Go On and Cook — recovery poetry and update

Go On and Cook

Close your eyes
if you can’t see –
others will walk
you through it.
Your brain will lie,
mirrors will deceive you,
but what matters
is what’s boiling
on the inside.
Turn down the gas
and bring it to a simmer.
The truth lies
somewhere in the bubbles.
Open your eyes
when you’re ready.
See what the world
has to offer.
In this journey
you can stand the heat
with the help of others –
no matter what you cook.

 

This is day number 30 in treatment. On Monday I will be stepping down to a lower level of care. My eating disorder takes many forms — I have symptoms of anorexia, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), and rumination disorder. I have been writing my butt off. I am currently on journal number 4.

A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter — No. 29 “Treatment”

Dear daughter,

I am writing this letter at a treatment center for eating disorders in Chicago — four hours away from our little house in Toledo.

Deciding to come to treatment and leave you behind was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. While it hurts right now, I know I will be a better mom when I am well.

Daughter, I hope you are never in this situation. If you are ever struggling, know that you are never alone. Don’t wait to reach out for help.

I love you more than anything. You are beautiful inside and out and you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone.

I think about you every day and I can’t wait to come home.

Love,
Mom

Going Away for Treatment

Thursday morning I am going to be admitted to a treatment center in Chicago to get help for my eating disorder. I don’t know how long I will be there.

I’m going to have to slow down a little bit.

However, I am taking a bunch of journals and I plan on filling them up. I’ve already written quite a bit about this experience so far. I’ve been to hell and back in the last few weeks and I’ve documented every fucking minute of it. Every time the shit hits the fan I think, “maybe this will be a great book one day!” Then it’s like I can step outside of myself and just observe. I don’t know if any of that is healthy but it seems to be getting me through. 

I am taking my Chromebook with me and I plan on blogging when I can. It just probably won’t be as frequent.

 

Happy holidays! I’m off to kick some eating disorder ass!

Santa vs. Jesus

Do the little ones in your life believe in Santa?

I’m not a big fan of Santa. It may be fun but it’s still lying to your kids – just like people lie to their kids about Jesus. They’re both imaginary entities with empty promises.

I recently saw a meme on Facebook that said: Why doesn’t Santa bring the needy kids toys? For the same reason Jesus doesn’t feed them.

Bam!

I didn’t want to tell my daughter about Santa, but my husband was really into it. She’s five and I can see the wheels turning. She’s asking questions like, “How does Santa get into our house? We don’t have a chimney.” I don’t think she’ll believe for much longer.

I was her age when I stopped believing. My older sister showed me presents under the tree already labeled “from Santa” and it was several days before Christmas.

I was actually really mad that adults were lying to children. A little later on in elementary school I wrote an essay about how I felt and apparently my dad got a call from the school. I’m not sure whatever came of it.

Friends of my parents back home didn’t tell their kids about Santa because they didn’t want them to question Jesus when they found out Santa wasn’t real. 

I think it says a lot when you can compare Jesus to Santa. There are definitely some parallels.

Do you think Santa vs. Jesus is a far comparison? 

How do you feel about the whole Santa charade? Did you do it with kids in your family? Did you believe in Santa when you were little? How did you feel when you found out he wasn’t real?

Bumper Stickers

Do you have any atheist or humanist bumper stickers on your car? I have a few.

I just dropped my daughter off at school and another parent saw my bumper stickers. He approached me and he had a bumper sticker in his hand — a red atom with an atheist “A”. He showed it to me and said he is too afraid to put it on his car. It was really sad.

I told him I liked the sticker and he walked away as I got my daughter out of the car. 

I wish I would have said more. Other than a couple of people shaking their heads in the grocery store parking lot, I haven’t had any problems with the bumper stickers on my car. I should have told him that.

I’m not a talkative or social person, but I really regret not saying anything. Maybe I’ll see him another time. 

Come on, Toledo! We shouldn’t have to be afraid!

Have you ever had problems with the bumper stickers on your car?

Atheism and My Eating Disorder Recovery

I am currently working on a memoir about mental health and atheism, and I love sharing bits and pieces when I can. Today I want to share about my eating disorder recovery — something very relevant to my present-day life.

I’ve been very vocal about how becoming an atheist had a profound effect on my recovery from schizoaffective disorder. It made me come to terms with my psychotic symptoms, trust the science behind my medications, and keeps me grounded to this day. These are all very noticeable effects and I tend to focus on my schizoaffective disorder when I talk about mental health.

However, I have also struggled with an eating disorder since the 6th grade and I find that much harder to talk about. There’s a lot of shame associated with it and it’s an issue I am still struggling with now. I recently returned to treatment for my eating disorder and it’s been very difficult.

My atheism doesn’t just affect my recovery from schizoaffective disorder; it has also helped me sort through my feelings and behaviors associated with my eating disorder.

For example, I know no one is to blame. Not god. Not the devil. Not my family. Not even myself. There are often many factors that cause and fuel an eating disorder and religious teachings have no place in that explanation. 

I also know my recovery is up to me and no one else. I need support, but it will be my own hard work — not god — that gets me out of this mess. Forget about prayer and believe in yourself. 

Eating disorders are complicated mental illnesses that need comprehensive treatment backed by science and research. They are hard on the body as well as the mind. When I recently returned to treatment, I had an appointment with a gastroenterologist the same week as my first therapy appointment. Since then I’ve had several tests and procedures done. You have to attack an eating disorder on all fronts and that often means trusting your doctors and science. God isn’t going to heal you.

Being an atheist also motivates me in recovery. I know we get this one short life and there’s nothing after it, so I want better for myself.

I am definitely a work in progress and my recovery from my eating disorder has been hard. But I’m still here — going to all of my appointments, challenging my thoughts, and trying to live a healthier life. I am glad being an atheist has given me a healthy perspective on recovery as well as life. I know I’m going to make it. 

 

I discuss my eating disorder quite a bit in my upcoming memoir. More details to come!

Update/Speaking Engagements/New Poem

I am working hard on my memoir and new poetry. I can’t wait to share more with you as the projects come along!

A couple of speaking engagements I had planned needed to be rescheduled. The new dates are:

Dec. 19th — Humanist Community of Silicon Valley
Jan. 23rd — Fellowship of Freethinkers Dallas

My speaking engagements are about my books — poetry and mental health from an atheist perspective. If you have a group that would be interested in a presentation, please let me know!

 

Here’s a fun new poem I’m working on:

 

Meant to Be

On this cold December day,
heat radiates where my thighs meet
ignited by your sugar sweet lips.
Can you taste my bliss?

Let your love flow through me
like a river of honey and salt.
I’ll swallow your desire whole
even if you tie me down.

Kiss our future
because we’re ten miles from yesterday
and nipping at the heels of tomorrow.
Move forward from here.

Societal duty or seal of passion?
Put a ring on my finger
and call it a day.
I knew by the end it was meant to be.

Let me fix my lipstick
so we can rejoin the party.
With a pair of gold stilettos
I leave my footprints in the snow.

 

My poetry book, Free to Roam: Poems from a Heathen Mommy, gives an atheist perspective on being a Midwest Mom. It is for sale on my publisher’s site freethoughthouse.comBarnes & Noble, and Amazon. (Signed copies are available at freethoughthouse.com.)

I am also available for speaking engagements.

How do you respect others’ beliefs?

Let me start this post by saying I’m doing my best to not be a dick about things, but I do have some honest questions.

Do you respect others’ beliefs? What does that look like?

This weekend I am giving a presentation to a Unitarian Universalist church promoting my books. At this church, there are many different beliefs — atheists, humanists, Christians, Wiccans, etc. I was told that they all respect each other. I am very curious to see what this church is like. 

Do any of you have experience with UU churches?

Is it possible to respect others’ beliefs? Do you just avoid the topic? Is avoiding the topic part of that respect?

Sometimes when I hear of someone’s religious beliefs or affiliations my perspective of that person changes — and I’m sure others feel the same about me.

Living in the US I often see the religious right infringing on the rights of others and attempting to dismantle the separation of church and state. They dismiss health issues, LGBT and women’s rights, and deny science. In these circumstances, a vocal few are affecting the lives of many. 

How do you respect people with those beliefs?

Are there good Christians out there? How do you “live and let live” with sayings like “hate the sin and love the sinner”. Does that ever really happen?

Is it possible to separate a person from their religious beliefs in the way that you view them? Strip everyone down to being merely human?

I would like to think so and I feel it is something I need to work on. 

 

I’m very excited about the presentation this weekend and I look forward to learning more about this group at the UU church. I think it will be a good experience.

Update

I apologize for not posting more frequently lately. I have been working my butt off on my upcoming memoir as well as my erotic poetry book but I promise to return soon!

I have two more speaking events coming up:

November 14th — Eastern Shore Humanists/UUFS
November 28th — Fellowship of Freethinkers Dallas

I’m definitely looking forward to connecting with more humanists and freethinkers. Right now I don’t have any events scheduled for December.

Take care!

Tell me about your holidays.

Two days ago I went into one of those big home improvement stores and I was shocked to see aisles and aisles of Christmas decorations — right in front for everyone to see. This was October 16th — a full two weeks before Halloween. 

It’s no secret — I let Twitter know how much I hate Christmas yesterday. It is my least favorite time of year. The gaudy decorations. The stress of buying presents. Having to socialize. It’s definitely not for me.

Christmas would be more tolerable if it was only one day, but no! It has to last for two goddamn months!

Okay. I’m done bitching.

My husband and I really only celebrate Christmas because the rest of our family does, but we keep it secular. Yes to Santa, no to Jesus.

What about Halloween? My husband and daughter love Halloween! Please don’t skip over it! We picked out our costumes and we have decorations all over our yard. 

Since the beginning of September, we’ve gone to the Spirit Halloween store every Thursday after my daughter’s swimming lesson. It’s a treat for her that she looks forward to. 

Trick-or-Treat is really quite the event in our neighborhood. I think our neighbors try to outdo each other every year when it comes to decorations. There are lights and sounds up and down the streets. And so many kids! I didn’t know we had so many kids in our neighborhood! Where did they all come from? 

It’s a lot of fun.

And then there’s Thanksgiving. That’s my favorite! It’s a little less pressure and we all get to enjoy my dad’s fabulous cooking! No spirits. No ghosts. No Jesus. Just a glorious secular feast. 

So what do holidays look like for you? Do you hate Christmas as much as I do or do you get into the spirit of the season? Does your family keep it secular? I am writing this post from the viewpoint of an American from a Christian family. Fill me in if you have other holidays that you celebrate!