Friday, July 31, 2009

Save the chimney!


I am 6 or 7 years old. I am the child that likes to play alone or just sit and read. I have spent close to a WHOLE HOUR building a dreamy log cabin mansion from my Linc
oln Logs. I even had a full roof and some form of a chimney going on... I was so proud of my perfect little masterpiece. It looked pretty sweet.
I ran out of the playroom to find Marco (who is 4ish) and basically drag him back to come marvel at my feat.

He Smirks.
Tells me that it looks cool
Then kicks the cabin like the soccer ball he's not supposed to be playing with in the house. Mom said.
My mouth dropped open in shock.
I didn't tattle, I just cried while organizing the pieces back in the box.

This is a favorite Marco Moment. While I definitely didn't find it funny at the time, we both die laughing every time it comes up now; because he is still the exact same pain in the butt little brother. He didn't do it to be menacing or cruel. He did it because at that moment, he thought it would be funny and that it would introduce some mess (literally) into my world and basically he just felt like it. This is the same motivation behind every butt-head thing he does now. Bud, you are still the only one who can put that mouth drop look on my face as fast as you can; a prize you wear proudly. How do I know?
You still get that smirk...

My Alumni-ness


Last night I was up again
until after the sun decided to join this hemisphere, which really doesn't make me giggle. Insomnia has decided to come in and be that clingy friend in 8th grade homeroom, that you just want to leave you alone but she won't catch the hint. Annoying right?
While I love having A BUNCH of extra time to read, play around with a blog and whatever else I decide to do; weeks on end of all nighters isn't all that great and wonderful.

As July comes to a close and August rolls on in, I'm feeling...... well.. not much...
August to me was supposed to be a big month... The month the fam moves, Marco turns 18, gets my truck, takes over this house with the band, I get a new car, go to the alumni event, come back for Marco's bday, then make the permanent move back to the Wasatch. August is here... and not all of the above is going down this month. and I can say that I am really sad, or disappointed about it all.. which I sorta-kinda am; but really I just let it all keep rolling along.
I've been thinking a lot about the Alumni shindig happening in a couple weeks. I wanted to go, I have a spot reserved, but do I actually need to go?
I would love to;
have a reunion with my sisters,
get a Timmy hug and maybe even a repeat of last years butt kicking contest on the lawn,
get my revamp by mixing 3 tbs of loving pos. affirmations with copious "sprinkles" of honesty....

Flip side being that I don't think I'll have a car by then, and spending money on the trip doesn't seem like the most practical/convenient choice. I know those things are important, but I think my fear gets in the way of this trip more than the "money" issue...

I want to see all those people, but I don't necessarily want all them to see me. While everyone is invited to come celebrate their alumni-ness, I don't want to be one of those girls that gets put on the list like the one before Life Strategies... The one that says "while we would love to have you, coming to the event may not be the best move for the other girls or for you.."

...and if any single person would be able to see behind my smile filled show as "The Amazingly Functioning Addict," it would be any one of these women. We can't fool each other with the games we all play like pros. This is signing myself up to be surrounded by dozens of my fellow Hall of Famers.

Or, maybe even more scary, that I'll see Timmy and she'll tell me that she wouldn't be able to work with me when I returned. that I am not doing enough to carry my share of the work involved. I know her rules, expectations and conditions for being one of her outpatients. And, I wouldn't blame her for not signing herself up to watch me constantly balance on the fence. That's not to say that I can't or won't do the work (because I think I truly can), but I haven't proven that to her.. I just don't think I'm ready to handle hearing that.
...not from her

Maybe I truely shouldn't go and just stop thinking about it. Maybe it wouldn't be healthy for me, nor fair for those I am with.
But, maybe the reasons I don't want to go...are exactly the reasons I should... that it is worth the lost gas money, the potential looks or comments.
That being able to recognize myself as an alumni, which must count for something, would be worth the 'inconvenience' .. Who knows... maybe you do.... share the wealth!

Its after 4 so I'm off to my nightly race with the sun. If I don't win, maybe I'll just sneak to the other side of the world. Its sleepy time somewhere!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How it works...


"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." -Zora Neale Hurston

Almost Sunrise Eyes

I didn't make it to sleep until almost sunrise...
eyes never took their break
too heavy to lift
to sore to shut

My talk with C yesterday really had me thinking... I actually think she and I can get each other to cut the BS faster than any other friendship can. I got her to dig under her apathetic exterior and pinpoint the truly intense fear she was running from. And she was able put words to my previously unexplainable anguish of trying to be a part of my family here and simulatenously wanting to sprint away from them.
She's good at calling my game. If I do not leave here soon, I probably won't leave at all... And if I don't leave, I doubt I will find the drive nor will I trust myself or anyone else enough to get my crazy ass back into therapy. And all this intangible stuff I'm hoarding inside won't get looked at, and self-destructive cycles will continue to make permanent cracks in what is left of my presentably functional life.

"It breaks my heart to say this, but its honest friend; if you don't move, you won't make it. Maybe not this month, or next, or even this year... but it will get you."

She's not trying to make me feel hopeless. She hasn't given up on me, so don't think either.
She's trying to motivate me like Timmy could.
By using the kind of lines that, once said, can only be followed by a longer silence just to try and sop up some of the abundant truth that just spilled out everywhere.
Blunt reality.

...and if I remove all the BS that I've smeared over my awareness detector, shes probably right. As much as I would like to think that Superhuman Me can somehow get the reality check I've been needing and pull myself out; that's bogus. I floated somewhere above reality for too long, and now in order to make actual strides forward, going back to a team is my only option. This may make it seem like things are out of control behavior-wise for me... They aren't. I'm sure a dietary bum-kicking is needed; but I am referring mostly to the power of those darned emotions I seem to underestimate.
I came home last fall trying to help my family with all the little dramas at home. This quickly turned to being the "oldest and strongest" when we were hit with an even bigger loss, and then with the horrible truth that came out the month after. The whole time I thought that my only motive was to continue being the All-Star-Caretaker that I am; but C pointed to another I'd never seen.
Not only have I stuck around here to help "save" people that probably don't need me to, but I was testing, once again, to see if I could find myself the sense of family I have been missing. If my mom could figure out how to support me this time home, if I could belong. If I could be working towards independence and be a child.
I don't know why the repetitive head beating is unsuccessful at knocking the fact that I cannot go back and somehow magically retrieve my lost childhood and parents into me Whether is was someones fault or not, I missed out on being a kid and having a parent to look to for support. This isn't good or bad or wrong etc.. etc..
But, it is this hurt that C knows will 'get me' if I don't put myself in an environment where I can find peace and acceptance with it soon. I need to stop waiting for something to show up that can't. I need to get lonely, sad, angry and whatever else, and move on. The alternative being that I will keep pretending it doesn't influence me and addiction will continue to run my show... through food, OCD, substances, some new method, or anger that makes you hit walls.. (stupid wall..)
and like C said,
eventually,
one of those will win.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Luck of the Intake


It felt most fitting to start with the phone.


(my thoughts at the time are in italics)
Sitting in the driver's seat of the Yukon felt like the best option. No one could hear me, no way mom could be sneakily sitting outside the door to listen. My leg was probably doing some uncontrollable jig as I waited for the inevitable ring....
This place is for people with eating disorders... eating disorders you idiot, What were you thinking? Should have checked it out better before doing this. Assess me for what exactly?
(*Phone rings*)
... eff...


'Hi, my name is Timmy and I am a therapist here at Le Mansion....'
Well hello Timmy, whom I don't know, and don't really want to talk to... I swear that if I sound crazy I probably am but you dont need to know that ; I am already sweating and I've only told you my name, and why in the hell do you sound so chipper? Don't you know you what kind of screw up you're talking to; who needs to be assessed for gosh knows what.... Can we just hang up now, seriously, I change my mind. Im not doing this.
(Notice the pure shi-shi attitude from moment 1. At least I've been consistent.)

I tried to remain calm while wanting to just die-on-spot trying to imagine all the horrible sorts of questions were next.... Horrible Questions... you know...Name? Address? Best Phone Number to reach you? Age? See?.... all questions of the horrible sort.
I could probably guess at most of what she asked me as I most likely answered the same ones 7 zillion times after I admitted to "Le Mansion" a year and a half later.... but I'm trying to stick to what I remember.

At some point in the call, I said something totally eating disordered, some ridiculous extreme rationalizion, something almost rudely sarcastic... or even more likely....something containing all three; but it was the first time I heard Timmy do her little laugh-scoffsie at me. The sound I will at some point learn to mean "I cant believe you would think or say something like that... (insert laugh scoff)... we're going to have to do some work to do on that one.."
The end of my intake assessment went something like this...
Her: "I really appreciate you talking with me today... I know it wasn't easy... I truly enjoyed getting to know you... I will give this information to our Clinical Director, and give you a call back with a team plan that we feel would be best for you, okay?"
Me: "okay."
yeah...okay... great. not. "truly enjoyed getting to know you" Wtf is her deal? Now, someone else gets to read my answers. This apparently "all-knowing clinical director" will wave some wand, throw dice and have my plan for success all figured out. That or laugh at the complete waste of hour I just was..
(Ms. Cole, I still want to see these dice & there is nothing but love for you now...)

She called back 2 days later, telling me that the "Director" thought I should see some other therapist, but that she asked to have the chance to work with me herself. "I know you won't believe me now, but I really connected with you and think that we could work really well together. I think we will have more in common than either of us realizes. You may not want to, which I would understand, I just wanted to give the option to you."
If she wants to meet me... Fine... I'll give "this person" a shot.

If only I knew then that "this person" would become the anchor in my life that she did... that that voice I first heard on the phone would be the only one that could keep me grounded when my spinning world had me blind and paralyzed, that the rooms we gathered in were the safest I would find on the planet. My experience with recovery and the Mansion has been 100% Timmy. I can't even give take the small percentage point from my assessment from her. I thank the forces that got my availability and her only phone assessment time slot to match. If not, I could be writing of my journey as Espra's Grasshopper or as the Hoyt Hater.

Before writing this, I honestly never got it. That from the VERY beginning she saw something there. She always could. From the beginning she fought for me. She had never met me in person and got a bunch of crap answers... but somehow knew that we were it..... From the very flipping beginning.
How did I ever get so lucky?


No wonder it feels like I can't do all the Big, Hard work I have left without her there with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

...stick me in your luggage

"The mountains are calling and I must go"
John Muir



...If it were that simple Johnny, I'd already be gone...

O Pioneer

It was one of those mornings when demolishing my alarm is of the highest priority. One of those mornings where I have to try really hard to get myself to church, not without grumbling the entire way... Once I get there though, I always end up loving church that day, learning something I really needed to.
Today was no different.

We had a great sacrament talk about Pioneers. Most of the ward was emotional as Allison read excerpts from personal accounts (like little autobiographies or diary entries) from a few of her ancestors; some from the 1800's. They had so much to say, so much strength and did amazing things for the Church and their families. They were forerunners, pioneers, still inspiring people long after they had passed. She talked from memories she had and ended her talk with ways that we all could work towards being pioneers in our own lives.

Ehhhh. I have a bit of changing to do. If future generations were to look back at what I've done in my lifespan or at what I write about... I doubt it would be considered Spirit bringing-inspirational-sacrament talk material; and nor did I give up all security travel across the country in a wagon... Her talk sparked a couple different things for me. It really bothers me that I seem to be losing more and more of my memory. I really don't remember much at all from growing up, even things I did last month. How am I supposed to be a pioneer for the future if can't even remember what it is that I did? I don't know if it is something biological that is in the way; or if some lovely psychological fog maker has decided to have a hay-day in my brain... If my behaviors were gone, would that bring some back? Also, if CA is going to be my home for a bit longer than I thought, I still absolutely REFUSE to do therapy here.
what is the flippin' deal? why?


Later in the meeting, as I said my mini-prayer (like I do whenever a talk starts to lose me). I wanted help with those questions; What do I do with my memory, if anything? Is it my fault? and What's my freakout with therapy?
The quiet, prompting response I got....
'Breathe... memories will come back in pieces. WRITE THEM DOWN, they wont keep.... and therapy; the answer is in the work you have already done with the one you trust. Remember Stephanie, you will be a forerunner and an example to the lives of many.'
This wont be as spiritually earth shaking to you as it was to me... but that's the whole point isn't it? The last line (in bold) is a line from my patriarchal blessing. One I haven't given much focus to. One telling me of my already existing purpose to be a pioneer. *le sigh of relief* Its already in me.
As for the other answers I got.. I am going to start 2 new types of blog posts here..
1. will be any memory pieces I get. However small, scattered, stupid, seemingly significant or insignificant. Most will probably be incomplete or based on a photograph, but maybe if I write the little pieces down, I can pluck bigger ones out of my hazed over brain. All of these will be labeled with "memory string" as a category.
2. things I did/felt/learned in my sessions with Timmy. The category will be "Timmy and Teffie" Some of my treatment sisters that read this will have heard some of them, as I probably came back to the unit laughing, complaining or crying about them. Others, I know nobody has heard about.

If my answers are there, I need to be diligent and figure it out. I feel crazy being this confused. So, until someone gives me a better option than you can Heavenly Father, I'm going to try it this way. Thank you for the blessing of getting my sorry, doubting, hesitant bum to church this morning.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Memo for Today

Many of the connections I make to my surroundings has to do with some kind of quote. I mean, I am the Quote book founder (at least for our Le Mansion group)... and I have now collected so many great quotes; both from famous people in the world's eyes and from people I find just as famous in my own life. Wherever I find them from, a quote I love or one I have never seen before always surfaces in random places right as I need to read them. Whether this sounds silly or not, I really believe that it is one of the ways that Heavenly Father tries to get through my thick skull.
and oh has it gotten thick.
On days that I think I "don't deserve" revelation or scripture reading blessings, its like He says, "Okay Stephanie... if you aren't going to look where I obviously can give you help/love/guidance, HERE is a quote... maybe you'll listen to that."

This morning I logged on and the first post that I saw was from a blog that I find inspiring, so funny and extremely well written. The author, is someone I don't know but is trying to find herself after recently graduating from Julliard... It is her journey, its raw, and I love reading her steps.
Her posts are normally on the long side... Today's however, was one line, one quote, one "HERE-is-the point-you're-avoiding-Stephanie-hope-you-get-my-memo"...
I most likely miss a bunch of those...
but Heavenly Father, today... I got it...

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
Ivan Turgenev

oh. my. hell.. if that isn't talking about me at this moment then I don't know what else would... The majority of my thoughts these days go toward my current living predicament. Mom, Stan and little ones are moving.. soon. Marco will be staying here, renting this house with his band... and I will be...????
yeah... problem... Nobody really knows what Stephanie will be doing. What does Stephanie want to do? Well that's Easy....
Move to Utah. Get away out of California. Regain my independence. Be in an environment where all the emotional work that I need to do can be done while being safe, feeling supported...

And yet, here I sit, less than 6 weeks until my parents move and I still haven't made any "official" decisions or proclamations about what is coming up for me next. I am being vague about it (gasp... shocking right???)... I have been waiting for that moment Ivan was referring to... That "perfect time" to move on. A time when I have plenty of money to buy the car I am now responsible for getting and have enough money to move and pay rent and other necessary expenses. A perfect time to tell my job that "hey, even though you have basically made me a Junior Manager in less than 6 months, spent good money to get all of my extra training and treat me like a lifelong colleague; I want to leave... and oh, can you call up the branch in Salt Lake and try to get me a transfer so I can have a secured job when I get there... and oh.. I'm sorry." LAME... There will be no perfect time to tell Max that I feel like I have to go. That even though I do nothing but work my ass off for him and this company, and that I seem to be doing amazing there, that I'm actually falling fast by staying here in CA.
No matter how I twist that one, he's going to be disappointed, sad, maybe even a bit angry.... and I guess I am not to a place where I have accepted that is what's coming.
So, I wait, and I work and I look for that "perfect moment" to tell them... then I feel bad that it hasn't come...
so, as of now, Im not going anywhere... which makes me feel suffocating anxiety, which gets me to act out behaviors, which makes me want out of here even more, which gets me thinking about what I'd have to do get there, which makes me think of what Max might say, which... catch my drift... The cycle gets old.

Like I said, Today, Heavenly Father... I got it... I know that while I may want to move, that I haven't actually done my part to get there, that I haven't done that whole "begin" piece. Today I know that even if some people get a tad upset or even a lot upset, that I still need to do something different. Today I know that...
But tomorrow when I get in to work (early of course), Max will see me, smile, say Hi and give me the rundown of what he wants me to do during my next "Star Server" shift (the Junior Manager bit I was talking about)...
Some form of rare sudden amnesia will kick in and I most likely will not know what I did anymore, I'll smile back at him, tell him I absolutely will do it,
and just keep on walking...


P.S. Thank you to whatever possessed me to decide on taking such a random elective like Russian Literature (I speak NO Russian by the way), putting me in a classroom with a bunch of Russian speaking Returned Missionaries, so that I could even know who Ivan Turgenev is, and to have personally debated about Nihilism thanks to his amazing novel Fathers and Sons.


Friday, July 24, 2009

oh my cuteness

Just got these in an email from Mom.... They keep getting bigger and more cute!!!


From Take Your Kids to Work Day with Daddy

I love them "to pluto and back.." (how we say Goodnight)

My Dear N,

(... the post that got this blog started...)

N
ear the end of last week
, I reached out and sent a message to this girl, whom I will call N. She was looking for support from an online group before she made her way to the Le Mansion to begin her inpatient stay. She had some logistical questions and really just needed some last minute support. I honestly don't know what it was about her post that made me go so far out of my comfort zone... as I am one to NEVER leave opinions on message boards nor add people as friends on facebook "just because" they ask.
I figured she wouldn't answer, or wouldn't be interested in listening to what some stranger had to say. I've been in her shoes before.

But here I was, writing to tell her that she could ask me anything; that I wanted to do whatever I could to help her get ready. She was really grateful and had some questions about what to pack, what to wear and wanted me to tell her a bit about my stay...

My what?!?!

Oh bother... not even my family really got any kind of deep insight about my experience there. I hesitated for a bit, wondering how much to tell her or if I should strategically get out of answering. I needed to get back to her, as her time left in "the real world" was short so I just started writing...
Now, I have always considered myself a true supporter for the Le Mansion (once I'd been through)... but it was amazing what I found myself telling her. I was completely honest and just tried to tell her what I would have wanted to know if I had half the courage she did to ask for support as I began my journey...It was not hard to write... until... near the end of my message I felt it...

It must have been hiding somewhere behind my belly-button, somewhere I can't easily see and therefore can't really run from or prepare for. The painful longing to be in a place where I felt safe and loved mixed with the thick guilt that I've connected to my relapse. I was one of the Le Mansion's poster children of
"you made a turn around like I've never seen.... At first, I honestly didn't think you were actually going to do it and now, you are one that I have NO DOUBTS about."
Welp girls and staff, surprise! I've fooled you again. lovely...

Don't get me wrong... I still stand 100% by everything I said about my experience and told no lies about what is in front of her and what she is going to face... It is unlike anywhere else and truly has the power to change and save lives.
The Key Is... that it changes the lives of those who give themselves up completely to the process, leaving nothing back, and trusting in the fact that one day true freedom will come for them too... even if they can't see it...
Whether I wasn't able to or just simply chose not to do that, I didn't...
and there that gross feeling sits.
In her final message to me before leaving she said that I had "eased her fears" and made her feel more confident in her admit. It was signed with a
"thank you... You are an inspiration... Always, N."

Dang. Guilt Flood #2.
If I could sit down and talk to her, or write a letter that explained it all to her; I'd set her straight about granting me that title. but I can't... So I'm writing it here.

...while its nice to be considered one, I unfortunately am not an inspiration. Yes, I went to Le Mansion and I've changed, but please don't give me that kind of credit. That inspiration comes from your desire to want and see more for yourself. You are going to see such people all around you in a matter of hours. To you N, the girl I have never met in person; You are the inspiration! I've never had so much care and love for a stranger, but as you go tomorrow, I'll be rooting for you, wondering who from my Mansion family you are meeting, and cheering you on
from many miles away...
At first you'll hate it, and I mean HATE it... Then seemingly out of nowhere you'll look around the unit (or maybe out the window at those beauties) and smile. You'll know the moment when you get there and from th
en on you hold onto all the love that you have for that place forever.
This I promise
...Always, S.

Necessary Randoms


S
o, for the most part I want my posts to be the main way to get my personality out... However, I figured it wouldn't hurt to share some little randoms about me that may help any future craziness make sense. I limit myself to 3 as who knows how out of hand I'd take it...

1. I'm forgetful: Names, faces, dates, the location of my keys, phone, waterbottle, ipod, homework etc. etc.... You name it and I've probably lost mine. Along with those constant daily bits, many of my memories get packaged in the "things-i-can't-for-the-life-of-me-remember" box. Big events, little moments and what I had for lunch this weekend all snuggle up together to play hide and go seek and then don't tell me where they are. While I know factually that I went to so-and-so's party and to Hawaii the summer before 5th grade; I can't reconstruct them into a flowing mental experience. All I have is the pictures people take, what I've written down and what others tell me. There isn't any structural brain problem or damage (i've checked) so who knows what the deal is.

2. I'm all about being a Big Sister: I am the oldest in a family with 4 kids. Even though my relationships with my mother and step-father aren't what you'd call "ideal"; I adore my siblings and find so much of my peace and happiness in them. To keep them protected, I'll introduce by nicknames.
Marco: brother who's next in the line of command. Loud, almost a legal adult, drummer in a well-known local band, spontaneous, confident... all things I wish came naturally to me. I have much to learn from him. (good pic of him to come soon!)
J-Bubby: my 4 year old genius of a brother. He's been able to read, and I mean actually read for months now. He's the ONLY person in my family who I will let snuggle with me and is my little buddy for everything.
Last but never forgotten is Mela: 2 and a half, all girl and all DIVA. She is too cute and precocious for words and knows already how to get exactly what she wants... Mom is in trouble with that one.
Basically: I love them!

3. I think that Ed ruins lives: don't know who this Ed person is??? Good! It is music to my ears when people are not acquainted. Ed stands for eating disorder. I have struggled over 10 years and I am about tired of all the attached garbage. I "graduated" from Le Mansion (treatment) over a year ago. My recovery is a big part of my life, my current journey and part of why I have chosen to blog. I'm sure there will be much more on this topic, so for now, just join the official I hate eating disorders Club. Trust me, there's no secret password and you, yes even you, are cool enough to join.

Enough randoms for now...

Finally


I
am pretty excited to actually start this page. I decided about two weeks ago that I wanted to start a blog and was very eager to get it going. When I went to sign up, I hit my first snag...
The blog needed a name....

For most people this seems quite simple, but perfectionist little-ol' me, I had to take this task to the extreme. I started writing 'blogs' on my computer to put up once I decided what to call the darned thing, and then proceeded to spend a week of evenings looking up words, recalling sayings and nicknames that would make this space truly mine. Something memorable, creative and fitting to what I wanted to say.

All of this research quickly led into snag #2... I had too many names and words that I liked. Next couple of nights consisted of more blogging via Microsoft word and trying to narrow down this now obscene list of title/url possibilities.

Finally last night, somewhere in my brain, the rational me said, 'ok its time to stop the madness' and just pick one. I have more blogs ready to go up than I care to admit, but no home for them because I have unheardof standards for myself. I looked at my list of names, picked #3 down (my fave number) for each and signed in. A bit anticlimactic if you ask me, but...

Here it is. Welcome. Whether the name is "perfect" or not, creative enough or not... it's here. The first while there may be multiple posts in a day to get some of the others up that I still want to share. Whether anyone else reads, comments or even likes this...
I am here and this is me
.