Friday, December 25, 2009

Dawn of Redemption

Cleansing tears streak down my face and I know this is the end of an era. This is the time to fully heal.

This is the dawn of my redemption.

For so long I have meandered between sick and sicker; however, it is time to let go, to surrender. It is time to laugh and love and believe. It is time to finally be free.

Fear has always kept me trapped within my patterns. Fear has kept me sick. Fear has limited me. In this moment, I feel God whispering, “Fear not, I am with you. Oh be not afraid.” I feel God’s hand in mine as I turn from the traps that I have always fallen into. I am ready. God, I am ready. I have been through hell, but I am ready to forgive. I am ready to let the past stop haunting me. I am ready to risk loving again. I am ready to risk breaking. I am ready.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Saturday, December 19, 2009

I want to tell the world...


I want to tell the world my news, but figure I need to tell some people myself before they read it in the blog world.

Recovery has had such great things for me. I never would have been able to enjoy this amazing life without being clear minded.

I just want to sing!

Monday, December 14, 2009

There is a man...

There is a man, full of strength and grace. Who stole my heart in the gentlest way. I have never felt such love. I have never found such peace in someone's arms. When he looks at me, I almost feel complete. With his hand in mine, my brokenness fades away and I am as beautiful as he says I am. For once, I feel content.

I want to push away. I want to find something wrong with it all. I want to say I am not worthy and quietly slip into the empty spaces where relationships cannot exist. I want him to tell I am too much or not enough. I want him to find someone else, as wonderful as he is.
Then again, it breaks my heart to think about being without him. If you take salt away from food, the food doesn't change, but the whole experience of eating does. In the same way, he has become the salt in my life. Take him away and the sky is a different color blue , the air is thicker, the water is darker.
Maybe that is what really scares me. Maybe, that is why I have been so needy and eager for reassurance: He has changed my world. I have let him in deeper than anyone and if he leaves, what will be left of my already broken soul?

Grace greater than Doubt

My faith has never dwindled. I have been mad at God, distant from God. I have been lost and unable to find God, but I have always known that "it is by Grace [alone] I have been saved." It is by Grace alone, I can stand here. As incomplete, flawed, imperfect and broken as I am, All that i have is due to my God. This truth... is un-shatterable.

We all experience God-- or the Divine, if you will-- in unique ways. We all feel God's presence at different times, in different ways, through different means. That is the essence of the Holy Spirit: it effects each heart in a special way, it meets each heart where it is, it knows where and how and when to appeal to each of us individually.
Perhaps, this is why I have never lost my faith. Perhaps, it is not that I have never lost it; but that GOD has never let me go. The Holy Spirit has always found me, always found the perfect way or perfect person to appeal to my heart of hearts. Because of this, I owe my God more than I can fathom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Thanksgiving has always been a difficult time for me. This year, however, I finally feel some peace about where I am. Last year I wanted things to be perfect. I was falling apart inside and somehow I thought the perfect Thanksgiving would fix it. It turns out my Eating Disorder ruled the day: I purged seven times. I had a good time at my brothers, but I wish I hadn't snuck off so many times to pay a penance to a "god". This year, I decided to let go. It hit me that Thanksgiving is just a day. It doesn't matter how many traumatic things (an intervention, my grandfather's heart attack...) have happened in the past. It doesn't matter that it won't be a perfectly traditional holiday: it is just a day.
I feel that this reflects so much of how my life has changed. I no longer NEED everything to be perfect. (Okay, let's be honest I am still a perfectionist, but I have some acceptance for imperfection.) I can let go. I have learned to use my voice and pay attention to what I need. I am no where near completely healthy and completely happy but I am so far from where I have been.
So this year, more than anything, I am thankful for change, hope, and recovery.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Proclamation... thanks Thom Rutledge

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Losing her because I can't lose me...

I am trying so hard to let "words be words" but I just had an upsetting conversation. I know that I should of moved this girl out of my circle a LONG time ago, but sometimes, I just can't let go of people.

I made this mistake of telling her I had a bad night Monday. She went off about how I am a huge liar and I am not recovering. I told her, as I was advised a few weeks ago by girls in group, that a slip is a slip. Recovery is a process. We had a lot of drama surrounding this, but eventually I cut the conversation off and went out for the night.
Today, I sent her an invite to TWOLHA day on Nov. 13th (more on that later). She then messaged me saying she was rejecting the invite. After a short conversation, I got called a bunch of uncreative names. Then was told I am not in recovery because I refuse to Webcam. (That is one of my therapy goals, after-all: to be able to webcam. <-- SARCASM) I was told that recovery has turned me into an arrogant bitch. (I think it is just turned me into a real, honest human that doesn't let people walk all over her.) The clincher was the second she, in all caps, proclaimed that, "AT LEAST I WEAR A 00..." She went onto say that, "Skinny is beautiful" and all she needs. She said, "I can weight xx pounds and eat whatever I want." Then slyly asked if I was triggered. The truth is, I wasn't triggered to hear her weight. I don't want to wear a 00 or be xx pounds. I want to be healthy. Yes, I have body image issues. Yes, I want to weigh a little less than I do, but I don't want to be that sick. EVER. Period.
What hurts is not what she said. What hurts is not that she essentially told me I am fat. What hurts is that I lost another connection to my past. I know, however, that I don't need abuse in my life. I have some amazing Wise Women supporting me: that is what I need. I can't waste time and energy trying to help someone that obviously doesn't want to be loved.
I hate losing people. I hate pushing them away.
I wish I could save her: I am only human.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It is time...

Last week was full of struggles. I sat on the bathroom floor Sunday evening engulfed in tears. I heard myself sob to the silence that, "I... can't... fall apart... like this... again." I wanted to scream at myself for falling so hard. I couldn't believe I had done the very thing I hate most. I couldn't believe I was throwing so much away. Instead of wallowing, I stood up, cleaned up my mess, pulled on a sweatshirt and headed out to my car.

I let tears trickle down my cheeks as I drove to Richmond. I whispered prayers of desperation, of shame, and prayers desperate for forgiveness. I crawled into bed at my mother's house feeling safer than I did at home, but still scared for my future. I could feel the demons I have fought so hard to shake breathing down my neck. If anyone has ever needed to scream for God, I did then. And amazingly... I did. I called. I let myself ride a silent prayer into sleep: and that has made all the difference.
I awoke the next morning in a state of peace. I went about my plans for the day: shopping and coffee with my mother, a movie with a friend. Until... I ran out of gas. Normally, this would of set off panic, self-loathing, and utter despair, but instead I was rational. As I sat in my car waiting for my rescue to come, I was struck by the analogy this situation provided. I neglected my car and put myself into quite the crisis, but the easiest way to solve this was to remain calm and do the "next right thing". (Kudos to Jenni Schafer for coining that phrase.) I needed to call for help, learn from my mistakes, and just move on.
I arrived to therapy and group that evening with a feeling of awe. I was almost numb from the intensity of all that I was seeing and feeling. I was emerging from my denial and hopelessness and it was amazing.
The next morning I walked into Elisabeth's office to hear her speak fervently about the hope for my future "Recovered" life. It was one of the most empowering things I have heard. I knew in those moments that this IS a choice. That I CAN rewire my brain. I WILL get past this. I will.
It is hard to explain what I am feeling tonight, but I think it is the first taste of real, true, all encompassing hope I have ever had. I just feel like there is so much more to life that I have let myself see. (And yes, I mean LET myself see. It has always been there. I have just pushed it away.) I went to a bible study tonight and was totally struck by the phrase:
"You have all of the Holy Spirt, but does the Holy Spirit have all of you?"
It just hit me that if I would give myself fully to what is good and true, I would fully be able to experience what is good and true. It is time to let myself, "be filled with the Spirit." It is time, Alanna.
It is time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It is not in the Falling Down

Today would have been my six months without self-harming, but unfortunately, I had to start the count over. There have been two slips in the last week. I was pretty upset about this. (In a way, I still am.) My dietician reminded me of what I wrote to a girl in my group -- I hope she doesn't mind that I am posting this. It is funny how you can tell someone else exactly what you need to hear.

"Thank you for sharing your slip with us. That is what it is, my dear, a little slip. It is not a failure.... No one succeeds in recovery (or in anything for that matter)
by perfection. So what if you didn't make it 75 days? So what if I didn't make it six months? We still overcame something. We still did something neither of us thought we could.
Girl, you rock!
ED found a window to crawl through tonight, but you get to choose whether or not he stays in the house. Go out there and kick him off your couch. (Trust me, he doesn't like any of the good TV shows, or have anything good to talk about: he is a lousy house g
uest.) This is not your old life. You do not need ED to help you survive this depression you feel coming on. He may have kept you above water in the past, but now you have so many more tools. (Plus, you have US!) I know from personal experience how easy the depression can make it to cling to behaviors, but you don't have to. You can chose to believe you will get through it. You can chose.
I know this battle is long and hard. I know it seems like you are never going to win. (I am there with you, sometimes.) But you have to keep on believi
ng. Ed capitalizes on the times we feel like he is winning. Remember what you are in this fight for. Remember how good it feels to experience those moments of joy and happiness. Remember and know you are not alone. "

"Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up." - Chinese Proverb

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I have made a decision. No more jerks. No more immature losers without dreams. No more needy, clingy, abusive, or demanding guys. If that means I am alone: so be it. I have the best girl-friends in the world. I have mentors. I have family. I have God: I have enough. I am done being hurt. I am done being abused.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


This is not my old life. I have tools. I have support. I have strength. I have a new life now: I can breathe.
I must keep walking. To look back is to become a pillar of salt. When the old habits call: keep walking. When my past threatens my future, keep walking. Just keep walking.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


My independence is key to my identity. I am stubborn. I will do it myself. Whatever it is, I will do it. I am strong. I don't need to lean on other people. Or, at least, that is what I thought.
My therapist has been encouraging me to "attach". During my last session he related my refusal to attach to my issues with trust.
I want close, real, supportive relationships. I don't want to take risks. I think I am finally starting to heal: I am so afraid someone will reopen the wounds. I don't want help because if I ask and it is refused, I will never be able to take that vulnerability back. If I depend on someone and they "forget" or just "fail," where will that leaven me?
I won't be able to pretend I don't need. I won't be able to deny my wants. Not only that, but it also opens me up to the possibility of being a burden and thus having people leave me... for good.
I want to have a better life. I want to be able to start taking steps to trust, but I am not sure I can. I am not sure the risk is worth it.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Therapist: "Let's talk about attachment."
Me: "...okay..."
Therapist:"Attach: You don't"
Me: "Alright, I guess we are done here then."

I have lived under the delusion that because I am now honest with my treatment team, my girls in group, and occasionally a few select others; I no longer have problems letting people in. However, the truth is that although I am now an active participant in life, I don't attach. In fact, I take great pride in my independence. I always have. I am not so naive as to believe I can survive alone, but I always make sure not to put too much on any other person. I fight people when they try to help me. My therapist used the analogy that often times I am drowning and when someone dives in to save me, I kick and flail and end up drowning them too. ( The Guilt Monster in my head started to scream how horrible I was at that point, but I told it to shut-up. I don't need to judge, I need to learn new ways of living.)
After a few more minutes of talk we boiled the issue down to trust. I don't trust anyone. I trust people with little things here and there, but as far as global trust goes I have none.

I really had to look at how lonely I am, how stuck in my ways I am, and how freaking stubborn I am. Starting to make changes is not so easy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mantras coming from my new found footing in "a good place"

The past few days have had me rising back to a good place. A very good place. I am so much more content than I have been in so long. I have realized some BIG things, had a few true revelations, and more than anything started taking care of me again.

I have come up with a couple new mantras in the past few days:

1.) "It is not my job."

This came to me as I was talking to a friend on mine. She is one of those people you would call a "leech." She takes and takes and never gives back. I was so frustrated: I was giving her the best advice I could and nothing was helping. Then it hit me, I am not her therapist: it is not my job to try to change her. Hell, it is not her therapist job to try to change her. (It is her therapist job to facilitate change, by the way.)
Suddenly I realized how often I do things because I feel obligated to, but they just aren't my job. It is not my job to make my sister happy. It is not my job to jump up everytime my roommate needs something. It is not my job to do what my mother thinks is best. It is not my job to save my friends. It is not my job to solve all the HR problems at Target. It is just not my job.

2.) "It will be okay."

I can thank my therapist for this one. We were discussing my panic over making decisions about school this semester. I referenced how scared I was that something would go wrong, and he said, "You know, you need to realize, It will be okay."
I have survived so much in my life. It wasn't okay that the things happened, but I am okay now. My sister died, it turned out okay. I totaled a car, it was okay. I totaled another car, it was okay. I got sick and had to go to the hospital, it was okay. No matter how horrible the thing seems, I can survive. Not to mention I will be so much happier if I stop the panic and realize "It will be okay."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Notes from a Former Self

When you look back on things you have written, are you ever struck by the wisdom of your former self?
 Both of this quotes are from letters to dear friends. 

"Recovery isn't being perfect. Recovery is falling down, getting muddy, tripping over your own feet, taking a few steps backwards, and making mistakes. It is crawling when your legs are too weak to stand. It is believing that, no matter what, you must carry on."

"Perhaps, there is no real line between recovery and E.D.... just a continum of struggle and joy. I think the fear can be a good thing, a motivating thing. It means you are aware that at this point, recovery is fragile. But out of fragility comes the greatest strength possible. I am confident in that. Don't worry about being in recovery forever: that is far too daunting. Worry about being in recovery for this moment, for this meal, for this bite. I KNOW you can do it."
- me

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let it all go...

Let it all go, my dear,  let it all go. Breathe in; breathe out. 

Don't worry about what "they" are thinking. Don't wish you were better understood. This is YOUR life. What do you need? What can you do with these shattered pieces? What is your heart screaming? 
You are loved. Even when no one understands the words you say, many love you. Remember that always. You are loved. Breathe in; breathe out. Let go... 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Gradually, then suddenly."

In The Sun Also Rises Mike Campbell is asked how he fell into bankruptcy. He answers with three words, "Gradually, then suddenly."

Is this not how we all fall? No matter our weakness, it seems we slip and slide slowly; and then, it is a free fall.

At least that is how I feel about this relapse- and every relapse for that matter. It was a slow slide: skipping exchanges, a purge here and there, a little less of a serving, a missed meal. Then one day I woke up and it was gone. My grasp on sanity and health: gone. It happened all at once, but gradually too. Little by little I fell rapidly.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Like Petals gone from a rose...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fear and Shame

 I have always seen the best of specialist. Although my family seemed to always believe it was those doctors' and dietitians' v job to save me, it has always been my responsibility to cure myself.  It is another tragic enigma, however, that responsibility does not always fall on those with ability. From the very beginning I was told that if i had the will, then I had the power to recover. As much as I want to believe that, I sincerely think it is a devastating fallacy. As horrible as the eating disorder has been, I honestly believe it saved me at times. If I hadn't had that purpose, that goal, that awful comfort, that taunting voice pushing me along, I believe I would have long ago give up on this life. I believe that I would have long ago fallen and stayed down. I have to admit that at times my sheer brokenness has kept me alive. There were times I had all the will to beat the disorder, but I really don't believe had the power to. At those times, doing so would have sent me into a world without an ounce of light. 

Today as I stand with my feet on the ground, more recovered than I have been since I was 15, I wonder if it will ever be possible for me to truly leave this behind...forever. I have this feeling that I am afraid to even voice. It frightens me because my whole self is screaming that it is an inevitable truth. All those I trust will insist that this is a choice, that I can change it, and that the feeling is just that: a feeling. I am too ashamed to share it, too afraid to really believe it, and too comforted by it to truly fight it. 

( I feel as though a relapse is approaching  and there is no way to avoid it; that I HAVE to go through it.) 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

That whole faith thing...

I have had the aversion to Church, bible study, etc. lately. I wish I could tell you I have been diligent in my relationship with God even so. The nasty truth is, however, I have not. I don't know what is wrong with me. When I was in the hospital in February, all I did was pray. I had just emerged from a class on Nuero-theology (also called the biology of belief) and my faith was stronger than EVER. I still had issues with the church, but it didn't bother me to attend. The bible study I was going to helped so much to bring God and God's strength back into my life. 

But lately, I get upset when I even think about Church. I can't pin-point what is wrong, but something bothers me. This Sunday, I went to a church in Fredericksburg with my friend. After the praise and worship part of the service, I spent the whole sermon almost bursting into tears. Again, I have no idea why. The pastor only said one thing I disagreed with (that is the topic for another post), but I still wanted to sob or run or yell something obscene. 
What is wrong with me? 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who always will

 "In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take, the relationships we were too scared to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make. There comes a time in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, and who always will."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


What would I do if I were FEARLESS? 

1. Stop obsessing about food and weight. 
2. Wear a bathing suit in public. 
3. Wear t-shirts, shorts, tank-tops, anything that shows my scars. 
4. Work out just for fun; not with an agenda to burn calories. 
5. Laugh too loud, too long. 
6. Be honest about my past. 
7. Eat dessert without bingeing, purging, restricting later, or feeling guilty. 
8. Call old friends. 
9. Be okay with causing people "trouble", or being "a burden" at times. 
10. Breathe freely
11. Accept help without fighting.
12. Call friends when I need help and support. 
13. Meet new people. 
14. Be honest about my feelings with my family and my friends. 
15. Drink caloric beverages

Old writing

 I wrote this about a friend who was clearly falling at a time she should have been celebrating. It is from a few years ago, but I thought it expressed the eating disorder's effects from another side. 

Your eyes had no color; only emotion shining through the blank spaces. They were mere pools of pain, wells of sadness, oceans of anxiety. Fear and worry twisted my stomach as I looked at you. Was it even you? Someone new stared out at me through a face set, painted, and fixed to mask the true you. What took you away? Why, at the happiest time of life, are you so reserved,  so gone? 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Meltdown explained

Last night I had a major melt down. I mentioned below that it was inexplicable, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to see all the things that could have triggered it. Perhaps the most profound realization I had is that maybe the emotion and panic was so intense, so overwhelming because I haven't allowed myself a moment to process all the little things --and not so little things-- that have happened. The bout of crazy anxiety I have had has kept my attention focused on being safe. Not to mention, it has been much easier to avoid thinking about all these things. 

That said, last night at group things I have forbade myself to linger on poured out of my mouth. I cried there, but it was one of those restricted cries. One of the cries that just cause more tears to build in you heart. A lot of issues were brought up. A lot of my feelings were validated. A lot of things were brought to my attention. 
First thing, I am not giving myself an ounce of credit. I have been off a lot of my medication for a month and a half. I have not seen my therapist in four weeks, my dietician in two, and my psychiatrist in two months. Yet, it has been 14.5 weeks since I self-harmed. I am not eating perfectly balanced meals, but I am holding my ground against ED. I am okay. I have had these panic attacks. I have bought razors. I have purged. But the thing is, I threw the razors away. I dealt with the panic attacks, I did the next right thing. I am okay. I am surviving. I need to realize that. 
Also... the whole scare did not go away the moment it was technically proven to be nothing. I have been thinking it is over and done with, but the ladies at group made me realize there are still ripples in the pond. That is a big ol' rock to throw in. It scared the crap out of me. It made me re-evaluate. It changed me. I need to embrace that and give myself time to recover and heal. I need time to be at peace with it. 
Related to that, I have been doing things that I am not comfortable with. It was hard for me to realize this, but when Susan said it is okay to not want to... I just felt such relief flood over me. I had already vowed not to because of the scare we had, but it felt like that had to be the reason. What if I don't want to share my body? What if I am not ready for that? I need to let that be okay. 
This is list could go on but those were the major things I wanted off my chest. 

Monday, July 20, 2009


Tonight I have been inexplicably, indescribably upset. 

I just don't even know! 

I think I need to write more. I think I need to document what is going on in this swirling, chaotic mind of mine. I think I need to let out all of this crazy. I think I need a little peace of mind. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


There is no crisis.
I am going to be okay.
Life is going to be okay. 
I get a second chance. 
A chance to start over. 
I am so thankful. 

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I am scared... this is potentially the biggest crisis I have had in a really long time. 

The worst part... I can't talk about it. Not till I know for sure. 
I just needed to share that I am scared. 

On top of all that, I have to face another birthday in a week. I hate my birthday. I don't want people to pay attention and do things for me. Yet, I really don't want people to forget again. 
I feel self-centered for even thinking about this. 

.... just breathe... 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Missing You

Dear ED 

I miss you today.
 I miss the strength and resolve I felt when your arms were wrapped around me. I miss melting into that deep, all consuming exhaustion. I miss always having a rock to cling to, always have an escape plan, always having you. 
I can, however, no longer ignore the pain you bring. 
I don't understand why I miss you, ED. You took (and are still taking) so much from me. Faith, hope, health, money, trust, relationships... It didn't matter what it meant to me, you flushed it down the drain. You left me with a shell of a life, ED. A shell only you could fill.
 Sometimes, I wonder why you stopped. You could have taken it all. Why leave me empty and begging? 
 I want to be that special again. I want to have that secret no one can touch. I want to know I am strong, untouchable, and glamorously fragile.  The problem is that I can now see how much it cost. I can see that no matter how amazing all of that is, the price is too high. I have so much more now than I ever did when I was with you. So much more. 
Oh ED... I wish I had never met you. I wish I didn't know of your strange comforts. I wish I wasn't tempted by your pain. I am going to learn how to stand on my own now. 
I have to: You and I don't work. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Lets talk about grocery shopping... 

It is really not rocket science. Every adult on the planet has to do it. It should be simple, easy, hell, even interesting at times. 
However... I find it to be a sick form of torture: I am forced to think about all the future meals I will eat. Also, I am forced to spend money-- what little I have-- on something I would still rather avoid.  Then half the time, when I get home, I stare at my stocked fridge and cabinets only to pull out the yogurt and a box of cereal and avoid the rest.  
All that to say: I still have some serious food issues. Since I have entered this wild world of Recovery, I have fallen into the belief that I should be long past all of my ED related fears. As I cried in the parking lot of the grocery store yesterday, I realized that I am not normal.
 My avoidance of food only to later eat junk = not healthy. My ritualistic eating of the same foods for weeks on end = not recovered. All the foods I don't eat = fear foods.
 I still have an eating disorder. 
I still have work to do. 
I still have a long way to go on this journey. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hang on

There are days I am barely hanging on. 
I must maintain recovery. 
I have to. 
There are no choices here. 
I cannot slip. 
I cannot slip. 
I will not fall. 
I am stronger than this. 
I am stronger... 
I am worthy. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


This Thursday marks nine weeks without self-harm. 
This Thursday marks two and a half weeks without purging. 

I am proud of how well I am doing.  Yet, I feel wobbly and scared.  Some days I want so badly to slip back into my disorder.  I have come so far and yet I don't fully know who I am. I know I am standing on the edge of something potentially amazing. This life I am living could become something fabulous. I worry, however, that I am going to slip into the abyss of the disorder again. I know I can't function in this job, living on my own (and in the fall, going to school) if I let ED take over. I have to be strong. I have to remember that life is more than being perfect and being thin. I have to remember. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Being me

 I ache for my ED sometimes: I knew how to handle life when I was sick. I look back at my old journals and am astounded by the things I did... and as proud as I am to have overcome most of that:, I miss it. I felt "special" when I was sick. The truth, however, is when I was sick, being sick was all I had. Everything I did was defined by my ED. Everything I said was inspired by ED. Every breath I took was controlled by ED. I was ED. Now, as flawed and imperfect as I am, I am me. I may not love who I am, but I know being me is better than being ED.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I am currently sitting alone in my Father's house in Seattle, WA. I'll be the first to admit being alone in a house isn't my idea of fun; but honestly, I really need some time to process my feelings.
My body has changed so much over the past five months... it is horrible. I want my old body back. I have been amazed by the beauty of recovery, but I find myself questioning really how great it is. I am so unhappy in my body. It is all I can think about. I don't mean that lightly. I mean that it is constantly in my head. CONSTANTLY. It is becoming utterly unbearable. Unbearable.
I know my diachromatic thinking is faulty here... Just how do you escape it though? I still feel as if I want to fall into the disorder head first. I want to wrap it around me and let it pull off all of the uncomfortable feelings. I want the safety and hard comfort back... I want to not have to decide.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ascending from the Disorder

I did a series on the process of recovery for my final project in digital art. The final product ended up being really meaningful for me. It is hard for me to voice the change that has taken place, but it is as big as black to white. No, I am not fully recovered. Yes I have moments where I am back in frame one, but overall I feel such release.  


Not my most profound works, but really meaningful to me. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

After years of fighting, I feel as if I am finally getting somewhere. My mind is on this whole new plane of functioning. I feel... normal. That is scary. I still struggle with behaviors and thoughts, but life comes before food now. Life comes before perfection. Life is my new passion. It is something I have never tasted before: living. Really living. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This may not be the most recovery centered post... That said I have been trying to figure out what is pulling me back to the ED when I am doing so very well. In the middle of psych class --appropriate, no?-- this hit me. 

My flesh wraps around me like a foreign winter coat. It is too warm, too heavy, too hulking. I imagine something intangibly not me hanging, sagging off my frame. Inside I am still fragile, broken, thin; but this flesh, this coat, disguises it. 
The bulk disgusts me: I want to be transparent. I am tired of hiding. I want it to be obvious to the world that I am not a rock. I don't want to hear about my strength anymore: I am tired of being strong. I want my body to be unencumbered. I want it to communicate the distress I feel. I want to be thin again. 

I am, obviously, not acting on these urges. I am fighting. I am following my meal plan, doing the healthy thing, not purging, etc. I am just getting so tired. Not to mention I feel like I am carrying someone else's body around. When will it get easy? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Quotes for the day

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."  
Caroline Adams

"Recovery isn’t about looking at the areas in which we think that we’ve failed; it’s about looking at the potential that we all have for success. Recovery isn’t about the damage that we’ve done to ourselves - whether or not we’re fully aware of how much or it’s something that comes back to haunt us later on - it’s about the plans that we have to heal and about the ways in which it’s possible to turn everything around."


“The point is that our past- or what we might see as flaws- can create beauty. You and I must understand, really understand, all the way to our core, that we are beautiful. Just the way we are.”

-Holly Wagner Warrior Chicks 

Friday, April 10, 2009

More Than Skin Deep

I have come to believe that real beauty has nothing to do with the images that flow through our unsuspecting eyes. Beauty isn't tactile or visible: it is a feeling. It walks hand in hand with love and acceptance. It doesn't care about smudged make-up, blemishes, disheveled hair, extra weight, thunder thighs, crooked teeth, or pale skin. True beauty can't be contained in a painting, a photo, or one person. It is illusive. It is flowing. It is defies any preconceived notion. It is, in itself, beautiful.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I have been doing well on all accounts. My therapist says he is proud. My dietician smiles and tells me I am on the right track. I don't think about food, food, and only food. Yet with all of this progress, I stand in front of the mirror still angry. 

Why is it still so hard? I am still inadequate. I want the low-weight back: I felt okay about my body. I want the energy (yes not eating gives you a high) of starvation back. I want to be that productive again. I want... I want.. I want...
What about what I have?  My hair is healthy, my skin isn't dry, my nails don't break. I have friends. I can think about something other than calories, food, bones, fat... I found God again. I started painting again. I am not getting into wrecks. I have a clear brain. I am on time and (GASP) even early for things. 
Why is all that not enough. Why I am not glad for what I have? 
Discontentment: my current enemy. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

when you are struggling with body image...

"See the big picture. Remember that you are more than your face, your belly, your legs. You are a whole and complete person and your body is just the package that your soul comes in. One of the deepest sighs of relief you’ll ever have is when you finally accept that you aren’t perfect and you never will be. Embrace who you are – now – incomplete, imperfect, and messy." 
- Jessica Wiener

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

3 Weeks

I have now officially made it 21 days without self-harm. 
I am shocked at how I can survive without it. 
I am shocked at how often I still crave it. 
I am relieved. 
I am proud.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another Letter

Dear Body,

Over the past four years, I have put you through torture. I cut your flesh, starved you, berated you with abusive comments and hateful slurs, violently stuffed you full of everything but what you truly needed, forced you to sacrifice all-- even the positive-- you held, and never let you rest: pushing you to do just one more thing. Yet you, my God-given companion, stayed with me. You persevered through the stress. I been kept alive in your care even though you would have justified in quitting: in letting me go.You should be proud, body.
Because I have become so distrustful of the world, every negative emotion has been harbored deep within me and taken out on the only safe place: my very own body. For that, I am truly sorry. It is not, after-all, your fault I have only ever known broken promises, lies, changes, and losses. No, you have been the opposite of all of that. I hope if you can't forgive it, you can at least understand why I took advantage of your virtue .It was wrong. I would do anything to change the hateful things I thought about your thighs on the school bus in elementary school and your reflection in middle school, but that is the past. The precedent was set and ingrained throughout the years. That is why it is so hard to change the pattern now. I try. I fight for you, but sometimes it is too hard. Sometimes I can't grasp another way to cope. I promise to keep trying, but I don't know if I am ready yet.I still feel bitter toward you. I still want to change you .I am still hurting. I still have no safe way to express that pain. Stay with me. Someday I will learn to love you. Someday I will treat you as you were meant to be treated.

-- Me

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A couple letters to my Eating Disorder

Spring 2008
Dear ED-

I thought we were passed the formality of letters, but it seems you are taking over again. I have been content to ignore your reappearance in my life. In fact, ED, I have even made extra room for you to move in comfortably. You know, I am really beginning to see that you are quite the bastard. You promised it would be short and sweet this time: just ten pounds and then you were gone. Thank you, but after losing eight, gaining five, losing two, gaining four, gaining three more, losing one etc… nothing has changed.
I gave you most everything you wanted: I threw up when you said I ate too much. (ED, do your realize how hard that is when you share a bathroom with ten other girls? Do you realize the lies I had to tell my roommate and friends?) I stopped eating breakfast. I skipped lunches with friends. I slept or worked through dinners. I binged on junk for the sole purpose of throwing it up. I punished myself with razor blades and isolation…
ED, this isn’t working. You are right; I do want to be thin. I want that so much, but I am tired of this futility. I know that you have been the only true constant in my life; so please don’t try that one again. We all know I am afraid to let you go…but it is past time. I am tired. Three years, ED. Three years of tears, vomit, blood, lies, pain, and restriction. I don’t want to be stuck in this forever. I can admit that I am terrified. At this moment though, I think I have to live in that fear for a while. Letting you go feels like ripping the very fibers of my being apart. I don’t know how I let you become such a part of me, but it is not okay anymore.
They say you are not suppose to let your enemy see your weakness, but I would rather be honest than strong. I am not always sure I want you to leave. There is something so very appealing about bones, about being able to disappear, about surviving on nothing but diet coke. I think that the pursuit of thinness will always be alluring; but, with time, I will learn to focus on real things.
I am going to have a life. I am going to go beyond surviving. Yes, I am crying as I write this. Yes, I don’t fully believe it. Yes, I don’t really think I deserve all that. You can’t use any of that against me. You don’t have any weapons tonight. I know this is going to be hard, but everything worth it is hard. I don’t want your pain anymore…
I believe I am starting to loathe you.

Spring 2009
Dear Ed,

I am so tired of this crap! I am suppose to be having a fun spring break and instead I am locked in a psych unit. Thanks. 
You really messed things up this time. This isn't Remuda. This isn't loving, supportive, and warm. It is cold, hard, and locked. Believe me, you and I will never tango like this again. Who the hell cares if I weigh more than I want. I am alive now. I don't start living when I am emaciated. In fact, Ed, that is when I die. There, I said it: I am not invincible. I can get hurt. I admit it, i accept it, and I embrace it. 
All of my cuts won't be healed by the time I leave and neither will all my hurts, but I WILL have control again. I WILL be the boss of our relationship, ED. From now on, I am not your slave. I won't do everything you ask. I won't mindlessly submit to all your whims. 
Oh, I know you are laughing right now. You are saying to yourself, "I will get back in." You may get in at times, but you aren't going to win. There is not a change, Ed. Not a chance in HELL.
Get out of my life, 

Friday, March 6, 2009

I just got back from a week of IP treatment.
This is so hard.
I had a panic attack this morning...
I thought it would be easier.
I thought the temptation would be gone.
I am fighting. Good lord, I am fighting. It is just so hard.
I am praying for strength. Strength. Strength. and Strength.
I can't afford (literally and figuratively) to keep this up.
"I can do all things", right?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


My life is falling apart again. Don't worry, I know it will come back together; but for now I am stuck deciding the best way to pick up the pieces.
To keep things on the positive side, I am going to post a few quotes that need to be heard right now. 

“Once you’ve had enough and you can’t do it anymore, you consider the possibility that there might be a better way. That’s when your head cracks open and God comes in.” - Marianne Wiliamson

"Every time you feel hurt, offended or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: 'These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God's eyes, called the beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace."
Henri J.M. Nouwen

“There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken.
There is a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is sorrow beyond all grief,
which leads to joy; and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.”

“Listen to your heart,. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World and it will one day return there.”
Paulo Coelho

“No matter how long your journey appears to be, there is never more than this: one step, one breath, one moment--now."
Eckhart Tolle

“The process of personal growth isn’t always easy. We must face our own ugliness. We often must become painfully aware of the unworkability of a pattern before we’re willing to give it up. If often seems, in fact, that our lives get worse rather than better when we begin to work deeply on ourselves.”
Marianne Williamson.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Whispered Prayer

Dear God, help me to fly far away from where I am. I need to move on faster than I can crawl. Help me to be the person I strive to be, the person I am meant to be, the person I want to be. 

Please God, help the past stop hurting me. Help resentment stop haunting me. Help me become more patient, more giving, more forgiving
Help me believe. I am pleading for clarity and wisdom. I am begging for hope. I need a glimpse of something beautiful. I need a reason to keep holding on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Some claim there is such beauty in numbers. I don't see anything glorious in them. To me, they are more instruments of torture. My days--and sometimes my nights-- are full of numbers. Was that one grain or two? Can I count that as three servings? *** calories. 7528 steps. Too many. Too few. Weight: too high. Wait... did that yogurt have 80 calories or 100. Did I accidently drink regular soda? Should I add 120 calories  to my total just to be safe? 

I hate numbers. ED, however, loves them. He uses them to torture me. The tenths of a pound on the scale become so significant. I am required to add and re-add my calorie intake, to constantly check the pedometer on my phone, to check my weight in every outfit I own. 

I hate numbers. I hate ED. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

An imaginary expanse

I am struggling with image today. The monster is in my head complaining, screaming, angry and with it I feel my body expand in parts. Stomach, thighs, arms, cheeks. I know that it is impossible they are larger than they were yesterday by more than millimeters, but it feels like more than that. I call these days, "fat days". I have heard people without EDs talk about "fat days", and I wonder if it is the same. I want to hear that it is not. I want to hear that people without EDs don't cry about how they look. I want to hear that they have never felt a sudden expanding of their own flesh (an imaginary expanding).  Yet, I have a feeling that is not true. Why do we spend so much time hating ourselves? Why do these feelings haunt me? How do you make it go away? 

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The sun shining through the east facing window, the sounds of my roommates soft breathing, the lingering snow outside my window, and the steaming cup of tea in front of me created the perfect setting to just think.

 I wonder why I am so fixated on a number. I wonder why I am so surprised when people remember me. I wonder how my parents could have been different. I wonder if my childhood was an improvement on theirs. I wonder how God knew to bring these amazing women into my life recently. I wonder how God is back in my life. I wonder if I was led to take the Nuero-theology class. I wonder if people know how broken I am. I wonder what glue is holding me together. Then I wonder how I am here to wonder at all. 
With all I have done to my poor body (don't equate pity to love: we still aren't really friends) how I can sit here healthy as a horse and type this. Between the eating disorder, the self harm, the diet pills... I shouldn't still have a body to live in. I still don't take the best care of my body... but I am grateful to still have it. I may hate its shape and build, but it is strong. I may want it to be smaller, but God knows it has put up with a lot. 
So today, I am thankful I have a body that allows me to live. Even when I am miserable, even when I call it names, even when I want it to die; my body is there for me. 
That is pretty amazing. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Between Letting Go and Holding On

The hardest part about recovery is being in the middle. The hardest part isn't gaining weight or eating meals. The hardest part isn't admitting you need help. No, iIt is the fact that some days you wake up with such a energy and love for life; but some days, you wake up just wanting to be dead. It is the fact that you feel guilty for using behaviors AND you feel guilty when you don't. It is that there is a constant fight it your head. It is hating yourself for slipping up while loving that you lost weight. It is the constant deciding between health and disorder. It is hating yourself while still taking care of yourself. It is the search for true passion, true self worth, and true hope.

That is recovery for me.... never having to fight these voices in my head again. Every bite I take makes them quieter. Every time I don't purge they lose a little. I can do this. it can be done. I just have to remember that.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


There is such a loneliness in my heart: something that throbs and begs for attention. There are beautiful people in my life; but all the support and love in this world doesn’t seem to dull the ache of nothingness. The ache of what is lost. The ache of what has been taken away.
I sit, curled up in a blanket, shivering from the penace I just paid. “I am just lonely” I say to the empty room. Yet as I wonder into the world of giggling girls, I feel inadequate, fat, weird. I have so many amazing friends. But, all but one live somewhere else. If I could fill my immediate with them, I would be safe. However, There are nights I must spend alone with my art or my books. There are times I will eat dinner alone and go to bed alone and wake-up alone. These, these are the times I am filled with the ache,
I often wonder why it is still there: I have done such work. I have tried so hard to fill the hole with real things. In my disorder, I have stuffed it with food, I have starved it, I have tried to cut it away; yet it persisted. In recovery, I have nurtured it, grieved for it, cried with it, accepted, poured God into it; yet it has persisted.
I want to know what I am doing wrong. I want to know how I can at least succeed at this. It is so vital. I hate myself because that aching hole causes me feel unworthy of love Am I missing something? Was I made incomplete? Am I truly unworthy of love?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I want to be able to meditate.
I want to be calm, secure and peaceful.
I want to be able to be still, quiet and “anxious for nothing”.
I want to sit still, do nothing, and still feel contented.

Instead, I rush through my days.
I never notice the brilliant, but subtle parts of life.
I feel like a waste when I do not employ multi-tasking.
I fly through my days and thrash through my nights.

“Be still and know that I am God.”
What is still?
Can I know God without it?
Do I have hope of achieving it?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


"Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've
always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself. "
~The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My biggest fear? 

Being utterly alone

It all, in simplicity, breaks down to that.
Why do I think I am unloveable? 
Why do I always feel I have something to prove?
Why do I fight to hide my pain, my past, my heart? 

Because I am afraid people will label me damaged goods, a burden, or just a mess. I am afraid they will shake their heads, turn and walk away. God forbid they hear the depths of my disorder: the blood, vomit, and starvation; because then they would turn on heels and run. 

Yet, they don't. There are people that won't. With every breath, however, I am afraid they will finally have had enough: I am too much. 

One person, one breath at a time; I am going to trust. One friend at a time, I am going to build a family that will stay with me. One step at a time. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Like a roughly hacked together montage of images, memories fly through my head in spurts and streaks. They are flashes of my worst moments. Some are seen as I saw them; however, some are seen with the uncanny view that comes only in retrospect: as if you could watch yourself.
The first flash is a fourteen year old me desperately trying to type a school essay as my father and mother rush franticly in and out of the house. The door slam, the sigh, the words: “Alanna must have kicked the bag out of the car.” A rush of fear, of guilt, of anger, of confusion. Knowing it wasn’t my fault but believing it anyway. Then a sudden tightness.
Me, placing the cold phone receiver back on its rest. Crying on Courtney’s shoulder in the guidance office. Watching tears come to Aunt Beth’s eyes. Realizing life will never be the same: my Daddy is an addict. A cloud of darkness slowly covering my world; and then a tightness in my chest that will never release.
My hands running over the rough texture of the bricks on the fireplace. A pan of the nervous room: an intervention on Thanksgiving. The view from above, my voice squeaking out a sentence followed by my father’s huff and angry march out of the room. A tightening of my body that will never release.
Forward flash to the blood streaked floor and shattered glass of the back door. Staring out the front window waiting for the police to come. Shaking my head, “no” when asked if I want my name included in the restraining order. Cleaning the floor. Crying because it was my Daddy’s blood. Trudging up the stairs. Making myself bleed to try and free the tightness that just won’t release.
Just audio now. Hours of undeserved lecture in harsh, raised tones. Screaming fights between my parents when my father took me home. (What are they yelling about? When will it stop?) Trapped in my father’s car, being reprimanded for calling my mom from the restaurant bathroom. A flash of a slice of cheesecake I will never eat. Was I too busy crying? Or had I stopped eating to restrict what fueled that tightness that never would released.
For a few moments the flashes fall out of order, but what does order matter: it is all the past. His deep voice echoing through the phone, “Do you want me to drop off the planet? To just die?” The voice ringing in my ears saying it was all my fault. The “talk” he took me out of art class for. In reality it was a resounding, angry public lecture on how I fail at most things in life. Sobbing on the floor of the school bathroom. Making myself throw up: I had to get ride of the pressure that just would not release.
Then suddenly, the lighting of the internal video changes. I am in the back of a car, bleary eyed and holding my boyfriend’s hand. I run into the house, swooping in to baby-sit. Hours of waiting. Then a shattered voice echoing though the phone line… “Jimmy is dead.”.” Then, “Becky is dying…” …..Becky is dying?
Walking in to an intensive care unit. My broken, big sister, chest heaving artificially, lying before me. My baby nephew asleep and so fragile. A plea to God to trade me: I wanted to die. Jimmy is dead. The room is cold. Sudden beeping. CODE BLUE. Death. Becky dying. It is over. No tightness now, just numbness. A numbness worse than any pain.
The yelling in the hall. I don’t understand what they are arguing about. Dad yelling. Brent’s fist smacking into the window sill. I run because I can’t stay. The dark corner of the bereavement room. Counting the seconds: it is all I can do. Walking purposefully into the bathroom. Running cold, cold water. Submerging my face in the shallow sink. Thinking about drowning, then not thinking at all. Brushing my hair. Still numb, so very numb.
The casket. Wood. My sister looking nothing like who she was. Hands closing the lid, opening the doors to visitors; and then, my family standing beside the casket: my Dad on one end, the rest of us on the other.(Why couldn’t he stand with us? For Becky at least.) A voice: “I’d like to look at her one last time.” A inaudible scream “NO! That was just for us”. A broken me running out of the room and collapsing in tears on the pavement of the parking lot. The tightness returns; but now, it is all I can feel.
A family dressed in black walking into to the church I grew up in. Me in the front pew. All day people tell a brown-haired girl how much she looks like her sister.. She swallows screams. She drinks her own tears. She is numb and bound up tightly: will it ever release?
Standing alone in a house that used to be full of life, sixteen year old me crying after her big brother moves. The view flashes to the upstairs bathroom. The girl (is that me?) wrapping masking tape around her stomach so tight she can barely breathe. She has to keep it: the pain the tightness it has to get smaller.
Flash to bloody, vomit covered hands in the school bathroom. Zoom in on the girl asleep in front of the stereo in her room: she was just trying to feel something, just trying to release the tightness.
The movie could go on. It could expand. More events could be added. Times with aggressive and overly physical boys and times of loneliness. Time of abandonment. Flashes of fights. Flashes of loss. But really, it is all the same.

Make it stop. Make it stop haunting me.
Help me believe:

“I have a new life now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

All my life I have felt that no one truly know me; therefore, no one really loves me. It sounds like an angst-y teenage outlook on life but it has been true at times. Part of it has always been me. I wear the mask of a perfect young lady: put together, stylish, good grades, pleasant manors, always smiles. Most of the time that mask was a horrible lie. It is my fault some people couldn't get in, I kept them out. However, there were also people in my life that projected a mask onto me. They wanted me to be that perfect daughter, that precious thing, that bragging right and were not interested in WHO I was. 

Somewhere along the way I decide the part I was hiding was too dark, too dirty, too black, too ugly, too fat, too worthless to be loved. I decided that no one would love me if they saw and it became vital to protect that. I would get furious when my parents tried to say they knew me. I would sob when I broke up with boyfriends after they said, "I love you." because I knew they only loved the idea of me. For years I truly believed no one thought of me when I wasn't in their presence. I thought the people who did things for me, did it out of charity and because it was the right thing. I never had friends. I mean, I did, but I alway thought, "If they knew, they would hate me." 
So I hid and I hid and I hid until I found people I didn't have to hide around. People that saw my black ugliness and still said "I love you" at the end of the day. People who saw me evolve into my inner monster and then place my mask over it and would still hug me. It was foreign. It was scary. It was wonderful. 
Being worth something. Knowing you are worth something. It makes the mountains smaller. It makes it easier to look in the mirror without intense hate. It makes it easier to try to find something to love about yourself. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snakes to Recovery

“When you are really ill, you don't even know a snake when you see one. Once recovery begins, you see a snake and you know it's a snake, but you still play with it. Once you've landed in true recovery zone, you see a snake you know it's a snake, and you cross to the other side of the road."
Marianne Williamson

All due respect to Ms. Williamson, but I believe there is a step missing in her analogy.
For me, at least, there is a step between not knowing the snake and knowing the snake but playing with it anyway. There is a time when you see the snake, know it is snake, but you have to pick it up. You know what a horrible thing it is, but you have no control, no choice. Your mind understands it is a snake and that the snake is dangerous; however, your heart cannot grasp that there is evil in the snake.
You heart NEEDS that snake to be something good because it has seen so many things fall to hopelessness. One more loss will cause you to lose all hope in life. So while your mind is screaming, “NO!!! It is a snake!!” your heart, which has more power, causes you to reach for the snake and embrace. You know that you heart is cracked so deeply that one more hit will break it apart. You need something, even if it is a snake, to save you. You need something to wrap you up and hold you together.
Not until you know in your heart of hearts: the core of your being, that in order to heal and become whole again, you must have enough faith to fall apart completely. You have to watch everything you have built fall to ruins at your feet before you can rebuild. You have to shatter in order to heal. Once you grasp this, you can choose to play with the snake or to walk away. Until you reach that point, however, your heart still believes the snake can save you.

Fork in the Road

roughly transcribed 
Me: "I just don't know. I really don't know."

Heidi: "But Alanna, you DO know. You have seen both paths, you know where they lead: you DO know.
This is less about you having decided to go down the Eating Disorder path again than the fact that you can't leave your fork in the road. You are not taking a step toward recovery and you won't let yourself say "Screw it I am just gonna starve to death." You are stuck in your own little circle, going nowhere.
For awhile you probably just stood there, staring at the two paths. You weren't going to take a step in either direction untill you knew for sure the safest way. Then you got tired and brought a chair to sit on. Then you decided you always wanted to be able to come back to the chair: it was safe. So, you decided to cement it there. Then you were afraid of falling out of the chair and rolling down the hill. So, you handcuffed yourself to the chair. Now people are coming up to you and offering to set your free. They are asking you how you got here. You say you don't know or don't remeber; but really, you handcuffed yourself to that chair at the fork in the road."

Do you?

I wonder if you comprehend

the way my world closes in

when the air gets to thick to breathe,

when the colors dull

and the room spins.

I wonder if you understand

the way my muscles clinch

when I feel too large for the world,

when the voice speaks

and I believe.

I wonder if you see

the way my nails dig through my flesh

when my thoughts are fogged

when panic fills my chest,

and my body shakes.

I wonder if you know

the way I dream of never being

when I look into the mirror,

when I see my thighs

or my swollen cheaks.


There is a photo that used to sit in my mother's office. An image of me, a freshly bathed and night-gowned toddler, currled up on my mother's lap as she read me a story. I always found it sweet, a testament to the love and nuturance I seldom felt; but now I wonder why I don't have memories of these times.

I remember the occasional tucking in: I would ask to have her litterally tuck me in so that I was in a cocoon of blankets. I remeber reading Mrs Frisbie and the Rats of NIMH with her. I remember a trip to the beach when I was 10, but the line doesn't go on long. By the middle of elementary school, my mother had become someone who was only a part-time guest in my life. She had a way of comming home just in time to stop my Dad from entering his second hour of lecturn and rant about some miniscule thing I had done: a split bottle of Windex stands out in my mind. Other than that, I remember her comming home from work late, and colapsing in her recliner. Most of all, I remeber feeling wierd that it was my father who took care of me all the time.

I remember wondering, what it was like to come home from school to a mother that met you on the bus stop and fixed you a snack. I was used to walking over the hill from the bus stop to our house, trudging up the steps. I would drop my backpack, sweater, left shoe, right shoe, left sock, right sock behind me as if I needed a trail to get back down. I remember peaking into the master bedroom, whispering I was home just to pretend someone knew. Or sometimes, declaring loudly that I am here and then being reprimanded for startling my father out of his drugged stupor- called a nap. I would then follow my trail back down the steps. I remember, switching on the T.V. (It seems not so strange that all I ever wanted to watch was Full House now), climbing onto the counter to search for a snack ( and hanging upside down from a chair to eat and watch.

Is this not what childhood was suppose to be. Was I suppose to have supervision? Was someone suppose to ask me what I learned in school and if I had a good day?


Your choice to step in is the only decision to make. Once you enter the Labyrinth, your path, the curves, the bends, the twist are all laid out for you. The journey to the center will be unpredictable. At times, you may feel you are walking away from your goal, that you are losing ground. Do not despair; every step you take on this spiritual journey is progress of the sincerest sort. You do not need to know how far you are from the center, instead search for the gifts in the place you stand now.

Your passage through the Labyrinth can feel lonely. However, resist the urge to tightly grasp those you pass along the way. If you cling to them, all your energy will be focused on the time you will be forced to let go. Instead, while they are close, share your journey, share your insight, share your love, and share your very being. When the time comes, allow them to pass –and be willing to pass them: for their souls will ever be intertwined with yours. You do not lose them by letting them go: our sprits do not need to be close in space to be connected.

The center is not a place to fear. You may argue that your sins, your shame, your despair, your fundamental brokenness blocks the light that should be there; but child, God is brighter than the worst darkness. At your center there is a piece of God that outshines anything of this world. There is more wisdom than you could ever ask for. There is a peace greater than you could imagine. And there is an acceptance and love that dispels all fear.

As marvelous as the center truly is, you cannot remain there forever. You must begin your outward journey. The path you walk will be the same as before, but you will see it with renewed eyes. You have been to the center and now you carry that center inside. You recognize that the twist and turns are necessary and you can cherish the lessons they provide. You can let go of your shame, your doubt, your fear: you have seen the truth; and you know, beyond a doubt, that you can always return to the safety of your center. The center which is now within your heart.

Life Changing Events

Life is full of inexplicable and meaningful events. Some things change us on such a deep level, that although it is impossible to describe the difference, we are forever elementally changed. My older sister, Becky, died in a tragic car accident in August of 2005. I will never be able to describe the change, but I can describe the event: 

The cold air penetrated every cell in my body. I was almost surprised that the liquid in the IV bags was not frozen solid. The cold didn’t matter, though, because Becky’s hand was still warm in mine. I wanted nothing to do with the warm drinks or trips to get some fresh air. All I wanted to do was hold on.
The nurse came in to check the life support machines. Her eyes had seen tragedy like this before and were perceptive of the needs of everyone in the room. After seeing the bluish tint to my lips and my shivering figure, she brought me a warm blanket. I wrapped the white blanket (which was oddly familiar) around my shoulders and continued holding on to my big sis. Memories and regrets flew spasmodically through my head as all sense of time drowned in shock and grief. At some point, I compromised to sit in the big chair at the foot of the bed and pile more blankets on my freezing body. As my body temperature rose, my exhaustion finally registered with my brain. It was, after-all, almost 7:30a.m. and I had not slept – let alone let my thoughts stop racing. My eye lids took on a life or their own; closing against my will. I slipped into a dreamless unconsciousness, lulled by the unnatural rhythm of Becky’s assisted breath.
I was reaching for the snooze button before I realized that the loud beeping was not my alarm clock. My eyes rocketed open just in time to see a pair of pastel scrubs run past me. I stood up and started to walk toward the bed, but a calm, practiced voice said, “Sweetheart, we need to ask ya’ll to leave the room for a minute,” For some strange reason—such as breakfast—only my grandfather and I were in the room. We walked out the door before I thought to protest. My feet hit the hard shinning tile floor as an echoing and unnaturally calm voice come over the intercom: “Code Blue. Code BLUE.” The world started to spin wildly around, my mom and brother-in-law dashed down the hall as if the voice had called their names. Not yet comprehending exactly what was going on, I said: “You can’t go in there; they ask us to leave.” Realization slapped me with a harsh hand as my mother’s voice filled my ears, “They aren’t coding her? They are not!”
My memory turns into spurts of voices, faces, and uneven rhythms of space and time. My mind filled with the same repeating thoughts, “She crashed. She’s really gone. Gone…gone.” All words were lost on me: I could not think. Tears: pain overflowing the bounds of shocked eyes, voices too calm for the situation, and a small waiting room. Tissue boxes, hands begging for companions, sudden anger, fighting, empty echoing bathroom, cold, cold water.