Something New

The girls and I had a busy week learning a new craft. During treatment last year, a lot of the wonderful people I met would knit during our group sessions. Starting out, it was really distracting. Needles were clinking together, yarn was everywhere, and it seemed like everyone was knitting a blanket. I quickly learned that this kept the mind busy. It was a healthy way to cope with whatever negative emotions or negative situations you were dealing with. So I started knitting. I would knit after meals. I would knit when Ed was winning. I would knit when an uncomfortable discussion was happening. I. Would. Knit.

So this week, I wanted to add another coping mechanism to my toolbox: sewing. Sewing to me always seemed like a daunting activity. I always felt like there was too much room for error. What if you measured incorrectly? What if you sew it incorrectly? What if the dress/project doesn’t fit the girls? I am extremely good at doubting myself. I don’t like trying new things because I am afraid to fail at it. But, in hopes of becoming the best version of myself for the Gregory girls, I took this week to find something new to help cope with the never ending stream of thoughts.

Before starting my first sewing project, I had never learned how to read a sewing pattern, but I had taken a sewing class last year to learn the basics (thank you, Aunt Sue). The girls and I took a trip to Joann Fabrics, picked out what appeared to be a simple dress pattern, bought a piece of fabric, and went home to attempt to make a dress for Lucy.

DISASTER. Absolute epic failure. I had picked out a pattern that had sleeves on it. Easy, right? No. Not for the first attempt at making a piece of clothing. To me, this was failure. This was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. I needed something to help diffuse the crazy, not ADD to the crazy.

Then, I found a print-at-home pattern online. It looked simple and there was even a tutorial video I could sew along with. YES! This was exactly what I had been looking for. So, I started sewing. I sew when the girls are napping. I sew when the girls go to bed. I sew when the crazy seems to be too loud. And you know what? It’s healthy. I’m not listening to the thoughts when I’m sewing. I’m listening to my sewing machine (thank you, Mrs. Gregory) humming away. I’m not thinking about my failures and faults. I’m thinking about bobbin thread and hummingbird scissors.

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The dresses, they aren’t perfect, but they represent two nights this week where peace came in and negativity went out. Needless to say, the girls are about to have metric boatloads of imperfect dresses and outfits in their closets, all made with love, all made during the wee hours of the morning, and all made with a quiet mind.

Lucy, Dorothy, and I are starting a new project. On this road, I have been looking for a purpose, searching for a way to add goodness and love back into the world, so we’re going to work on that in the upcoming weeks. I’ll keep you posted! If nothing else, there are many more peaceful nights headed my way. It’s about damn time for some peace.

So for those of you reading who are in recovery or are on your way to recovery, I challenge you to add another coping mechanism to your toolbox this week, a healthy one that challenges you, but also brings you peace. After all, we need all the tools we can get to get through this.

XOXO,

Emily

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Before There Was You

I’ve literally had this entry title up for a year with not a single word typed out. It’s taken me a year to figure out why I wanted to start this blog. A year to figure out why I want recovery so terribly. A year to figure out why I wanted to choose life over death.  Finally, after having our sweet Dorothy and watching Lucy turn two, I realized that the why was simple – two little ladies need me. So, if this blog only serves as a reminder to myself that I have two little pairs of eyes watching me, then it has served it’s purpose. But, if I can help just ONE person see that they mean something, that their life MEANS something, even better. This is the shortened version of how I got here. It’s a long read, so buckle up.

*Trigger Warning: for those friends in recovery, this blog may include trigger topics, such as restricting, purging, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Before I became a wife, before I became a mom, I was just Emily. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew you, everyone knew where you lived, and everyone knew almost everything about you. When I was a freshman in high school, people started to point out that I was different. I didn’t play sports, but instead loved the arts. I wasn’t thin, but instead had hips. I didn’t sugar coat things, but instead was blunt. All of these things quickly earned me the title of “fat bitch” by the boys of my grade. AWESOME. As most 14-year-old girls do, I took this to heart. Over my freshman year, I started restricting what I ate, purging what I did eat, and would wake up in the middle of the night to do hundreds of crunches, just hoping and praying that I would earn a different nickname, that I would just blend in with my peers and not stick out. Did it work? Who knows.

Now, I have written, erased, deleted, and scrapped this post at least three times. Am I sharing too much? Am I going back too far? Does anyone care about the people who have come and gone throughout my life? Probably not. But, in order to share my story, there has to be some context. Hang in there. I promise the back story will be short-lived!

I have loved three boys in my life. The first was my best friend. We were inseparable all through middle school and high school. When we got to college, that was it. All the years of loving and caring didn’t mean anything. It was almost like our friendship never happened – super-duper shitty. My second love was a guy I dated in high school. This one hurt. We hurt each other, threw each other under the bus, and then made up. Every. Single. Time. This went on for a few years until we didn’t even know each other anymore. But, this was an important relationship in my life. It taught me what true heartbreak was. It taught me that people aren’t always who they seem to be. And it taught me that once you give pieces of yourself away, you can never get them back.

The third, and final love, deserves his own paragraph. Nathan James. My soul mate, the one I get to fall asleep next to at night, the father of my little girls, and my absolute best friend. He came out of left field at just the perfect time. He challenges me to be better. He forces me to see the good in life, and he can make a fly on the wall laugh. Nathan has also seen the ugly and the bad. He has taken me to inpatient treatment twice since we’ve known each other. He has watched me hemorrhage twice while delivering our sweet girls. He has cried with me when all I wanted to do was make the world go silent. And still, at the end of the day, my sweet husband wraps me up in those big arms and tells me that it’s going to be okay. He is more than I deserve.

So what happened? How did I get here? Over the past 14 years of having an eating disorder and dealing with anxiety/depression, I’ve tried to pinpoint the moment that life changed. Yes, the bullying was the catalyst for the eating disorder, but why wasn’t therapy helping? Why wasn’t inpatient “the cure”? After having Dorothy, I started to realize that the issue wasn’t that therapy didn’t work. The problem is that over the years, I have lost and given away little pieces of myself. I couldn’t figure out what my purpose was anymore. I couldn’t see myself anymore. For the longest time, I thought that God was punishing me for the terrible decisions I had made. When we struggled to get pregnant with Lucy, I had myself convinced that I would never carry any children. But, God is good and we have two beautiful little girls. When I was ready to end my life, I told myself that I deserved that. But in those moments of feeling lost and undeserving of a happy life, I saw Lucy’s sweet little smile in my mind and went into inpatient treatment for a few weeks.

The point of all of this is to say we are all struggling. We are all fighting battles that you may not be able to see. We are all just people trying to find our purpose and to find grace. So next time you’re judging someone or being cruel to someone, just remember that you have no idea what they’re up against.

XOXO,

Emily

 

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