The Girls at 17 Swan Street: Book Review

The Girls at 17 Swan Street by Yara Zgheib deserved every single one of the 5 stars that I gave it.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

The Girls at 17 Swan Street is an amazing read and should be read by everyone, those going through similar situations with eating disorders so that they can finally see themselves in a story and feel seen, and those who don’t suffer from eating disorders. I think the story would be especially helpful to the family members of eating disorder sufferers so that they can actually see what it’s like to feel like you have to force yourself to eat every bite to make others happy and to look in the mirror everyday and no matter how thin you are still feel fat.

Typical books about ED show one side of the story, either they show the eating disorder suffered perspective or the perspective of the family and friends who are forced to witness their loved one suffering from this horrible disease. The Girls at 17 Swan Street does have the lense on Anna for the entire story but we’re able to see clearly how her husband and family are effected as well and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. Anna and Mathias’ love story had my clutching my chest in fear.

Yara did a fantastic job telling this story. It had me thoroughly invested from the moment I began to read up until the final page. I loved the different emotions that the story invokes by showing you different parts of the women’s lives. I rooted for everyone in this story and would love to read a follow up to find out if any of the women beat the disorders and to see what their lives would be like after treatment and returning home.

For Colored Women Who Are Sick and Tired When Being Sick And Tired Is Not Enough.

For Colored Women Who Are Sick and Tired When Being Sick And Tired Is Not Enough. I see you sis. I know you’re past done. That you want a rain check from any and everything, I get that for colored women rain checks from any and everything are hard to come by. I feel you. I know you wanna lay on the floor and sob into a puddle. I wanna sob too. Actually as I type this the thought of bawling seems much like a necessity. I know that you think when it comes to yourself you don’t have the luxury of giving in to such temptation. I know that you believe that when it comes to yourself nothing is a necessity. It is though. And crying is a healing thing. SO do it. Sit down. Lay down. Bawl, cry, howl, be still. SAY FUCKING NO for once. Breathe. Let the kids soothe themselves. Let someone else figure dinner out or hell go ahead and order in. Luxuriate in the thought of quitting. Then don’t. I see you sis. I wanna quit too. But I can’t. I won’t. As Beyonce says, “Imma keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.” And as much as you want to, you shouldn’t either. Go ahead and take the time to bawl. At least for tonight. Cause, tomorrow we got work to do.

5 Reasons Why I HATE Hair Salons AKA Why I Went Natural.

If you google the phrase “why I went natural” you will find 100s of women of color giving you all sorts of reasons from the fact that the perm never took, to the fact that it burned, or in some cases thinned many a woman’s hair to nothingness. Those snatchback ponytails that many people make fun of are in direct correlation to the thinning effect of lye and no lye perms alike.

But my reason; I hate Hair salons. 

Here are my 5 Reasons why:

  1. The smell of the chemicals make me sick to my stomach. I spend the majority of my time in the salon with my hand over my mouth trying both not to throw up and to decrease the amount of noxious smells I inhale during my service.                                                                                         200.gif
  2. Stylists never seem to value your time. They consistently seem to fill the room with more people than they can handle at one time. Which forces you to either run late for future appointments or to block off the rest of your life while you sit in a chair waiting 84 years later for your 10 am appointment.                                                                200w.gif3. THOSE DAMN DRYERS DON’T DRY MY HAIR. If I added up all of the time that I’ve spent sitting under a dryer waiting for my hair to dry I’m certain it would be equal to like 6 years. The worst part is when the stylist walks over to check your hair giving you false hope that it’s finally dry after 3.5 hours only to tell you that you need to sit there for another 30 mins… 1 hour…10 weeks…25 years.  So all of these videos of people having fun sitting under dryers is NOT TRUE. Destiny’s Child and Bruno Mars lied to you!!!!
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  3. I don’t care about other people’s business and sitting around in a salon listening to people complain about their lives or talk about how their best friend’s baby may or may not be the Mailman’s is not how I prefer to spend my days. 200-2.gif
  4. I don’t enjoy Wendy Williams, The Real, TMZ, or any of the other celebrity gossip shows that all stylists seem to love to watch while they torture your hair in to perfectly pretty submission.  It does something to my soul to be forced to listen to people gossip about people and the damn paparazzi pictures drive me crazy. I’m not sure why this is a thing we as society loves so much that daytime telivision is full of options but I can definitely do without ever hearing Wendy the idiot Williams ever say “How You DOehn” ever again in life.                                               200-3.gif

 

So those are some of the reasons why I went natural. Now I only have to see my stylist every 5-6 weeks to retighten my sisterlocks and for the most part I don’t have to deal with any of the reasons I’ve listed above.

Go to the Bathroom, NOW!

I’m sitting at my desk and I realize that my lower abdomen is hurting. Even though I know the exact reason why, I still mentally tick through my rolodex of reasons: Is my cycle getting ready to start, when’s the last time I had a bowel movement, am I ovulating?

NO, it’s the beginning of a UTI and NO I don’t need a UA C&S to figure out what the bacteria is or why I have one.

  1. I’m a nurse.
  2. We don’t go to the bathroom.
  3. We don’t drink enough fluids unless they’re chock full of caffeine.We also stand up and eat lunches that are at the wrong temperatures or even worse from a vending machine, we forget to arrange for pickup for our children, and more than likely the only reason why we have had a recent check up is because we need Xanax to work long hours at an often thankless job providing care for other people.

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Photo from The Happy Hospitalist

Nurses don’t often take care of themselves but if you call us at four am we will triage your symptoms and recommend that you see your primary in the morning.

Sometimes I schedule bathroom breaks on my phone. When the alarm sounds I have to go to the bathroom, no matter what. Sometimes this works.

There’s this thought process that nurses have larger bladders than other people and while there does seem to be some truth to this, I’ve taken care of plenty of young nurses who have incontinence issues. The bladder is a balloon. You can only stretch and abuse it for so long before it stops functioning correctly.

We have to get to the point where we understand that we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves. And with that being said please, go to the bathroom, NOW.

Depression is real, acknowledge it.

Somethings are hard to admit to yourself, like the fact that you’re depressed. That you’ve been riding the roller coaster of grief for months now and you’ve been holding that all inside. Letting it all out, trusting someone else with it is powerful. That’s strength. I of all people know this to my core.

So why is it that when I’m in the center of the worst bout of depression that I’ve experienced in years do I zip my lips tighter than ever? I didn’t tell my mother, I didn’t tell my best friend, I didn’t blog about it,  or journal about it, I didn’t even tell the person who shares my home; the one person whom I should be able to share anything. I refused to even begin to acknowledge it.

I went through the highs and lows announcing to myself that I was just sad… no, bored… no, lonely… until I was driving along in my car and out of nowhere I thought of how easy it would be to slam my car into a median and call it quits. Followed by the thought “I wonder how long it would take for anyone to notice that I’m gone.” Followed by the thought that “I’m not ready to die” and an admission to myself that I was Depressed, Majorly and I direly needed to talk to someone.

I  was on my way back home and upon arrival after crying until I felt like my soul would explode I finally opened up to myself and to AB about what I was feeling and why I thought that I was feeling that way. I went to bed feeling better but still deeply depressed. I awoke feeling like a thousand pounds had been lifted from my heart. I have no idea why it took me so long to acknowledge to myself what I was feeling but I’m so glad that I sought help before I did something irreversible.

Depression is different for every person. That image that is in our brains of a person whom either over eats or doesn’t eat at all, doesn’t shower or perform personal hygiene, and loses their job for lack of showing up is just one view. I proceeded through my life the same as I always have, I even went out to drink with my friends a couple of times, the only difference that I noticed in hindsight is that I stopped writing and I began to really isolate myself. I didn’t read as much because I couldn’t focus on books. I watched more Television and ate more foods that made me happy (Yaaayyy ICE CREAM). The point is depression may not exhibit itself in the typical ways but you need to be aware of yourself so that you can notice those subtle feelings that are stronger than sadness and seek help before it’s too late. Don’t expect anyone to just know that you’re depressed. Most people will miss the subtle signs or assume that something else is going on. You’re important. You matter. You’re worth on this Earth is not finished yet.

  

Journey to a Healthy Body : Cross Motivation

imageYesterday I restarted my journey towards a healthy body. One thing that I know for sure in regards to my fitness journey is that I am more focused and encouraged to stick to my regimen if I don’t have a real regimen and I if have a lot of people to consistently cross motivate with.

So I did what people so frequently get frowned upon for doing in this digital age: I took my plight to the internet  by posting a picture of my dream body and some motivators onto my social networking sites asking for buy-in from my friends and family. Of course plenty of people were down to join the get fit and keep each other motivated cause. There are a lot of people struggling to get in shape. After getting buy-in I decided that I needed to keep the posts up, both for myself and the other people on the body fitness journey, so this post is a first of many. Below I’ve compiled 5 things that come to my mind when I think about getting healthy and fit.

Music:

Currently my go song, the song that I play when I need that extra boost and the song that I have last on my playlist, cued to play right when I think about giving up is 99 Problems by Jay-Z. Why? My body fat is my b*tch and I can’t let her be one of my problems.

Activities vs The Gym:

I prefer to do activities as opposed to going to the gym. I’ve been to the gym all weekend but I plan on joining an adult kick ball team by the end of March. I’m also on the lookout for inexpensive Pole Dancing, Barre, Acrobatic, and any other class that I think would be fun, help me work up a sweat, and give me the shape of body that I’m most comfortable with.

Eff The Scale:

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from an eating disorder. Currently it’s under control but I know if I don’t get my body in check I’ll be tempted to perform unsafe weight lose practices. Hence, you will rarely if ever hear me talk about getting on a scale or losing a certain amount of weight.  I have no idea how much I weigh and I have no intention of trying to find out.

Fun in The Sun:

Sometime in the very recent past I became an outdoor lover. Indoor activities like twerk or zumba classes can be fun but if given the choice I’d gladly do anything that keeps me on the water and in the sun. My goal is to become a strong swimmer when it gets warmer outside so that I can try to join some kind of team that practices water sports.

Inspiration:

I’ve been reading up on how to make my fitness quest a constant part of my life. Jeanette Jenkings, Rachel Brathen, Shawn T and, Massy Arias are some of my favorite fitness inspirations. I check their timelines frequently for fitness advice. Something I read says that it takes four weeks to see results so I don’t intend to really look in the mirror for the next twenty-six days. There’s a saying that it takes twenty-one days for something to become a habit so I plan to work out for 45-60mins a day for the next nineteen days before I drop down to five days a week.

What are your 5 things that come to mind when you think about getting healthy?