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what nie has done for me.

when on that fateful day i clicked the "create blog" button i had no idea what i was getting myself into.

my parents were so opposed to the whole thing. 

so i dragged my feet. occasionally posting (posting, what is posting?) a quote or an old picture, but nothing more. 

i was testing the line. the line between what other's told me was right or acceptable  and what i thought i might just enjoy. 

and then there was this article. in the new york times (go figure). and it was about this woman. a mother. a wife. a blogger. who had been in a plane crash. who's sister had taken up her cause. and around which the entire blogging community (community, what?) was rallying.

and i thought. my God. i want to be a part of that. 

i remember reading somewhere--probably a cup of jo (yeah, yeah, go figure) about what blogging does for a person a year in. and let's put all our cards on the table--blogging is not for everyone. a lot of people love reading them, hate making them. and i get it. i do. but i happen to love it. 

and i'm nearing that first year mark (about two months out, really) and what comes to mind is...

well, so i visited a life coach the spring break of my second year, when it became abundantly clear that things were not going so well. and i remember her asking me to make a love list (something that oprah has now made famous as only oprah can). the idea being that you list things you think are important in a mate. and from there you can break them down into categories: deal breakers, icing on the cake, and so on. and by giving a name to these things, by recognizing them, you begin to attract them into your life. 

so i made the list. 

will stay up all night and play video games with me (this was once done and let me just say, the guy won mad points for it).

can keep up with me when we ski. or maybe even, dare is say it, go faster? ha, not likely.

plays a mean game of foosball. or air hockey. 


likes to travel.

willing to make a fool of himself on the dance floor.

many of the qualities i sought were things that would balance me out. i needed him to be more socially adept to make up for my lack of prowess in mingling situations, louder to balance out my until-you-really-get-to-know-me soft spoken tone.

but what i realized was that in listing the qualities i hoped to find in my partner, i was giving a name to those things i loved about myself. my God, i loved something about myself?


yeah, i love that i want adventure. and that i can play a mean game of pick-up baseball. i love that with enough encouragement i'll dance at a wedding like no one is watching. and yes, i can ski. well. quite well (got my mom's genes on that one). i love that i laugh loudly and openly and get giddy and even that i cry at the most inopportune times. 

and so the thing is...that's in many ways what this blog is. it is my list. it is me giving a name to those things about myself, about my life which (and oh how taboo i once thought this was) i love. 

and that list, this blog is bringing me back from the edge. it's revealing me to myself. slowly, each day. 

i was so humbled by nie's recent post

Mother came with me instead. We talked about angels, family, children's names, hope, and other things Mom's and daughters talk about including how I hurt when I wake up in the morning. Cindy (my mum) asked me when I was going to post a picture of me on the blog.

things Mom's and daughters talk about...(my mum) asked me when I was going to post a picture of me on the blog.

i read that. and it was so simple. and i'm quite sure my mom asked me the same question about a week ago. though she said something along the lines of, so when are you going to stop hiding behind goofy faces and cropped shots and post an actual picture of yourself on the blog?

and there it was. 

now let me be as clear as words will allow...i cannot even begin to understand what stephanie is going through and i am only equating my situation with her's on the most primal of levels. the level of a love between a mother and daughter and also what it feels like to not feel at home in your body.  what i mean to say is...here is this woman that i have never met, who lives across the country, and comes from a world so different than my own, who has suffered something that goes beyond trauma, something that i cannot (and God help me, never will be able to) imagine. and  some eensy-teensy, infinitesimal part of me understands what she might feel when she looks in the mirror. because in the wide spectrum of human experience there is a set gammut of human emotion. our emotions, though felt to different degrees and in different ways, connect us. and isn't there comfort to be found in that? and comfort to be found in the fact that moms and daughters talk about the same things?

i have looked in the mirror and failed to see myself. i have literally been shocked by the image. and yet i know it is me. i have mourned for life. i have mourned for a part of myself usurped by something that while i can try to give a name to it, will always be so much bigger than anything language can give breath to. chekhov got it right when he had masha say, I am in mourning for my life. but chekhov was a comedian. and i daresay he believed in life. and the little things (which really are the big things, aren't they?) that blogs tend to celebrate.

I had a simple glimpse of me coming back. I get to create a new "me" whatever that entails. It hasn't been easy having to reinvent myself. I have (and still do) mourn for Stephanie. Where did she go? Now I look in the mirror and see someone else, but it's still me. It's...well...weird. I have to learn to be me again. I have to accept and hope. And I should stop saying "should" and replace that with "get". I GET to have a second chance at life. I get to enjoy my children even if my fingers don't work. I get to change the way I look at life and how I can somehow help someone else in need.

i'm coming back too. i didn't even know i was gone. but i'm coming back. and i look at myself in the mirror. i look at this body that i've loathed for so long, this body that has felt alien, this body that i thought was suffocating me, and i'm learning to love it. to love me. ned was the enemy, but my body... well, my body never was. and the thing was, i thought it was the other way round. i put ned on the pedestal--built him a shrine, and berated my body, every chance i got. but my body never failed me. my body took it. and insulated me. and loved me. and waited patiently for the day when i would come back. 

nie posted a picture of her eyes. 

the courage. 

it bewilders me. 

leaves me without words. 

i thought, okay, me too...what can i do that will display a fraction of the courage she conveyed in that so-not-simple action of revealing her eyes? and i thought, i'll post a full length shot...no problem. 

but i can't. i'm not ready. not quite. but i will be nie, soon. i will learn to, as you say, accept and hope. and love. and give thanks. to this body. to an infinite, all-knowing power. to my mum for asking the simple questions. and to you. you for your unimaginable courage and example. you who already helped someone in need. you, who i have a sneaking suspicion has helped countless just like me.

so thank you. truly, that's all i know to say...thank you. 


Gabby said...

This is so beautiful.

Nie is the reason I started blogging.

I wish us ALL all the best.

kSbl said...

She is such a great and courageous woman. I read her post as well and brought tears to my eyes.
I hope we all get the courage to let our true selves be shown. Even if it takes a long time to do so.

Anonymous said...

"i'm coming back too. i didn't even know i was gone."

I hope you realize how much you have helped people too... Putting thoughts and feelings I have struggled with in black and white... What awonderful gift.

sheila said...

that was wonderful. You have a great way of putting words together.
something I lack at with posting. I'm just there for pictures.
And posting pics of yourself is a hard thing for me as well. But I will be looking forward to your soon someday.

Erin said...

This post is wonderful. Nie's blog is an inspiration to anyone who reads it, and yours is too!

Fashionably Kate said...

As always, well written.

Anyone that reads this, must know what a genuine and beautiful person you are.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

this was an amazing post. so inspiring and completely relatable!

iheartkiwi said...

I thought about good times to be had in the distance of my life.
Mr. Nielson tucked me safe and sound into bed that night. Mindy was singing softly in the background. My eyes welled up as he pulled me close to him. "This is only temporary...you are a beautiful work in progress" Then he lay next to me and when he thought I was asleep, he patted me and said
"girl, I love you"
Then up got to put away the dinner dishes.

Love Nie. Courage comes in many forms. I think we are all works in progress! It's part of growing up.

Kiwi always asks me why I blog, why I read blogs... all I can come up with is that there are few other places where you can come away feeling so inspired by others... Keep writing.

Carlita said...

i love nie. and i loved this post. so beautiful.

i also loved when she talked about "lusting" mr nielson, and the love that she understands so well. truly inspiring.

J. said...

You always leave me breathless. You speak and I totally. get. it. I have major blog anxiety...to put it all out there, and you always do-perfectly. Ahh.

jess said...

I think that was lovely.. You are inspiring!

CaraBella said...

Truly, hooray for you. I read Nie's post the other day also, and I absolutely understand your hesitation to compare your situation + Nie's -- but I daresay I think she'd love it to. Or of course, could kick you too. But I think she'd be proud, to say the least, and humbled + happy she's helping you too :) So, here's a hoorah for support for you :)

elizabeth Langgle: said...

her story is beautiful and so is yours... I left you a blog award on my site... thank you for always being a great read.


Anonymous said...

I too enjoyed the post on many levels-HOWEVER, I think, as you stated in your post there is no way of comparing an eating disorder with having to comprehend an entirely new body-one that is completely different from those of anyone around them. In Nie's blog she discusses how such a rapid and drastic change has affected everyone in her life-including her children and their temporary inability to recognize her; in addition to navigating her relationship with her husband, her sisters who resemble her in many respects her relationship with herself.

I think we need to be careful to draw the line when it comes to these comparison. You posting a full length picture of yourself in spite of your corageous struggle is nothing in comparison.

I love love love your blog-but this post rubbed me the wrong way and after consideration I decided to say something.

I still love your blog though:)

Meg Fee said...

dear anonymous,

my comparison truly exists on the most basic of levels.

i also want to be clear that is a comparison of a love between a mother and daughter. how that is a familiar thing no matter who or what or where you are.

and it is a comparison of a feeling within the body. not the way we live our day to day lives or the aftermath of an event or trauma, etc.

and perhaps ill amend the post because im not saying...i'll post a full length photo as she too should, that to me seemed to be as far out of the comfort zone as i could reasonably go, as posting a pic of her eyes may have been for her. but whereas she had a courage that allowed her to do so much, i do not yet have that and in this way i am learning from her and marveling this.

i appreciate your concern.

Katherine said...

Soooo, I keep a link to your blog on my sidebar under "Blogs I (don't know but) love" and read you often. Nie Nie is a great source of strength to many I am sure. I do not know her, but like many have followed her story.

I think it's quite realistic to say that any one of us can touch another the way they need to be touched...and NieNie has done that for some and so have you...even without the trauma she has gone through.

There is no way for me to know how I "found" you (your blog) so many moons ago and I hope it's OK that I blog-stalk you...you are great...full length photo or not ;)


Anonymous said...

Pain, self worth and loving ones self is purely relative. One persons difficulties are in no way less important and or less devasting to them... we can only feel loss based on what we have personally experienced and that is what I took from your post... When a person can freely express themselves they are able to help others reach down and find their own strength. Regardless of their differences.


Diana said...

reading this put a bit of a tinge in my heart. and a strain to not tear up. biting my tongue doesn't help, my eyes swell up anyways. we would think you are beautiful no matter the photo or not.

Anonymous said...

"devastating" oops

Hanako66 said...

you are amazing and we will be waiting to see you...to help you:)

Los Jones said...

girl, you are beautiful. :) let me play with your hair again!

Anonymous said...

such a wonderful account of why you started blogging.

I had to laugh when you said your parents were at first against it. My parents are so technologically inept, that I gave my mom the link to my blog, and she was under the impression she was looking at my facebook page. ;-)

camille said...

this is such a great post!

thank you! it made me cry.

down and out chic said...

wow, i read the exact post you're talking about the other day and it was certainly powerful. your honesty is also admirable. i wish you the best.

Signorina Svizzera said...

I love Nie too. I started reading her a long time before the crash, and I can't even describe the shock and concern I felt for her when it happened, for a woman I had never met, and who had already inspired me so greatly. When the going gets tough, when I, as you say, feel as though I am living in a body which is not my own, and over which I do not have the control I desire, I look to her as my inspiration.
I have seen enough in your little clippings and pictures to know you are gorgeous! But I also understand that in this state of mind, it is often the hardest to see in ourselves what others see.
Best of luck to you Meg, we are all cheering you on!