Binge

I am a binge-er.

I binge on most everything you can think of (except, maybe that…I’m too busy bingeing on dreams of sleep to that to a binge-level).

I binge-watch TV. Netflix? It was made for me. I used to binge-watch Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy and Friends because I had those series on DVD…but NOW?! Now I can binge-watch EVERYTHING. Whole seasons, whole series one show after another after another after another after another – there is NO END to how much I can binge, and all without changing a single disc or getting off the couch. DREAMY.

Truth.

Truth.

I binge-read. Books, blogs, gossip, magazines – I devour the written word. Some of it is escapism, which our dad would get SO mad about when I was younger, and some of it is pure curiosity (hello, how does Brangelina do it??). But most of it is an unadulterated love and comfort with the written word. Bad day? Read. Bad week? Read. Scary thoughts? Read. Lists won’t shut up in my head? Read. Want to be awed and transported and thrilled and moved? READ. And I can read a whole book in one sitting. When I was growing up, our mom would buy me books specifically for vacations at the cottage, telling me not to read any of them until we got there. I’d always have them read before we even got in the van to make the drive. I limit how much I read now, because an adult stuck in a book all day and all night long does not a good parent make.

I also binge-surf, which can lead to trouble with watching children. There have been times I’ve been scrolling through a Pinterest rabbit hole and realized someone has been calling my name for a minute or so. Tricky. Luckily, I hear screaming through all of the project- and recipe-wishing.

But the biggest binge that causes the most problems for me, is binge-eating.

I am the queen of drowning my sorrows, my boredom, my anger, my anything-feeling in food. And more food. And more food.

GET IN MY BELLY.

GET IN MY BELLY.

I can eat 2 1/2 pounds of chicken wings in one sitting…after eating a whole meal. I can eat a whole bag of Oreos…after a whole meal. I can eat a whole bag of M&M’s…you know, the bowl/party size…in one go. I can totally eat a whole loaf of freshly baked bread, or most of a batch of cookies, or a bag of chips, or 4 chocolate bars (Snickers, Wunderbar, KitKat and Coffee Crisp), without breaking a sweat.

Do I feel like crap afterwards? Absolutely. Am I consumed with guilt and shame when all the food is gone and my belly aches and my head hurts and I know (I KNOW) I’m going to have a sugar/food hangover the next day? Yes. But does that stop me in the moment? When I’m hurting or unhappy or ridiculously craving crap after eating well all day? Nope. Not one bit.

Because I feel like there is something missing inside of me. I feel like there’s an empty cavern, aching to be filled, and so I do. I fill it. With all the food.

Of course, this is why I am chubby. This is why I am overweight. This is why my butt has more jiggle, and not in a Kardashian way, but in a dear-god-think-of-the-chairs kind of way. And it’s the reason that I feel like crap more often than not.

I had it under control after my miscarriage and after Isaac was born – exercise and healthy eating and sleeping and hobbies filled my time and space between parenting and housewife-ing. Not only was there no time or energy for binge-eating, but I filled up that empty hole in my face and brain with endorphins, friendship, and fulfilling activity. I lost 30 pounds. I was fit. I felt fantastic. And I wasn’t tempted as often and when I was, I wasn’t sucked into eating all the food all the time.

But this May I ran a half-marathon…and it was really hard and it took a long time to recover from it mentally and physically. I took a break from running and exercising for about a month…just in time for me to severely roll my ankle…twice…and lead me to be unable to put any weight on it for weeks. Which lead to more laying around, hating life, and wishing I were anywhere but on my couch.

So the hole in me grew…and grew…and the monster inside that wants all the chocolate and crap food started screaming again, demanding to be fed, demanding to be noticed and heeded. To answer the cries, I did what any smart person would do. I caved. I gave in. I fed it all the food in the world.

Now, my pants are tight. And my back has more rolls. And my arms feel flabbier. And the hard as rock calf muscles in my legs have been replaced by marshmallows…literally.

I sank. I’m sinking. I’m drowning in the itch for the binge, for the feeling of being so full I can’t move and something else hurts instead of the hurting that started it all.

I refuse, though, to go down without a fight. Refuse to let the monster and hole consume me. I don’t want to be that person again. I don’t. I want to be strong, and fit, and enjoy food, not look at it like a means to an end. I want treats to be treats and not the regular nighttime ritual. I want sugar and chocolate to be the exception, not the rule. And I want to stop feeling like all the food in the world must be eaten.

So, I’ve started doing things a little differently.

I’ve stopped buying crap. No more chocolate-bar or chip or junk-food runs after the kids are in bed. What we have in the house is what we have in the house, and since I don’t buy all the bad stuff during our regular grocery shop, there is no more crap here.

I’ve replaced eating with drinking…green tea. At night, when the craving to consume the world comes over me, when my stomach is desperately trying to convince my brain that I’m STARVING even though I just ate a good meal, I turn to drinking a cup of tea. Not only is it good for me and calorie-free, but it gets me all warm and sleepy, perfect for going to bed (unlike the sugar and caffeine rush from chocolate and crap I’d get from binge-eating).

And the big one? I’ve started MOVING again. I’m walking in the mornings. I HATE how I feel while I’m doing it – I ran over 21 km, people! A walk shouldn’t kill me. But, I don’t make the twice-daily trek to school anymore (which racks up about 4 km while pushing 25-55 pounds in a stroller), and I don’t go running anymore, so, I’m walking in the morning, with the goal of running again in September (giving my ankle plenty of time to really heal before I start pushing it). I’m resentful of how far I’ve fallen, but I know that getting it back little by little is the only solution.

Now, I need to know – do you binge? Or do you have magical self-control? And if you do binge, what are your tips and tricks for keeping your head above the water? Because I know at some point, I’m going to want to put all of the things in my mouth again…and it will be SO hard to say no.

~ Julia

Gong show

I am a gong show. I am a walking, stumbling, no-balance, poor-spatial-skills gong show. I have a long history of injuring myself while…walking. I am the queen of showing up with giant, purple, angry bruises from…I HAVE NO IDEA. So, when I got myself couch-ridden last week, no one in the Sisterhood or in my life was surprised.

It all started innocently enough – a long 8-km walk a couple of weeks ago with two of the sisters, one that we had taken before and one we used as a wild-flower collecting expedition.

But on the last kilometer, just after buying supplies for the yummy breakfast we would have at Jacqui’s house afterwards, I rolled my ankle. It wasn’t a bad one (remember the long history? Yeah, also not the first one…), but it made me go down onto my knees and skin my elbow. Both Toni and Jacqui weren’t surprised to find me on the ground, but of course they were worried. I hobbled home, reassuring them that everything was okay, and after a day or so, my ankle felt normal again and happy.

That Tuesday, though, I did it again. This time I was also on a sidewalk (the most dangerous walking surface known to Julia), and I was just walking, minding my own business, but I was with Sophie. We were chatting on the way home from buying some bread and milk from the grocery store across the street from us, when I went down again. My ankle gave out, rolled, and stabbed me in the back.

This one hurt a lot. I was able to hobble home, reassuring Sophie that I was fine, but once I got inside the house with Ben, I started to sob. I so wasn’t okay. My ankle was sore and swelling, and my knee, which caught my fall, was torn and bleeding. Ben cleaned me up, found the biggest band aid we had in the house, and then left me to be a parent all day. Sugar daddies are like that. 😉

This roll stuck with me a bit more – my ankle was more tender and sore, but I kept plowing through my life, as I’m wont to do. I kept mothering and walking everywhere, including wandering the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market while pulling a wagon full of produce and babies, and hanging out with other mom-friends and their babies at splash pads and parks, and generally ignoring my traitor of an ankle.

But last Saturday, my ankle had the last laugh. I was sitting (SITTING!!!!), with my legs tucked under me as I always do because I’m short and can’t touch the floor, so it’s more comfortable to sit with legs pulled up than dangling down. I moved to get off of the stool I was on and my ankle twisted funny. From that moment on, I couldn’t bend it. I couldn’t stand on it. I couldn’t put any weight on it. I couldn’t move it without it screaming at me. It was all done. And so was I.

I tried to ‘pop’ it because it almost felt like the joint was stuck and just needed a bit of pressure to go back to normal. Nope.

I tried napping, hoping that my ankle would relax and be fine again. Nope.

I tried crawling around, hoping time off of it would help. Nope.

I tried getting Ben to carry me everywhere, while laughing my head off at how ridiculous I must have looked. Nope.

And then, after the babies were in bed, I tried going to the hospital for x-rays. Yep.

My ankle wasn’t broken, just sprained really, really horribly. And I was prescribed the classic athlete prescription – RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on it, I had to keep it up, I had to put ice on it, and I had to wrap it in a sexy tensor bandage. Yay me! I hobbled out of the hospital with a brand-new pair of crutches and extreme worry.

Worry about walking with crutches – if I couldn’t walk like a normal person with two healthy legs, how the hell was I supposed to accomplish walking with two sticks stuck under my armpits??

Worry about the prescription – how was I supposed to complete my RICE with three babies under 7 at home??

Worry about my ankle – did I ruin it completely? Will I ever be able to walk or run normally again? When can I run again? When can I walk again? Why does my ankle hate me???

I got home, ate an ice cream sandwich because that’s what I do when I’m sad, and went upstairs to bed. Where I fell. Again. It was spectacular – I mis-crutched in my bedroom and ended up falling right back, like a tree timbering, to avoid catching myself on my out-of-commission ankle, all the way to the floor, where my head landed in the lost sock basket and my crutches flew into the air and I started laughing. Hysterical laughing. Tears streaming down my face until I actually started crying. Hysterical crying. Ben had to calm me down and literally put me to bed. Gong show.

gravity check

Of course, after a good night’s sleep, and some drugs, things started to unwind a little in the worry department. I remembered important things, like I’m not alone. I am not an island. I am a mother and wife and daughter and sister surrounded by a village of people who actually like me (they’re so screwed and crazy…). And that this silly ankle problem that HURT LIKE HELL was not the end of the world. I always think on the bad days that it’s the end of the world, that it will never get better, that this state is how things will always be. But then I get talked out of that tree and everything gets brighter.

Ben stayed home with me on Monday all day, giving me a second full day on the couch and giving us time to figure out the rest of the week.

I kicked the day off with a shower, which of course included me falling again. This time no crutches were involved, but I fell in our tiny bathroom, and my underwear got caught on a door hinge on the way down, so that when I landed, I not only had a hurt toosh, but my underwear were up near my neck and I had a giant wedgie. Sexy gong show.

wedgie

Then, I asked for help from sisters and from my dear mom friends and my own mom.

Andreah came every morning to clean my kitchen, wrangle children, and fetch me coffee, water, and food.

My jerk of an ankle

My jerk of an ankle

Andrea and Michele ferried Sophie to her art class every morning, sometimes keeping her for lunch and play dates. Bethany took my kids for three of the afternoons, letting me rest and keep my foot up while she fed and napped and chased my babies.

McSteamy kept me company. <3

McSteamy kept me company. ❤

And my mom kicked in an afternoon of motherly love, which included toenail painting (including Isaac’s!).

Clockwise from the giant blue toes (mine!), we have Isaac's (who was more reluctant about the picture than the actual toe-painting), Lillian (who has Spider-Man blue and red) and Sophie (who is proud to be the kid with the most polish still intact on both fingers AND toes)

Clockwise from the giant blue toes (mine!), we then have Isaac’s (who was more reluctant about the picture than the actual toe-painting), Lillian (who has Spider-Man blue and red) and Sophie (who is proud to be the kid with the most polish still intact on both fingers AND toes)

I’m happy to report I’m walking around now, fairly crutch-free, with some tensor bandage fashion and ice-pack dates punctuating the day, versus being the day. My ankle still aches and I know I still have to take it easy, but at least I’m moving in the right direction, I haven’t fallen in a while and I’ve stopped giving myself door-hinge wedgies. I’m cured! At least until my ankle decides to hate me again.

~ Julia

For Cassidy Megan

It has been a year a half since my last seizure – and I am still scared shitless.

Every time that someone tells me that I am out of the woods, after all it has been a year and a half there is nothing to worry about, I secretly want to kick them and yell “DON’T JINX IT!” or “HOW DO YOU KNOW? DO YOU HAVE A CRYSTAL BALL?” and if they do have a crystal ball, why the hell haven’t I used it before!? I am so scared that it will happen again. Every time that I get sick with a flu or cold, the first sign of the sniffles, I panic. When my heart goes wonky because of stress, I immediately call my mom to take me to the emergency room. Every time I decide to have a libation after a rough day at work, I sip it gingerly in hopes of not triggering the sleeping monster. Because after all, that is what it is, a sleeping monster. A monster who lies waiting for me to be living my life, and then BAM!

This past episode of Grey’s Anatomy hurt my heart. A woman got into a car accident (well, the car drove through their house and hit her and her husband). She was pregnant and talking and fine and then all of a sudden she had a seizure and she was gone. She was gone and they delivered the baby. She was gone and the baby lived on while the father had some intense surgery. I fell apart while Cody slept soundly beside me. I messaged Julia who is my Grey’s Buddy…and she talked me off the ledge. It’s not just Grey’s though – every time that a character has a seizure on any TV show I hold my breath and then burst into tears because IT’S SCARY! My mind starts racing! Is this what my family watched? Did they hold their breath?

I am scared we won’t be able to have babies. Like, really scared. I am scared I won’t be able to, or that I will hurt them. A woman once thought it was a good idea to tell me that a friend of hers had a bath with her two year old, and while they were bathing she had a seizure and drowned her baby. I can’t get that out of my head. My mind keeps racing. What if I do that? What if some HORRIBLE accident happened and then I would lose my baby and Cody and my family and it just snow balls. Seriously – my brain, if it’s not seizing, it’s freaking out thinking of all the horrible things.

I have a coping mechanism – I make fun of my seizures to make it easier for me. I laugh about it, and joke about it and make it seem like it’s okay, but it’s scary. I will talk about them with anyone. I will answer anyone’s questions. I am not scared to do that. I am scared that it will happen again.

I am scared. 

Today is Purple Day, which is celebrated around the world. It is a day to raise awareness about epilepsy. My co-workers at my office are going to be holding a fundraiser tomorrow for it which is AWESOME! There are no other words for it other than AWESOME!  Purple Day was created by Cassidy Megan, a young Canadian girl, in 2008. She was motivated by her own struggles with complex partial seizures. She wanted people to know more about it and dispel myths. Purple Day didn’t become international until 2009.

I am going to be wearing purple, and putting my own selfish fears aside to support those who are going through worse than me. For those who suffer every day, multiple times a day. For you, I hope you find the treatment that works, find your trigger and live a life free of seizures! I wear purple for you, and know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers!

Purple Day

Purple Day 2014

~ Jacqui

Broadcast dependence

I love television…I do. I love coming home after a long day at work, dumping my bags at the door, falling onto the couch and putting on any television show.

When I was younger, the TV was barely on – we were always outside creating our own adventures, climbing trees and scraping knees. Then elementary school happened, and it became more and more important that you watched the same shows as your peers, after all who wanted to be different and not watch that amazing episode of The Simpsons (side note, we had restrictions on what TV we watched, and The Simpsons was definitely not in our repertoire).

My parents did not see the same importance of television that I did, and because I didn’t pay the bills, they weren’t really willing to add cable to the long list of monthly household bills we had. Thus we “managed” with 5 channels: TVO, CBC, CTV, CityTV, and Global. I say we managed because it was not instilled in us the requirement of having cable or satellite. We had a TV – and that was more than what others had.  Those 5 channels – they were all we needed.

TV became a meeting place for my sisters, myself and my mother. Wednesday nights after church we would come home and watch Gilmore Girls – this was our weekly ritual, and regardless of what happened in the day, the homework you had or the projects that were due, we all met around our little TV, which was a raffle prize from when I was 6, and watched Rory and Lorelai go through their ups and downs of life.

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Thursday nights were when we watched the best, Friends, which to this day is the most amazing television show and is quoted at least daily.

There was also Boston Public, and CSI, and Without A Trace, which Julia and I would never miss – and even when she moved away we would watch it on the phone together.

Without a Trace

The love of TV is not a foreign concept. I laugh as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law plan their evenings and days around their “Shows”, and there are a lot of them – I would be surprised if the number didn’t rise above 10.

I, too, find myself recording a show that I can’t seem to live without. I wake up early to ensure that I am prepared for the conversation around the water cooler the next day. I watch Grey’s Anatomy and Nashville and love both television dramas. I have cried as the characters cried, and laughed as they make their smart ass comments.

Why – why do we love it? Is it because it plays on our human curiosity of wanting to know and understand different situations? Some argue that television has replaced novels, but it’s a natural evolution! We have evolved from telling stories for entertainment to radio, to black and white moving pictures, to smaller daily productions. Now we have 3D and projection screens to make our experience that much better.

The created and imaginative fiction is still present, the delivery has just changed.

For me the answer of why I love television is because it is a break from thinking of the daily struggles. When I watch TV, I am not thinking about the amount of work I have waiting for me the next day – I am thinking about the quirky girl and geeky guy who live across the hall from each other who one day will finally be together as the storyteller has intended.

I love television – I really do. I love telling and listening to stories, and whether the delivery is a blog or a sitcom, there is still an audience willing to listen.

~ Jacqui