The Month of May

I used to think it was all behind me. I truly thought that, but something recently has been telling me that maybe it’s not.

I’m no longer skinny. I’m no longer underweight. I don’t weigh eighty-something pounds anymore. My heart isn’t in critical condition like it was. I no longer refuse to eat. I no longer have an eating disorder. The physical parts are gone, but some of the mental parts have stayed. No, I no longer cry before every meal,  have multiple panic attacks daily, or slit my wrists. I no longer do any of those things, but sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in the days that I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so much better than I was. So, so, so much better than I was. I guess what I’m trying to say is: yes I’m better, but no, I’m not perfect.

I’ve been stressed studying for finals lately, so I decided that skipping lunch would give me more time to study. There’s nothing wrong with this; its normal to skip meals time to time. What made me know something was up came later. I wasn’t skipping meals to lose weight or get skinner, it was for another reason. When I would skip lunch, my stomach would begin to gnaw and churn after a while. I like the feeling because it tells me that nothing is in my stomach, that my stomach is empty… I like it because the feeling of hunger distracts me from the emptiness I feel almost every single day.

Certain things give me flashbacks of what I went through, almost like PTSD in a way. For example, when my father buys a certain brand of sliced turkey. One day, my father had gone to the store. I asked him to buy a specific type of turkey, the turkey with 50 calories per two ounces. When he came back, he had bought a type which had 52 calories. I began to cry, my frail and bony body collapsed and my mother lunged to the floor where I lay, just as scared as I was, and tried to get me up. I wouldn’t move. I just stayed there. I just stayed on the floor sobbing and mumbling the words “I don’t want to live anymore” over and over again. My mom held her thirteen-year-old and dying daughter in her hands. She picked me up carefully and carried me to my bed, where she laid with me and we cried in unison… all of this over turkey. Now, whenever I see this brand of turkey in the fridge, its like that day fills my mind, takes over me, and haunts me. It’s different though, I’m not the girl on the floor anymore. I am a ghost watching in the corner, unable to do anything as I watch my mom and I suffer. As much as I try to reach out to myself and say “i’s okay, it’s going to be okay,” I can’t. As much as I try to get the memory to stop looping in my mind, it continues to replay and replay with more and more detail every loop.  Just like the turkey, there are many more symbols equated with awful memories from my eating disorder. Natural Cafe,the white tank top on the bottom of my dresser,Pressed Juicery, my birthday, King’s Hawaiian Rolls, string cheese, buzz-cuts, and safety pins are just some of the items tied with memories even worse than the one above. Memories that I try to keep locked away for a reason.

I like to pretend like it’s behind me, but deep down I know it’s not. I honestly don’t think it will ever be. I’m not saying that I am in danger in any way shape or form if going back to how I used to be. All I am saying is (in honor of mental health awareness month) it’s okay to not be 100% okay.

Photo Credit: RSS-insurance.com

 

Advertisements

Write to write, you know? (w.v. II)

I think I should stop trying to be eloquent and just try to be authentic. The words will come on their own.

I’ll write just to write, you know?

I love talking. I love that I can talk to people so easily most of the time. But, sometimes, I hate it too, because we all just say the same things over and over and over every time. It gets boring.

Image via Pinterest.com

And I find myself saying over and over that I want to go somewhere far away from here. I want to go everywhere that is not here and stay there for a very long time.

And I find myself saying over and over that I would never love anyone like that.

And I know I love you! But sometimes I also just hate you! I love that you are open and introspective and so sure of yourself, but sometimes I wish you would just shut up!

But, I do like that you write about it all. I didn’t know that before. I think that’s the one thing you do without over-thinking and without trying to so hard to look like you aren’t trying.

I just want to be authentic.

Coffee

I like coffee now. I used to always think it tasted like fancy dirt water, no matter how much milk and sugar I’d put in it.

But, I really like it now. I like the deep, bitter taste of it and I especially like the smell of it.

I’m starting to like a lot of those things that I used to consider “adult things”. I like watching the news or reading articles on whether or not organic eggs are better than regular eggs. I like having red wine with my dinner (only when I’m in Germany, I promise). I like waking up early on the weekends, to get as much out of my day as possible, and even take in a pastel sunrise once in a while.

Photo Credit: lovethispic.com

I guess I’ve waited for this period in my life for a long time now. I always imagined that when I’d graduate, I’d essentially be an adult. I’d be mature and responsible. I’d be a little taller at least and my skin would have cleared up and I would know how to do taxes.

Truth is, I’m still getting there. Maybe I won’t grow any taller and maybe I’ll need to work on my maturity a bit, but I’m on the right track. I’m transitioning, I guess.

All this is what I’ve been waiting for, and it’s exciting. But, I like coffee now and it makes me sad, because I realize that, soon, I won’t be able to be a kid anymore.

The story of kale, tangerines, and the realizations I made.

I ate a piece of kale the other day.

It was growing in a garden box at school, so I pulled a leaf off of the plant and ate it.

It was a nice, sturdy piece of kale. It tasted pretty good. I continued munching on it as I walked over to the baseball field.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Kale can be a nice snack, if you’re into dark leafy greens. But, as many experienced plant-eaters know, raw kale is quite tough to chew.

My jaws were getting a little bit tired, so I switched over to eating a different leaf that I had also picked from the garden box. I’m not sure what plant this was, but it was softer and sweeter than the kale.

As I was chewing, I twirled the piece between my thumb and my pointer finger.

I started to study the leaves. The kale was dark and rough. It was much more aggressively textured than the other leaf.

It was at that moment when I stopped chewing, for I noticed dozens of very tiny, white bugs all along the sides of the leaves.

I swallowed my bite, then tossed the remnants of my half-eaten leaves aside. I decided not to dwell on it too much, because I didn’t want the thought of the bugs to take away from the otherwise positive experience I had eating them.

(I would like to apologize to the innocent lives I took that day. I didn’t thoroughly inspect the leaves before eating them, and that was selfish of me. To the bugs that once inhabited the kale: I am sorry.)

On a completely unrelated note, this morning my parents and I went out to our tangerine trees. It was time to prune them. After about an hour of picking fruit and chopping branches, my dad said to me: “This is a chore that very few other people your age have to do, but you have to remember that it just makes you more cosmopolitan.”

Though I didn’t really enjoy being outside when it was 40 degrees, I did find comfort in the fact that our work would provide more fruit for us next season.

I never realized it before, but I am so thankful that I know how to take care of citrus trees.

I live in a place where I am fortunate enough to grow my own food. I take that for granted.

I hope that I will always have this luxury, bugs and all.

The First Time I Saw My Father Cry

Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders

Photo Credit: tearsforfears.com

My dad always seemed to find a way to stay strong. During hard times, he remains tough and tells me it’s going to be okay. The day he found out he had a blocked artery and needed heart surgery, the day my grandfather died,  the day my mom got hurt and had to go to the hospital, and the day his favorite pet died, he never cried. It’s not that it wasn’t hard for him, it all was. The reason he didn’t cry was because he always wanted me to know that it was okay, that it was all going to be okay. He stays strong because he hopes that no matter how bad the situation, we will find a way out of it. My dad doesn’t cry because he wants me to think that everything is going to be okay.

The outline of all my ribs were visible, even through the tank top I wore. My hip bones stuck out and created a visible lines in the XS leggings I wore which were still too big. You could see my spine through my shirt and my tail bones were visible too. There were bruises on my back from laying down, my bones would cause purple and blue marks to form on the skin covering them. My jaw had become sharp and it looked as if my cheeks went inward. My collarbones practically popped out of my skin and my sternum was defined and visible. If I lifted up my shirt,  my deteriorating heart beating slowly through my chest was easily seen.

About a month before the day listed above was the day when I had officially been diagnosed. We had known something was up for a while. The cutting out of food groups; skipping meals; weighing myself at least twice a day; crying before, during, and after eating; the fact that all my clothes now fit loosely; my low energy level; and much more made my parents suspect something wasn’t right. But, today, a professional had given the thing controlling their daughter an official name: anorexia nervosa . That same day, the result from my EKG came in, my heart rate was dangerously low and we were called in the doctor’s office immediately. As soon as I walked in, she put a device on my finger that revealed my heart rate: 38 beats per minute. Due to all the weight I had lost, and the fact that I had been depriving myself of the calories I needed, my body started to break down the muscles in my vital organs in order to  receive the energy needed to survive day-to-day life.

My heart was the main victim of this.  The doctor told me that I needed to stop water polo and all exercise until my heart rate was normal. Water polo was what made me happy: it was my identity, my passion, my motivation to get better, and my dad knew this. I had never cried so hard in my life. After five minutes of me in tears, my mom broke down too, but my dad stayed strong and comforted the both of us. She then told my parents about the hospitalization programs she recommended for me. I cried on the drive home and for hours when we were home, I cried and cried and cried. As I lay alone in bed that night, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t sleep. My plan was to go to wake up my dad and ask him to be with me, I felt bad about waking him up, but I didn’t know what I would do without him right now. I knew if I woke up my mom, she would start to sob too. It was hard enough dealing with the pain I brought upon myself, I couldn’t manage to see the pain I inflicted on her. I wanted, no, I needed him to tell me that I was strong, tell me that I could get through this, tell me that everything was going to be okay. I walked into their room and used my phone for light, but to my surprise he wasn’t there. I walked back to the hallway and looked at the shut office door with light coming from underneath it. Maybe he wasn’t tired and decided to do some work. That thought made me feel better because then I wouldn’t be waking him up, but as soon as I opened the door, my heart already-failing heart felt like it had stopped working completely. There was my dad: eyes red, cheeks stained. He sat on the floor holding a tissue wet with tears. This was the first time in my thirteen years alive that I had seen my dad cry.

Breaking News

Photo Credit: foodandwine.com

The icecaps are melting. Human green house gas emissions have grown 80% since 1970. On average, annually, a women makes eleven thousand dollars and men make twenty-one thousand. A headless chicken named Mike lived for eighteen months after its head was cut off. Toilet paper kills 27,000 trees daily.  By 2050, one million species of animals will be extinct.  But, the problem dominating the internet (not), bringing major social uprising (sarcasm), and (said ironically) causing riots around the world: non-dairy drinks being called milk. *GASP*

Dairy farms protest dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, cashew, and coconut being called milk.  This issue has been taken to congress and brought up with the FDA. It is rumored that the FDA will ban the use of “milk” in the title of non-dairy beverages.

Let’s be real here. There are MUCH bigger problems facing our earth today. People, sit down, pour a nice big glass of almond milk, and email congress or the FDA to say “START DOING SOMETHING NECESSARY WITH YOUR AUTHORITY!”

NYC Memories

Contrasting the small, quaint towns where I’ve grown up in California, New York City was a breath of fresh, exciting air with life awaiting at the end of every corner walked.

My first night in New York was magical. I arrived around 10 at night, and looking out the window I was in awe of all the city lights illuminated in the distance. I couldn’t see all of them yet, but I knew they’d be tall and magical.

The cab ride was no different. With the hood of the roof of the taxi cab rolled back, I felt small as I saw the bright city lights tower over me, skyscraper after skyscraper appeared for the whole hour of driving until we arrived at our Airbnb in Greenwich Village.

At 12:30 we finally headed outside for dinner, and every restaurant was open. At TWELVE THIRTY at night, every restaurant was open, while in Santa Barbara anywhere but a bar is usually closed by 10 pm at the latest. You’re lucky if anything is open in LA.

But New York City is just filled with amazing life and even more amazing food. Every single restaurant I went to had artichokes, and I love artichokes. It’d be a miracle if I found them at a restaurant excluding Sea Fresh and Cheesecake Factory in California.

But that’s just one food item. We ate at a different restaurant every single night. From small vintage American diners playing 2000’s throwbacks to luxurious, high-end Italian restaurants or steakhouses, every place was delicious.

But one place that sticks out in my mind is BlackTap. The small, bar-seated burger place only fit thirteen people. The place had an hour long line, but when we refused to wait and came back a calmer day, we finally understood why the place was so popular. The food was phenomenal, but the true wow factor of the place was their milkshakes.

Photo Credit: thebrunchboys.com

The milkshakes were insane. From cookies supreme to the birthday shake, these shakes towered over the cups they were put in with overdoses of sugar and sweetness. I had a cookies & cream shake which left me in a sugar coma for the rest of the day.

Though most of my memories of NYC occurred in a restaurant, there are so many more that they’d be difficult to count on my fingers and toes, but I’ll name a few.

The Saturday after we arrived, I eagerly ran over to Washington Square Park from the place I was staying to participate in a massive pillow fight on National Pillow Fight Day. Hundreds of people piled into the park with pillows in their hands and grins on their faces in a fight to the “death” in a friendly, but intense, pillow fight. It was one of the purest experiences I ever had the privilege to take part in. Feathers exploded into the air, laughter silenced the playful screams, and pillows were thrown.

I did many more things in New York City. I walked around the city so much that my feet had blisters that hurt to the point that I’m still limping now (it was worth it), I visited three universities and absolutely fell in love with NYU, and I explored every inch of Times Square. However, by far my favorite were the three broadway shows I went to.

First I went to the Book of Mormon. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I didn’t listen to the soundtrack prior to going, but the performance exceeded my expectations. First, it was the most hilarious show I had ever been to. It was completely satirical about the Mormon faith, but it was executed perfectly with amazing acting, and catchy songs that are still stuck in my head. However, the musical is highly offensive so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone highly religious or offended easily by extreme stereotypes, but it’s definitely worth paying the money to go see.

The day after I went to go see Kinky Boots. The night before I had a midlife crisis because my NYU tour and Kinky Boots show were planned at the same time. I shouldn’t be melodramatic, but when my aunt told me that they’d just go see Kinky Boots without me, I almost died. I had been excited about that show for months, and I had been dying to go see it since Brendon Urie starred in it. Thankfully, we were able to exchange our tickets for the night performance and I was able to experience the magic of Kinky Boots. I had heard nothing but positive reviews, and when I went to the show I left happier than ever. It was original, unique, and just saying, those men walk better in six inch heels than I ever will.

Photo Credit: thegreenspace.org

Completely last minute, my Aunt and I headed into Times Square and snatched last minute seats to The Lion King. Somehow ending up in the seventh row of the center orchestra, I was ready for three hours to experience one of the most iconic shows on Broadway. I was shocked how much effort was put into the show. The costume design was crazy. I didn’t know where to look during the opening number when people dressed head to toe in animal costumes walked down the aisles singing the Circle of Life while walking onto the stage. Everything about all these shows was amazing.

I could go on about my trip in New York for hours, but this is just a glimpse of it, and I am dying to be back there soon.