Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thriving


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Camp is almost over. Two days from now I will load up my things in Jeremy’s car and we’ll drive out the winding road that leads to Indian Creek camp.
Today, a friend asks me, “So now, in retrospect, how was the summer?”
“Surprisingly good,” I answered.

It’s true. I had no idea what to expect at camp. I had never worked at a summer camp before. I had never been a counselor. Never lived in Tennessee. Never lived in the same place as my boyfriend. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

After camp finishes, we are making a road trip to Delaware, Jeremy’s home. This is where he grew up, where home is, where family is, where memories are. I’m excited to see it for myself. Yes, I will bug his family for embarrassing stories. I will be nosy and raid his bedroom searching for toys and yearbooks. And, of course, there will be photo albums narrated by mom. Can’t wait.

We are seeing his family in Delaware, then making a weekend trip to Washington D.C to meet up with a friend of ours, Ryan, and his girlfriend. They will show us the sights of D.C, a place I’ve never been to. I’m looking forward to the Smithsonian and the White House.

Jeremy’s family is renting a beach house for the week, so we’ll meet up with them there. While it is hard to call “camp” a job because it is so fun, I’m still looking forward to some real down time. Camp is fun, but busy. I want to read at least one of the five books I thought I’d have time to read. I want to soak up the sun, well, with 50 SPF sun screen and a wide-rimmed hat, of course. I want to get to know his family, play Skip-Bo, and sleep in.

Polly, of Polly from Cambodia, has landed back in the States. In Cambodia, we always joked that we’d take road trips to each other’s side of the country because I have never been to the east coast, and she’s never seen the Rocky Mountains. This may be the best we can do for awhile, but either way, I will hopefully get to see her while she is visiting some family she has in Delaware.

Then, August 11th, I fly home.
Ick.

I love Colorado. I love my family. I love my friends. I don’t love leaving Jeremy.

I’m looking forward to so many things in my life: Delaware, D.C, the beach, seeing Polly, getting my own apartment, getting a new job, heading back to school, writing for the school newspaper, someday graduating from college, and becoming a teacher. But somehow, if possible, I’d really like to skip the most inevitable and guaranteed portion of my life, leaving Jeremy.

Long distance sucks. I’ll say it again: it sucks. Not favorite. Not one bit. I want to complain and whine. I want to control circumstances in my favor. I want it my way. I want, I want, I want…

Story of my life.

I don’t like the unpredictable. I don’t like to go with the flow and take each day as it comes. I don’t want to let things happen and ride the waves. I know these are things I need, but I don’t want to. I want to fight it. I want to mold this experience to be what I want. I want to make my life custom fit, easier, more manageable.
I am a perfectionist in recovery.

I just started a new book called Gaining: the truth about life after eating disorders. Today I read, “Anxiety is primal instinct in all of us and a basic necessity for survival, but more than two thirds of anorexics and bulimics have a lifelong history of anxiety disorders: they get stuck in either freeze, flight, or fight mode, even when not under any actual threat. Many never feel safe enough to relax yet find in eating disorders a perverse mode of escape.

“Here’s how this escape works: you flee anxiety by pulling into yourself; you purge fear by vomiting it up; you become so obsessive about your body that nothing else in the world seems to matter. The result is that you feel you have this body—your contained world—under control.”

The author Aimee Liu has not been directly fighting an eating disorder for the last 30+ years of her life, just the aftermath. She may not be 77 pounds, but she still fights the perfectionism, the critical mindset, the obsessive compulsive behaviors related to food and exercise, and rigid lifestyle an eating disorder thrives in.

UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute considers a patient “recovered” when they return to their normal weight and no longer obsess about calories. This is a far cry from recovery because the ripple effect can last for years. But it doesn’t have to.

I do not have to be what I’ve been.
I can forgive myself.
I can let things go.
I can ask for help.
I can pray.
I can do my best.
I can get help.
I can take deep breaths.
I can surrender to the Universe the things I just can’t carry.
I can learn from others.
I can take one step, then another, then another.
I can walk forward without knowing exactly the size, shape, distance, proximity, and cushion of my next step.
Because frankly, that’s all I can do.
I don’t have to fight this.
I can thrive.

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