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7 Sep

The driveway is narrow, but Britton insists on backing in anyways. We park under the huge willow tree, behind the white Audi Convertible. I walk up the flagstone walkway to the front door, and punch the code into the lock that doesn’t quite work anymore. I set my bag and shoes down on the stone entry-way flooring. Sheila has fresh sunflowers in a crystal vase by the door. The house smells like the candles she always lights. I run up the stairs and down the hallway to our room, Britton and I’s room.  It’s very large, with aqua walls. A huge mirror in an ornate gold frame faces the wall across from the queen sleigh bed. The blue paisley duvet and 10 pillows call my name. I sink into the soft mattress. The sheets are the softest I have ever slept in, and cost more than I could ever afford. I love coming here.

In this bed, I could sleep for days.

This is so exactly what I need right now. The comfort of home, and the luxury to help me forget that all my troubles are a mere 15 minute walk away – lying in a bed in the ICU, giving away family heirlooms to a woman he’s known only for a year.

The bitter taste in my mouth spoils everything.

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my happiness project

3 Sep

If you follow me on twitter, you might have seen a tweet referencing the fact that I’m starting my very own Happiness Project

I started the project on Sept. 1st, and will be blogging about it at least monthly, possibly weekly depending on my work schedule.

I obviously got the idea after buying Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project.

I’m going to try and explain this project, and keep it concise – so bear with me here.

You really need to get this book to fully understand what the project is about. The author was a happy person with a happy life, but felt like she wasn’t fully enjoying what really mattered. In order to turn this around, she launched a one year project in which she took various scientific studies, wisdom, and other lessons about how to be happier. She broke everything down and assigned herself monthly goals, (for example: go to sleep earlier, start a blog, etc.) that made her a happier person.

I feel as though I am a happy person. I took the Authentic Happiness Inventory Questionnaire and score a 3.4 out of 5. However, lately I can’t help but feel as though I’ve kind of had a chip on my shoulder.
I think we all sometimes let the not-so-great things in life sort of take the lead, and I’m no exception. For one, I feel lonely living in Northern Ontario. It’s beautiful, but it just isn’t “home”. There has also been some not-so-great stuff going down at work in terms of labour relations, and that has probably affected me more than almost anything else this year. I work more, and enjoy it less.

I’m feeling less like myself everyday, and I know that I am heading toward a major relapse in terms of my bulimia nervosa.

texts between a friend and I

So this is it. I start this month. (Note, I am still working away at my 101 in 1001 project as well!)

my goals for september were indeed plagiarized from Gretchen Rubin herself. The focus is improving my energy:

– Go to sleep earlier
– Exercise better
– Toss, restore, organize
– tackle a nagging task
– act more energetic

How am I doing so far?? I’m failing. But in my defense, Britton and I are away this week in Waterloo with friends, so we aren’t home to do many of those things. I’m on track for exercising, but going to bed at 2am most days…

Stay tuned!

I’ll (hopefully) do a recap at the end of the week outlining my first week on the project!

-Stephanie

25 things

10 Jan

I was going through my 101 in 1001 list, and I remembered that I wanted to identify 25 things I like about myself.

Without meaning to sound narcissistic, here it is!

1. I am ambitious  – I am forever thinking of ways to improve myself, my life and my career. I have big plans for myself.
2. I am educated
3. I am passionate about a lot of things (won’t name them all here… but if you know me, you know my passions)
4. I take constructive criticism very well
5. I am not afraid to admit I am wrong and apologize
6. I am independent – fiercely independent. I know that if anything were to happen to Britton or my parents – I would be perfectly fine. I am capable of taking care of myself, and supporting myself financially. I need no one.
7. I am a good wife
8. I bake my own bread, and I’m proud of that.
9. I am a vegan
10. I act as an advocate for people with mental illness (it’s my job, actually… but I love that about my life right now)
11. I am compassionate
12. I am empathetic
13.  I am grateful and never feel entitled
14. I am best friends with my mother
15. I am relatively intelligent
16. I am feminine
17. I am patient (most of the time)
18. I am mentally stable
19. I have a healthy body
20. I am young
21. I am very excitable
22. I am extremely loyal
23. I am outgoing
24. I am Canadian
25. I am bilingual

I tried desperately to stay away from anything “looks” related.

This was oddly therapeutic ( To be honest… I was having a fat day). I might print this off and post it on my fridge…. or is that too douche-baggy?

My Recovery

19 Oct

I’ve been serious about my recovery from bulimia since 2008.

I hate change. I hate the feeling that I am losing control of myself and my life. These things are triggers for me. I crave stability and security. This is likely why I was happy to get married at 22, and why I chose to go into a career that promises employment.

In the past 6 months, I got married, moved 6 hours away from most of my friends, got a new job, graduated from college, gained weight and  spent more time away from my husband  than I ever have. Is it any wonder my life feels out of control?

I used to  get this sickening feeling that things were “spiraling out of control” (as I told my councellor) if I gained 5 lbs. It was paralyzing. Sometimes I isolated myself.  I wasn’t able to bring myself to go to class, do my readings, etc. I have spent a week straight in my room, doing nothing except read course notes online so that I wouldn’t fail. It was like I was trying to catch my breath, and regain some semblance of control. Like I was afraid that if I left my room and interacted with the world, things would just get worse. If I left my room, I would eat in the cafeteria,  gain more weight, my teachers would stress me out, I would binge, all my classmates would hate me for getting so fat, etc etc. This was my first year of university. Sometimes I ate nothing but hot dog wieners and mustard for two days because that’s all I had in my mini-fridge. I was scared to go to the grocery store and buy “binge food”. Eventually, hunger would get the best of me, and my body would somehow find it’s way to the forbidden foods. Repeat cycle.

I often have to remind myself that I’m proud of my accomplishments. I am so isolated out here that I know I will slip back into my old ways if I’m not diligent.

When I really decided to start the recovery process – not like those other times where I sort of half-assed it for a a few months so I could tell B I was “trying”.  I went to a group counseling session my therapist suggested. I went once. The girls were nice, the therapist was nice – but at the end of the day, we all had the same story.  I have read pretty much every memoir written on eating disorders that you can find at Chapters. I’ve watched documentaries – and at the end of the day – it’s the same story. What did I gain from these? Why was I so obsessed with these stories for such a long time? They thought me how to be bulimic. ThereIsaidit.

I didn’t know what ipecac syrup was until I started reading memoirs. I read these stories, watched these shows, and I became more efficient. I am grateful for the people who told their stories, and I do think they have their place, but not for someone who is not yet recovered.

So I went to the group session, and I met these girls. In a way it was a breath of fresh air because I felt like “they get it”. They don’t think I’m lazy, they probably think I’m fat, but they know how hard I’m trying – they get me. Unfortunately, listening to their stories, I found myself learning from them in the same way I learned from memoirs.  Putting some crumbs on a plate so your boyfriend thinks you actually ate a sandwich when all you had were some grapes…

I was taking mental notes.

I told my therapist why I wouldn’t go back.

I am not knocking group therapy. I think it is wonderful, and it works for many. It just was not for me.

Even after I had been diagnosed with an ED, and had accepted the diagnosis, I clung to it. It become part of my identity. I am so terrified of failure, I think I sort of used my ED identity to justify areas where I didn’t feel successful. She didn’t do well on the test – but she’s sick. People’s expectations of me were so much more manageable. My parents just expected a passing grade, my boyfriend just expected me to “try”. I was scared to push myself, only to fail or let them down.

Around the time my recovery really took off, my counselor began to suspect I had ADD and she started the screening process. I was finally diagnosed with ADHD last year. That was a terrifying experience. I actually found myself HOPING that I had ADD. When I went to my finaly appointment, I was shaking… what if she told me I was fine, I was just lazy?
I think in some ways the process of getting a diagnosis for my learning disability helped my recovery. It allowed me to forgive myself for talking too much, too loudly, being distracted, working so hard for grades, making careless mistakes, and it generally took away this feeling I had that I wasn’t good enough. Now I know why I am this way, and I know that there is help. What a relief.

I also found a book about eating disorders that didn’t focus on the ED itself – but on research and recovery. Gaining, by Aimee Liu. What a breath of fresh air. It is the only book I have read three times.

I continued with my weekly therapy sessions, and gradually, the binging and purging stopped. First the purging, then the dieting, then the binging.

I often wonder what recovery is like for others? I’m sure it’s different for everyone.

If any of you have a story of recovery, or are in the process of recovery, please share the story with me. I would love to hear it.

I need something to get me through this period of change.

thoughts on moving

29 Jul

Well, the great northern migration is the day after tomorrow – and tomorrow will be here in an hour.

I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’m sad, I’m excited, I’m scared and it just doesn’t feel real.

The whole thing has been bitter-sweet, but I would be lying if I said that right now I didn’t think it was mostly bitter.

I lived in Sudbury for 7 years, my mom and siblings (including my soul-sister, Jessica, until recently) live there… but it’s not home anymore. It’s just not. I’ve made a life in southern Ontario – most of my friends are here. I DO have other friends there, and I’m grateful for that – but I sort of feel like I’m starting over in some ways.

I also feel like my life in Northern Ontario was so isolated. There are things about the Canadian North that I LOVE – do not get me wrong – but I HATED the fact that the next closest big city is still HOURS away. In Chatham, we could always go to London or Windsor for an afternoon – and it was no big deal. KW is even better, Toronto is a mere 45 minutes away, and London maybe an hour?

I also hated how, for a fairly large city, the greater city of Sudbury (GCS?) had a small town feel, but only in the sense that EVERYONE knows your business. Maybe it’s the isolation I mentioned above? Maybe it’s the fact that such a HUGE percentage of the population are employed in the mining sector (hellooooo Inco!) and therefore everyone knows each other because our parents/in-laws/friends/etc all work together in some capacity???

I guess I should talk about the positives (and there ARE positives). That would likely make me feel better… I love the landscape. Sorry Southern Ontario – you’re too flat. I love the fact that you can sometimes see moose, or black bears – even in town! I love that it’s cottage country… and most of all, I am looking forward to the WINTERS. Yup. You heard it here first, folks. I would take a northern winter over a southern Ontario winter ANY day. It’s just not as humid. In the great lakes town of Chatham, I thought my limbs would fall off in -10 degree weather. I swear I could feel the cold in my bones. Heck, in Sudbury, when it’s – 10 it’s still relatively mild, and I feel comfortable enough to go for a walk as long as I’m dressed appropriately.

I’m not really sure where I was going with this post. I guess I just needed to vent.

In any case, the move is almost upon us and I need to get my rear in gear and get back to packing if this is going to go as smoothly as I’m hoping.

g’night!

101 in 1001

9 Apr

After working on this list for the past 2.5 months – Here it is. The oh-so-popular 101 in 1001.

The Mission

Complete 101 preset tasks within a period of 1001 days.

This list of tasks will begin being processed on the 5th of June 2010, on the day that I get married and start a new life with my prince charming. The list will be completed by 2nd March 2013. I’ll be keeping this page up to date from now until the end date, and I’ll periodically write blog entries when I manage to complete particularly important tasks.

The Criteria

Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

The List

1. Get married
2.“Date night” with Britton once a month (0/33)
3.  Surprise my husband with a gift just because
4.  Host a family dinner at our place (my side)
5.  Host a family dinner at our place (his side)
6.  Make an anniversary book.
7.  Write Living wills
8.  Write a legal will
9.  Buy each other “traditional” anniversary gifts (1st year paper, 2nd cotton, etc.)
10. Complete some form of exercise at least 3x/week for 6 weeks (0/6)
11. Read one book per month (0/33)
12. Finish reading all unread books before I buy any new ones, or donate them if I have no intention of reading them.
13. Get a massage (0/5)
14. Change my name (legally)
15. Take a yoga class (0/10)
16. Try out a spray tan
17. Maintain my “happy weight” within 5 lbs. This is automatically excused should I become pregnant at any point during the 1001 days.
18. Get a pedicure every six months
19. Identify 25 things I like about myself
20. Keep the house/Apartment clean for an entire month
21. Buy a house
22. Put up and decorate a Christmas tree every year (0/3)
23. Move to Northern Ontario
24. Upgrade our dining set (table and chairs)
25. Get a dishwasher
26. Frame my diploma in a super nice frame, and put it up next to hubby’s degree and TC certificate
27. Buy a filing cabinet and organize personal files
28. travel to at least six different cities for weekend getaways/vacations (0/6)
29. Travel to a foreign country (USA does not count)
30. Go backcountry camping
31. Go on a fun “Girls weekend” trip
32. Visit the farm sanctuary in NY state.
33. Start a newlywed map
34. Do some bicycle tourism with Britton
35. cook/bake two new recipes per month (0/66)
36. Try out a new vegan/vegetarian restaurant (0/5)
37. For one week, make meals that can only be made with ingredients already in our cupboards (excluding perishables—produce)
38. Make homemade pasta
39. Go out for breakfast (0/5)
40. Eat raw for one whole week
41. Eat “good” bananas
42. Order some globars and try them out!
43. Do a sugar detox every year (already did one for 2010) (0/3)
44. Do some canning
45. Talk to Jess every two weeks (0/74)
46. Host a dinner party every year (0/3)
47. Make new friends and invite them over for dinner
48. Send out Christmas cards (0/2)
49. Start an RRSP
5. Make a monthly budget on a program like Microsoft Excell
51. Pay off line of credit
52. Read the wealthy barber and incorporate at least one strategy from the book.
53.Buy myself a nice grad gift like an expensive watch
54. Have LASIK eye surgery.
55. Buy Britton a ridiculous bicycle
56. Buy a digital SLR
57. Clean out closet twice per year and donate old clothes to charity (0/6)
58. Donate blood
59. Donate 50$ to charity (0/5)
60. Volunteer bi-weekly (at least) with a worthwhile organization for an entire year. (0/66)
61. Buy a homeless person a meal
62. Give a homeless person 20$
63.  Donate 2$ to charity for every item I do not complete on this list
64. Write a letter/e-mail to a person/business for outstanding service (0/5)
65. Meet a neighbor
66. Offer neighbours any holiday leftover baked goods I may have.
67. Go to an amusement park (Wonderland does not count)
68. See Cirque Du Soleil
69. Go skiing
70. Go to a local museum
71. Get pictures taken in a photo booth
72. Go to one play every year (0/3)
73. Go to one concert every year (0/3)
74. Take festive photos of the cats to send out as xmas cards.
75. Subscribe to a magazine, maybe VegLife.
76. Take at least one picture every day for a whole month
77. Go to the beach (I never do this!) (0/3)
78. Get boudoir photos taken for Britton
79. Have a picnic (0/3)
80. Plan myself a bitchin’ 25th birthday celebration
81. Vote!
82. Learn to ballroom dance with Britton
83. Sew something
84. Make a scrapbook
85. Maintain the blog (post at least once per week)
86. Take a photography or interior design class
87. Learn basic bicycle maintenance.
88. Matte and frame signed poster of Matt Good
89. Matte and frame cat print
90. Replace pewter frame picture with either an engagement or wedding print.
91. Finish the “Britton and Stephanie” scrapbook.
92. Finish “all about us”
93. Get Amie micro chipped.
94. Enroll back in school in some capacity
95. Get my first real nursing job
96. Watch a scary movie at the movie theater and sit through the whole movie
97. Drive again
98. Send an anonymous gift or flowers
99. Take a pole dancing class
100. Plant a tree
101. Put 5$ in savings every time I complete an item from this list.

How do YOU define Sexy?

2 Apr

6:50 am on a holiday Friday… those of you who not me will not be surprised.I’ve always been an early riser!

So I wanted to start with an inspiring quote I read in SHAPE BRIDE (yup, still talkin’ ’bout the same mag!)

“confidence and how you portray it, is sexy. I do it by smiling and being bubbly. I’m not Megan Fox sexy, but I’m girl-next-door sexy – and I know Tye finds that very attractive. Everyone needs to find their own meaning of the word – and flaunt it!” – Melissa Rycroft SHAPE BRIDE, spring 2010

What is your definition of sexy??

Mine would be confident (I feel sexy when I feel confident) and very feminine. I am not a tomboy. I will never be sexy in the way that Jackie Warner is sexy. And that’s ok.

I’m a girly girl. I love pink, lace, makeup, romance, etc. I also think that my optimism is something “sexy” about me, and I love the fact that I’m outgoing and talkative. I also think that intelligence, and independence is sexy. I like the colour of my natural hair, I love the colour of my eyes (green!). I like my little bum, and slender thighs.  I like my feet.  I am also learning to love the curves I do have. I love that I’m healthy, I love the way my skin glows these days.

While we were out shopping, the friend I was with started to feel fat after trying on a few dresses with me. Her whole mood changed!! It was awful. Honestly, that fashion show changed a lot for me. It really did. Sure, there are a million things I don’t like about myself (I’m short, have short legs, my calves look too manly, hair too thin, eyes too small, hate my belly, etc etc etc) but I’m not going to focus on that. I can’t change it and why waste another minute of my life feeling sorry for myself? When was the last time you talked about stuff you loved about yourself??

I would love to hear what YOUR definition of sexy is!