Expanding My Horizons

I thought I had quite nicely expanded my horizons when I lived in Scotland for six months and studied at the University of Aberdeen. I learned how to drink beer like a man- a skill which, I am proud to say, I have since forgotten. I learned that I could find lodgings in any town, big or small, on basically no notice. I accompanied world-class musicians in open music nights in dimly lit smoky pubs (simultaneously learning the whole drinking-like-a-man thing). Lastly, I learned that such a thing existed as a deep-fried Mars bar.

And who said Scottish cooking sucked?

Life with anorexia was completely different. For me, it consisted of three things: the scale, the treadmill, and the calorie counting guide. I was too afraid of anything else. It was so much like when I was walloped by OCD in high school. I wanted to stop washing my hands, I wanted to NOT be afraid to go out in public or eat at a restaurant without thinking about how many germs were crawling all over the damn place. But I couldn't. Yet the anxiety that would accompany not washing or not counting calories was so overwhelming that I felt basically compelled to do it.

It was a singularly dull, miserable life.

Now, however, I am turning things around. My latest fascination, besides crochet, which is still holding its own, is beading. I've gotten quite into it and am almost ready to set up an online store to sell some of my creations. I am trying my hand at fiction writing, though it sounds awfully autobiographical at this point. Tomorrow night I am taking a basic beading class. I have picked up the basics on my own, but I want to make my stuff look more professional. So I can charge more.

This summer, I am hoping to go on a trip out west, to see all of those really cool national parks they have in the travel shows, and to go hiking. Now, the strange thing is that even eating a french fry is expading my horizons.

For someone with OCD, beading and crochet and other repetitious crafts are therapeutic because they tap into the very parts of my brain that are giving me trouble. Yes, OCD and anorexia are problems. I will be the first to deny that. But there's also a sense of calm that accompanies focusing them on something different.

I suppose this is where the chipper writer signs off and says brightly, "Who knows what my life will bring?" Though this is true, I have never been classified as chipper. Ever. Not unless I've had a double triple latte with about 80 packets of sugar. The simple fact is that none of us know what tomorrow will bring, none of us know how we will handle it, what will come of everything.

There is a certain kind of relief in knowing that I can handle it. Whatever it is.

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3 comments:

marcella said...

Have you read "An Unquiet Mind" by Kay Radfield-Jamieson. She's had a varied, difficult and interesting life struggling with bipolar disorder. The reason I thought of it here was that some of it was spent in Scotland.

mary said...

Drank like a man, huh? Root beer is my drink.
Beading class sounds like a great place to get new ideas and tips. You are even motivating me to get stringing.
If you must have something to obsess over let it be the colors of the beads or what adventure your fiction writing takes on....maybe it needs to be non fiction for you, which is fine, but with all your hopes somehow mingled in the story. Write what you know, just remember that you know more than the damn ED. Make it a lesser part of yourself by writing it off. Life with anorexia can become life beyond it.It's consumed enough. That story is not nearly as fascinating as the one which will fly you off on a mountain top in the highlands or out west on a hiking trail. WITH BEARS, OH MY!
Keep going....I can't wait to see what you can do!

CARRIE ARNOLD said...

Marcella,

My psychiatrist recommended "An Unquiet Mind" for me, because of the suicide issues, as well as the bipolar ones- though I'm just depressed and moody, not technically bipolar. I guess it's a fine line. I did enjoy the abbey/church ruins at St Andrews though. I did some chalk rubbings of the old tombstones to get the celtic knots. Sounds morbid, but it was quite eerie, doing it in the pouring rain.

Mary,
I didn't really drink beer- more like hard cider with blackcurrant juice. I harken back to those wonderful times by mixing apple and pomegranate juices. It's pretty similar. And I can walk straight after having a big glass! :)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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Have any questions or comments about this blog? Feel free to email me at carrie@edbites.com



nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote



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