FOOD on the Brain!

Thursday I am heading home to N.J. for a family reunion that has been in the works for months.

My brother just returned to California after his year in Korea, and we’re all meeting up at home in N.J.

To say I seriously cannot wait is a huge understatement; we’ve not all been together since last April! I’m ridiculously close to my family and hate that we all live so far apart. I seriously don’t know where I’d be without them … Continue reading “FOOD on the Brain!”

In Honor of Passover …

On Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating our exodus from Egypt, we ask: Why is this night different than all other nights?

While I didn’t attend a seder and am spending the holiday solo (with my hubby in class and my family hundreds of miles away) I tried to make tonight feel special and different, even though I wasn’t celebrating in the traditional sense. Continue reading “In Honor of Passover …”

The Day Our House Burned Down: Jan. 9, 1988

Today’s post has nothing to do with body image, weight, fitness, or anything … I am just feeling nostalgic and wanted to put my family’s fire story into words. I don’t have a photo on hand to share from that day, and I didn’t want to use anyone else’s random photos … but sometimes a post doesn’t need it to resonate. I hope this is one of those.

Female intuition is a very powerful thing, and not something I take lightly.

A Saturday morning 22 years ago, while preparing to head out for the day on a family outing, I innocently asked my dad, “Daddy, what would happen if our house caught fire at night?”

He seemed a little surprised by my question (as it was completely out of the blue), but told me what we’d do — find each other, get out safely, and go to our neighbors’ house to call for help.

As planned, we ran some errands, and pretty much forgot about our conversation. But when we came home later that day … our lives were changed in an instant … and that “what if” conversation we had that morning haunts me to this day.

My dad opened the front door and (I’ll never forget this) screamed the one word that will forever echo in my mind: “FIRE”! Continue reading “The Day Our House Burned Down: Jan. 9, 1988”

Dads and Daughters: An Ode to My Dad

Word_Jong_017I feel blessed to have amazing relationships with both my parents.

My parents were junior high sweethearts who came of age in the late ’60s, early ’70s.

Like most couples, they’ve weathered a ton over the years (including our house burning down when I was 8, the deaths of their parents as well as my beloved uncle Howie, to name a few challenges they have faced together).

And in the process, they’ve produced three pretty cool kids — or so they tell us šŸ˜‰ Though all of us have long fled the nest, we’re still extremely close thanks to frequent flyer miles, cell phones, e-mail, and Skype.

(I’m in Michigan now; my brother lives in L.A. – but now he is teaching English in South Korea for the next year – and my sister lives in Manhattan where she’s a social worker at a NY Hospital).

Word_Jong_011But in many ways, no matter my age (I’m almost 30) or even the fact that I’m married now, I’m still Daddy’s Little Girl. I’m the eldest of three, and I swear, sometimes I think he still thinks I’m five, wearing pig-tails!

When people hear “daddy’s little girl” often they assume “spoiled.”

But my dad has never been the kind of dad to spoil me with physical objects the way some girls’ dads might. I don’t have a special pair of Tiffany earrings he gave me for graduation, or a car he bought me like a lot of the girls I went to college with (I’m not talking about my friends, just lots of girls I knew at American).

Instead, he’s spoiled me with his unconditional love, admiration, and devotion … something I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. In that sense, I’m definitely a daddy’s girl.

My dad worked two jobs when we were small so my mom could stay home with us. I’m super-thankful for that. In spite of his crazy schedule (he was a printer), as a baby, we still always had our special time. He’d wake me when he got home at 3 in the morning from work so we could spend time together while my mom slept. He’d read to me, listen to me babble, and put me back to bed.

Word_Jong_016

Even though he worked so very hard to provide for us, he still managed to make it to every choir concert, karate tournament, dance recital, or cheerleading competition … and he rarely missed our family dinners. (The importance of family dinners reigned supreme in our house, and I hope to instill the same with our kids.)

Anyway, in case you can’t tell, in honor of Father’s Day, this entry today is devoted to my dad. Pardon me while I take a walk down memory lane today. Continue reading “Dads and Daughters: An Ode to My Dad”

Open Book

open_bookI’ve been doing a lot of introspection the past couple weeks. One of the drawbacks about putting your thoughts and feelings out there in the blogosphere is that not everyone will love what you have to say, all day, every day.

Shocker, right?!

Naturally, I know it comes with the territory; it’s a risk I have to take, both as a writer, and also as someone who is trying to overcome a challenge. I have to realize that when I broach touchy subjects (or any subject, really), some people will possibly be turned off by my words, and some people might feel annoyed, frustrated, or upset reading my words …

Likewise, I never know what will be a “good post” or an “eh post.” Some days I see zero comments (but 700 hits) and other days I get a ton of comments on a particular post, or follow-up e-mails.

Comments are good; they create a dialogue, which is one of my blog’s missions. Often your comments (positive or not) lead to another post, and I do that because I’m listening … observing … absorbing.

Deep down, I know change doesn’t emerge from stagnancy … and so I know in my heart that writing/blogging about the good, the bad, and the ugly has helped myself and others. And I do believe that without it, I might not be where I am today on this journey.

That said, whereas before I wrote my thoughts and feelings in a journal and no one but me could read them … now my thoughts are out there for the world to read. And that can be a daunting notion. Continue reading “Open Book”

Perception and Reality

lightbulb1I had an epiphany after watching THIN for the second time, this time with my husband.

Needless to say, he was very, very disturbed by the movie. I’ll be honest, part of why I wanted him to see it was to show him, “Yes I am still struggling, but look, I’m not as extreme as these girls.”

But my husband is incredibly bright, and he knows me so well that it’s scary. While he agrees that I’m not as extreme as those girls, he picked up on some of the things the girls did — their behaviors — that mirrored mine.

To name a few … changing clothes 3 million times (guilty since age 7?), staring at myself in the mirror and prodding (totally a weight loss result — the obsession), chewing-and-spitting (my formerly shameful secret; now I just relapse from time to time), picking apart their food (guilty!), obsessing over weight gain, real or imagined (I try not to, but sometimes find myself doing it) ordering specifically (though that’s nothing new really; I’ve been a picky eater for as long as I can recall); ordering “diety.” (I’ve gotten better with this one).

And I wonder if subconsciously, I wanted him to point these things out in the film. Because they’re all things he’s been concerned about for me for years now; things he’s tried to talk me out of and things that, especially in the beginning, I shrugged off (“I’m not obsessing!”.)

All this time, he’s just wanted to make me see I am beautiful as I am, that I don’t need to obsess over my body, that there’s more to life than my outer self. Continue reading “Perception and Reality”

Accepting Deprivation With Grace

“You need to learn to accept deprivation with grace,” Dr. G. advised me last night.

“You’ll need to change your mindset about how you’re viewing their visit… and it won’t be easy.”

(In case you haven’t figured out by now, Thursday generally = therapy).

We were talking about my anxiety levels with my in-laws being here, and how it no doubt puts a strain on my relationship with my husband, as well as how I feel about myself and my quasi-“hateful” reactions at times.

She said no doubt I am deprived right now (she said she would be too!): my whole house has been “invaded,” foreign objects and foods and “things” are everywhere, depriving me of my sense of “order”.

There’s a language challenge (despite me speaking Spanish and my mother-in-law speaking English, neither of us are completely fluent anymore) which means my communication abilities are deprived. Continue reading “Accepting Deprivation With Grace”

Family Ties

In my backyard this weekend
In my backyard this weekend
It’s funny but no matter how old I get, I will always be Daddy’s little girl, whether in pigtails or my wedding gown. And I’ll always be a duplicate of my mom, physically and mentally, with her sensitivity and strength.

Some roles never change, and I’m grateful for that. While I am super-close with my parents and consider them two of my best friends, I know that, as my parents, they would do anything to protect me and want to see me overcome my disordered eating–to see myself as they see me: their strong, beautiful, smart, sensitive daughter.

This past weekend, they came to visit us for a couple days. It wasn’t long enough for any of us, but I am so happy they were able to be here and see our life here, even just for a glimpse.

It was also the first time we’d seen each other since I’d come clean about my disordered eating and I’d started the blog. Continue reading “Family Ties”

Let the Flooding Begin… “5 Lost Weeks”

I had therapy again last night and let me just say, I am so grateful to have started this process when I did, because I’m about to begin a super-challenging chapter of my life.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law (who is 36 and sweet as can be but severely, severely mentally challenged) will be visiting/staying with us from El Salvador (where they live) for five weeks, starting August 15.

I won’t go into the specifics of why this is such a big deal…it’s not just cultural and language differences…and I am not here to bash them; I’m not a malicious person. She is a wonderful woman who has had many challenges in her life and raised an incredible son, my husband, and a wonderful, very special daughter–all single-handedly.

But, to be blunt, it’s a lot for me mentally and emotionally (as well as physically) having them here for that long for many, many reasons.

One of which is, I am a control freak, and I don’t deal well when I am thrown in situations that make me uncomfortable.

But really, let’s be honest here, five weeks is a long time to host anyone. Continue reading “Let the Flooding Begin… “5 Lost Weeks””