anniversary

6 Months and I’m Still Here

I was making an after dinner snack on Tuesday and while I was chopping bananas and making my protein yogurt sundae all pretty, I realized something. I looked at the hubs and said, “Guess what!? We’ve been in Oklahoma six months!”. “O, yeah. We have” the hubs replied. We couldn’t believe how time has passed. Time has moved slow and fast at the same time. Some days and weeks seem to drag, while others move as quick as The Doctor’s TARDIS through space.

Life in OKC has been a learning experience to say the least. Each day has presented a unique challenge and struggles that I thought wouldn’t end. There have been situations where things fell through and people turned out to be not what I expected. Opportunities have arose that were better than I could imagine. I have battled anxiety, fear, and my eating disorder. I have lost touch with who I am, my essence, to slowly start to find it again. Oklahoma life isn’t like Tennessee life.

 

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Wildflowers Outside My House Before a Storm

 

While I grew up moving around frequently, it was the main reason why I developed an eating disorder, this move was unlike the others (for more on that check out an older blog post). At sometimes I didn’t think I’d make it. People had said I’d be back home within a month or two but I wanted to prove them wrong– even though I was sad, depressed, and missed my old life. There were a few times I almost booked a flight home when I saw the fun that was happening back home, life was batshit crazy, or just because I wanted to escape the infamous Oklahoma winds.

I never booked a flight though because I wanted to show to myself and others that I could stay here. I truly loved it here even though sometimes my actions and words said otherwise. I began to make friends and meet people. I began to teach more yoga. I even got a job in a dance studio (something I had sorely missed). I received my HFS books and study guides. Therapy was going well and I had decided to recommit to the 12 Steps. Life was looking up so I saw no reason to go back home till my bestie’s wedding. Guess what, I am so glad I did.

 

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Oklahoma Skyline at Dusk on the Bricktown Water Taxi

 

So besides learning how to deal with a new landscape, people, jobs, loneliness, etc…here are a few other things I have learned:

  • In OKC the Northwest Expressway is the biggest lie I have ever encountered. You are not an “expressway”. The speed limit on an “expressway” shouldn’t be 55 mph and have a red light every block.
  • Keeping with the traffic (pun intended), in OKC people love to go five to ten miles under the speed limit unless they are in a parking lot or school zone.
  • Every  mile here is equivalent to two/three minutes approx.
  • When you let go of attachment to certain outcomes and titles, the things you want to happen actually happen.
  • Keeping an open heart when you feel like closing off can lead to some great experiences.
  • A “short trip” to the liquor store turns into an hour experience because you stock up on everything alcohol related due to some wonderful antiquated liquor laws.
  • If you ever decide to get a mani/pedi but don’t know where to go, just find a salon on the road closest to you, as there are as many salons as gas stations.
  • Trader Joe’s is amazing and I love being less than fifteen minutes from one. #worhtthedrive
  • Oklahoma has the best sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen.
  • In Oklahoma roads don’t twist and wind, they veer. So you can be going straight for sometime then you have to veer slightly right or left. If you don’t pay attention you will end up in the wrong lane.
  • Metro-life is awesome.

 

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Portion of the Boomer Sooner Sculpture at Dusk on the Bricktown Water Taxi Ride

 

 

*photos by me*

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Happy One Month

I have been in Oklahoma City a little over a month. It is crazy how quickly time flies. It feels just like yesterday that we were living in hotel rooms and waiting for our furniture to arrive. It feels just like yesterday that I experienced my first hail storm. I am halfway through tornado season and I might just make it…maybe, that is if I don’t get bulldozed and blown away by OKC’s sixty mph winds.

Being here the past month I have learned so much. It is just like the quote we see on all those reclaimed wood pieces, you never know how strong you are until you have to be. While I have moved a lot during my life, it is one reason why I developed my eating disorder, I never did it as an adult. I was always with my family. With this move I only had my husband and my dog. Even the feel of the move is different when you are an adult. As an adult you actually comprehend what is happening and it is harder to say goodbye, especially when you have roots. While I enjoy being nomadic (growing up I wanted nothing more than to travel the world, not staying in one place for to long, experiencing new things–which I still do) it is different when you have roots. People you care about it. Emotional ties. Family. Being uprooted is almost death, but like vegetables that you can replant from roots-avocados, celery-you can be brought back to life, sometimes even stronger than before.

 

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One of My Favorite Bronze Sculptures in Downtown Edmond

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, this move has been triggering. With each passing day I am getting acclimated to this region (even though all this wind is aggravating my dosha! #vataproblems) and I’m working on managing my eating disorder/anxiety. I am becoming more grounded and setting up a routine that I desperately need to keep my ED and anxiety at bay ( I’m even starting therapy again-beginning today). While I am making a daily schedule I am learning to block time for fun and exploration. This move is teaching me to find balance and resiliency, a quality I don’t have that I hope I can learn.

On a spiritual note, this move helped me get back to praying. From the moment Jere told me the good news fear and anxiety set in. I knew this was a big shift and needed support. So I began to pray. I prayed that we would be safe, find a place where we would fit in/community. I also began to pray that He would open doors for me that weren’t available where I was. I began to grow weary of the freelance life and longed for something more stable. I prayed that He would help bring the right yoga studio and opportunities my way. He moved a lot sooner than I expected and within two weeks I was working in a studio that reminded me of my home studio. I began to volunteer with Yoga in the Park and meet people. I’m still praying and jumping on opportunities that present themselves. some workout, some don’t, and that’s OK. At the end of the day I’m thankful for His guidance and the discernment He has given me.

 

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This Fun Mural is in Downtown Edmond Outside the Shoppe, Summit, a Wilderness Store.

 

Each day I wake up in OKC, look at the beautiful sunrise as I take Winston out for a walk and I can’t believe I am here. Each Wednesday when I drive into the city (Midtown) with the skyline and skyscrapers in my eyesight, I get excited. I can’t believe that I’m finally living the Metro life. Everything I have ever wanted is ten to twenty minutes away. Any experience I have missed out on is here. The people that I meet daily and/or work with are unlike anyone I’ve met. Opportunities abound and I can’t help but dance in my heart.

If this first month in OKC has been this eventful I can’t imagine what will happen next month, the third month, or the month after that. Where will I be by Christmas? How about this time next year? I can’t wait.

 

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An Oklahoma Sunrise

 

 

For Two Are Better Than One

Today marks 2 years of married life. It seems like much longer, probably because the hubs and I will be coming up on 5 years of being together in March. So much has happened to us within these 5 years/2 years of marriage that it has been a wild ride.  In the course of these two years we have: birthed a furbaby (love our Winston!), found a church home, moved to a new location, fought, love each other, sit in therapy, continue to support each other, develop better forms of communication, battle my ED together, and better yet: see some of our best friends get married.

I am not going to be one of these wives who say that marriage is great, lovely, filled with unicorns and daisies. In fact, when I got engaged most people told me that marriage is not that but this: work, hard work, tiring, a new way of life. They were and still are right. All of this reminds me of our wedding. We did this activity called Keys to a Happy Marriage. We had our guests write advice on antique keys and put them on a key tree. Here is some of the advice that was written: never go to bed angry (this was over 50% of the keys, and very very important), when you can’t agree on an answer pray because God will always find the answer that is best for you two, always think of the other, always remember “Yes Dear” (we got multiple of those too), happy wife happy life, listen and understand each others needs, put the Lord first, each for the other both for Christ, have a date night once a week, keep it naughty, if you aren’t first you’re last (epic I know!), anything worth having takes time, don’t stop believing (don’t we have great friends?), cook dinner together, pick and choose your  battles, a cookie makes things right as rain (again, epic friends), practice patience, hold hands, practice forgiveness.

Here we are two years into marriage and we have gotten angry before bed but we talked about it before we went to bed even though it made us uncomfortable (we both hate being vulnerable). We continually believe in our marriage, and we do cook dinner together (even though we aren’t compatible in the kitchen). We may not always pick and choose our battles but we do eat cookies and drink wine together. We are still learning to be patient with one another which is difficult because that is not both of our strong suits. I am learning to keep it naughty (hah!), and I am learning to trust  that Jeremy will not lead me the wrong way. Everyday I practice giving up control, well loosening the reigns, and learning that I can’t always be in control. I pray for our marriage, I pray for Jeremy. I pray when things are right, when things go wrong, when I don’t know what to do.

All of this brings me back to what we made our vows about….being one another helpers. From the very very  beginning we helped one another. Jeremy helped me get the strength I needed to go into recovery. He supports my choices, and gives me the encouragement to face my fears and to be the best version of myself. I help him from being too serious all the time and help him let loose. Jeremy has taught me about communication, beer, and scotch. I have taught him about dance, yoga, and Reiki (hehehe).

Here is our Scripture/Sermon from our Wedding:

From the very beginning God created men and women to be each other’s helpers; it is not good for either one to go through life alone.  As it is written in the second chapter of Genesis, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and to keep it…Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord Go caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. “At last!” The man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. She will be called woman because she was taken from man.” This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

When the two become one, a new life starts. The couple can then begin to help one another. When this holy union is formed, the two joined are strengthened. This is God’s Will . Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 states, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.”

Jeremy and Leslie, from the moment you say your vows and exchange rings, you become each other’s helper. You will help the other succeed. You will help lift them up when they fail or praise them when they are blessed. When the other is attacked, you will defend. By clinging to God and sharing the bond of holy matrimony, your bond will not be broken.

this is your brain on mental illness

I have been on WordPress for a year! Wow how time flies. I hope the people who have stumbled across my blog, and those who have not yet stumbled upon me, have been/will be blessed and enjoy themselves. I do this blog for those out there who needs someone to relate to on the ED front, for those who need inspiration, and just plain encouragement. Thank you to my followers, the commentators, and the readers.

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There has been a lot of talk this past week about mental illness, depression, and how one thinks with a mental illness. This has inspired me to share with the world what ones brain goes through. With a mental illness of any kind (addiction, depression, Bi-Polar, ED’s, anxiety, etc…) you cannot think clearly. Your mind is clouded with misinformation that your illness feeds you. The clouds suck the life out of you. The clouds are the bucket that carry you deeper and deeper into your dark well of life. The clouds are free radicals tearing your insides out. Due to this, that is why people: contemplate suicide, turn to drugs, turn to the bottle, eat themselves to death, starve themselves to death etc…We do not have the capability to think clearly. This is why some people turn to suicide. Those who think about it think it is the only way to go. The way that they can cause less harm and damage to their families. Even themselves. Yes, it does not make sense, but that is what a mental illness does. It takes things that do not make sense and twists them around to make sense. That is what people do not understand.

To show you what I mean, I am going to share with you my thoughts. My own personal thoughts that I have every day…Some of these I use to have more regularly, but I am proud to say that over time and hard recovery work I can manage them a bit more…My thoughts do not make sense, but the part of my brain that helps make rational decisions is over-ridden…

Here we go:

*The moment I eat something sweet, a treat, or a dessert, my thighs automatically get dimples or become “cottage cheese thighs”.

*”I’m Fat” becomes my saying, almost mantra, for when I am distressed. Even though fat is not a feeling.

*When I am constipated due to my IBS, I swear that I look fat/or my belly sticks out/that you can tell I am bloated

*When I am anxious I begin to fly off the handle and the only thing that comforts me is to play the scenario over and over and over and over again. DWELL! Dwelling makes everything better.

*The All or Nothing Principal, is not just about exercise: I either eat the whole tray of sweets or pizza OR eat nothing at all.

*I always think people are judging me, and talking about me. Whether it be how fat I am or how skinny I am.

*I always wonder if people are judging my actions, whether it be in the business world or everyday life.

*I can wake up feeling great about myself then something will go wrong and BAM! I hate myself, have an anxiety attack, or feel fat.

*If I fail at something or lose and the person is bigger than me I think, “At least I am skinnier and prettier than her” if the person if smaller than me I think, “I need to lose weight”.

*Food goes like this…..Good Food=Good Leslie, Bad Food=Good Leslie if I am conquering a food fear, Bad Food=Bad Leslie, All Food=Bad Leslie

*I hate math and suck at it, but numbers can make me happy

*One does not simply eat one brownie a day when making a pan of brownies…One must eat it all in one sitting and then judge themselves and do body weight squats for the rest of the night

*I constantly ask my husband if I look fat. Probably around 10 times a day on a “bad” day. Less than that on a “good” day.

*I don’t do this as often, but every morning I would wake up and check my ab definition and use that to monitor my fattness

*If I do everything my ED Melvin says I will be happy, perfect, and the longing for attention and love I want will be fulfilled

*On the anxiety front….if my body feels the weirdest bit off I ask my husband if I am ok. Or am I going to be ok. He hears that just as much as “Am I fat?”

*I am completely irrational when I am having a panic attack. Everything goes to shit and everything flies out the window. You never know what I am going say or do.

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Now this is not a complete list of my thoughts but the most common. It doesn’t represent other forms of mental illness, but it shows that we all have cloudy thoughts. This is how people can make poor decisions. For some more information and education check out the following…

NAMI, the best place to learn more about mental health/illness

Stress, the brain, and mental illness

Robin Williams’ death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

 

 

Always remember, a smile and kind word can go a long way.

 

And just because I love Bob Ross…

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