low intake days

I decided to take my own advice and be vulnerable, and not just with strangers on this blog. I posted a version of this on my instagram.

Content warning: disordered eating

*no numbers but there are word values like only, a lot, decrease, etc.*

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone about this… not even a therapist or doctor. I watched part of the movie “To the Bone” and I have mixed feelings about it. It reminded me of high school and, more specifically, of a journal I kept in 9th grade. It was sparkly and red and it contained what I thought was evidence of self control. It turns out it was the opposite: pages and pages of records of calories and workouts over which I eventually lost control. My best friend at the time and I had very similar eating patterns and we definitely encouraged one another… we just didn’t know it was not healthy. Pizzas, donuts, Olive Garden breadsticks, these chocolate chip cookies we were obsessed with, entire cakes– you name it, we ate a lot of it. We’d watch movies and eat and call it a fun girl’s night. I would then subtract all these calories from the next day just so I wasn’t “eating too much” and so I didn’t gain weight. I called them my “low intake days” when in reality I was starving my body of the food it needed. I thought this was balance. I thought this was control. I kept decreasing the amount of calories I’d have in a day. I went vegetarian to save on calories. I went vegan to save on calories. My friend’s eating happen would change a lot, too. I’m not sure what she would do but there was this one time she only ate ketchup for lunch. And then later we’d go through our routine again. It’s so sad to think about now. My friend was diagnosed with an eating disorder.

I’m typing this out right now to remind myself what I’ve come from and not to take steps backward. The anxiety is so hard but it will pass. It will. I don’t have to be a certain weight to be cared about; I don’t have to be a certain weight to be worthy of love.

wise man, skylight

skylight, skylight, hold me, hold my eyes, my stomach, my heart. please tell me all your secrets. how are you so open to both the darkness and the light? day and night you see things as clear as can be: moments that are light and those that feel heavy. you see the sun and the moon as they rise and set; if the rain falls you get foggy when wet, much like the glasses settled in front of my starry eyes. the starry skies are an evening ritual and you get front row seats while i just stare scared at my tape covered ceiling. i’m scared because i’m thinking of the future. like sutures sewn into me permanently, defiantly, the fear never leaves. most of me believes i will always be stuck in the shadows. skylight, skylight, hold me, hold my eyes, my stomach, my heart. please tell me all your secrets.
the skylight softly replied with but one simple phrase: i am open to light and dark because they balance out our days. i may hold your eyes but i cannot hold your heart, you feel what you feel and you mustn’t fear the dark.

the day i stood on a roof

trigger warning: suicidal ideation

i can’t believe i’m here again. so depressed, so alone that it’s hard to see the point of being alive. 

today is the fourth of july. usually that means sparklers, potato salad, and fireworks after dusk, but this year it meant panic attacks and thoughts of suicide. i haven’t been sleeping well and i’m wondering if this is more of a cause or an effect of this depressed state i’m in. 

something happened to my brain today and i don’t know what. my girlfriend invited me to watch fireworks with her and her friends later in the day. still in my room, everything was fine and then suddenly my mood shifted. i became more irritable, sad, and reveled in the idea of staying in my room by myself all day so i wouldn’t have to be around people. well, that mood didn’t fade and i ended up staying in all day and all night. no fireworks, no friends. so fucking depressing. and i feel really bad that i made us miss out on our first 4th of july together ­čśÉ

i heard the fireworks nearby outside so i decided to take a risk and leave my room to see if i could see them. my anxiety was so bad. i walked all the way to this building because i thought i’d be able to see better on the roof but there was a tree in the way. i almost fell off this roof because i was being/feeling so careless. as i was walking back, i knew i’d somewhat be able to see them from a nearby hill. but the sounds of explosions got closer and closer to one another and i realized i was missing the finale. i missed the entire damn show. as i walked back to my room i was furious with myself. i wanted to scream, kick things, hurt myself, something, anything to get rid of the feeling inside me. i felt like i was being punished; i was feeling too depressed and anxious to go out with friends and then when i gathered the courage to go outside alone, i didn’t even get the chance to see them. fuck this day.

i have to take things very slowly now. day by day, moment by moment even. i need to put my pride aside and decide if i need more support, whether that means more therapy or hospitalization. i fucking hate this. i really don’t understand what happened to me and to know my mood can change that quickly is so scary. 

the hole within

i feel like there’s a hole in my soul. like there’s something missing from my life and the reason i’m struggling so much is because i don’t have it. my family would say that “you can’t fill a God-shaped hole with anything but God,” but i don’t know if that’s it. i just want to do something, be a part of a community… be surrounded by people i can care for and people who care about me.

today the hole became unbearable and i relapsed. i’m proud for making it this long but strangely i’m also proud that i did it. ugh, this sucks. i don’t wish to name the behavior but i’m totally unsure about how i’m feeling right now. 

i’ve been feeling very distant from myself, well, from who i used to be, and it could be a bad thing but it also could be good. it signals growth and change, while it leaves me with feelings of uncertainty and, frankly, insanity. it’s quite terrifying when my surroundings, my feelings, my goals, my body, my thoughts don’t feel like home to me. i don’t really have a home, a place where i can feel comforted. 

i’m growing up, getting older. these feelings of nostalgia and missed opportunities make me feel inferior and not important to the world. i just want to feel like i have a place here. like i’m needed for something, even if that’s just for myself. but right now i don’t even care about me… so why should the world?

i’m tired of this cycle. i don’t really want to do this anymore. it’s so hard knowing the things that help me most are self-destructive and act as proof that my mental illness is taking over. i feel so much safer here.

vertigo season

I’m tired of feeling guilty for feeling. When I’m struggling I feel like I should be happy, as if I’m not allowed to feel anything else. When I’m genuinely happy, I feel like I’m not worthy of joy, as if I’ve actually done something wrong. It’s such a confusing sensation. 

I think a lot of this has to do with comparison. The assumption of how other people might feel in any given situation or even if they have experienced the same thing, everyone still has a right to react differently. I’m allowed to be sad, I’m allowed to be happy, and I’m allowed to be both at the same time.

Tonight I’m overwhelmed by these feelings. I feel like there are things I should be doing. I don’t spend time with friends enough, I don’t do art enough, I don’t workout enough, etc. There are so many things I “want” to do, but deep down that’s probably because I think that’s what I’m expected to do. I don’t know. I’m just really tired of mental illness controlling my life. Literally everything. From the moment I wake up I have anxiety. Eating, breathing, walking, peeing. I worry constantly. Ugh. I just wish I could do what I want to do and enjoy life. I think this is why I get so suicidal when I think about the future. It makes sense that I want to hurt myself… if I can’t get my brain to simply live this “normal” life, no wonder I feel inferior. I can’t do anything I want to do without worrying or obsessing. 

Some days I can’t even see a future, but if there is one for me, I hope I’m able to work through this.

last night i dreamt of meth

today i am feeling tired. but that’s okay. it’s not the worst thing in the world to be a little sleepy. the past few days have been lovely. somehow i feel full– of love, of stability, of contentment, yet i also feel empty. some things are changing a little unexpectedly (all at once of course) and that’s exciting and scary for me. this feeling is telling me that I need to slow down a little bit. take more time for solo acts of self-care and for small challenges/exposures so i can avoid negative coping methods and take care of myself.

lately i’ve wanted to really get to know new people, beyond just their major, year, and favorite food. i want to know what never ceases to make them smile, what they treasure, what they’d want if granted the opportunity for just one wish. i’m craving peace, and i think for a long time i’ve thought that it comes solely from within, but i don’t think that is true. isolation is not a peaceful existence. i’m craving connection, and i’m going to work toward that.

you don’t have to wear a bikini, but you can

(content warning: disordered eating)

I wish I felt more comfortable in my own skin. Its little dots, freckles, cellulite, stretch marks. Its tendency to run hot but feel cold. Its droopy boobs and peach fuzz covered chest. Its mysterious tendency to be both oily and dry. Its slightly curly, partially shaved pubic hair and its birthmarks. Its discoloration, its fat, its beauty.

The beginning of summer/hot weather is hard for me. I’ve always said that ‘fall fashion is the best kind’ because of the deep maroons and purples, the big, cozy sweaters that feel like you’re being hugged in just the right places, and the orange/yellow/red leaves that are the closest natural wonder to the beauty of fire– just without the burn. Because autumn falls between the short-shorts of late July that tell all, and the bulky January winter coats that leave all to the imagination. But to be honest, I also say that fall’s best because I can cover up, be more hidden, and I’m convinced it’s a safer existence.

I’ve always loved the way bikinis look, but I could NEVER wear one. I’ve never even tried one on. In middle and high school, I’d always avoid beach/lake and pool trips with friends, but I’d always see the social media posts though. Always. Friends with their flat stomachs, toned legs, and matching two pieces. Drinks in hand, arms around friends, smiles on faces. For a long time I thought that if I had enough self control, if I just stopped eating everything my eyes came in contact with, I could get my life together, get fit, and be happy. I could finally wear a bikini, I thought! It seems like pretty flawed thinking to believe that food could fix all of my problems. Well, during this “journey to health”, I got caught up in the numbers. The journal that contained intricate records of all of my “self control” became a trophy. A red, glittery trophy. My daily caloric intake got lower and lower and that number made me believe I was finally a normal girl, that I didn’t just eat away my feelings. And this is when I found the online “thinspo” world. I thought this was all okay, healthy even. I thought it was a neat party trick to know serving sizes and how many calories were in things and I became known for this by my friends. Little did I know that both emotional eating and restriction have a foundational belief that food can fix problems. Eating “too much” or “too little” in an effort to deal with emotions, simply rids me of them for that moment, but they always come back. Eating more or less than my body needs only makes me sick, not happy. Never truly happy.

I’d like to revisit this image of my friends at the beach. My disordered mind (also infected with the societial notion that thin equals beautiful and happy) concluded that these people were happy because of their weight. But perhaps they were happy because they were… at the beach… with friends… having fun!!! I need to remember that not everything is what it seems and that I shouldn’t let these distorted thoughts ruin my chances of enjoying life. 

May I (and you) always remember that jealousy and self-hatred get you nowhere. We should try our best to use that energy for love.

less than home

it’s hard to see pictures of bedrooms and curtains and bed sheets. it’s hard to see kitchen tables and chairs and kitchens. it’s hard to see two-car garages and cars. it’s hard to not have a home.

since january 12, 2015, my college has been my only home. when i can’t be there, i couch surf, move around, always unearthing myself from any sort of temporary comfort i’ve felt in the moments of fleeting stillness.

it’s hard to watch the people i love leave my temporary home, knowing that they may never return. and packing is a really hard concept for me, although it has definitely become easier because i’m always moving around. packing is the first stage of unearthing.

the next five days are going to be really hard because i have to watch people leave and i have to stay. i wish i had a home to return to. somewhere steady, safe… somewhere i feel grounded and nourished.

the unearthing process begins…

unexpected

the clock ticks along with the beats of my heart,

my mind shifts between glimpses of the past, the now, and the future i’ve created in my mind.

this year is coming to an end.

forever the laughs, the photos, the tears, will be behind us. as will the hopeful ideas of what i thought this year would bring me.

so far it has only brought the unexpected.

safety in the expected is but a false sense of control. the clock is now broken.

The Man with a World of Emotions

There she was. A little girl no older than age eight, with a pink bow and eyes so blue you could see the oceans in them. She wore a pink dress and silver shoes, and she looked at the world with a sense of natural wonder.

She stared at the tall man in front of her. He was dressed in all black. He had glistening pale skin with reddish marks all over, greenish-brown eyes, and a smile that showed his crooked, yellow teeth. The little girl was simply curious, you see, so she began to ask him questions as they entered her mind.

“Where did you come from, mister?” she said with a confident, kind tone.

The man smiled and said, “Well, little girl. I’m from a town far from here. A town where little girls like you don’t talk to men like me.”

Her eyes lowered to his dirty loafers, then to her own sparkly shoes. “I-I-I was just wondering, mister.”

The edges of his smile were seemingly plastered to the corners of his widened eyes. “You were just wondering were you? Well, what exactly were you wondering?”

“Well um… why you thought you had to come here.”

“Why I thought I had to come here? Darling, if you wanted a ticket into my mind, all you had to do was ask.”

The two of them began walking slowly, as the man began to tell her a story.

“Let me tell you. I’m not totally sure why I am here. I was traveling to get away from some pretty bad things and some pretty bad people. I can’t tell you too much though.”

His breaths quickened and he began to blink more rapidly.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do here… I do not know anyone. But I had to leave the life I knew because things got out of hand and I didn’t know what to do. You know, now that I think about it, I don’t think it was all my fault, even though my family blames me. They don’t know what it’s like to live like I do.” The man sighed, then continued, “Oh, but I shouldn’t tell you too much though.”

The little girl watched, seeming to only understand┬ásome of the man’s story.

“They have no idea! No idea! None. I do all of this work for them, I put myself into situations where I was at risk of losing everything. Everything!”

The two of them had stopped walking but the man was pacing back and forth and the little girl was simply watching, waiting for him to be done. She saw lines of sweat drip off the vein protruding from his forehead. She only seemed a little scared that he was getting upset.

“They have no idea! My mind is different from them; I am different from them. Let me tell you!”

Their surroundings changed abruptly and suddenly they were in a whole different world. The sky was blood red and the ground and all the buildings were black. There were no other people in sight. The girl did nothing but stare.

He exclaimed, “welcome to the land of the lost! Welcome, welcome, please step off the train and follow the corridors to my worst nightmare. This is my mind.”

The world was overcome with reds and blues and blacks. There were rivers that ran through the entirety of it, like veins in a body. Although once blue, they were now red. The man and the girl ran through this world quickly, quickly, spinning and yelling and remembering and feeling. The girl simply followed.

“Now do you see why I had to leave?” he shouted, “I’m too much for them out there.”

They continued on. On the elevator they passed a floor with walls of TVs, each holding memories of his past. Floor six showed a number of drunk adults relying on a six year old to help them. Floor eight showed the police knocking on the door to make sure his cousin wouldn’t hurt his aunt. Floor ten showed a dark room where he was ignored day in and day out for a long time. Floor eleven showed his aunt being addicted to pills and them almost getting in a car crash because she was driving while high. Floor fourteen showed his mother telling him that she was raped. Floor fifteen showed his mother telling him that his father wanted to pay for her to get him aborted. Floor sixteen showed him carving his pain on his arms. Floor eighteen showed him homeless, hungry, and hopeless.

He gasped and tried to appear without emotion, “See all this? They have no idea. They have no idea why I do what I do. And sometimes neither do I.”

The girl looked like she was about to speak, but suddenly she began to fade away. First her body, then her dress and her shoes, then her bow. For a moment, all that remained were her eyes that resembled ice and seemed to echo eternity.

There she went. And he realized he had imagined her from the very beginning.