Thursday, April 5, 2007

Life Goes on...

There are a few reasons why I have not written in a few days. Some are more futile than others, but in general, it turned out to be a very busy, intense week.
First a futile reason: I have not been able to get up at 5 a.m. for a few days, which has meant that I missed the hour of calm before the troups wake up, and I write better when things are quiet. I don't have the endless chain of little complaints ranging from I'm still hungry, to, he took it, and he won't give it back, or I can't find my socks. I was just so tired. Today, it seems that I am back on track.
Then there are less futile reasons, and less futile reasons can sometimes be hard to talk about. One of our family members has been sick with anorexia for a while. This last weekend was a very hard one. I thought I did not have the strength to help any more because it was getting so hard. I don't know if you believe in God. I believe in a universal God, and I prayed so hard that he would give me the strength to continue, and that he would help my loved one make the decision to recover. Miraculously on Sunday, my loved one made the decision to heal, and work day by day at getting better, at accepting feelings, and oneself.
Anorexia is not an easy thing to talk about, and even though it touches at least 1% of the female population, you rarely hear about it from people. How often does someone tell you they have a problem with anorexia, or that a family member does? I always knew that there were socio-cultural causes for anorexia, but I never really realized how strong these pressures were. First, there is school, where they tell you every day of your life, that you should eat healthy foods only, (while serving you the worst foods for lunch) and exercise to stay thin, where some kids now receive "fat" report cards, and are labeled fat. What does that do to the child who receives the card, and to the others who are scared of getting the card? There is fashion. Each time, you go to the mall, you see these skeletal mannequins in the window displays. Trying the clothes on, is only a reminder of how you do not look like them, and should you not since they are the display? There are the movies, in which the beautiful sickly thin actress gets the handome good guy. There are the ads everywhere, eat this and you'll loose weight. The list goes on and on.
When you go food shopping, and you are waiting in line, the magazines there, are nothing but an endless reference to body image, and weight loss. The titles you read while you wait are: lose 10 pounds quick, how to lose your tummy, 10 wonder foods that will make you lose weight, 10 exercises for flatter abs. Then there are the the tabloids, who bombard you with their pictures of skeletal actresses, and the "unfortunate" ones who are comfortable in their average bodies.
Considering that women visit the supermarket at least once a week, if not more, and that they are often accompanied by their children, we can say that women, and children are bombarded with the message that FAT IS BAD, THIN IS GOOD, and TOO THIN IS EVEN BETTER.
Lately, whenever I go to the store, while I am waiting for the cashier to ring me up, I have started turning the magazines to not have to stare at the negative messages. We do not have to sit there and continue to let messages like these be pushed upon us. When I turn the magazine, I say no to the messages, I show my children that they too can say no, and maybe I am helping a few women in line say no.
I know all this is very serious, but it feels good to write about it, and share it with you.

Eventhough I did not write much, I did quite a bit of knitting over the last few days. I finished Paul-Hugo's birthday socks, and started on Alexandra's. I am knitting her socks with a luscious hank of Fleece Artist in a red poppy color, Alexandra's favorite color. It is a lace sock, with an ostrich feather pattern. I am designing it as I knit. I turned the heel of the first sock last night. I probably will knit quite a bit today, during and after our school, because the New England weather has once again tricked us! Spring was here to stay, temperatures in the 60s, sunny, lovely breeze, and then slam, 30s, snow, and sleet. You know how they say you can vote with your wallet if you like or dislike a store, well I am voting with my feet, and they will stay dry and somewhat warm at home in a strong show of disapproval for the current change in weather!

The last thing, but by no means the least important one, is that I am starting a new business, and it has everything to do with knitting. I am not quite ready to give you all the details as I am still in the preparatory stages, but should be ready within a few weeks. All I can say at the moment is that I thank all of you who wrote me e-mails asking me when and what I was going to do now that I was in Boston. You kept me thinking, and inspired me to start something new.

You know, all in all these last few days have been great. We have had birthdays, anniversaries, healing, and starting a new business. This is why I love writing, it makes me see the positive in everything around me. Whoever invented writing is way up there with the one who invented socks!


drmimi said...

Kurt Vonnegut wrote often, "so it goes."

I have had a life long challenge with food and body. It all started at age 16 for me trying to be the svelte dancer. Alternating between the way too much and the way too little. It took me many years to figure out I had an eating disorder (other things had to be addressed first). Now that I am on the too much end of the spectrum, I had to seek outside help for my health's sake.

All I know is change is possible, especially with support. Fiber work and knitting have helped me to walk through the depression and food frenzies. I now exercise and knit instead of sleep walk.

Caroline, I send you great love and hope. Also quite a few Nam Myoho Renge Kyo's (what I chant as a Buddhist for good measure).

CDH said...

Dear Mimi,

Thank you for your support. It is so nice to hear that one is not alone.

Mimi, I tried subscribing to your group but the e-mail did not work.


Anonymous said...

Hi Caroline - just returned from a week off, and read your posts. Your description of the anorexia issue in your family has brought tears to my eyes...this is such a prevalant, heartbreaking and difficult problem. Our niece was diagnosed with anorexia her junior year of high school, at a very advanced stage, and it was terrifying. I will offer you this hope - she now seems completely recovered after receiving significant help from a therapist and nutritionist. It was a long road back...but she went away to college this year, and has been doing very well. She is even on the women's rugby team - and is traveling to Ireland this spring.

So, I will be thinking of both you and your loved one, and hoping that you continue to find strength you need to keep going.

Meanwhile, on a less serious note, I have almost finished that other sock - just need to finish the toe - and I will have persevered to completing my first pair!!!

You have piqued my curiosity with the mention of a new business venture. I am glad that it has everything to do with have such a gift!

And, you are missed in Petaluma!


CDH said...

Hi Stephanie,

Welcome back. It sounds like you had a great week. Thank you for your words of comfort.
Congratulations on the first socks, and may many more follow.