I can’t believe the weekend is over already! Actually, I’m not a huge fan of weekends. I like the structure of weekdays with classes and practices. But at least I’m ending it in a lovely way by watching my Jets beat up on the Miami Dolphins.
I worked yesterday morning at Wegman’s, which “prevented” me from participating in this weekend’s Homecoming festivities at Cornell. Honestly, I was glad I had to work at 7am because it gave me an excuse to avoid the binge drinking environment. Unlike most of my friends, I’m actually looking forward to when it’s socially unacceptable to binge drink and for when a social gathering involves a glass of wine with close friends…rather than kegs and drinking games.
Hello, my name is Kim and I am an old soul. Recovery is all about accepting and loving oneself for limitations and strengths….so…embracing my homebody/anti-college-studentesqueness is part of that…right? Right 😉
Anyway, last night I did some homework for my Creative Writing class that involved me writing a ten-line poem in iambic pentameter that couldn’t make sense and had to have an established number of multi-syllabic words.
That’s right – the poem is not allowed to make sense. I spent an hour and a half writing a ten-line poem that doesn’t make sense. And repeating the syllables and lines out loud in a sing-songy voice to make sure it was in iambic pentameter (for the majority). Anyway, it’s mildly entertaining, and so I’m going to post it here. I titled it “Sensical Blather.”
The candle beats a callous beet to death.
Accordion, you smoke a nice hookah.
The pope presents presently fried froglegs.
A catty-corner boy returns from school.
My kangaroo slides belly-first through shots
of gelatin and blue Bacardi punch.
Genetically you should go bipolar.
My Trichinosis is a swirly green.
Odd dioxide clears out nasal arm rams.
Creative? Maybe. Strangest thing I’ve ever written? That goes without saying. Once I’d finished that, I was finally ready to write down my goals – which my therapist had encouraged me to do in order to physically have them in front of me at virtually all times.
When I was sitting there in therapy, it seemed like an easy task. After all, I knew in my head and in my heart what my goals were. But even though I knew they were there, everything was sort of…loose. Loose and abstract. Sort of like I was thinking, “Oh, these would be nice things to do someday” but not actually considering them, and thus, not taking steps towards actualizing them. So when I actually sat down to write them, I found myself procrastinating. I had a fleeting “What if these goals aren’t perfect…” thought.
To which I promptly responded (with a thought to my “own” thought? or maybe with my thought to a lame, disordered thought) that dreams aren’t perfect and goals aren’t either. These goals are just spelling out what matters to me so that I can take small steps every day to making them happen. I started with a brainstorm on a blank sheet of paper, and I turned it into a ten item list of goals – some for the every day, some for my senior year, and some for my recovery and my life. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Practice self-acceptance, self-love, and self-reliance.
2. Work towards a position for next year that will be positive, healthy, rewarding and fun.
3. Each day – read, write and/or draw in some way unrelated to schoolwork.
4. Create a meaningful spiritual connection with God through prayer, meditation, and by practicing kind and compassionate interactions with everyone I meet.
5. Be mindful. Keep perspective. Remember, I know in my heart what is right.
6. Take steps towards ending negative thoughts, comparisons, and judgments. Remember that I am enough.
7. Exercise for enjoyment. Be mindful about intentions for and reasons behind exercising. This doesn’t mean that I can’t be an athlete/run races/ do triathlons when swimming is over – but I will do these things for the right reasons.
8. (Yes, this had to come sooner or later) Work towards a healthy relationship with food. Most importantly – remember that it’s JUST FOOD. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Being hungry is okay. Being full is also okay. Certain foods are not intrinsically good or bad. And – healthy choices only become unhealthy when I give them that power.
9. When encountering adversity and stressful situations, remember my values (where I wrote down a bunch of characteristics that I value and respect in myself and others).
10. My past will always be a part of me, but I am not my past. Learn from mistakes, ask for help, make connections.
Once I’d finished, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Even though these ideas had been in my head, they felt too distant, too far away to actually act on until I had written them down. This morning I made an abbreviated version that I can carry with me wherever I go.
Another important result is that I have a vision of what a “healthy-me” is going to look like, rather than a superficial assumption about where my body will end up and a weak hope that I’ll kind of just “figure things out” along the way. A few posts ago, I wrote about feeling “lost” in recovery and wishing I had some sort of road map. However, now I know why there is no road map. Recovery is a unique experience for everyone, and means different things to different people. I wrote my goals without thinking specifically of recovery, so looking back at how I wrote them (and the order in which I wrote them) gives me some insight into what my recovery is really all about. Only two of out my ten goals relate directly to food and exercise. Now that I’ve written my goals, I can see that to me recovery is more about developing myself and developing an identity outside my eating disorder. And now that I know where I want to go because I can physically see it, it’s much easier to take steps towards these goals. My goals will change over time as I grow, but that’s the beauty of life – adapting to new situations with new goals for each situation.
Did this newfound feeling of empowerment from my goals “work?” I was concerned that I’d feel great for awhile but then be triggered by something or someone and forget everything I had just written down. I didn’t think that I’d be tested so soon, but it just so happens that my mom called me this afternoon and we had a discussion in which I told her that I’m pretty sure I want to take two years off before going to medical school (for a couple reasons, which I described – they’re financial and logical) and that I am pretty sure I want to do something volunteer-related like Americorps so I can work with kids. This is in contrast to the “plan” I’d discussed previously with my parents to take one year off before med school and to do a position in a lab for a year. I described my new dream excitedly, with a passion and vibrance that I haven’t heard in my voice…in a long time. Certainly never in discussions with my family.
Long story short, my mom wasn’t thrilled. She told me to “keep my options open” for positions that might be “better” for someone looking to apply to medical school. To which I said “I will keep my options open, but ultimately this is my decision.” And that was the end of it.
I’ve never talked with so much authority to my parents, and it felt good to stick up for myself and for what I know I feel strongly about. I will be keeping my options open, but I know I want to spend my gap years helping people and learning – not sitting in a lab conducting research I’m not passionate about. Before I had delineated my goals, this conversation would have seriously made me reconsider my thoughts about Americorps and probably pursue whatever position my parents thought was best.
My therapist said to me on Friday “Now, you’re breaking all the rules.”
Hello, my name is Kim – I am an old soul and a rule-breaker. And I love myself for both of those things.