About Stacy E. Holden
When I give my standard biographical spiel, one would never know that I am anything but a successful and highly functional middle-aged professional. I am a history professor at a major Midwestern research university, and my field of study is the Middle East and North Africa. I have published two books--one on Morocco, the other on Iraq--as well as a series of articles in scholarly journals. Working in French and Arabic, I have examined urban labor in pre-Protectorate Fez, colonial architecture in Rabat, and the roots of the Sunni-Shi'i conflict in contemporary Baghdad.
My chosen profession--as well as my natural curiosity for the world--has allowed me to be well-traveled. I have lived for three years in Rabat, Morocco, a city I consider my second home, and spent extended periods of time in Bamako (Mali), Cairo (Egypt), and Nouakchott (Mauritania). I like to regale friends and family with stories of my various trips deep into the Sahara desert. However, having lived for ten months in the twelfth arrondisment, I also managed to spend one year indulging in the charming First World lifestyle and cultural traditions of modern France.
A professional summary is not the same as a life story, and it is a more personal portrayal of my inner well-being that has always been difficult to share. This is because I have suffered an unhealthy relationship with food since adolescence. For thirty-five years, I hid my tendency to treat food like Xanax. By my mid-forties, the food benders were coming ever more frequently. This summer, two years after the American Psychiatric Association published a revised DSM V, a therapist diagnosed me with Binge Eating Disorder (BED). I began treatment--partial hospitalization and then an Intensive Outpatient Program--for this mental health issue.
The death of my dear friend Maryclaire Ward Paullis in December 2015 led me to share my story via this blog. Shortly after Maryclaire passed, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was ashamed to tell her of my eating disorder and so had avoided the hard phone call, putting off what would have been a potentially painful conversation until a later time. Sometimes, I learned the hard way, we don't have all the time in the world.
I am a woman of action.
I am a woman of action, and this blog is my clarion call to it. Maryclaire worked at Sparhawk School in Amesbury, MA. On 11 June, I will run a 10 K. in Portsmouth, NH to raise money for a scholarship to Sparhawk School in Maryclaire's honor. This blog traces my training for the race, which is also part of my recovery from BED. I urge you to contribute to a cause that will make an educational opportunity available to a deserving young person and also pays tribute to Maryclaire's vocational passion.