All posts by too much pamela bilyeu

Pamela Bilyeu is a thriving artists nestled away in the foothills of the Willamette Valley in Eugene, Oregon. She has traveled to the likes of Europe, lived in places such as Atlanta, Boston, and Portland…though in late 2012 Pamela felt the place she used to call home many a moons ago call her name, and so away she went and has remained since. Since moving back to Eugene from Boston, Massachusetts, Pamela has taken some Graphic Design and Photography classes at Lane Community College- you can never do too much learning or exploring in the world of Arts. In the reality that nothing is picture perfect, Pamela finds solidarity and beauty in the imperfections that life has to offer- both in our surroundings and within us. Capturing an image isn’t what Pamela does- she captures a story. One where you, the viewer are the narrator, and to which you can tell whatever it is your heart desires. In Pamela’s spare time, she enjoys long walks with her young Boston Terrier, Howard. As well as riding bicycle, playing Sudoko at local coffee houses, engaging in in-depth conversations about life, politics, travel, and books. Contact Pamela if you have any interest in purchasing an image of interest, or would like to show her work in your gallery or business.

Sisters…

I’m currently sitting on the floor of my studio apartment, it’s the first day of March, which happens to land on a Sunday this year. I’m watching the sun slowly make its descent as its rays reach through the blinds of my west facing windows onto the freshly vacuumed carpeted floor of mine, and my dog, Howard, keeps moving and scratching to create a new spot in a fresh puddle of sun. I suppose you could say that I have been gnawing on some information that I received this past Tuesday afternoon while I sat with what’s become like an annual lunch date with both of my parents. I wasn’t keen on the idea of being out in the public since I’ve been watching this pandemic birth itself here in the States, after originally sprouting itself up from Wuhan, China. But, my Dad had called me a week ago today to ask me out to lunch (and then the following day, Monday, he called again to check in and see if I was okay having lunch with both my parental figures, as in he and my Mom, which I of course said “yes”) and then a quick, “wham, bam, and thank-you ma’m” later, there I was, sitting in a yet to be busy BJ’s restaurant with my folks. I casually sipped on my decaf coffee as my parents and I caught up. When I wasn’t holding my mug, my hands were busy fidgeting, holding one another through the front pocket of my hoodie- a small cave woven out of fabric where I can hide the obvious signs of the anxiety that makes itself visible through the non-stop dance of my hands.

And then suddenly it was like everyone at the surrounding tables vanished leaving only the clinking of the ice cubes swish swashing around in their sugary colas and waters as my Mom uttered the words that hit my gut like a semi-truck carrying a full load of potatoes crashing into a brick wall. Apparently, my three older sisters were planning to go on a trip. This was the first I had heard anything retaining to this. Tears started to roll down my face, my nervous hands breaking free from their comfy cave to quickly wipe away any trace they may be leaving behind. “Who cries at BJ’s on a weekday afternoon while at lunch with their parents?!” I thought to myself. After my Mom tried to ease the pain I felt that I don’t believe she anticipated me feeling, she then told me, “Well, you can go! We’ll get you a ticket and book you a room…” I quickly replied with all rational reasoning I could muster up, “Why?!” I exclaimed. “They don’t want me there! If they did, they would have invited me!” I follow up my statement with a question I knew she would have, “When are they going?” and my Mom quietly replied with a quick bounce back, “Saturday” she said as almost hoping that we could suddenly hit

rewind and skip this whole conversation all together. It wasn’t anything that my Mom (or Dad) had said that hurt, I was glad to find out from them then rather get asked by a family friend why I wasn’t with all my sisters in Sunny California as they flashed selfies and coastline images onto their social media pages. Maybe not in the middle of a now busy restaurant, but still, I was glad to of heard it from them then somebody else.

The thing is, this really fucking hurt. I hate admitting it, and pardon my so called, “French”, but let’s face it, I’m 35, hurt, angry, and I’m a grown up…so if I feel like saying “fuck” to emphasize the pain I felt when my own sisters didn’t even bother asking me to join them on a trip, well, I’ll use it. I can work out a couple solid scenarios as to why I was not invited on this trip, one of them being that one of my older sisters is completely controlling, manipulative, and has a sleek way of getting what she wants and when she wants it. I for one have played by her rules most of my life- accommodating demands in order to get to see my nieces and or to lay myself out in front off her verbal firing squad so that our family could have it’s normal gathering for the holidays…really, there are so many examples with this one sister that I could give, but that would be tiring to any eyes gazing these words, and quite frankly, she doesn’t deserve to take up any more of my energy than she already has.

Like many other people in this life I have struggled a great deal with the aching desire to “belong” somewhere, to someone, or to be apart of something greater than just my lone wolf self. But to realize that even my own sisters, people I share blood with, did not want me to be with them on this trip- well, I don’t believe I had ever felt so alone in this world as I did in the hours to follow after receiving this news at lunch with my parents. 

 

Lastly, I have to say this as I wrap up my “venting” here…and that one thing is now this: it’s all on you! That’s right, from here on out, I don’t want to get a single more email, or phone call telling me what a horrible human being I am because I am not at your child’s event or anything having to do with my absence from you or your families lives! Lord knows all the messages I got from either my sisters themselves or at one point or another from even one of their spouses- telling me what a horrible Aunt I was…why? Because I needed space! I guess I can’t hurt for something I asked all of you for seven years ago- you’re just now unexpectedly giving into my request. I love my nieces and nephew, and as long as I walkthis earth I will always be here for them, but I will not spend one more second of this life trying to prove my worth to a group of people that stick their noses up at me, and then throw fits and get upset when I don’t give in to what they want at any given time that I am suddenly supposed to be acting like I’ve got sisters of the year material as my older siblings. I’ll always hold love for them…but I hope they remember this moment in the years to come. I hope they look back and remember their trip to San Diego together and that they purposefully went without ever telling me, or even more, wanting me to join them. You don’t want me around? Well, you’ve got it. a couple more of my favorite people around (mr and

 

Life is a series of acid hits…

It’s been a long time since I have done this- this sitting down to intentionally write out my thoughts. They are jumbled up there, in my head. Most of the time I feel like I am bouncing back forth between an alternative universe (like a dream world) and whatever 6.this “daily” living thing is that I am doing. This used to bother me in the past and cause a great deal of anxiety, but now, I’m just kind of like, “what the fuck…been here, done this. I’m over it.” The best way I can explain it is like going on hundreds of bad acid trips, finally you get to the place where you accept the outcome of your next trip. That doesn’t mean you don’t (dare I say it?) hope for a better and more enlightening trip, but you are finally able to accept it however it unravels itself. Good or bad. And no expectations. Supposedly, somebody once wrote down one of the many things Buddha said, “manifest desires freely by having no expectations” and then mic dropped.

I believe that one statement is full of enough fodder to last hours of analyzing and dissecting.

I want to be free of all my meds, but especially one in particular. What harm could it do? No need to answer that, I already know. But, I can’t stand feeling like I am this puppet that is controlled by pharmaceutical companies- and indeed a product of them. Imagine a small split in an existentialist crisis that’s been brewing for a lifetime, and then finally arriving at its iron clad gates 35 some years later. Realizing indeed where you are. Time to explore the questions you (I) have pondered for all that time. Stepping out into the brave, yet scared world stripped of all your armor baring all your battle wounds for any onlookers to see. I will indeed going down the roaring rapids of life without a lifejacket or any kind of raft. Give me what is coming my way, what it is I am supposed to inherent.

Lastly, truth is, I am tired. There are thoughts that sprout out like a kernel of popcorn in the microwave that has met its heat limit and suddenly transformed into something edible and not so annoyingly crunchy. Those thoughts are merely how easily I could put an end to it all. The calmness that accompanies these thoughts tend to be previews to what I have no doubt to be feasible scenarios. I am more confident in something I have not completed than I am about anything else. How do I transfer that confidence? My beloved medicine has kicked it. I’ve got to go. Go trip out…or I guess go live in some alternate universe..exploring the things I’ve seen time and time again.

 

Jigsaw puzzled thoughts.

The days seem to be melting from one into another. The summer heat swelling my thoughts making most things indistinguishable, quickly morphing from one thought into another. Four weeks of “should I go? Can I leave my dog? Do I even need this?” And so on, and on, and on. Memories played on an audio track stuck on repeat- playing the same old destructive and self deprecating thoughts like something recorded on old vinyl. Skipping and scratching at times…a true testament to the age that these thoughts have carried on.

I’m so adamant at the thought of going back to residential for an “eating disorder” especially when I struggle to see what everyone else does. Yet I continue to reach out, call insurance, confide in my treatment team, and manage to continue breathing. But it’s been disintegrating- my will power. The determination that was like the little engine that could…it’s quickly coming to a halt.

A process I imagined would take a week has now entered a month. Suffice to say, I have proper tan marks on my feet from daily usage of flip-flops on all my walks with my Howard and trips to the dog park. Sun kissed shoulders touched with a dusting of highlighted freckles. It’s been too hot not to wear tank tops…despite the amount of skin I put out there to bare.

Today, today I started to feel like my brain was swish swashing a head full of vinegar and somehow baking soda has entered this concoction- causing that child like experiment you once tested in your backyard, overflowing thoughts of despair, determination, anguish, anger, defeat, hopelessness, and everything visually appearing to my blue blood shot eyeballs.

Truth is, I’m fearful that no matter what I do, I’m not going to get better…or just “better enough”, be happy and merry like so many expect to see me after time spent in treatment. I’m not by any means trying to sabotage myself, I just don’t want to do something and put the efforts in with my tired heart and restless soul to only find out that this is as good as it gets.

I was laying on my bed earlier. Wishing someone that was unattainable was available, hoping that a friend would call or want to just “be” with me. I took my dog outside, in the July heat- stiff air at the end of a late summer day. You can feel the warmth as you breathe it into your chest. It’s heavy. My dog pees and then he’s over it- he’s completely satisfied in sitting in the shade under the bench that I occupy. Listening to music that brings back a flood of memories from what feels like three lifetimes.

I’ve contemplated taking my beloved dog, Howard, to someone else’s house. Where he’s safe. So that I can continue to contemplate the darkness I’m all too familiar with without those big brown eyes looking up at me, saying, “you can’t leave me.” Little does he know, he would go on to live a comfortable life, with an abundant amount of attention and affection…he would not go without. Maybe not as many trips to the dog park, or leisurely walks that he decides whether we go on or not…

This jumble is just another run on sentence from my jumbled brain (one in which I’m adamantly over.) So many sorries. Too much love to ignore. But, too many towers of twirling despair on desolate grounds. I don’t know who I am anymore. Even more, I’m not sure which step I’ll take next, and what direction it’ll be in. But as always, Godspeed.

Easier said than done…

I started this self proclaimed journey a few months ago- determined to gain the weight I needed to without going to residential treatment (again).

Not so easy. Turns out, gaining weight is pretty hard. I feel like I’m constantly eating, and making trips to the grocery store. Hell, I’m even paying to see a dietitian out of pocket…and I hate spending money.

Determined doesn’t do justice. But feeling defeated is starting to weigh down on me. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with this mixed state I’ve found myself in, not sleeping, lacking hunger cues…and yes, I’m going to go there- Trump.

I find the current state of our country absolutely sickening. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, children are being torn out of the hands of their parents and put into cages. There’s SO much evil that this administration and its followers are doing. I don’t know how to deal. Hopeless has brought on a whole new meaning…

Pick up your spoon…

Thomas A. Edison once said, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” I couldn’t think of a better thing to think of at this moment. My greatest weakness is giving up- when things get tough, when I’m not producing the art I want, when I feel like I’ve given it my all, and especially keeping food a routine and healthy thing in my life. With weight you can give up endlessly…every pound that drops off that number on the scale shows that giving up on all those cravings or hunger pains is an actual victory. Or so that’s what believe. Right now I’m trying to become a unbeliever in this mentality, because if I don’t, I’ll lose until there’s nothing left to give.

I spent last summer in treatment at Monte Nido’s Rain Rock residential program. A place where people that have dysfunctional relationships with food come to gather, to gain perspective on ones soul self as well as the things that drive our eating disorders. 

20121206-085509.jpgThere’s a lot of groups, therapy sessions, tears, and FOOD. It feels like you’re constantly eating food all day. There’s people there to support you, both peers and staff…to encourage one to face a difficult meal time or deal with a part of our past that we’ve dug down deep inside our deprived beings. Deep, deep down.

Just a week ago today I was awaiting a call from Monte Nido to evaluate treatment again at Rain Rock. I was lying down and had this inner dialogue about whether or not it was ok for me to eat a small cup of yogurt. I wanted to cry. I felt like I was in chains, locked to this desire to deprive myself of a very essential thing to live. Food. I started to tear up through a familiar frustration. I couldn’t do it, I was giving up. But it was through the evaluation process and the reality that I very well may go back that I started to realize how badly I didn’t want to go back, and not because of the staff (who are amazing) or the program (which is solid)…it was because I wanted to live. I had a motivation like no other. There are things coming up that I don’t want to miss. And I’m just too tired of feeling like I am walking around in this shell of a human being- no longer creating art, playing music, or doing the active things I love to do. I want to feel alive again. And that my friend was the fire that lit that motivation.

Today I spoke with a dietitian there (whom I was familiar with from working together when I went to Rain Rock) and I wanted her to tell me what to do. I had called and left a message day prior, knowing already what she was going to say. That my weight is too low for my height and my brain is not operating at it’s ultimate level, and that in the end, I have to make the choice of what it is that I want to do. Would it be easier to gain the weight that I need to when there is a chef that prepares all your meals and does the grocery shopping for them? That the snacks are all provided and you’re monitored while correctly portioning them out- that there is accountability around every corner you approach. It’d probably be easier on some levels, without a doubt.

But today I spoke with my therapist of five years who is facing retirement in just a week (…more change in my life.) Anyway, when we first started talking about it he jumped on my going- that I’ve been stuck when I hit the number I’m at right now and then just start the downward spiral of restriction. Although I sat there, and cried…fiercely determined to fight this battle outside treatment. He heard my dedication and desire to live a better life, he knew I wanted better for myself than where I’m at right now. And I wished that he was going to be around to watch me conquer this…but he wont and that hurts. But I have a new therapist I’m working with and that’s a whole new road ahead of me. No one will ever replace the prestigious and intelligent man I’ve been confiding in for the last five years, but the work must continue on.

So I left my appointment, replied to one of my friends via text that I lean on for support, and got me and my dog in the car. First destination: the grocery store. Not a place I enjoy always going to, nor a place I like to spend my money, but I went and I bought things that have not been in my fridge for a long time. I bought bread, okay!? Then I ate, cleaned, and told myself, “You can do this.”

So away I go…to try just one more time.