Last week, during my school’s spring break my dad and I got the chance to fly out to Arizona to visit my grandparents. I had the idea for the trip about a month ago, and circumstances seemed to fall into place to allow us to get some plane tickets and quickly plan the trip. My dad pretty much left our itinerary up to me, which meant that I had plenty of lofty aspirations for hiking during the four-day stay.
Of course, many of those hikes were in the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, March is apparently a precarious time to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon. It would have been a three hour drive from where we stayed, and roads were reportedly unsafe and washed out from an unusually rainy winter. All these factors limited us to hikes that were a bit closer to the Phoenix area. While I definitely want to get to the Grand Canyon (especially to see Havasu Falls) sometime soon, the adjustment did not turn out to be much of a loss at all.
That last post got me thinking. It got my family and friends talking, and the wheels in my head spinning. It’s been about four years, almost to the day, since my eating got really bad. I can’t believe it’s been that long, to be honest. My life is so so different now. I am in a much better headspace and my lows are not nearly as low as they once were. But there are absolutely still times that I fall into old thought patterns. I stare in the mirror and don’t know what I’m seeing. I sit down to eat and can’t make myself do it. I get six different foods before I actually manage to eat one. I automatically make resolutions for what I will do tomorrow or next week when I don’t like what I’m doing today. The difference now is that I have the information to reason my way out of these thoughts.
This year, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is hitting at a time when I need the reminder of all the support available. The perfect week for that nudge to take a look at what has helped me get to where I am, and to remind me of all the reasons I have to continue pursuing recovery. Sometimes, internal factors cause this kind of slump in my brain and make me reach for old coping mechanisms. But often, it’s external. It’s hard not to look around and see everyone employing the very tactics that lead me to an eating disorder. That’s what I want to share this week.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, was given to me as a gift before my second semester of college by a high school mentor of mine. Somehow, it was exactly what I needed at the time.
The book explores the nature of creativity and encourages the educated and intentional pursuit of a creative life. Gilbert’s charming and straightforward voice makes the ideas accessible, actionable, and inspiring. It changed the way I think about my own creativity and my future as a maker for sure, and I would recommend to anyone who even dabbles in a creative pursuit.
Snow days were a big deal in my household. With four school-going people in the house between my sisters, my mother (a seventh-grade teacher) and I, the prospect of an unplanned day off was positively magical and treated with the utmost importance.
Principle 9 contains a very helpful idea. This section proposes that emotional eating can actually serve a purpose. Once you’re eating intuitively the majority of the time, finding yourself overeating is a clear indicator to let you know that something in your life is off. You know that some part of yourself needs extra attention because it’’s leading to this coping mechanism. By decoupling the idea of emotional eating from feelings of guilt, it becomes instead an ally in taking care of yourself. Since going back to school for second semester, I have already seen how helpful this can be.
College spring breaks are quickly approaching, if not already here, and if you’re still shaking off the boredom of winter break, here are some ideas to get you started.
Okay, honestly time. I didn’t do nearly so well this month as last.
It seems odd, because last month involved active thought for thirty minutes and this one involved doing nothing for about five (I started very small). Somehow, though, it was harder to get myself to meditate. I think it’s because I was able to see tangible progress in my writing, but results of meditation are ambiguous. I’m very accomplishment-oriented, so it was harder for me to keep going if I didn’t feel I was getting anything done (which just goes to show how much I need some meditation.)