Not my middle school

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!

Growing

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.

Cooking with one label

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?

My blogging reasons

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.

Too many sinews

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.

My dog

We got my dog when I was twelve. He’s twelve, now. People look at Rocky and think he’s still Photo on 6-30-13 at 8.50 AM #2young.  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.

When to end a professional relationship

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.