I’m Full!

Oh my what a week it has been. My parents were visiting for a few days and just left today and I am exhausted. I really am an ambivert. I like some time with others, but gosh I really need that alone time too. Too much of one makes me go all wonky. It’s a balance really.

I think one of my favorite things about having visitors in the city is having them see what life is really like. I pretty much forbid tourist attractions. If you want to see the statue of liberty, mom and dad, go see it on your own. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Harsh words, I know, but like you’ve seen it once that’s good enough. They did, btw. They went to the statue of liberty while I was at work, bless their hearts.

“You really walk this much? Does the noise ever bother you? How do people drive in this city? (*hint, we don’t.) Do you ever miss Alaska and the quietness? (*Hint, I do.) Are people nice? Do you go to Manhattan? Is that weed I smell? Is that lady always on your stoop?” -All excellent questions from out-of-towners I’ve had.

The thing is, just like I am an ambivert, I am also a middle-of-the-road dweller. I need some of both when it comes to my living place. Alaska, was just a bit too quiet for me. Thoughts of bears eating my face off would take over and well, in the quiet it’s hard to turn those thoughts off. Living in Manahattan was like being sucker punched every morning when you walked out the door. Sometimes I would dream of a volume button I could put on the 1st ave to quiet all the busy workers down. Brooklyn, to me, is just right. *Dying my hair blonde and becoming Goldilocks now- except that whole fear of bears may deter this drastic change* My street is quiet and my apartment is even quieter- and cozy, if I do say so myself. It’s got beautiful town homes that line the street, and, as my mom kept insisting to joke about the entire trip, “a tree really does grow in Brooklyn.” (Good one, mom.) People, and by people I mean the dudes I talk to while online dating, ask me if I plan to stay in New York forever. I don’t plan on anything forever [learned that one a long time ago, okur], but I will be here indefinitely.

All this talk of Brooklyn makes me wonder where I will be in 5/10 years. In my last blog post I talked about all the things I was so sure of and how those things changed. This time two years ago, I was getting ready to move to Alaska. I thought Alaska just might be my forever home. I wonder what state I will be in, both physically and mentally, in another two years. I try not to wonder too much because then my imagination takes over and before I know it, I am living on a yacht with my sugar daddy in the Caribbean, where he has his off shore accounts. See, told ya this brain of mine can really get creative.

While it is super fun to have these imaginative moments, I also know it is wasted energy because I have no freakin’ clue where my life is going or how it will end up. Which interestingly enough is how I also write my blog posts, who knows how this baby is going to end! It is interesting though because in the past it was hard for me to ever think of the future. When I would think of the future I was most certainly alone and most certainly depressed. There was no fun creativity. I was Debbie Downer all the way *wah wah*. I think I am still just processing this whole ‘I can live a life without suicidal ideation’ thing. It has opened up my brain space in so many ways, I almost don’t know what to do with it all.

Actually, my brain space has opened up in a lot of different ways recently. Most notable, is that I stopped talking about weightloss, dreaming about weightloss, and really any sort of diet talk at all. When I hear things like “Ugh, I shouldn’t have eaten that” or “I’ll definitely need to earn my next meal” I just shut off my brain and zone out. And the coolest thing has happened since I have made this transition. For the first time in my life, *drum roll please* I felt full. Louder for those in the back- I FELT FULL. Let me tell you, two of the weirdest feelings in the world have occurred to me in the last month. I stopped hoping to die and I stopped feeling the need to binge eat. Last week I wrote a poem about what it feels like to not have suicidal ideations. I wish I could also write a poem about feeling full but it is honestly indescribable. Trust me, I have tried to explain this to people that don’t have an eating disorder and it just doesn’t work. Unless you know the feeling, I don’t know any other way to tell you.

The first time I felt it, I was confused AF. I remember just like closing my eyes and thinking aliens have invaded my body. What was happening in my body.. This weird sensation. I was fully present while I was eating and I was listening to my body. It told me it was full and I just listened. Ever since that day, when I feel full I can’t help but smile. Like hey, look at me listening to my body signals and being aware and shit. This is not to say that I don’t ever overeat anymore. Sometimes the chocolate is just too good to put down, but when that happens I no longer feel guilt or shame.

In fact, I am over feeling guilt or shame for anything I choose to do to my body. I am over people convincing me that I should feel guilt or shame. Part of the reason I developed an eating disorder was due to guilt and shame about what I looked like. Want to know why I wanted to die? Guilt and shame about who I am as a person. And, heck, I am living in a privileged body. I’ve actually moved away from writing about the body positive movement for this reason. I do not want to diminish any body that has felt discrimination, that has experienced this message of guilt and shame particularly due to intersectionality, and I do not wish to center my voice in this movement. I mostly just want to say that it is a wild ride to decide to not care how people see you. I would actually like to give credit to those that are centered in this movement because they are part of my healing journey, that led to me being able to be a diet culture drop out. Some notable people you should be following on IG is @lizzobeeating, @bopolena, @sassy_latte, @libbyshappyproject, @theeverymanproject,  and @recoverybrainfood. I could keep going but I will limit myself. Part of my journey to this space of fullness was unfollowing all the accounts that made me feel bad about who I was and follow accounts that are about standing in their truth and feeling good about it. How could I feel full when the people I was following before made me feel so empty? It was one of the best small changes I made for myself. And of course shout out to my therapist, who is the real MVP. In these changes and commitments to myself and my wellbeing, I was able to drop the guilt and shame and realize it was the only weight I actually needed to lose.

Before I moved to Brooklyn, I was at a low point in my life. Now, here in my safe space, I am growing into something I never thought would be possible. I’ve told many clients that I’ve worked with before that just because you move somewhere new, does not mean that it will change the things you are struggling with. And while this is true, it is important to note that it can be positive to get a new perspective; to try new places until you find the place that feels ‘just right’. This can mean changing places physically, mentally, or even virtually. Finding a place that lets me feel full and alive and in love with myself is the place I want to be.

I want to really encourage you to stop following the accounts that make you feel bad. Even just try it for a day, you can always go back to them- they aren’t going anywhere. It changed a lot for me and it just might have the same impact for you.

A[wo]men

click. scroll. like. like. scroll.

it’s not fair, they’re better-

IG tragedy.

-How to feel empty

So, that’s how this one decided to end. Fascinating.

Old Patterns Need New Perspectives

*In the tune of the narrator from Jane the Virgin Welcome back friends!*

It has been a wild last couple of weeks. I apologize for not posting last week, but I was stranded in Myrtle Beach, with no computer, and lots of tears. Such a mess.

But I am back baby and ready to write some more.

This week was pretty exhausting. Traveling can really take it out of you and then work was also pretty hectic. So, it feels good to just be in my apartment, with my PJ’s still on, the taste of an everything bagel lingering, and the creative juices flowing. This is my happy place.

I’ve also learned this week that my happy place is definitely not in front of the camera.

On Sunday I got to be part of a really cool project called The Conversationalist which is currently in its infancy, but I imagine it going very far. The project is a content platform for people to have conversations where voices can be heard. In my interview with Sophie Beren, the amazing human who founded The Conversationalist, we discussed social media, body image, and mental health. It was fascinating because these are all pieces of myself that I write about weekly, but for some reason talking about them in front of a camera added a whole new level of fear.

I walked in and could immediately hear my heart begin to race, felt my mouth get dry, and my voice sound a little shaky. This was not something I was expecting. I thought ‘how hard could it be? I talk about this stuff every week. Easy peasy.’ As it so happens, being out from behind the computer is very different. Sure, 90% of my audience knows who I am, but my words are edited and rewrote and erased and thought through. I can write about my body image while I sit in a sports bra at home. I don’t actually have to visually see my face while I write about my face. It was almost like an out of body experience. I could hear myself answering the questions, but did I answer them the way I wanted to? Was it really how I felt? Was there more that I could have said? The answer to these questions don’t really matter though. The important thing is that I did it.

I have really been pushing myself lately to try new things. To get outside my comfort zone and challenge myself in ways I never have before. This was absolutely no exception.

Following that experience, I did the therapeutic thing I would recommend to any client I am working with- I journaled about it. My journaling process is messy and helpful. I write all the things that comes to my head for about 30 minutes. No interruptions. No distractions. Just free-for-all writing. I don’t journal as often as I would like, but when I do it feels so freeing. No judgement. No guide on what things should look like. And when I am done journaling I page through all my past journals to look for patterns, new feelings, similar feelings, etc.

As I skimmed my journal this week, I noticed a theme that I was surprised I hadn’t noticed before. It starts with a desire to figure out how I am feeling- “Hi. I don’t know how I am feeling right now. I really need to figure it out. I feel like crying, but I don’t know why.” Very common reason for my journaling to start. Following that there tends to be a message about how I am feeling about myself- “I don’t like my body right now. I feel fat. I feel stupid.” Which then leads to a discussion about my desire to find love- “I miss my ex. I wish I had a boyfriend. I hate being alone. Will anyone ever love me?” Of course that leads to my existential crisis about this- “I don’t need a man. What am I talking about? I am great. I am a goddess sent from above. I WOKE UP LIKE THIS.” With a conclusion about how I am going to move forward- “I need to keep going. I need to work out. I need to eat better. I need to take care of myself and the rest will follow. You’ve got this girl. Now go on, stop writing, and make a move.”

Sundays journaling exercise was no different. I felt sad about feeling sad about my body as I sat in front of that camera and talked about body-positivity and self-love. I felt like a hypocrite and confused. I felt like I left out parts of myself because I was in such a panic and desire to come off as cool, calm and collected. I wished I had someone to be there with me. I wanted to call my ex and tell him. I challenged those thoughts. I told myself I was great and even if I don’t remember exactly what I said I am sure it sounded just fine. I wrote about how doing something new is always going to create new feelings, scary feelings, and I am going to want to resort to old ways. “Stop that” I wrote.

All in all, it was a very cool experience and I am glad I was part of the conversation. I feel grateful that I pushed myself out of that comfort zone and I tried something new. As I looked through my journals though I realized I also have to try something new when it comes to writing. I need to break these patterns of thoughts that have been inherent in my writing for so long. Can I write a post without talking about boys or my body? Can I discuss my emotions that aren’t centered around fear? Can I expand my writing to be more? Of course I can, I can break any cycle that I want. I am in control, after all.

So, in order to help me break my cycle I have decided to add a new layer to my blog. I am still going to write and discuss my own life experiences, but I would also like to incorporate other people’s life experiences. Once a month I would like to feature someone else’s narrative. I will interview the person and find out what story they want me to tell. New perspectives, I believe, is the best way to break any cycle. Sitting in front of that camera, being front and center, was a new perspective for me. Giving people the opportunity to sit front and center in this blog can be new perspective for me and others that I believe will lead to even more connection. I want this to be a place where new ideas and experiences are shared. This is an concept I have been toying with for awhile and I am very excited to see where it takes me and what stories I get to be a part of along the way.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in sharing their story with me, please follow the contact link here or hit the contact button at the top of this page.

A[wo]men

*For more information on The Conversationalist follow the link*