Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year, New Lucky Girl

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions. But with 2012 rapidly approaching and having started over in a new city, I figure it might behoove me to at least reflect on the past year and maybe set a goal or two.

2011 was a strange, stressful, adventurous, and revelation-filled year. It saw a break down, an intervention, a move to Chicago, and many new opportunities. And it's over. 2011 also saw me finally beginning to realize that my life isn't defined by what was taken from me; rather it revolves around those who give me more than I possibly deserve.

I left my hometown, my friends, my past, my safety net that also strangled me. I had fancied myself a hardass, a serrated soul with a penchant for social disregard. My low points had become a source of pride. I was the bluntforce barfly and I had ruled an insignificant kingdom of self-deprecation. And it was time to leave who I had become. My friends saw it before I did. And there are two friends whom I don't even know how to thank for sitting me down and verbally backhanding me back into reality.

So I moved to Chicago. And I began to see that my Lucky Girl status went far beyond the fact that I survived an eating disorder and various addictive behaviors. Honestly, I know the best people. I have family and friends that stuck with me when I was nothing more than a skinny shell. I have met people who have given me strength, laughs, and the means to keep going in a new environment. I have learned I have people in my life who fight for me harder than I fight for myself sometimes. And that means as shitastic as the world gets sometimes, I am never helpless.

So what does all of this mean for 2012? I suppose it gives me a reason to try to better myself. And in the new year (with the ominous 30th birthday in less than two months) I will hold myself responsible for accomplishing the following:

1. Remind myself of what I have instead of dwelling on what I've lost.
2. Quit quarantining myself from life when I don't want to deal with it.
3. Learn to persevere with grace.
4. Let some shit go. Whether it's injuries from childhood, rejection, or hurtful comments - holding onto it isn't worth the sleeplessness.
5. Realize that I've come an effing long way and it's okay to do things in my own time.
6. Drink more water.

A new year should be an opportunity to improve, move forward. Recognize your strengths, appreciate what you have, learn how to deal with the horseshit - that's really all you can do. I'll leave this post with my favorite quote from Christopher Moore (fantastic author, you should read him)-

“Don't drive drunk. Ever. Don't shag anyone you don't like, or who doesn't like you. Get a look at how people live in a place where you don't. Suffering is over-rated, don't pursue it. Ask for help when you need it, don't when you don't, and learn to recognize the difference. Don't confuse movement and progress. Be kind. Be forgiving. Pay attention.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What I Learned Today

It's been a strange day. Riddled with hope, early Christmas presents, anticipation, realization, and tears - today has kicked my ass.

And here's what I learned today (it's been a long 24 hours y'all):

1. It sucks to be a jerk. Why some people make a regular practice out of it, I'll never understand. Sometimes we have to hurt those we care about in anticipation of a better eventual outcome. Because lying to yourself is just as bad as lying to someone else.

2. It sucks to be on the receiving end of a jerk. But after thinking about number one, I realized some people I thought were jerks - well, they most likely weren't. They were just pulling a number one. However, my list of actual jackasses is still intact.

3. Things will not always happen on my desired timeline. I'll admit that I lack patience. I worry, I stress, I crave instant answers to uncertainties. But waiting is not a reason to lose hope. I can either keep my chin up, or be swallowed by the doubt. And doubt and fear have nearly ruined me before; I refuse to go back.

4. I miss Guinness (the canine) really, really badly. Living alone is more challenging than I thought without him.

5. I have a father. It took me long enough to realize "father" is not a biological term. There's nothing like coming home after a rough day to a box full of Christmas presents waiting in the lobby of your apartment. A box full of theatre supplies and chocolate. And Tom Waits posters. My dad is the shit. The Shit.

6. Life is going to be a complete bastard sometimes. But it's a complete bastard to everyone at moments. It's a good thing I have no qualms about kicking a bastard in the trachea and walking away.

7. This Christmas is going to be difficult. I will be alone. But it's my favorite time of the year, so I'll put on my best sweater and go eat Chinese, watch a movie, and find an open bar. Then I will write about it. And it will be epic.

8. Never trust Google maps.

That last one isn't particularly meaningful, it's just fact.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Today as I was getting my Facebook fix, I came across a site speaking out against the media's portrayal of women. Photoshopped images, completely flawless skin, perfect bodies... Images women strive for, but can never possibly attain. I always look at these sites, watch the clips, and reevaluate where I am.

I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of fifteen. It was the fall of 1997. Eating disorders were just beginning to get recognition as an actual illness that needed to be addressed. People often saw an eating disorder as a "right of passage," a sickness of vanity, a "diet" gone wrong. My illness actually did not form from seeing images of perfection, or wanting to be thin. I stopped eating as self-defense, to gain the upperhand where I could. And I recovered. For the most part. But like any addictive disorder - you never lose it completely.

Now that I'm no longer on the defensive, my struggle with self-image is sometimes fueled by the beauty I see portrayed and praised. My struggle is internal, but I know how much of an impact media wields over people. I've heard so many women complain about their bodies, I've seen young girls suck in their stomachs, listened to people discussing unhealthy attempts to lose weight. And I know - this is how it can start for someone. And once you develop an eating disorder; that's it. It stays beside you like an unwanted acquaintance. You learn to subdue it, you learn to pretend it's not there. So, it breaks my heart to know that something as simple as an advertisement, a retouched photo, can send someone down a similar path as mine. And I wish there was something more beautiful, more meaningful to say; but all there is that beauty can never be found in a mirror, in an image - it is what we share with others. Beauty is not a physical representation. Beauty is what we do with what we are given.

You can't airbrush a personality. You can't retouch humanity. You can't Photoshop grace. The media gives us illusions of physical perfection, that is all. They sell us an "image." I suppose what I'm trying to get at is this - the less we focus on physical perfection, the more beauty we will see. Advertising and media aren't likely to change, I think we just need to change the way in which they are viewed. The more unrealistic and superficial we know them to be, the less we will strive to attain such a definition of "beauty."

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Sometimes it's just difficult to put words on a page. It's one of those nights where my brain has completely unhinged itself and my thoughts are sounding like a drunken gas station loiterer mumbling. Perhaps it's stress from the lack of a steady day job, weird realizations I've made, lack of sleep, or being taken off guard by people's extreme generosity - but it's been hard to write lately. But I want to write, because I know the words are neatly packed away in my psyche somewhere. I just have to figure out what needs to be said first. Which means this post might be a bit rambl-y and inspired by a myriad of events.

Sometimes I worry that my posts are overly honest. I put a lot out there. But I also keep quite a bit packed away. I'll never say it all. I'll probably never write it all. But after being so silent, so reserved, so numb for such an incredible length of time; it was time to put shit on the table. And I've always written my thoughts better than I could ever state them out loud. I let other people read them for two reasons: first, it forces me to deal and better myself; second - my struggles resonate with others. The feedback I have gotten from individuals with either similar back stories, or those who just enjoy reading my blog has been more rewarding than I anticipated. My intentions when I post are to discover something within myself and spark the reader to their own cathartic event; whatever that may be.

I discovered the kind of coincidence this week that makes you look skyward and say, "seriously?" I won't explain said coincidence, but it was enough to freak me out sufficiently. I don't know how much I believe in fate, destiny, blah, blah; but sometimes something happens or dawns upon you that makes you think about kismet (not the musical). I do think we all meet certain people for a reason. Relationships; however fleeting, remain intact in some form in each person's memory. And as hard as we may try to forget certain encounters, scars and symbols remain. And the only vaguely intelligent truth I can glean from that is - never underestimate even the briefest of relationships; sometimes the quickest heartache onset is the most beneficial.

I listened to gypsy guitar jazz last night and smiled.