Monday, August 31, 2009

Welcome to OA, Welcome Home

OA in San Diego is cool. They have meetings here every day, multiple times a day. It's not like home where it was one day a week. Help here is literally just a meeting away. Plus they have multiple meeting formats like Women's meeting, a Steps meeting where you go through and discuss each step, and on and on. Tonight was a format like I have never been a part of before. There was a podium up front and the entire room was filled with chairs lined in rows like a classroom. I couldn't believe how many people were there. I got a warm welcome since I'm a newcomer from Indiana--the new people in OA are the most important.

Anyway, what really got me thinking was the passage from OA For Today that a young woman read. It was the topic of discussion at the meeting.

I have never seen a person grow or change in a constructive direction when motivated by guilt, shame, and/or hate. -William Goldberg

For today: I let no one--including myself--try to shame me into changing something about myself I wish were different. I pray to be relieved of guilt and self-hate, and to accept and like myself exactly as I am. That is where I can begin to change.

What would it be like to accept myself the way I am right now? Honestly? Too scary. Why would I want to accept myself? I could no longer obsess about all the things I want to change or think up ways I could be better. I would no longer be able to berate myself for not having the job I want, not having more friends, not being skinny, not dressing fashionably, not having perfect white teeth or straight teeth, not having long enough or straight enough hair, not having better social skills, not being able to be the life of the party, never knowing the right thing to say, not being able to get the guy I want, not being able to make decisions on my own, never knowing what to do, and always thinking someone else is better.

If I weren't doing all of that, what would I do? Would I just enjoy life? I mean, how though? I make up the rules about what I need to be happy. If I accept myself, it means accepting mediocrity. I'm not even sure what makes me happy right now. Moving away from everything I know and not having a job puts me in an awkward position where I have to find my place again. I'm not even sure that I am homesick because I'm still me in this body--only 2000 miles away from where I was before. Changing location doesn't change attitudes. I am no happier or sadder than where I came from. If I'm not happy, it's a reflection of who I am on the inside. That's the thing about OA, you realize it's not about the food.

So anyway, the realization I came up with today is that the thing that makes me feel the most happy ever is being accepted. LOL! It's so funny because I don't accept myself. That being the case, my happiness hinges on other's acceptance of me. Sometimes I like myself, but it's so much easier to be critical--it's familiar. When someone else recognizes and brings something positive about me to my attention, it's like the gates of heaven open up. I want so much to be liked but I still don't believe there is much there worth liking. That's why I'm in OA--it's not about food, it's about self-worth and how that relates back to your eating.

So whatever, I am just rambling now but I'm no longer in therapy and this is therapeutic for me. I haven't even blogged for weeks because it wasn't until now that I felt like I even had anything important to talk about. I guess one last thing I'll mention about tonight was how OA is great because people there accept you. It's such a great feeling to the point that you almost wish the entire world (or dad, or ex bf, or whoever troubles you) would accept you with open arms.

I was so surprised tonight when a newcomer (literally, it was her first meeting) came up and said to me that she didn't understand why I was here. I assume she was referring to my body weight and appearance. I guess to someone who is obese, I don't seem too bad, but it did shock me. I seriously look in the mirror and see an oompa loompa, like from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Short, fat, and round. Or Shrek with broad shoulders, a kind of mannish build. I don't feel womanly and I certainly don't dress womanly. I pray for the day when I look in the mirror and can accept the person looking back at me. When I finally accept myself, I think I may finally be happy. Besides, it's my acceptance that matters most.

Thanks for listening to me, cyberspace. Goodnight.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Appreciate the Journey

This poem sums up my feelings today as I pack and prepare for my journey and the next chapter in my life. In every sense of the meaning, I'm taking a "leap of faith" bigger than any I have taken before. I have a feeling Robert Frost was right, but in the meantime I'll just have to wait and see. For now, I just need to sit back and appreciate the journey, let go of control, and see where it takes me.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Home Sweet Home, No More...

As my time here in Bloomington dwindles down, I am getting sad about leaving my hometown and home for the last 26 years of my life. Don't get me wrong, I am excited to begin a new chapter in my life, but Bloomington will always hold a special place in my heart.

I found something today that I wrote about Bloomington, but I'm not even sure what I was writing for. Anyway I didn't want to just delete it, obviously there was some purpose behind it. Maybe it's no "coincidence" that I ran across it as I am preparing for my big move.

I live in Bloomington, IN which is the home of Indiana University. Many of the activities in Bloomington are built around the campus (football games, basketball games, shows put on at the IU Auditorium such as Riverdance and Rent). Check out 4th street which is famous for all our different foreign food restaurants (Indian, Moroccan, Italian, and Turkish cuisine just to name a few). Also you can eat at the Dalai Lama's brother's restaurant "The Snow Lion". Half an hour away is Brown County Indiana, where there are hundreds of little shops selling everything from homemade fudge to blown glass to jewelery. My favorite time of season is the fall when they have all their fall decorations out. It's like walking around a cute little historical village from the past. Also there are tons of wineries around Bloomington. The closest is Oliver Winery which is absolutely beautiful -- tons of picnic tables and a small pond outside. An hour from Bloomington is Indiana's capital, Indianapolis. If you enjoy shopping in many high-end shops such as Coach and Banana Republic, definitely check out the Circle Center Mall or the Fashion Mall. French Lick Indiana is another main attraction. Only about 1 1/2 away you can gamble on their Riverboat casino and walk around the beautiful West Baden hotel which was just recently restored. Figures such as Al Capone once stayed there when French Lick was a booming town known for it's purifying Pluto Water.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cake Class Finale

I've been horrible about updating lately. My apologies! I have been busy moving from my apartment into my temporary living situation at my mom's house. Also my birthday was yesterday and the entire last week was spent in preparation for my party last weekend. YES, I made my own birthday cake (surprised?) and I cannot WAIT to get pictures up! But first I need to go a few weeks back and post pictures from my last cake class.

However, before I do that, I need to share some bad news. Over the 4th of July weekend, my cake instructor unexpectedly passed away. They believe it was a heart attack. I am still in shock over the news, especially considering I had just seen Linda the week before she passed away looking happy and well. Cake class was always something I looked forward to each week and Linda was 100% responsible for creating such a fun and friendly atmosphere.

I am so thankful that I was able to meet Linda and have her be a part of my life, even if it was only for a short time. I will always remember Linda's infectious smile and wonderful spirit. She was so very talented when it came to cake decorating and I am thankful I was able to learn under her. I send my greatest condolences to her family and close friends, as I'm sure they are all feeling the impact of this terrible loss. I especially feel for her daughter, who Linda always spoke fondly of. I know we are close in age and I can only imagine how she feels. God Bless.

My last cake was from Course 3 where we learned about fondant and tiered cakes. I included a post earlier about making fondant roses for my cake. I had to make 40, but thankfully these can be made weeks in advance. For my cake, I used 10" cake rounds for the bottom tier of the cake and 6" cake rounds for the top tier, covered both in butter cream, and then rolled fondant over top. I smoothed out the fondant so that it hugged the sides of the cake and trimmed off the excess around the edges. MUCH harder than it looks!

It's important to use buttercream icing under the fondant because it helps a) keep the fondant in place and b) helps the taste! Not everyone likes the taste of fondant, but I think the combination (fondant + buttercream) is yummy! I also used buttercream icing to make my borders around the bottom of the cakes. The next step was placing my fondant roses and leaves on the cake. After this was done, I finally was able to stack the top tier onto the bottom and presto finito--done! See pictures below.

Friday, July 10, 2009

See the World through Rose Colored Lenses

"I know it is not the goodness or badness of the world, but my mind which tints the lenses through which I see."

I love today's OA meditation and just thought I would share because it goes along with what I have been talking about in previous blogs and thinking about on my own. I have finally come to accept that I cannot control anything outside of myself. I know that I cannot change others even though God-willing, sometimes I would like to! My care and concern, and admittedly my selfishness, often gets me overly involved in people's problems. However, I think there is some merit in the idea that sometimes other people can see in us what we cannot see with our own eyes. That's why I often ask for others opinions, but I am slowly beginning to trust my own inner guidance.

Before you go about trying to change others, ask yourself first--what do I need to change? Do you want to become a better version of yourself? Ask those around you for their honest opinion of you and what they think you could work on. Ask your friends, significant other, and co-workers how they would rate you on a scale of 1 through 10. Ask them how you can be a better partner, friend, or co-worker. Don't immediately become defensive. Just hear them out.

Simply because you cannot change the people you would like to change doesn't mean that you can't be an inspiration to others. Keep smiling--it'll make people wonder what you're up to! When you have what others want, they will come forward to ask for your opinion, your advice, or how to go about achieving the same successes.

"For Today: I am letting go of my urge to change people and situations to fit my expectations. It is not the world that needs changing; it is I."