I had to explain gay marriage to my son. it was traumatic.

This past weekend our lovely Cousin Gregory got hitched. Well, he’s not really my cousin, he’s my friend K’s cousin but you know when you meet people and you just all adopt one another? That.

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Anyway Cousin Gregory found true love and decided to get married and so we all planned on putting on our Sunday best and attending. I figured Max might have some questions about weddings in general, much less a same-sex wedding so I told him “we’re going to cousin Gregory’s wedding to Edoardo on Sunday, what tie would you like to wear?” Because I believe in hitting the issues that are really important head on. And choice of tie is major. Max has actually attended a same-sex marriage before, but he was little. He remembers seeing Danny and Tim and dancing and going to the beach, but the significance of the wedding itself has faded in his memory. He said “Cousin Gregory is marrying a man?”  ”yes.” I responded ready to field any and all questions.

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Many years ago Sister Dub’s mother got re-married and I overheard a mom explaining to her little girl what a wedding was. And I tucked it into my brain thinking that’s perfect, I am remembering that for when I tell my kids!
She said “sometimes a man and a woman fall in love and decide they want to be together forever so they get married. Sometimes a man and a man fall in love and decide they want to be together forever so they get married. Sometimes a woman and a woman fall in love and decide they want to be together forever so they get married. The wedding is the ceremony where they do that!” The little girl twirled around in her pretty dress admiring her sparkly shoes she got just for the occasion and said “cool!”

So here I was all ready to roll out that oh-so-perfect talk, I mean I am already patting myself on the back for handling any questions he may have so beautifully, when Max turns to his father and says “Daddy! I’ve just learned that a man can marry a man! Cousin Gregory is marrying his boyfriend Edoardo and we are going. Dress up!” then he looks to me his face filled with concern, I can see the wheels turning in his brain and I think here it is, he’s going to ask some tough questions. And he did.

“So, will there still be cake?”

Clearly the concept was very traumatic. The concept of no cake, that is.

Congratulations Gregory and Edoardo! May your marriage be filled with love, laughter and kindness!

P.S. there was cake. Nothing to worry about. Same sex marriages are just the same as straight. WHEW!

Bonus: this is Max throwing a fit because he wants to be in the family pictures. That’s not a peace sign, he’s counting me down.

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On parenting wins.

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If there is one thing that can rock your confidence and self esteem to the core it is motherhood. Probably fatherhood too, but as I’m a mother I am just gonna go with my personal mom experience which seems well backed up by millions of tweets, blogs, and Facebook status updates stating similar feelings.

It’s just that these small, precious, beings are so intricate and you never know when you’re going to say something innocent and THAT’S what they’ll hold on to, either good or bad. And you can have a stellar day filled with lots of fun and then make them bathe at the end of it and suddenly there are tears and this is ‘the worst day EVER!’ I don’t take those wails of injustice to heart of course, but sometimes there does seem to be an ever present feeling of I just cant do enough, and I am certainly failing someone in some way at all times.

But last night- last night I nailed this parenting thing to the WALL you guys, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt because Max sought me out and told me.  This morning he came up and took my hand and looked up into my eyes and told me.  If there is a mom equivalent of a Touch Down Dance, my heart did it.

Last night he was frightened. My sweet boy has panic attacks. There. I said it. And last night we snuggled up for sleep and his breathing quickened and I could tell it was happening. I snuggled him tight and told him “you know this has happened to me too. You’re just laying there and then suddenly you’re really scared and feeling panicky.” He nodded. “Your heart is beating really fast and you can’t breathe.” a very quiet “yes” came from him. I stroked his hair and gently rubbed his back and reassured him that he was okay. I told him what I do is to really look at where I am and what’s happening. He was in bed. He was with Mommy. He is safe. We decided we could shake our heads really hard to shake the bad thoughts out and then we could sing a song to make us feel better. We chose Here Comes The Sun.

It’s alright.

His breathing slowed, he relaxed in my arms and before I knew it he flipped over and fell into a deep sleep, keeping one hand on my arm.

Sometimes these happen as we are falling asleep, sometimes in the middle of the night and they are full blown. I am extra sensitive to it having been through postpartum anxiety. I now know the only thing worse than going through them myself is watching my little one have one. And last night wasn’t a big fix for a big issue, it was a little one. But it worked He is such a big strong KID now, but he’s not even six and that is still so little. Such a treasure to be protected.

Then this morning he took my hand and asked me if we could do that again. It made him feel safe and not alone,  and he really liked that.

And I said yes.

Gwynnie’s feeling bad, and we feel so good. And is that okay?

Seriously, doesn’t everyone lounge like this? Gorgeous.

Disclaimer: Before we begin let’s all just state that no one is happy a young family broke up. No one is thrilling that Apple and Moses’ mommy and daddy are Counciously Uncoupling.

Oh Gwynneth. How I love to hate you. Or just hate you. I am not so sure which it is. I was never a fan, but I was never a hater until that fateful day I caught an episode of Spain…on the Road Again and you were having a fit about being filmed from the side because of your “big Jewish nose.”

I’m sorry, what? Okay, first of all…You’re a gorgeous movie star. Second you are like the poster girl for WASP life with your Spence education, your ultra blond hair and your sunkist freckes across your…big Jewish nose? Let’s not even delve into the rest of the ways that could be offensive.

Not to mention GOOP’s rife with fantabulous out of touch-ness. Which I frequently check out. Why yes, I DO need a $20,000 pizza oven and you’re right! This truffle oil is not a want it is in fact, a necessity. And of course I my babies need these over a thousand dollar cashmere blankies. Organic cotton is for the riff raff, am I right?

Why does she make it so easy to mock her? She’s so out of touch she is out of touch with out of touch people. Even *Mitt Romney is like “girlfriend is out of touch”

I started writing about the simple douchery of “councious uncoupling’ but then a million posts hit the internet and each one of them was more brilliant than anything I could come up with. But then she went and gave a whole soliloquy on how much easier it is to be a regular old working mom in an office than it is to be a millionare movie star, who incidentally grew up the child of millionare movie stars. By all counts this seems to have been a loving and involved family, nary a tale of Hollywood neglect, so she was raised with love and money which is something we all aspire to raise our children with, right?

“I am who I am. I can’t pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year.” GP 

Now, I am an ex-actress certainly not of Gwyneth’s success. A couple of Indie films and a bunch of commercials does not a Gwynneth make! But I’ve been on set my fair share and I’ve worked on sets with BIG STARS like Gwynnie, and let me tell you a touch about what that there entails. Yes. Long hours. It’s true, SAG states that Gwynnie can only work 12 hours a day, she is given big breaks AND if she goes over there are many, many, many penalties the production company must pay. Gwynneth’s work schedule is highly monitored and it costs a LOT of money if they go over her allotted time. Then there are required days off etc. Plus a 12 hour turnaround. That’s to say that if she is scheduled to start the next work day at 9 am but they don’t finish till 11 at night the night before her start is then pushed to 11 am. That’s not to say that being on set and working as an actor isn’t hard work at times, but it is also a great deal of fun and the second someone calls CUT she’s getting a drink and a re-make up. (It can also be a maelstrom of egos, tension and tantrums. Which I have experienced both on sets and in an office. It can be a tough gig.) If there’s a light set up or a resetting of camera postiton, which can indeed take time, she is off to her MoHo (motor home) or dressing room, depending on location or studio shoot. It’s good to note that the crew shows up before she gets there and stays till after she leaves I don’t believe they get penalty money and I know they don’t get any 12 hour turn around! . And the crew works hard, you guys.  I once worked on a set with Robin Williams who every day they went over played trivia games with the crew and passed out every dime of his penalty money. Now I am not shaming Gwynneth for not doing as Williams did, she very well may do that, but he knew and acknowleged that even on the set his job was tough, but it was also a constant catering too. And YES he brings the $ in, as does she, but there’s knowing your position and being gracious about it, and then there’s knowing your position and insisting that your life is harder than everyone else.

Let’s discuss the meals…the best meal I EVER had was on a set. And I was not Gwynneth. Make no mistake her meals are made to order, to specialty and served hot in her trailer or dressing room which features some sort of yoga or pilates equipment or treadmill, a big old couch, satellite tv.

How many times have you had your work fly you and your family on a private jet to work? How many times have you had on set child care? Have they built you a personalized nursery at your office? Because they have for Gwynneth. She doesn’t worry about missing work for a sniffly nose. No, they will rearrange the filming schedule if need be but more likely the best pediatrician in the area will be brought on and everyone will be given B12 shots ‘just to be safe’. And if she does leave her children behind they are in the greatest care, the greatest schools and fly to visit whenever they can. Sure, it sucks being away from your kids, but she’s not worrying about them at home without her being latch key kids. I mean her French and Spanish Nannies are doing okay on the child care front.

“She’s French, so she’s teaching them French, and their previous nanny was Spanish, so they’re fluent in Spanish.”

I don’t begrudge her her success, I don’t. Not the success she was born into nor the success she has cultivated for herself.  But sister, don’t try to pull of the one of the gals attitude when say things like “I’d rather kill myself than let my kids eat cup o’ soup” when some moms are working at those dreadful, horrible, office jobs, working long hours frequently for not enough pay just to buy things like ramen noodles for their kids. And certainly don’t say crap like : “I don’t want to be rich and I don’t want to be famous.” Gwynnie, you were born rich but you chose a profession and cultivated fame, the daughter of the gorgeous and talented Blythe Danner and Bruce Paltrow. And that’s okay. Just own it! I have to give her credit that she took the opportunities afforded her seriously, she works hard as an actress. But her sky has always been the most cereluean blue and it’s never occurred to her it could be any other color for anyone else.

Next time Gwynneth, if you’re going to talk about any sort of which mom has it harder topic just say this: It’s hard. Being a mother is hard. No matter what you have or do you always worry it’s not right or enough, because these little people are the most precious beings we’ve ever met and they depend on us. Then call Jen Garner and Gwen Stefani and ask them to lunch. At a kid friendly restaurant and just relax.

But you guys, I have a confession. Even after all of this  I can’t help but want to hang out with her, because she is batcrap crazy out of touch but that is her actual reality! And you guys? I just want to see that for five minutes. Like a unicorn that can talk and say stupid shit.

And I am okay with feeling good about that. Plus I just scored super cute flats at Target. And Gwynneth may never know that thrill.

*I made that up about Mitt Romney. Thus far he has made no official statement about Gwynneth Paltrow.

The World Does Not Owe Us Spoiler Alerts.

photo ABC, obviously. damn she is gorgeous.

Last night I fell asleep at 8:30 p.m. And that is because I am super rad. OR that I am 6 months pregnant and have an almost 3 year old who is just SO THREE (looking at you Hucklberry.) Either way, I missed Scandal. I know, right? 

Now, I have opinions on spoilers, and it’s not a very popular one. And I walk the walk. I missed Scandal and yet I do not expect the entire world to not talk, FB or tweet about Scandal to save my sad sleepy self a spoiler. What makes MY enjoyment of the show more important than yours? Nothing. What makes the West Coast’s more important than the East? Nothing. If I miss the show, I miss the show. You should still get to talk about it!

We talk  a lot about personal responsibility in this country and yet here is a situation where I see people skewering, viciously eviscerating people on social media over…no, not gun control, or clean water or the war against women, but a tv show.

I’ll never mock TV, I made a living in it for years and I love it and social media and tv and escapism is a human need and has been around since Eve ate that apple, or whatever you believe. We day-dream, we read, we watch movies and tv and we play video games because life is freaking rough and we need an escape and when our escapes are thwarted man do we freak.

I have my own rules for spoilers, and they are this:

Twitter: all bets are off. Twitter is real-time. Don’t want to know, don’t sign on. There are only 140 characters per tweet and it moves at the speed of light. I’m going to tweet the hell out of Scandal along with 2 million other people and that’s it. networks are encouraging this because it is a global living room. My kids may be asleep and my husband not home but I can still turn to you and say DAMN DID YOU SEE THAT???

FACEBOOK: I will always try to be polite on FB, I have a LOT of West Coast friends and if I really feel like I need say something on FB I will make my status something  like “Who’s seen Scandal? LETS TALK IN COMMENTS.” (That hasn’t prevented people who haven’t seen it from clicking and THEN getting pissed that they saw a spoiler and to that I say NO. You click, you see, your fault.) That being said once it has aired in all time zones all bets are off.  I don’t do a lot of TV talk on FB but if I see something after it’s aired oh well.

The onus is on US, not the rest of the world. And yeah that sucks to have to stay off twitter, sometimes twitter is the only adult conversation I get in a day! (slight exaggeration, but you SAHM’s know what I am talking about)

So I missed Scandal last night. And I know what happened because the world didn’t stop. There are a lot of injustices in this world, Relisha Rudd was missing for 3 weeks before she was even reported missing. And that barely made national news.That’s an injustice.  Someone dies on the Good Wife and it’s on the Today Show. That just sucks we know what happened before we saw it. Cause I dvr’d that hist but DUDE what a plot twist. How could people NOT talk about that?

I’m not saying tv isn’t important and we don’t love it…but man. So don’t worry about telling me that Titanic sinks, Apollo 13 makes it back to earth, that they were dead the whole time (or were they?) on LOST or that Ross and Rachel end up together. The world keeps going even if I pass out at 8:30.

Because I am RAD.

Preparing for Baby #3

A girl. I still can’t believe it. Just when I had my head wrapped around being a boy mom, a little pink bundle is headed our way in 18 weeks or so.

We are preparing. Biggest thing? Get Huckleberry ready. But I think he is going to be okay…

I’m nervous about a girl. I want to raise her to be strong and confident, but the thought of junior high mean girls gives me hives. I asked Zach “are you ready for a girl?”

He responded. “Absolutlutely. You wipe front to back, NEVER back to front.”

 

P.S. despite the boy’s insistance, Zach and I remain unconvinced that we should actually name her Baby Honey.

 

Words to live by, and a reminder to me to take it one step at a time.

 

The sweetest hurt.

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While we were at Graceland Max asked for a penny to toss in the fountain. He put it to his lips, whispered his wish and let it go.

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Of course I asked him what was his wish, and he emphatically told me duh! I can’t tell you or it won’t come true!  But later at dinner he told me he wished everyone would be nice to him. He just  wanted everyone to be nice.

Me too. Why can’t we just wrap them up and protect them forever? My sweet, kind, darling boy. I hope everyone is always nice too.

Recovery, the road is long…

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The thing about the eating disordered is we are crafty, tricky and resourceful. We can be charming and say the right things- gaining just the right amount of weight for us to be believed and released. Time and again. Catch and release. Catch and release.

My high over my measurements faded fast as I was in a therapy group with the only other ED patient, an eating disorder rock star- an anorexic. She could fly away I thought. EZT wasn’t helping her, her hair shorn short, she  folded in every chair and I stared with envy. She was pure, strong. I was not. I was weak. I was a slave to bulimia. She transcended while I was pulled under. I sat engrossed as she hid her hands in long sweatshirt sleeves and cried numb tears in group. I’ve often wondered whether she recovered or like so many of us, she floated away. She was there before me and I left her there, when I charmed my way out.

My boyfriend came to fetch me and we jokingly acted like we had busted me out, an escape and when we burst into my apartment my roommates laughed and laughed. I was welcomed back to school with open arms. No better, but everyone was placated.

It was another year and a half before I really got help. My mother had found a doctor  near where she lived and he was making great strides in curing eating disorders. There was another emergency room trip, another ‘heart incident’ and then finally my boyfriend packed me up again and we drove from Pasadena to Colorado where I was delivered into the arms of Dr. W who after a complete physical and interview declared that in 2 years I would either be recovered or I would be dead. Those were the only options and it was entirely up to me.

I am not sure where after over 10 years of constantly trying to destroy myself this sense of self preservation roared awake but it did. So we began the long and terrifying journey back to health. I resisted drugs for a long time, Dr W. was not the first to suggest them- but I had always resisted.  I didn’t want my personality to change (lovely though it was, I am sure) he patiently explained exactly what they did and why and with that I acquiesced and agreed to it. Prozac in extremely high doses can cause not just appetite loss but the utter destruction of the interest in eating at all and so it was prescribed to me, and many other bulimics to curb the binge urge. I will state right here that I would never have been able to conquer this without the assistance of drug therapy. Once we had that under control the next thing was to teach my body to process foods again. This was a slow start. I drank ensure. The moment a drop of it hit my stomach lining I felt myself grow larger, fatter, worse. Sometimes it would come right back up, my body unable to keep anything down now. But eventually I learned to count and breathe until the panic subsided and the nutrients were absorbed. I was not allowed a scale, I was not allowed form fitting clothes but I knew I was gaining. At the same time once my brain had some nourishment I felt…better? Stronger? Hopeful?

Every day was a struggle. Those first few months and everything was a victory. My body had not processed food from the begginning to the end in years. It had to relearn what we are born knowing. Food digestion, absorption and elimination were all victories.

And yet it was bittersweet. My eating disorder had been my constant companion for years, a sort of invisible parrot sitting on my shoulder guiding me through everything. How could I live without it? I missed it. Terribly.

Eventually I ate actual food. Eventually I stopped panicking the moment it slid down my now not bloody throat. Eventually I stopped even thinking about it. Eventually after a long time I was declared ‘cured’.

I relapsed. Of course, we almost always do. Instead of shaming me my doctor said the most empowering thing and now I share it with you. He said before you couldn’t go 30 minutes without it. Now you’ve gone two months, three months, a year. You know you can do it. So you did it once, that doesn’t mean you do it again. Next time it will be two years before you maybe relapse. Maybe three, four or never. Think of your victories, you’ve won the war…this was a tiny skirmish. 

He was right. I’ve been cured for many years now and I haven’t relapsed. I can look at myself in the mirror and know I don’t see myself accurately. I can accept that and move on. I have had two healthy pregnancies with severe morning sickness and and am in the middle of my third vomiting almost non-stop for the first four months…and yet I don’t relapse. I am able to accept my body growing and changing and yes, getting bigger and yet not go back.

I will never go back.

I may still have some disordered thinking, don’t we all, but I am stronger than those thoughts.

If you or someone you love is struggling please contact NEDA  to find a good doctor or therapy program. This is the toughest war you’ll ever fight, but I promise you it’s worth it.

 

Read the rest in this series; part one  part two and part three.

Thinner Still..

photo by Jenna Connell

photo by Jenna Connell

I remained undetected for years. Or rather I thought I did. I’m sure many people knew but did nothing and that’s fine, it’s not their job and honestly we were just trying to navigate our teens and twenties as best we could. No one confronted me and the one time I spoke out, asking for help  it went unanswered. I just think no one knew what to do at that time.

Teachers pulled me aside to ask if I needed help or money because I was so thin they wanted to make sure I had enough to eat. I took their money and ate and threw up. Yet another mark in the I was a horrible person column I thought. I added ‘cheaper’ to my prayers at night still asking for anorexia to be blessed upon me.

I was being fitted for a costume at school, the costumer measured everything as he was going to build my costume. Shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to hip, shoulder to elbow, waist, head for a hat.

He paused and measure waist and head again. Then again. Stephanie, your waist in smaller than your head! You’re too thin! All I heard was my waist was smaller than my head. Over and over like it was the best compliment  I had ever gotten. Like I’d won the gold medal in thin. Shortly thereafter I was called into the head of the school’s office. I was informed that they thought I had a problem and needed help. Help! My waist was smaller than my head! I needed no help! Despite the fact that earlier in the year an ambulance had to be called to take me to the hospital as I passed out in the snack room, a small ‘heart incident’ that I passed off as food poisoning, it was the measurements of my body that both thrilled me-spurring me further but also betraying me and giving me away. My protestations about exams and end of year activities fell on deaf ears. Go to the hospital or don’t come back to school.

My boyfriend at the time drove me. Weeks earlier he had happened to show up at my apartment mid binge. I cried and begged and he left so I could throw up. I can’t imagine what that was like for him to catch me, stomach distended and red, eyes wild and so very, very desperate. He came and quietly collected me and dove me to the Pasadena hospital with a Spanish name and beautiful architecture to match. It had no dedicated ED program, it was too soon for that, and so I was to be in the middle of many different kinds of illness.

He wanted to stay with me, go with me all the way to my room but of course they wouldn’t let him. I got one phone call a day and I promised to call him. I sat in a cold small room with a secretary who asked a million hard questions and stared at the words stamped in red at the top of my chart. BULIMIC MUST BE WATCHED AT ALL TIMES. I felt the panic rising, my mind reeling, being watched meant I had no control- none. Could I still leave? I wanted to scream that I changed my mind. But I sat paralyzed and stuck to that chair answering each question like a robot.

After the intake interview came the physical. The cot was cold and hard and a nurse who placed cold stethoscope on my chest then took my blood pressure. Low. I placed my hand on my stomach and felt the comforting thump of my pulse there. The deep gully between my hipbones emphasized by the bridge my jean waistband made reassured me. “you’re so cute!” the nurse said. “I love your belly button ring. You’re so tiny” she said “you’ll have to tell me your secret!”

I was 82 pounds and my chart said BULIMIC. I smiled, because I knew then I could outsmart them.

 

More tomorrow. Thank you for reading and again, if you suffer or know anyone who needs help please contact NEDA you can beat this and you can, and will have a life.

Read the rest in this series; part one  part two and the conclusion.

And Thinner

 

Even now, cured, I still pick photos that make me look thin. It's the angle of the camera, but my legs look thin. Eating Disorders always leave residuals that stay with us always.

Even now cured, I still pick photos that make me look thin. It’s the angle of the camera, but my legs look thin. Eating Disorders leave residuals that stay with us always.

The pressure behind my eyes was so intense I truly thought they might explode. My stomach flexed and emptied the last of it’s contents. I was fourteen. It was the first time I had made myself vomit.

I switched from a private school to public at the beginning of fifth grade and quickly felt the disapproving stares of the more worldly girls. My lunchroom plate of the given portions was suddenly a glutton’s feast and I more often than not tossed all of it in the trash. I existed on grapes and diet soda. I’d eat at home where no one could see, I thought.

Junior High was worse. A minefield of girl cruelty. Curled up in the library I devoured a book about a young girl, a ballet dancer like I was, who had anorexia. I wanted to be her and I was failing miserably. At 14 my ballet career was at best pathetic. I took the bus faithfully to Boulder Ballet Ensemble three times a week and danced to the tinny piano sounds that Tom’s Tavern below drove out with loud CCR on the jukebox. I had a crooked spine and very little drive and determination. I spent my time in class daydreaming about the stage rather than really working to make it happen.

That same lack of drive and determination made me a failure at anorexia as well. Sooner rather than later I would fail, overwhelmed by the desire to eat and I would inhale a pizza. “look at her go!” parents would say and my face would flush with shame. So it was in that same book with the beautiful anorexic dancer I desperately wanted to be there happened to be a bulimic girl. An electric shock flooded my body. I could get rid of it! All of it!

The feeling of fat and shame was quickly replaced with a high of ridding myself of all that punishment. But like all highs the time between needing to experience them gets closer and closer and closer until you lose quality of life and  in many cases- nearly my case,  life.

At 17 I lounged in a borrowed room, my mother having moved to San Francisco for a job,  watching Oprah and splurging on Yoplait lemon yogurt and 5 saltines. I wouldn’t keep them, but it was still a splurge. I distantly heard a girl on the set tell Oprah she had been busted because of the tell tale bruises on her hand. Those of her two front teeth being repeatedly pushed into them as she forced the food up and out. I looked down. There they were, two bruises. I’d never thought about them, but there they were two purple tooth marks with aging bruises circling them never given a proper chance to heal. I heard her say that was when I started using the handle of my toothbrush. Oprah’s voice distantly echoed now I don’t want anyone thinking that’s a good idea!

I was already in the bathroom. That was when I learned there were tricks to bulimia, tricks of the trade.

Later my rituals were so streamlined I needed nothing. I could simply lean over and let go. I may have failed at anorexia,(Still I prayed every night God would gift me with it and take away bulimia) but I was a damn good bulimic.

More tomorrow.

Read the rest in this series; part one  part three and the conclusion.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder please contact NationalEatingDisorders.org you’re not alone. Know that you can beat this and you can and will have a life.

 

Thinner.

 

photo by Kevin McIntyre

photo by Kevin McIntyre

I don’t usually participate in the National Whatever Weeks…mostly because as a really troubled kid I sort of collected these things. You have one,  you have a few. National Daddy Issues Week. National Sexual Assault Awareness Week. National Too Pale To Go To The Beach week.  But I’m pregnant with a daughter. A  girl and honestly I am a little terrified about doing right by her. This has made me think, really think about how I turned everything inward, how everything became about fat and shame and how I almost died from the disease. Nothing else killed me. Not cutting, not putting myself in dangerous situations, none of it. The only thing that almost did me in is the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. Eating Disorders.  It’s Eating Disorder Awareness and week and I feel like we’re all pretty damn aware. But what I ponder is how to prevent…it wasn’t just pretty skinny models that I knew I could never be. It wasn’t just my mother’s incessant dieting, always striving to lose those last ten pounds and be happy. It wasn’t just one thing…and it certainly wasn’t one obvious thing. How did I make the connection between being thin and being worthy? How did every bump or bubble of flesh become bad, become shame?

I was a skinny kid. I was a skinny preteen. It was only in the throngs of the bulimic cycles that I was ever ‘fat’ which was really more puffy and swollen. I vow to never say I am ‘fat’ around my children, even if I am. I vow to never put myself down or complain about my looks although I certainly still feel as I have many complaints. But even that, even that isn’t enough. How do we guard our girls and boys from trying to disappear? I remember being in college and seeing Tennessee Williams one act Talk To Me Like The Rain And Let Me Listen. It was a profound experience for me.

I’ll run my hands down my body and feel how amazingly light and thin I have grown. Oh, my, how thin I will be. Almost transparent. Not hardly real any more. Then I will realize, I will know, sort of dimly, that I have been staying on here in this little hotel, without any — social connections, responsibilities, anxieties or disturbances of any kind — for just about fifty years. Half a century. Practically a lifetime. I won’t even remember the names of the people I knew before I came here nor how it feels to be someone waiting for someone that — may not come … Then I will know — looking in the mirror — the first time has come for me to walk out alone once more on the esplanade with the strong wind beating on me, the white clean wind that blows from the edge of the world, from even further than that, from the cool outer edges of space, from even beyond whatever there is beyond the edges of space …Then I’ll go out and walk on the esplanade. I’ll walk alone and be blown thinner and thinner.And thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner and thinner!— Till finally I won’t have any body at all, and the wind picks me up in its cool white arms forever, and takes me away!

Yes. Exactly. And even now, even ‘cured’ from my ED for ten plus years I still read that and think yes, exactly. I still want to be thinner and thinner and thinner until I am paper thin and will just blow away.

I don’t. I know it’s unhealthy. I do not participate in eating disordered behaviors. I do not starve myself or vomit. I do not. I don’t even feel the desire to do so…but to be so thin. So free. So pure. That I still want.

It’s National Eating Disorders Week and I am aware. I’m just unsure what to do with that awareness.

Read the rest in this series: part two part three and the conclusion.

THIS is the book that was the closest to my ED experience. It’s an incredible raw look at life with and eating disorder. If you suffered or you know someone who is and you want to understand, a little, what it’s like this is a great and difficult read.