The Amazing Pumpkin Carve and Corn Maze Adventure

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I love that I live in a town where viewing pumpkins is a major event. A few weekends ago, David and I went to the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s “Amazing Pumpkin Carve” and got to see dozens and dozens of spooky gourds!

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The HVAC is relatively new but has put on some really wonderful programs to make art accessible and exciting to the public. Two thumbs up, HVAC! I really enjoyed the Poe pumpkin (Poe-kin?) and the smiley sunshine-y pumpkin. It looks exactly like autumn makes me feel.  #warmfuzzies

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After the pumpkin carve, we headed over to the Corn Maze, thinking we’d be in and out within twenty minutes and then go get some pizza. Mmmm…pizza. Believe me when I say, this maze was no joke. We got corralled into an “orientation room” and handed the rules of the maze. Turns out that segments of a map were hidden in mailboxes within the maze (ten total) and we had to find all of them, lest we die in said corn field.

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Long story short, it took us about an hour and a half to get out. (!!!!) And because I wanted to live out my Stars Hollow-hay-bale-maze fantasies, I carried a giant flag the entire time, the handle of which had some sort of red splattered paint on it. That, or the person who had it last impaled their maze partner with it out of frustration.

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Ultimately, this one gets placed into the “Why are we doing this/We are SO coming back next year” file. Huzzah for new traditions! Huzzah for making it out alive!

-Kate

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Fresh Start

It’s officially autumn and the excitement of a new season is contagious. A fresh start sounds pretty good to me right now. I have had an emotionally charged summer, and recently have had to face some realities about my depression that I have been ignorant to for quite a while. Accepting that I have a mental illness has been difficult, a fact that continues to both frustrate and surprize me, given the amount of time I have spent in recovery for disordered eating. Despite being an advocate for self care and personal standards of health, I happen to have some stigmas about my own mental health. I’ve spent quite a bit of time beating myself up for things that I have very little control over, which is both unfair and unreasonable. It’s also really hard to lift yourself out of it.

Little changes in my treatment have been very helpful. Being flexible with therapy is a good thing!  I’m also in the process of adding to my supportive team, but I have to admit that I’m guarded when it comes to working with new medical professionals. Trying to be optimistic. That being said, I’m so happy that I’m feeling a little more in balance and am able to continue with posting here. I have some summer garden posts coming up later in the week, and a ton other stuff later in the month. I’ve been plotting, mwuahaha!

Before I wrap it up and go make a cup of desperately needed tea (it’s so cold my fingers are numb! Say whaaaa?!), I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been asking about the blog and staying genuinely interested while I’ve been away. Sometimes it gets really hard. Sometimes I go quiet. Knowing that I have your support makes it a little easier to deal with. So THANK YOU!!

-Kate

My First NEDA Walk

Last weekend I participated in my first NEDA walk!

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It was also the first time that the National Eating Disorder Association organised a walk in my area, so it was great to see that so many others joined in! I really enjoyed being actively engaged with my local community and out there advocating for myself and ED recovery.

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David and Jethro were there too!

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Actually, at some point, we ended up walking by ourselves because we stopped to take pictures!

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It ended up being a nice family walk, and in way, it was perfect. Those are the guys that support me daily!

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All in all, a great experience. I’ll definitely be going back next year. Have you ever participated in an awareness walk? I’d love to hear about it!

-Kate

 

Change of Plans!

So, looks like I have to postpone Travel Lessons Week for a few days. I’m not feeling well and getting some rest is my first priority. I don’t want to rush any of the content I share here, so we’ll resume Travel Lessons next week! But I do have one or two posts saved away, so it won’t be silent around here! Thank you thank you thank you for being patient with me!!

-Kate

Travel Lessons Week

Earlier this spring, David and I headed abroad for our belated honeymoon! During our three weeks in Europe, we made stops in Vienna, Salzburg, Balzano, Venice and England. It was a fun and revitalizing trip and I felt like each place revealed something special to me. So, why not share?!

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Welcome to Travel Lessons Week!  I’ll be featuring a different city every day this week, along with valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way. We’ll be heading to Vienna tomorrow! Hope to see you there!

-Kate

#studioselfieseries

Let’s talk about self care. Or in this case, selfie care.

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Selfies get such a bad rep. Frivolous! Vain! A hobby for self obsessed youths! *shakes fist in air* Sure, sometimes they are, but I find selfies fascinating. The process of self portraiture is, and has always been, about exploration, identity and realization. Or at least it usually is if we’re talking about fine art.

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For some reason the rule doesn’t apply to selfies. Perhaps because selfies themselves are so readily accessible? Anyone can make one and most everyone does. But does a self portrait’s credibility rely on who makes it? Or how often they’re being made? Or why they’re being made at all? Does it even matter?!

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Ugh. All the questions! Long story short, it’s all subjective. Here’s my opinion on the matter: Anything that allows someone to be seen on their own terms is good. Women being in control of their own image is good. Forming community is good (just look at @effyourbeautystandards). Representation in numbers challenges social stigmas, and that’s just fucking awesome.

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Taking selfies has become part of my daily self care. They allow me to slow down, be present, and connect with my body. I first started posting selfies on Instagram a few years ago, with the hashtag #studioselfieseries. What initially began as OOTD posts has become a personal documentation of body acceptance. I truly believe taking selfies expedited the peaceful relationship I currently have with my body.  Not bad for a few iphone photos.

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You can find me, and #studioselfieseries, on Instagram as: thespacewetake.

So, how do you feel about selfies? I’d love to hear all about it!

-Kate

Meet the Paynters

Hey there! Today’s post is quick and snappy, just to introduce you to my family and reintroduce myself!

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So, my name is Kate, I’m thirty and at any given time you can find me blissfully nerding out to (in no particular order):

– living history and art museums – my collection of antique fashion plates and quilt samples -Louisa May Alcott and “Little Women” – antiquing and rummage/yard/garage/estate sales – the Salem Witch Trials – Gibson Girls and Edwardian ladies – Harry Potter. Always. – The Monkees -Bread and Puppet Theatre – Broadway show tunes – flower gardening and photography – Gilmore Girls. Copper boom.

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I married my best friend, David, in September 2014. David is kind and supportive, super funny and clever to boot.   He’s originally from the UK and we met shortly after he started his post-doc in climate science at Princeton, about seven years ago. He’s happiest outside and loves nature photography, cycling and hiking. He’s even coaxed me up a mountain or two! David and I adopted our dog, Jethro in February 2014. Jethro is a beagle/cattledog mix and a huge cuddle bug/sock thief. They’ll both be showing up a lot here on the blog.

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The three of us live in Hopewell, New Jersey. It’s a small town with a great library and killer pizza. I mean, what else do you really need??  Our house is slightly countrified, but still close enough to all the essentials, which is how we like it. Princeton University is a stone’s throw away, and we’re about and hour train ride from both New York and Philly.

And a quick note about the blog!  Throughout the month of June, I’ll be experimenting with the schedule of the blog, but my goal is to post a few times a week. I’m thinking maybe Monday, Thursday and Saturday? Maybe some videos coming your way too! We’ll have to see what works best! Hope to see you again soon!

-Kate

 

The Big Question

I have a question I ask myself daily. It’s a broad question, and my answer varies depending on the day, but I always try to ask it of myself regardless of. It actually started as a different question that someone had asked me years ago, and I couldn’t let go of it. (Have I lost you yet? Stick with me! Stick with me!)

It was asked by my (former) therapist on my first day of recovery. I had made the decision to start treatment for my eating disorder about 10 years after I had started binging, and on this first day, I was deeply ashamed and terrified at the prospect of speaking openly with a stranger. After sitting in silence for the first ten minutes of our session, she asked, “Kate, are you aware of how small you’re trying to make yourself?”

I couldn’t answer. The truth was, I wasn’t aware. I had very little concept of what my body was doing in space at all.  I didn’t even know what day it was. The purpose of binging, for me, was to numb myself out, to disconnect myself from my body, from past failures, from insecurities, from my life. After a few minutes, she presented me with a hand mirror up so that I could observe myself. It was painful to see.  I was sitting on my hands, elbows tucked into my ribcage. I was folded over at the waist so that my chest was resting on top of my knees. I had pressed myself up against the arm of the sofa. I was literally trying to make myself as small as possible. I was wholly unwilling to take up space.

The concept of how much space I take continues to come up for me during my recovery- not just with my body, but with my voice, my advocacy, my interests, the love I show others and the love I believe I’m worthy to receive. So, this question has become:

How much space am I willing to take?

Aha! (See, we got there eventually.) So that’s the driving force behind this blog! This is a space that celebrates the question that has made my life full again. I need a space to be creative and loving and open. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I also wanted to have an outlet to speak openly about recovery, mental health, self care, body positivity and acceptance. It is my intention to make this blog an inclusive and supportive space.  I continue to be inspired by so many others like me who face social stigmas about our bodies, our advocacy, our self worth. But conversation challenges these stigmas. By living our lives fully, by taking up space with every part of ourselves, we can challenge the structures that been built to hold us back.

Taking space can be whatever you want it to be. This is my version, and I’d love to share it with you.

-Kate