Full Form May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013

Today was a day of rest. Finally. I had a free day and chose not to go anywhere or do anything at all. I took a long walk (in tennis shoes! My feet are saying thanks!) around Reggio! I just wanted to take in one good look around the city. I realized how big Reggio really is and how little of it I’ve actually seen. I’ve gotten acquainted with the area around my house and the city center, but there’s so much more to Reggio than that! I sat down in one of the parks for a while and just people watched. The Italian people talk a LOT. They talk loudly, they talk with their hands, and are so expressive in general. It’s very different than some of the other European countries that I’ve been in where the people are more stiff. Well, not exactly stiff but not exactly dignified either. I can’t think of the right word. Italians are just more loving and expressive. That shows up in their art and all of the PDA I’ve seen around! In one of the schools, I noticed that there were naked people in some of the children’s drawings. In the United States, the parents would be called in immediately to suggest something was wrong with the child! Here, the children are exposed to so much magnificent art everywhere that the body is solidified in their minds as something to be celebrated and expressed.  I like that. I think that, maybe, some of the problems in the United States with eating disorders and things like that could be combatted if we started celebrating the human form. The statues that I’ve seen around vary in size, shape, and age. There’s not an ideal. In the states, most women would kill themselves for that perfect waiflike model figure. However, I have yet to see a statue of a woman that would even come close to that. Instead, the statues of the women… if there is a way to actually generalize them all…  are full and soft, inviting, alluring, feminine. There’s nothing angular or bony about them. I find that refreshing – a good reminder that a normal woman’s body can be captivating in full form. 

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Day 3 of Travels!

May 8, 2013

I slept this morning, planning to go to school when the dorm parents took lunch at noon. I woke up at 11:42. Seriously, this jet lag thing is really getting to me! Because my day was shortened, I don’t have too much to say. I went to PE, art, and worldview classes and soccer practice with Meems today. Mimi sprained her ankle at soccer, so that is going to cut into some of our rambling a little bit. We had planned to walk to a German place for dinner but she is barely able to walk so that didn’t work out. I missed breakfast but had a yummy lunch of bratwurst, gouda mac and cheese, raw veggies, and a cakey tiramusu strawberry desert thingy. I really liked the bratwurst! It’s much better than a hotdog (I HATE hotdogs). For dinner, I had potatoes, breaded chicken, green beans and milk with two rice cakes – one with pb and an apple, one with nutella. I don’t really like German peanut butter that much! It’s not as brown in color so they’ve done something to make it less like a bunch of ground of peanuts and more like a milky peanut spread. But the nutella was, of course, parfait! I thought I would blog before any late night snacking started in the dorm to get in touch with how I was feeling about food. I am perfectly satisfied, but not overly full. I will be hungry again in the morning! I really don’t WANT a snack tonight. I need to keep that in mind in case there is food presented later. I wanted the nutella and peanut butter not really for the taste but because it was there. That’s not the way to think about things all the time, but sometimes it is. This was one of those times that I’m making it okay. So, I made sure I really enjoyed it. That’s pretty much it for today – short and sweet. Not much happened this Wednesday.

a day in the life

May 7, 2013

Today was such a great day! I got up and went to school with Mimi. I was still so jet lagged by the end of the day that I took a power nap during her art class… I’ve never been one who could easily nap, but I passed out in front of people I didn’t even know. That never happens! It was so weird seeing what it’s like in a high school again… kids from all around the world still act like monkeys, even though there are some differences. Mimi’s school reminded me of boarding school from TV, like Mia’s school in Princess Diaries. There are a lot of free spirited people and a lot of talented young people at BFA. I love it! It’s so different from my high school. Mimi said it perfectly, “At BFA, instead of conforming to a set norm, people here conform to being weird.” I wish I would have had the opportunity to go to somewhere like this, or just somewhere different than small town, South Carolina, USA. The kids have a LOT of freedom but it’s freedom within boundaries. I really like that. I think American students should be allowed more freedom! I know it’s different in bigger cities and in different parts of the country, like where Blake went to school in Florida but still… our American students are so sheltered! I had some great conversations with people about differences between German schools and American schools. German students start feeling the pressure really early! They start transitioning to career plans as early as 6th grade… #wut. It’s also been interesting to watch the Asian students study at BFA. There’s still a lot of pressure, but since they’re at boarding school, a lot of them put it on themselves. Because of the more strenuous academics, the students are more mature. Yet, lots of them don’t know what they want to do post-grad. It’s really common for students to take gap years after BFA. I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with that either! I know there are aspects that are good from both and disadvantages to both as well. I can’t imagine not seeing my parents except for a few times a year. It’s not good; it’s not bad. It’s just different. Basically, as Mimi so grandly put it, “Today was a day in the normal life of Mimi Brady!” We went on a bike ride around the countryside. The weather was perfect! We took in some beautiful views and had some pretty awesome conversation too! We talked about the Lord, where she stands, how BFA (a Christian school) still has difficulty helping students truly grasp Christianity. It’s so very true that Christ has to reveal himself to each person. He stands at the door and knocks and knocks. We only have to open the door to let him in. I love my little cousin so much! She is growing up and I am so proud of her evolving worldview and the way she looks at things so openly. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Aristotle today during our conversation, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It’s so important to be able to question and expand your mind. Christianity is not stagnant. I’ve found that in discussing my faith with others who don’t believe, it often only confirms MORE of what I believe. God has a great way of doing that. Also… today was a GREAT eating day! I got to have real German coffee and pastries and some superrrr yummy German version of gelato. Breakfast was quiche and lunch was a yummy sandwich, pretzels, and grapes. I didn’t feel bad about any of the ice cream or pastries because we went on a walk during one of Mimi’s school periods and I practiced soccer with her soccer team too. Also, we went on that bike ride. I was so happy after we rode bikes because I felt like I tied a nice little bow around my eating for the day, like everything was even. I did really good until late tonight, when they had guacamole and tortilla chips for a “senior snack” thing they do with the senior girls in their dorm every now and then. The guacamole wasn’t even that good, but I kept eating it because it was THERE and I started thinking that I had ruined my “good day.” After that I had 6 chocolate candies! Granted, they were Russian chocolates so they were super nice but still. I don’t know why I do this to myself! It’s frustrating. I have to let go of the whole perfection thing and take everything in stride. If I can just stop myself from thinking about making everything perfect, black and white and good and bad, and just allow myself to enjoy everything MINDFULLY, then I’ll be fine. Just because I eat ONE “bad” thing doesn’t mean I have to eat five more! Mindfulness doesn’t mean portion control, it doesn’t mean ANYTHING but allowing myself to appreciate whatever it is I’m eating and paying attention to what my body actually wants.  If I just keep writing about it, hopefully I will get it in my head eventually. Maybe I need to chant it to myself! Lord, please help me to grasp this concept!! 

World Travels!

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Finally, I’m a world traveler! Today, after getting only about three hours of sleep in the past likeeee 30 hours, I can finally say I’ve navigated across the globe by myself! Eeee! It wasn’t as hard as I expected. I flew from Atlanta to Frankfurt, then to Munich, and from Munich to Basel. It was so neat to see all of the different peoples and hear the cacophony of various languages, especially in the bigger international airports. It’s amazing how small the globe has become, how quickly people are able to cross continents and boarders! And yet it’s still so big because there is so much to be seen! Every time I go to a new place I’m always reminded that a smile is the same in every language. There’s a lot of bad in this world, but there’s also a lot of good, a lot of kindness. Today, upon arriving in the tiny little town of Kandern, Germany my cousin, Mimi, and I went for a walk. I loved seeing all of the old houses. From the air, the German landscape looks really well managed, like a giant patchwork quilt. The land is sectioned off into almost perfect squares and rectangles, all different shades of green and brown. Yet, on the ground, the people let their gardens grow more freely than the perfectly trimmed shrubs and bushes I’m used to seeing in the states. The grass is a little taller, there are some natural flowers mixed into the flowerbeds, and beautiful ivy and wisteria grows onto the houses. I’ve learned that the Mien River flows through Frankfurt and the Rhine separates France and Germany. I’ve seen both in one day! I also got to ride on an autobahn! I’m really excited to spend this next month abroad. These first few days will be spent with Mimi at Black Forrest Academy, a school created mostly for missionary kids. These girls are so fun! I’m so excited that Mimi has a chance to grow with these girls. I’m really excited to spend this next month abroad. I’m excited at this different chance to think about food. I am so unbelievably tired so I feel like everything has gone by in a BLUR, but I have eaten some pretty good food already even just at the airport! The airplane food was actually really good too. Free wine, free Baileys, and OHHHHH don’t get me started on the delicioussss German chocolate! Some things that I’m excited to see happen… One, I don’t have an unlimited amount of food at my disposal like I have at my house or my apartment at school. Two, the people are much more active. I mean, I’ve been sitting on my BUTTTT the past two days but hey, I’ve been on a plane and that will all change now that I’m HERE. I brought my running shoes so I do plan to run and stuff when I can. Three, there’s a big difference in the way Europeans and Americans think about food. I am ready to try to eat mindfully and experience food in a different way. Also, I hope that some of the bloating and stuff from my recent binges will go away as I try to eat normally. More than anything, I hope that food is the LAST thing on my mind during this trip. There’s so much to see and do! I don’t want to be weighed down by my obsession with food! I was worried about all the carbs that Italian people eat but you know, Americans are the ones with the weight problem, not Italians! So, I PRAY that my weight evens out. I am hoping to the high heavens that I don’t gain any more weight… That would really be devestating. But, I’m trusting that things will even out. Balance. That’s what I’m seeking on this trip. That’s what I’m always seeking. Balance and a renewed sense of God FIRST in relation to myself SECOND.

What A Savior

Today, after some serious struggles this week, I weighed in at 135. I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to weigh myself because I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the number but I thought it would be important to understand that there are consequences. Every time I get persuaded by the lies that Ed feeds me – that binging and purging actually can help me lose weight – the scale proves Ed wrong. The truth proves Ed wrong. Bulimia does not “work.” Even if I have to get it in my head by physically seeing the numbers on the scale go up, I have to prove it to myself. But today, even though I’m so disappointed and sad that I let myself gain the weight, I’m letting it all go. This journey has been so interesting. It’s far, far, far from a success story. It’s so interesting to see how Jesus has revealed different things to me. He’s made it blatantly obvious that I CAN NOT DO IT ALONE. These recent blog posts were supposed to keep me accountable and show myself that I could do it. ME, on my own strength, with my own self discipline. HAH. Jesus has taken that and turned it completely around. He’s showing me, through my own folly and failure, that the ONLY way to joy and “success” is to let it all go. The sermon I heard today was on point with everything I’m learning right now about submission. It was entitled “Religion Ruins Everything.” Religion – the desire to prove ourselves through the law, through works, through our own strength – is always going to be a temptation. But, we as people are profoundly limited in what we can or cannot do. That’s not something that the world wants us to hear. The world wants us to think we can do everything on our own; that we all have some kind of innate superpower we just have to tap into. But that’s not the message of the gospel. Trying to muster up religious energy to do what Jesus has already done for us and attempting to save ourselves is a form of slavery! We don’t have to spend time trying to “pay back God.” In a way, that’s what I’ve been doing! That’s why I haven’t been able to defeat Ed. I can’t do it on my own power. I’ve SAID that I’m working to make Jesus a part of my recovery, but that’s really the problem. I don’t have to work to save myself. I can’t do that. I can work to serve Jesus and make the Lord known, but Jesus doesn’t need us to be strong for him. If Christ died for us at our weakest point, he is not surprised at our weakness now. He is not ashamed of us. He does not need us to fake strength or perfection. We are freed up to admit our own weakness and then in turn allow healing to enter in. We don’t have to hide our struggles or feign perfection from God or from the communities he’s blessed us with here on earth. In fact, Paul says that we are to rejoice in our weaknesses! 2 Corinthians 12:9 reads, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” When we are able to admit our weaknesses, Christ is glorified. This is something that the Lord has really been pushing me to realize this entire year. Literally, this is all I’ve heard this year and I’ve still missed it. I know this in my head and I believe that I know this in my heart too, but putting it into action is a different story. In trusting in my savior, I have to let go of my own selfish goals. Honestly right now, in my constant failure of trying to redeem myself, I don’t think the Lord wants me to have such a focus on “health goals.” He wants me to relate ALL things to service in him first. I believe that he will complete me, he will heal me, and THEN he will free me to be able to glorify him through a renewed and a changed mindset of what it means to be healthy. Freedom is so close that I can almost grasp it. The Lord just has to make a few more things real to me first. I am trusting in my savior and that his plan is better than my plan. It may mean that I end up weighing 150 pounds in the process. But, I think the Lord is going to help me see that I have to let it all go. He’s not going to make me “unhealthy” or “ugly.” That’s not his plan. He gave us these bodies and wants us to take care of them! I think that the picture of health I have in my mind is in line with God’s plan. That hasn’t been the problem. The process for me is understanding that the way I look is NOT the most important. God is going to challenge that until I am changed to the very core. Then I will find true beauty, true joy, and true peace.

This is my prayer, my song, to the Lord today:

My Jesus, you satisfy.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Oh, God, be my everything, be my delight.
Be, Jesus, my glory. My soul’s satisfied.