Saturday, June 28, 2014

Feeling helpless - feeling triggered

A couple months ago my life and my summer plans took an interesting turn.
We had big plans for camping trips, fishing trips, horseback riding, etc. We weren't going anywhere extravagent - I just bought a new car. BJ just bought a new truck. We were planning on doing a lot of grand adventures, just close to home adventures.

Then BJ's dad had to have open heart surgery. (A quintuple bypass!) BJ's dad has been the full-time caregiver to BJ's mom. She can't walk and can't do anything for herself. BJD (BJ's Dad) was beside himself with worry about what would happen to BJM (BJ's Mom). The three kids in the area decided we would take shifts and stay with the parents to make sure they were taken care of.

Because BJ and I have to get work done during the week, our shift is the weekend. Basically, for two months, I have either been working or at BJ's parents. We took the horses out a couple of times, but they've had to be fast evening rides. We went fishing for an hour. We had his grandkids come to the house to play for a couple hours, and then had to go back to work after they left at 8pm.

It's been hard to have life plans changed, and not be able to go on our riding, camping and fishing trips. (And to know that we are going to have to cancel all of our plans for the rest of the summer too.) It sucks a bit, but also... not a big deal. I'd like to write about how this has triggered old thoughts and patterns in me.

BJ's mom is diabetic and very obese. Her dietary needs are very restrictive: Low calorie, low carb, and we have to count and keep track of everything she eats.
My dietary needs are very different. Higher calorie, high protein, and a really bad idea for me to keep track of everything I eat.
How do you match both of those at the same time? I can't keep track of what she eats without also keeping track of what I eat. If I eat when she is not eating, it's hard on her. (Probably in the same way it is hard for me to eat when she isn't eating. We are opposite ends of the same disorder. I feel bad for needing food. She feels unloved when she doesn't get food.)

I knew that would be hard for me. I compared it to an alcoholic having to poor drinks for everyone else in the room: totally doable, but difficult.

I also knew that without a compelling reason to do old behaviors, the triggers wouldn't be enough... I needed an eating disorder in the past, because my thoughts, my life, my existence were all incredibly painful. I needed an escape, and took the only way I knew "out" - at least until I didn't need it anymore and I found other ways to get my needs met.

I have to be here. I can't leave. My body is needed to lift and move and help. They also need me to appear emotionally and mentally strong. No matter what I am feeling - I need to get the work done. AND this is hard. I haven't wanted to be here. I've wanted an out - or some sort of emotional release.

Eating disorders are a way to get an emotional release. An out.

As I've talked to friends who have struggled with their own eating disorder, they have been compassionate and also said, "Remember you have to take care of yourself or you will be of no use to them."

That is when I realized, part of the trigger is that if I don't take care of myself, I don't have to take care of anyone else. I feel sad and selfish knowing that THAT is one of the reasons I feel triggered. I also understand it makes sense... I'm not so good at establishing boundaries for myself. I struggle to say what is too much, and I feel like I should give until I am dead. With that underlying belief, it makes sense to hurt myself so that I won't have to give as much.

One of the big pieces of eating disorder (and probably most addiction) recovery is recognizing the needs it fulfills, and then find a new way to have those needs met. I'm tired and I can't give as much as I have been asked to give (and be healthy).

BJ and I sat down and talked to his sister a few days ago. (Incidentally, she is the same place. She can't keep going like this without damaging her health.) BJ's dad has been doing this for years... no wonder his heart has finally said, "NO MORE!"

Sadly, there are not many resources for people who don't have money. I know what it's like to need more help, but have no resources to get that help. BJ's mom needs a lot of care.

Will she have to go to a rest home?

How will we pay for a rest home?

What happens now?

Do all of us sacrifice our health to help her? How long?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

#OrdainWomen It Feels Personal

On the topic of Ordain Women. I'm angry and hurting, and trying to figure out where the emotions are coming from and why.
It feels personal. Every attack on Kate Kelly and to some extent John Dehlin feels personal: like I am the one they are talking about. 

Up until a couple weeks ago, I had followed Ordain Women, but didn't really care to add much to the conversation. Be compassionate. Understand what they are saying and don't jump to your conclusions about what they want or who they are. I didn't feel the need to share my own feelings or even have my own feelings. 

Today, I am so angry and upset, I hurt. I feel sad for Kate. She will probably be excommunicated tonight. The process seems unfair for a woman who loves the church and wants to be a part of it as much as she does. I feel like I must mention her, even though my pain really has nothing to do with Kate any more. 
Like I said. It's personal.

I understand that not every Mormon woman is oppressed and voiceless. There are many women who are very happy with the way things are. AND the current system is definitely a breeding place for a voiceless and oppressed woman to get her start. It's where I learned to be voiceless. It's where and how I learned that it was okay to abuse and use me, and there was nothing I could do about it. And I can't help wondering how different my life would have been if the system was different. 

If women had the priesthood and were taught they were equal in authority... The night with Johnny, the Elder's Quorum president, would have gone differently. I did nothing that night, because I believed I had no right. 

If women had the priesthood and were taught they were equal in authority, my marriage to Larry would have been so different. 

Recently, on a Facebook page someone posted a picture of black men in the fifties and compared Ordain Women to civil rights. There was some backlash saying, "They aren't even close to the same thing. A few women wish they could bless their child compared to men and women that were beaten and raped."

Maybe for some, it is just a desire to bless a child, but the inequality runs much, much deeper than that. For me. If I had had the priesthood and been told I was equal to my husband, rather than being reminded of my temple covenants to obey my husband... I can't even finish the thought. If there had been women leaders. If there had been more than the bishops that gave me fucked up advice. If I had had a voice and authority. If I hadn't believed all of the stupid shit about men and women and their roles. 
The story of inequality for ME included being beaten and raped. It included being voiceless, powerless, and feeling "less than". The inequality nearly killed me. 

I don't know for sure how different it would have been, but I know it would have been different. I have had to completely deconstruct my entire belief system, and that changed me. I am different. (I'm still deconstructing old beliefs and changing myself, but I can imagine how different it could have been.) If I had been taught and believed women had just as much authority and right to their own authority, I would have protected myself. 

So, everyone that talks about why Kate Kelly should shut up.... It feels personal. It feels like they want ME to shut up and take whatever the men in my life had to offer. All in the name of God.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I really appreciate that he asks

BJ and I have lived in the same house for a while. We are "in a relationship". (It's official. It's on Facebook.) In my mind, being in a relationship was difficult to get to for many reasons, but one BIG reason was the loss of myself.

Basically, deep down I hold the belief that I have no right to my body, my wants, my desires, my possessions, because I have to give them up and sacrifice for my significant other.

Of course BJ doesn't want that for me, and since he generally holds the same belief for himself (HE has to sacrifice everything in order to make his significant other happy, or else he isn't a good man.) We're pretty funny together.

Today, we were both at work. I had driven my car. He had to go home to meet the farrier. (Horses are getting new shoes... as we speak!) I decided to stay at work and get some things done. I assumed he'd take my car, but as he was leaving, he asked if it was okay.

I felt confused... OF COURSE it is okay. How else was he going to get home?

But the truth is, I'm really glad he asks. I'm really glad he doesn't assume he has a right to my stuff. I can't picture myself ever saying no to him. (He says I should test this out sometime, but I can't see it happening any time soon. Not even as a test to see how he handles me telling him he can't use something of mine, but... anyway...)

Even if I still don't believe I have a right to tell him "no", I appreciate that he acts as if it might be an option.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Far Between: Me!

I can't remember when exactly I did the interview with Kendall at Far Between. More than a year ago... It felt cathartic to tell my story, and to see how people responded in the moment to my heartbreaks and sadness and to the hope and peace I'd found.

Today, they have the edited interview up to view.
Here it is:

You can also visit their page here: