Recently, I visited the neighborhood where I lived from zero until I turned almost 12. Even though I went to college relatively close to this neighborhood, I didn’t actually visit until towards the end of writing my first book, three or four years later. Actually, Monday was the first time I parked the car and got out. Sometimes, doing this type of thing makes me anxious. In one of my jobs, when someone pointed out where the employees park, I remember feeling so embarrassed and ashamed. As though, “I’ll get it wrong,” in a way I thought must sound stupid and not make sense! However, this week I parked the car, got out and ventured towards the park where I used to go with my dad and sister as a child. It was getting dark, so I didn’t actually make it to the park and let myself cry without people around instead. In place I stood, listening to water and leaves and birds, surrounded by magnificent trees and rocks. Finally, I felt nourished. I also felt inspired and open. Of course, I looked at the old house too. And, for the first time, I went back to where I grew up only to realize, “This isn’t real!” There is no “real” place. That neighborhood is no longer where I belong and, in truth, it only felt like home in the very beginning before Grandpa died. Because if it had been my home I would not have feared the forest, my family would have been happier, and we wouldn’t have moved 3,000 miles away in order to make a new life, albeit unlucky. Nothing ever came together in the way I wanted besides, arguably, “anorexia.”
No need to get locked into this more than I already am—he’s the one with god-speed, anyways. He should have made me out like I did him. Should have been there for me when I was struggling and REALLY needed him. Then again, how could he have “known”? His life is mostly about killing sense, after all. Meanwhile, I want to base the glue of our relationship on feelings and visions because we meet in that unique, unfamiliar fashion. To explain the world as it surrounds himself: he doesn’t have my gifts. There is a chance to show I really care and have the guts he lacks without “forcing.” He doesn’t have my answers unless I want for him to. I needed him when he wasn’t there, but I don’t have to be that person (who isn’t there) to him. Still if I really think he doesn’t care, is incapable and will land me in traps, then this is a waste of time.
Is being rejected the same as liking the wrong person? Here’s why I don’t think so.
As a tween, I liked “Tim.” I was at the top of my class in grades. He was near the bottom. But Tim seemed little–like he could be nice–and at the time I thought of myself as being insufficient and unimportant. However, it is because he was small that Tim did hurt me. Tim didn’t reject me because as I recall we did dance, but he talked behind my back, which for an insecure, vulnerable girl already thinking “I’m fat” at 5’2″ and barely 102 pounds pushed me under the line–in the wrong direction! Maybe, after all, Tim didn’t want me (I assumed he didn’t want me) because of those “extra” few pounds on my stomach! Then again, how could I possibly have expected more? I liked this boy as the consequence of my own quaggy nature–evidently, considering the fact that he had to hurt someone smarter such as myself! Following the incident in which he talked behind my back I never spoke to Tim again or even gave eye contact (besides maybe a mean look, but we barely ran into each other since I took more advanced classes). Because, the truth is, Tim got me excited but I wasn’t actually interested. As I explain in my book, I relied on the feelings crushes stimulated to escape dealing with anxiety.
Just because I didn’t get a boyfriend doesn’t mean I don’ take risks with “boys.” People wanted me to go to high school dances, but I never went to a dance again after middle school! For example, I remember a guy my therapist was convinced liked me asked me one day senior year in the parking lot on the way to his truck, “Well, aren’t you going to go the dance, Laura? You should go with us…” But I’d already gone out with his group of friends once, knew the blonde girl he was more interested in, and didn’t want to get involved.
In particular, I think it is chicken when I admit what I experience and own up to my feelings and the other person can’t. So what if he claims to be seeing someone else, then why’d he unnecessarily act interested in me? To me, this is not rejection. This is liking the wrong person. Rejection would come from the right person who apologizes, takes ownership and says, “I didn’t realize I was crossing the line. I appreciate and relate to certain aspects of you but am seeing someone else.” Not the “but we can be friends” bogus when he truthfully doesn’t care.
I naively overrated my elementary school peers, but, at the same time, they were my “real” friends that made me cool and on top of the world in ways I couldn’t ever find again. Nonetheless I was able to open up to a much softer and more eloquent Laura long after leaving those people behind; she’s the version I started out as anyways, and I mean before doing ballet. That girl who sat on the porch and looked out at the forest as she painted rocks, did bead projects with the babysitter that then got ironed into hearts and made braids out of gimp.
Beginning in middle school, but especially throughout high school, I felt under considerable pressure “to get” boyfriends. This concept consumed me. As if I’d be unworthy without them! To me, the idea of not formally meeting but potentially being around a new person I might experience an attraction to provides healthy incentive to fine-tune my appearances, demeanor, etc. regularly. However, getting a boyfriend is not necessarily a reality I’m inclined to take on. I have more freedom today because younger versions of “Laura” are clear to me without being tied up in “someone else’s.” By college I already felt older and different (enough) due to my experiences with an eating disorder to admit to myself, at least by the end of it, that I don’t want to meet someone (through school) and crave more comfort and familiarity with my own lifestyle before getting involved personally. Just because I didn’t get boyfriends doesn’t mean I don’t admit or explore feelings, if only for the sake of self-growth and drawing the line professionally. I don’t think of myself as being behind or otherwise inexperienced at life. Furthermore, because I didn’t get boyfriends doesn’t mean I discredit sexuality and don’t want love. It does mean; however, that I don’t concern myself over guys like I used to. I have different priorities than many people my age, and undoubtedly a different vision for myself too!
People were so surprised. “This can’t happen to Laura. She’s an A student. She’s a great athlete. Friends and adults like her.” But as I share in my book Sick there is plenty happening earlier that explains why I became so vulnerable to my own body, to the obsessive calculating in my head and to this deadly disease.
Two themes I cover in the beginning of Sick are the death of my grandfather and being a basketball player. The death of Grandpa Sid results in me taking on too many responsibilities. I feel there isn’t a spot for me in the family, which perhaps explains in part why I became so “passionate” about basketball.
There was generally focus on being competitive as in “the best.” This focus is due to several reasons, including the locations where I grew up and the fact that something else in me couldn’t come to fruition, which is why I had to beat others as a way to define myself. At the same time I was really good at getting people to like me but felt unwanted and excessive. I excel and become so obsessed with certain things as a way to prove that slipshod secrets are meant to stay on the side.
The other day I found myself surrounded by a group of teenagers. Seeing them made me think about the one I would have liked at their age. He appears happy and Californian with darker hair—slow growing like I used to be. By Californian I mean sunny, good-looking but not self-serving, oceanic and clear. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the more I became closed off with anxiety, OCD and anorexia, the less I became interested in “open” guys. I fell for more troubled, secretive and angry underneath types that I didn’t understand as if to express own undersurface of shame. In short, I liked boys who made me feel bad. Thankfully, rather than get involved with someone else, I first learned to stop cheating myself.
When my family moved to California after sixth grade, I had one friend from Maryland over the years who visited me, “January.” January came twice. Meanwhile, my friend “Angel” and I lost touch. Nevertheless, in writing Sick, I decided to share how Angel took care of me. It was kind of her family to have me at their house a couple nights while my parents sorted out final details with the movers. I still told Angel about my book and think she read it. When January visited, she did not come alone but with family. I invited other people to stay who didn’t, briefly alluded to in Chapter 44. I remember, the first time January came was probably 2002. I used to keep a picture of Dad, January and me at the top of a hill overlooking my favorite water. I wore a sweatshirt from the middle school I, evidently, no longer attended in Maryland. Is it not sad? Because here I was with this amazing opportunity at a new and better life, but dressing like I didn’t want it!
I have a history of liking shorter guys. Not necessarily, shorter than myself, but shorter in general. Beginning with a crush in my tweens who acted as a bully against me. Following him, there was a variety of people, I guess, some taller and others shorter. Overall, I got along best with–and felt better about “Laura” around–the taller people. I less easily got (automatically) meshed in with him and kept a more clear sight of myself. Not only is this person taller, though, but different; I don’t feel like I’m turning my own life around to get impressed over him.
I do not hold anything against shorter people. However, I have worked in fitness, where in my experience guys are very into themselves and their muscles. He’s consistently struggling to compensate in some way as if to make up for a (previously) smaller size, which only makes me feel little!
I’ve always desired to be taller myself. When I walk outside, I want to feel tall. I want the people I spend time around to make me want to grow and not hold back.
Ask everyone in my family, and they’ll say I’m a good cook. Probably the best out of all four.
Thanks to my eating disorder I became quite skilled in the kitchen. In order to get well, I had to learn to cook, which I write about in my book Sick. Basically, I was eating all raw foods and then my body became too cold and weak to digest them. Then, I got too habitual with the foods I was able to eat so my eating disorder resurfaced. It didn’t help that I began to exercise frequently as soon as I gained some strength, which made me need to eat (the same things) more. Often, I did not eat for this reason and stayed anxious, hungry.
I stopped liking cooking because I felt I had to do it, couldn’t eat out or enjoy myself. Slowly, with some professional help, I added more in and started to experiment. Today, I’m lazy on cooking sometimes. Soon, when I feel more settled and ready, it will come back . I didn’t just drop doing cooking totally and start watching TV, or something like that. Instead, I opt to do more of the other healthy activities that make me feel good, such as taking care of my face or driving somewhere special to walk. I still spend plenty of time in the kitchen.
When I became “obsessed” with cooking, my eating disorder did not come back seriously compared to where I had been before. But it happened badly in the sense that, once again, everyday folks thought I was just thin or small. I felt like such a nothing and didn’t want to share “anorexia.” Although I was trying to get better, I felt incarcerated as ever.
I don’t like that people seem to think I’ve had more than one eating disorder. Then again, things seemed unclear in my book based on the well-meaning medical “threats” I received and what people said was going to happen! I didn’t have eating disorders. One label is more than plenty, mind you! A doctor said I’d probably become bulimic, but I’ve never made myself throw up. Maybe I was “exercise bulimic” but that would have been at the same time that I was anorexic, anyways. I gained a lot of weight in a short period of time, yes, but that wasn’t anything new. The point is, I cut through and found therapies, such as new types of movement. Also, I know what binge eating is and have met various people with that condition. I don’t have that. I do; however, have lots of shame, insecurity and doubt. Not gross amounts, but more than what I previously could handle. But just because I’m no longer anorexic doesn’t make it right for people to wonder, in light of my history, What’s next. What more is wrong with this woman?
As a published author, it would be easy to lose myself in promotion work, speaking, coaching, etc., but I still come back to writing as my focus. When not on lauraauthor.com, I’m in the process of working on a separate article or otherwise occupied writing and editing. Nonetheless, here’s to why I blog and the way I do!
Number one, blogging regularly shows I’m a versatile writer. Furthermore, blogging often challenges me to become more fluent and dynamic as a writer. My goal is not to master a particular genre or form, but rather to make writing more natural to my processing. Not only am I an author, but I’m also a scientist who blogs about her personal and professional experiments; an anthropologist in the field; a journalist required to crank out articles under deadlines. Although I don’t have a boss, I do have discipline and experience. I participated in two journalism-related activities at different points in high school, including the school newspaper and San Diego Union-Tribune (for which I volunteered as a children’s critic). I discontinued the school newspaper because in order to do that students stayed after school. I needed to workout after school (which I do think is healthy after a long day)! Otherwise I had therapy and then exercised or just wanted to go home. Plus, the social “pressure” with food was more than I could take. I did; however, enjoy learning about the design aspects of the paper and remember feeling a sense of accomplishment when an article I wrote came out.
Next, writing regularly keeps stats and conversations with followers running more smoothly. My topics are relevant; tone stays more consistent. My blog doesn’t read like a novel because it shouldn’t. Still, the more I write, the more people get a general sense of my style and, hopefully, the more they want to come back and visit! Part of the reason I am able to make time to blog often is because I don’t lose myself on other social media sites. I also don’t consume myself with shorter updates, or feel a need to prove things about my personal life through the Internet. Lauraauthor.com is like a laboratory to me, instead.
Learn more about my experience as a writer, here.
I used to weight train impressively–thirteen or fourteen is when I first got started. In fact, my entire existence revolved around fitness and healthiness, hence the title of my book: In The Name Of Being Well, I Made Myself Sick.
Since stopping conventional training almost four years ago and changing my approach to intensity, I’ve been able to menstruate on a regular cycle. This is excellent, I think, and more important for my well-being and sense of rhythm than having big or even attractive muscles. Actually, in my experience it is still possible to achieve nice or fair muscles without weights through diligent self-care and regular massage. I don’t have as many guy “friends” or men impressed, but would rather be cozy alone in my writing cottage anyways!
Today, I have the freedom to move my body whenever and however I feel like, without feeling confined by the need to exercise or even follow a certain “recovery” regimen. I keep focused on growing spiritually and energetically through nature and the physical, as opposed to finding “Laura” solely through this body, “personal” life, relations with humans…
Nevertheless, I did benefit from becoming a personal trainer at age eighteen. There’s far more to training than weights. I know all about foam rolling, which I do everyday, for instance. I walk outside, stretch, dance, take baths and inevitably do weight bearing exercises. I helped a lot of people when I worked at gyms, especially those who needed more confidence in their balance, wanted to build strength and improve flexibility.
We got my dog when I was twelve. He’s twelve, now. People look at Rocky and think he’s still young. However, Rocky wasn’t always healthy. In fact there was a point where he was five pounds overweight, which is a lot for his little size. Rocky had brown gook under his eyes too. He got sick when I didn’t make time for him and was too consumed with my eating disorder.
Once, when I was sixteen, I dropped the leash while walking Rocky with my mom. He sprinted down the street and I tried to chase after him but couldn’t keep up. My mom worried a lot that he’d get hit by a car, eaten by a coyote, snake or hawk. But all he wanted was to chase down another dog and stayed right on the sidewalk. He’s pretty smart, I guess.
Rocky is closest with my mom. Sometimes this makes me disappointed because he was supposed to be “my dog,” as the title of this post suggests. For instance, I’ve been away the last three-four months and asked about taking him with me. But Mom wanted him and both parents are discouraged by the idea. It makes me sad because if I could have bonded more with Rocky–if my parents had encouraged on me to take full responsibility–sometimes I think I wouldn’t have felt so alone in the past because he would have been “all” mine to take care of and befriend. Nevertheless, we still get along quite well. Leaving Rocky is difficult. At the same time, I appreciate the space and like outdoor animals such as birds that I don’t have to buy food for, walk on schedule, clean-up after and take to the vet.
As soon as “feelings” get involved, I think it is important to seriously consider ending a professional relationship or changing one’s position. Although a desirable ending is achievable, in this post I share two examples of mistakes in first person.
First, I was working at a museum. That is when I met “Saul.” Saul seemed to like me, but then he went away. Still, Saul said he was going to come back. After Saul left, my schedule became overcrowded with my other main job. But I kept up at the museum longing for Saul. Meanwhile, I never connected with my work, remained fully distracted by Saul and couldn’t imagine ever being interested in someone else. Eventually, I quit the museum. Although Saul came back later, he didn’t stay long anyways!
“Quentin” is “above me,” a person I’m working with directly, have hired or some combination. Quentin is either friendlier than I am used to or purposely leads me on. The specifics don’t matter; I’ve experienced both. Although I don’t agree with Quentin’s approach on something work-related, I want to keep seeing him and begin to wonder if feelings will develop. But Quentin isn’t actually interested in more; things begin to get awkward. Maybe Quentin doesn’t take me seriously as a co-worker or client (i.e. all women in x-y-z category are “game”). Or, maybe Quentin’s work is not meaningful or important and he wants to keep me interested by getting personal instead. The fact is, I didn’t hire or begin work with Quentin for him to be my friend slash therapist. Now, the combination of feelings and awkwardness gets in the way of work and inhibits me from developing a relationship with someone (else) or just focusing period. In short, I keep paying Quentin or working with him for the wrong reasons–all the while unclear if I truly want him or plainly got set-up–and lose on all fronts. My advice in this example is to disconnect totally; don’t fool yourself. Although, of course, he loves the idea of you being hooked.
Last night I dreamt I was swimming in baggy clothes. More specifically, I wore a particular pair of black capris that I own, except in the dream they were baggier and covered my entire leg. Although a bit scared and unsure, I wasn’t actually drowning because I remember coming up for breath. Two of my childhood girlfriends were “teasing” me. They were touching me while I was under the dark ocean water, making fun. My friends were wet too, but walking rather than swimming. Also featured in the dream was a guy I associate with this time in my youth. I couldn’t tell if he was close or far-off. There’s a chance he was looking for me. But I couldn’t get more near without my friends slash bullies.
If he’s not the person you would have chosen for yourself, you have to admit feelings! This proves you’re still in the place you started from—he hasn’t turned into some type of “calling” or “answer”—these are “just” feelings. The only rule about feelings is, in my opinion: Don’t fight liking someone because you “think” that person isn’t right unless he is obviously dangerous or the situation is clearly inappropriate. Lay it out. That’s why games aren’t worth it to me. This isn’t about getting someone else or winning a particular person, being mysteriously attractive or something like that. This is about having the courage to put my own desire on the table. Until then “he’s” nothing special. That’s the entire point in admitting desire; to create the opportunity for specialness.
There are, of course, some people in my life I’ve decided are special without admitting anything. This was me being a little girl. Take “Frank,” for example, I remember talking to Mom and my closest friends about him. Following Frank, I got completely consumed in someone else. That is when I gained my most weight. Some of that weight was necessary. Ultimately, I gained too much.
Now, back to Frank. It’s hard to realize how true my feelings were. Because at the time I was living from a more hidden and sub-conscious place. Then again, it was evident I liked Frank, I think, but once I finally did get to know him I realized he wasn’t right.
I’ve made up stories about past lives related to various guys. One I decided was my father (ironically, this is the only one that is my age). Another (i.e. Frank) I met at a market. The last is a former relative from a different village! Mostly; however, I think this is little girl’s stuff–like “my anorexia.” Yet none of these guys were particularly mature either, regardless of how youthful or aged.
Last night I stubbed almost every toe on my right foot, except the big one.
What happened made me stop walking and sit. (“Resting” for me is difficult.) Then stand up and observe for ten minutes until I could walk again. I felt better and realized it wasn’t that bad. I put my hand on my foot and massaged a little; played with the toes. Sometimes the scariest thing is looking down at the swelling. But obviously I couldn’t see; that’s how I hurt myself in the first place!
I’m still going to walk today. The toes throb a little but I had good dreams while sleeping. I’ve worked with my foot in water and feel better when I move, not obsess over it. Because in these situations, I make quiet prayers. I don’t scream and throw temper tantrums.
I already had some black and blue marks on my feet. The thing is I don’t want to be concerned about where I’m going in that way. I walk to clear my head and take in nature. Mostly, I felt relieved about recently getting feelings out to three other people so that I could move forward with what’s important to me.
Later in the evening things seemed good. There’s barely any food because I don’t want to go shopping. But there is enough. The most fun thing is, towards the end of it all, I felt a lot better. After my walk I had a little snack then put whatever is left to cook in the oven for an hour. In that time I danced and sang in my room with new music I like. That’s the happiest ending I can imagine…
One. If he doesn’t take his own feelings seriously, someone he “feels” for isn’t serious either. Duh! Two. Spending time around this person (any person, per example) makes me doubt myself in direct proportion to “his” own artificiality. Three. Almost everything “he” tells me, I can’t help but wonder: “Did you study me beforehand? Is this rehearsed?” It doesn’t matter if he actually likes me, or merely the idea! He NEEDS to play; to get “you” into “him” because he lacks sense of self. That makes the dude a con. Four. Working with someone who is curious in learning about my personal life before following through on important (professional) tasks I’ve pointed out need to be done. In short, he asks for favors without finishing the job. I feel guilty and needy about “demanding” too much when, in fact, I am the co-worker or client. But he seems interested in me and I don’t want to ruin that; I want to impress him. Five. He’s clearly trying to plug into me through conversation—yet continues to test and walk tightropes rather than providing a genuine invitation, offer of support or giving me a real chance. Meanwhile, I “can’t” want him because then he loses his game! In the end, that’s what this is all about–his game.
~ Six: Ladies, don’t degrade yourselves. It’s not your game. So don’t play! ~
I put “admit” in quotations because by that word I mean, in a general sense, bring them up. Explaining where you stand and what your interpretations are without a profuse confession or implying any kind of commitment.
As a 15 year-old girl, if I had a crush on my 30 year-old coach, that seems inappropriate to admit. The coach should not be playing with me or teasing, either. He is considered the adult in charge and there could be grave consequences. This would be, like, a little girl’s crush for a teenager who knows she is better off with people in her own age bracket.
However, if I am age 21 or in my early twenties in a non-personal relationship with my coach in his late twenties to early thirties, this is very real and not a game. Over the past four years, my reoccurring experience is that men seven to 12 years older think it is okay to play with me like a little girl. To come in without an invitation, ask questions, talk about himself and have what I would consider an intimate conversation related to family, personal life, etc. This is what I call a tease or playing. Perhaps he finds me intelligent in an intriguing way–my achievements are impressive; I am mature . But I don’t come off as sexual (enough) or amount to a woman he wants to “be mine” or brag about.
In the latter case, you admit feelings. You admit feelings that were not there initially. This is not, for example, the type of person, you’d have noticed at the supermarket. Regardless, this is someone who drew you in, maybe he didn’t do it on purpose but that just proves he is unaware. To conclude, there is only one solution, which is: Get a different coach!
I feel less inhibited and no longer experience a need to identify with the estranged woman long hair created (out of me) or the fanciful life it falsely promised to make. Furthermore, I am more confident in my work and satisfied as an individual. Although there is still shame, I feel less desperate to please, be wanted by and impress men.
Twice in the past week men older than me took advantage.
First, with someone who gave me a lecture over e-mail when I didn’t get back soon enough. Immediately, I included another person in the loop, letting the first person know it was unacceptable to corner me in. Because in fact I should have received a call or text before a second e-mail telling me, “Laura, you’re rude.” E-mail can be fickle. Before getting mad at someone over e-mail try other forms of communication. If this person’s goal was to get closer…well, now, that chance is ruined.
Second example comes from my first book, relates to my second and daily life. When you’re working with someone, gage the other person’s comfort level before getting personal. In Sick, the story ends with a man who makes me feel very used, and it starts because of how he crosses the line in a professional situation. Then again, how could this man have considered “my line”–he was far too full of himself! In these types of situations, no matter how clear I make my line, he is going to “innocently” dig his nails in. All along, I get more mushy. Recently, I found myself in a similar situation, came out and said to the person: “I like you and am interested.” I wanted to let him know, “Good job, you win!” And, at the same time, I guess, Shame On You! Deal with your own insecurities–don’t waste my time, ideas, money.
Growing up, Mom talked about family. The family was supposed to be bigger since the grandparents died on Mom’s side, my Yochelson grandfather got a heart attack (one of several) in the airport before my parents were even married and not everybody got along well with Grandma Kay. Despite the turmoil, I was seen as this kind of “pure” anchor. Looking back, adults should have paid more attention concerning why I felt so responsible.
Today I see people with their big families. Each child stays part of the family. Or at least it looks that way in pictures–they all still seem so similar; it’s kind of boring.
When it comes to family, if someone uses the word love, is it because of the blood relation and innocent memories? To me, family is something to be grateful for but it is also an exchange. I have a close relationship with my mom although often feel a need to convince her of my feelings. I regularly go intervals without seeing my dad but he’ll still text me about his work and the weather with an xox or call. I make a point to update him on the professional stuff that I think will, similar to Mom, persuade him of my progress. My sister and I have had one real conversation on the phone over the last three-four months. We “like” each other on Facebook but she is much more social and busy with work.
To me, this is family. Family is about proving myself. Not proving that I am one of us but rather proving that I am a capable independent and don’t “need” them. Perhaps that sounds harsh. But it’s how I’ve been raised and learned to think. Toughen up–or you won’t make it in this cold world.
Sometimes I get a sensitive tummy.
This correlates, often, directly with my menstrual cycle.
I think it’s important to recognize the difference between purposely restricting food and feeling tender.
By sensitive or tender I mean, for me, yesterday was the most noticeable of those days right before. I ate a yam with coconut milk, honey, little lemon and salt in the morning, had a snack mid afternoon and a light dinner (not necessarily “right” dinner). I guess breakfast held me well; my mind is also too full. I drank water throughout the day and some coconut water and kefir. I should eat more protein (thank goodness I ate some “after” dinner!) and went food shopping last night. I also cooked a little but made a point to “lighten” mentally.
Often, I get very specific visions or dreams before and, sometimes, during my period. There can be nightmares, but I’m not afraid. I’ve had distasteful experiences on my menstrual cycle. I mean, with nausea. There were times I was in college and with too much pain–I had to miss school–even as a most dedicated student! I still went to work, walked from the train and then sat on the floor when I was supposed to be moving around and standing.
At home, Mom rubbed my feet and made tea, I needed a heating pad and then threw up. Yikes. I hate throwing up. In bed almost all day, it was terrible! It doesn’t help, also, when an acquaintance whose had a baby tells me, “Those cramps are nothing compared to giving birth.” Everybody is different; every cycle I learn and prepare for the next.
For me the process has fortunately gotten better. I don’t take drugs to lessen the pain or do any type of birth control that tinkers with hormones. I’m not trying to brag or say this is correct; I’m stubborn but also willing to make sacrifices and determined to figure it all out “naturally.” What I notice is that things can easily go downhill if I don’t take care or find myself in the wrong environment. Early in winter I received help from a person who does energy work. It was a similar thing in her office when I was ready to throw up. I was too nauseous to lie down and kept interrupting the session. But she was right there with me and there were these bursts–I’d never felt each emotion so purely before. She held me and I cried SO HARD.
Once I had to fly all day on the first day of my period. I thought I’d be miserable but did an easy yoga inversion in the airport, kept drinking water and breathing. (I’ll even bring a little sample of something to smell or massage, sometimes.) Then I rested the next day.
Today I stay very aware and, in a way, build my lifestyle around preparing for my period. Maybe that sounds weird. But especially the week before it is crucial to leave time for emotional release. Don’t wait until you’re “bleeding” already and it’s all cramped. That’s what I’ve learned. It does help to consciously work with whatever you intend for the egg to release. Whether or not I want to have a baby, I certainly wouldn’t want whatever I can work through and gain insight from “left over” for another person.
I especially don’t judge my eating habits around my period. I might get a lot of anxiety in parts of my body that correspond to food and digestion. Before I ever developed an “eating disorder.” So, yesterday I didn’t eat that much. I’m also under a lot of stress with my books, traveling soon, and more. Sometimes you’ve got to suck it up, admit “I can’t handle this” or “I don’t have the answer yet” and just digest. At the same time, I think it makes no sense to purposely restrict food before your period. I lose weight and get a lot less bloated once the bleeding starts, anyways!
If you are more curious about the menstrual cycle, there is a section included in my book by Miranda Gray, who coaches women specifically to be in tune! Link is to Miranda Gray’s professional website.
I don’t drink soda. I don’t think any of my (closest) friends drink soda, either. This isn’t a coincidence. Because I “judge” people who do and think it is unhealthy.
I don’t smoke. I don’t have any friends who smoke. Part of me feels sorry for people who struggle with this addiction because I’ve had my own (eating disorder). I don’t feel sorry for people who smoke just to be cool or don’t try to get help.
I don’t drink coffee. I don’t hold anything against people who drink coffee and know how to savor/enjoy it. I think that is wonderful. It’s people who live off coffee, use it as a substitute for food or go crazy without it that I think need a slower pace.
I don’t drink alcohol. Of course most people drink alcohol. Similar to how my grandmother tried pressuring me into soda, I’ve been warned by older adults in a way that implies people won’t like me because of this, I should just be more normal and drink some wine as part of the social atmosphere. (You won’t get any friends or boyfriend, Laura.) As if I abstain from alcohol on purpose to selfishly draw attention! When I see pictures with a guy wrapping his arm around a girl and holding his beer up in front of her body or close to her face that feels so wrong and disgusting.
In my second book, the main character experiences hugging. What is your opinion about hugging? In seventh or eighth grade girls started to give each other hugs. I guess I played along, although not a fan. Hugging used to be very hard (with the opposite sex, especially), then I gave too much. Be aware of whom, how and under what circumstances you hug. Even though hugs were supposed to be just cool in middle school, they aren’t a joke. You don’t have to give, and don’t fool yourself! The last time someone asked for a hug, and I rejected him–it felt so good. Because that forced him to hug me first! All he could manage was wrapping an elbow around my neck in a way that almost choked. And there I had been, putting far more into it, and getting so little back.
This was not supposed to be who I am.
You do not know (Laura).
That “successful” basketball star I was at nine, ten, eleven years old with all of her friends–She stole me.
All of the little ways in which I kept making myself smaller, such as by not smiling with teeth, until eventually the entire coloring surrounding me turned pale.
As a child, I was just “little.” Little Laura, like in Sick. Nobody considered me “skinny.” Everybody used the word small. “Athletic,” better yet. I meshed well. My name resembles that of my older sibling (L and L) in a way that makes us seem attractively sisterly. In childhood, parents of my friends also complimented me and compared me to their daughters.
“Who is five feet yet? Ginger or Laura? You girls are so alike…”
But, in my own head, Ginger was always a little bit skinner. A smidgen smarter. A centimeter or two taller. Perhaps she only liked me because basketball made me cooler (until she found her own). In short, Ginger was that much more of everything I wanted to be. Yet, Ginger never knew I had thoughts like this, and neither did her mother. In fact, Ginger’s mom wrote my mom a thoughtful note before we moved about what a good friend and person I am.
So, what made me different? Maybe Ginger tried a diet and resisted her period at first but she never struggled with a full-blown EATING DISORDER. She earned academic success and athletic distinction plus got a boyfriend, when all I had was secrets and more doctors and talk about death. Somewhat unfathomable for such a once upon a time joyous Susanne.
In the end, I do admit, I’ll probably get more out of life than Ginger. Not that anybody is comparing, of course!
I don’t like to read general relationship advice anymore. People whose work I follow regularly might write about relationships–that’s a little different. I went through a phase about reading books on intimacy, relationships, etc. a couple years ago. I read books by popular self-help gurus, phDs, and articles on the Internet. It helped, somewhat, but also got me thinking too much.
I have nothing against authors, books and articles on relationships. However I find it much more valuable to draw and share my own conclusions instead of posting about other people’s work or trying to memorize a professional’s formula. I process things in my own way, and have been looked down upon by others in the family for that. I don’t mean to blame my parents, who meant to facilitate such processing by putting me in therapy, but at the same time this shows they didn’t trust me. There was always something wrong with my own processing (“You need a lot of time,” in the words of Dad); a professional being “required” to lead my way.
Communication can make me quite anxious. Later I’ll wish I’d acted sooner or said more. Just this morning this happened with someone who noticed me. I couldn’t let myself talk (more) because the first thing I thought was I don’t look good enough, I don’t deserve it. I might go as far as putting words in the other person’s mouth through my head and think, He can’t be interested. I’d just come from exercising, wasn’t wearing make-up, hadn’t done my hair. Somehow the other person seems so perfect to me and no matter if he’s drawn to me first in my own head I’m never right or worthy enough. Automatically, I tend to think in terms of getting things over with and “rushing” through life in this way because I am anxious.
I mostly process things alone but am close with my mom; we’re not quite as close as we used to be, which for me is healthier and will allow for other people in my life. Having been “anorexic,” “seclusion” is familiar. I know very well how to hide away and survive on my own. I’ve gotten by for long periods of time, just me, caught back and forth between places like the family ping-pong ball, not knowing anybody particularly well or having my own social life. I’m learning to stand up for what I want a little better. Plus, I often do activities around people. Rather than get caught up in relationship advice, the best thing would be for me to get involved without worrying. Because nothing is worse than not being connected to “anybody.”
I used to enjoy sprinting, and I was good at it. That annoying kid who always yelled, “Race you!” might very well have been me. I loved the feeling of wind hitting hard against my face and the sensation of my entire body going fast. It didn’t matter if other people were watching or if my friend was lazy; I wanted to GO!
More recently, seeing children play outside reminds me of how comfortable I used to be in my body. It is scary to think about how activities I used to do without even thinking–because they felt good–became so bad for me in such a short period of time with a changed context.
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone that didn’t work? So you ended the relationship knowing it was the right thing to do. But in your head there was still so much to figure out. Once you figured that stuff out you wanted to show your face again and prove it. Then all of a sudden being back in communication specifically around this person you realize “Shoot, I haven’t changed!” Well, actually, I have, but not around “him.” Because the issue is bigger than ME. To conclude, don’t get caught up in these types of situations and relationships that bring shame. Focus on figuring things out in your own head (and heart) being enough. Don’t worry about proving anything to someone who isn’t right in the long run, anyways.
I am happily satisfied with how the cover and back text look. I ended up going with the darker cover because this book isn’t about light fluff but, rather, serious stuff! It still involves romance, although the main character must grow a lot to get what she wants, rather than “who” she thinks!
Is definitely talking about “this book” with people who don’t know what the product is.
So I explain I wrote the book–after being challenged over and over again:
“Oh, wow, it’s actually a real book!” he says after looking at the number of pages.
“Is it yours, really?”
“But is that you on the cover?”
“How old are you?”
Once again, if the person is able to step back and let me speak, I begin to explain about “this book” on, yes, my experiences with an eating disorder. Automatically people guess bulimia. Because “bulimia” is not necessarily equated with sickly skinny in quite the same way as anorexia via popular media, so apparently folks assume I wrote a book on my story and healing yet still have the same problem? Because I could still look the way I do and be bulimic?
“You, naw, you couldn’t have been anorexic.”
Goes to show how little they all know about both diseases.
More and more I realize how many people judge and don’t see me as a real author.
Not because the book doesn’t look professional, in fact they’re impressed in a surprised and unflattering kind of way, but because I’m a young woman. A composed intellectual, not a loud-mouth.
I am SO TIRED of people asking, “Did you actually write this?”
“Are you someone else’s assistant?”
“Or, do you just work…”
I need, like, a back-up old man to gain respect. But I don’t want that and would rather continue to get slammed, give up, either wait it out or do something else with my life.
I start sharing about my eating disorder and womanhood–some folks think this gives them permission to look at my breasts. I want to vomit. Sick shares an honest and true story. There is no invitation beyond that.
Hello, and welcome to lauraauthor.com, featuring books by Laura Susanne Yochelson. I am Laura. I blog almost everyday, usually on whatever I feel like or am working through in my life. Furthermore, I love to hear what readers have to say, and appreciate everybody for their support. My first book is called Sick: In The Name Of Being Well, I Made Myself Sick. Sick is primarily on my experiences with anorexia nervosa and categorized in the body-mind-spirit genre for embracing a holistic approach to healing. You can download Sick for $3.03 on Kindle or learn more at the following links: Amazon, Balboa Press, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or Scribd. Also, be sure to tweet @Laura_Author!
This week I am getting my long hair cut. Not all of my hair, fortunately. But a lot compared to my usual trim. There will have to be enough left to put up in a pony tail or bun, of course! However, my ultimate goal is that having less hair will allow me to wear it down more and bring less tension.
What’s prompted me to surrender my teenage dream of being a long-haired, fairytale princess? It was long–always reaching towards longer in my head–throughout my eating disorder, and I need different! I am also ready to embrace what’s most comfortable for me instead of what I’ve “been told” is the ideal attractive to men. Besides that, long hair is annoying. Too much of my hair is getting matted and, ultimately, coming out. I lose patience and begin to feel ugly. My hair doesn’t look bad and isn’t a serious problem. Mostly, I don’t want to deal with long hair anymore. I don’t blow-dry my hair. I don’t put in chemicals. I wash it with a very nice shampoo and conditioner. Sometimes I treat it with various products I eat. Besides that I get way too many bubbles in my hair when I take baths.
I still envy people with long hair who appear to handle it seamlessly. But I’m through with my own failed, more feminine approach. I have a pretty face. I always played with Grandma Kay’s eau de toilette. Maybe that explains my solid commitment to this area of the body compared to that which grows out of my head!
I don’t necessarily like the word passion. For me, writing differs from passion.
Hello, my name is Laura, and I’m a writer. That means I innately digest and express through words. Freeing this process is essential to my well-being.
Tell this to a super spiritual person and he’ll be like, no, you aren’t a writer. You’re nobody. You aren’t supposed to be anybody or attach yourself to something (especially not words or thoughts). Shame on my voice!
The thing is, what do these super spiritual people do with their lives? Anything tangible that lasts besides counseling others and striving for clean perfection?
I’m not one to criticize spirituality. But some people are too “spiritual.” Like me when I was anorexic and wanted to be so pure I could not eat.
Being around the super spiritual people I feel them testing. Take out a wand if you wish. Then again, ask me how I feel if you want real answers.
Today I realize how little that life is I feel so sorry about missing out on. That life that was supposed to happen for me if we didn’t move or I didn’t get sick in Cali, such as becoming a high school basketball star or pretty beach honey. Recently I saw this girl–she was probably 16–going surfing with her boyfriend. She kissed him. I’m not sure he felt comfortable. But the scene made me sad for failing to achieve my fantasy of being more like her at that age. She looked totally serene with her long hair racing into the waves.
- Being most competitive.
- “Bad” thoughts taking over.
- Thinking I’m ugly.
- Pushing my body too hard.
- Hungry then starving.
- Losing everybody else.
- Painful digestion.
- Eating too much and feeling gross.
- Falling apart and wanting to die.
- Yet I’m alive.
- All-or-nothing diets don’t work for me. All raw, all paleo, all vegetarian…I do my best on local and organic. Still if I’m working hard and really hungry, or if it’s something I really like, that often takes precedence. Such as coconut water made fresh in the kitchen from coconuts that aren’t organic. Also, I don’t want to spend more money on food because I’m obsessed and scared. Other things matter.
- Food is important, but talking about it in terms of yourself too much is unattractive. People who announce out loud, “When was the last time I ate?” to determine if it’s okay to be hungry now…those types aren’t a healthy influence on me.
- I judge other people. Yep. I judge other people based on what they eat. But not cruelly. I won’t say anything or hold what someone else eats against the person unless I think it is serious. In my head, I might think: Well, he eats (like) this, so this explains that.
- I still don’t use the microwave.
- Today I appreciate when other people make me food or take care of the shopping. I don’t have to be in control of it all the time. For example, my dad makes me a great salad when we’re together. I may buy all the ingredients, which is helpful. But I let him do the dressing his way. Compared to who I was four years ago, that would never have been allowed.
Bookstores or small businesses that sell books: Not necessarily friendly. These are the places where people don’t seem to think I am a real author. However, some are nice and have let me post on a board or window.
Clothing, tailor, consignment: Actually good. As long as the area isn’t top of the line she-she. Many of them have let me post a flyer on the window of the shop.
Community centers: They don’t seem to want a flyer unless it is for a community center event.
Libraries: Coming soon.
Local cafes: Overall, surprisingly helpful. Many have boards; some let me post in the window. Not the expensive sit down places, but the ones where people mostly want to get a smoothie or muffin.
Local markets: They can be more picky. There isn’t generally a board like Whole Foods. The answer is: “Here, I’ll take one and show my boss but can’t guarantee.” So I give anyways.
Location of event: Place flyers on doors and wherever allowed. Distribute flyers if possible.
Outdoor shopping centers: Where there are boards.
Schools: Coming soon.
Small health and beauty businesses: Some offer to hand out a few. Others have bulletins.
Starbucks: Quite welcoming here.
Whole Foods: They have a community board near the restrooms.
Last weekend I walked through the shops on an unsuccessful search for sandals. I gave the same look “away” to the person I was interested in and the one who creeped me out. In both instances, I reacted immediately because of that feeling in my chest. I couldn’t go into the shoe store because a man was working there. Not a man I was interested in but, still, I worried about my feet being unappealing. In fact, it could have been almost any man; I feel a need to placate EVERY man and, often, women. More recently I had a very clear dream. I woke up pasted in shame. Another interesting thing: Before I got labeled as sick, people really liked certain qualities about me, such as my sensitivity and even my polite quietness! Around food, people joked around and thought my strange peculiarities were cute and fun. Then when I was diagnosed with mental disorders everybody thought I should get rid of those pieces as if they were bad. I do not think that is fair.
People who constantly need to schedule, plan, perhaps innocently tell you how to do things (according to their ways) as if they’re an expert in who you are and think they’re helping. Along those lines, people who talk too much. I’ve finally accepted that I’m a more quiet person. If someone else calls me quiet or refers to me as quiet in front of my face, though, that is disrespectful (depending on the tone). People who talk too much bug me because it’s like they’re talking for themselves, to themselves, and are unaware if the other person is interested or cares. Of course, being a quieter person, people I’m with tend to talk more. That’s fine. Take it as a compliment to open me up. But it really bugs me when someone calls you like it is a chore. Got to call so-and-so, because he’s my husband or she’s my aunt or whatever. But you’re eating fast food at the same time and calling to tell them about you and daily stuff that doesn’t really matter. It’s just the same old same old. People don’t know how to appreciate who’s on the line. Then again, maybe some people just want to be talked to and that is enough.
Other stuff that bugs me. “Heavy” feet. Dragging feet. People who talk a lot and too loud and take up all the space. People who claim they want to be my friend then criticize me for not being someone else, cooler, most likely who talks more. If I talked too much I’d lose my relationship with what I write. Talking is good when you’re getting to know someone and want to show you care but too much of talking and other sounds makes me feel tense and like I want to hibernate.
Do you ever feel like there’s too much going on and how did it all happen? Something in my chest has to be let out! I remember trying to explain a similar feeling to the psychiatrist my parents made me see when I was fourteen. I told him I don’t understand, the problem starts here (in my chest), why are you just focusing on the head component? Apparently, adults missed the point. I cried and screamed in the car when my mom drove me to the shrink. Often, she cried too. But she still made me go.
I have to, Laura.
So tell me, who was making her? What was making her? Why was she disconnected from me? Because going to the psychiatrist only made things worse. I think if people had listened to me more. If people had let me have more of what I want outside of me that would have loosened my need to hold onto anorexia inside. I get this goes against yoga. But think about it. I was always that “good” child. My sister “wanted” far more material items. I gave her the front seat. The restaurant choices. And constantly empathized with my mother who in her own way ended up turning against me when I got sick. Of course Mom only wanted me to be better, and I love her very much. But she too was unhappy and didn’t know what to do. Everyone was unhappy.
Plain and simple, it was easiest to point all fingers on anorexia and focus on Laura’s problem in this way. Lisa’s childhood wasn’t golden, but she got variety. For me there was a limit: basketball. Basketball made me so cool! Most importantly it proved me to Dad and gave him a favorable opinion of his daughter in addition to drawing other boys at school. Basketball made me that special girl who isn’t needy like the rest. Basketball not because I wanted it or because it was ever truly mine but because basketball let me exist! I was just like this little dot that didn’t deserve anything unless she was really good at it and planned on becoming the next Shaq.
Without basketball I was such a nobody! Of course, my disease stole the prize. She’s so selfish. The formerly almost perfect Laura who becomes a waste basket for collecting everyone else’s anger when all of a sudden she is human.
I was born at George Washington University Hospital. According to Mom I wanted a move on, so she opted out of drugs. Thankfully, I came right on time. My family; however, did not live in DC. In my book, Sick, I share about our house in Bethesda. Nevertheless, I somewhat “grew up” downtown because my grandmother lived there and Dad’s office was located there along with the pro basketball teams. For sports games we drove and then took the metro. When I came to my dad’s office we drove all the way.
I don’t understand people who grew up in Bethesda or Potomac and are mesmerized by downtown Washington. Maybe it’s because I’m not a political person or corporate person. I appreciate convenience, but big cities make me feel distant although, funnily enough, they’re so busy! Growing up, my parents wanted a yard, a nice house they could afford, and the best public school system (by rating).
I furthermore do not understand young people who want to live in New York City. I want to be close to nature–everyday! I’ve been to New York. I’d visit again. Both Mom’s and Dad’s side have a history there. For me, New York is TOO loud. I get some people need their job in NYC, find good opportunities and jive with the fast pace and culture. But I want people to look at me and see beautiful forests, mountains and lakes–not think of big buildings! I don’t get people who do something in NYC they might as well do in Vermont, for example. Just to be cool, eh? Whatever. Obviously some writers thrive in “the big apple.” I’ll eat a pear with sand instead.
Last year I confessed to my sixth grade crush. I did not remember my sixth grade crush until I saw a random picture online in 2013. I don’t think I considered him a crush at the time. But today I realize it was a crush; the tween example of my typical teenage: Don’t go there; you aren’t allowed.
In truth the picture wasn’t exactly random. Basically, I was researching on the public high school I would have attended had my family not moved. Looking back, I probably would have ended up in private school due to my circumstances. Nevertheless, in my mind, there is this entire alternate life going on and last year I finally decided to let it play out and move on from this over-rated fantasy. At one point I came across a picture of “my crush” via someone else’s profile. I remembered the uncomfortable feelings he gave me and was like, Oh yeah. Let’s deal with this. So I said I liked you. Who knows if I’d like him today! But I felt something for him then and decided to show myself I’m not that girl anymore. He IS real and whatever he brought up in me isn’t going anywhere. Therefore, I reentered this place from twelve years ago and dealt (in my own head) with my feelings “through” the person who uncovered them!
I actually think I had two sixth grade crushes. The one I confessed to, and another one whose name I can’t remember and had a completely different look and personality. The second one I was more friendly with; we played sports. With him there could have actually been something. The first sixth grade crush was more like the seventh grade crush in the sense that I couldn’t touch. The only reason I maybe did was because my peer group at the time overlapped with his. But I couldn’t get into it and didn’t know what to make of what he brought up in me. There wasn’t space in my life with basketball and “friends.” I never told anyone, not even Mom! Although I did kind of have an elementary school crush early on, he was cute but not particular to me. The sixth grade crush was completely different, closer inside (even from a distance) and the first of a specific type. What’s funny is, another boy ended up asking me out in sixth grade. I didn’t know him. His friend approached me for him. Or maybe his friend approached my friend. In the cafeteria at lunch. That’s about how far it got!
- “Whereas others tried to distract themselves from acknowledging the tension at home, I could not help but notice it, and usually found myself caught in the middle of the mess.” page 18
- “More than being curious about boys, I was scared of what I might want to know about them.” page 32
- “…some type of energy I experienced difficulty translating into words to try and explain.” page 33
- “I worried that January would neglect me too.” page 35
- “Even if Dana was not as athletic-looking as I was, and even if Dana did not eat healthfully, Dana was pretty.” page 37
- “Everybody was watching…” page 50
- “Shadow always soaked up the spotlight that was supposed to belong to ME.” page 52
- “My petty problems seemed liked nothing compared to the type of tough stuff I knew Breeze had been through.” page 57
- “I wanted so badly to be a San Diego girl.” page 89
- “I picked at my skin. I pinched myself. I pulled my hair out.” page 109
Read directly from the interior on Amazon here!
Have you ever told someone “you don’t know what my feelings are”–or something along those lines? Not in an angry or mean way, but honestly. It is liberating! In one case, what the other person was thinking no longer mattered. I felt strong and clear enough on “Laura” to say, quite frankly, “you” are out of touch and distant!
- People who don’t value your work.
- People who criticize your work without appreciating the author’s effort.
- You get this incredible enlightenment but have to be patient with it because, most likely, the work isn’t done and still evolving.
- Keeping up with not just writing, but putting yourself out there in the right ways without giving up too much or wasting time.
- Stereotypes about writers, including the unending ways in which people judge your work. Different people are going to judge differently. For instance, the grammar/English people versus the people in the specific field you’re writing about or involved with.
- All the rules a writer has to maneuver through in order to get published. Such as if you want to write a magazine article. There isn’t always a guarantee the article will be selected but you still have to follow all the specific submission guidelines. Then, someone else is probably going to fiddle with what you’ve got!
- Knowing when to stop–stop thinking about writing!
- Getting lost in Internet distractions.
- Taking enough breaks without defeating focus all together.
- Remembering why you do this and accepting the writing or book process as part of who you are and your own life moving with it, too.