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Friday, April 9, 2010

The Art of People Watching.

People watching. It's more than a hobby, it's an art-- a form of talent, if you will.  Perhaps the ultimate study break is to sit at the window in a coffee shop and observe life behind the glass wall that separates myself from the rest of the world.  People watching can be thought of as a mindfulness exercise as it allows me to put my mind at ease and let thoughts wash ashore and vanish, much like my wave analogy, without judgment.  As I sit by the window sill, tea in hand, I spend just a moment watching  pedestrians approach my periphery.  However, like the wave, they quickly leave my site before the next person catches my eye.

The past few weeks have been especially difficult, as noted in the previous post.  Dressed in unnecessary layers, I race from my apartment to class, hoping to avoid eye contact with others.  So far, recovery has been excruciatingly difficult as I've struggled with weight gain and acceptance; however, until recently, I've been fortunate as I've disguised the unsatisfied body with layers of clothing through the fall and winter months.  Now, however, spring has approached and I must find other ways to cope with such insecurities.  I am so easily tempted to revert to old behaviors, because it's what's most comfortable, and my head feels like it's about to explode.  I know right from wrong, healthy from hazardous, and I know I possess the skills and tools to get through each moment.  But when motivation is at its lowest, brain wiring tempts me to allow ED in.  I am weary, and mentally exhausted.  The thoughts have begun to occur more and more often, and I am scared.  I want to want, again--  the ambivalence has begun to hold me back. I am trying not to shut down, trying to stay engaged and stay surrounded by positive influences.  I am blessed to have such brilliant, beautiful people in my life, and I want nothing more than to genuinely appreciate their presence.  But isolation comes easily for me, and sometimes I crave the loneliness I am so comfortable with.  What's more, with loneliness comes the ironic appreciation for emptiness, and thus, numbness. When I am physically empty, I am able to numb out any stress and get closer to invisibility.  I am reminded more than ever that I have an eating disorder-- the deadliest amongst all mental illnesses. And I know the factsA study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover.  Though the statistics are traumatizing, part of me represses the truth and I get lost within the disorder.  I am perturbed, and distraught by the thoughts that ruminate in my head, but like people watching, I need to let the thought approach, knowing it will vanish.  Tears roll down my cheek, as I think of how exhausted and tempted I am to want out.  It's no wonder I find myself ready to hide under the covers and sleep the night away, by 11pm.

Nonetheless, I continue to strive to attain the goal I constructed over spring break.  I am desperately trying to stay consistent with my meal plans, though much of my stress arises from tricks of the mind, mirror and scale. In previous posts, I've mentioned my neighbor's luscious pie that would send any sweet tooth to heaven, and decided to try my own twist on the nearly perfect recipe.  
Not too shabby for my first pie experience (and yes, I took this picture!)

And tomorrow, I will attempt to enjoy a quinoa cereal-- fresh fruit, oats and sliced almonds included
Despite experimentation in the kitchen, fear foods have made unappreciated appearances back into out of my current diet.  Old habits die hard, I suppose, and I am terrified about going out to dinner tomorrow evening.  Dear anxiety, please subside.  Well, it's almost 11pm, time to hide from my demons.

"I thought for a moment, unsure. I had come to realize that I didn't have any feelings towards the trail that weren't confused and contradictory. I was weary of the trail, but still strangely in its thrall; found the endless slog tedious but irresistible; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts. I wanted to quit and to do this forever, sleep in a bed and in a tent, see what was over the next hill and never see a hill again. all of this all at once, every moment, on the trail and off"
(Brittni, I miss you.)


  1. That pie looks awesome. So awesome. Did you love baking it? People watching is an art form. It is so fun to imagine what people are thinking, where they are going, and what they are doing with their lives. I wish I could come and visit and people watch with you and perhaps we can enjoy the beautiful Pittsburgh spring weather. My cousin lives in Pittsburg and is always bragging about the seasons. I miss the weather up north so much, so I am envious of everyone who is writing about spring and warmth right now!
    Hang in there, enjoy the weather, and keep writing. I always look forward to your posts.

  2. Stay strong, my dear. ED's temptations is loud, and it makes you wanna seclude yourself, which just leads to more isolation...a dreadful spiral indeed! I could relate so much to what you said about how loneliness leads to longing for more emptiness, and more self-imposed isolation...I used to do that...a horrible way to live!
    I hope you keep on reaching out to those beautiful people in your life...bask in their love, and shine with true joy and peace from within!

  3. please do not let ed win. You are so much better than that. There is sooo much more to life and you can really thrive!! that pie looks soo amazing :) jealouss. ive never had quinoa yet. Anyways, i am truly thinking of you and hoping you will muster up all of your strength. Have FUN going out to eat- dont thinka bout the food, think about the company :)

  4. You can get through this sweetie- You're doing so well rationalising your thoughts and understanding what's right from wrong. You're not letting ed trick you into thinking following his path would lead to anything but temporary comfort.
    I know it's tough at the moment, I can relate to the return of stronger thoughts but it will pass if you keep pushing and things will be easier I'm sure of it.
    Glad you're having fun cooking and taking some time to relax :)
    Lots of love xxxxxxx

  5. I enjoy people watching too.

    I'm sorry you've been having some troubles. I can relate to the layers of clothing and just want to be alone. For me, it's fear of letting go of the security that ED brings and fear of letting true happiness in. You can get through this girl. My thoughts are with you!

  6. Those are some sobering statistics. Sweetie, you are so much better than this, you deserve to be happy and to recover...I wish there was more I could say that didn't sound so cliche, but please hang in there. You CAN DO THIS, you are BEAUTIFUL and DESERVING of HEALTH and HAPPINESS!!!

  7. You are brave to continue towards recovery and challenge yourself - that is one awesome looking pie my dear :-)

    Eventually you will start to notice the rewards for your efforts, so keep fighting and don't lose hope!

    Sarah x

  8. you CAN get through this, and you will!!! I promise.. Just keep trying! I'm sure those spring clothes will look beautiful on you!!! Treat yourself to some new clothes :)

  9. stay strong! i'm here for you! =D

    keep blogging! coz i'm still reading. and btw, me and D LOVE people watching. We sat in the gym for 2 hours watching people go in and out. we are so....COOL! not lame!

  10. recovery must be so difficult. i think it's amazing how you are fighting...stay strong! you can and will beat ED!

  11. You are such a beautiful writer!! I admire your strength, you can and will beat this. Things always get harder before they get easier. Believe in yourself, I know I believe in you <3

    The pie looks devine,excellent work esspecially for a first try!!
    Hang in there girl <3 <3 <3

  12. Hang in there and stay strong!

  13. I'm sorry to hear that you've been having some hard times ... it's easy to know what to do, not so easy to actually DO it. But you're strong enough to fight this.

    <3 <3

  14. wow that pie looks great- nice work!

  15. i love and miss you too so much, stay strong my rockstar.

  16. Gahhh can I just tell you how much brighter you make my day?! Love you girl.

    I'm so sorry to hear all of this - I know you have the fight in you though, let it punch, beautiful! Let it punch your worries away. You've got so many people cheering for you. Just please push yourself out there, I promise it's worth it, you are worth it.

    Love you,

    p.s. that pie is fantastic!

  17. girl -- i miss you on here! stay strong -- your thoughts are so powerful and they CAN make ED thoughts subside. you just need to keep fighting and telling yourself that living with an ED is no way to live and while now, it is obviously hard/tough, you CAN get through this and you CAN recover.
    love you dearly becbec <3

  18. "i want to want again" <---those words rang so true to me! beautiful post lovey!

  19. I feel as though we are in the same position recovery wise. I can relate so much to resisting the urge to fall back into my old behaviors.

    but I believe that we have the power to choose health and happiness over anything else :) especially ED.


  20. You are an inspiration and an amazing woman! Keep that head up high and a smile on your beautiful face!