Archive for the ‘Caterpillar Lit’ Category

I was struck by a line in a book I’ve been reading:

“It was so bitter and sad, looking for safety in the person least likely to give it to you. Like drinking salt water” J. Courtney Sullivan, Maine

Bitter and sad, yes. So why do we do it?

I believe we all look to satiate ourselves in things, people and places that ultimately can’t deliver. Sometimes they actually do damage.


We may be looking for safety, comfort, love, satisfaction or fulfillment and turn to food, cigarettes or alcohol; shopping, partying or exercise; perfectionism, working or people pleasing.

All of which may bring temporary relief or distraction, but soon the tap runs dry and we’re empty yet again. Sometimes even bone dry.


So why do we do it? Can’t we learn our lesson?

A few reasons came to mind – using the comparison of being thirsty on a deserted island. What would make us drink the ocean water we know will not quench?


*It’s ubiquitous. The water is everywhere and easily accessible. It looks appealing, tantalizing even. (If this weren’t a deserted island, sexy advertising would bombard you with false promises of drinking it.) It’s tempting.

*We get desperate. Our thirst becomes so powerful that we cannot take the pain any longer and prefer to wet our mouths just a little – just to relieve the pain. Perhaps if we had friends around to talk us out of it we could resist such a strong compulsion. But we are alone. Isolated.

*It’s easy. It takes work to look for water and climb trees for coconuts. We’re tired. We’re weak. The ocean is a crawl away. It takes energy and work to gather supplies to build rain catchers. Oh, and hope.

*We lose hope. If we do not believe we will be rescued, that rain will come or that there is an end in sight…our spirits grow dim. We lose the ability to try and do right for ourselves.

Knowing the reasons helps us to avoid falling for them. We can stay out of malls or avoid bars, we can decide to suck it up and work, not take the easy way out, avoid isolation, see through the false promise and find a way to build our hope.

  • What is the thirst and the salt water in your life?
  • Do any of these reasons resonate for you as to why you keep going back?


Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35


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I was thinking about MLK Jr today and suddenly found myself scrambling to dig out the notebook I kept during treatment.

I was reminded that I, too, had a dream:


I am saddened to recognize the lack of progress I’ve made in reaching this vision of recovery.

I am saddened that I have spent the past months watching as my hopes dimmed into a hopelessness. 

Yet, I am grateful. Today I remembered that I had a dream.
The reality is, it’s still my dream.

As I read over my journal entry, I suddenly recalled that yesterday the poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes ran through my head. (I was vacuuming my closet if you want to how random this was. #IgetitGod.)


What happens to a dream deferred?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

My deferred dream, my hopes have sagged into the heavy hopelessness that’s been weighing me down.

I want my hopes and dreams to EXPLODE with renewed fervor. I want to be on FIRE again.
Maybe deferred dreams can turn into an explosive, passionate drive.

It could go either way. I think it’s up to me.

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I’m a bibliophile.


Card Carrying Member. I’m legit.

     TGiving 2011 013

I wish that thing racked up bonus points like a credit card.

I’ve maxed out my library card numerous times (the limit is 40 items, folks). I currently have 19 books on loan, which is a “light load” comparatively.

Every Saturday I’m lugging books to and from the library (pretty much the only weight-bearing exercise I do. I’m a vision of health).


Any- I love books.

I was unsure how I’d feel about e-reading devices when they first came out. Despite their growth in popularity over the years, I was still a holdout. I didn’t know if I could adjust…if reading on the screen would contain the same “magic” as holding a book and turning the pages.


This year I finally put a Kindle on my mental wish list.

Finding out I could borrow books for free sealed the deal. That and the whole “lugging 40 lbs worth of books around” thing got old. I watched my Dad read his Kindle with envy. I wanted one.

A dear friend of mine (you know who you are) casually asked for my address a while back and I thought nothing of giving it to her. I actually forgot I had…

Then suddenly, I got a package. And…

 TGiving 2011 039 

Holy Guacamole….


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I mean…..can you believe it! How did she even know?

I was floored and embarrassed (I’m not worthy!) but very graciously and humbly accepted the gift because it I understand the joy of giving and I felt the love.

Plus? EEEEeeeeEEEEeeee!!! New toy! Kid on Christmas!

I already downloaded my first book, a devotional, which I can carry with me everywhere.

 TGiving 2011 026

So far? Missy Like. No…Missy Love.

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This is supposed to be a kiss, but is actually more like a mouth bump, huh?


Amazon sends you a letter with a Kindle saying this:

Our top design objective was for Kindle to disappear in your hands – to get out of the way – so you can enjoy your reading. We hope you’ll quickly forget you’re reading on a wireless device and instead be transported into that mental realm readers love, where the outside world dissolves, leaving only the stories, words and ideas.

See? They get it! And guess what? It works.

Thank you N! Just….YOU!!!

My ridiculous pictures were to make you smile. I hope it worked.

This one is an outtake, just for you…I was going for “surprised and excited” but I just look frightened. Look out Tyra, here I come.

TGiving 2011 040   


  • Weigh in book lovers…because I know you’ve thought about it. Could you/are you e-reader friendly?

I’ll always love “real” books and want them for some titles, but these things rock. I can read with one hand. I can travel effortlessly with multiple books. I can hide the fact that I am reading during boring office meetings…


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Dear Fat People,

Fuck you.

Chapter 55 of Diana Spechler’s novel “Skinny” is only five-words long. Five provocative words, don’t you think? How did you feel when you read them? What did you think?


But wait. This book is not about hating fat people or being skinny. Not really, anyway.

After a life of restrictive and controlled dieting, Gray Lachmann finds herself compulsively eating at the age of 26 following her father’s obesity-related death. Desperate to stop bingeing, she goes to work at a weight-loss camp even though she is not fat.

Do we hate her? Do we love her? Diana describes her as a “Not-Entirely-Likeable Protagonist.” As I read the book, I had no ill-regard for her at all. In fact, I could relate to the character in many ways.

She doesn’t hate fat people, she hates herself. In her words, “You are the visible manifestation of the parts of ourselves we hide.”

She doesn’t hate the players.

amy fat camp

She hates the game.

I struggle with disordered eating in all its forms but I’ve never been overweight. Naturally, I was curious about this book and the issues it might address. Diana kindly offered to send me a copy to review. She’s on my list of awesome people.

The book is engaging, hilarious, honest and multi-themed. It’s a great read that, among many other things, poignantly chronicles the reality of compulsive eating in all its forms.

Here are a few of the many lines that resonated with me:

Bingeing on food is not like binge drinking. I was not the sad, mysterious girl at the bar. There is no sexiness in a family-size bag of Bugles.

I’ll admit there was something relaxing in it. I was consumed and consuming and unfit for public consumption. The things that normally moved me – love, money, a yearning to be remembered, a fear of self-absorption – were muted.

Toward the end of the day, the worst I had was a mild headache. A small pang of hunger. Or…not hunger. A longing to eat. But the longing was contained….in a structured environment. It wasn’t until nighttime that I felt the familiar pull of food.

I’d wanted to purge. Plenty of times. But I’d always stopped myself. I’d been afraid to do it, afraid that if I did it once – ate all I wanted, then vomited – I would spend the rest of my life doing nothing but eating and vomiting.

God, I wasn’t even that thin. I wasn’t as skinny as I’d been believing I was. I’d been walking around believing my arms were bony, that my clavicles were standing at attention, that my legs were skeletal. How shameful that I’d been imagining myself as skinny.

It seemed absurd that I had ever eaten two packages of cookies in one sitting. Who was that person?

I won’t say “as if in a hypnotic state.” I know how the Ouija board works. I know that nothing is magic.


  • Read Charlotte’s thoughts on the book and the website here
  • Dr. Katie’s (Dr!) review of the book here
  • Read Katie’s Interview with Diana here.
  • Ashley’s thoughts on the website Diana started here
  • Watch the trailer for the book here
  • Visit the Body Confessions website




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I am a bookworm bookcaterpillar. Always have been; always will be. I love when a book reminds me exactly why I love to read.

Certain books capture me completely and part of me remains amongst their pages long after I finish them. The story takes residence in my heart and, likewise, my heart resides in the words. They tear into me and grab pieces of my soul. 

Or something like that. Anyways….

Little Bee by Chris Cleave is one such book.


As the book promises, I want to tell all my friends to read it; however, I made a promise not to tell you what it’s about.

The book asked me not to. It said please.

(Really. Look inside the front flap.)



The magic, the BEAUTY, is in how the story unfolds. This pretty much encapsulates my personal conviction: that life is a Beautiful Struggle. I won’t say what happens, but the book is a vivid depiction of my creed.

I will share one passage from the book that just….sigh. It moves me every time I read it. Please take a moment and let the words work their magic.

…I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.

We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.

A scar means, I survived.

…I will speak some sad words to you but you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty.

A sad story means, this storyteller is alive.

The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous and then she will turn around and smile.


Um, wow. I’m gonna leave the words alone.

I’ve already exceeded the word/brain-share limitation I impose on myself. (By the way, I have a “scroller” alert widget on my blog and I know who you scrollers are…*evilsinistergiggle*.)

Besides, who cares what I think?

Reading is grooviest when you let the words capture parts of you.

On a related unrelated note…

Beauty is everywhere….in our struggles, in our scars.

Look at the beauty I saw yesterday (a gloomy glummy day) in a dirty parking lot.


Cutie patooties. IMG_0002 Copy (1) of IMG_0001

  • What “scars” or sad stories do you have that you agree are beautiful?

Since reading this, I’ve realized I am "walking wounded.” I need to heal and allow a scar to form before the beauty can come out.

  • Admit it….sometimes you gotta scroll right?

Oh, yeah. I’m a scroller sometimes. Lots and lots of text is daunting. ESPECIALLY with no pictures. I usually won’t comment if I scroll. 

  • Did you really read the passage? Will you read the book? Please do. (If you want).


PS- I have no idea why the Altoids ad is appearing in my comments…but it’s funny.

PPS- This is by no mean some sort of self-injury manifesto. I understand many people with eating disorders struggle with cutting but I am not one of them and do not incourage that behavior (but my heart aches for you).

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Stevie Smith is one of my favorite poets (right up there with Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein). I love her unique voice, her deceptive simplicity and her illustrations.

For some reason, her poem Not Waving But Drowning has been twirling through my mind. Naturally, I read it again.

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

I’ve found many meanings in this poem: the importance of perspective, the limits of human connectivity, the isolation of mental illness, the unheard cry for help, the bravado we wear to mask our pain…

This time around, something new occurred to me.

The man in the poem is dead. When he speaks, he speaks posthumously. Perhaps only in hindsight is he able to see how “far out” and “cold” he was.

Might he have enjoyed “larking” so much he never realized he was drowning? Not in denial – but completely unaware there is a problem.

Maybe he thought he was happy, but looking back he realizes how much peril he was in.

How much he was missing.

How sadly he was mistaken.

How badly he was struggling.


It’s fairly easy for me to smile and celebrate life despite the inner turmoil that haunts me. Not to say I’m always in a good mood. I can be a stinging Bee then suddenly…

Ooh…a butterfly! Wheeee…! Sparkly!”

But what if I’m missing the bigger picture? Perhaps I am too “far out.”

What if, in the midst of this beautiful struggle, I am not waving….

but drowning?

surrender poolPsykopainted

Maybe I’m drowning and I just can’t see it?

  • So…mmmkay….uh, do you like sparkles? Sorry to get so deep!
  • Might there be an area in your life that’s pulling you down without you realizing? A job, a relationship, a relentless pursuit of money or perfection?

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Don’t be misled – I liked the book “Unbearable Lightness” by Portia De Rossi. I just wanted more…“heft.”

Yes, of course I read it! I read them all…plus I grew up with Ally McBeal and I love Ellen.


As I was reading I kept thinking, “OKAY…let’s get to the part where she RECOVERS already.”

That’s what I’m interested in. I feared, like most things I’ve read, it would end up a “snap-of-the-finger” deal where the author just recovers, easy peasy.  (yeah right!)

I turned the last page to see the “recovery” section was a relatively short epilogue. However, it was a well-written epilogue, chronicling a foray into binge eating and over-weight that eventually ends up in a wonderful acceptance of self, a healthy relationship with food, and a positive body image.

That? I loved. I hope she continue to write more on the subject of well-being, healthful eating and happiness. She’s a great Body Image Warrior.

A few more things I’d like to address:


  • Word on the ‘eating disorder circuit’ is that the book can be *ahem* TROUBLING for some readers.

I refuse to use the other t-word (rhymes with briggering) for many reasons. Essentially, I don’t relate. The only thing I can think of that causes my eating disorder is my own brain. I feel that blaming it on anything else robs me of my own power and presents me as a victim.

But, that’s just me. I have no idea what may or may not be troubling to others, but she does go into great detail about the habits and practices that were hallmarks of her disordered routine. I never looked for “tips” or anything when I was in the throes of ED. I can guarantee many people out there who are in denial will read the book.  Multiple times.

If you feel like you shouldn’t be reading the book, don’t read it.

  • Divulging the details (and there are many…) of her insanity is highly relatable — if you’ve “been there.” Sadly, “normal” readers attempting to understand won’t be able to. That’s natural. No one can.

Her insanity…like compulsively downing six pieces of gum while driving and pulling off the road to sprint back and forth in platform shoes… that sounds wacko. However, if you’ve been that sick, you understand. It was not “her” trying to burn calories off. It’s just insanity. She wasn’t thinking in her mind “I must do this.” She simply was not in her mind. Hard to explain.

In her book you see her losing her mind to anorexia. But the average person won’t understand.


  • Most eating disorders start off as a diet, but most end up far from just a pursuit of thinness.

Portia’s experience was mainly caused by a pressure to be thin, lack of self acceptance, and desire to fit in. For me? My experience was FAR from self-promotion. More like self-annihilation.

It makes me sad how the public’s perception of Eating Disorders is about societal pressure to be thin and look like a model. For too many, and especially when you are gone (Isabelle Caro anyone?), It’s a full blown mental illness.

I was happy Portia wrote that her goals were not only to process all of this herself but to help others —including woman who are otherwise normal eaters but feel the need to diet. It’s anti-diet.

She’s a Body Image Warrior.


  • Have you read the book? Will you?
  • What books have impacted you in terms of body image and stopping the diet craziness?

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