National Body Week- My story

I am not going to sit here and act like my issues with my body have been the worst in the world or they’ve gotten so bad that they landed me in the hospital. I have not gotten under 100 pounds or have made myself throw up after every meal. I wouldn’t even say I have an eating disorder. Instead, I would call it disordered eating. Regardless of what it is or isn’t, my experiences with my body, weight, and food have taken up way more time than need be. That is why I am writing this. Because it is Body Week and National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, people need to know that (whether they want to admit it or not) disordered eating/eating disorders are all too common, in men and women alike, and the only way it is ever going to change is if we are educated, aware, and make the conscious choice to stop perpetuating unrealistic body ideals for any human being.

From the ages of 5 to 18, I was told repetitively that I was fat. Who knew one word could be so traumatizing? I heard everything from “beached whale” to “you look like a pregnant woman.” I played sports, I was active, and most importantly I was A CHILD, but people still felt the need to put these awful words in my head. Words that still haunt me to this day. Words that have made me hate myself. Words that have stripped me of a self-confidence that I am still working to put back together.

Like a lot of other humans, I internalized these words, but ironically, the only way I felt comfort was by binge eating. I got up to 200 pounds during my senior year, and was rudely awakened by my weight when I couldn’t find a homecoming dress to fit me. I felt awful and wanted to die. I looked around and saw my beautiful classmates, girls that were noticed by all of the guys due to their physique, and knew that would never be me. I blamed all of my shortcomings and loneliness due to my body weight. I kept telling myself that if I could just be skinnier, all my problems would fade away.

When I came to college, I worked hard to get healthy and, as a result, lost 5o pounds. I did not lose my warped sense of self though. My problems did not just fade away like I had hoped.

Instead, I became obsessive. I thrived off of the “you look so skinny” comments and knew I could never go back. What I ate took up so much of my brain space. If I ate a cookie, I would obsessively do crunches in my room and ridicule myself for being so careless. In my opinion, the worst thing that could happen to me was gaining the weight back and being disgusting again, even though my mind did not even appreciate or recognize my new physique. My clothes got bigger, but I still viewed myself as overweight. I still called myself fat. I was still putting way too much emphasis on my weight and not my inner worth.

My obsession to keep the weight off caused me to abuse laxatives and purposefully throw up. Thanks to my friends though, I was able to realize just how dangerous those habits were and eventually put a stop to them.

All of my concerns didn’t just evaporate though-

It has been a constant battle. It will forever be a constant battle.

I have this idea that my weight is the most important factor in determining my self-worth.

I still obsess over the scale.

I still call myself “ugly” and a “fat ass.”

There will be days when I feel so uncomfortable in my body and wish more than anything in the world that I was someone else.

That will never happen though.

I have been given the body I have been given, and as long as I am making healthy choices, that is all that should matter.

Our society is obsessed with these images of what a female’s body and what a male’s body should look like, and these images are so unattainable for most human beings. Our society thinks it is ok to judge people on their weight and criticize people for having cellulite or stretch marks.

My weight is no one’s business.

My physical appearance is not something that should be criticized.

Women are starving themselves to be seen as beautiful when really all they’re doing is making themselves disappear. Is this what we want? People killing themselves and trying to take up the least amount of space? We are here and we should live our lives with purpose. I don’t want to shrivel up; I want to be seen. We should all be seen. We are all special.

Struggles with body image don’t disappear. They lessen, but they are always present. It is an unfortunate truth. It is a harmful truth.

Let’s try and stop these ideologies. Let’s realize that everyone is beautiful and weight has nothing to do with it. Let’s try and create a world where our children never want to cry and curl into a ball over their pant size or feel unworthy of love and respect due to what a scale says.

Let’s put an end to eating disorders and disordered eating.

death of a dream

Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Shower. Go to sleep. Do it all over again. repeat until you’re able to retire.

I am a fan of routines, but when they become monotonous, that’s when it is worrisome. We bust our asses to in school to get jobs that what? Pay our bills and feed us and that’s it? We are supposed to convince ourselves that it is just work and no one likes their job and that’s life and thank God for weekends. NO. I cannot live with that. But how do I escape “that.”

How does one get their dream job when so much of it is based on luck?

I am so thankful for the job I currently have, but I can be honest in saying it is not my dream. I don’t think anyone gets their dream right out of college. I don’t think most people get their dream ever. We just settle a bit here and there until we convince ourselves that the position we are in is good enough. Why? Because dreaming is hard. Aspirations are difficult- they make you compare yourselves to others, they make you realize that you don’t have it all, they make you WORK. And when you don’t achieve your ultimate goal, you feel like a piece of shit. So, as we grow older and wiser, we just stop dreaming. We embrace what we have, which is good, but we never go for more. We don’t push to do that thing that makes us light up inside.

I can’t handle that.

I am tired and worn out and hate excessive amounts of work, but I refused to be a squashed firefly.

I want my career, my life’s work, to make me (and others) light up.

I want to reach my dreams.

I just need to find out how.

Answers

It gnaws away at me.

No matter how many ways I try and distract myself, it always finds a way to plant itself in the front of my mind.

I play the scenes over and over again. I retrace the steps. I closely examine every decision.

I still cannot find an answer.

I’ve had no revelation. No overwhelming sense of clarity.

Instead, I have a pit in my stomach. A hole that I cannot fill.

It leaves me empty but my heart heavy.

I don’t know how to fix it.

Maybe I never will. Maybe I’ll just get used to the missing sense of self. Maybe I’ll get answers.

Or maybe, I’ll realize I had the answers all along- that there are no answers. That there is no logical reasoning.

That it was never me.

It wasn’t my fault.

That would be the most bittersweet answer of all.

a list for happiness

I have decided that I need to be more positive. Life is hard and it gets me. It can knock me down. It can put me in a funk. I can’t do it anymore though. I need to radiate optimism. So in typical Type A fashion, every once in awhile I am going to list things that are making me happy. Ideally, this will help create a lasting sense of contentment.

Here goes nothing:

1) I love my first cup of coffee in the morning. I actually get excited to go to sleep so I can wake up and have my coffee. I also love when it is perfectly sweet. Coffee is perfect.

2) I love my drive to and from work. It is just me and my music. It is a great time to think, or not think, and sing.

3) I love grocery shopping and I am really starting to like cooking. Sandwiches and cereal will always be my go to meals, but sometimes it is nice to get fancier.

4) After being at work all day, nothing is better than putting on pajamas and laying in bed to watch TV. Perfection.

….so, there is my first list. And there is my first step into a happier life (hopefully).

Wish me luck.

burger for one

Hi. It has been awhile.

I didn’t die. Close though- I got a real life job. Like 8:30 to 5, Monday through Friday, salaried job. I feel dead. I don’t know how people do it. I am exhausted, and I am supposed to be in the prime of my life. What the hell is gonna happen when I am 57? Will I just keel over at work? Lord help me.

So anywho, I am now a marketing director. Not really where I thought I would end up, but if I can pay the bills, I can’t complain. Plus, I am working for a not-for-profit center for the arts, so that makes my heart happy.

Real talk though? How do people have lives outside of their work? Like, I haven’t had such a long day since high school, and looking back, I don’t know how I did it. I wake up at 6:30 and don’t get home until 6ish. By that time I have just enough energy to eat, shower and pour myself into bed. My fitness has taken a backseat and I am freaking out. Like, I try and do squats or what not while I have my whitening strips on (30 minutes) but I don’t have the desire to do much more. This is problematic when I just ate a massive cheeseburger and fries for dinner. HELP ME. WHAT CAN I DO TO NOT GET FAT AGAIN. We all know I don’t need anything else working against me in the quest for love. If I could stay moderately average looking, that would be great.

Speaking of the burger though, I went to a restaurant, sat down, and  nearly swallowed it whole ate that bad boy alone. Such a seemingly simple task but something that was immensely stressful. All I could think of was what others would think of me for dining alone. Would they think I am a freak? Would I reek of single desperation? Would people laugh at me?

I am here to report that that did not happen, at least not to my knowledge. Although they probably didn’t have time to judge me since I nearly ate all of my food in 30 seconds flat. I don’t mess around.

Would I do it again? I’ll probs have to, especially since I am moving to a new town in May. A new town in which none of my friends live. Did I enjoy it? Did I feel super confident dining out alone? I wish with my whole heart that I could sit here and tell you that being an independent woman is fun, but I would be lying. It gets lonely. You bet your sweet ass I wished the entire time that I had someone I loved, and that loved me back eating across from me. I guess that is life though. We don’t always get what we want.

Maybe the universe has decided the job is a big enough curveball for me to handle right now and maybe my loneliness will subside. Maybe I am just overtired. Who knows? I am just trying to be open and real.

Life is hard.

re-start

Sometimes we are permitted with chances to start over. Chances to refresh. New opportunities that make you realize, “oh, so this is why everything happened the way it did.”

I’m done with school.

I’m recently employed.

This week is the new beginning of the life I have always wanted.

It’s the realization of all of my efforts.

You go to school to go to college to get a job. Well, I am now at the end of my steps but the beginning of a new phase.

I feel ok. I feel good. I feel ready.

I feel like it is all starting to make sense again.

And I have never been happier.

scared

I am scared.

I am scared that I have put all of my eggs into a basket labeled “future” and that basket keeps being pushed further away.

“I’ll be happy when…” is a catchphrase.

But when is WHEN?

When I graduate high school, when I go to college, when freshmen year is over, when I get a new car, when I get a boyfriend, when I graduate, when I get a job….

The list goes on and on and I keep checking things off, but have yet to reach happiness.

What if I never do? And is it a destination?

I’ve heard over and over again that life wasn’t designed to be fun. If that’s the case, what is the point? And why are moments of joy so fleeting, but sadness embeds itself in you and sticks around forever, whether you like it or not?

I am fully aware that I am responsible for my mindset. That I have to be cognizant of good parts of my life. IT IS SO HARD THOUGH. How can I find my own happiness when I am constantly being compared and comparing myself to others? Will my happiness be enough? And if I find happiness, will my dreams for more just diminish because I am content? Like, if I find joy in my present scenario, will I ever desire to dream bigger? Because Lord knows that I loathe change.

I am scared.

Today in the grocery store, two things struck me.

First was a man skipping into the grocery store with his daughters. My heart burst. It was such an endearing moment, and I thought, I will be happy when I have that. A loving, family man that is not afraid to be silly. BUT- What if I never get that man? Or what if someone from my past was “that” man for me and I blew my shot?  Will I be ok without it? Will I be ok with just me?

The second sight was this old man, all by himself, struggling to shop around in his scooter. I don’t want to get old. I don’t want those around me to get old. I don’t want to not be able to take care of myself. And most importantly, I don’t want to be 80 and look back on my life, full of regrets.

So, I am scared.

I am full of all of these uncertainties and sorrows and happinesses and stresses and loves and it is so confusing. Being in your twenties is so confusing! You never know if you’re doing it right. You never know if what you’re feeling is outlandish and odd or common and universal.

I guess that is life though. There is no guidebook. We are here and we live and it is not simple.

I just want it to be worth it.