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I was having the blues today, meaning that the Prozac was supposedly not working or something else was on my mind that I didn’t want to really talkabout. I called up a good friend is misery and said, ‘I need your help.’ She suggested going to an OA meeting, and after a little bit of convincing there I was, 4:30pm on the dot. I was in the basement of the Church on 69th street, between Broadway and Columbus Av. I was a little nervous upon entering, I didn’t know what to expect, or if everything was going to stare at me, like I felt that people were doing. I’ve been very self-concious lately, and I’m not sure why. I’ve been feeling more peeling eyes on me, my hijab, my faith, my life, my conduct and my dress. I feel so judged and so judged. At the same time, I can’t help that and whatever I think is only that, it’s what I think. It may or may not be true.

One the most moving parts of this meeting, was hearing the story of a really strong Israeli woman who has been through so much. She came from a fundi family, a family very observant and strict about orthodoxy. Sometimes, the worst bulimics and anorexics come from the most fundmental and observant families. Me included. She told all of us the story of how she began as an anorexic, and she lost weight to the point where she was eating an orange a day, and calling that her meal plan. She was in and out of treatment facilities and she lost her father, to the point where she took perfectionism to the extreme. I don’t think I want to think about what I would have done in that situation. She then started bingeing, then purging, then losing weight, then exercising like a maniac. That’s a lot of compulsive behavior. I would like to research what compulsive behavior actually is and find out why people do what they do. It’s really phenomenal.

I think the saddest thing for me, was seeing this anorexic woman/girl. She looked so pale and so green and she was so skinny. She just looked so awful and incredibly frail. She had tears in her eyes and I can’t believe that this was happening, but I just felt so empty for her. Do you know what I mean? It was so sad, to see all these people with the same problem. We’re all mentally ill in many ways and we turn to food to cope with our lives, we’re perfectionists, we are angry and cruel with ourselves and most of all we lack love.

Another sad moment today, was meeting someone who described herself as a lonely person. She was saying that she didn’t want to be a part of a relationship that was only there for her to erase the loneliness in her life. It made me really sad to see that, to hear how incredibly hollow all of us really are. Where there are grown women with children, but are overeaters, and there are grandmothers and people of all faiths and backgrounds that are trying to rid obsession and compulsion in their lives. Does that make sense?

I think that the hardest thing that I have had to come to terms with is, is dealing with adjusting and moving to a new country let alone moving to somewhere so foreign. I feel so out of everything and I think that a series of things happened today where I just started to feel so cornered and so caught up in the rambling ons of everyday life. I hope, that that makes sense. I am trying to write this post without being overly sentimental but I’ll try to do what I can.

I never realized that moving to a new country would lead to a new way of looking at things, especially now when I’ve been in this country for so long. I don’t think that I need to change to ‘fit in’ or be what I need to be, just like everyone else and I don’t need to fit into a mold so that men can ask me out on a date or so that I can appear more approachable. I don’t care what people think of Muslims, I deserve respect and I deserve to be treated equally for what I believe in. Does that make sense? I think so. I don’t need to change myself for anyone.

I used to think that by needing other people’s attention that I would be satisfied and I could just ask for that, and have people just feed me with good vibes. I don’t need that anymore, and I can do without it. I can be my own person and I can be strong enough to love what I believe in. People don’t really understand me for what I stand up for, and men never will. It’s just a nasty world out there, and half the people in a relationship don’t give a damn about that relationship. They’re just interested in other things that we all know about, and I don’t want that anymore. I would like to just live my life and concentrate, focus on what is important and not get so swayed. I don’t the approval of others to make me feel valid.

Balance

Recently, a really good friend of mine encouraged me to go to OA meetings. OA stands for Overeaters Anonymous and is based on a 12 step program for the spiritual. It is not intended to be restricted to a particular group or faith but one must remember that OA can be anything for anyone. It depends how you take it. The way I take it is directly spiritual and God-driven. My life now, is more surrounded my the concept of faith and God than it ever was which is why OA is so perfect for me. There have been a lot of hesitations about OA by other members who have suffered from eating disorders, but I think that it can be a great support. People take it from it what they can, and that’s the rule that I live by. I’ll go to a meeting if I feel that I’ll binge or that I’ll have an off-day tomorrow. I’ll be all right just by attending a meeting and sitting and listening. There is more information on OA meetings and OA on the Internet so feel free to browse if this is your calling. If not, leave it🙂

One concept that I would like talk about is Balance. I give this word importance, because it is the way that I am trying to manage my life right now. I am going to try and stay in balance because that means not going to any extreme in terms of work, play, feelings, actions and thoughts but giving a little bit of everything a chance to be a part of my life. I’ve grown up thinking that if I didn’t have a perfectly beautiful day then the rest of the day would be completely disasterous and I wouldn’t be accomplishing anything. In fact, I have to come to find that OA meetings have incorporated in my thinking, the concept of balance. It means staying grounded. I found that a few months ago, my work schedule took over my life. I didn’t have a say in the time that I had during the day, and that means something. It means that I didn’t have a balance but that I was leaning towards an unhealthy extreme. It can be difficult to find the right balance, but I don’t think that being right all the time about it is necessary. It’s the trial that counts, I find.

It’s hard to start a journey. The beginning is always unclear and the road seems so difficult to pass. Yet, I think that there’s nothing better than taking a chance and trusting yourself. The journey will come to fruition sometimes without us even being aware of it, at least that’s how it happened for me anyway. I started this blog because I think that the best thing that I can do for myself is share the information that I already have and be open about it. Sometimes, it might be difficult to understand it and share it but I am willing to give it a try.

For those wondering where my meanderings are taking you, I am writing about my recovery from anorexia and bulimia. I can’t imagine a day in the history of my life where I didn’t doubt myself, my abilities, where I didn’t trust myself and yet gave in to the urges of restricting and then binging. It’s a terrible cycle and I can’t say that it’s anything that I would like for anyone else. In fact, I wouldn’t wish this disease for anyone else. It’s truly, emotionally and physically devastating. It can kill, erase, diminish and throw out the light that is burning in the depths of your soul.

Through the course of my recovery I will, be posting all kinds of things on this blog as a resource both for myself and for the rest of the world that is suffering from eating disorders. Let me reiterate that I am by no means an individual with special cocerns and difficulties. Eating disorders affects millions worldwide and all across the globe.  My blog is a a testament to that, because I’m the most unlikely candidate for eating disorders. I’m a Muslim woman. I grew up in a sub-urban town and I moved to the United States when I was young. Therefore, eating disorders do not discriminate between race, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, identity and affiliation. They are real, they are perverse, and they are mental diseases that can kill. My effort in this blog, is to help who I can and most of all help myself to do better, everyday.
This is why the title of the blog is ‘Everyday, Every Moment is Progress.’ The meaning of this phrase is that no matter how many times one may relapse or have a bad moment or day, that everyday is one step closer to a future with no eating disorder. A future free of everything demeaning, disengaging from life and truly hurtful to one’s self-esteem. My mission is therefore to take everyday as it comes, and cherish the moment as a moment that has brought me to a better understanding of myself and my abilities. I know that I can do it, and I know that all of you reading this can too. Therefore take what you can from this blog, small or great, and I hope that you can learn from it. Positively, inspirationally and with acceptance.