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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Time

Christmas Time

I never felt safer than when I was lying under the Christmas tree with my siblings (or alone), looking up at the lights and ornaments through prickly branches, listening to Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums or one of the many many Christmas music boxes my mom collected. I felt joy, peace, comfort . . .  And if “home” was a feeling, that would’ve been it. Our house always smelled a certain way at Christmas. Like pine and candles; Christmas cookies; old ornaments; masking tape. There was a tangible feeling. It really was magic.

 Every Christmas Eve we would squish on the couch and watch an old VHS tape my parents made of all the TV Christmas Specials. There was “Rudolph,” “A Claymation Christmas,” “Garfield’s Christmas,” “Pee-Wee’s Christmas,” “Christmas on Sesame Street,” and “Mr. Krueger’s Christmas.” (I have to say, these are all epic shows, but if you haven’t seen Mr. Krueger’s Christmas, you must see it.).

(Sidebar: I still have a ton of 80’s-early 90’s commercials memorized because of that VHS tape. “I’d like a bike, I’d like a pony, but what I LOVE is My First Sony!”)

We’d drink hot cocoa with marshmallows (we called them eights) stirred with a candy cane, listen to “The Night Before Christmas” and eat sugar cookies we’d decorated in the weeks before. We’d turn the lights off, except the twinkle lights, and gather around the tree to open our presents from Grandma and Grandpa Kuhns (because that’s how they do in Deutschland). We’d end the night by listening to Dad read from Luke chapter 2, verses 1-20, the real story of Christmas, from his great-grandfather’s tattered and well loved bible.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

On Christmas morning, we’d gather in mom and dad’s room, then line up youngest to oldest and go down the stairs and into the living room. Mahalia Jackson would be playing on the stereo and our stockings and the contents thereof would be strewn all over the couches. Mom used to wake up early to make a fancy Christmas breakfast, but one year we had “fun” cereal, hot chocolate, and Nutella instead. We NEVER got sugar cereal, and we all loved it so much it became a tradition. Nothing is as great as Christmas morning cereal. NOTHING. I’m pretty sure I would eat several bowls throughout the morning.

Honestly a little piece of me disliked Christmas morning, because I knew it meant the magical Christmastime feeling was almost over.

Because of all these wonderful memories, thinking of Christmas has always had a calming effect on me. I can think of the tree and lights and feel comforted. Even in the middle of summer, Christmas music makes me feel peaceful and safe. And it’s never a bad time to watch Garfield’s Christmas.  
This year has been really difficult. I feel like I’m missing the entire season. Picking a tree, making cookies, listening to Christmas music, Christmas shopping, Christmas decorations. . . I don’t feel Christmasy here at the center. For the time being we aren’t able to listen to Christmas music, and we don’t have any decorations. Yet. I think we’re supposed to get a tree and some d├ęcor tomorrow. I really hope we do, because even with my ugly Christmas sweaters and Christmas socks, I’m struggling to get that Christmas feeling. I feel sad. I miss the way my family used to be. I miss Christmas. We never had a ton of money, but we were always SO SPOILED. My parents had a way of making Christmas very special every year. It was always in the little details, like the funky Santa pillow, the stockings knitted by Great Grandma Bertie, the bell on the front door, or the somewhat creepy Santa face we hung on the wall. . .

 I really wish I could bottle that feeling. I would carry it around in my pocket and sprinkle it on people who looked sad. I would put it in brownies and call them “Magic Brownies” which might confuse some people because pot is now legal in Washington. . . I would wear it like perfume and suddenly become unexplainably irresistible to everyone.

I would be really creative and call it “Christmas in a Bottle: aka WORLD PEACE.”


  1. Hey Camilla,

    It's Brandi! I don't have a URL, so I had to post as anonymous. My junior high school has collected some funds for your treatment in addition to some gifts for the girls on your floor. Another faculty member and myself are planning to make a trip to Orem and leave the items at the Center for Change. I'll just have them give you the entire box and let you play Santa to the girls on your floor.

    I received your card today, and it had perfect timing! My students have been working on Christmas cards for you all week! Even some of our health classes have gotten involved. The kids were very excited to get your card in the mail.

    The box may not make it until after Christmas, but I'll do my best to make it down there sooner. Please know that you have so many people praying for you. If there is anyway we could meet you when we come down, that would be wonderful, but it sounds like they keep you very busy from your card. (which is good). LOVE that you're rock climbing!

    Kisses and Hugs from EVERYONE at Wahlquist Junior High School in Ogden, and we hope to hear from you again soon.

  2. Camilla, my family and friends and I have decided you're a very interesting, self-centered person. We're so sorry you don't have a tree, and you don't have Christmas music and your Christmas Sweaters and stockings are ugly and you were SPOILED. But now, Camilla, your family and others are sacrificing so you are able to recover and all you do is gripe! The Christmas List you sent out is
    ridiculous; my children wonder how much they would receive if they put out a two page document like yours. Hoodies that are over $100. each, Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body items, Kindles, Nooks, Gift Certificates....and that's just for starters.

    Some of your "friends" and family who do and did spoil you have definately put you in the "entitlement" category and we wonder if, no matter what you receive, you will be satisfied. We sincerely doubt it!

    You and your "gals" should not be asking for anything! You owe it to those who are supporting you to limit your Wish List! This is the real world Camilla....welcome to reality.

    We're sure we will be criticized for this note but, so be it. We feel sure it won't do any good because you're not capable of seeing life for what it is. All we see from you are complaints and my husband and I won't let our children read your blog again. It gives them too many ideas.

    Amused and Annoyed in WJ

    1. I really find it funny that you hide behind a computer, and hide behind anonymity. You have children? Really, because I was going to tell you to grow up. I sure hope that the comment you made, made you feel good about yourself. I don't understand people like you. I really, really don't. Whatever happened to the saying "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." I pity people like you. I wish I knew who wrote this comment, so I could personally attack you and all of your insecurities...give you a taste of your own medicine. Grow up.

    2. One final note: I find it interesting that some people chose to highlight Camilla's Christmas list with their children as an example of her "self-centeredness" ... while others, including Whitney in Springville and Tara in Salt Lake City, see it as an opportunity to show love, sharing and compassion for the girls undergoing treatment at the Center. In fact, there's a "Let's Play Santa" event on Facebook: -- to those charitable souls, I again say "Thank you!"

    3. I am completely SPEECHLESS that anyone in this world could be so cruel and thoughtless to someone that is fighting for her life, along side the young women on her floor. SHAME on you and your cowardess remarks.

    4. Camilla's dad here. I had a lot more I'd written, but out of deference to Camilla, I'll edit it. But there are a couple of points I want to make about Camilla being "entitled".
      Obviously, as her father, I might take offense that you think that we've put her in the "entitled" class. "Entitled"? No. Endowed? Granted? Blessed with? I hope so! And I would hope that you would sit down with your children and tell them that they are blessed, too. They are blessed, as Camilla was and is, to love. To kindness. To caring. To feeling safe and protected and happy, especially during this season. And that the list, for people who are away from their families, is a small remembrance, a "blessing" if you will, of someone saying "Hey, Ladies at the Center! You are NOT alone! You are NOT forgotten! You are loved!"
      Camilla would probably quote something from one of her favorite Christmas movies, Garfield's Christmas: "Christmas. It's not about the getting. It's not about the getting. It's about the loving." It's not entitlement ... but whatever it is, then I, as her father, am PROUD to have given her that feeling... and am equally proud that she is worried and concerned about others feeling it, too.
      2) To those of you who have blessed the life of my daughter, who have shown love and kindness and charity and support, I say thank you, and I pray every night for the Lord to bless you. To those of you who have thanked her for being open and honest about how hard this treatment is, about what she is learning, and who have thanked her for helping YOU to look at your own weaknesses, or what is going on with your family members, including your children, and perhaps taking action, THANK YOU!, because it is the belief that she is helping others that motivates her to keep writing.
      And for those of you who feel it is your right and responsibility to be negative, to criticize a young woman who I love more than life itself, and who I am so proud of ... No words.
      Well, not true. John Lennon said: "All you need is love, love. Love is all you need." So, at this time of holidays, of miracles, of rebirth, of renewal, of gifts, of the greatest gift of all, I wish you all peace, harmony, sharing, laughter and love ... something we should all be blessed with. Take your children, your family members, your friends and wrap them all in as much of that feeling as you can muster.
      And if you can't feel that, then I'd invite you to stop reading her blog and leave, as you are entitled to do.
      By the way, one more thing to those of you nay-sayers: I talked to Camilla earlier. You should know how much you hurt a kind, loving, selfless, tender-hearted woman. But even as she struggled with the pain your incorrect judgments caused, all she could think about was being kind to you, and hoping your children never have to suffer as she has, and that you'll have a Merry Christmas.

    5. Uh, your children would most likely get NOTHING because they aren't suffering through a disease that would kill them you selfish bastard!

    6. yeah, awesome you and your family caucused about this. spread the love for those who are suffering, not incredulous comments. until you have been thru it, you have NO basis to say anything. as someone who has been in treatment for 6 months at a time without family or friends within 1200 miles of me, the littlest thing can make my day. if there is someone out there who has recovered and has money to make someone's day, i'm sure they would do it. i know i would in a second. it could take someone from a place of being on suicide watch, to sublime happiness to have ANYONE be thoughtful enuf to send them a sweater from victoria's secret. is a day of happiness worth $100, hell yes. p.s. not afraid to be posting under my user name, shrouded in anonymity. my name is heather and i sent as many presents as i could after just having left treatment myself and knowing how lonely it can get. okay, done ranting... that hit a nerve. don't feel bad camilla, some people are ignorant.

  3. Love that last post. I've felt that way about her. Super spoiled, entitled, and loves the attention of posting about her illness. Get a life.

    1. Why don't you get a life? Leaving rude comments on a blog of a woman who is going through a huge challenge? And you think SHE needs to get a life?
      I bet that those 2 rude comments were made by the same person. Grow up.

    2. If you feel that way why do you look at her blog at all you douche?

    3. You are such a piece of garbage if I knew who the crap you were, if you had balls to show who you were, this I'd have Camilla take your knees out with my nine iron. I hope you... know you will burn in hell. Font read it you pile of shit. Love

      Kristian Kuhns
      Gilbert Az
      You know me...know who are you?

    4. anon creep.... makes total sense, she loves her illness so much she's going thru hell to fight it. at least have the balls to not post anon. and maybe read up on how therapeutic it is to write and journal thruout recovery. ignorant MF

  4. After reading the previous two comments, I feel sorry for the human species that such ignorance exists. You two posters must feel brave under the guise of anonymity - would either of you say such cruel things to someone if you could not hide like a coward? Camilla, please know that you are a source of hope for humanity. You are kind and insightful, and you are doing something very important by shedding light on the true nature of eating disorders. You are a light in the dark to those who are struggling, because you are strong and have shown them that recovery is possible. Please don't stop writing, don't let shamelessly ignorant people get you down. You have already managed an incredible feat by letting people know that they are not alone, and it is okay to seek help. Thank you, and I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and many to come.

  5. Wow. I have no words for the comments above. Get a life? Stop posting about her illness and herself??? THIS BLOG IS SO SHE CAN TALK ABOUT TREATMENT AND HER STRUGGLES WITH ANOREXIA!!!!!! Get a life? She is attempting to improve her life, why don't YOU get a life, since you quite obviously don't have one if you are leaving comments like that. You won't let your children read her blog? Good, because if they saw the comment and thoughts you and your husband have, they would probably be as disgusted as I am. What a great example you two must be to your children...I feel bad that they have parents who can't set the example of kindness.
    She is in a treatment center for a self image disorder, most likely due to assholes like you. Her self image is already awful,why add to her anguish? The comments that were made TRULY disgust me. Would you say the same thing on a cancer patients blog who was going through chemo, asking for donations and help? A disease is a disease. Regardless of the name. You two must be fortunate enough not to know anyone who is/has suffered the same kind of pain Camilla is going through. People like YOU (anonymous commenters) are the reason I've lost hope in man kind. Here is an indiviual who is struggling beyond comprehension and you have nothing better to do this holiday season than belittle her? What the HELL happened to you two to make you such awful people??? I sincerely would like to know. And regarding the Christmas list, I pity you two. She specifically said that the majority of the girls in that center wouldn't get Christmas due to treatment costs. She is so kind to include and hope that others would play Santa for the girls she lives with. And I pray that the girls in treatment get TONS of gifts from strangers...because they are going through hell. I pray for you Camilla everyday. I'm so thankful that you are such a kind, strong, and beautiful individual! At least anorexia can be treated. Being an ignorant, jealous, horrible, mean asshole of a person, however, has no known cure..So just ignore the haters, because they are the lowest of the low on the scumbag rankings.

  6. To the commenter who said she was complaining about "ugly sweaters and socks" that is what they are called. Young adults have competitions with each other or parties called "ugly sweater" parties to see who can find the most ridiculous attire. It's a thing to wear ugly sweaters during the holiday season, and especially here in Utah. She wasn't complaining, just saying despite the "only during Christmas, ugly attire" it still didn't feel like the season. You must feel like an idiot now.

  7. The Kuhns family taught me many things growing up - Dave was my soccer coach, Sarah was my school mate and friend, Ilene created a glowing example of home life, Camilla was the coolest older sister (no offense to mine) out of all my friends, Christian came to volunteer his time to help coach our soccer team (before we won the state championship!).

    In the Kuhns' home I learned so much about the meaning of family and the love of God which I did not understand and was otherwise rarely exposed to until much later in life.

    Never once did I witness a sense of entitlement or selfishness from any of them, and Camilla is far from that today. She is courageous for sharing her journey, for opening up and being vulnerable to the awful criticism and hateful words that she has received. She is trying to live. To simply LIVE. And to maybe inspire and help others along the way. There is no room for shame in recovery.

    We are rooting for you girl, keep up the good work!

  8. In life we must remember, we have haters and we have motivators. And always remember, our haters are our biggest motivators! Behind each of these "anonymous" haters, you have countless people who love and support you. This world would be far too perfect if we didn't have these nay-sayers in it. Camilla knows she is loved, and those who do love her, far outweigh those "others". Keep doing what your doing, cause you sure do motivate me to be a kinder more loving person.

  9. Oh, wow! That was REALLY mean. I remember the post with the list, and Camilla saying that she didn't know what Lululemon was. Honestly, I just smiled, I knew they were super expensive, but, I who could take offense!(Do you realize that a lot of these girls are probably teenagers?!) I spent Thankgiving week in a psychiatric hospital (which is NOTHING compared to the work these girls are doing) and that list is really familiar. The restrictions on what you can and can't have make a list necessary (I hated having to check out my makeup at a certain time every morning. The first thing I did upon arrival was "arrange" all my hospital issued toiletries on my bare shelf. I just wanted my "stuff", and the feeling that you've been stripped of everything cozy and yours, and "you", makes getting a book or a calling card for the pay phone sheer joy. I can't believe anyone would resent someone for that. Camilla and these girls have a ton of courage for facing their diseases (and yes, they are diseases, like diabetes, or cancer). So, Happy New Year, and wishing tons of recovery, fuzzy socks, hairbands, phone calls, letters, and, yes, Lululemon hoodies, to every girl who bravely faces her demons this year. ~ Jilly

  10. A lot of the things on that list are actually necessary for people recovering from any kind of self image disorder - imagine sitting for hours apon hours each day in 'meal support', just sitting in a cold blank room because that's what treatment invovles. Imagine having the ONLY way you have until now coped with LIFE - and a lot of these women have problems FAR bigger than the ED's they are in treatment for - being ripped from you suddenly with nothing in it's place at all. If you suddenly lost whatever your main coping mechanism is, would you survive? They have no choice but to. A lot of these people suffer from self hatred and self deprivation and giving of themselves everything until they are drained, too.
    Part of recovery is learning to care for themselves, to actually be kind to themselves, allow themselves things they really like and want, pampering themselves etc. Part of it is developing other ways of coping - taking up new activities to distract, to learn to channel feelings into a different less destructive outlet etc. Few treatment centres have the funding to allow them to really provide for the practical necessities these require. While I do think asking for lululemon was probably due to ignorance about actual cost, and that victoria's secret is also ill advised, I don't see anything selfish or entitled about these wishes, and I make this coming from someone who as a kid grew up in pretty poverty ridden circumstances who had pretty much nil when it came to nice things and struggled to have clothes to wear that were decent let alone 'nice'. I think these anonymous hateful commenters (or is it one person?) are truly ill informed, ignorant and hate filled and I hope so much they don't have kids, for the kid's sake.

    Camilla I hope you and the other girls enjoyed Christmas and are hanging in there xx