The Haunting of Halloween

Today is Halloween.

At this very 6:19 am moment, one of my children is awake and perfecting their ghoulish face paint.

I had intended to write this post yesterday-------- and didn't. I couldn't. I wasn't clear about what to say.... I'm still not.

Monday I was on my weekly phone call with my personal Life Coach Cindy Montano.

(find her facebook page here:  )

I set my intentions every week with her and this week one of them was to be strict with myself in eating Vegetarian.

ON HALLOWEEN WEEK!!!!!!!!!! ;)

In conversation with Cindy I explained that Halloween is extremely stressful for me. But keeping my word isn't.

I spent over a decade with an eating disorder. Having a house full of candy and chocolate and junk food is emotionally triggering for me. Making the commitment to eat healthy this week is relieving. Having support and encouragement from my dear friend and mentor assists my resolve.

Eating disorders are addictions similar to drug, alcohol, or other vices. Essentially, it is a way to avoid facing issues and emotional energy by turning one's focus onto a temporary distraction.

Just like an alcoholic chooses to see the world through the goggles of wine glasses... those with eating disorders choose to see the world as weight-loss, thin, not thin, etc. Instead of facing a world that is overwhelming and seems so daunting, where the answers aren't "cut and dry" or we don't know how to process feelings or "what to do" in life situations... we turn to what we know how to do...
Lose Weight. 2+2=4.

It's kind of like Ironing to me. I like Ironing. I don't know how to "fix" many dilemmas in my life... but give me a wrinkled shirt and in just moments... all chaos is now smooth and resolved.

Yes, for me, the weight loss/disorder was very much about self-hatred and rejection. I hated my body. I hated the way I looked. My face, my thighs, my arms, my ass... hated.
I avoided mirrors, I would walk down a different side of the street to avoid large windows that reflected my image. Until a few years ago, I didn't wear short sleeves or skirts or a bathing suit. Until a few years ago I didn't speak publicly in front of people. I was terrified and humiliated when they turned their heads and eyes towards me. 

Every time I facilitate a drum circle... sometimes with 100 people there, my bestie, personal assistant calms me down before we step in. "Breathe! Breathe! Breathe." she's the best. My hands are shaking right now writing about that.

BUT, part of why I do the drum circles... why I began The I Am Message photography movement is because I watch so many other teen girls and their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmas... in similar self-loathing and rejection. I take photos of women/children/people with chalkboards telling us WHO they REALLY are... it's not about the physical appearance.

I thought I could pray myself out of hating myself... maybe I did. Because women showed up in my life who accepted themselves enough to love me and show me HOW to do it.

We dance and play at drum circles, as adults "let go" and empower each other and the teens there, things shift.

Cindy coaches me through many things... I don't know that "I'm Recovered" the same way that an alcoholic is perhaps never recovered.
It's something that HAUNTS me. I wish I could just "abstain" from anything that triggers the addiction... like other addicts can just "remove" the temptation of drugs or alcohol... but food is relatively essential. 
The addiction I fell into requires self-discipline and self-mastery. It is something I will MANAGE not eliminate from my life. 

A few weeks ago I was talking to Cindy and saying "I know my brain is getting a little twisted right now..." I explained that what I am "SEEING" in the mirror isn't matching reality.

"Like how?" she asked.
What I was seeing was fat. Lot's of it. It appeared as though overnight I gained 20 pounds. All I could see was lumps and cellulite. I was panicking.. (again my fingers are shaking now) SOoooo, I went and put on my jeans. They fit the same.

What I know now when this happens is that when my brain begins to "contort" things it's a survival mechanism I learned from so long ago. So the distortion is like a warning bell telling me there are emotional issues I'm ignoring and perhaps "blind" to that deserve attention.
Cindy coached me through it.

She's not an "expert" persay on eating disorders exactly, but what is important for parents and friends to realize is that disorders and addictions are SYMPTOMS of someone not knowing HOW to process something in their life. Eliminating the SYMPTOM doesn't dissolve the CAUSE. 
Going through processes of HOW to approach problems, work through things, face emotions and traumas, memories that we don't want to... is HOW to alleviate the SYMPTOM of an addiction.

Well... here's to Halloween... ! Lol.

A nightmare awoke me this morning that I had broken my word to Cindy and to myself and eaten sausage and chocolate.

But I'm resolved. I'm here. I'm sharing.
I share because I speak about these issues often to girls groups. I only share because there are others like me and parents of others like me who don't really "get" what's going on. And--- to be fair, I can only share what I know for me. It may not be the reasons for everyone.

Happy Haunting. :)

For local Utahns, here's a website that can assist you or one you love who may be struggling.


  1. Thank you for sharing your light my love. One of the "fears" I hold onto is how my daughters see themselves versus who they really are. That they get caught up in all the self destructive behaviors that seem to be accepted and almost encouraged with women (yes I know us men have them too). But I wish to see the full power they hold come to the front of their lives, allowing them to accept it over what they may think is expected of them.

    I love you Drum Goddess. You are truly a vision of divinity.

  2. I was talking to a friend the other day...when they shared or asked my experience about something...part of me didnt want to relate my experience though I knew I had many experiences as a child...part of my own pandora s box. It seems there s some trauma there..childhood stuff that could not be shared with parents or siblings...for fear of spending time with psychiatrists, men in white coats or me in a special white coat...I always looked at my parents as being overwhelmed with full plates just with dealing with my illnesses let alone other things(not talked about) Its amazing how the subject is showing up in books and on the radio lol


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