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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Brooke's LiveJournal:

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Monday, November 21st, 2016
11:29 pm
I was reading a blog on NEDA's website about people preparing for Thanksgiving, and I was commenting on some of the message boards. I forgot, until I started reading it, what it was like. I genuinely forgot how scary it was, how difficult it was, and how I told no one. I was too ashamed to say, "Hey I know we have food, and I'm around family, but I'm actually having a really bad day today and I actually didn't keep anything down." I was ashamed because eating disorders are conditions of privilege. The fact that I had one means my life was pretty good. For that reason I felt such shame around it, and still do when I have harder days, because I feel like I'm wining about my privilege to have food. I know that's not how it works..
I remember high school was the worst. I didn't eat much around the holidays, but if I did, I purged and starved pretty obsessively afterward. I don't know how to describe it. It doesn't really matter. You have to be there to get it. But what I don't understand is how my environment failed me so much. Why did they think it was ok to make my weight their obsession? Why was it ok for them to weigh me weekly and keep the numbers written down? In what universe is it to brag about my decreasing clothing size at the dinner table, or to give me "permission" to eat potato chips only when I was under a certain number of pounds? Why did she think it was okay to take me shopping and repeatedly tell me most of the store was off limits because it was reserved for pretty people? Was she jealous of me? No, she was struggling too.
I remember my surprise when I went to college and realized that I didn't have to think that way, that the people around me weren't thinking that way. That was so new to me. I remember Kaleigh coaching me to seek help and telling me that it didn't make me week to have a distorted brain. In many ways, I owe it to Blessing for cheating on me because it got me into counseling sooner. That was fairly good timing, sir.
I minimize it and I don't think about it often, for the reasons I talked about earlier and really because it's just another glimpse into my past, but when I read these blog posts from others who are where I was, I think and I feel grateful. By the grace of God and my own decision, I did it, silently and mostly on my own. I was surrounded by pressures not to be healthy, and still am to some extent, but they don't bother me anymore. Not only did I do it, but I've helped my mom do it for herself. My mom has eliminated body shaming talk and actually feels good about herself, and I know that it is in large part due to my constant gentle reminders to her that I won't tolerate it anymore. I'm grateful that I'm going to go to Galveston this year, and that I know without a doubt that I won't be purging. I won't be starving the day before or the day after. I won't be over or under eating, and I won't know how much I weigh at any point because I won't weigh myself. I know that I can read these holiday eating disorder posts and respond to them, that I can be a support to all these people I'll never meet without being triggered myself, because I know that I'm stronger than whatever addictive restrictive personality I have. I'll have distorted thoughts. I'll have temptations. I'll feel for a second, or maybe eight, that I'm going to slip. But I'll notice it, write it down, and let it go, because that's what I have done consistently now for several years. I won't need to sneak into the bathroom to call the 24-hour Ed recovery line like I remember doing in 2011. I won't be sending vague half-desperate texts to my friends. I'll let it go, I'll avoid relapse, and I'll help others do the same.

With love,

Current Mood: grateful
Monday, November 14th, 2016
11:38 pm
have i mentioned i hate drama?
When I feel confusion and preemptive anger, when I look in the eyes of my future defeated, overwhelmed self, and when minutes of inpatient writing turn up nothing I don’t already know to help me, I settle for goodnight with the feeble phrase, “I’m stronger than I think I am.” I look back at the former sentence and wish I could say it was dramatic, knowing that if I could say that with sincerity the whole matter would be resolved. But I know it’s not dramatic, that I’m not over reacting, and that the future I described is accurate.

I’m scared. Not in the way that I fear surgery, but I still feel fear. I’m resentful of myself but at the same time I feel compassion. Above all I feel peace, an unsettled, chaotic peace that feels sustaining. I’m grateful for that peace. Amen.
Monday, November 7th, 2016
10:46 pm
why do i even post in this thing anymore?
I was looking through ahold e-mail thread from 2010 in an attempt to recover some song lyrics I misplaced. That tends to be the initiating factor of those hunts. In the process, I found an old e-mail from Blessing, because my 18 year old life was polluted with those. It leaked manipulative words and I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown since then. I was a feeble, guilty, ashamed, embarrassed 18 year old girl whose heart was in the right place. I was not weak but I thought I was. The part that stood out to me though was the content of the words I sent to you back then. They were the most genuine of anything I sent anyone. It confirms to me that I am not remembering that era of my life incorrectly: the era during which I decided to let you in and trust you. Even then, when I was learning that I had a voice and that I wasn’t worthless, you inspired something strong and bold in me. You brought out a side in me with which I am now very familiar, but I then was not at all.
Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
6:32 pm
Gratitude Day 1
November is the stereotypical gratitude month but I've actually been intending on doing a more formal gratitude journal for a while so I'm doing this exercise.

Who do I Appreciate?

I worship God for being God and the Creator and Sustainers of all things.

I appreciate my parents for giving me life, and for nurturing me in the best way they know how for as long as they have. I appreciate what they’ve taught me about the world and my place in it. They never accepted disrespect of others, never allowed me to settle for less than I can accomplish. They have taught me how to be strong and how to try my best to be nonjudgmental.

I appreciate Kaleigh for her ridiculous humor, her spiritual strength and genuine desire to connect with God, for her pure intentions towards the people around her, and for her laugh.

I appreciate SarahSutton for their loyalty, their unwavering determination to stay alive and to create a different path for themselves than what others expect, for their laugh and for letting me into their world and letting me be their favorite person.

I appreciate Nimer for giving me the humbling experience of not having words. I appreciate how alive I feel when I am with him, whether I am feeling anger or happiness or some overwhelming combination. I appreciate how strong-willed and bold of a human being he is. I appreciate who I am when I am around him, some vibrant combination of all the best and worst parts of me. I appreciate the day to day gratitude I never fail to experience as a result of him.

I appreciate Dean’s intellect, his positive spirit towards all beings, and his ability to say what’s on his mind. I appreciate his respect for me as an independent mind and soul. I appreciate his dedication to correcting things that aren’t working when he notices, rather than remaining in a defensive state.

I appreciate myself for who I have become. I appreciate how deeply I care for others and the lengths I’ll go for them. I appreciate my vibrant energy for life, and my desire to get the most out of my time that God has given me here.

This appreciation thing can go on for a while, I could write multiple entries and words. But here’s to gratitude entry day 1.

Current Mood: happy
Monday, October 3rd, 2016
10:08 am
what I learned today,
Damn typos. I was writing a rant but had too many typos so I quit.
Wednesday, September 14th, 2016
10:37 pm
I’m breathing. I’m acutely aware of this because my chest feels tight. The tightness is something that is with me often. Another word for it is love, and another word for that is courage.

I felt the sun today. I was acutely aware of it as I walked the earth. I felt it on my skin, and the feeling was gratitude, brought to me by God.

Dear journal,

Now that I have released these words my limbs crave rest. I crave rest because I’m tired, also known as human.
Monday, September 5th, 2016
10:04 am
Wrote this a while ago but forgot to post it. Not really in the same place I was when I wrote it.

If hindsight were foresight,
If would have's were will do's,
If visibility were clear and if life were sudoku,
Promise words would be kept,
Proud odes be withheld,
Yes would mean yes, complete and heart-felt.
If hindsight were foresight,
If will do's were certain,
I would be safe and you wouldn't be hurting.
But hindsight is hindsight.
Should have's are ruthless.
I am not perfect, but I may not be worthless.

Current Mood: happy
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
10:24 pm
paralytic flash-back
If you were a painting, I would be your frame,
Holding you centered for the world to resist.
If you were the water, I’d be your shelter,
Savoring you, separate from salty sea.
If you were a blanket, I’d be your child,
If you were a scent I would wear you with pride,
But you’re just a memory, held by me only,
Locked behind chest plates, secret and burning.
You’re just a splash of flavor in my headspace,
Amidst all others that color my being.
My memory’s present, my present is seeking.
My words are deflected, my livestock depleting.
I miss you, though you’re with me.
I see you in my future.
I wonder why you matter.
I worry for the answer.
Friday, July 8th, 2016
11:24 pm
musings from 10,000 feet
As blood skips and dashes through my veins,
I figure it must know more than I,
About the world and my place in it,
About the storms that usher us by.
I’m a symphony with no music,
Live with listeners, no rehearsal.
I’m in combat without vessels.
I’m an athlete testing fluids.
I’m a child to this life. Are you?
My young heart beat is a Gift beyond me.
My soul is led, but my chest and head
Collide like sins and good deeds it seems.
My cheeks may flush and my tears may leak,
My soles may race to catch glimpse of lost sleep,
But the Lord I pray my soul may keep,
Protect my spirit, bold and meek,
Replenish my springs that bathe the weak,
And dry the swamps my demons seek.
Sunday, May 29th, 2016
11:32 pm
new song lyrics
Feel you sink into my skin,
Feel you dance around my heart and squeeze,
Feeling every part of who you are that I am blessed to see,
Be for some moment in time a part of me.

Feel you walking through my mind,
Fast without asking me first if I comply,
Feeling every part of you that I am blessed to see,
Be for some moment in time a part of me.

The best part of each second that I spend with you is,
It’s a second more that I spend with you, but
The worst part is it’s closer to the end.
I know it’s just a matter of time before
This chapter will close and I’ll crash back again.

Feel myself missing my step,
Feel my heart beat catch up with my breath,
Feeling every part of you that I am blessed to see,
Be for some moment in time a part of me.

Feel the lift and then the loss,
Causing friction as their paths in me cross,
Feeling every part of you that I am blessed to see,
Be for some moment in time a part of me.

The best part of each second that I spend with you is,
It’s a second more that I spend with you, but
The worst part is it’s closer to the end.
I know it’s just a matter of time before
This chapter will close and I’ll crash back again.
I’ll crash back again, soon,
Sooner than I would like to admit, soon,
Before you know I exist, soon.

Feel me running out of words,
Feel the butterflies and then the hurt,
Feeling every part of you that I am blessed to see,
Be for some moment in time a part of me.
Saturday, May 28th, 2016
10:08 am
positive affirmation exercise
Positive Affirmation Exercise

Three things I like about my physical appearance:
I like my hair. It is wavy and soft and naturally looks like I spent a long time on it.
I like my nails. They grow when I let them. This is something I am very proud of because when I was underweight they didn’t really grow.
I like my body shape. I’m thin but not sick. My legs are strong. I don’t get why I didn’t like my body. I’m grateful every day for my strength.
Three things about my personality:
I like that I genuinely care so much about people that I don’t even know how to turn it off. It gets me into trouble a lot, but oh well. If someone needs something, I keep them in my heart. I don’t judge people really. It’s not something I think to do. I like that. I like that I respect the Divine and everyone as a creation of the Divine.
I like that I laugh so hard I cry on a daily basis. I like that I find such joy in stupid things. I make myself laugh all the damn time.
I like that I enjoy using my brain, that I build puzzles in my free time, or read about rats or the science behind cricket chirps.
On that note, it’s been real, have a great day world.

Three goals I have for myself:
1. Stay awake. I've been doing a good job. It sucks because I feel negative emotions and I'm used to suppressing them, and it has been a little bit of a shock to my system, but at least I'm doing it, and have been doing it for about 4 months straight now.
2. Get back into the faith community. Somewhere, anywhere, get back into the faith community.
3. Start writing or playing music again. Somewhere, somehow, join a group or start writing songs again.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
5:39 pm
I feel really good today
I honestly cannot remember the last time I felt this stable, and consequently, can't remember the last time I wrote more than one sentence without making my posts private. I posted an upset post on my trich support group and someone replied with the most helpful article I have ever read about trich in my life. But I also think I've just been really trying to take control and be stable. Either way, it's awesome.
Saturday, May 14th, 2016
11:06 pm
at the risk of sounding like a drama queen,
I just can't... even.. The sooner I can even, the better.

5:49 pm
good grief
Residential is hard. Residential is very difficult. I often think, no wonder Barb and Joel are nuts. They've dealt with residential for 20 years. I wonder if I'll be nuts in 20 years. Like, certifiably nuts. Because I already think I'm a little nuts.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
11:53 am
where was love before Chicago?
I wonder adamantly as I listen to Beginnings and drink coffee. There's nothing more true than this song. No matter how many times I hear it, it still hits me in the same upside down elated way as it did the last time. Before I had ever been in love, I remember hearing this song and feeling as though I was in love. Then, spring break my junior year of high school when my world changed the way a 16 year old's world can change, I was ecstatic to find out that Chicago had it spot on!! I'm just in a good mood today. I'm in a good mood because I'm about to leave Colorado for two and a half weeks. I'm in a good mood because I have had time to read my Jesus book. I'm in a good mood because of the conversation I had with my dad yesterday about guide dog school, the ADA, and Steely Dan. I want so badly to be like him when I grow up, sans the alcoholism. He is so peaceful and approaches life with such a strong serenity. He maintains a very intricate balance of caring deeply and being completely apathetic. He wakes up each day with a strong will to live regardless of what is going on. He remains respectful of his partner when she is all over the place. If I can be like him, without the influence of alcohol, which I have decided I primarily hate, I would be set. On second thought, as I read over what I just wrote, I'm already set. I see both of my parents in me, and I don't want to change that. Unfortunately when you combine both of my parents you get a little bit of crazy, but I'm used to my crazy.
As time goes on I realize just what you mean to me,
And now, now that you're here, promise your love that I've waited to share,
And dreams of our moments together,
Color my world with hope of loving you.

Current Mood: happy
Saturday, February 20th, 2016
9:04 am
Yesterday was one of those days where I wondered why I do the job I do. Today I just hope I can stay calm. I'm so glad I'm not a police officer or an FBI agent. I'm not that cool. I don't think I would enjoy having days like I had yesterday every day of my life. lol... I suppose I could get used to it. But honestly I'm not sure I'm that cool. Good thing I'll never find out.
Friday, February 19th, 2016
1:43 pm
I can't
I am struggling a lot today. I think it has to do with vicarious trauma and liability issues I'm dealing with. I feel weak for saying that. I logically know I am not weak for saying that. I will get through today and then after I get through today I will make a plan for how to be more functional tomorrow.
Wednesday, January 20th, 2016
11:28 pm
whirlwinds and disappointment
I think I could give up, but it would probably last half a day. So I won't give up.
Friday, January 15th, 2016
10:26 pm
Last time I went to Texas wasn't long ago. It was for her funeral. She didn't "deserve" to die. The subject of whether anyone deserves to die is the subject of debates, murders, and murders of murderers. I try to remain without a stance because I'm not God. I still get angry when I think about her though. I get jealous on her behalf when I pass college parties where students drink and sleep until their degrees get handed to them, because all she wanted was to do the work and manage her excruciating pain to get a degree. I get angry because all she wanted was to go to school. All she wanted was to stick needles into people correctly, unlike the nurses that came before her and mis-stuck her. She didn't have aspirations of having five big houses with eight cars and wine on tap. She just wanted to care for people in need. We bonded quickly because we both had similar wants, except that I knew I would never be a nurse but I could try to talk to people instead and see if that helps. The illness took her, not quickly, but about as slowly and gradually and ruthlessly as it could. I still wake up every day and remember that in the last conversation we had, the one at 3 AM that I wrote about, she made a statement about feeling hopeful that I'm doing what we wanted to do. I get a little light-headed when I think about it long enough, I guess because I have the chance, even if I did nothing to deserve the chance when she didn't, and I want to take it as strongly as I can.

"You made me versatile, well-rounded like cursive
Know You chose me for a purpose, I put my soul out in these verses.
Sunday, December 27th, 2015
4:18 pm
my advice to future residential therapists
It's going to be harder than you think, by like ten million degrees.

Keep doing it, but don't ever think it's going to be easy.

I think I can do this... I think...
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