Still a bit Number Obsessed

I still seem to have problems with perfection. And unfortunately, they sometimes, most of the time, revolve around food and body image. My therapist pointed out after we finished getting through the backstory that I definitely do have an obsession with perfection, and that’s something we’re going to work through until she leaves in August. Lately, I have noticed more of my thoughts obsessing around food and body image. I don’t really know what I want to do. I might one day compete in a bikini competition, but not yet. So what does that mean for my fitness goals? I have no idea. Most days I look in the mirror and am satisfied with my body. I am definitely stronger than I was a year ago when I started lifting seriously. I front squat 50lbs, I could probably do more but my upper body strength isn’t high enough to be able to jerk a heavier bar up onto my shoulders yet. Maybe 60… I’ll have to try on leg day this week… But, I couldn’t do that a year ago, definitely. I can deadlift 70, but again, upper body strength, which you wouldn’t think would be a problem except the barbells above 60 involve lifting to my eye level to put away, so I stick with 60lbs most days. I’m rambling.

Anyway, most days I feel okay with how I look and don’t really have much of a desire to do anything drastic to my appearance. Like, if I wake up one day and my abs are more visible that’s great, but if not, whatever. Other days, though, I really want those chiseled arms, huge quads, and of course, the coveted six-pack abs. And other days it doesn’t matter how I want my body to look, I just know that I don’t want to gain anymore fat. Despite all of the years of research I’ve done on nutrition, I sometimes can’t get past the ways I used to think. We had a very tasty and calorie dense breakfast today for Easter, and I’ve had part of a chocolate bunny and one chocolate egg.

easterbunny

And I feel guilty about it. Dinner is going to be not the healthiest, which I don’t have much control over because we’re due for grocery shopping, but have to limit it to once a week and a certain budget. So, I’m sitting here, hungry, because I don’t want to eat more calories than I allow myself even though I’m sitting over here telling other people not to worry about what they eat. I’m such a hypocrite. And this all relates to my perfection obsession because I still equate certain numbers with being “perfect” and maybe I won’t even go over my allotted calories for the day, but I’ll still feel guilty for what I ate because they didn’t consist of pure vegetables and had sugar in them. 

I can feel myself getting hungrier, but the Actor doesn’t get off until 7. I’m probably gonna cave and then feel bad again. I need to take my own advice and just realize that today is a holiday and I don’t eat chocolate bunnies all the time. Let’s hope I can get that through my head soon. I’m probably gonna go snack now , and I’ll try my best not to feel bad about it since I haven’t actually eaten since breakfast at 8 and it’s 5 now.

Back to the Grand Writing Project

I’m spending my evening in the past and my imagination. Yep, I’ve started writing again. I joined a screenwriters club at my uni and have a secret project I hope to reveal in the next few days to you all. It’s been a good Saturday so far, which is good because this week wasn’t too terribly great. On Monday I had what we’ve decided was a random stomach bug (I just can’t escape getting sick every 4 weeks apparently) and had terrible stomach cramps at work, but then I found saltines and snuck about 8 of them between ringing up customers and felt better. Since then I’ve off and on had a dullish pain my lower abdomen, which unfortunately (I could tell) switched from that stomach bug, which only lasted about two or three days max, to pms. Isn’t being a woman just great? But then yesterday the Actor and I had a date night, and I’ve got to remember to document those more. I’ve taken like no pictures of our first year of marriage and that’s not ok because we’ve only got like a month and tarewo weeks left before our anniversary. Time to pull out the camera!

We went to the gym as we’ve been doing pretty much every weekday, then took quick showers and went to a cute little Chinese restaurant in town, then we saw The Grand Budapest Hotel which was good if you don’t mind movies that don’t follow the standard conventions, make you think a little bit more, and are familiar with Wes Anderson’s films and have enjoyed them in the past. There was a group of about five assholes in the theater with us. I say “assholes” because they deserve that title. The moment the film cut to credits one of them, without missing a beat, announced, “That was the stupidest movie I’ve ever seen,” and the others agreed and continued to bash it along with Napoleon Dynamite for some reason. There was another couple in there with us that didn’t say a word and I assume at least enjoyed their evening. Then, that group got up and left, leaving behind bags of half eaten popcorn and all of their drinks. Yep. Assholes. But the movie was really good. I’ll admit that it isn’t for everyone. If you like independent films you’ll probably enjoy this. I could rave about it, but that’s not what this post is about. Maybe later.

Anyway, you have no idea how excited we are to move out of this town.

Which, by the way, I’ve decided that if I can get enough aid to take summer classes this year because it ensures early graduation. I could be done either Summer or Fall quarter of 2015 if I want if I can take summer classes this year. They’re only 6 weeks long, but you get the same amount of credits, and they’re offering several classes I need to take. I would be able to switch into my new major come the start of Fall quarter, too, instead of having to wait until Winter. The Actor has decided to join me because he has quite a few classes left and only one more year (we both refuse to be 5th year seniors). So that’s a good thing I discovered this week. I also found $20 in my apartment. I love finding money you already had but forgot you had. One of my friends used to find money in her pants pockets nearly every day in the 6th grade, and by my freshman year of high school random money would show up in my purse that I know I didn’t have before. That was right after my father moved out, so I know it was him.

Today, though, has been a very good day. I slept fairly well and got to sleep in, though I only slept an hour later than normal, probably because I didn’t stay up last night. Then I got three quarters of my homework done, which mainly involved watching Back to the Future and writing about its structure. I love being a film major. We don’t go as deep as I’m used to with film analysis, but it’s still nice that my homework is to watch movies I like. Then I cleaned the apartment and reorganized a few things so it looks like we have more space. After that I did an hour of Blogilates, which I haven’t done in a very long time. It’s always nice to switch things up. Now I’m listening to Big Band/Swing music on Pandora while I work on my secret writing project.

Well, I better get to writing!

Week 3 of Spring 2014

This week is going all right so far. I think I may have caught a weird stomach bug that made Monday and Tuesday not very fun, but I’m better now. I just can’t escape the sickness! I blame having to work at 6:45 in the morning. Never working breakfast again. Otherwise classes are good so far. I’m kind of just ready for all of them to just be over, but that’s okay. I only have 7 1/2 more weeks of instruction left, which means I only have 7 1/2 more weeks left to get ready for our first anniversary! What? I know, it’s crazy. We’ve almost been married an entire year.

I miss wedding planning. True, I didn’t do much. Our venue did like everything so I didn’t do anything. No centerpieces, no special cake design, nothing. I was like here’s my dress, here’s my groom, here’s the location. I’m good. But I did make all the bouquets and that took some doing. I would watch TLC Wedding shows while folding and gluing all of them. Those were the days. And I miss getting excited about our honeymoon! As you can see in my sidebar we are going to Disneyland in August, but that’s 2 months after June and just too far away.

So I’m just trying to survive this quarter and really looking forward to summer when I don’t have to do anything but work and sleep.

Now I’m just going to eat and then work out and try to survive Thursday and Friday. Thankfully I only have one class on Friday, so I’ll be done with the day by 11am. The Actor and I are going to see Transcendence that night. We’ve been trying to have date nights so we can stay sane this quarter and so far so good. Or last one we went out and had Chinese, and before that we saw Captain America. It’s kind of nice to “date” again.

And I’ve started my anxiety group. We just discussed what we want out of the group yesterday so we’ll see how it goes next week. Life is okay.

So Yale did a Thing

Here is the article I’m referring to in this post. This poor girl was forced to gain weight and receive counseling for something that she did not ever have. Yale University would not listen to her and just assumed she had an eating disorder because she was skinny. Shame on them. First of all, they were the university’s medical center, and if they are anything like my university’s center, they don’t have your medical records from your primary care doctor and therefore know absolutely nothing about you and your family’s history. Had they known that they might not have made that call to threaten her with suspension unless she gained weight. Since they did not know that, they had no reason or right to do that.

Look, I get it, ok? Eating disorders are a big deal and catching them early is really important. Mine was caught early enough that I got to avoid the hospital experience. And I know that it wasn’t until my mom brought up her concerns at my visit that the doctor even thought about saying something. I had been underweight until I was 12, and then was in the normal range until I was about 16, so they probably didn’t think anything of it until my mom said something. So that’s good that they were trying to be proactive, but you cannot force “recovery” on someone who does not need to recover. I don’t know much about Frances Chan, but I’m assuming she is one of those people who can live a very healthy and normal life at a weight that would be considered dangerous for other people. Besides, reading this essay written by Frances Chan herself only makes it sound like they were exacerbating the problem, not solving it. When I started recovering I read so many people’s stories and blogs online, and every now and then found some stories where they were kicked out of college because they couldn’t gain the weight fast enough; because they were honestly and truly trying their hardest but recovery is a mother-fucking bitch and it’s hard as fuck! But since they couldn’t gain the weight fast enough they were kicked out. Putting more stress on people in this situation only makes it harder and worse, not better. Threatening people with being robbed of the one thing that society and family rams down children’s throats since the moment they are born is not incentive, it’s stressful.

They also use BMI scales to determine whether or not a student has an eating disorder. Guess what? BMI scales were invented by insurance companies to help determine how much they can charge people (I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s very believable considering BMI scales really don’t measure anything useful). “BMI was explicitly cited by Keys as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, due to its simplicity, it came to be widely used for individual diagnosis.” 1 If any university is going to try and diagnose eating disorders they need to be a heck of a lot more educated on the matter. Not everyone skinny has an eating disorder. Not everyone in a normal weight range does not. Good for them for trying but this was the wrong way to go about it. Like I said, they need to be a lot more educated before they can pull something like this. They need to know the student’s medical history. They need to know just what eating disorders are and how to diagnose them.

Eating disorders are serious and the way that Yale has handled them makes does not sound like they think they are.

Stupid Anxiety

I wasn’t sure what to post today, so let’s talk about my recent identification of my anxiety problems. I’m really good at recognizing when I’m having an anxiety attack but I’m not so good about doing anything else about it.

I just read a thing on the internet about a ridiculously large amount of bees being found dead in Canada. And people commented about how important it is that we do something about that, but also how the major companies, *cough* Monsanto *cough* are huge contributors to the bees dying out and how the freaking government just has their back and isn’t doing shit to try and stop them. And also how we’d only have a few fucking years to live after all the bees died out. Which means us dying would have to come from something other than the ideal way to die: in your sleep when you’re like 100 years old. It made me mad at first and then I just really freaked out, and I still am. How is something so important and so huge as this not being taken care of? And why does Monsanto and greedy government officials making more money than they know what to do with more important than the lives of pretty much everyone on the freaking planet? What about my life? I fight every day through my depression, ED, anxiety, and other issues just to keep living, but because there is less money in keeping people alive than there is in killing them I’m going to have to die? And maybe I’m not as informed about this as I could be. Perhaps, while it is definitely concerning and something we should be working on, it isn’t as scary as I think it is.

But that doesn’t matter. Because I go into full on panic mode and it takes a heck of a lot of explaining, rationalizing, and reassuring for me to calm down, and even then it takes at least a day before I can comfortably say I’m okay again. Sometimes the attacks get so bad that I can’t breathe, like they did at work one day last quarter and I had to leave. Sometimes they’re fairly mild but last several times longer than the ones where I can’t breathe.

And it really bothers me that I’ve done so well in my anorexia recovery only to uncover new problems with anxiety. Maybe this would have happened anyway. It certainly kicked up after my mom’s cardiac arrest. I live every day with this huge weight of fear on my shoulders that I could just drop down dead someday without any warning whatsoever. My mom and the Actor keep telling me they don’t think it’s going to happen to me but that’s a pretty big fucking link, mother-daughter. And we don’t know what caused it so there is absolutely no way to prevent it. Ever since then my anxiety has skyrocketed.

I have therapy and my anxiety group back-to-back every Tuesday for the next eight weeks starting the 15th. I really hope the anxiety group helps. Therapy is going well. We’re past all the history and moving on to working through specific things now. I just hope that someday I will be able to live without any of this stuff bothering me like it does now.

Skinny Shaming

Today I saw this video about skinny shaming on the internet. It more addressed the “real women have curves” bullshit and other body image issues, but I read some of the comments and it got me thinking. I wrote Stop the Shaming last year addressing that we need to either shame both or shame neither. It’s not a one-way street. I wanted to address this a little more in depth today and hear your thoughts on the issue of skinny versus fat shaming. More specifically skinny shaming. As I said in the post linked above, I think we can all agree that it is bad to fat shame and that it shouldn’t be done. However, I feel like skinny shaming is more accepted in Western/American society. Maybe it is because we associate being fat with laziness, lack of will power, lack of caring about their appearance; and skinny with an over-exertion of energy, of will power, of caring about their appearance. It has been my experience that you do not want to say anything to people who do not try hard enough. I am not saying that people who are overweight do not try hard enough, I’m just making an argument. In my experience it has been more accepted for people to tell over achievers to calm down. In high school I was told to stop trying to much. Today I’m still often told to take a break and stop being so stressed out (actually valid points as I do get stressed a lot). But it seems to be that telling someone to work harder can be insulting so we do not like to say that to people very often.

I am not sure why skinny shaming is more accepted. I’m not saying people think it is a good thing, I’m just saying less people get up in arms about it when people see a photo of a skinny person and write “ew” in the comments. That’s a big deal for people who are overweight. Part of me believes this is partly due to insecurities about oneself. I mean, why else do people say anything rude to someone else? Because they are insecure about their own appearance or abilities, or any number of things. Maybe it’s also because of the “real women have curves” ideal that goes away. Maybe it has to do with jealousy. Maybe it’s all of those things combined. Either way it has to stop.

I’ve been skinny shamed before, and when I was deep in my ED I absolutely freakin’ loved it. Because it meant that people thought I was skinny when every time I looked in the mirror or stepped on the scale all I could see was fatness. In high school people threw their extra food at me at the lunch table trying to get me to eat more. I loved it. Today, I am absolutely disgusted by it. I still get skinny shamed today, even despite people knowing about my past with anorexia and knowing I am still recovering. I’ve been in cold places and have had overweight people that I’m fairly close with tell me I’m cold because I don’t eat enough, but I’m well past weight-restored now. I’ve had people tell me I need to eat more; that they’d like to feed me a sandwich every time they see me; that I look skinnier now than I did when I was underweight; that I need to gain weight, and on, and on, and on. Doesn’t matter that I suffer from an eating disorder. Doesn’t matter that I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years (other than last quarter’s lack of sleep). It doesn’t matter because I am skinny and therefore it is okay to tell me I need to do X, Y, and Z with my body. Skinny shaming is real, and it doesn’t matter if you’re naturally skinny or if you’re suffering from an ED or if you worked really hard to get there, it isn’t acceptable to do ever.

I wanna know what you think. Why do you think skinny shaming is slightly more accepted than fat shaming? And have you ever been skinny shamed?

What Public School Doesn’t Tell You

So I’m almost done with my second year at university. The quarter was off to a good start until yesterday when I found out some particularly distressing and insulting news about an event the honors college I am a part of was putting on. It is a mandatory day-long event during a Saturday that happens to fall on family visitation weekend and the opening weekend of my uni’s production of Les Miserables. If you can not attend the event you have to write a 4-5 page paper about one of the “four pillars” that make up the honors college with an annotated bibliography or else be suspended from the college next quarter. This has never been done in the past. In the past we have had quarterly “cultural events” and the first one I attended was the last real “cultural event” the college has put on. Back then if you could not go to that you had to go to a school event such as a play or concert and write a paragraph or two about your experience there. It benefitted the school by supporting the events. Now you write a paper that has no value and does not benefit anyone or else be suspended the next quarter. I feel like I’m in high school all over again with all their bullshit! So it got me thinking about all the things public school does and does not do for you.

What they don’t teach/tell/prepare you for:

  • tax season
  • jobs
  • job interviews
  • buying a house
  • renting an apartment/house
  • paying bills
  • how to budget your income
  • how to raise a child
  • how to actually work in the field you are interested in
  • how to stay sane in stressful situations
  • how to deal with family issues
  • what the protocol is when someone is in the hospital
  • just how much cable costs
  • how banks work
  • what cash-back is

What they do prepare/teach/tell you:

  • Just how much bullshit you’re going to have to deal with from various organizations you are a part of, whether it is school or work or the government you are going to have to put up with some level of condescending and pointless bullshit.

Granted some of that “bullshit” isn’t “bullshit” anymore when put into the right context. Team building in your office is good because you work with those people, just don’t do it all the time. Team building across departments where you’re split into random groups probably isn’t very productive because when are you ever going to work with Bob from accounting ever again?

I learned some things in my public school experience, most of them from all of the teachers I had my senior year of high school, and I planned it out that way. I suffered through the first few years so that by the time I got to my senior year all I had left to take were electives and everything I learned in those classes I use today because I took the classes that will translate into my field(s) of work. Not all their classes are worthless, they just don’t offer/require any that have actual real-life value such as a class on how to do your taxes. I really could have used that.

So, yes, the honors college had to see the side of Aja that my old high school got to know and fear so well. I really did not want to have to do that in college, but they forced my hand. Their event is kind of pointless, but the penalty for not being able to go is just absurd. It’s unfair to punish those of us who have real, valuable things to do by making us write an essay that isn’t for a class or have any real intellectual value or else be kicked out. Sorry some people have to work for a living or made plans far in advance and can’t go to the thing you sprung on us last minute.

Takeaway lesson of the day: you don’t have to blindly follow everything people tell you to do. You do have a voice. And public schools need to include life-applicable classes along with calculus. Or just replace calculus with them.