MORNING MUNCHKINS (I don't CARE what time of day it is - but I'm a morning person and I'm happy right now, so it must be morning in my world! ;D)
Just wanted to share some exciting news with you - I finally brought my parents into the box for a session! It may seem strange that I've been an avid crossfitter for a year now and still haven't brought my family to meet those who I view as my extended family, but that’s exactly what this post is for!! :D
As many past and recovering warriors will tell you, the graph of the recovery process is far from linear, and would probably look a lot more like a kid's first attempt at using crayons: it is a wobbly, zigzagging journey dotted with relapses and letdowns. It takes a long time to build the trust between yourself and those you care about, but only a split second to lose it. I see trust as a piggy bank: you spend the longest time filling it with coins and feel so accomplished when you finally fill it up, but drop it on the floor and then all that’s left are coins and broken pieces. The coins that meant perseverance and determination when they were used to fill up the space in the piggy are now no more than pieces of copper on the ground. You realize that even though the pieces of the bank are still there, you still have to find the glue and the time to patch it back together.
My demons would often mask the severity of the consequences in favor of getting their demands checked off - I would hide food in my closet without thinking about the possibility of my helper finding it while cleaning my room and sneak out of the house down to my clubhouse gym before my parents woke without considering that one day they might wake up while I was gone and discover my secret. I lied so much that sometimes I forgot what was true anymore - I was writing a biography for a character that I had made up, and I was forgetting how to write my own.
My propensity for lying meant that my mom basically had no trust left in me and for a long time after I crawled out of "the danger zone" (that is, being close to dying and still having to be watched every second to ensure that I wouldn't secretly exercise until I felt like fainting or skip a meal), she would still get super worried when I was a few minutes late coming back from the gym or if I came back with bruises and scrapes. Because she was still scarred from the times when I would really hurt myself, be in true pain and still put on a happy face, she would still feel uneasy reflexively when she saw certain behaviors that were reminiscent of those that would ring alarm bells in the past.
My mom sometimes still has a hard time believing me when I say I'm feeling great, and I still hesitate to tell her when I'm feeling sore or when I rip my hands and bruise my legs. I still feel like I'm being judged when I tell people that I have a stomach virus and they think that it might still be one of my "excuses." Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that these are responses of people who saw me struggle and deeply care about my recovery, and that they only think this way because they fear that I will fall back into the hole. I thank every one of them for creating such a strong support system when I needed it, and using every way possible to help dig me out of the pit.
However, I would still like to bring peace to the minds of those people by saying that I can now crawl out of that hole on my own. You might notice that I didn’t say that I am now completely out of the hole, and that’s because truthfully, I don’t think I am. I still have days when I get teased by my demons, when I feel like I have to work extra hard to remind myself that I don’t always have to be in control, that it’s okay loosen the reins. But I can safely say that the biography I write today is genuine and that I’ve definitely found myself again: today when I laugh and flash a crazy grin, my heart is smiling too.
The trust between my family and me has come so far this year. I’m now allowed to go about my daily activities without being investigated by my parents: I can do skill work after training without fretting over whether my mom will call me and ask me where I am and my mom doesn’t have to ask my helper whether I’ve REALLY eaten my lunch. I felt that it was the right time to bring my parents up to the box because I feel like they now understand that even though training is tough, the sweat and blood I invest is nothing compared to the triumphs, happiness and victories that I get in return.
Watching my parents talk to my crossfit buddies and try the workout was like hearing a remix of my two favorite songs (I have really bad music taste, so you wouldn’t want to know what those are, but you know what I mean okkkaaayyyyy ;D): it was a dream come true and I literally giggled myself to sleep that night.
After the session, my mom said something that meant everything to me, "Those few years you would always pretend to be happy when you weren't and you would think I couldn't tell, do you really think I was that blind? But now I really see how happy you are here, and it's real."
Thank you, momma and dapi for getting through your first WOD, but more importantly, thank you for opening your minds and accepting my passion: I know how many shadows and memories you had to get past in order to do so.
Thank you to my Crossfit family as well, for being as friendly and welcoming as you are to me to my parents and allowing them to rest assured that I am well taken care at the box (and that someone will be there to rescue me if I accidentally drop a bar on myself, or make a glove out of sports tape for me if I rip my hands doing pull-ups ;D).
The piggy bank that I glued back together had slowly begun to fill with coins over the past year, but only today has it filled to the brim. There are cracks on the surface of my piggy, but who cares? It holds my coins just fine, and that’s all that really matters.
GOOD MORNING SUNSHINES!! :)
Not really morning now, but it's looking pretty bright around here, because I'm launching "Munchkin Mail"!! :) <3
One of the things that I found was lacking when I struggled with anorexia was that although there were psychologists and doctors all around me, there wasn't truly anyone who could relate to me. Even the best doctor I knew could only nod sympathetically as I told her my worries and fears, and draw from experiences with past patients to help solve my problems.
Although I am not a psychologist or a professional in this field, I feel that I can offer something that contemporary medicine can't, and that's personal experience. I don't have scientific phrases to throw at you, only honest words that I can share regarding what I went through.
Everyone's demons are of a different kind, but relief from knowing that someone out there went through the same black hole and actually managed to crawl his or her way back out is universal.
So whether you're still going through an eating disorder right now, or know someone that is, or are simply curious about a certain aspect of this illness, please do send me an email. I will be posting my answers on the blog so that all readers can benefit from your questions, but if you have a personal question that you do not wish to see posted, please specify that in your email, and I would gladly accommodate that.
If any current warriors are reading this, please know that you are certainly not alone. It may seem like no one in this world understands you, but if you're reading this blog, you can count me as one who does!
An extra little note:
Although my chinese isn't too good, it's communicable, so if you feel more comfortable writing in Chinese, send it all the same, and I will attempt to use all my Chinese powers (or consult someone to help me translate if I feel that I cannot fully express myself) to answer your questions :)
Before you eagerly begin reading this post expecting an uplifting and thrilling story about a munchkin that found its way home through a forest of tangled branches, let me first kill those expectations by telling you that I am the munchkin, and that the part about "finding my way home" is metaphorical. This post will tell you why and what inspired me to start this blog, and what I aim to achieve through it. Although this story is not as thrilling as the title suggests, it will hopefully be uplifting!
When I was told by my coach that I would have to eat more carbs (MAJOR fear food at the time) to train better and to gain muscle, I was shocked and quite afraid. Would it really become muscle, or would it become fat? Although I trusted my coach completely, I found it difficult to consume larger amounts of a macronutrient that I so feared - it took several reprimands before I actually changed my habits and started eating more carbs. It was pretty scary in the first few weeks but it ultimately paid off: I began performing better during training and I actually started to gain some weight.
(More far reaching) Hopes and dreams:
2. Expanding the general acceptance and understanding of eating disorders in Hong Kong.
Hello world! I'm Steph, and I am an aspiring clinical psychologist, avid advocate for eating disorder awareness, and bubbly human being :)