

You don’t have to go far to hear platitudes that all we need to do is to love one another.  I am a big believer that love can change the world.  In my heart, I believe that if we each did our part and started from a place of love we would solve many of the world’s conflicts.  Robin Williams was loved.  He loved many people.  Just not himself.

In his case, and in the case of many depressives, when things are bad, at their darkest, it is then that hopelessness takes over.  How can I love my neighbour as myself, when I don’t love myself?  How can I be a Christian when I cannot follow the basic tenet of Jesus?  Sometimes we cannot love ourselves.  And the worst part is, no-one can do it for us.

We do the best we can with the gifts that God has given us.  And occasionally we stumble and fall.  Sometimes we need to stay down for awhile, but we cannot unpack and take up residence there.  At times like this it is imperative to seek help, and yet, it is counterintuitive to reach out because every ounce of energy is being used up staying upright and breathing.

There are days when it feels like the sun will never shine again.  There are times when it feels like you will never smile again.  These are the times when we should reach out and trust, but the disease can be so crippling that it renders us completely immobile.

I believe, in my heart, that Robin Williams is now in paradise.  He is in a place where there is no such thing as depression. He is free of the demons that haunted him and ultimately led him to die.

My prayer is that we who are depressives find the strength, somehow, to reach out when we are hurting.  My prayer is that those who know a depressive will recognise the signs when they are on a downward slope, and reach out.  You don’t have to say anything.  Advice will likely not be heard.  All you can do is be present, listen and remain in the silence.  Words won’t fix depression.  There are treatments, but there is no cure.

If you are reading this and feeling the darkness descend, take a moment and reach out.  Text, email or call a friend.  Tell them you need them.  And they will come.  

If someone reads this and reaches out to you because they are frightened and vulnerable, go to them.  Be calm, be non-anxious, and non-judgmental.  It took an inordinate amount of energy to reach out.  Respect the incredible gift of trust that has been bestowed upon you.  Be prepared for silence…for anger…for frustration.

When someone is hurting, sometimes love does not seem to be enough.  Robin Williams could not love himself enough to stay.  He suicided because he felt there was no point in continuing.  He was not selfish or self-centred.  He was not seeking attention.  He could no longer handle the pain of the disease.  And so he ended it.  The world mourns the loss of a comedic legend.  Please do not let his death be in vain.

If you are someone who struggles with depression, find a person who you trust, that can support you.  When things start to get bad, reach out.  Be open and honest.  And receive the love they will give you with grace.

If you know or love someone who is depressive, learn their cycles and emotional swings.  If you see them struggling, reach out to them.  Be reassuring.  Remind them you love them.  Ask nothing in return.  Sit in silence, become comfortable in that silence.  And know you are not alone in supporting them.  Know that you are loved.  And so are they.  By the one who created us, died for us and loves us unconditionally. God. 

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