I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why An Egg

How do you like my new layout? I LoVe it! I feel like this is the time when it most closely resembles my personality. I wanted a picture that looks sort of like a logo and I chose a picture I took of an egg, because I think the egg really resembles Hope is Real! For me, eggs represent hope. When I was consumed with my eating disorder I was afraid of protein. I was so afraid that the last time I was hospitalized, I started smoking to release stress after being told by my nutritionist that I needed to eat more protein. I was truly crazy.

I was afraid of protein, because for no logical reason I had decided that protein=fat and of course, fat=horrible failure. I no longer believe that fatness equals failure and I credit the Fat Acceptance movement largely for this.

After I moved back home, I rededicated my life to recovery. I started to cook and to my surprise, I discovered that I thoroughly enjoy it! In the beginning, I needed the help of my nutritionist to cook balanced meals for my family, but now I rarely need her help. I have learned that balanced meals include protein and usually it is not a big deal to cook it anymore. In fact, I eat eggs all the time! They are my favorite protein-they are quick to cook, are versatile, taste great, and are a wonderful source of energy. So, to me, an egg symbolizes the fact that hope is real and change is possible!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm No Turkey at Cooking Turkey!

When I first started cooking for myself, I did not know how to cook any kind of meat and because I had an eating disorder the only way I would occassionally fix my meat was to saute chicken in a little bit of olive oil. Now my eating disorder is not in the way and now I am not so afraid of meat and so I am finally learning how to cook all kinds of meats. It's fun! A few weeks ago turkey breasts were on sale, so I bought some, even though I had never before cooked turkey. I didn't know if there were some special way to cook turkey, but I did not feel like taking the time to look through dozens of recipes to try to figure out the "right" way to prepare it, so I went with my gut. I figured that cooking turkey breasts is a lot like cooking chicken breasts, so I decided that I really could not go wrong with sauteing them, but unlike my days with ED, I am no longer afraid to use my spice rack! I used liberal amounts of rosemary, sage, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and garlic to try and give it a holiday feeling, as I always associate turkey in my mind with Thanksgiving.
(Disregard the loaf of bread in the background.)
The dish turned out really well, with the cinnamon giving it an extra oomph. Everyone was surprised when I told them that was one of the ingredients! I also roasted carrots and asparagus in the oven in the same olive oil mixture as I used for the turkey and they were fabulous. (The carrots for 40 minutes and the asparagus for 15.) I just love roasted vegetables!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why Queerness is Not a Disability (As If You Thought It Was...)

Last night in the comments section of this post, I became really offended when I thought that someone was insinuating that being queer is a disability. That was not, in fact, what the person was implying, but it got me thinking about the subject in a big way and I decided to write about why being queer is not the same thing as having a disability.

For starters, homosexuality was listed as a mental illness until 1973. Some people still think it should be listed as such, but they would be wrong. Here's why:

In my abnormal psychology class, I learned that a person has a diagnosis of a mental illness - or a physical one - only if the person's symptoms negatively interfere with living with their daily life. So if a person hears voices, but has learned how to successfully cope with them, then that person is not considered mentally ill.

Now, being queer can negatively interfere with a person's daily life-GLBTQI folk often have higher levels of anxiety and depression than the general population, nor can homosexuals legally get married, visit their sick partner in the hospital, or adopt in many places.

I am a queer person who has disabilities and I can unequivocally state that my queerness is not one of them. My sexuality occassionally negatively interferes in my life-mostly during awkward moments when I have to tell a guy that I am not currently interested in a heterosexual relationship or when I have to steer the conversation away from romantic interests when talking with people in which I am not yet comfortable with knowing about my sexual identity. So far, I have not had too much trouble, but that is mainly because I have not really had any romantic relationships with the same sex (yet!).

BUT all the ways that I have been negatively impacted by my sexuality is because of negative stereotypes and sanctions in society and not because of the sexuality, itself. Of course, in our health and youth obsessed culture, there is stigma attached to every disability, but the fact remains that even if the stigma was taken away from each illness, the illness would still remain. By having fibromyalgia I face stigma, because I cannot exercise the way I used to and so I have gained weight. Sometimes I think I am not good enough, because I can no longer exercise the way I used to, but even if our society did not stigmatize my illness, I would still be unable to walk long distances.(Walking is my favorite way to exercise...)

But bisexuality-or queerness-is not a negative in any way. It simply is, like the fact that we need air to breathe. If there are any negative consequences due to being queer, it is because of our damaged society, not due to having a damaged body.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Psalm 40 - Sometimes We Wait

Godde does not always answer
Our prayers quickly,
But if we wait and are still,
We will hear what we need to hear.

And so I waited
And so I heard
And so I was blessed.

I grew weary from waiting,
But still I trusted in The Answer.
Time whispered to me
And I listened.

What I heard shocked me,
For it disregarded the old rules
And affirmed my being.

You do not require sacrifice
And I do not need to prostrate
Myself before You,
For You love me as I am.

I will not sacrifice a part of me,
But will give the whole of my
Being over to joy.

Praise the One who accepts all of me!

I am still waiting for more answers,
But I will be still.
And I will wait.

The waiting is part of the answer.
************************************
If you want to compare it to the original, go here. What questions do you have for Godde? What answers do you need? Right now, I need to know why I am so tired all the time. I know chronic fatigue comes with fibromyalgia, but I thought that if my pain level went down, then so would my tiredness. But I guess I was wrong. My pain has been a lot better lately, but tiredness has taken its place.

This psalm is about waiting and I feel like I am often just waiting in life-waiting for a romantic relationship, for a place of my own in Atlanta, for the tiredness/pain to stop... Sometimes we wait for a long time! What do we do when we wait? The same old shit. We work, we play, we go on with life and we try to make room for times when we can listen to Godde calling our name and supplying us with the answers we need.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We Are All Godde's Children

Remember how I said that going on the mission trip gave me lots of ideas for topics? Well, it did and I am sorry that I have not been writing about them! I have been really tired lately, which really sucks...

One of the topics is more like a rant about semantics. You see, one night the minister and his wife of the church we were working on gave a talk about being missionaries. They used to be missionaries in the middle east to Muslims, which is fine, except something the minister said really bothered me. He was trying to convey the point that we-that is, Christians-are very similar to Islamic people, but I did not like the way he did it. "Islamic people are sinners!" is what he said and I was quite taken aback. I know that he was trying to convey that they are like us and yes, I do believe that we all sin, but if I were to talk about different groups of people's similarities then I would look for the positives and not the negatives of their character-specifically, that we are all children of Godde. The way he said it, it sounded as if he thought Muslims were more sinful than Christian are and I just do not agree. Later, he further explained his position more carefully, but inside I was still fuming. Why? By focusing on a group's negative aspects he othered them and made them seem dangerous. When I am focusing on someone's sin, it can be very difficult not to become judgmental, but if I focus on the fact that we are all Godde's children, then I cannot help but be filled with love.

Right now, there is a lot of prejudice against Muslims in the United States and in other countries. With terrorism always in the news, it is understandable, but fearing groups of people is not a good thing. We must remember that one group of radicals does not represent all of a religion. We are all Godde's children and we all deserve love.

More Tea-Another Review!

Allergies are still driving me crazy, so I have been drinking a lot of a tea called, "Echinacea Complete Care." It's a "wellness tea" that "promotes the body's natural defenses, with Vitamin C and zinc" and has a "soothing eucalyptus flavor." According to the blendmaster's notes on the box, this tea will:

Bolster your body's defenses with the proprietary blend of revitalizing herbs and vitamins found in Echinacea Complete Care. Echinacea has been used for centuries by Native Americans to stimulate the immune system, and recent studies have shown that echinacea may support the body's ability to defned itself against common ailments. With the added antioxidant properties of Vitamin C and zinc, an essential mineral, plus the soothing flavors of eucalyptus and peppermint, thispowerful blend provides great-tasting support for your body's natural defenses.
(Isn't my new mug cool?)

The eucalyptus and peppermint flavors reminds me of a menthol cough drop, which I personally enjoy. Unlike the previous tea, I think honey really adds some great flavor in this one. I feel like I am being really healthy when I drink this tea. In fact, I think I will go downstairs in a minute and make myself a cup!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Psalm 39

I was afraid to talk,
So silence was my friend.
I did not trust my words,
So I said nothing at all.

But sorrow would not leave me!
No badness came from my lips,
But no goodness came from them either,
So with Godde's help, I began to speak.

I began to cry and mourn and wail.
I felt I was but one big tear
And you used it to cleanse my soul.

I feel as though I am translucent,
A trembling, almost nothing, cloud.
Restore to me my hope
And be my strength-
Help me find my voice.
***************************
To compare it to the original, go here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bacon!

I have discovered bacon!!!! Bacon is a pretty cheap meat, because if you just use about 4 slices per meal, then you've got enough for around a week's worth of dinners! I have been making a lot of dinners with bacon lately, so you will be seeing a lot of bacony recipes. After two weeks of eating bacon though, I am beginning to get a little tired of it, so I will probably not get it again for a while, but it is nice to think that in these past few weeks, I have thoroughly beaten ED.

And what goes great with bacon? Eggs! I really do not think that I will ever get tired of eggs. Here is a recipe for "Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche" from allrecipes.com. I picked out this recipe, because I had feta cheese, leftover from a salad I had made a few days before this meal for a church potluck.

Ingredients:
5 slices bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup mushrooms, stem and ribs removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped fresh asparagus

1 (8 inch) unbaked pie shell
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until evenly brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
3.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook and stir until translucent. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender. Set aside.

After this, in the original recipe you are told to steam the asparagus in water, but I used the new Ziploc Steam bags and that was much easier.

Place the onion and mushroom mixture, asparagus, and bacon into the bottom of the pie shell. Sprinkle the Cheddar and feta cheeses over the vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour this mixture over the vegetable and cheese filling.
(filling)

(filling covered with cheese)


Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned on top. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
I made this quiche in the morning before work, which is a new coping skill I have discovered. My job is in the afternoon and then I usually have some kind of group to go to a couple of hours later, so instead of rushing around in the little bit of time I have between the two events, I now try to do as much cooking as I can in the morning. This way, I do not exhaust myself and I start out the day feeling productive.


The quiche, by the way, was great. My mom thinks that asparagus have a little too strong taste in something like a quiche and says she would prefer spinach for a green vegetable, but I disagree. I rarely like cooked spinach, as I think it's too slimey. What do you think?

Those with Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities have Human Rights Too

I got news about a training seminar that sounds great. Hopefully I will be able to make it to a session. The sessions are offered in many places in GA-go here to find out if there's one near you.

The Division of Developmental Disabilities and the Delmarva Georgia Quality Management System is pleased to announce a special training session dedicated to individuals, guardians and their families as well as direct support staff. The session is titled "Understanding and Protecting Your Human Rights" and the purpose of the training is to learn about human rights for all people in a fun and interactive atmosphere.

Participants will also learn about specific rights for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who are receiving waiver and state funded services. The intent is for participants to not only learn more about human rights and responsibilities but also learn how to make a complaint if a person’s rights are not being respected.

This is a perfect opportunity for direct support staff and individuals to enjoy a 3 hour training together having FUN while learning!

Please visit the GQMS website for additional details:
http://www.dfmc-georgia.org/training_education
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 866-755-3506 or e-mail us at: georgia@dfmc.org.
Thank you!
Delmarva Foundation
www.delmarvafoundation.org
www.dfmc-georgia.org
"Improving health in the communities we serve"

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Found Freedom in Hamilton, GA

I'm back from my mission trip in Hamilton, GA and I have returned with many ideas for topics. Waiting for me at home, as I expected, was the Celestial Seasonings box, which was very exciting. I got a book about herbs, lip balm, honey, tea, a mug, a coaster, and the sleepytime bear!
Isn't he sweet?
The pack is a Celestial Seasonings "Wellness" Set, which is perfect, because allergies are seriously killing me right now. My throat is scratchy, my joints are achy, and I keep on sneezing and hacking. So far, I have enjoyed three cups of "Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea." (I do not know why the cropped version of the picture would not upload!) I picked out this flavor to try out first, because of the honey and the "natural Antioxidants" - I figure I need extra antioxidants with my allergies running rampant. I love the honey sticks provided and used them at first, but I found that they hid some of the flavor of the tea. With honey flavoring already in the tea, I think I may like at least this tea better without the extra honey. On the box the tea is described like this:

In this spirited blend, sweet honey, lively lemon and spicy, earthy ginseng provide a well-balanced and flavorful addition to our smooth blend of authentic green tea and delicate Bai Mu Dan white tea - one of the rarest and youngest of teas.

I love the tea and I cannot wait to try the others, but that was expected-when I was in Hamilton, GA, for the mission trip I found something else that was quite unexpected: freedom from the eating disorder! Now I am far enough in my recovery that I do not feel constantly bound by ED, but that is partly due to a lot of effort on my part. I was really nervous about going on the trip, because I would not be able to go to my regular groups or talk to the supportive people that I usually do. There was rich food for every meal, except lunch, and cookies everyday and when I realized that I would have almost no control over what I ate, I decided to let go of my need for control and just eat without worrying about the food prepared. I helped make the cookies most of the days and man, we made a lot! We made dozens of oatmeal cookies the first day and probably about a hundred of snickerdoodles. To be honest, I don't quite understand the point of making so many cookies. It makes me a little nervous to be around so much food that is not the healthiest, but I think that it is "healthy" for me to be outside of my comfort zone sometimes.
Another reason why I was totally free from ED is because I practiced selflessness on the trip. I spent almost all of my time with the girl I work with and most of my energy was used thinking up things for us to do. My own petty wants were just not in the equation! My eating disorder is a disease that loves to get me self-consumed. When I am totally immersed in my eating disorder, then all I can think of is myself. To be able to have a week where I am mostly thinking about someone else shows how far I have come in my recovery. Thinking and caring about other people is liberating and I am thankful.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

March Books

You thought my last post was going to be the last for a while, right? Well, I almost forgot that I had my March book list to post!

The Bible’s “Obadiah” – Very, very short and I’m sorta sad to say that it didn’t do anything for me. In fact, I wonder why it’s included in the Bible at all-it’s so much like the other books before it, but without their beauty. To me, anyway…
“The Parable of the Sower” by Octavia E. Butler – This is a really great book. There is a sequel to it that I just can’t wait to read. It takes place not that far in the future and our world is much worse than it is already and yet the book is filled with hope as Olamina and her fellow travelers try to build their own community. I like the concept of “God is Change” that Olamina preaches. I have ordered some more books by Butler, as I just love her writing.

The Bible’s “Jonah” – I liked this book, as the story was very familiar to me. Jonah is very relatable to me-He is a man who seems very bitter when the people he detests actually repent. Sometimes the prophets’ actions seem too perfect or outlandish for me to relate to, but perhaps sadly, I can understand Jonah’s actions and emotions. I also see this book as a story about great love, as God continues to love Jonah, even when he acts foolish and arrogant, and the people of Ninevah, even though they were not in right relationship with The Holy One.
“Plato’s Podcasts: The Ancients’ Guide to Modern Living” by Mark Vernon – Modern questions about life are “answered” by ancient philosophers. I liked that there were female philosophers, as well as male, included. My favorites were “Sappho and the art of paying attention” and “Plato and a love of conversation.” The book is a good intro for someone who is interested in ancient Greek philosophy, as it basically sums up their philosophy and tells interesting stories about their life. After reading this book, I want to read more poetry by Sappho and the writings of Plato.
“Jesus Freak: Feeding, Healing, Raising the Dead” by Sara Miles – a good, quick read about how we can be Jesus, ourselves. Very inspirational and I heartily recommend it. The one thing that I did not like was that Miles refers to people by their labels, i.e. schizophrenics, the poor, homosexuals, etc. instead of saying that these are people who happen to have these qualities. I know Miles does it to make a point about the kinds of people we should help, but it still rubs me the wrong way.

I'm So Busy, I Must Take a Nap

Whew! I have been really busy! Being busy can be good, because then you are - hopefully - very productive, but there is such a thing as being too busy! Yesterday I was just plain exhausted after buzzing around frantically for the past couple of days. The reason? I am going on a mission trip with the girl I tutor Monday and I have been busy, busy, busy, trying to get ready for the trip. I took two naps yesterday and still I felt so exhausted, I felt sick! I don't know what I would have done if I had not taken them... Fortunately, I feel much better and more energized today.

I think taking naps is important for recovery, especially when you have an illness that brings about a lot of pain like fibromyalgia. Arithitic pain is tiring, which is something I did not understand before I got this. I have always understood being tired due to depression and now I am not depressed anymore, but because of the pain I feel in my joints and muscles, I still have tiredness as a semi constant companion. So I schedule naps! I work in the afternoon and if I have an appointment in the morning, then I really try to take a nap in between the two. I used to feel guilty about taking naps-I felt like it I was wasting valuable time, but now I know that I must slow myself down if I want to get everything I want to get done, done. I must give myself time to rest and renew. I now understand that I must take care to get centered and then I can get everything finished in time. I took two naps yesterday and even so, I was able to go to an EDA meeting in the morning, get a prescription filled, go to the grocery store, pack, and do all my laundry! I know for a fact that if I had not had those naps though, then I would not have had enough energy to do all of those things.

Often during my times of de-stressing I enjoy a cup of tea, which is why I am so excited about what will be awaiting me when I get back from my trip: a celestial seasonings wellness tea pack, which I won from my Sophia's blog, burp and slurp. I get tea, a mug, honey, lip balm, a book about herbs and the cute celestial seasonings sleepytime bear! I am so, so, so excited!!! Be looking forward to many pictures and reviews when I get back in town! Hopefully I will be able to amp up my writing when I get back-I have really missed not having enough time or energy to devote to this blog as I want...

I will be back Saturday...