Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Am a Really Sensitive Rescuer of Cats

This is me. This is me yesterday, rescuing a cat. This little guy has a unique history – he was saved from a house fire – all his brothers and sisters and mama didn’t make it. He was hurt and needed to be saved, and he was strong and brave and resilient and feisty, and I knew I needed to be the one to do it -save him, I mean. Maybe it’s because cats once saved my life; so it was time I return the favor. I’m not sure.

His name is Totem. Get it? My little Totem.

Tonight, Husband and I were on our nightly bike ride with the mini-man. I screeched to a halt when I noticed a white and gray tabby without any tags. It immediately came right to me, which makes me think that it has owners – it didn’t seem frightened of me at all. But it was quite thin, and dirty, and he wasn’t neutered – I checked, he definitely had some big giant balls. So…most responsible owners spay and neuter their animals if they're not going to breed them, you know? So now I’m on the fence of if he’s a stray or just has irresponsible parents.

So Brandon saw me, petting the cat, and he wearily said, “You’re only allowed to save one cat a week.” I promise I will bring no more home, Sweetie.

I think I may go around the neighborhood and see if he has any owners, if not; I think I’ll take him to an animal adoption agency. He deserves to be saved, just like Totem. Just like any animal, really. Man, stuff like this just really tugs at my heart strings. And, it doesn't just make me sad to see a homeless, hurt animal - it devastates me. I'm so sensitive. And sometimes it's great, but most of the time it feels like a burden, because I feel so deeply and so intensely, and sometimes it feels like it's too much to bear. Does anyone else understand what I'm feeling - whether it's regarding animals or not?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Am I a New Ager?

I’m really getting into animal totems. I think I might be starting to turn into a new age freak – you know, yoga, (which I’ve started 3x a week on my T’s urging and LOVE) animal totems, the likes. I still haven’t gone vegetarian/vegan though, which is good – my D would freak out. I think a lot about going veg though, because I get sad when I think about eating animals. I’m turning into one of those animal rights’ activists I used to not get.

Tiptoe gave me that quote about the duck totem, and then my T randomly brought it up yesterday when I saw her, (she’s very into animal totems herself) and I had read her The Ducks Made it, and we both kind of thought that the duck totem might be a big one for me – it is, as are cats. It’s actually incredibly creepy (in a good way) when I look back on my life and think about how much ducks just always seem to run into me. Once there was one that kept jumping in my window well and would wake me up at night, and there are ducks that love to waddle around our front yard, of course, and if you read The Ducks Made it, you know that I’ve had several other experiences with them, too. I even remember when I was in IP for the first time in 2002, our art therapist did animal totems with us, and she had animal cards upside down and we just randomly picked one, and I freaking picked a duck! At the time, I was like, LAAA-AAME – I want a lion or a tiger or bear, oh my – but I now don’t find it coincidental at all that I somehow picked it. And cats - don't even get me started on cats -- I went and bought Animal Speak, and I’m fascinated, just fascinated. If I start talking about astral planes and wear a plethora of beads, though, feel free to bring me back. Thanks.

Is anyone else into animal totems? I’d love your thoughts or to know what animals you feel connected with. Am I sounding weird? Like, the Brie you’re totally not used to? I know. I’m feeling weird…I think I might be turning into a shaman or something.

I should go before I start painting my face and wearing feathers in my hair and doing tribal incantations around a bonfire.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Don’ts of ED Professionals

So, I’ve seen a lot of therapists in my day. And dieticians. And, some (well, most) have been great. But well, a few were a little sketch (or, at least, made some pretty awful mistakes). I was thinking today that I should blog about a list of things not to do if you’re a professional (either in therapy or nutrition or simply the care tech flushing their feces) working with an Ed patient:

1.) I had a therapist who was not approachable – not even a little bit. And don’t you, as a therapist, say, find being approachable kind of an asset? I’d ask her a question and she’d look irritated with me. If (this is while I was IP) I needed to speak with her for a few minutes, not a full session or anything, she’d give this big dramatic sigh and then speak as little as possible to me – like, speaking over 50 words would be punishable by pain of death or whatever. Plus she wore bitch boots, and they scared me. A lot. Oh, and once she told me I had never accomplished anything in my life. I was like, Thanks a lot, ya giant a-hole.

2.) Don’t mess around with “weight issues” if you are not the patient’s dietician – maybe, maybe you can as her therapist, but you need to be very careful, because remember, you weren’t trained to deal with their weight, you acquired all those fancy letters after your name to piddle around in their brain. And if you’re anything else lower on the food chain? DON’T DO IT! While I was IP, I had a care-tech who had never met me, even though I’d been in treatment for nearly a month – she’d been gone on vacation, or something. So she saw me, and more or less asked me if I was bulimic or anorexic. Guys, you just don’t. do. that. I was pissed. And constipated. So she read a book and sat outside my bathroom while I tried to go #2. And I was so indignant that this woman would have the privilege of flushing my fecal matter.

3.) We’re taught, as ED patients, to try try try to not compare ourselves to others’, right? But we all know this is ridiculous, and that we more or less compare ourselves to anything that is female and breathes. But we’re always told, it doesn’t matter what others look like, comparing is bad, blah blah, and take care of yourself and don’t worry about others, blah, and she might be skinnier than you but she’s probably more unhappy, too, blah diddy blah. Well, my dietician decided it would be the World’s Cruelest Joke to take me to Chuckarama for lunch one afternoon. Buffets are sketchy to begin with, and me no likey. And, this specific dietician was tall, like me. And she was pretty. And she was freakishly thin. So naturally, I couldn’t stop comparing myself to her – I was much bigger than her. I made a comment to that effect as we were walking in, and you know what she said? She said this: “You’re totally the same size as me; you’re just as skinny as me.” To which I replied with a malicious/stunned expression and said flatly, “No. I’m not. You’re way smaller than me.” And then you know what she said? She laughed and said, “Yeah, you’re right, I am skinnier.” And then she tried to go in and get me to gorge myself on an all-you-can-eat buffet. I don’t think so. So as an ED professional, don’t be the freaking person to instigate comparisons. So not cool, sis.

4.) Do not give us ultimatums. Do not say you will no longer see a patient if she doesn’t gain XX amount of pounds in XX days or else they’ll be fired and thrown out of treatment. This doesn’t work, only makes us feel expendable and worthless because we more than likely cannot do what you are asking us. And it hurts like hell. I mean, if I could gain weight quickly and efficiently on my own, would I even freaking need to see you? No. So stop being bratty about it. (That’s what I wanted to say…) Needless to say, moved on to another D, and like her much more.

Okay, really, there are a lot more of these. But I’m starting to feel all tight and bitter inside, so I should stop. Plus, more of my unresolved anger issues toward the mental health industry are starting to blossom right about now, and with how DEE-PRESSED I’ve been lately, I think it best if I keep uncomf feelings to a minimum, you know?

I’m sorry I haven’t been properly commenting on some of your blogs. Please don’t be upset, honestly, I have a lot of catching up to do – I’ve been so down, I haven’t been able to do much of anything. But I have missed you, and I’m sure I’ll be back to my otherwise blogerrific self in no time. Brie out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Ducks are Always Okay When Bran's Around

My amazing superhero of a hubby saved a whole bunch more ducklings that got themselves caught in another drain/sewer this morning. He called me while I was working, and the first thing he said was, the ducks made it, Brie.

This time a coworker of his was around to take some pics, and I thought I'd post them here, since I lacked (so, so unfortunately) any pictures last time when I posted The Ducks Made it. Enjoy!

And this is a quote Tiptoe sent me, which I thought was interesting - it's regarding the previous ducky post:

"The duck is probably the most common waterfowl. Because of its connection to water, it is linked to the feminine energies, the astral plane, and to the emotional state of humans. Water is necessary for all life on earth. Nothing can live without it. Ducks can remind us to drink the waters of life as well as to nurture our own emotional natures...All ducks have a grace upon water, and as a totem they can help you to handle your own emotions with greater grace and comfort. They serve to teach you how to maneuver through various waters of life..."
Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews

Help Super Brandon!

Ducks are cool!

Husband, Baby Duck, and Brother-in-Law.

A Fairy Tale

One upon a time there was a princess.
And she was really neat.
She had wild dark hair, and was strong and wiry and resilient.
She loved to wrestle with the boys, and play soccer and basketball and baseball with them too.
Then, change her mind
just like that
and put on her dress-ups, her lavish gowns,
and make-believe
and brush her hair feathery soft,
and strut around in her mother’s high-heels.
Everybody loved her
even more important
she loved herself, too.
And then she grew up a little
then a lot
And she didn’t want to play sports with the boys, because they were
always always
better than her,
dress-ups were for babies.
But. But but but.
She was still beautiful
and strong
and resilient
only she no longer saw it, no longer felt it in her bones
and her being.
And then life got stormy.
It got hard.
And she forgot that she was good.
She felt lost
she didn’t feel like a princess
She lost herself.
She lost herself until she was nothing more than
bones and
children’s’ sized clothing
Her hair was no longer wild and dark,
it was
dull and brittle.
She was so tired
so lifeless – a dull achiness in her bones and hollows
that made her feel old and weak.
The princess wasn’t so regal anymore.
And then one day
she wanted to change
to reclaim her spirit,
her nobility,
her being.
It isn’t easy
and it hurts
but she gathers her strength and
Squares her shoulders and
looks herself in the mirror
In the eyes – in the soul.
with a simple phrase:
I am good.”

There is no happily ever after to this tale
life isn't always happily
and there's no
ever after
it's all about
here and now
what you
make of it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ducks Made it

I was in a bad mood. I can't even remember why.
Brandon and I were at the intersection of 900 east and 6600 south, heading somewhere, I can't remember - it doesn't matter now.
The intersection is a big one. It's a four-lane road, and the speed limit is 45 mph, so naturally, most go around 55.
We were the first in the left-hand lane, waiting for the light to turn green.
And then I saw them.
A mama duck, with six little ducklings.
They were trying to cross the massive intersection.
The babies followed their mother unceasingly, that silly imprinting on their brains when they were born told them that no matter what, they will follow their mama wherever she goes - even if that be to death.
And they walked right into the middle of oncoming traffic.
I watched for a moment, horrified for these defenseless animals who had no idea of the insurmountable task ahead of them: crossing four lanes on a highway at rush hour.
I screamed, covered my eyes. I wanted to cry.
My husband watched, horror-struck, giving me a play-by-play of the situation, as if I was listening to a sporting event on the radio.
--Ooh! A car swerved! They're still okay-
--They're past the first lane, still crossing-
--Woah! No way! The car managed to stop-

--They're still okay, Breezy-
My eyes were tightly shut. I was horrified for these innocent duckies.
And then something happened.
People started to stop. People who were probably in a rush to get to the grocery store, or to get to their kids soccer game, or maybe to the dentist, these people stopped.
These were people who would otherwise not let you in their lane if you put on your blinker; or perhaps they would begrudgingly let you in, then give you a dirty look as they passed.
But we all...stopped.
Just stopped. And watched.
We all stopped to help something that needed help.
And we all cheered those ducks on.
As they all made it safely to the other side of the street to a ditch that was on the side of the road, we all clapped and whooped for joy.
YEEEEEAH! I screamed. YOU MADE IT! I was no longer in a bad mood.
It was unbelievable. A miracle, that not one of those ducks had been harmed on the massive, busy highway.

Fast forward six(ish) months.

I am in inpatient treatment for anorexia for the second time.
I am in the depths of despair.
The world around me is black, and there is a heavy fog that surrounds me, suffocates me.
I want to die.
I am sitting numbly on the couch, and a nurse walks up to me.
In her hand is a yellow post-it note.
She hands it to me, and says, Your husband called, and he wanted me to write down this message for you.
I look down, and hastily scrawled in blue ink are four words:
the ducks made it
I look up at her, my eyes fill with tears.
She says, He said you'd know what he meant.

Those ducks made it despite every odd stacked up against them. They lived, and people stopped to help them. They made it.
And if they could, despite every thing against them,
I could, too.
For the rest of my four month stay in treatment, I kept that post-it note with me everyday.

Fast forward three(ish) years.
It is Thursday, June 19th.
Brandon and I are in a nearby neighborhood, taking Cade on a bike ride.
We get to a busy street and prepare to cross the road and make our way back to our home.
We look to our left, and about ten feet from us, are two women.
They're huddled in the gutter, looking down into a storm drain.
They acknowledge us, and say, There are several baby ducks trapped down here.
I look up, and see the mother duck, with two chicks following her, in a frenzy, agitated and worried about her babies.
The woman says, We can't get them out.
Tears burn my eyes behind my sunglasses.
it hurts too much, so I push my bike ahead, cross the road, and coast into our driveway.
My husband is just behind me and says, Should I go back there and try to save the ducks?
I say. No, you can't save them. There's nothing you can do.
I feel helpless and angry that these ducklings are going to die, but it hurts too much to think about.
I walk into our house, and flip on the TV.
Twenty minutes pass by, and I think, Where is Brandon?
I call his phone. No answer.
I call his parent's house. No answer.
I'm a little worried now. But mostly angry.
I pick up Cade, and walk outside with him. Brandon's car is in the driveway, as is mine.
BRANDON! I yell. Bwann-on! Cade yells.
I can't find him. And I get angrier.
Why would he just leave, I fume? He knows I need him right now. He knows I'm depressed and hurting and shouldn't be alone.
Ten, maybe twenty more minutes pass.
And then Brandon walks in the house, goes straight to the sink.
I need to wash my hands, he says.
I regard him cooly. I am angry with him.
He says, casually, I saved the baby ducks.
What? I say this unbelievably.
Yeah, he says. The women weren't strong enough to lift up the sewer grate, but I moved it. And it took awhile, but I was able to get all seven chicks and take them back to their mother.
Those other women had been out there for a couple hours. They'd even called the fire department and animal control and no one ever came. But I saved them, Brie, I saved them.
He seems to be saying, I can help save you, too, if you'll let me. And then: I knew it would make you happy to know

the ducks made it.

I thought to myself later that night, You gave up on those ducks. Those silly, stupid, resilient creatures. How could you give up on them?
And then
How could you give up on yourself?

Yesterday it was Saturday. My mom came to my house in the morning, intent on getting me out of my bed and my dark, all-encompassing depression.
I open the door to her knock.
You've got to come out here and see this, she says excitedly.
I wearily pick up Cade and walk out to the backyard with her.
And there, floating in the midst of the fountain being built in the backyard, is
the mama duckie, with all nine of her babies, safe and sound.
The ducks made it, I thought.
I smile for what seems the first time in a long while.
And I knew she had shown up to tell me that she and her babies had made it,
I could, too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's My (pity) Party, & I'll Cry if I Want to...

Feeling sorry for yourself is fun, but only for a little while. Like, when you’re up in the middle of the night because you can’t quite stop indulging in your pity party, and you’ve already watched a million Degrassi re-runs, So You Think You Can Dance, and Law & Order SVU (which will, of course, give you nightmares) on your TiVo, and you’re sooo-ooooo tired, but in an effort make yourself even more miserable than you already were, if possible, you decide not to take your anti-depressant/anxiety/psychotic/stupid/suck-tastic meds, and your sleeping pill, so, it’s like 4:00 in the morning, and you're freaking tired,
but you made your bed, dammit, and now you’ll have to lie in it (is that the saying?) and be perfectly miserable the whole time, because
And even your kitty lovers like hate you, the whole world hates you it seems, and Hairy is just out of arms reach, and is being a giant fluffalicious SNOT, and she won't sleep with you because even she wouldn't lie in the miserable bed or whatever you had just made.
Anyway. I think it was right around then I stopped having fun. Do I sound crazy? I think I’m going crazy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Feeding Tube & Weight Gain Woes

I'm getting tired, overwhelmed, impatient, et al. When I initially had the feeding tube placed, my treatment team told me I'd have it in for only a month. Just a month, they say, and I think, hey, I can totally do that. No big deal. Well, the month mark came around, and they hypothesized that in just a few weeks I'd be done. Not the case. And now it's been two months, and there is no forseeable end in sight. I know that I can't blame my treatment team, and I don't. Begrudgingly, I don't.

So. Who do I blame? Initially, I was a rockstar with the whole tubage situation. I braved my humiliation at having it on my face, on display where friends and family and strangers alike could all point and whisper and see it. But now I'm getting tired. Worn down. I'm so relieved I don't have to wear it around all the time during the day, but I hate hate hate putting it in every night. I look down at my body and see hip bones that hardly show anymore, jiggly thighs, an extra roll or two on my tummy, flabby why must I keep this awful nightly ritual up? Do I blame my damn metabolism, that's much too fast for a recovering anorectic? Do I blame my mind? Did I somehow intuitively wish the weight gain away? Why is it taking so long? What is wrong with me?

Because my hormones have come out of hibernation, I look like an acned, awkward adolescent. I've developed an allergy to the tegaderm tape, so now I have a lovely rash to go along with the pimplage that dots my face. So now not only am I gaining poundage, I'm re-entering puberty. AGAIN. And me no likey.

And this world is so big. And I'm so big. And I'm not sure how to fit in it, or where I belong. Being small was so much more simpler. I liked being small and in control in this crazy, hectic world.

A new me that's bigger, but the same big world. I don't get it. How do I survive now? I feel so lost. And it totally sucks.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

From Behind Bars, Part XIV, on Family Therapy

Well, the polls are closed, and apparently the majority wants to hear about family therapy, and I'm surprised, but I can't quite put my finger on why. I suppose I was just a little agog that people don't want to hear about all the fart-tacular stories that are inspired from a yoga class full of girls drinking a ridiculous amount of Boost. But I’m sure at some point on another I’ll get around to chronicling every choice on that poll, for they all merit posts of their own.

So. Family therapy. I’m going to broaden the spectrum here, just a bit, and focus not just on family therapy, but something at CFC called Family Week. Family Week was a special form of torture that came once a month – I believe every third week of the month, if I remember correctly. It was a time when parents from all over the US (or other countries, as well) flew in to be with their daughters and learn how to eating disorder-proof their home, how to openly communicate with each other, and to of course have individual family sessions where they were told as nicely as possible that their daughters disease was entirely their fault. Just kidding.

The end of the week culminated in a spectacularly humiliating activity called the Ropes Course. And, well, there’s nothing quite like watching your aging parents be secured in a harness and get thrown out of a catapult and try to do as many flips in the air as possible. Seeing my dad in a harness and a helmet two sizes too small was bad enough. But the flips? The awkwardness? It was too much, I tell you.

There were many activities an eating disordered patient would do with her parents. Groups vacillated from art therapy, to open group, nutrition class, to even yoga. Some prisoners were thrilled their parents were coming to visit, looked thoroughly forward to the time when they could be with their parents and even siblings. You could always pinpoint the ones more than a little overwhelmed at having the parental units visiting by the hysterical screaming fights that could be heard in a nearby room. It was sad. Scintillating, but sad.

Family Week, honestly, wasn’t something I was completely looking forward to. My familia only lived forty minutes away, so it’s not like I was exactly hankering to see them – they lived near enough that I saw them on the weekends when I was allowed on pass, plus, I felt some sort of indefinable doom at them coming. I felt like the world was going to end, or something.

One of the first groups of the week was art therapy. I still remembered sitting on the hard plastic chairs with my parents, watching all the other parents shift nervously in their seats, wondering if they were really, in fact, going to have to express themselves with paint like the brochure promised. The fear was palpable, I could smell it. Parents’ eyes roved the room, almost maniacally, looking for the nearest exit. My parents’ unease mirrored that of the other unfortunate souls who had a daughter with an eating disorder.

But not us. The prisoners, I mean. I had gotten over my fear of art therapy long ago. I didn’t necessarily love it, (the tribal incantation music still made me feel like I was participating in some sort of ritualistic sacrifice) but I was used to the idea of painting my fear and joy and passions on paper. Or whatever.

But my dad. Oh, my dad. I mean, my dad grew up on a farm, guys. A farm. He got up at 4:00 every morning and milked cows and fed the horses and stuff. He had to walk a four mile roundtrip to school everyday in the snow. Uphill. Both ways. He like grew up in the depression or something.

My dad didn’t have time to be depressed growing up. He only had time for cow milkage and homework and slaughtering pigs or whatever for dinner. The idea of art (especially art therapy) was as foreign and inconceivable as pigs flying.

So there’s my pop. Sitting there, blinking rapidly, wondering how he’s supposed to depict his daughter pre-eating disordered with a lump of clay. I think he ended up making me look like a saggy, mousy snowman with no limbs. Or eyes. Or mouth. Or face at all, really. But you know, I appreciated the effort. I think he would’ve preferred to use the clay to make, like, some sort of farm tool out of it. Mom’s was little better, if I remember, but I don’t think she looked so pained doing it. I think she thought after she made a clay-me I would recover. Suck, I missed the memo.

Individual family therapy succcccccked. Seriously. I have as of yet to find anyone who enjoys being confined in a small space with one’s parents for an hour, sometimes more. If I recall, I was desperately looking toward the door, or maybe at the fire alarm, hoping it would go off. My mom couldn’t stop crying. My dad kept demanding my therapist to tell him just when exactly was Brie going to recover? She’s been here two months and she’s not getting any better! I made a mental note to get on the whole recovery thing, then promptly dissociated. For real.

Family also had a session with dieticians that the patients were not allowed to attend. It was on intuitive eating, and more or less consisted of a dietician trying to convince parents that, in fact, intuitive eating wasn’t some ridiculous myth, but actually a real thing. My dad couldn’t grasp the concept that you could eat whatever you want whenever you want. You mean, I don’t have to finish everything on my plate, he asks? Again, the farm boy side of him was coming out. He was raised to believe that you didn’t waste the chicken you slaughtered that afternoon. You ate it – and every bite. Wasting food was not a luxury my dad and his family could afford back in the day. So naturally, it was a tough thing to ingest (no pun intended). Listen to your hunger and fullness? Diet no more? No reduced fat foods? Allow your own body to find its natural set point? What--??

But really, family week was really beneficial. It allowed my parents and family to voice all their questions and concerns concerning me and my eating disorder. We came, we conquered, we bonded. It was fantastic.

On Saturday afternoon, the last activity of the week was the Ropes Course, like I already mentioned. It was conducted outside, in a sort of boot camp-esque setting, and guides take us through all the activities that are intended to allow us to break free of our fears and embrace our fat body and life, etc. I’ll still never forget my mom, who definitely wasn’t getting any younger, struggle to climb a gargantuan tree that was two stories off the ground. Seeing your parents in a harness is kind of like watching a dog walk on his hind legs. It’s unnatural and uncomfortable. But you know what? They did it for me. Because they loved me, and this was their way of showing me that they wanted to be a part of my life and my recovery.

And I think that’s pretty damn cool.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Freak Feet

Feet are weird. Seriously, if you stare at them long enough, they start to look like some sort of alien apparatus attached to your otherwise quite humane-looking body.

And I hate my feet – well, my toenails specifically. They are uuu-gly. Most people have cute, narrow-looking toenails, but mine are all wide and squatty. And wide and squatty? Who wants that? Never mind I have an eating disorder, and therefore crave cute and narrow toes (or anything, really) – but anyone would, right? My feet look like they were spawned from Fred Flinstone. YABBA YABBA DOOOO!

Check out the animated gif below. My toes are the ones painted bronze, if the wide and squatty toenails don’t otherwise give it away. The other nasty looking feet belong to those of my niece. Stare at this video long enough, and you won’t be certain what you’re looking at. Feet? Or extra terrestrial biological entities? You tell me.
Seriously. Creepy.

Anagram of the day:
My nasty feet have yes, ten fat toes on them!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You Enjoy Reading About My Crazy ED Treatment Stories! I Loves it!

The results of my poll are in. Of the 50 or so who voted, an overwhelming 91% replied with a HELLZ YEAH, I want another satirical recap of your experiences of inpatient eating disorder treatment. 10% are quite certain I need to work through my anger toward the mental health industry, which I completely concur with. NOBODY said that my hilarity offended them, which actually surprised me. I suppose the nay-sayers of my previous Behind Bars posts either didn’t care to vote, or, more likely, stopped reading my blog. Whatever. And lastly, there were 6% of you who didn’t give a rat’s ass. And that’s cool too.

So there you have it. Another From Behind Bars entry will be coming soon. And that brings me next to the new poll. What would you like me to write it on? Please vote, and if you have a preference that isn’t there, please leave me your ideas and suggestions in a comment, I’d love to know what you all think. And for those of you who have perhaps never read this series, you’ll enjoy it, I hope – whether you have/had an eating disorder or not. Writing this series in a satirical, sarcastic way was actually incredibly healing. I find a sense of humor a necessity in recovery, and this honestly was incredibly therapeutic and positive toward my recovery – mostly because it made me realize how much I never want to go to treatment again. Hey, whatever motivates you, right?

Anagram of the day night:
While writing my from behind bars series, recaps of rehab brims fond memories.

Also: to read this series, click the label below.

Vacation is So Much Better Without an Eating Disorder

What a wonderful weekend Hubby and I had! My entire family hasn't gotten together for a vacation in a very long time. It was very short - only two days, but so much fun. And can I just say it was fabulous to be able to have fun with my family and have energy and interest because anorexia wasn't constantly on my brain? It's been a veeerrrrry long time since I've been able to go away for a trip and actually enjoy it. Usually I'm nervous and unsettled on vacations because I'm out of my routine and am worried about food and stupid, meaningless calories and numbers - but now I could actually enjoy the company of my family and the beauty of what we saw. It was so refreshing. Ana, BE GONE!

To the left, Bran and I are just beginning our vacation and are very excited to be on the road.

Above: My niece, L, and my mom and other assorted family members climbing up the steep hill to see the dinosaur footprint. Left: and here it is! The kids were more than a little underwhelmed, but I thought it was sweet!

To the left: Me and my yella fella. Shutup. We didn't plan to match. It sort of...just happened.
Left: Very cool petroglyph that is over 2000 (that's a helluva lot!) years old.

Bran doing some free-climbing. I'm hoping to get my strength back soon to join him. We used to be avid climbers.

Below: in the cool cave, and the other shot is me standing in the cave taking a pic of my dad on the right side of the pic, way in the distance. He opted not to climb to it - it was steep and nearly killed me!

More sweet petroglyphs and pictographs.

Top left: my niece and nephew and mom crossing the swinging bridge. We were trying to find a decent place to stop for lunch. More poses with me and the yella fella, here were a bunch of nasty bones we found.

This was taken after midnight. A few of the fam had come to mine and hubby's hotel room to play cards. Clockwise, starting with me in the bottom left hand corner: me, (duh) my niece Missa, sis-in-law Angela, twin bro Brett, and niece Ali. I'm letting out my bad-ass gangsta, and it felt so good.

Missa and I pausing for a water break on the way to Delicate Arch. I haven't hiked this in well over 10, maybe even 15 years, and it was amazing to use my body and have strength to do this. I know I already glossed over this, but honestly, it was amazing to actually appreciate my body. I don't think I could have done this had I not been tubaged and gaining weight. It's only a 3 mile hike, but it's a toughie. It was nearly uphill in rough terrain, and it was over 90 degrees out. It was well worth the hike, though, because Delicate Arch, (in Arches National Park) is amazing. It really is.

And here we are at the arch. Finally! This is the arch that's actually on Utah license plates, so it's pretty famous and all.

The red rock is so beautiful, and contrasted with the blue sky. It's crazy to think this is only 3 hours south of where I might as well be across the world - the landscape is so different.

So yeah. Great trip, and I'm pretty sure no one even fought - it was amazing, if a little boring. Good fights always give ya something to talk about, ya know? ;)
Thanks M and D for planning this awesome vacay, and happy fathers' day to all of you males who have spawned.

Anagram of the day:
no ED vacation = a caved notion (and finally, it's about time!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

See Ya on the Seesaw, Cindy

I’m going out of town for the weekend. It’s a family reunion of sorts. Well, if you call a bunch of my sibs and their spouses and kids gathering around in a motel and probably getting in no less than a few cat fights after hiking and four-wheeling a reunion, then yeah. A dysfunctional reunion, it is. My bet’s on my sister M going head to head with my other sissy B. And I wage that if it gets physical, B will win. But if only words are thrown around, then, well…M's a shoo-in for sure.

I won’t be around to post or read or comment on anyone else’s blogs, but will be back Sunday and will do my best to catch up in the next few days. I have a week off of work, a sweet sweet God-given break, so I’ll try to remember all you little people as I party it up in suburban SLC. Woot!

Anagram of the day:
I hope this family reunion isn't as lame as a mini funeral, yo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On Agonizing Heat, and How it Can Exponentially Increase Road Rage

The AC in my car had a stroke and died a slow and painful death.
Er, I think.
Husband tried to explain that it didn’t pass away, the fan did, but I don’t get it, because that sort of means that the AC’s given up the ghost, because no blessed cold air caresses my skin as I drive, and that’s all I care about. I mean, 2+2=4, right?
(Libby, you may have to help me with the math… ;)

So. Yesterday I had to drive 25 minutes into SLC to see H, my dietician. And I was sweltering. The windows were down, and since I was on the freeway, I couldn’t even hear my own overheated moans due to the semi’s roaring next to me not only scaring the squeakers outta me, but also slightly deafening me. It was like Satan’s own sauna.

To make matters worse, after I finished up with H, I had to leave SLC and head south 45 minutes to see my T. By then, it was well into high afternoon, and the car went from Satan’s sauna to my own personal I want to Vomitorium. Seriously. Even Evil Himself would have had sweaty balls sitting in the scorching metal that is my car.

So naturally, this gives me road rage. And Breezy on road rage is a scary, scary thing. I start calling everybody whores and sluts and (my favorite) jack-holes. I go from a nice LDS girl to a gangsta from the ghetto.

You wanna mess with me, you stupid bleep? Uhhhh-uh. No you di-int. I’m muttering all sorts of these in the ‘hood phrases to myself, getting angrier by the second, too scared to actually say it to anybody aloud because they could very well beat my bony ass to the ground, should they choose. Seriously. Even a senior citizen on the road could knock me flat in less than ten seconds.
Weight gain, guys, I’m getting to it.

But don’t even get me started on the driving of senior citizens.

So, finally I arrive at my T’s office, muttering something like they’re sluts, all of them, put on some deodorant, wipe my sweaty brow, gather up the cheese variety pack my mom bought me from Costco, and stalk into the waiting room. Shutup about the cheese. The irony of an anorectic bringing six pounds of cheese into therapy is not lost on me. But I didn’t want it to stay in the car for the hour and get foul and smelly in the sauna with the sweat off Satan’s balls on it. You understand.

And then I drove home. And the maddening cycle began. Again.

Husband. I need an AC. I’m not even messin’. Don’t make me go black ruffian/gangsta on you.

Anagram of the day:
sweaty balls = beastly awls

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Peel Me Like An Orange

I acquired quite the sunburn the weekend I went on my I have to get out of the house right now for a break or I’ll kill myself getaway. For some, putting on globs and globs of aloe helps them to not peel. But my skin pretty much told me straight up that since I killed it, I was going to have to deal with the peelage.

Okay, I have a creepy confession: I reallllllly like to sunburn, because it means I get to peel. There is something indefinably satisfying about this unfortunate habit. I’m sure some of you other readers have it – I believe it’s quite common(ish). But the joy found in peeling off a piece of skin the size of your palm is phenomenal in the eeriest of ways.

Well, ten days later, the peelage has begun. Everywhere. My neck, my chest, my shoulders and armpits, arms, legs, you name it. All this glorious skin just waiting to be peeled at my earliest convenience. And well, my earliest convenience couldn’t wait until I got in the privacy of my own home.
No. Oh, no.

It had to be right then, at my desk at work. Never mind the people passing through in the hallway. Never mind that what I was doing was really tacky. And gross. And something people no doubt would be discussing over the water cooler. Never mind I could not get a thing done at work for the rest of the day because the peeling of one’s skin is more addictive than crack cocaine and weed (and eating disorders, I daresay). None of it mattered. For I was getting my creepy fix: dead skin.

So, I discreetly pulled my garbage can near me, and began a peelin’. Gleefully I tried to outdo my previous giant piece of handsome skin. And then I couldn’t stop. On my break, I’d peel. Standing in line to get my chicken salad sandwich, I’d pull and tug that skin off. Stopped at a red light, I'd peel, roll down the window, surreptitiously drop it and watch it flutter away in the wind.

And everyone, I know what I’m doing is icky and vulgar. But I can’t help it.

And then, as I watched my skin blow away in the wind while I walked around outside, or blow into oncoming traffic as I merged onto the freeway, I realized my skin – my DNA – is now blowing all over the city. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. It could easily get caught in the cuff of a sleeve or in the handlebar mustache (that was in bad taste, of course) of the next guy in SLC waiting to be murdered, and WHAMMO! I could be brought in for questioning. A burly, no nonsense detective wearing a tired brown suit and scuffed loafers could very well ask me, "Why was your DNA found on the dead victim?"

"I don’t know, detective," I sob, "I have a creepy fetish, but I’m so ashamed to admit it. Please don’t tell anyone, I beg you!"

Or something like that. Shutup. It could happen.

I don’t think I’m going to let my skin go wherever it wants anymore. I think the peeled remains will be placed firmly (but oh so lovingly) in a waste basket in my home. Because the last thing I need right now is an untimely arrest.

But I have to stop now. Peeling myself at work, I mean. Because yesterday afternoon, I was busy not working, scraping away at my skin, hungrily searching for fresh spots ready to be skinned, and in walks my supervisor’s boss’s boss: the CEO.

“Morning, Brie.” He smiles ever so pleasantly.

I am caught with what looks like a long, stiff piece of slightly discolored Vaseline in my hand. What to do with it? Do I a) frantically flick it off my fingernail, mumble an apology, say Morning, sir, turn back to my computer, and let the flush creep up my neck? Or b) do I smile, exchange pleasantries, and pretend the damning piece of evidence that I am a disturbing person with a sinister fetish is not stuck to my finger? I did neither a nor b. I did c, which was worse: I grabbed the skin (that was so completely satisfying to peel, btw) with my right hand, tightened it in a fist, looked up at him, tried to smile, and got out, “Ah.” Clear my throat. “Hmmmm. Heeeeeey.” Thus begins this laugh thing that’s really disguising the fact I want to hysterically cry. Or hysterically vomit.

Lesson learned: keep your filthy and unwanted fetishes to yourself. After all, I’d really like to get my 0.33 cent raise next month.

Anagram of the day:
Creepy fetish: I’s, hefty creep because I gave this disgusting habit the fiercest hype.
And also: Please vote on my poll! I want to know what all of my readers think - whether you regularly comment or can also vote for more than one option, if you just can't decide...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Lame Irks Again*

Thanks to Abby, I’ve become mildly obsessed with anagrams. So, as inspired by her newest entry, I’m going to list a few anagrams I’ve found. And, for those of you unsure of what one is, don’t feel awful about it or anything, I’ll tell you – an anagram is the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once. For example, an anagram for fart would be raft. Not a very, well, polite example, but you get my drift.

So I’ve been having a lot of fun with this word play, and here are a few of my favorite anagrams I’ve come up with, with the help of the ever so handy internet anagram server:

The art of war brought up fart at whore - really, this is pretty cool. You need to admit it.

Blogxygen brought up only one result: lynx go beg. Whateva.

Feeding tube is feed it begun – so, so true…

Supplement (aka Boost) came up with plump tense. *Sigh*…tense is what I am because plump is what I’m becoming…

Since I’ve been feeling dysfunctional lately, I typed that in, and I got sadly function – which, really is just about what I’m doing lately. Really, ask Brandon.

Husband came up with bad shun and had buns, which I love, since he wishes I did!

With some of my argumentative blog readers and commenter’s, I have gotten in garbled roes with them.

My full name, Brienne Breivik, came up with this, which is both mine and Abby’s favorite: inner biker vibe. I’m such a bad ass, you just don’t know it.

Cade Breivik
brought up I beaver dick, which had me giggling like a mad school girl.

I mentioned I’ve been in a bit of a blue period, which came up with pour ed bile, which I thought interesting. Those of you with Ed’s might get it a bit more than the non-ed’ders.

Boredom brought up me brood, and rather than do that, I thought I’d anagram it up. The point is they’re amazing. Especially when you’re insufferably bored.

And finally, happy birthday (to my dear brother Brandon) brought up thy happy rabid. I don't even know...? Just wanted to say hope you have a great day, bro. :)

*I like anagrams

Saturday, June 7, 2008

So Bran Thinks He Can Dance?

This is a 45 second video clip I took last night of Brandon....well, for lack of a better word - dancing. I think he was inspired, because we had just finished watching So You Think You Can Dance on our DVR. Please ignore the incredibly messy house (Cade had just gone to sleep and we had not yet picked up after him) and my lack of makeup, etc, etc. Enjoy! (It's frickin hilarious!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Recipe for a Best Friend

-Have a really awful day
-Call her, upset, but be unclear on the details of the distress so that you don’t bring her down
-Consequently worry her more due to the aforementioned vagueness
-Go to therapy
-Have a really emotional session
-Walk out the door, and see her there
-With a Diet Coke, no less – she came bearing gifts!
-Give her a hug, and ask her, Why are you here?
-To which she replies, simply, I just wanted to be here for you.
-Go get a milkshake together
-Laugh a lot
-Make plans to make the Ranch dressing and crouton milkshake this weekend to force-feed the fat cat to
-Laugh even more
-Part ways
-Leave feeling better than one has in a really, really long time
-Email each other back and forth the next day while each of you are respectively at your desks, working thirty miles away from each other
-Have conversations that include, but are not limited to:
-Playing doctor – she meant it innocently, my mind was in the gutter
-Major cheer uppage must be involved, of course
-The pros and cons of landing strips
-Wild passionate sex on the first date - yay or nay?
-How crazy one’s therapist is
-Debate on whether or not to click on a diet ad online (we refrained)
-How much many things suck loads and loads of giant Bobbi chunks (the large cat)
-Tell each other constantly that we can’t control our laughter while at work
-Say we miss each other when it’s been less than 24 hours since we were graced with each other’s presence
-Say goodbye for the day with a See ya, Hot Tits
-Have her response be equally dirty (but funny)
-Go home and thank God for such a good friend.

Thanks Whit.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Willows

Brandon and I went on a lovely bike ride tonight to The Willows, where there is a beautiful river and several lakes and flowers and, obviously, Willows. There were also giant demon geese that looked a bit prehistoric. I'm pretty sure they could've surrounded me and gang raped me. Regardless of impending doom and trauma, we managed to snap a few fun pictures, and even a 20 second video.


Daddy teaching Cade important things about rivers and currents and ducks and the birds and the bees.

Daddy/Man Boy love. (That sounds a bit dirtier and I intended it to be...)

Apparently my son is not a fan of demon goose feathers. You can see the greedy little buggers plotting my demise in the background.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blue Period

We all learned in art class in junior high school that Picasso went through what they call the Blue Period, which was a span of a few years when his paintings were all done in monochromatic shades of blue and blue-green, and only occasionally warmed by other colors. We remember this, yes? So, okay. This pic of me is a little of Picasso and Andy Warhol mixed all in one. But I likes. This is very me today (I mean, literally. I just snapped this photo).

Well, I’m pretty sure I’m going through my own little blue time. And, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m incredibly depressed, or that life feels unbearably monochromatic, but it does mean that this is a time of a lot of introspection and soul-searching and Brie finding and identity hunting. Times like these in one’s life aren’t meant to be perfect and bright and full or rainbows and pink and yellow paint, are they? I think a bit of solemnity and respect for what I’m going through is warranted – and not just warranted, but needed.

Like, today, with brute honesty, I just can’t be funny. I want to be, oh how I desperately wish I could throw a few jokes out there and cover up my hurt with a bandaid and call it a day, but today, this day, it’s not enough. In fact, I think if I tried to crack a joke I’d start sobbing.

My mom just sent me a fabulous email that cheered me up a bit, and in it was a beautiful quote by CS Lewis:

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good...only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. You find the strength of the German Army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have always given in. We never find the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it; and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full extent what temptation really means---the only realist.”

I suppose I need to realize that life isn’t meant to be talked about, or watched, but lived – lived. I think I am who I am meant to be…with all my short-comings and trials along the way. I think my imperfections and my relapses and my silly tube jokes have made me who I am...who I am to become, and my Bran Man and my mini man and my dear friends and family perhaps love me because of who my eating disorder and sufferings have shaped me to be. How boring I would be without the character building experiences I have gone through! How monotonous would life be if one never experienced our own Blue Periods…because then how could one celebrate the time of our life when we experienced every color, every texture, every shade of happiness and sadness and joy and heartbreak and everything in between? There is beauty in pain.

So, because my motto is no tale tells all, and because I’m never very good at putting it all out there anyway, I think letting you all know that I’m a bit blue is going to be enough; just to let you know that I can’t be funny and I have to hurt today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On Gossip

Have you ever heard the term, “It’s just some harmless gossip?” Those two words do not belong in the same sentence together. Gossip, harmless? Hardly. Gossip very nearly ruined my life. What people conspiratorially whisper over Diet Coke and Chinese chicken salad to their neighbors and friends is what has turned me into a recluse, a whisper of a person who hides behind designer clothes, expertly applied makeup, and humor. For, if they cannot see me, the real me, maybe they won’t talk about me, talk about the things that hurt and damage.

Isn’t it so very hard to hear a scandalous rumor and have the courage, the decency, the humanity, to say, that’s not right, or I refuse to listen to this, or the person you are talking about is real and tangible and has feelings and a heart just like you and me, so why are you hurting them in this way? Why is it easier to listen, feel the flush on your cheeks as you try to push away the creeping shame that you are participating in such a revolting pastime rather than walk away?

One could argue, oh, I meant no harm by it. It was just a silly joke or a stupid rumor. But the way one feels when their life and their secrets have been revealed, or worse, maybe misconstrued, is not silly or stupid. It’s reality. A painful reality. And it hurts, because the pieces of your life that were intensely personal are now scattered in the wind, broken, irreparable, and can never be found and reclaimed again.

Gossip is never harmless.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Trip

I MISSSSSSSSSED YOU! It's good to be back for a nice deep breath of blogxygen. First, a bit about my lovely trip:

It was fantasmorphic. Is that a word? Now it is. Really, it was amazing. This resort we stayed in was made for the gods. Incredible gardens and fountains were in abundance, several adult only pools, massages, manis, pedis, jacuzzis, tennis, what more can I say? It was so relaxing, really it was just what I needed. Here are a few pics:

Having just arrived in Green Valley, we went to grab a steak - which, I'm sure you all know, I was thrilled about! My twin bro and Angela (the wife) are super cutes.

My Penny and I waiting for our turn to wack the tennis ball around.

My sissy Brooke playing a match of tennis with my twin brother before it got too hot. She gets in these certain moods and thinks she's really cool and wears her leather jacket and stuff. Unfortunately I was not able to capture a kodak moment of her super coolness, but she still looks hot in her tennis gear.

Heeeeee-eeey from the pool!

Am I getting tanner? I don't see any color! Maybe taking a picture and looking at it through the lens will help me see....suck. Didn't see much change till I got inside and saw that I looked like an overgrown, suffering lobster. And I even wore sunblock!

A little while later...ouch. (I promise I'm not showing as much of my boobie as it looks. I have a long torso...?)

My hair never blows gracefully like it does in the movies. We were blasting the music to the fabulo Leona Lewis and feeing groovy, on our way to a movie that I didn't know was supposed to be about aliens Indiana Jones.

Boost love.

Enjoying a game of Scrabble and some tea. I tried the African Redbush and the Tahitian Hazelnut Vanilla, and much preferred the latter. Angela went with plain 'ol hot chocolate, but my mom had fun trying the different teas.

Um, sir? There's a giant killer toad in the pool. Yup. The little sucker was swimming in there as if he owned the place - he seemed quite acclimitated to the chlorine, too - it was weird. The area is so lush and green in an otherwise desert climate that the resort gets lots of animals trying to cozy around in places they shouldn't. There were, like, giant lizards everywhere, too. Did you know they can climb trees? Unbeknowest to me, they certainly can. Weird.

Here's me, getting ready to go to the pool. It was just to my right (your left). I was actually really relieved that I didn't completely want to throw a fit and writhe around on the floor after looking at my new bod in a bathing suit. I totally dealt with it.

So that's it. I had a great time, and was quite proud of myself for being near my goal weight and still being seen in public with a small tight piece of fabric. Seriously, people, I hope you all realize what a big step this is for me. Go bad body image but not doing anything negative about it!

I'm busy catching up on blogs, and if I haven't commented on yours yet, never fear, don't lose heart and self-esteem, I will get to it soon (Ha. As if you all really care about my opinion that much. But that's okay. I'm secure enough or whatever.)

More later. I've got more I'd like to get to, but the man-child is finished with his afternoon nap...