Downs and The Aunty Life.

Monday night was a bit rough for me and Flo post-dinner with Mum and Dad. It was really good seeing them and seeing Dad looking happy and chatty. It warmed my heart knowing that perhaps me being out of the house is enabling him to relax and worry less. I was all the more delighted to hear that they will both be going on a Baltic Cruise come summer with Grandma, Grandpa and another couple. I’ve been wanting so much for Mum and Dad to travel together now that Dad is retired, and Dad’s reluctance always meant that Mum wasn’t able to see as much of the world as I know she’d have liked.

Also, they have plans to then visit Halifax which will be awesome seeing that Dad hasn’t been back to Canada for 30 over years now! I’m sure a lot has changed and it’ll be wonderful for them both to be able to catch up with Dad’s friends from Uni days. On top of that, it also means fresh seafood galore for them which I’m rather envious about. I’ll probably be guilty of licking my phone at the photos I anticipate Mum will be sending me while they’re there. One day I’ll go visit with Flo!

As I was saying, Monday evening I just started feeling down and as usual, with feelings of negativity come feelings of fatness for me. I don’t know if it was because of hormones (time of the month), the ED, or the stress of all the changes that have been going on, or a combination of all of them, but I was quite irritable and teary.

Flo and I got into a bit of a misunderstanding that we didn’t resolve until earlier today partly because I didn’t feel like talking. All I wanted to do was close myself off and be far far away. I always say that I want to be far away but that far away is never a place that exists in reality.. It’s simply the desire to want to be away from everything.

I questioned whether I really wanted to recover, whether I had shifted myself from being a burden to my parents, to being one to Flo, and whether it would be easier for everyone if I slowly disappeared *poof* so quietly that no one would even notice. Of course, that would only happen in my imagination.

And suddenly, all I wanted to do was to be back with Mum and Dad, in the familiar comforts of my own home, my own bed, my own routines and schedules, my own safe foods. Essentially, the fear of moving forward made me want to move backwards.

I managed to go for a swim yesterday morning which helped clear my mind and relax my body. I feel better although I cannot say that I feel stronger mentally to fight the fight. For now, I don’t really want to think too much or too far ahead into the future.

Speaking of future, I was quite tickled by myself yesterday when I popped down to Cold Storage to pick up some last minute additions to Flo’s and my dinner tonight.

We decided we were going to recreate the Gorilla Bowl that I had at Elephant Restaurant in Ubud Bali. I couldn’t get hold of cooked beetroots or baba ghanoush though so we had to forgo them.

What I did see though, was fresh prawns at half price! I decided to buy a packet home and quickly freeze them in smaller packets so I can always have them for lunch or cook them for our dinner.

Also, I had to get some fresh salad greens for our Gorilla Bowl and whaddya know? I found myself a packet of salad veggies on sale as well! I felt very proud of myself. In fact, I think Cold Storage, while generally more expensive compared to the other supermarkets, is quite good whenever they slash their prices. Other supermarkets tend not to let go of their produce at reduced prices, not as often anyway.

Interestingly, I actually found myself feeling quite excited about my new toy – a scourer for the shower. I used a sponge pad in the morning and while it did the job of cleaning our shower – which by the way is already rather clean!, I wanted a scourer to really get at the more stubborn parts. Oh the satisfaction of seeing the greys between tiles turn white again.

Which is why I suddenly feel myself morphing into a bit of an aunty. In Singapore, to be an aunty is to be like one of those older women who hanker after discounts especially when groceries shopping, looks for the best deals possible at all times, and who pees a little in her panties at the thought and sight of a sale. For those unfamiliar with what an ‘aunty’ is in the Singaporean context, here‘s something that will give you a clearer idea of her awesome qualities. Of course, it’s a little tongue in cheek so don’t take it too literally. That being said, I hope that while I take on some ‘aunty’ characteristics, I’d like to think that I will avoid picking up on her more negative traits.

Oh! And this morning, I woke up thinking back to last night when I found our sink lacking in sparkle for my liking considering I cleaned it yesterday afternoon. So first thing I did was ‘Cif’ it and gave it a nice scrub so now it’s up to standard. I think it’s because I used a different cleaning agent that might not have been as tough on stains.

Today it was back to the grind for me at Professor Brawn followed by a wait at home for our new mattress to arrive as the old one was a little soft and was giving Flo a bad back. The men came a little later that expected so I got round to packing Ginger Cookies for Chinese New Year orders.

Our new mattress arrived about an hour after its expected time but I guess that’s to be expected. Anyway, when I asked the men if they could take the old mattress away for us since he asked what I wanted to do with it, they said we had to pay extra for that service. I was a little dumbfounded so decided against it and told them to help move it into the second room so that Flo can decide what to do with it.

Gingey and Teddy say HI!!!

Our bed is now dressed and I’m excited to jump into it later tonight. Can’t believe that a new bed has got me excited. That, and fresh washed and dried towels… And a sparkly basin…

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First Getaway of 2017.

We’re back safe and sound!

Flo took me on a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life to nearby Bintan. I had little clue as to where we were going but guess that it might be one of our neighbouring Indonesian islands or possibly a staycation somewhere within Singapore.

Considering that I’m a Singapore girl through and through, I have never been to Pulau Ubin (one of Singapore’s own ‘rural’ islands), let alone Bintan or Batam. I usually depart from Singapore by plane rather than on ferries for some reason. So it was quite an eye-opening experience for me visiting Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to board the ferry that would take us to Bintan within an hour – the Terminal was totally like a miniature airport with its own little luggage belt and baggage trolleys! It was really cute albeit a little old school compared to our dear Changi Airport.

Flo booked us a room at Angsana Resort and Spa which had a gorgeous view of the beach from our balcony.

We had dinner by the beachside restaurant but typical of resort-run restaurants, the food here was quite pricey – extremely pricey in fact by Indonesian standards. Our Salads were about $20+ each but I have to admit that they were nicely executed salads.


I had the Grilled Prawn Salad that consisted of large, fresh prawns, skewered with a stalk of lemongrass and grilled. Flo opted for a Caesar Salad that came with Chicken Satay which he loved. He sweetly gave me a stick and the char on the satay was just… love. Mmm..

Our Saturday on the whole was spent doing a lot of lounging around. We had a lazy morning in before we got out of bed for breakfast. The spread at Angsana was huge!!

 


Flo managed to also test out his drone and pieced together a short film of us in Bintan. It was well done and he’s now got used to controlling the drone more smoothly. I can’t wait to see what it’ll be able to do when we’re in Philippines end of the month and how Flo puts together a little montage of our trip after we’re back!

So yeah, it was pretty much a weekend of food and rest. I can’t say it sat well with me doing little much and the funny thing is that sometimes, doing little makes me feel even lazier.

Legit Tom Yum Kung Soup considering we were not in Thailand
I felt quite sloth-like by the end of Saturday and it was quite tiring for me in the sense that I know I could have enjoyed our time further if I wasn’t thinking so much about when our next meal would be because… Well, hunger kind of does that to you.

Soto Ayam for Saturday Dinner – Indonesian Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles
And usually, I have things to do throughout the day that keeps me occupied so time passes a lot faster. But when there’s only lazing around to be done, time seems to tick by very… very… slow… ly.

Over breakfast Sunday morning, I opened up to Flo about how much I wanted to indulge in breakfast and let go, but the fear of bingeing, and the subsequent fear of guilt and self-inflicted punishment just didn’t seem worth it. I shared with him more or less what I just mentioned in the paragraph before, and he encouraged me to enjoy myself, that he will love me no matter what, and that he was ready to comfort me when the pangs of guilt hit.

So for the first time in a long time, I had a plate of food that my body so needed and wanted. A warm roll eaten with butter, a mini pain au chocolat, half a waffle slathered with blueberry sauce and maple syrup, a mini pancake with vanilla sauce and peanut butter… Carbs galore! This was after a couple of half-hearted attempts at breakfast where I picked and left behind quite a bit of food.

Flo said that this was the first time he’d seen me have a good serving of food and smiling while eating it. I could tell he was really happy watching me eat. I started feeling the effects of being full after my plate was more or less cleaned up. And after a few more minutes, I obviously began to feel the guilt set in.

My Favourite Man-Child

As promised, Flo was there to catch my fall. When we got back to our room, he cuddled me and I shared my random thoughts as they appeared in my mind, crying one moment at all the wasted time, and another moment yearning for our future… Of course, my stomach also couldn’t quite handle the influx of food so I ended up with cramps and a stomachache, and then the rest of the day I couldn’t quite look at food because I was so full.


We caught our ferry home and were greeted with the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen so far. And in Singapore would you believe it? The last place I would ever think had sunsets so breathtakingly beautiful. It was the perfect goodbye to a weekend with my favourite man who planned this trip so selflessly, and a perfect hello to more of life together with him.


In the two days we were together, I feel like we managed to grow even closer and learn even more about each other than I thought possible, seeing that we were already very close. I know that Flo has given so much to me in the time we’ve been together and sometimes, I feel as though I’m shortchanging him with my issues that he has to contend with. I reminded him that one morning’s worth of Natalie winning, does not mean that she will win at every meal from now on. ED’s a sneaky one and will not lie fallow for long. But as Flo always tells me, two is better than one, and we are stronger together. So who knows? Perhaps this time, we will outwit and outlast ED.

Day 5.

Into my 5th day living out of home and my first time blogging on a Mac. I just had to change the keyboard configurations because it was programmed to follow a German keyboard where the ‘Z’ and ‘Y’ are in difference places and I ended up having to copy and paste the ‘@’ button because I couldn’t figure out where it was on the board. Thankfully, I very cleverly found that I could input an ‘English’ keyboard under Settings so all’s good now.

I’ve actually managed to impress myself quite a bit with how I’ve been able to fill my time at home since there’s a lull before I begin all my Chinese New Year baking. Just yesterday, I attempted to iron five of Flo’s work shirts. I was initially thinking I’m iron a few more but five was practice enough. They weren’t perfect but uhm…

Not too bad??

I joked with him after that we can always send out laundry down to the laundromat directly below our condo but they’ll iron for money whereas I iron because of love. Same same but different.

I’ve also realised what a noob I am in using cleaning agents and equipment but the learning process is proving to be quite fun. Of course, Mum and Dad get a bit of a laugh out of hearing about my little mishaps here and there but that’s how I learn right? Things like finding out only after I’d vacuumed the entire place, heaving at how strong the darn suction of the vacuum was, only to realise that there’s a dial I could have used to control the strength of the suction. Or spending 10 minutes trying to figure out how to get the spinning mop head onto the handle.

It’s all starting to sink in that this is all for real. At the beginning, it felt like a few days of consecutive sleepovers but now, the surrealism of it all is wearing off and I realise that this is going to be life as I know it now. I am thankful though, that Flo has been immensely supportive of me, and Mum and Dad continually try to help me wherever they can, slowly easing off so that I can swim independently of them.

The other night, I had quite a bit of a struggle after dinner with Florian. He had made me eat a bit more than I was mentally prepared for and that put me in a bit of a mood. He could tell I was upset and cuddled me to soothe me. And in my head, I knew that while I want to be well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of the journey in getting there. It took a while but Flo reminded me that he is always going to be here for me and that we will always find a solution to whatever obstacles before me; that no matter what, we will reach our goal of getting me well, starting a family together, and working at a life together.

Unlike with Mum and Dad, I couldn’t simply throw a strop and rant and rave. In a way, that’s good for me because instead, I reflected more at why I was reacting the way I did over an extra piece of food. It also showed me once more how blessed I am to be with Florian – a man who may not necessarily know the nitty gritties of ED, yet still exercises an immense level of patience and understanding towards me.

In a couple of hours time, he’s taking me somewhere for the weekend. A surprise! I still have little clue as to where we are going or what we’ll be doing. We’re due back Sunday evening so I’ll catch you all up on Monday now that I’ve figured out how to work with an iMac.

Also, just a snippet on something I did yesterday. I was tasked to do a fondant bicep as a cake topper for today and so, I got to work, not quite sure if I’d be able to execute it was well as I’d pictured in my head. I mean, a bicep and forearm are generally not too tricky to sculpt but the hand!? I hate having to draw fingers on hands and moulding it out of fondant was the part I was looking forward to least. Actually, make that the part I wasn’t looking forward to at all.

But… I did it anyway and I think it looks fairly decent. Still not as amazing as I imagined it would be but I’m satisfied. At least it’s something else I can add to my repetoir of fondant figurines!

Ok back to a bit more packing for the weekend and then maybe an episode of Drop Dead Diva while I wait for Flo to come home!! Have a good weekend every one! I can’t believe the first week of the year has already come and gone 😱

Transition.

It’s officially Day 3 of living in our new home and so far, the transition has been pretty smooth. I hope it carries on this way and that Flo and I will always appreciate each other’s presence.

On the 2nd, I decided to surprise him at the airport as he was finally coming home after spending two weeks back in Hamburg with his family and friends for Christmas and New Year’s. Me being me, it was an ‘almost fail’. I’d tracked his arrival and knew his plane would be landing quite on time.

Tea while waiting

Unbeknownst to me however, the plane that was also arriving from the same place was delayed, landing only about a half hour or less before his instead of an hour and a half earlier. This meant that two consecutive baggage belts were being occupied by Emirates and the flurry of passengers waiting for their luggages made it near impossible to spot Flo. To add to that, I became confused because I started wondering if perhaps he’d taken the earlier flight and hadn’t informed me, even though his itinerary said he was on the later one.

Anyway, when Flo texted to say that he’d arrived, I asked if he’s already got his luggage, to which he replied that he was queueing up at Duty Free waiting to pay for a bottle of Whiskey my parents had requested. So I thought, OK, that means he’s not out yet. So I nonchalently said that we’ll meet at home and that I was on the way there already, quietly confident that I would be able to see him once he came out. After what seemed like ages, I asked if he was on the way home because traffic was heavy – not true. He then texted back saying that he was just in line for a taxi and sure enough, I turned around and immediately spotted my favourite face there! Thank GOD I texted him at the right time! Otherwise I’d have had to follow behind him in another taxi and that would have been an epic fail.

It was a really lovely reunion and it felt good having him home. We exchanged Christmas presents…

I superlove my present because it was thoughtful and exquisitely beautiful, and not to mention, from my love! We went for a nice Japanese dinner and then spent the evening clearing out and reorganising our kitchen so I could put all my ingredients and equipment in. I did that first thing yesterday morning and now, everything has a home! I also vacuumed and mopped the floor, bought groceries to stock up our fridge and…

Made my first bake in the oven by whipping up a batch of Flo’s favourite cookies – The Rennekookies aka Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies. I packed some for him in a jar and also set aside a box to gift to Natasha and Jason who finally made it here from Canada – more about that later. I’m happy with the oven and the Oreo Cheesecake I baked after also turned out well so all’s good in the Rennetan camp.

Last night, Flo and I met up with Natasha and Jason who were in town from the 1st of Jan to this morning. Natasha and I met when she came over for an exchange while both of us were in Uni. She was reading my blog at the time and also had some issues related to eating so that put us on the same page.

When she returned to Montreal, we continued to keep in touch and she visited us about 4 years back bunking at our place for a week or so. We’ve continued to email each other regularly and finally, she made it back to Asia like, now! For two weeks. But she and her boyfriend Jason, were just in Singapore for a short hello before moving on to Malaysia where her maternal family are from.

Flo and I brought them out for dinner at Din Tai Fung for Xiao Long Baos. We realise that this is one place that almost every visitor from abroad have been inclined to love (not just like) because the soup dumplings are different from other dim sums and expertly made to not only look refined, but also taste consistently delicious.

We then took them up to Flo’s office on the 49th floor where we had an amazing view of the Singapore skyline around the Marina Bay area. It was quite a clear night so the view stretching from Gardens by the Bay, to Marina Bay Sands, over to the Singapore Flyer and across to the Fullerton Bay/Clifford Pier area was breathtaking.

wp-image-1681140885jpeg.jpg

Natasha mentioned wanting to visit Gardens by the Bay so we went over to have a look see,  had a good ogle at the supertrees, before walking back to Marina Bay Sands and parting ways at the station.

It was a really good catch up with her, and it was nice meeting Jason as well after hearing so much about him through emails exchanged between us. It was lovely to see how well she’s doing and how happy she is with Jason. Sometimes, I can’t believe how many years have passed since we first met each other. Through all these years, we have continued to share our lives with each other in writing, confiding in each other about our fears and worries, and sharing triumphs and happy events pertaining to anything and everything.

Nat and Jason might stop over in Singapore before returning back to Canada although they’re not sure yet whether it will be for a couple hours or a day or more yet. If they transit here long enough to exit the airport, we’ll definitely make time to meet with them again.

Mkay, I’m heading off now because I decided I want to clean our bathrooms today. Nothing like giving the toilet a good scrub! Clean toilets = Happy Butts! 🙂

02 -> 01

I’d like to think of today being 02.01 as being symbolic in how F and I will become one unit as we officially begin living together. I have pretty much moved all my things over – at least the things I will be needing, leaving the kitchen spacious once more for Mum and my room clearer than it’s ever been!

Flo lands back in Singapore at approximately 1440hours and I plan to pick him up from the airport. I don’t think he expects it so it’ll be a fun surprise. I feel like a whole ball of various emotions moving into this new phase and I pray that it will be a smooth-sailing transition for me. Of course, to call a transition smooth-sailing for me may be a little of an exaggeration given all the changes that are waiting in the next few weeks and months to pounce at us, but I hope the new environment will also be impetus for me to push forward in recovery. In other words, to get myself ‘unstuck’ in the true sense of the word.

Last night, I read this article on how Ritualistic Eating Behaviours (REBs) can be sabotaging recovery. I think that this is something I fell into in ‘recovery’ many times before. And so, in the real essence of the word ‘recovery’, I have never truly recovered. From wanting to eat the same foods that help me feel safe day in and day out, to eating at the same places that have menus I am familiar and comfortable with when there is a need to eat out. I tend to have a preference to eat certain foods first and in a certain order, and I hate the thought of finishing all my food because I don’t like the idea of having eating what a ‘normal’ person would likely eat. It’s all about control at the end of the day, at least from my point of view as I reflect on the pattern of my eating habits.

Mum has suggested returning back to counselling or even more drastically, to readmit myself back into hospital. Perhaps it is out of stubbornness than I am reluctant to do either but to me, I feel that I know myself a lot better than that. I know the process that being in hospital will put me through and in terms of counselling, I still don’t quite feel that there is anyone in Singapore that is specialised or truly understands eating disorders in its entirety. I know of psychologists and psychiatrists who have expertise in this field but they aren’t cheap. Furthermore, I know that if I have this reluctance in me to make change, then all the professional help I get will make little difference to my current status. And that if I want to turn my life around, I can do it with the support I already have.

Yes, I have a lot to prove but I am determined to pull through and for once, finally recover in the true sense of the word. I cannot continue engaging in REBs that will in turn entrench me into another form of ED and I want to be able to enjoy dessert without second thoughts, share a waffle slathered in chocolate with Florian when he asks, have a scoop of ice-cream to treat myself after a good workout. I want to be able to cultivate good eating habits that I can in turn pass on to my children, to have a well-balanced lifestyle that they can emulate, and to develop an all-rounded sense of well being that they will never have to fall back onto destructive behaviour in order to feel validated.

It will take time and a lot of hard work. And I have no reason not to do it.

Goodbye Sweet ’16.

Apparently a lot of people have been saying that 2016 has been a ‘shitty’ year. I can’t say that it’s been a bad year for me. In fact, I think I’ve quite enjoyed it on the whole.

As with every other year, I have learned more about myself as a person, and I have also developed new friendships with people that I hope to take into the New Year. And of course, I have met a wonderful man whose beauty shines through both inside and out. I have written a post not long about about my 2016 in a nutshell so I won’t recap on all that again. Instead, I want to look forward, into the new year.

Now, I’m not usually one for resolutions. Sure, I’ve made a few here and there anyway, but more often than not, I forget what they are no more than a week into the year. Sometimes I think I’m the human version of Dory. Maybe not quite so bad, thank God, but near enough.

Anyway, a few friends and relatives may have gathered that I will be moving away from home come 2017. It is a huge step for me but one that I have mulled over for a while already. It’s still rather surreal seeing that a few months ago, it was simply a plan. And now that it’s coming true, it still feels like a dream.

Teething Marks!

I have lived in this condo belonging to Mum and Dad ever since I was a few months old. We still have the coffee table in our living room with my teething marks on, and if you crawl underneath, you’ll find scribbles of my brother’s and my drawings from when we were still tiny enough to fit below. Sure, we’ve renovated our place once in the 29 years we’ve been here, but it is filled with memories of my childhood, every inch of it.

And even our surrounding area holds the ghosts of my youth – the swimming pool where I learned to swim and still swim in; the compound downstairs where my neighbours and I would gather at 5pm every weekday afternoon to cycle, or play badminton, or catch; the trees the boys would climb to catch chameleons while I watched and writhed in disgust… I still have a couple of neighbours living in my block that I have grown up with, and the familiar faces of the aunties and uncles, cleaners, and security guards never fail to make me feel that this is home.

So why move?

I have discussed this with Mum and Dad, and I can assure you that if I could, I would love to live here until I’m 40, 50, 60 years old. It’s where I am most comfortable, it is a place of routine, a place where I need not worry about a thing. And in a way, I feel that it is exactly this reason that keeps me trapped in this cycle of ED. Under the wings of my parents, I know that I can continue to exist in the way I have been because it’s the easier choice – it’s safe. And being safe is exactly where the ED wants me to be. Not to be safe from destruction. But to be safe to destroy.

Beneath this desire to remain in my comfort zone and live pretty much in the cave of my own mind, I still have hopes for a future. I still want the same things I did before I developed ED. I still want to be with a man who loves me, and that I love; to build a family with him; to be a wife and mother. And it is in that hope that I am choosing to pry myself out of this hole I have made so snug for myself and move on towards change.

I am aware that there is no guarantee that I will beat ED by moving away. The illness isn’t something that stays in one place. It will move with me. But what I do know is a change in environment can help refresh the mind and teach me that I need to grow up, wake up, and take responsibility for myself and my health. Yes, I will have the support of F, who has been immensely supportive and patient, but at the same time, I know that I walk on a tighter rope with him because a man can only take so much, while the love of a parent will never diminish come what may.

It is not that Mum and Dad fully agree with my decision. Being Asian, cohabiting is still frowned upon, but they are supportive simply in the hopes that it will help me move forward and get healthier. I am immensely grateful to them for keeping an open mind and for helping me make trips up and down to our new place without complaint.

The year ahead, while exciting, will definitely be challenging for me as I adapt to a new home, with living with someone other than my parents, with working in a smaller kitchen, with changing my eating habits and breaking out of my comfort zone. And while ‘Flight‘ is my automatic response to anything that scares me, I choose ‘Fight‘ this time and pray for the best. Because for once in my life, I feel that as far away as my physical and mental health is from being optimal, I am so very, very close to the reality of my hopes and desires.

I have been binge-watching Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. I have caught snippets of it on TV from time to time but never bothered to sit down and watch a full episode… until a few days ago. And in Season 1 Ep 10 I believe, a psychic client of Grayson tells Jane towards the end of the episode that “The best way to get unstuck is to give yourself a kick in the ass“.

Moving into 2017, I have but one resolution. One that sounds so simple but in the greater scheme of things will amount to a huge one. And that is to get ‘unstuck‘. So from tomorrow onwards, I guess I will be blogging about this new chapter of my life unfolding with F as we set up home together, my challenges as I face food battles – both victories and defeats (hopefully more of the former), and from time to time, our travels!!

I’m eager to see what I’ll be typing here exactly this time next year! For now, may your 2017 be a blessed one, filled with all things beautiful, and surrounded by those who love you. Laugh lots, Love much, Hope heaps. And know that even through our toughest of fights, God will see us through! 🙂

Cristina.

Two evenings ago, I browsed through Netflix in search of something to watch. For some reason, I was pulled towards the Documentaries section. I enjoy watching documentaries but usually, I get distracted by the film and comedy TV series sections where I don’t have to think too deeply and topics brushed upon are generally less serious, at least the ones I tend to watch.

So when I hit upon Cristina and scanned through the synopsis, I wasn’t quite sure about whether I really wanted to watch it seeing that it was about cancer. I wasn’t in the mood for anything too depressing but it was a mere 37 min watch so I figured why not? I can always hit the ‘pause’ or ‘stop’ button and switch to something else.

After watching this short film, I felt this silence in me as a flurry of thoughts whirled in my head.

Why?

Why was Cristina struck with cancer. Not once but twice.
Why did she suffer?
Why did she die?

She seemed the epitome of life and love. She was young, doing well in her career as a script manager in Hollywood. She had met the love of her life and they married even after he found out about her first diagnosis. She fought cancer once and won. She was so optimistic. Her future, so bright!

How?

How did she get cancer?
How does cancer choose its victims?
How did it not die the second time around?

She mentions having lived a well balanced, healthy life. She didn’t smoke, hardly drank, didn’t do drugs, ate well, exercised. And still! It ate away her muscles and reduced her strong body into skin and bones. She fought on with positivity, light-hearted banter with her army of supporters, and tried to hold on to statistics that suggested she may have a chance to live 5-10 years with what she had.

A few things she said hit me in all its truth. She said something like how the closer you are to death; the more alive you feel. I guess for me, that holds a lot of water in that in an ironic way, the ‘sicker’ and closer to death I am, the more creative, the more ‘awake’ I feel. It’s almost as though everything gets clearer in its lucidity. Perhaps it is this notion that life should be a balance of everything, and upsetting the balance by going towards the extremes heightens our awareness of emotions and experiences.

As Cristina reflected on her illness, she said that she had experienced real, true, pure love with her husband, Bruce. Through the film, it was apparent their love for each other and the bond they shared. She shared that she would rather have had this love than to live a long life and never found a love like this one.

She also said that perhaps her life, as short as it looked to be, might be a reminder to people that the only guarantee in life is RIGHT NOW because yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is never really there. To have ‘right now’ is a gift that we should all embrace.

For many of us, it should be a wake up call to live. LIVE. To be alive. It reminds me of something I once said during recovery – that we only have this life to live, and we have the rest of eternity to be dead. So why? Why do I let myself slip ever closer to the edge of death when there is so much more to live for? Why do I hang on to destruction instead of trying to build myself up into something more? Why do I feel the need to be in control when I know that control is in essence me losing control?

There are people who have no choice in the illnesses that strike them, that they have to fight through. And something that I remember thinking before is the fact that as much as ED is a psychological illness, it is also an illness that I can master over. As Dr. L once reminded me, my stubborness can also be seen as determination. If my mind is strong enough to pull me down into the deathly pits of ED, it can sure as hell pull me back up into the splendor of life in all its beauty and once in a while, its repulsion as well. It has done so more than a few times, and it can do it again.

But as F reminded me yesterday, it’s not about talk but about action. And I need to start acting as much as I am currently experience mental inertia. 😦