Saturday, May 23, 2015

Running and Other Things

Since I have been doing more podcasts, I have let my writing slide.

It has been forever since I even mentioned running. I basically limped my way through the last few years, but I'm finally getting to the bottom of things. Thanks to the help of some good doctors, physical therapists and friends, I can do some jogging without too much pain. Well, that's relative, but it hurts less. It doesn't feel perfect, but I'm glad I can get outside again. Of the three surgeries I am a good candidate for, I'm only considering one at the moment, and that's only if other measures don't work. I've ruled out a hysterectomy, hip surgery and am putting off minor foot surgery for now. I feel good about my decisions, mostly because I think surgery isn't something to rush into, even if doctors "strongly suggest" getting it done as soon as possible, at least not with these kinds of things. Going for a third opinion for my hip issue made things much more clear in my mind, so I'm glad I didn't jump onto the cutting board.

On an unrelated note...

Sometimes when life gets weird, it's hard to know how to address certain issues, if at all. My tendency is to want to ignore others when they act in unscrupulous ways, but sometimes ignoring incidents leaves me with the sense that justice isn't being served. If I try to write out one particular situation, the whole thing seems trivial and downright silly, very junior high, but because it involves someone who appears to be unstable or at least incredibly inconsistent, it leaves me slightly on edge. I won't go into detail and apologize for being vague, but I don't want to give this series of events much attention or energy. It's not worth it. Sometimes when a person has a history of lying, manipulating and meddling, even in the lives of people she or he barely knows, it's best to shut that door hard and quickly back away. Give someone enough rope...well, you know the rest.

It's odd that just after someone in my life came to me about an issue going on with his online stalker, a different friend of mine was accused by a recent ex of doing things he never did. The former situation is the silly one that nobody really cares about, except that it's slightly annoying when you know the truth behind certain events and see someone determined to try to convince others that something far from real is going on, but in the latter situation, my friend has been forced to give up a lot because of one person's false accusations. I remember another incident that happened a few years ago. In a fit of anger and rage, one of my friend's ex girlfriends egged his house and keyed his car. I'm not sure what this accomplished. She claimed she still loved him at the time.

One of the worst stories I know about relating to sheer spite happened years ago to a lady I know. Her abusive ex almost cost her a job, her license, her reputation and a lot of money when he tried to convince the people she worked for that she had done things she never did. Fortunately, nobody believed him and knew he had pulled stunts like this in the past. My friend found a lawyer to represent her. It's good to have friends or family members who are lawyers. I sat in on the trial, and the ex showed his true colors by interrupting the judge more than a few times to blurt out defamatory and irrelevant comments. The judge was not impressed and quickly put him in his place. My friend was fine in the end, but people like her ex are scary.

While I understand hurt, anger and regret, I don't get the desire for revenge or public shaming, especially if it's aimed at someone who tried to help you or you were supposedly in love with. The exception is when revenge simply means doing as well as you can in life, the "success is the best revenge" type thing. That I get, except if you try to rub people's nose in it, which isn't nice. In general, I can't quite figure out why people waste so much time plotting, stalking and spending time and energy on "getting back" at someone for simple rejection.

I have found that the best approach with people who thrive on spreading lies, poking the bees and flinging crap is to take the high road and keep coming back to yourself. As much as you can, ignore anyone who is dead set on filling the world with toxicity. Take steps to protect yourself, especially if the person lives near you. Mostly, remind yourself that you know who you are, and your friends and family know what kind of person you are. Anyone who is spending loads of time indirectly or directly ripping on you in public or in private isn't worth your time. That's gotta be a sad, sad life to lead, full of resentment, anger and hate. 

As for my friend who was recently forced to give up his charity work because of one woman's lies, he has all the support he needs to deal with this unhinged individual and the awful situation she created. I'm sure he will get through this just fine no matter what his ex does next, but it's unfair that people who are in the wrong and know it often temporarily come out on top. My feeling is that the truth will eventually surface, and even if it doesn't in any satisfactory way, he will be able to move forward without any trouble. Honesty goes a long way. If you contradict yourself every time you open your mouth or put words out in the world, nobody will be able to trust you. 

My last piece of advice is stating the obvious, but be careful when meeting people online. 


Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview with Jenn Friedman

Interview with Jenn Friedman, a singer/songwriter and musician from New York who is also an author and eating disorder recovery advocate.



For more information about Jenn, please visit her website at the following link: http://jennfriedman.com/

Monday, May 4, 2015

TOE 4 - Interview with Rachael Steil

Interview with Rachael Steil, founder of the blog Running in Silence.





Rachel discusses her own recovery, orthorexia and running. She helps give people a better understanding of what led to her own struggles with food and how she was able to take the steps needed in order to recover.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Other Birthday

I don't have an exact date, but sometime in April is my other birthday. It's the time of year that I celebrate surviving the worst of two bouts of viral meningitis.

Sometimes I look back and am surprised I survived at all. I often get angry at the doctors who discounted me and acted like this illness that nearly killed me was all in my head. It's hard to believe after telling the first doctor I saw that I don't usually go running to doctors and knew something was wrong, she brushed me off and told me it was probably hormonal. At least the ER doctor acknowledged that I was sick and said so, even though he couldn't find anything major off in my blood work.

It was a long, difficult road back. Sometimes you don't realize how challenging things are until your life is running more smoothly. Looking back, I can see that it actually took years for me to get back on my feet.

One thing I have noticed is that most people, when I mention the meningitis, are quick to say, "At least it wasn't bacterial meningitis!" Well, true. I'm "lucky" I guess, but that's like getting breast cancer and being told, "At least is wasn't lung cancer!" Um, OK... three cheers? And the fact that it wasn't cancer is another lucky point for me. Yes, viral meningitis is considered the milder form of the illness and it's not cancer, but that doesn't mean that it's like getting a touch of the flu, especially when you get it as an adult.

Where my true luck plays out is in surviving an illness that kills up to 20 percent of the people who get it and doing so without any long-term complications like deafness or brain damage.

It's fine if people think viral meningitis is no big deal. I'm going to use this time to be grateful for coming out the other end, even though there were times I didn't think I would and one time in particular I actually thought I wouldn't. The truth is that I'm both amazed and happy that I pulled through.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mike Stanley - Feb 22 1945 - March 5th 2015

Michael Stanley Obituary
Michael Stanley Feb 22 1945 - March 5th 2015


It's always difficult to put thoughts together after shocking and upsetting news. Even though much time has passed since I first heard that Mike Stanley, a retired teacher and wrestling coach in Boulder, didn't survive a heart attack while riding mountain bikes with his son in Alaska, I'm still having trouble putting down words. When I first got the news, I was in shock that soon gave way to tremendous sadness. I didn't want to believe it was true. News this heavy seemed unreal.

Mike's memorial was held at my former high school on April 11th. At that same school is where I first met him and also where he taught science. I never had him as a teacher, but he became an unofficial assistant cross country coach, at least in my eyes. Mostly I remember Mike heading to the higher mountains with a small group of us during the summer in which I was training for the Pikes Peak ascent. He was busy climbing to the top of as many Colorado 14ers as he could and would eventually summit them all.

One of the first people I saw when I was about to enter the auditorium for the memorial service was my former track and cross country coach. He was also one of the speakers. I was deeply moved when he mentioned that he had heard the interview I did on KGNU with Diane Israel and Carmen Cool. He gave me a warm hug and told me that he was proud of me. Of course, this made me want to bawl. I was in tears before the memorial even started, but so were many others.

There were many stories, mostly confirming how positive Mike always was. Some stories made us laugh, most brought more tears. Susan, Mike's wife, spoke, and I wished so badly that I could take away her pain. I wished the same for his children.  It seemed everyone in the audience knew how lucky we all were to have known such a kind and generous man.

On the day I set the record at Pikes, Mike was there at the finish line. I can't figure out how he found the time to support so many people from all walks of life, but he was continually there for students, athletes, his peers, his colleagues, friends, family and anyone else who needed. The last few miles of the race were tough for me. At one point with at least 10 more minutes to go, I could no longer feel my lower body. Even my arms were tired, but through sheer willpower, I forced myself across the finish line where I promptly collapsed. Before I hit the ground, I felt someone at my side, his arm around my waist holding me upright. Someone else rushed to my other side. Mike and Fairview's head track coach at the time, Terry Altenborg, helped me get to the medical tent for a dose of oxygen and a warm blanket. Looking back, I can say that's just how Mike was, always willing to help in any situation. He witnessed one of my greatest achievements in life. I will never forget that moment.

My last conversation with Mike was when I ran into him and his wife at the store. The three of us were discussing a mutual friend who had been struggling badly with an eating disorder. In his usual form, he was trying to figure out ways in witch to help. Once again, he was always ready to offer guidance, encouragement, love and support.

When a person like Mike steps off the planet, it's impossible to not feel a terrible sense of loss. You want the world to stop spinning for a moment and for everyone to acknowledge his absence. You want to fill the emptiness and stop the pain, but more than anything, you just want him back. The world doesn't have enough genuinely good people, so losing someone as kind as Mike hits hard.

In moving forward, I know that everyone Mike taught, mentored, inspired and loved will carry his memory forever in his or her heart. There hasn't been a day since I got the news that I haven't thought about him. I can only hope to use him as a role model and aim to do good in the world.


Mike, on the left, was always willing to offer a hand.

Because it's one of the few things that offers me any comfort in times of great sorrow and loss, I will share Carl Sagan's quote, a dedication to his wife when she passed away:

“In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

TOE 2 - A Brief History

Lize talks about her past and how she developed anorexia and then overcame it.




For more information about Carolyn Rothstein, please visit her website at:
http://www.carolinerothstein.com/


For more information about Diane Israel, please visit her website at:
www.beautymarkmovie.com

Thursday, April 9, 2015

TMI

There's a fine line between sharing and sharing too much. One thing I am in the process of learning is that there are safe places to share intimate details and not so safe places. This applies to people as well. A problem arises when you think you are sharing in a safe setting, and it turns out not to be. This happens both online and in real life.

A good example is sharing in a group or forum online. In general, a forum with guidelines that specifically promote ideas about recovery from an eating disorder usually ends up being a safe setting, but that's not always the case. I recently left a group that had all kinds of declarations about stopping pro-ana sentiment, yet every chance the moderator got, he posted triggering content. When other group members called him out on it, his response was something along the lines of, "Get a tougher skin."

What concerns me more is sharing with someone you feel you can trust and finding out later that you shouldn't have opened yourself up for potential wounding. I guess the lesson here is once bitten, twice shy. In other words, find out quickly who has your back, and if someone uses something you shared in confidence against you, avoid giving that person intimate details again. Same thing when someone can't be honest with you. While I generally forgive pretty easily, I'm careful about trusting.

That said, when you find people you can trust, keep them close.

I haven't been writing lately, and it shows. Sometimes when there's a lot going on in life, I isolate and focus more on distractions.

In the last few weeks, I have been working on creating a radio show/podcast that addresses eating disorders, recovery, body image, athletics, health and women's issues. The shows will air locally on Sunday nights from 6:30 - 8 p.m. MST. I've done two test shows, one on Bulimia posted just before this post, and one my own history, just a quick rehash of where I have been and where I'm headed. When I did that one, it was unplanned and very unstructured.

I still can't quite put my finger on all the reasons why, but I felt funny after we wrapped things up with the second recording. It felt like a lot of me, me, me. Maybe I shared too much. My co-host was very kind and assured me that it was not unlike what goes on during AA meetings, where people share their story in an effort to inspire others. Still, sometimes it's hard to know where the line of too much and not enough is when it comes to spilling your guts. Hopefully I will find a happy medium. Mostly, though, these recordings are going to be about other people and recovery in general.

I've got a few interviews lined up, but if you or anyone you know has a recovery story to share, please contact me at ggirl.kglr@gmail.com


TOE - Episode 1: Recovery from Bulimia


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book of Short Stories

For one month (March 11th - April 11th), get You Can't Use Your Cell Phone in Here for $1.00!
Coupon Code: GZ43P



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Update

It looks like I have let this blog go. I'm hoping to breathe some new energy into it at some point soon. Much of my free time is being used to work on existing projects and start new ones. If all goes well, I will be adding an audio portion to this blog, but this is an idea that's still in the works.

One of the other projects I was working on recently has come to a close. It's called the Luscious Legacy Project, run by Sue Ann Gleason, founder of the blog Chocolate for Breakfast, whom I have mentioned before. It was good for me to take part in this event, and I was very happy to be involved with a supportive and kind group. I went into the program expecting to work on my writing skills. While that did occur, most of us also uncovered a lot of emotions and memories through the process. While at times it was challenging, it also ended up being a healing and enjoyable experience. I am happy to report that this was one of the best things I could have done for myself, and it's a lot cheaper than therapy!

In the last few months, I was hit pretty hard with a bout of depression. When I get like this, I tend to sit back and think, maybe a little too deeply, about the ways of the world. The darkness seems to be lifting. Lately, though, I'm in shock at how cruel, messed up and strange people can be. This is especially true when it comes to how people behave online. It seems the more we remove the human element, the more people feel justified in the horrible things they do and say. More and more, I feel the need to step away from the computer screen, just to get a dose of normalcy. Of course people are not always nice in real life, and, as I pointed out above, people can be full of kindness online too. Still, I find comfort in dealing with people face to face. It's upsetting and very strange to me how some people thrive on callous and underhanded online behavior: stalking, starting rumors, writing cruel comments, calling people names and more. Don't they have better things to do?

A friend of mine and I got to talking about a recent incident involving a chocolate shop that quickly presented a personal matter online in a blog post that was not exactly fact checked. In the post, the author called out another company, claiming this big corporation was trying to step on the little one when, in fact, the big company was merely following standard procedure in protecting its business.

I admit that I was looking at the situation from an emotional standpoint. I also assumed that the little company may have misinterpreted and misrepresented what the larger company was doing, because it didn't make sense to me that this larger company would suddenly threaten and lash out at a shop that carries its chocolate. Anyone not following the story closely was bound to jump to some inaccurate conclusions and immediately take the side of the small company. It was all right there in an open letter, after all. This did not sit well with me. I knew there was more to the story.

My friend looked at the situation as something businesses simply do. It's a shady but effective way to get attention and support, because nobody will pay much attention to any retraction or corrections down the road. This is exactly what happened. A retraction was was presented in a blog post the very next day. "Oopsie, I made a mistake!" People will focus on and remember the first claim, even if it's proven wrong later. So a big buzz was created, and nobody really responded to the correction and admission of the oops moment. Success.

The unfortunate thing is that many people responded with a lot of hatred toward the larger company the day the first open letter was posted. The owner of the big company posted a thoughtful and kind response on facebook, explaining what was really going on, but this didn't stop people. Most of the comments on the facebook post were atrocious, even though it was clear that the small shop owner had misrepresented what was happening. People should be ashamed, but they aren't. Any how many of them do you think apologized after the correction? I can't imagine how messed up the people who toss out such hurtful and cruel comments must be. I don't even want to know.

My choice is to support the larger company by continuing to buy their products as I always have. I had already stopped  being a customer of the smaller one for various reasons, but I really hate to see this kind of thing happen.

On to better things.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts. If all goes well, I will be presenting some audio segments that deal with eating disorders, recovery, women's issues, running and training in the next few weeks.




Friday, February 20, 2015

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Monday, Feb 23rd, I will be on KGNU interviewing Diane Israel and Carmen Cool to help promote Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The interview is at 3 p.m. MST. 

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is the 22nd to the 28th of Februrary. Please note that my book, Training on Empty, is always available for free now. Readers can set their own price at the link below.

I have also posted a link to NEDA for anyone who needs more information about eating disorders and how to get help.

Please help spread the word that eating disorders are not ego based. The illness is complicated with many contributing factors leading to the disordered behaviors. If you know anyone struggling, encourage him or her to get help.

NEDA:  http://nedawareness.org/

The recorded interview can be heard by clicking on this link: Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Writing Project

“A table!” my mother would yell from the front door. Her voice with the perfect Parisian accent carried to us no matter whose yard we were playing in, and everyone knew that it was time for my sister and me to go eat dinner. Torn between wanting to stay and play with our friends or leaving to go home for a home-cooked meal, Annie and I would hesitate before scampering home to the dinner table.


Meals were rarely anything fancy, unless my parents were entertaining, in which case out came Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and either my mom or my dad would fearlessly dive into the complicated recipe book. My mom never worried about simplifying things, whereas my dad, a theoretical physicist, had a way of making the complicated even more so. I fell somewhere between the two, a little bit messy as a chef but elegant and clean in the final presentation.


My dad’s version of everything was over the top and sloppy. He cooked army-style, in big pots with enough servings to feed an entire continent. The one Christmas he made a stollen, it was so long it didn’t fit on the table! My mom, on the other hand, cooked less extravagantly, but I’m convinced there was magic in her meals. Even her easy-to-make vinaigrette tasted like the best salad dressing ever made. Her recipe? Oil, vinegar, garlic and salt. When she showed me exactly how she made this delicious dressing, mine did not came out as good as hers. No, it had to be magic she put in there.


Everything she made was like that -- simple yet delectable. Her french fries were nothing but cut potatoes cooked in hot oil with a little bit of salt sprinkled on top, but I could never replicate the perfect texture: crispy on the outside but moist on the inside. I liked mine with large amounts of catsup.


When a birthday would roll around, my mom cooked whatever the birthday child wanted, usually shrimp tempura with rice. Sometimes she would make a birthday cake too. At other times, one of us would request a chocolate torte or some other kind of store-bought creation. On one special occasion, she made a coffee-flavored tiger cake for me. She cut pieces of the cooked cake and rearranged them to look like a tiger before frosting it in all the right colors, stripes and all.


Because my mother was born in France, my siblings and I were introduced to unusual foods at a very young age. I never found it odd that I liked the taste of Brie while my friends preferred packaged American singles. Little did I know that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Years later, I would stick my nose into some potent Pont L’eveque while traveling in France, and the rest, as they say, is history.


I became a chocolate snob early. How could I not when my grandmother, who still lived in France, sent extraordinary chocolates every holiday season?


Despite our early introduction to gourmet and imported foods, we all still loved whatever was being served at our friends’ houses. Oddly enough, my sister and I were guilty of buying these obnoxious green frosted cakes made to look like frogs available at our local supermarket’s bakery. The overly sweet, bright-green frosting sat atop a small round of chocolate cake. It was piled high into a pyramid with white and black frosting piped on for the eyes and a red gel for its tongue. This was about as far from gourmet as one could get.


Another strange thing was that my mother actually didn’t like to cook. She often cooked hamburgers, pizza or stuffed peppers, because these dishes were easy to make and didn’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. Years later, my mother would write and illustrate a funny cartoon book called Divorcing the Kitchen, a tale of kitchen woes.


Part of the reason my mother didn’t like cooking was that it brought up bad memories of her childhood. Her father, whom I never met, was a perfectionist, especially in the kitchen. If every green bean wasn’t perfectly prepared and arranged, the entire pot would end up on the floor. You see, my grandfather had also been in a factory accident that left him partially deaf and possibly with other problems related to brain trauma.


The worst part about all of this was that my grandfather became an increasingly violent man and took his frustration and anger out on my mom and my grandmother, brutalizing them both to the point where he nearly beat them to death. In fact, as an infant and youngster, my mother often stayed with my great-grandmother, because everyone was afraid her father would kill her when she cried. It was there that she enjoyed life in the country, eating cottage cheese in cabbage leaves and hearty breads, breathing in the fresh air, and helping my great-grandmother wash clothing in the river.


Eventually, when my mother was older and back living in Paris, she and my grandmother devised a plan to escape my grandfather that involved a good friend of my mother’s offering an extra bag of rationed potatoes to him in an effort to get him away from their home. This way, my mom and grandmother could quickly pack their belongings and flee while he was off getting the much-needed food. This was all right before World War II. Needless to say, my mom’s life was not easy. She went hungry a lot during the war and even ate an occasional raw egg when her hunger overcame her, but she is a survivor. To see one of her children struggle to eat due to an eating disorder later in life was perplexing, frustrating and heartbreaking for her.


My mother was resolute about not inflicting her traumatic past on her own children. As a result, we all grew up with many wonderful food-related memories, none of which ended up with food angrily thrown on the floor.


One of my favorite food-related memories is of my sister and me waiting with our plates held out as my mom made crepe. She would flip one onto my plate, and I would first sprinkle it with sugar and then fold it into a triangle. My sister would do the same when she got hers, and we would continue eating until the batter was gone. When we were finished, my mom would make a second batch to be used for making blintzes. Those were filled with a ricotta filling and served at breakfast with either blueberry compote or maple syrup.


On holidays, my mom became terribly stressed out, but everything always ended up just fine. Our entire family would sit down to dinner, and we are a talkative, opinionated, headstrong bunch. My older half-brothers would arrive early. My dad would start drinking early, and by the dessert round, which for us was often the main event, everyone would be comfortably full and relieved that any previous tension had dissipated, at least to some extent and for a little while.


My mom and I are still creating memories. We sample cheeses and chocolates together, eat an occasional lunch together and discuss modern cuisine, GMOs and the environment. As she approaches her 90th birthday, I know my search for the perfect birthday gift will likely include something imported from France. Maybe this year it will be some Poilane bread, pain d’epices or pate des fruits.