How we Measure Progress


I belong to a pro-ana Facebook group. Give or take a few girls leaving for recovery, the same 50 girls have belonged to the group for over 2 years. One of my best friends there asked how I was doing because I hadn’t posted in a while. I told them about school, coming out, and my weight. The overwhelming response?

“WOW, you’re doing so well!”

Not surprising from a bunch of eating disordered girls. But it got me thinking about priorities. Is this, our weight, really the most important measure of our worth or success? I would like to say no.Fringe_its all just nubmers

It makes me sad that we put so much emphasis on our appearance. Let’s see… I almost killed myself more than once last semester, I cried – a lot, I was almost involuntarily hospitalized, I barely passed my classes, I rarely attended class or read material, and I lost my scholarship…but WOW, you lost a lot of weight in an unhealthy amount of time!!

Why does it always have to be about looks

Maybe it is because we hate everything about ourselves and our weight is at least something we can change, whereas other things are relatively immutable like intelligence.

Screw Writing Strong Women


Complicated women3 women who kick asswomen who cry women who want but don't need

The OP makes a wonderful point! Writers should create real women! They should also write real men. Human beings are complicated. It really hit home for me because I realized I sometimes judge unfairly. For example, while re-reading Legend of the Seeker, all the difficult, stressful events Kahlan faced struck me. Maybe she cries a lot and maybe there are other women in the story who are in similar situations and do not cry, but no other woman in the series had the same burden. Kahlan essentially ruled numerous countries and felt responsible for the people of all those nations. Furthermore, she was the last of her kind, Confessors. Kahlan and other women like Olivia can be strong, powerful, and brave, even while crying.

One of the best things about Game of Thrones is that the characters, women included, are complicated! They neither “good” nor “bad”. They are a mixture; they are human. They have weaknesses and strengths. Sometimes they do “the right thing”, but not always. In contrast, Richard Cypher/ Rahl is almost perfect. I’m having difficulty thinking of a time when he made a mistake or did the immoral thing. The only event that comes to mind from 14 about 1,000 page books is when he felt betrayed by Kahlan for enjoying sex when she thought it was his brother. While I can understand why he felt betrayed, he almost refused to return to the land of the living! First of all, the sex wasn’t with Drefan, it was with him. Who knows if she would be aroused by him. Second, she did not enjoy it. She equated it to rape. Third, she had no choice. She detested the first time, but acquiesced because the spirits demanded it. She waited for the spirits to come take Richard to the Temple of the Winds. When they did not, she realized she had to enjoy it. So, she worked to get over her mental block (losing her “virginity” to Drefan, not Richard/ having sex with anyone other than Richard) and did what she needed to, in order to climax. If she hadn’t, the spirits would never open the door for Richard to the Temple of the Winds. Fourth, people have involuntary physical reactions to stimuli. So, while I think he had the right to be angry, I think he did not fairly look at the situation and her predicament.

In fact, one of my favorite characters in the Whedonverse is the one who changed the most over their series: Spike. He went from pure evil, to starting to care about Buffy, to attempting to rape her, to recognizing his soullessness, to being the one person Buffy turns to when she is alone, and finally (in Buffy) to sacrificing himself to save the others. Even at his best, Spike it not one-dimensional. He has quirks, flaws, and positive attributes.

I know many of you write fanfiction and some of you want to write your own stories. Please write complicated women and men and don’t lose a character’s humanity while trying to defy stereotypes.

Pictures and original post via http://wildheart71.tumblr.com/post/67892540097/screw-writing-strong-women-write

Fear of Vulnerability and Trust


I am capable of forming relationships; I’m not a sociopath. I want strong bonds. There are a few people in my life who I would die for and who I do not think could ever be replaced. I like people, but they scare the hell out of me. I’m not shy because I am arrogant, aloof, or unfeeling. The opposite it true. I feel too much, too strongly, too often. I resist letting people in because the more I let them in, the more they can hurt me.

It sucks because I want the bond everyone dreams of: The 60 year marriage, where the couple enjoys each other’s company, stands together through the storms of life, and takes care of each other to the end. Yet, I’m terrified of letting anyone in because that gives them true control.

incaoable2

The illusion of control seen in SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) BDSM scenes may appear scary, abusive, or coercive from the outside, but using RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink)/SCC guidelines the submissive is the one with the real control. She says the word and everything stops.

Emotional vulnerability is infinitely more terrifying. When you let someone know your deepest emotional pain or fears and they do the same, that person leaves an indelible mark on your heart. No matter how much time or distance separates you, a special bond remains. It is almost as if you gave part of yourself to them.

So, armed with this emotional bond and secrets, they can twist a knife in your soul. They can hurt you more than any blade, brand, or whip ever could. It may not even be intentional! I still remember the day my best friend from PHP discharged. I cried, as in hyperventilating sobs… I did not cry when I left treatment or when anyone else before or after left any of my higher levels of care. This was a girl who knew what it was like inside my mind. She knew and she still liked me. She saw greatness where I only saw mediocrity. She knew things I’d told no other human being and vice versa.

Haha, we were in the art room, sitting next to each other after one of the last groups of the day and I don’t know when it happened, but we both started crying. When it was time for dinner a nurse came into the room, saw tears running down my face and asked, “Is it about the lasagna?” I laughed through my tears and explained I was crying because my best friend was leaving that night. Staff were nice, we had name cards and they set them out before dinner at four tables. Therefore, you never got to chose who you sat with. We got to sit next to each other that night. Plus, our favorite nurse was the table monitor. I don’t remember what I ate or didn’t eat, but I do remember my friend was too upset to finish her meal, which worried everyone because not finishing your last meal before discharge is a bad sign. I’m awful at keeping up with anyone from anytime in my life, even family! If I don’t live in the same house with you, it is unlikely I will reach out on a regular basis. I feel bad about it. I think about various friends often, but somehow I never get around to writing a letter. I still send a message to her occasionally and we chat like old times, but then inevitably, I get sucked away and into some life crisis like a major depression relapse or law school exams and suddenly months have flown by. I’m going to go write her a note as soon as I finish this post.

Anyway, her therapist wrote a long letter in my goodbye book. They had a tradition of giving each patient a copy of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” with encouraging handwritten notes from staff, therapists, and other patients. Her therapist’s note took an entire page of that book! He said I helped her open up. That made me happy.

However, I still remember crying and thinking (maybe I even said it in therapy later?) while I did not regret our relationship, getting that close to anyone else in treatment and losing them again was not worth the pain.

At the time, there were only 3 teenagers in the program. The other 16+ were adults. A nurse always waited with us until our parents came to pick us up after dinner. I was still crying and my mom couldn’t understand why it mattered so much. Obviously, we were friends, but she didn’t understand how I could become so incredibly close to someone I’d known only a month. She didn’t understand what spending 10 hours/day in the same room with someone, talking about things you never said out loud before, and sharing similar thought patterns can do for a friendship.

Granted some of those thought patterns and fears were part of the disease, but I think they leave behind traces even after recovery. In my experience, eating disorders affect people with similar personalities. I don’t know if ED makes us that way or we all already had the same thoughts in our heads. I imagine it is a little of both. Nonetheless, even those who recover usually remain compassionate, intuitive, quiet, unassuming, and kind. It is almost scary how thoughts from so many people from treatment could easily come from my mind!

…Not everyone is like that…Oh drama created by malnourished, angry, terrified teenagers. Haha, actually, from the adults to…

Argh, sorry long tangent!

The point of telling the story of my friend from treatment is getting close to people yields great rewards, but at great personal risk! If I knew I would end up with the relationship I want, I would be willing to crash and burn a few times, but no matter how many people I date, I cannot guarantee I’ll find that lifelong bond.

On one side, vulnerability leads to stronger bonds. For example, I feel closer to my brother and sister-in-law than I’ve ever felt. On the other side, the fall is bone crushing.

I don’t feel lonely right now. I have friends, I have people I could go out to a movie with tonight if I wanted to. I have family. I have potential significant others. I’m afraid of winding up alone because people move on, move away, lost touch, or die. Yet, for the moment, the fear of loss and vulnerability outweighs the fear of loneliness and the loss of never feeling romantic love.

Interesting pictures I found while search for quotes:

and finally, ouch!

To Stay in Law School or Not To Stay?


Serious life decisions, boo…

Angel_Grr

I passed the first semester of law school despite missing 20% of the classes, reading less than 25% of the time, and seriously briefing 2 cases. I never made an outline. I spent a grand total of 3 hour studying for exams. In other words, depression and fear swallowed me whole, but I survived. That tells me I am capable of surviving law school and more than likely I can thrive. Since I gave about 10% effort, if I gave 100% of my effort, assuming most people gave close to 90% or more effort, I have no reason to believe I would be in the bottom 80% of my class.

That semester was hell. I was close more than once to a serious suicide attempt. I don’t want to go through that again.

 

I know myself well enough to know if I got straight As I would decide I “loved” law school and I’d be excited to go back. Right now I am dreading the 9th.

I was .07 GPA points away from keeping my scholarship. If I raise my GPA by .07, I can appeal to reinstate my scholarship going forward.

What do I want out of life? A stable career that I enjoy and feel helps others. Law could give me that. Even before I got the news about the scholarship, I’ve been thinking about my true love: science. I chose law over grad school because I feared the GRE more than the LSAT. The LSAT played to my strengths. Also, I feared the strange interview process PhD schools utilize. Candidates list labs they’re interested in and if the school thinks you may fit, they invite you to a mass open house weekend, where you have to hang out with the current lab students, professors, and your competition. The current students write reports about you, basically you’re on display 24/7. I dislike meeting new people, much less a bunch of smart new people who I know are judging me!

Those weren’t the only reasons, I talked to a lot of current lawyers about what I wanted out of life, my strengths, what I love, and I asked many question about their day-to-day life. I had reason to believe I would enjoy the law.

I’m scared because I still think I could enjoy law, but I won’t get a chance to experience the areas I think I may enjoy for another year. If I go on and decide I still hate it, I wasted another year and $1,000s. Yet I don’t want to quit and lost the opportunity because maybe I will love it!

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I am nervous because it is an awful sign that I’m dreading going back. I shouldn’t feel like this, but I do.

please no olivia

It feels like I’m giving up and I hate that. I don’t want to give up, if there are rewards ahead, but I can’t know that at this point.

Olivia_Scared

 

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Welcome Back to the Roller Coaster from Hell


Yesterday was not so great. I felt like I was thrown back 7 or 8 years to paralyzing fear, emotional abuse, scarring self-injury, and suicide attempts.

Today is a wash so far. I didn’t get out of bed until 5 pm.

I’m ignoring people again (I know I need to reply to some of you); I feel guilty. When I feel any negative emotion I withdraw. I realized the reason I’m not in a relationship isn’t a lack of interest or ugliness, it is because I push people away.

I also realized in order to give a relationship a chance, I need to let go of my eating disorder. The idea scared the hell out of me and I’m not so sure I’m ready to do that.

Will I be ready to let go at 114 lbs? I doubt it. I know from experience once I reach x weight, the acceptable goal weight lowers again.

Anger and sadness swirl in my heart, but right now they’re veiled by exhaustion-fueled apathy.

Ha, that reminds me, yesterday my mom said, “Are you going to be some weird hermit?” …Um…maybe, but when she asked the question I just spent a week with family and a night with high school friends.

Also, 1 hour until my law school grades are posted!

Sometimes I like myself


Olivia_laughing about ella

Happy 2014! I looked back through my posts to make sure there was nothing too objectionable and as I read the Evil Lawyers post, I smiled and thought, “Yes! All these GIFs are perfect! Your geekiness is awesome!”

Use Your Words


You know how you tell a 2 year old to “use your words” when they start a tantrum? Apparently, this lesson didn’t go much past age 2 in my family. The other night I had a random thought. BDSM involves lots of overt, clear verbal communication. In contrast, my family is the opposite. My mom wanted to spend time just as our nuclear family (Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister-in-law, and I) before they left town, but my uncle and grandparents wanted to spend part of their last day with them to. I tried and failed to encourage my mom to express her wants about spending some time as our nuclear family; I even pointed out she spent $100,000+ on hospitalizations to teach me to use my words to express emotions. She refused, saying it wasn’t important. This is a stretch, but maybe my brother and I’s mutual interest in BDSM is partially due to the clear verbal communication, since we grew up in a family that encouraged not expressing your wants, needs, or feelings. Obviously, a lot more would go into anyone’s predilections; it is just an interesting observation.