Summer ’19

The temperature today will hit a mere seventy degrees*, which I am going to celebrate by walking everywhere. This summer has felt endless, and it feels like a relief to be finally entering FALL.

*= 21.111°C for Celsius friends

 

 

Limbo

It’s been an odd summer. We attended five weddings, of which four required significant travel. We settled into a new apartment, only to make plans to move again shortly. We both left and started new jobs. I planted flowers for the first time and they’ve since shriveled up in the heat. I suppose if I had to put a word to it, I would describe summer as a time of limbo. Endings and beginnings. In-betweens.

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Also, Paris Baguette opened up two new locations in Philadelphia 😛

Body weirdness

Summer has been slower. It took a while for me not to feel as anxious or panicky about having more free time. Sadly, it feels like I haven’t been able to make the most of this short-lived restfulness, partly due to the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time (and money!) dealing with a string of random health issues — the most vexing and recent of which has been a cracked tooth. No kidding, I have been to four dentists/endodontists this summer. Other fun issues have included a UTI, testing positive for tuberculosis (it was a false positive), knee problems, debilitating jaw pain, etc.

I find it interesting that all these ailments started popping up once I started to sleep more and rest more in general. My inner hypochondriac was freaking out a little all summer. As someone who came of age at the same time as search engines, I have fond memories of googling diseases and feeling utterly convinced that I had all of them.

Seriously, though, bodies are a mystery. On the one hand, they are so prone to disease and decay (and bug bites). But on the other hand, they have such an incredible capacity for healing and renewal.

Sleep quality

I’m truly grateful for what feels like a level-up in my quality of sleep. For the first time in ten years, I am sleeping ‘normally’ — for me, that’s about eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye. I struggled with insomnia and waking up early (3-4am) for a long time, and to be honest, I can’t pinpoint what exactly has shifted. I suspect that not being in front of a screen for 12-15 hours a day has something to do with it. Having much less day-to-day anxiety is great and not being hungry all the time helps. But I think the final piece of the puzzle for me has been having a consistent bedtime routine. We learn that routine is critical for kids to thrive, but I wonder if adults are that much different.

I don’t know right now and that’s OK

Existential questions stop when you graduate college and/or get married, right? WRONG.

There are so many aspects of life that feel like shifting sand. Questions surrounding vocation, where to live, family, faith, friends, money, identity, etc. abound and can feel exhausting and overwhelming. When those feeling arise, I’m getting in the habit of saying to myself (sometimes out loud), I Don’t Know Right Now And That’s OK. Sounds a bit crazy, but somehow in our Cartesian minds we have an expectation that we ought to have it all figured out by now.

On a lighter note

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At the beginning of the summer, I started swapping out some of our cleaning and personal hygiene products for more “environmentally friendly”, “less toxic” ones (in quotes because it’s hard to believe or trust these claim sometimes). My parents gifted me with a Target gift card for my birthday in May, so I decided to splurge invest in new shampoo, conditioner, facewash, deodorant, and detergent (laundry + dish). I have mostly enjoyed the new products, though I’ve run into a few issues here and there. The most interesting outcome is that my menstrual cramps have progressively become more and more manageable over the summer — from debilitating to a slight annoyance. If that sounds odd, one of the main reasons people switch from their regular beauty/personal products is that they contain chemicals that mimic our hormones (even the ‘good’ brands like Dove!). Research is still not conclusive, but the according to the theory, being exposed to these chemicals disrupts our hormonal balance. Some people argue that the vast majority of our exposure to environmental toxins is well beyond our control (e.g. toxins in the air), so using a different shampoo isn’t going to move the needle…but again, this is my highly unscientific personal experience & experiment.

Happy Fall!

Right, that was a monster of a post. Happy fall & go enjoy a pumpkin spice latte if that’s your thing!

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Why having an eating disorder sucked: Part 1

Hi again! I’m writing a several-part series on why having an eating disorder sucked for me. I don’t know how many parts there will be (because it sucked in so many ways), but here is part 1 🙂

Disclaimer: this was only my experience; everyone’s lived experience is different. However, I think it’s safe to say that eating disorders universally suck! Even if you don’t feel like you have a clinical eating disorder, one study showed that sixty-five percent of American women report disordered eating of some sort (source). Having an unhealthy relationship with food is practically the norm. I hope that sharing my experience helps to shed some light on how devastating and completely un-glamorous it is to struggle chronically with food and body image.

With that out of the way, here’s the first thing that came to mind when I thought about why having an ED was horrible: Being freezing cold all the time.

For years, I had ‘ice fingers’ – even in the heat of summer. It wasn’t very nice to hold hands with me either on a date or if you were next to me in an awkward group prayer. I remember crying in bed one night because I was just so cold in spite of my ensemble of Uniqlo Heattech gear and duvet covers.

When your body isn’t getting enough fuel, your brain goes into survival mode and tries to figure out how to conserve energy so that your body can continue to support vital functions – like keeping your heartbeat going. One major way to save precious energy is by lowering your core body temperature. That’s why you can feel abnormally cold all the time.

For the most part I dismissed this as a sort of personality trait of mine – “Oh, I’m just constantly cold.” But what really broke my heart was when I noticed that babies would recoil from my touch and cry when I held them. Yikes! Poor babies. When I nannied, I would try to blow on my hands before touching them. This made me realize that something was a little off – bodies are supposed to be welcoming and nurturing and safe for little ones.

When I went through recovery and starting eating much, much more (like 5-10 times more) my body actually started radiating heat – the air around me would feel warm! I felt like a furnace! After several months, my metabolism calmed down a little and I’ve noticed that my body hardly feels distressingly cold anymore (except in a Philly sub-zero snow storm).