Wednesday, July 30, 2014


i sobbed for about 100% of the 15 minute savasana in yoga tonight: this flash of something my friend anthony said to me about 8 months ago popped into my head. and then all of these memories came flooding in: anthony insisting on phone numbers for every one of my million dates per week; anthony spying on me while on dates, checking up on me; anthony checking in on me when i felt depressed; anthony making me come over when i insisted i couldn't get out of pajamas.

never mind anthony creating and then having train club with me several times a week, distracting me via funny snapchats across the table at work meetings, covering for me when i needed a mental health day (or had a date at the beach).

more than anyone, anthony has been there for me consistently since my husband left almost two years ago. anthony has been that strong, centered, consistent, and reasonable (yet ridiculous) voice that i've listened to when i refused to listen to anyone.

ever have something bad happen and ALL you want to do is prove that you're ok? i don't think i really knew it, but that was me. i tried to prove i was ok after my husband left in about 100 ways: oh, i'll just date all the time; oh, i'll live by myself and make it on my own; oh, i'll be super tough and independent and not lean on anyone.

oh, wait. maybe i don't have to.

anthony stepped in when i didn't know i needed it, and he has been one of the best supports, colleagues, and friends that i could've asked for.

and, this weekend, he moves back to the US.

i'm heartbroken. i am actually heartbroken. i am more heartbroken that when my husband left. anthony helped me and he helped me help myself become whole again. and thinking about him leaving is something i've avoided. HARD CORE.

when anthony practiced his leaving speech for our boss, when anthony discussed plans to get his dog tillie home, when anthony talked about plans for his new apartment: i put my fingers in my ears and say "i don't want to talk about this."

but that hasn't changed anything. he's still leaving. he's going on to a great job at a great university and a great new life.

and i know that i'll still be part of it. but i'm still sooo soooo soooooo sad.

so it hit me tonight. and it hit hard.

and it has me thinking about beginnings: starting a new life after a friend or partner leaves, starting a new job, moving to a new country, or just trying a new yoga class.

and about endings: relationship ending, leaving a job, leaving a home, letting go of something that hasn't been serving you.

beginnings aren't always rosy. they're not always easy. and endings aren't always sad or difficult. but you know what both beginnings and endings always are? the same: it's all the same circle. it's all just life.

and i'm super grateful for this life. and grateful for all the amazingness that i've found along the way, including my amazing relationships with friends and partners.

and, anthony, i'll miss you most of all. (yeah, that's an OZ reference. super appropriate leaving AUS and all... but umm, no comment on the brain thing... ;) xx tony

Monday, July 21, 2014

my lifecoach is a bossypants

but apparently that's what i need. not eating protein with breakfast? "how about a fucking hard-boiled egg?!" elena says. ok. i admit it. sometimes i need someone to tell me "shut up, sit down, and respond to your work emails. RIGHT NOW."

last week i got in trouble for not responding to student and admin emails in a timely manner. because i've been avoiding things. i focused on my research, my phd students: the stuff i like doing. which meant i had over 400 unread emails in my inbox. UNREAD AND UNDEALT with (and this doesn't include the ones i read, starred, and meant to get back to later). so i spent three days last week doing that.

this whole story is related to me realizing more things about who i am and how i deal with things. a few weeks ago, i spent several hours writing out the positive and negative traits my parents have and how i express these same traits. and when i recently saw my mother, i talked to her about some of these things. it was the first time i had seen her in person since i had told her about bulimia a few months ago (i had hidden my struggle from her for 8 years).

when we talked face to face, she was asking me why i felt the need to avoid strong feelings and binge and purge instead. part of it is that i learned the avoidance from my parents. so i tell her, "well, you know how dad never shows anger toward us because he doesn't want to upset us? well i think that i learned some of these emotion-avoidance techniques from seeing them modeled."

my mom does this too, but i didn't mention it to her. i focused on dad. then, after a few minutes, my mom quietly said, "i think i do that too." and i crumpled inside. it was emotionally beautiful. i softly and slowly replied, "yeah, a little bit. but that's because that's how you've learned to manage your feelings. i just need to learn a new way now." and it was probably the most real and most amazing conversation we've had in a while.

i've been trying to "name" my most overwhelming traits that voice themselves in my head, so i can talk back to them and tell them how ridiculous they are:

miss smartypants can do it herself: i have a fucking phd. i know what i'm talking about. don't try to give me advice or fix me. i know what i'm doing and why i do it. don't even try to help me in any way.

miss disrespect: my time is more important than your time is. i need to get on this fucking train right now, and i need you to get the fuck out of my way. i'm quite sure you don't need to do as much as i do today. i'm busy being super amazing and i don't have time for your needs.

and, of course, annie avoidance: this feels too hard to deal with now; i'll do it later. if i avoid it now, it might just go away. if it doesn't go away, at least i don't have to feel it now. isn't it better to protect myself from feeling these intense things?

god those are embarrassing to read. the reasons i keep these voices around in my head are pathetic. sad. terrible to think about. and i hate listening to them. so i'm putting them out there. because that helps me be more accountable.

this week i commit to more routinely recognize and respond to others' needs more fully. i will give of myself at work as i do to my friends. promise: i will spend one full hour each morning or afternoon completely engaging with and responding to emails. consequence: if i don't meet this goal each weekday, i have to skip sunday afternoon yoga and set aside an additional two hours to catch up on the backlog. (richard--when you see me sunday afternoons, ask me if i've been emailing!)

and i also commit to still taking the time for myself that i need. evidenced: fullness training with elena on the mat this morning before leaving the house; facetiming with sister at the office earlier today and having a creepy face contest (umm i totes won that shit). and, to sister: #iloveyoumorethanyouloveme

a, thanks for the cover-ups before i could deal. k, thanks for the promise brainstorming. and o, thanks heaps for the fake lifecoach bossypants-ing.

Monday, July 14, 2014


ok. so like i know my eating disorder has layers: layers that affect many areas of my life... like that actually affect my family, friendships, relationships, and career.
one of my best friends texts me and says: maybe you need to put some of this energy into your work.
i go late to a birthday party to squeeze in an extra workout.
i don't focus on a friend's conversation because i'm re-calculating the calories in my dinner.
i tell a friend i can't go out to dinner because i think the menu won't have anything healthy enough.
or, in my married life: my partner feels ignored and alone because i spend all of my free time at the gym.
and yet somehow i was able to mostly choose to ignore that i was allowing these things to happen. some of these things i've been starting to realize, but it wasn't clear until last night.

a friend and i were talking about the energy we put into things: into our work, into our relationships... and i asked her if she felt like our subtle shifts of energy were apparent to others in our life. like, when i make a conscious heart-felt decision, do the people that it affects feel it? i was arguing that they did (because i was feeling the energy being poured back into me after one of my conscious shifts). my friend said she agreed: she had noticed that after consciously choosing a small energy shift at work, a colleague commented and fed back to her the change. there we go: at least two pieces of evidence for people in our lives feeling the importance of where we place our energy.

and that's when it really hit me: umm, ok, so besides choosing my eating disorder over my marriage and past relationships, i was also putting all of my energy into it. no wonder my partners and friends sometimes felt like they were in it alone. because i was physically there, but my energy mostly never was.

i arrived back in sydney from the US this past week, and spent the weekend catching up with various friends. on saturday, i spent the day with a couple of friends, and just went from one thing to the next. that meant there was no time for a workout. not even a quick yoga sesh. in the back of my head, i heard the familiar voice: "ummm, wanna tell your friends to run a few errands so you can go for a run?" and it was strange, but i noticed myself talk back to it, "why don't i just enjoy being with my friends and take a day off?"

yeah, that's right. i took a day off. #miraclesnow right? you know what else? it happened again sunday. i went to yoga with a friend in the morning, but i never got to "escape" for a cardio session. i just kept enjoying my friends. talking. connecting. loving.

i expected to wake up monday feeling gross. fat maybe. like a failure maybe. like i had to do three workouts that day maybe. but guess what? i felt happy. i felt like i had been loved up all weekend. and i felt ready to take on the week.

so when my friend and i were chatting last night about the importance of placing energy, it really hit home. placing energy into the relationships in my life is way more worth it than another workout. i know that extra workout isn't going to fill me up or make me feel fulfilled. i'm not saying i'll never forgo a social situation because of my eating disorder again, but i'm learning. and i invite you to keep reminding me. if you hear me try to bail on brunch for a run, call me out.

i'm listening.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

rainbow potentials

"even before it is anything, there is always the potential for something becoming. what. it is."

sometimes potentials seem right around the next corner. but sometimes they can seem few and far between.

I love bring alone. I love having time to do handstands without being watched. I love having time to take a bath. I love being able to process things and write them out.

but I used to be super afraid of being alone. being alone used to be a prime opportunity for binging and purging. I would anxiously await the next opportunity to be alone so I could binge and purge. and i would dread the next time I was alone, feeling like binging and purging was a forgone conclusion. and even though I craved it, I didn't want to be a slave to it.

being alone carries a lot of baggage for me. and highly intertwined with this is a feeling of loneliness.

loneliness is weird. it isn't the absence of people, like being alone. it isn't even the absence of people who are close to you. it is this deep-rooted sense of despair associated with not feeling truly connected.

it's taken me quite a while to figure out what my loneliness is. and maybe it's different for different people... but my loneliness is a fear of not ever bring totally understood by another person. it is me doubting that I'm truly loveable. it is me lying to myself about what I really need in my life. and it is me not trusting that my inner-guide knows what's best.

my loneliness packs all of these negativities and insecurities into a dark cloud. and then it floats and hovers around me, seemingly waiting for a little dip in my self-confidence or mood to begin a storm.

sometimes the storms are just light spatterings. during these times I may feel lonely, but I can still find the strength to call a friend to give me the support I can't give myself.

sometimes the storms are a little dangerous: I feel dis-connected. I feel an emptiness inside that I want to fill, but I'm not connected enough to know how or why. I buy a new dress or pair of stretch pants. I feel like I can fill the hole with things instead of processing. I end up feeling guilty for the money I've spent.

sometimes the storms are hurricanes: they halt all travel plans. they take precedence. they destroy whatever else was on the agenda. when I let my fears take over, by choosing to avoid, or by choosing not to process some difficult emotions through writing or talking, I feel out of control. I feel desperately lonely and turn up the avoidance to max by binging and purging. I actively ignore other options, even though I tell myself I'm not.

when I'm lonely, people can help. they can help me process. they can distract me. but they actually aren't the cure. I can't prevent myself from ever being without a support. I can't ensure there will always be someone I can call at any time of day.

but I can address these roots of my loneliness. I can shine a flashlight up to the storm cloud.

my flashlight has self-forgiveness, gratitude, self-trust, honesty, and love.

and when I shine my light through the loneliness, there's the opportunity for rainbows. which may sound super corny. but those rainbows keep popping up. and they're bridging gaps and building systems of connections. both within myself and between myself and others.

I've been trying to avoid a few things lately--a big decision that carries lots of uncomfortable discussions and possible hurt feelings with it. the decision also carries the potential for exacerbating any loneliness I'm experiencing--which may be the scariest part.

this avoidance recently triggered a binge/purge session. there I was--feeling so strong and confident in so many ways, but not fully engaging with my anxieties. and before I knew it I was anticipating, planning, and then actually binging and purging.

i felt guilty. I felt stupid. I felt inauthentic. I confessed to a friend right away. that gave me some of the external support I needed. but what I really needed to do was sit down. pause. look for my flashlight. and then: forgive myself for binging and purging, practice gratitude for all the support and skills I have cultivated, be honest about the underlying anxieties that were triggering this, start to address those fears, trust that this slip-up isn't the end of the world, and be open to listening to my inner-guide when it starts to feel the next rain storm starting.

I have a friend I've been talking to about her struggles with binging and purging. our triggers and experiences are very similar. sharing these things feels good; it feels supportive and less-lonely.

this is probably normal. but it's also kind of funny, because if means that one of my biggest life-storms is forging the way for another rainbow. and I'm praying she will make her own rainbows too.