Fighting Food Demons

I read this article today on “orthorexia nervosa”. Haven’t heard of it? Neither had I, although I had a sneaking suspicion it was a thing. It’s having an unhealthy (go figure) obsession with eating clean. Generally when someone gets on a health kick, they are trying to be healthy. Evidently the issue here is that this drive towards ultimate health can actually make you UNHEALTHY. Well, that sucks. Particularly if you’re me. Having struggled with eating disorders for many years, resulting in rehab, then outpatient, groups and lots of therapy, I finally found peace with food. However, my “peace” with food has become increasingly “unpeacful”. When I built a healthy relationship with food, I decided I needed to have a better understanding of food. What is it? Where does it come from? What’s in it? What does “processed” mean? How does my body react to certain foods? Answering these questions helped me to not dwell on the calories, however I have noticed that I still feel just as guilty (and judgmental even) when I eat certain foods. And it’s not like a regular person who would not even consider that they have a relationship with food, (because you normies just EAT food.) and maybe feels some guilt when they go to a drive through, or eat ice cream. I feel guilty when I eat a sandwich. I feel self loathing when I eat bread. I hate myself when I eat cheese. And it’s not just that I do have a fear of gaining weight, but in my head I am thinking that I am causing inflammation which will undoubtedly lead to every health problem imaginable. And it will be because I ate a slice of pizza. I will die a miserable death because I had mozzarella sticks. You may be thinking that I am insane… But you may be like me and you maybe literally won’t EVER touch demonic foods that contain gluten, dairy or GMOs. (And I am over here feeling sickeningly jealous of your strength…. *You see, I wouldn’t ever buy these satanic tempestuous treats, but my husband literally won’t live without them. He thinks that no meal is a meal without carbs, in fact he thinks it’s ridiculous when me and my daughter don’t eat sandwiches. He would like to know what will fill us up if we don’t eat bread?*…And lucky if you don’t have have a partner who eats clean as well.)  It doesn’t stop there, I feel like like I am bringing bad karma onto myself for eating certain foods! (namely animal products)

I can compare this overwhelming guilty conscious to religious people. In fact, I believe I am so sensitive to not “doing what’s right” because of my past in churchianity. So if you feel bad because you missed church, or forgot to say your prayers, or whispered a curse word, maybe you feel a fraction of what I feel when I eat food (that you may even consider healthy). I feel like I have to go to confession after eating black bean soup! AND IT’S VEGAN! Why? I read that beans cause inflammation. I start planning a cleanse after eating quinoa. Yeah… quinoa. We all thinks it’s so healthy… but is it? I listen so carefully to my body after eating a food because I have to know how it effects me. I have slight depression when I see a carton of milk. I mean, those poor cows. And the meat isle?!? It’s a graveyard, It’s the dead animal isle. I don’t like it. I feel like I am literally driving the nails into Jesus’s hands when I eat cheese that isn’t organic. And I have nausea even if it is organic because I’m a little grossed out by the concept of cheese. And simultaneously, cheese is my weakness, it’s the equivalent of the shame you may feel watching porn.

OK so you see my insanity. But here’s the deal, I don’t eat perfectly. So far I am healthy, even though I cheat sometimes. I can and do go to restaurants. I will find food that I can/will/want to eat. (Except fast food, but if we are going with the religious comparison, fast food is like a whore house, right?) I generally bring my own food to a BBQ, this isn’t that weird because I don’t eat meat, and it doesn’t bother me. I would like to say that my food standards are reasonable. I felt bad a few weeks ago when a friend asks me to feed her kid lunch and I knew already that he wouldn’t eat what we had. When I asked what he liked to eat, she suggested something like, mach n cheese, buttered noodles, pb&j, chicken nuggets, cereal and oatmeal. I had none of that. Or I and pieces… no butter, no bread, organic funny looking noodles, no milk for cereal, no peanut butter…. I apologized (don’t worry he was fed!), I honestly felt bad, but in reality, it’s not that big of a deal. These things happen, and I don’t think those are necessary foods. I don’t think that makes me extreme, either. I think that maybe my intense feelings on dairy seem extreme, but not buying chicken nuggets, not so much.

You may be wondering what this means for my kiddos? What do they eat? Well, if we go to a birthday party or a bbq, they eat pizza, hot dogs, cake and chips. The only thing I really put my foot down on at a social even is soda. At home my kiddos eat a balanced healthy diet, and I try to buy organic. They get dessert 2-3 times a week. My kids don’t eat as strict of a diet as I do, and that’s ok. I have had to loosen the reigns on that one, I wasn’t always so nonchalant about that.

Am I orthorexic? No, I don’t think so. I think that eating this way has helped improve my health and is better for my family. Do I think it’s a fine line? Yes. Considering my history it’s not weird that I have unhealthy emotions about food, however, it’s pretty awesome that I have not taken my obsession with health to an unhealthy extreme. I will be mindful, and I will continue fighting my food related demons.

Mommy Issues

So this morning as I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed, sipping my coffee, I come across a new single written by Pink. You all know I am a Pink fan, so I was excited, I click the link and read the article, turns out, this song was written for Pink’s mom… My initial reaction to this news was conflicting. I have serious mommy issues (You’ve heard about my daddy issues already.) and I have hesitated to blog about them because… Well for one it fucking hurts. As I type tears burn my eyes and and my throat is tight, also, this stuff is personal. I know I have been open about a lot, but this is the most sensitive subject for me, I’ve told you about the time I was attacked, and I don’t even cry anymore when I talk about that. I have told you about my history with the cult, and I have even publicly apologized to a friend (<—- I even mentioned some mommy issues.) But this mom stuff is really hard to choke out.

My sisters and my mama at my wedding
My sisters and my mama at my wedding

“No one ever held you, no single moment of truth, but if you were mine I would have looked into those eyes and said, tell me the words you long to hear and I’ll sing them loud and clear, let me heal the wounds you’ve held onto for all these years. Break the cycle break the chain, cause love is louder than all your pain.”

It’s like she took the words from my heart, words I have never been able to even think. “But if you were mine….” right there, that’s when I broke, that’s when the tears came. When I was pregnant and didn’t want a baby, I promised this baby that I would be the mother that my mom couldn’t be. I was so afraid to continue the cycle. Every day since Jo was born has been therapy for me, I have spent the last 5 years cleaning up the mess my mom left, I have loved Jo, and hugged her, and connected with her in all the ways I SHOULD have been loved, all the ways I DESERVED to be loved. I don’t have memories of not being wanted, but it became clear while I was in CFD, you may remember the Justine Doll Incident:

“When I was in treatment for my eating disorder I was given an assignment, to make a doll that represented me, a baby Justine doll, and nurture her for a day. It was supposed to be me when I was 2, around the time my mom left us. After making the doll, I promptly threw it over my shoulder, and did not touch it for a week. The next time we had group with all of our therapists, mine asked me if I had completed the task. I said I made the doll, and no I did not nurture it, it’s not even real, after all. I should have known better because my next assignment was to nurture that damn thing for the next WEEK! My therapist asked me to go get the doll. I got it and put her down in front of me.

She asked me to hold her…
I picked it up by it’s hair.
She asked me to hold her like a baby.
I did.
She asked me to look at her.
I couldn’t.
“Why won’t you look at her?”
Me: “I can’t.”
“Why not?”
Me: “I don’t know, I hate it.”
“Why?”
Me: “I don’t know.”
“Look at her.”
Me: (I looked at her, and started to cry) “She is ugly, and fat, and I hate her.”
“She is only a baby, how can you hate a baby?”
Me: “I don’t know… I hate her.”
“Hug her, tell her you love her.”
Me: (Hugging her) I can’t, I don’t love her.

At this point I broke down. It was crazy to me that I could HATE a doll so much. I had never realized how worthless I felt, how ugly, and disgusting I thought I was. Those are the voices in my head when I look in the mirror sometimes. When I got out of treatment I threw that doll away.

I can’t imagine my beautiful, perfect, smart baby girl feeling the way I felt towards that doll… I mean myself.”

I’m not saying it’s ALL my mom’s fault that I literally hated myself and did not think I deserved to be nurtured or loved, there were a lot of factors, but I’m pretty sure being essentially abandoned is a huge contributing factor. Thinking back on that doll I have such a sick feeling, who can leave their little girl? I look at my daughter and I have a hard time imagining a day without her, I cry every time she goes to her dad’s house. Jo changed me, she changed my perspective on life. I could’t help but wonder… why didn’t I do that for my mom? Why didn’t I change her? Why didn’t she look at me, and fall in love? It’s not very fair is it? I can’t imagine walking away from my baby girl, but my mom felt that I would be better off without her. She may have been right, but that’s not really the point is it?

Break the cycle break the chain, cause love is louder than all your pain.”

I have spent the last 5 years breaking the chain. I could have been my mom, I could have left when it was hard, I could have given up at any point, but I promised Joliene while she was in my belly that even if I didn’t love her, I would ALWAYS do everything in my power to make her feel loved, and I would never EVER leave her. I promised to show that her she is perfect and beautiful, that she is essential and loved. I vowed to be better and to give her everything I should have had. I broke the cycle.

Me and my Jojo <3
Me and my Jojo <3

“If you were mine…”

I have spent the last 5 years wishing I had been my own mom. Wondering what it would have been like if my mom had been like me, would I have been more confident? Would I have still starved myself? More importantly, would I be the mother I am today? What I never thought until hearing those words was, what if she was mine? What if I could go back and nurture my mother? What if I was HER mother? Would she have stayed?

Disclaimer: “Too many missing pieces, that’s always been your reason to justify how you feel inside” To be honest, I know my mom can’t help who she was. She has more than enough reasons. She was dealt a pretty shitty hand in life. It just sucks that I had to suffer because of HER past. But I love her, and have come a really long way. I think this song really reminded me to be compassionate.

 

 

Nature Vs Nurture

In high school before reading Lord of the Flies we had the “Nature Vs. Nurture” debate and I was die hard Nature. I believed deeply that we are innately good, despite my Christian upbringing. (If you are Christian, you more likely believe that man is evil, and must make the conscious choice to do “good”) As an adult, and a parent I am considering that both are important. I still believe we are born good, that our hearts are pure, and we are effected by circumstance. But I believe we are who we are. Do circumstances effect a person? Change them? Yes, but I believe we already have a blueprint, so to speak, so we still react based on our personality.

For instance, I’ll give you three girls, all three grew up in the same church (you guessed it, ICOC), all three lived in loving Christian homes, they went to the same schools and all three were molested. To keep things interesting let’s name them: Gemini, Aquarius and Pisces.

Gemini never really fit in anywhere, and she over ate and wore baggy clothes as to not attract sexual attention. She was mean to other kids, and angry. Mostly she was sad, but didn’t feel like she could show it. She eventually began using and selling drugs. After a few rounds of rehab, she is clean and happy, working and going to school. She has a huge heart, and is comfortable with her body and her sexuality. She has a higher power.

Aquarius tried to talk, but was hushed repeatedly, eventually she stopped talking. She felt ashamed of her body because of the kind of attention it attracted, she threw herself into extracurricular activities. She became too busy to feel. She is now on the road to entrepreneurship, she has her own business, sings and doesn’t let anyone push her around. She still has faith.

Pisces plastered a smile on her face in public, and was overly friendly to everyone, she never wanted anyone to think she wasn’t OK. At home she hid behind her books, and escaped in other worlds so she wouldn’t have to deal with reality. She can’t handle injustice and calls people on their shit. She wants to save everyone from pain, and is empathetic to a fault. She can’t stand churches of any kind, but truly believes the best in people.

You see, all three girls reacted in their own way, even though they each went through the same thing. They each found a way to escape: drugs, work, and fantasy. I see this as proof that we are who we are.

If it wasn’t obvious, Hi, I’m Pisces. I have been hurt deeply in my life, just as Gemini, Aquarius, and so many others were, and still I see good in people, I trust WAY too quickly, I want to believe you. I feel connections to people almost instantly. I also instantly know if I do not like someone, and I can usually figure out what sign they are based on my uneasy feeling. I feel it is my mission to help people, and I have passion out to wazoo. I also have a really hard time taking criticism, and admitting I’m wrong feels like I’m swallowing a flaming sword.

I’m telling you all that to show how individual I am, because you may be a Pisces, and you may be thinking, “Well astrology is BS because I’m not like you, Justine. I am shy and quiet, and I go with the flow. I have had less than 3 sexual partners, and I keep my opinions to myself because I don’t like drama.” Of course not every Pisces is gonna be a clone of the next Pisces. I think that people get that impression about astrology. You see, different people have different coping skills and personality traits that may have been passed through genetics, or maybe it goes deeper? I have always connected with astrology, my birth chart (not to be confused w the horoscope you find in the newspaper) is insanely accurate, my parenting, love, emotions and life mission are spot on. Just bear with me, I know you think it’s a bunch of crap, but I have a point. I want to show you my blueprint.

I am going to stick with the super basics so I don’t lose you. So I’ll show you 4 of my twelve signs, the 4 that seem to me to really build a personality.

Sun sign: Your sun sign is your birth sign, mine is Pisces. So that’s super basic, a typical Pisces is emotional, absorbs others emotions, good or bad, can be a sucker for anyone who needs help. Can be gullible and shy, dreamy, romantic. Gets easily lost in their own fantasy world. Pisces can be airheads, and pretty temperamental. A Pisces mother has a deep connection with their children, she is a nurturer and may spoil her children. Most of that is true about me, however, most Pisces can relate to the first level, but we may feel there is so much more? In my case, where is the out-spoken passionate fighter?

Rising Sign: Your rising sign is the mask you wear in public. It is usually someone’s first impression of you. Mine is Cancer. Cancer risings like to be in a familiar place, and get uncomfortable in new places, they are cautious and conservative, gentle and giving. Cancer risings are nurturers. Overly sensitive to criticism. If you just met me (not having read my blog because my blog totally blows my sweet sensitive water sign’s cover) you would probably think these things about me. More so when I was younger, as I’ve aged I have actually started to embrace my moon sign more. In fact, people who I have reconnected with over the years always ask, “Where did the quiet little Justine go?” She found her voice, it was hiding in her moon sign.

Moon sign: The moon sign is the main reason people with the same sun sign can be so different. Your moon sign is your emotions. It’s the way you intuitively react to things. Mine is Aries, after reading my blogs and seeing so much of my fiery side, you were probably surprised my sun sign is Pisces! “Aries Moons are headstrong, aggressive and may be difficult to control. They do best if they can find a physical outlet for their emotions” An Aries moon is a fighter when emotions are aroused, they have a hair trigger to specific stimuli, and will just unload everything (verbally). They act before they think, which can get them into trouble. They have quite a temper, but surprisingly do not hold grudges. Their moods change quickly and have an extremely strong and forceful personality. I can relate to all of that, however, I do have my peaceful water signs that will sometimes come in and drown my fire, and because I am intuitive, when I am around other people who are happy, I will be happy and keep my moon to myself.

Mercury sign: Your mercury is the way you communicate. Some people have absolutely no communication skills, others are very factual. Some people only say what needs to be said. My Mercury is in Pisces, so my thought process is not logical at all, it’s emotional. I think with my feelings and imagination, I trust my intuition and tend to reject ideas that are based on logic. This is where I am thankful to have a husband who is a “true” Virgo. Five of his twelve signs are Virgo, including his sun, rising and moon. So you can just imagine our discussions, I’m all emotional, and he’s totally factual.

Now that you have little understanding of a birth chart, you can see where I am going with this. My nature is quite literally written in the stats. Just as Gemini’s nature, and Aquarius’s nature were written in the stars. Having grown up in the same neighborhood, attending the same church and school, we each responded differently to the same situations.

Don’t get me wrong, I think nurture plays a huge part in self esteem and bonding, and I do believe that the way a child is raised has an effect on who they become. I have three kids who couldn’t be more different, or more like their charts. In children I can see even more how nurture plays an important role in becoming who you are, but I also see that each child is so individual and requires their own brand of nurture. I believe that abuse and neglect have a lasting effect on a person, I just also believe we all deal with it the way we are cosmically built to respond and cope.

I do not know about people who are inherently “bad”. I think we all have the capability to latch on to the negatives, to ignore our basic intuition and turn off the good. We all have some darkness, even in our charts (that is much deeper, I’ll save that for another blog), and we can in a sense, nurture the darkness. I know a little boy who gets angry very easily. You can see it on his face, his face gets red, veins pop out of his temples, he will scream and yell, hit and kick, as if he isn’t able to control himself. This behavior, and reaction to things like, lack of control over his toys has diminished since his parents began talking very calmly, reminding him to count to ten, and giving him space when he is upset. He may always struggle with anger, but I think as a child, if the people in his life are patient and loving, and still give him limits and boundaries, including ways to let his anger out, he can grow up into a well mannered man with self control. I also worry about the type of man he could become if his anger is not addressed in a healthy way. I know men who were like him as children, it’s a scary thought. I can relate, granted I am not violent, but I can be explosive when I am angry. Mixing the Aries moon with the Pisces Mercury can be a very noisy tear-filled argument, and while there will be times when I will lose it, I have had to learn to control myself. Other people do not deserve my acid tongue.

This all may sound like hocus pocus to you, but this is just me making sense of life, and people. I cannot look at my children and see evil. I see good, love, innocence, beauty, curiosity and silliness. While sometimes they may disobey, or fall out of line, I don’t see the devil in them, I see a kid who needs a reminder, maybe a hug, but certainly no evil. I guess my point is that we should nurture nature.

 

*I use Always Astrology for birth charts you can find yours here: http://www.alwaysastrology.com/birth-chart-calculator.html of what I wrote are things I already know from studying astrology over the years, but I particularly like this website for refreshers.

F.Y.I

 

Welcome!

I’m  just writing a “welcome” blog now for 2 reasons:

1. A lot of people recently registered to this blog, and since I have no “website building skills”, there is a lot you wouldn’t know about this website unless you’ve been following me for the last year or so.

2. Things have changed recently, and I feel I should address those changes. (Yes, I’m referring to the cult)

HELLO

Hi, My name is Justine and I started blogging because I needed a place to pour out my heart. As a mother, step-mother, wife, health coach and writer, my hands were very full, my time extremely limited, and the ‘vacations” I require in my head to write or read were diminishing. Making a commitment to this blog was a commitment to myself.

You will notice that in the beginning my blogs were centered completely around health and parenting. As I have become more comfortable, I have written more personal and therapeutic posts.

HEALTH and PARENTING

Half of you are here because you are on the road to health, or you’re a parent and *hopefully* felt refreshed by my candor on the struggles with parenting. I have no shame in saying that my pregnancy was a bitch, I hated every minute of it, and think labor is the most disgusting experience of my life. I have no desire to repeat either endeavor, therefore, my tubes are tied. I was blessed with 2 amazing step children, whom, along with my daughter and my husband complete me. They inspired me to get healthy, you see I was “skinny fat”, and over the last few years have made the life style change and commitment to eating whole, real, non-GMO and preferably organic food. This was a huge change for my husband and my step-son and step-daughter (and the in-laws) *See my blog for details: http://healthymama.net/fast-food-fight/ * but it has made a huge difference in our energy, attitudes and certain behavior issues we were having with one of our little rascals.

***I used to be associated with a health company, however it would seem they do not appreciate blogs about their products so I am removing all information pertaining to this company. I apologize, it appears I was not in “compliance” when I posted that my husband and I had no wedding debt thanks to “this company”(…. It’s true, I made $9,000 in a couple months which paid for our wedding.)

THE CULT

The other half of you… actually at this point maybe more than half of you are here because you read one or more of my blogs about the International Church of Christ (ICC)/ International Christian Churches (ICC). I want to start this subject by saying that I never imagined my little blog could cause such a stir. Upon writing the first blog about my past with the ICOC, “Because The Bible Says So” * http://healthymama.net/lets-make-parenting-less-of-a-dictatorship/  * Some feathers were ruffled, but all in all, it was not a big deal, so MONTHS later… maybe a year later, I wrote “So… I Grew Up In A Cult…” * http://healthymama.net/so-i-grew-up-in-a-cult/ * and holy WOW! Facebook blew up (I am friends with a lot of members and former members) I started getting lots of emails and tons of views on this particular post. The emails were (mostly) people saying Thank-You for being the voice of those who were burned so badly by the ICOC. I had no intention or writing another blog on the subject until I was accused of lying, and to back me up, and to gain closure, a few people asked me to share their stories, too.  Although I’m a Pisces (typically a go with the flow kind of person) my moon (emotions) is in Aries, which is code for: I’m a stubborn f*ck. So, being accused of lying only ignited my Aries emotion. The more I was challenged, the more my fire was fueled. After a few weeks of compiling stories and quotes, I posted “Queen of the Damned (Recovering from Cult Life)” *http://healthymama.net/queen-of-the-damned-recovering-from-cult-life/ * and this one has been read over 1,000 times, in less than 5 days. Which is insanity to me, but, I’ll be honest, I get it. Not only was I validating hundreds of people’s pain and suffering, I evidently struck a chord with current members. If someone else had written it, I would have been sharing it all over Facebook and Twitter saying “OMG! Someone gets it! Someone else feels the way I do! See, I’m not crazy!!!”

I want you to know something, I am proud to be the voice of former Kingdom Kids. I wish someone had stepped out a long time ago, because I needed this fellowship to heal. I have decided to take my role a little further. I have started a Facebook page called ICOC Recovery *https://www.facebook.com/icocrecovery * and I encourage you to “like” the page so we can start some healthy dialogue. If you don’t feel comfortable posting publicly, feel free to private message me. I am here for you. I believe it is my calling to be support for people in need (there is that Pisces nature), if you need to tell your story, TELL ME. (I only posted stories that people specifically asked me to publish) If you need help getting out, I will help. If you disagree with me and want to tell me how the ICOC/ICC is the only way to god, go for it. I enjoy a healthy debate.

I have definitely had my character attacked by people in one of these organizations in order to discredit me, and I fully understand. They are scared. Their church is young, made up of young impressionable (sheeple) people, and I know from experience that they don’t want me to shake their young one’s faith with my facts, memories and reasons. It must be scary to see a little fish make such a huge wave, especially when you’re trying to rule the pond.

I want to make it clear here that I don’t believe in god, but I don’t consider myself a soul-less heathen. My heart is good, and I know it can be hard for Christians to see good in someone who doesn’t believe same way, it’s OK. I won’t lose sleep if you condemn me to hell. Just bear in mind, I know The Bible (as my best friend said, “You give her a book, she’ll read it!”) and YOU can’t condemn me to anywhere, Jesus said. If you are curious to know my personal spiritual views, click here * http://healthymama.net/the-god-thing/ * I also want to make it clear that I am an LGBT advocate, and I do not tolerate racism, sexism, bigotry or hate.  I believe in love, and I hope for everyone to find their other half, regardless of race, color or sex. Love is love, and it is beautiful. For more on this, read “Stop! Hating is bad” * http://healthymama.net/stop-hating-is-bad/ *

I hope this has cleared things up, and I am working on making some sort of an archive for all 60-ish blogs, and to make this website easier to navigate. If any of you happen to be tech savvy, I would love some help 😉

****If you are reading this because you have had a similar experience, have history with the ICOC/ICC, or you need help leaving, I am going to post some resources here for you. Free to email me at isahealthymama@yahoo.com or find my “recovery page” on facebook www.facebook.com/icocrecovery Here are a few blogs and websites from people who have left the ICOC/ICC and have shared their experiences and knowledge:

http://www.reveal.org/ <— This page has the truth about the ICOC.
http://www.spiritualpornography.com/ <— Don’t worry, it’s totally appropriate, she named it Spiritual Pornography because that’s what Kip McKean called it when you read anything negative about the church. They post information it might be harder to find, such as Kip’s (supposed) resignation, and letters written to the church.

http://henrykriete.com/ <— Here you can read what REALLY happened with Henry Kriete and his family.
http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/ <—- Here you can read a blog from a former member of Kip’s current church (City of Angels International Church of Christ). He has written actually experiences between himself and Kip, AND other “leaders”. A very interesting read. He came across my blog and actually recognized someone I had written about (I kept it confidential).
http://www.tolc.org/ <—- Here you can read Henry Kriete’s letter and other letters written to the church. You can also click “debate” and you will be transferred to http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ICCdiscussion&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FICCdiscussion%2Fstart where you can interact with current and former members.

 

Food = Fat… I mean FUEL.

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When I was in treatment for my eating disorder it was hammered into my brain that it is healthy to eat 6 times a day. Try telling THAT to an anorexic! I thought these people had lost their minds!!! I had trouble eating at all, and here I am basically being force fed. If we did not eat we were threatened with hospitalization, and being tube fed. If you are hospitalized you cannot work off your food, and you are bored. Nobody wanted that… but at the expense of eating 6 times a day… It was scary. That might sound so silly to you, but for me this was one of the scariest things I would do. In my mind, food = fat. I had spent a very long time restricting and and brainwashing myself that if I did not eat I would be skinny, and finally love myself. I have been on a life long quest to love myself and for years I thought if I was skinny enough I would. It didn’t work. I had been hating myself for so long, no pant size could change that. I put conditions on myself that to this day make me cringe. I am scared that one day my daughter will feel the way I did (and sometimes do.) I’m watching her play right now and thinking that I never want her to be obsessed with body checks. In fact, I never want her to know what body checks are. (For those of you who do not know about body checking, it’s when you see how many fingers you can fit into the waist of your pants or measuring your wrists with your fingers, I used to start with my forefinger and thumb, then my middle finger, my ring finger and my pinkie, then work my way up my arm until my fingers could not touch anymore. I also body checked my legs, fitting my hands around my thighs, and looking in the mirror to make sure my thighs did not touch. I would touch my hips to make sure they stuck out at all times, and anytime I passed a mirror I would sneak a peak to make sure my tummy was flat. Body checking is a way to reinforce your illness. I still catch myself from time to time.)

I did eventually make some sort of “peace” with eating. Eventually I came to a healthy view of food. It is still hard for me to eat, but I look at food as fuel now. I understand that food = energy and, energy burns fat!!! Yes, I still don’t like fat, yes I still want to like the way I look in the mirror, but I have made healthy changes. First of all, I want to be healthy for my kids. That means eating responsibly. I know, it sounds silly, but for me, restricting IS addicting, and without proper fuel I cannot parent. I get cranky and impatient. It is simple to say, not an easy thing to do. If I am having a “fat day” (Fun fact the “f word” is not allowed in our house… not the f*ck word… lol although that is an adult word, that is not used frequently and has been replace with “frog” usually. You should hear me when I am upset “frogging frog!”) I do not want food. I immediately go back to my illness and I am afraid to eat. I have to reason with my eating disorder. It is not easy to reason with an eating disorder. My eating disorder is mean, she tells me how ugly and fat and useless I am. She points out my flaws, my stretch marks, my microscopic, yet sagging boobs, my enormous rib cage that just does not fit with my body, my teeth, my acne, my stomach, my thighs…. She reminds me, she waits until I am feeling just a hint of insecurity and floods my mind with all of my physical flaws, and then starts on my personality, I’m too honest, I lose friends, My temper is too quick, and explosive, I can’t even control it sometimes. I forgive people who have hurt me, even after they won’t admit what they have done… am I that lonely? I attack people verbally for disagreeing with me. I am impatient and insecure. Some days I wonder how to get out of bed with this list of negativity. There is ONE thing that is stronger than that entire list. My kiddos. They are MY reason. The reason I listen to my brain, the brain that tells me that food is fuel not fat, that I need fuel for them, and that beauty resonates from the inside out.

Do I eat 6 times a day? Nope. I do, however, eat. I chose food that is going to benefit me, and, as my fiance pointed out last night, “You don’t eat anything because you love it.” I don’t really, I am not a food person. I could happily live on pills that had the right calories given the opportunity. I try to eat things I like. What do I love? Moments. Time with my kids and my fiance. I can’t have those if I am not getting proper nutrition.

Intimacy after kids (TMI!!!)

After a day of running around chasing kids, doing chores, living in workout clothes and having my hair in a perpetual bun, no make up, feeling like a drill sergeant  and basically always being hungry, its hard to feel sexy. Add serious insecurities to that list and it’s hard to find time to be intimate. Even if you have the “time”, feeling into it is a whole different story.

I have been in relationships with no kids, one where we had a child together, and now one where we entered the relationship both having kids. It is very clear to me why my past relationships did not work, hind sight is 20/20, right? First of all, my relationships before kids were superficial. I did not have the emotional maturity to have a deep sexual relationship. Although, my platonic friendships have always been something resembling immersion. I think growing up in the “church-cult” (If you missed that blog read “Let’s make parenting less of a dictatorship”) confused me to no end. Growing up my friendships were incredibly close. My friends and I grew up in this fake world where the only things that mattered were church related, we were kinda weird I’m sure, to the rest of the world. But we didn’t know. We were brought up confessing our sins to each other… in groups… it was humiliating. We were rebuked in front of each other. It was nearly impossible to not be “too close” to each other. Maybe you can imagine how odd it was for me to enter the real world and find out that you actually cannot trust people. I could not turn off my way of loving people. Even today I have trouble letting go after someone hurts me. If that is not weird enough, while I am having these insanely deep relationships with my friends, I can’t have any closeness in a relationship. As soon as a friendship crossed that line (and because I was so close to guys and girls, I was constantly stumbling over it.) I would emotionally shut off. This was probably very confusing for my boyfriends and girlfriends. One second we are closer than family, and the next I can’t look them in he eye. Of course because they already had a taste of closeness, they knew it existed somewhere, and would try to force it. That explains why pre baby relationships did not work out.

Now, why didn’t my relationship work out when I had a baby with someone? Obviously the first problem is that at this point I am still incredibly unhealthy and have not figured out how to have a healthy relationship yet; however a baby is coming. (For more info on how all this came about read “Yoga breaths for life…out with the bad…in with the good”) I was really hoping I would grow to be in love for the first time in my life, I was hoping having this baby would change me. Funny story, it did. I changed, I became maternal, responsible, emotional… a parent. I DID fall in love. I fell in love with my baby.

I am hoping for those of you that have had children or are planning a family, that you have already developed a healthy relationship, unlike me. I do know people who were in happy relationships and had children and their relationships fell apart. MY theory on this is that once the baby comes, one of the parents evolves, and the other doesn’t. Maybe they just can’t relate, maybe they can’t connect. Maybe adding a new person to the relationship was just too much. Your life gets flipped upside down. (I wrote a lot about this in “If I knew then what I know now” I keep referencing other blogs I have written because I do not want to go through it all over again, especially for those of you who have been following me, but I do think it would explain a lot about where I come from for those of you who are new.)

So, after failing miserably at relationships, before embarking on a new one I had to soul search. I had to let go, be vulnerable, accept love, be completely overly ridiculously honest and sit with myself naked. I know that sounds weird. It is weird. I have serious body image issues (You bet I have a blog on that, too, “Body Image”) and I could not be naked in front of a mirror, or in front of anyone else. Sex was almost embarrassing for me before. It was painful for me to let someone look at me. To look them in the eyes. True intimacy was nearly impossible. I knew I had grown up a lot since I had my daughter. For the first time in my life I knew what I needed in a man. My ex informed me that no one would ever put up with me, and I expected too much. At the time I figured that maybe that was true, but I was sick of being constantly disappointed.

James and I had been friends for years, and I had always been impressed by how much he loves his kids, he is such a good dad. And to a single mom… or even a mom in a relationship with someone who is not so interested in parenting, it was pretty sexy. I’m not kidding when I say I was completely honest, I laid out exactly what I need in a relationship, I told him things I can’t stand, things that I love, things I wish existed. I already knew he was the one, but I was not taking ANY chances. This relationship would not fail because I am incapable of having a relationship. It was so freeing, and scary to be naked in every way. He knows everything about me. Some things I’m sure he wishes he didn’t. I wanted to come to this completely open. I needed to be able to look him in he eyes and even though I feel naked, and feel loved, and be ok with that.

That all happened long before we moved in together, and added our kids to the mix. It’s tough to maintain an intimate relationship with 3 kids! However, it MUST be done! I need to feel physically close to James for us to work. Being physical and emotionally open with each other goes hand in hand. I can’t have sex when I don’t feel close to him, so it’s important to me to keep open communication and a “regular” sex life. I don’t mean normal, because what is. I mean lots of sex. When I start to feel a little distanced, sex brings me back. It happens, we get too tired too busy, too irritated and too overwhelmed for sex, and I can’t tell you how often I’m in the mood and he is at work and by the time he gets home I’m sweaty from a workout or  taking care of the house and kids and I do not feel sexy! Even if I did it would be pointless because between the hours of 3:00p-9:00p are completely crazy! Occasionally we can sneak in the bedroom for a quickie, but it’s usually impossible. Knowing that it is important helps, there are days when it’s not that I don’t want to, I’m just not really feeling like getting all hot and sticky… I do it anyways, because it is always worth it! Besides sex, James and I have a specific bed time for the kids which turns into our time. We get to talk about our day, plan the week, catch up on episodes of whatever we are watching at the time, and just be together. We also go on dates. I usually don’t want to. I am too tired to get dressed up and go out, but it’s good for us to go somewhere! It also gives us a chance to add to the places we’ve done it 😉

This is the day after he proposed
This is the day after he proposed

Because The Bible says so

I have PTSD, from the church I grew up in. To some of you that sounds ridiculous, others might relate. It is not as uncommon as you might think. As far back as I can remember my family was a part of this “church”. It was Bible based, nondenominational, and originally a very loving environment. By the time I was a teenager, I was fighting deep depression, an eating disorder, and more than anything I was fighting myself. I had been on the shit end of bad leadership over and over. I can’t speak for what the adults went through, but this is what I experienced:

When I was 11 and 12 I was not a leaders daughter, and even though I had literally grown up with these kids, I was cast aside, uninvited to sleep-overs, family events, and finally, when it was time to change from the “Pre-Teen” group to the “Teen” group, I was asked to stay behind, even though a leader’s daughter, younger than me was placed in the teen group. My parents fought  for fairness, and would eventually be asked to leave, they were “marked” by the church for sticking up for what was right. Unfortunately for me, and my little sister, this did not happen soon enough.
As a teen I questioned my leaders. I did not take the round about “because the bible says so” answers. Nobody could explain to me why god was so angry and destructive in the Old Testament, only to suddenly be so humble, sacrificing his son for our sins in the New Testament. Supposedly, we are all god’s children, yet here is god’s REAL kid. Why he had to die? Because Old Testament god did not think things through and wanted all of these sacrifices, which did no good so now god decides, HE will sacrifice something. It’s a mess! I could go on, but I won’t… this time. It was branded in our brains that all of our friends were going to Hell, and we might, too if we were not careful. This made it difficult to have friendships outside of the church.
Eventually I was silenced. I was told not to ask these questions because I had no faith. I was used as a doormat, I was told to be the greeter, because I was so friendly, they used me to draw people in and then they pushed me away. My closest friends, one of which I have literally known since I was in diapers, and the other I had known in elementary school, were instructed not to spend time with me. I caused too much confusion… they did not want me poisoning the flock. Once I was told to stop flirting, when I had not even spoken to a boy the entire evening. The teen leader who confronted me said, “You don’t have to talk to any of them, it was just the way you are.” Gee thanks…
I tried to believe. I studied The Bible, and found no comfort, only inconsistencies, confusion, and my faith in EVERYONE fell apart. I even went as far as to go through the church assigned studies, one of which is called, The Church Study, where they tell you this is the one true church, and anyone not in it will go to Hell. In another study, The Cross, I believe, after reading you a disturbing story of what EXACTLY happened when one was crucified, an account of what Jesus went through, you were asked to confess your sins. At 14 I don’t believe I had true “sins” to confess to, but I humiliated myself anyway recounting everything I had ever done wrong… I was made to feel overwhelmingly ashamed of things that are completely natural. This is when it was convinced that I am not OK. The person I am, my personalty, my body, no part of me was OK, no part of me was deserving, no part of me was worth anything. I was broken, officially. While I could not imagine a god that would create someone so worthless, I submitted, and was baptized, with the promise that when I came out of that water I would be free from my “sin”, and I would finally be “good”.
When I rose from the freezing Pacific Ocean, I understood that it had all been a lie. Everyone here was fake and had been sold the same bull shit, and instead of being honest, they turned around and started selling the bullshit. I knew from experience that I had to pretend, too. If I wanted to keep my friends, if I wanted my parents to have any faith in me, I had to lie. I kept up the facade for over a year, I think. A year of torture, I got Mono, and if you don’t know, Mono causes depression, so on top of being depressed, and being medicated (by Zoloft which causes worse depression in teens), I was… depressed-ER. I don’t really think I can describe my misery that year. I was so alone, and I had nobody to be honest with. During all of this, my little sister was told by a teen leader that she was “too fat to study the bible and get baptized”. That’s a really loving thing to say to an insecure 13 year old. Comments like that drove my sister to use and sell drugs, and eventually rehab… many times. I can’t blame it all on the church, addiction runs in our family, and she caught the bug, so to speak. She is sober and doing awesome now, I am so proud of her. She has come a very long way.
By the time I was 16, I was through with pretending and “fell away” from the church. My eating disorder became obvious. Anorexia with Bulimia. I would restrict, and when I did eat I would purge. I was sent to a treatment center for eating disorders for three months, a few weeks into my Junior year of high school. During this time my parents were marked and asked to leave the church they had been a part of for, I don’t know, 14 years. Coincidentally the church had a huge falling out right around this time, so many people left.
Why on Earth did I tell you this story??? Oh yeah, I wanted you to understand where I am coming from when I explain why I believe it is important to let children, and young adults make their own decisions. I will not send my children to church. Personally, I do not believe in the Christian god, and I certainly do not want my children to be taught to hate, that they are not worth love, that they are not good enough or that they will burn in the fiery pits of hell. You might be thinking, “But Christians follow Christ, and Jesus was so good!” Yeah, JESUS was good, he was loving, accepting, forgiving, he spent time with the sinners and he did not judge. I don’t know many Christians who do ANY of those things. If my kids want to go to church, can they? Absolutely. I will also spend time reinforcing their greatness, because we have no idea what they take from these biblical stories.
You now understand why I will not be raising my children Christian, now let me tell you why I am not raising them vegetarian. Personally, I choose not to eat meat, or dairy and only occasional fish because morally I can’t justify it. Thousands of animals are mass murdered after torture, and disgusting living conditions so you can go to your nearest Mc Donalds and get a double cheese burger for 99 cents at the drop of a hat. It is not natural. Humans are genetically hunter-gatherers. So your body tells you to eat as much as you can at each meal, because historically, you didn’t know when you would get your next one. Since food is readily available, you would think you could slow down and listen to your body, chew. You don’t, and unless you make the conscious effort, you won’t. The factories, and the cows are causing pollution. The animals are given growth hormones, which everyone is ingesting, and we wonder why the obesity rates are so high. CHILDREN are being diagnosed with diabetes. It is disgusting to me. Yet, here I am, allowing my kids to eat meat. Do I buy organic meat? Yes. But if I am so against even eating animals, why do I let them eat animals? Because I want them to make their own decision, when they are old enough. I do not want to my kids to be guilted into doing what I believe is right, I want them to choose what they believe is right.
For more on the ICOC and my fucked up religious backround check out: “So… I grew up in a cult” http://healthymama.net/?p=356

****If you are reading this because you have had a similar experience, have history with the ICOC/ICC, or you need help leaving, I am going to post some resources here for you. Free to email me at isahealthymama@yahoo.com or find my “recovery page” on facebook www.facebook.com/icocrecovery Here are a few blogs and websites from people who have left the ICOC/ICC and have shared their experiences and knowledge:

http://www.reveal.org/ <— This page has the truth about the ICOC.
http://www.spiritualpornography.com/ <— Don’t worry, it’s totally appropriate, she named it Spiritual Pornography because that’s what Kip McKean called it when you read anything negative about the church. They post information it might be harder to find, such as Kip’s (supposed) resignation, and letters written to the church.

http://henrykriete.com/ <— Here you can read what REALLY happened with Henry Kriete and his family.
http://ministeriolatino.blogspot.com/ <—- Here you can read a blog from a former member of Kip’s current church (City of Angels International Church of Christ). He has written actually experiences between himself and Kip, AND other “leaders”. A very interesting read. He came across my blog and actually recognized someone I had written about (I kept it confidential).
http://www.tolc.org/ <—- Here you can read Henry Kriete’s letter and other letters written to the church. You can also click “debate” and you will be transferred to http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ICCdiscussion&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FICCdiscussion%2Fstart where you can interact with current and former members.