#bu29days: Day 28: Bulimic Bloopers

aka How to spot disordered runners.

aka How to pick-up an ex-bulimic.

aka One thing NOT to ask an ex-bulimic.

 

If I were a TV show producer, I’d make a show of all the funny things that can happen to you because of your ‘disorder’. There’s been a few memorable moments I look back on that make me smile. Some are funnier than others.

Note to my 25-year-old self: When you can find humour, you are healing.


 

How to spot disordered runners.

One evening when I was still living in Manhattan, I had planned to get a quick 5 or 6 mile run in before going out to eat with friends later that night. Sure enough 6pm rolls around and it is pouring buckets, no – sheets, of rain, as a typical hot and humid summer’s thunderstorm will do.

This didn’t stop me. I plowed on. Not the smartest thing to do since the nearby claps of thunder were so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think, and they were shooting out bolts of lightning.

But I had to get my run in.

This was when I wasn’t purging anymore, but still very much dependant on running and exercise for weight management, and the fact that I was going out to eat later that night meant I had to ‘make some room’.

So I’m running through the park, which resembled a ghost town, the usual posse of runners using better judgement and staying indoors this evening, and I come across one of the only other runners in Manhattan crazy enough to be running in this storm.

It’s a gym friend of mine. A girl I would go for 5:30am runs with occasionally; who was more dedicated to getting her runs in than I was.

I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months and as we’re running, both sloshing through puddles and soaked to the bone, in between thunder claps she proceeds to tell me that she just got accepted into an inpatient program for anorexia.

And I proceed to tell her that I am/was bulimic/am recovering.

I had known her for a good 18 months or so at this point. Go figure, it took an act of God to draw us out of our closets, to share our most vulnerable selves with each other, and to form a deeper level of connection.

When your disorder drives you to go for a run in life-threatening situations, you bond.

How to pick-up an ex-bulimic.

The first night my husband and I met, we were at a party and he asked me if I wanted to go outside and have a cigarette with him.

I tell him, ‘I don’t smoke but I’ll come and talk with you while you smoke.’

So we go outside and we’re chatting away, probably for like an hour or so and he goes…

‘So, you don’t have any problems that begin with ‘B’ that I should know about, do you? Because my last girlfriend was bi-polar and the one before that was bulimic.’

Best. Pick-up. Line. Ever.

He’d hit the bullseye!

How did he know!!!!?

Am I wearing a huge ex-bulimic sticker on my forehead? Or did I get one stuck to my foot along with some toilet paper when I walked out of the loo?

Considering this was in the ex-bulimic days, I wasn’t technically lying when I said, ‘Nope, not that I know of.’

Although the sideways glance, head tilt to the concrete, and quick change of topic should’ve given my secret away 🙂

And of course I’m thinking, what kind of guy keeps attracting these B-for-broken women?

But of course, we’re all B-for-broken aren’t we? We all have our mud.

So, anyway, a few dates later it somehow came up again and I told him my deepest darkest. I had been bulimic. Not anymore though, so he doesn’t have to worry if I head for the toilet at some point in the night after we’ve had burgers and fries (sorry chips).

But just for the record, yeah, you caught another B-girl.

One thing NOT to ask an ex-bulimic.

We were out for drinks and my brother-in-law was training for his first marathon. He leans over and goes, ‘Oy Kendra, you’ve run marathons, what was your nutrition like when you were training?’

I literally laughed out loud.

Seriously?

You’re asking me, the ex-bulimic, for training tips?

Me? The girl who had her head over the toilet bowl as part of her training regiment? And whose secret purpose for running them was to lose weight?

My nutrition was non-existent. Nada.

I tell him this and we’re laughing so hard tears start rolling down. Whatever you do bro, DO NOT do what I did. 🙂


A lot of times we try to bury our mud. We’re embarrassed, ashamed of it. We fear what others might think of us if they knew. It feels too vulnerable to come clean.

I share these stories because they make me smile and laugh, and they illustrate the progression of healing that is possible.

Ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to laugh at my brother-in-law’s question. I probably would’ve regurgitated some nutrition info I read in a magazine or heard fellow marathoners talk about.

But today I can laugh about it because the wound has healed. The laughter itself is healing.

When my husband was unknowingly using the most appropriate pick-up line with me, I had healed enough that I could recognize his vulnerability in asking, and eventually be vulnerable in return; as opposed to fearing his rejection or judgement if I said, ‘Yeah, I’m a pro.’

Know that anything is possible. Your story, no matter how muddy, can open up doors. It can lead to connection. More love.

It’s starts with you embracing it. Knowing that you are enough as you are, even with the mud.


Something to think about: What shame do you carry about your story? How can you embrace your story instead? How are you able to find the humour, have a taste of the best medicine out there?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

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#bu29days: Day 18: The weirdest invitation

aka So was that it? After your blue suede shoes and Italian lessons, you were better? No more bulimia?

I’ll cut to the chase:

Sometimes relapse happens.

And that can be a good thing.

I liken it to playing soccer. Sometimes the way to get the ball down the field is to pass it backwards. Counterintuitive, but it works.

For a good 18 months I was being more of me. The shoes, the new wardrobe, the Italian lessons.

It was during this time I went to Positano for the weekend and bought, and wore, a string bikini for the first time, and had the experience of what it was like to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, without worrying about calories, exercising, or what my body looked like.

Especially after that experience, I thought I was pretty good to go. All I had to do was recreate that freedom back in reality.

Then one night, I had a rude awakening.

It was the last night that I spent in my Upper East Side apartment, where I had spent many nights in the bathroom over the past 3 years. I was moving the next day into Stuy Town with a couple of girls who were friends of a friend. My apartment was all packed up, my mom was sleeping on the sofa, and I found myself binging on whatever scraps of food remained in the apartment and then with my head over the toilet bowl.

I didn’t really have time to process because the next day was a full day of moving (fyi driving a UHaul through the streets of Manhattan in an interesting experience) and the day after that I was on a plane to Asia for a  2 week business trip.

Within those 48 hours though, the disciplinarian in me was berating myself for what I had done; ‘Get a grip and sort yourself out!’

And the gentler side of me was also asking: Are you OK? What’s going on?

I ended up taking the episode as a sign that, hey, this isn’t all behind you, there is more to walk through, so what else needs to happen here?

This is when I started praying again. Surrendering to the idea that perhaps I couldn’t do this on my own. The inner strength, determination, and fortitude could only get me so far.

This is when it really did become a spiritual thing.

I started looking for God again.

This, coincidentally or not, corresponded with a really exciting time in my life because within a couple of months, the opportunity to move to the UK came into the picture. For three months, I didn’t know if it would be a sure shot. Once I got the green light, it was another 3 months before I moved.

During those 6 months I got involved in a Celebrate Recovery program as a volunteer. I thought I could help others who were struggling since I felt I had come a long way. Little did I know that through serving others, I would receive healing.

It was here I was introduced to the term ‘co-dependency’ and ‘sex addict’.

What? I knew I had bulimia, but was I also co-dependent? And was I using sex to facilitate the co-dependency?

This was a humbling moment. To open my eyes to some hidden currents that were woven into the bulimia, things that I wasn’t even conscious of. They were just patterns that I had fallen into unknowingly. I hadn’t read about them in psych class and then used them as a solution like I had done with bulimia. No, these threads ran much deeper.

And this is when I would say the real healing actually began.

The irony, I didn’t even know I needed it. 

And I may not have ever known, had I not had that final random purge.

But, I truly believe that our eyes are only opened to things when our Higher Power knows we can handle it, and are ready to listen.

If I knew at the beginning that I’d be facing bulimia, codependency, screwed up sex issues, people-pleasing, and a more recent realization, letting myself be ‘little A’ abused, I’d probably just go vomit, it would’ve felt so overwhelming.

My point in sharing is this: wherever you’re at in life, if you are being given glimmers of opportunities to grow, heal, change, and become more of your True You. Listen to them, in whatever shape or size they come in.

A random and unforeseen purge, a car accident, a relationship break-up, a career or business that feels like it is falling apart, or reading or hearing something that speaks to your core but feels uncomfortable and weird to accept.

You are experiencing this for a reason. It’s an invitation.

An invitation to go down a path that will lead you to love.

Something to think about: Have you noticed any  really weird invitations in your life recently? Have you been able to accept them? Where do you think they will lead you?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are. A place to stop trying, stop hiding, and be free to be you. Join us this February.

We don’t need no resolution

The first 12 hours of 2016 have not gone to plan and I am still at peace.

I will count that as a win.

Here’s why.

The party animals that we are, my husband and I crawled into bed at 12:07am. After having a restless sleep the night before, we were looking forward to welcoming the new year by sinking into a freshly made bed and quickly drifting off into a peaceful slumber. Which made the tossing and turning that continued well past 1:30am a very unwelcome event.

We went to bed motivated for today, welcoming a fresh start. Which looked like getting 5 loads of laundry done, starting some new morning routines, and having a general sense of order and achievement to the day. So when the natural sunlight (ok that’s a stretch, the sun was still buried behind a perpetual layer of clouds so let me rephrase… faint daylight) woke me up, I knew something was off. And sure enough it was 8:50am. Bugger, we overslept.

Next thing I know, my husband is rushing from our bathroom to bedroom to garage, trying to dress his sleepy-eyed self along the way, which made me think… hmmm… something must be up with the fish we keep in our garage. Yup, the tanks overflowed (again) and he spent the next hour and half cleaning up the mess.

I’ve always been just a tad ritualistic when it comes to New Year’s. Things like… change sheets, clean house, shave legs, wax bikini… all make it on to New Year’s Eve checklist in an effort to start the year off on the right foot.

A driving force for pristine-ness. The achievement of ‘make everything as white as snow’ serving as an omen, a safety net, that this year everything will be OK.

Translation for: I will be OK.

Funnily enough, days like today generally don’t fit that bill.

Except that today, I don’t care.

And that my friends, is the win.

To be able to take things in stride.

To say, ‘Eh, It is what it is.’ And mean it.

For life not to have to look a certain way in order for things, and me, to be OK.

I asked myself, ‘What’s different this time?’, and my answer boils down to one word.

Choice.

Last night at 1:30am I had a choice. I could’ve rolled my eyes at my husband as he kept pulling the blanket and waking me up just as I was on the verge of falling asleep and made some cranky-pants remark. (Full disclosure: This was a very real option.)

But in the end I chose something else. To say, hey, let’s try focusing on our breath and quiet our minds.

Let me hold you. Share our warmth and put our bodies at ease.

Connection.

This morning, I could’ve paced around my house in a state of fear, worrying about what was going on in the garage. Are the fish OK? Will he be electrocuted? What if the garage door breaks and he gets stuck in there?

Again, very real thoughts. But instead of being paralyzed, I went about my day.

Breathed through the vulnerability that what happens in our garage is totally out of my control and Let Go.

We all have the choice to do life differently. Making a Resolution…. a decision prior to any action in that direction… rarely cuts it.

As we went to bed last night we shared our personal ‘resolutions’ with each other.

Mine was for my mornings to incorporate stillness, prayer, and meditation. To ground myself before my day really gets going.

I caught myself today as I was about to dive into a task that would’ve served as a really good distraction and vulnerability avoider from the garage-situation.

Just as I was about to open a new document to create a bio-security measures plan for our fish farm, I thought, nope, that’s not how you said you wanted your day to go.

So for all of 2 minutes I sat still, said a prayer, and attempted a meditation.

I chose to put my desire into action. I chose to say Yes, to what I really want.

In my book, those 2 minutes were another win.

And if I choose to do that tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after, soon I’m living my life the way I want to

Batteries are going to die, pumps fail, systems break down. Plans fall through. We can’t fall asleep.

In short, shit happens. 

But you always get to choose what you really want.

You don’t need a resolution.

You just keep choosing you.


PS Want some help making those choices that say yes to you? Let’s Talk.