Moving On

Hi, friends! It has been awhile and I am so excited to be back. Gosh, even just typing nonsense feels good. I missed my time and my space that I created for myself here on the internet. I forgot how therapeutic writing for me really is and my goodness do I need all the therapeutic activities I can get. So let’s just dive right in, shall we?

There has been so much going on in my life I barely know where to begin. I believe my last post was approximately 6 months ago, give or take a few. Even in those last few posts I wasn’t in the best head space to say how I was truly feeling or what I was going through. I think I have made it through the fog and I am ready to let it out. “Hold onto your butts” as the great Samuel L. Jackson once stated in the greatest film of all time (let’s fight about it).

I will start with the biggest news of all, I MOVED BACK TO NEW YORK CITY! Basically it all started with a text from my previous intern supervisor informing me that there was a job opening and I was encouraged to apply. As soon as I saw the text, I knew in my heart of hearts that NYC was where I was meant to be. Of course, even when my stomach knows the truth, my brain has a tendency to disregard all natural instincts.

I explored options with friends, family, therapists, trees, stray dogs, the wind, etc. I went back and forth, back and forth, unsure if I should stay or go. Although, everyone around me seemed to know my answer before I did… There were just so many things I loved about Alaska. I have people that I call family there. I loved my kiddos I worked with, they were the reason I woke up in the morning. I never stopped being in awe of the beauty. Alaska was the place I thought I would be for a very long time. However, there were also dark parts of me in Alaska; a side of me I hadn’t seen in a long time. I would isolate myself, avoiding any human contact for as long as I could. I thought about not living anymore, more often than I would like to admit. It got scary. So, as much as the pros of the island were really great, the dark pieces of me were longing to feel light again. After a lot of consideration (and getting hired, which the whole plan was contingent on) I decided to make the move. I spent my last few weeks in Alaska with the people I love, exploring the island. It was the most beautiful 4 weeks of my entire time there. I then loaded up my car, got back on the three day ferry that got me there in the first place, drove to Wisconsin, then flew to NYC all in a total of 5 days. Talk about a wild ride… There has not been a day since I left where I don’t think about the island. There will always be a part of my heart there, just like there was always a part of my heart left in NYC.

Coming back to the city felt like coming home. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I could feel a weight lift off of me. When I was in Alaska and working through my depression, I didn’t realize how far down the hole I had gotten until I was out of the hole and breathing again. It is difficult to recognize something is wrong, after it had been wrong for so long, because that starts to feel like your new normal. I have said this before, but it bares repeating: My depression is my friend. She is a comfort in a lot of ways and often I don’t notice when she has over stayed her welcome, but when she leaves there is an immediate ability to reflect on all the harm she does.

I think I appreciated her presence even more in Alaska because I was going through heartbreak. (I like how I said that in past tense, like I am not still going through heartbreak. Cute.) I felt rejected and hurt and my depression validated my feelings. I would say I was worthless and she would say “yeah, you’re right. Let’s just stay in bed.” At that time, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Ending my relationship made me feel extremely out of control, but giving into my depression made me feel safe. I am sure many of you are wondering about my breakup and want more details, but it just isn’t going to happen. The wounds are still there and I think they will be there for awhile. Love hurts, ya know? *Cue Nazareth (1976)*

While I am not talking about the breakup specifics, I do want to talk about what I have been going through emotionally, in hopes that maybe I find some more healing. Mostly, at this stage, I have felt frustrated. The idea of going through that whole process again to potentially go through more heartbreak is v. upsetting. There has to be an easier way, right? I mean, I guess it’s called being alone, but that doesn’t sound fun either. On top of feeling frustrated, I am also feeling alarmingly scared. I have lost a lot of trust. So much so that I start to panic around strangers, assuming that they want to hurt me in some way. I have been on edge, particularly around male-identifying humans. I know it’s not fair that a few bad experiences have made me generalize, but trust me I am working through it. We’ll get to how in just a moment. I have also felt very confused. I constantly miss this person, yet know I shouldn’t be with this person, but also can’t stop comparing everyone to this person, and all my feelings get jumbled up into a big ball of mess. One big, confused, fucked up, ball of mess. Pretty much the epitome of human existence, I think.

The good thing about all these feelings I have been experiencing is that I am officially out of it, so I can start to work through some of these things. Living in Alaska, seeing them every day… it was really hard and what was harder was letting go. Right now, that is all I am really focusing on. Letting go of the past in hopes that I am making all the best choices for my future. Which is why I am back to blogging and back to focusing on myself and my needs. ALSO, I deleted social media off of my phone and only visit the pages for blogging purposes. It has made a world of difference. My own self-esteem has increased by at least 40%, and honestly, I think that is a gross underestimate. I realized the constant comparing I was doing and the damage it was causing. I would search his page daily, wondering if he was thinking about me. I would find myself googling plastic surgery, calculating how much I would have to save to start looking like the models I follow. It was hazardous. Healing from this way of thinking is the most rewarding part of my journey thus far.

Another part of my healing plan, and desire to get back to trusting others, has included dating again. *EEK*  This is that part of the story that we weren’t ready for earlier. That’s right, friends… A billion dates with men is on the agenda. Okay, maybe not a billion, but really I am trying to create my own form of exposure therapy. I figure that the more dates I go on, the more comfortable I will start to feel around the male-identifying population and perhaps may even find feelings for one them. *not holding breath* It is refreshing to go in with this mentality, solely because I feel very much in control of each situation. I don’t spend time wondering if I am putting on a good show. I actually haven’t worn makeup or dressed up for a single date yet. I am genuinely just there to hear their story and find connection with the human sitting in front of me. I don’t know if this technique is for everyone, but it certainly seems to be working for me. So far, they have all been pretty decent dates too, so that is helping the journey go smoother. *Informercial voice over* Some of the side effects to this form of treatment include: spending a lot of money on dates, being out too late on work nights, spending 5 minutes prior to a date exploring what to do if the person tries to murder you, and of course *relationships not guaranteed*. Other than those few hiccups, it is fun.

I am also dating myself again which is always my favorite thing to do and actually blossomed out of my first blog. RIP Tumblr blog. Last weekend I took myself to the movies. I’ve taken myself out to dinner a few times. I love taking myself out for coffee. I am an excellent coffee drinker/people watcher date FYI. I gave myself time to write. I heart self-love and I am glad I am giving me the attention I deserve.

And with that, I would like to end on a poem I wrote, as I try to further develop my poetic skills and continue to show myself love and compassion in new adventures:

 


The way the wind rustles the leaves

That is the way I fall in love.

Light and mesmerizing,

without a path to follow.

 

The way the fire burns with rage

That is the way I fall out of love.

Powerful and dangerous,

without water to make it stop.

 

The way the water ebbs and flows

That is the way I heal my soul.

In and out, in and out, in and out

without an end in sight.

 

The way the earth exists for us

That is the way I exist for others.

 

 

My Brain Calls the Shots

Hello friends, fam, and trolls! Oh girl, has it been a minute. Life has been somewhat chaotic as of late, so I figured that means it is definitely time for a blog post. You may be wondering what could possibly be so chaotic that I couldn’t write a blog post for a whole month. Great thought. Y’all are so smart.

Well, for starters work has been interesting. As someone who is brand new to the field, my professors were not lying when they said burnout is real. TOO REAL. Most nights I go to bed and I have nightmares about my clients. I am constantly thinking about how they are doing and if I am helping and if I chose the right career and if my left boob is bigger than my right. The rabbit hole goes deep. On top of my big life questions, I sit here thinking about how I am not taking care of myself and how I need to do better at eating healthy and exercising and look thinner and prettier and figure out how to make my right boob bigger. It feels like these loops have been constant as of late.

It’s funny because I spent my whole young adult life thinking, “as long as I find someone to love me, I will be okay. All the bad thoughts about myself will magically disappear.” My worth is only measured by love of a man. What a crock of shit… that I fell for. I won’t lie. Even when I would talk about self love, in the back of my mind that message repeated: get a boyfriend; get happiness. Or as my disordered eating would put it: get skinny; get happiness. Obviously, ridiculous and not true. I know this. I am in a happy relationship with someone who truly loves me and I still spend nights reminding myself of all the worst parts about me. I forget that my self worth comes from me. My thoughts are controlled by me. He doesn’t make my thoughts for me. A thin body also doesn’t make my thoughts. No matter my relationship or size, my brain calls the shots.  So, I had to sit down with myself the other night and have a good talking to. It went a little something like this…

“Hey Sarah, you have to snap out of it. You know that there is no such thing as perfect. I know you know this, so why do you keep expecting yourself to be something that is nonexistent? It makes zero sense. You are doing the best with what you have got and that is all anyone can ask for you. You can be sad, angry, frustrated, upset, or what have you, but don’t you dare be mean to yourself.”

The thing is we find it so easy though, don’t we? I can tell myself I hate me 100 times over and not even blink an eye. I would never tell someone I hated them. I will sit in the mirror, literally pick at my flaws (excoriation disorder), and call myself ugly. You want to know all the times I have called another person ugly, like zero. (I say like zero, because I have 4 sisters and we were pretty mean to each other growing up).  Definitely zero after the age of 18 though. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve called myself ugly, even starting at the age of 18. It’s likely in the trillions.

All my life I have been told I am too hard on myself and I tend to agree. I politely nod my head, turn around, and tell myself I have to be hard on myself in order to reach the ideal me. Pure fuckery (technical term). I don’t want to be the girl that spends all her kindness on others and forgets about herself. That’s how I burnout. I can only beat myself down for so long, until I know longer get back up.

On top of all my own internal struggles, I continue to have friends and family battling sickness, Trump (no need for further explanation), and homesickness. Life is scary and overwhelming sometimes. These tend to be the moments I am meanest to myself because of the wretched thought that maybe these things are happening because I wasn’t a good person and the female above wants me to suffer. How selfish does that sound? I think that other people are sick because I somehow need to be punished… for what? That time I forged my mom’s signature in kindergarten?

If you are reading this today and you think you are going through something hard because you deserve it I need you to take 5 deep breaths for me.

1…..2…..3…..4…..5

Good. Now, repeat after me “bad things happen all the time. I am not being punished. I do not control the universe, nor do I want to. Right now is hard and that is okay.” Try to show yourself the same compassion that you show others. I know that it is easier said than done. My yeezy, do I know that. I am not trying to perfect it because that is what got me into this problem in the first place. Even if I can battle off one negative thought about myself today, that will be an improvement. I don’t want to reach the point where I can’t get back up.

Honestly, I need to be working on a presentation for work about self-care right now and I couldn’t start it today without writing this post first. I had to remind myself of what it feels like to show myself kindness. I hope to get back to writing more weekly. I love you all, even the trolls.

Brain Exercises

Here’s the deal, if I would’ve decided that my blog days were for Mondays, you might be getting a very different post. Last Monday, I felt jaded and cynical and basically wanted to go live under a rock. It is always interesting to me how quickly our thoughts can change. How, just one sunny day can make a difference. Lucky for all of you, today’s post is the culmination of good ass television (that’s the technical term if you didn’t now), sunshine, MY FIRST WHALE SIGHTING, and youth. There are other things I could sprinkle in there, but those are the main mood changers. Of course, for the purpose of this blog, I am mainly going to focus on that good ass television. As y’all know, I can’t discuss the good without the bad. (This could be the most dramatic blog yet.)

There is a lot of bad television I could write about on here. I am basically the queen of bad TV. I watch these TV shows knowing full well how toxic they can be. Case in point, The Bachelor. The Bachelor is drama gold. All you really need for drama is to put a bunch of strangers in a room and boom there will be drama. BUT THEN you have them all start dating the same person. Pure. Gold. Many of you may or may not know that The Bachelor received some heavy backlash at one point because it is super white. Like whiter than an Irish person in the middle of winter (I’m Irish, so it’s okay. PS Happy St. Patty’s Day). Then they got Rachel Lindsay as the bachelorette and she was a queen and, coincidentally (not really), the first black bachelorette… on the 13th season. It took bachelor nation quite some time to own up to their lack of diversity, but once the conversation started they couldn’t put it away. We were then graced with Rachel. Even though, I disagreed with her decision, she made a great bachelorette. #teampeter4life. Now, there is a new conversation I would like to start with bachelor nation.

It may surprise you when I say I want to go on the The Bachelor. I can’t think of anything more exciting than trying to find love in front of the nation. Plus, like bomb-ass dates that you can’t really get anywhere else. I also figured if I can’t find love the good ole’ fashion tinder way, I could try my hand at that. Of course, the thing that plays over and over in my head is that I don’t think there has ever been a bachelorette on the show that is over a size 4. I am sure you can see where this is going. “If I lose weight, I can find love!” Apparently, all really is fair in love and war. I guess it’s fair that I didn’t feel worthy because of my size and wanted to change everything about me. I guess it is fair that only thin girls should get a chance on the bachelor. What guy would pick the bigger girl anyhow? WHAT A CROCK! **Catch that Three Men and a Little Lady reference**

I had these thoughts all last weekend, dancing around in my head. Wondering what the scale would say on my next weigh-in day. Did I lose 100 pounds this weekend? I sure hoped so. “I wish I wasn’t fat.” STOP. “I wish I felt worthy.” STOP. “I wonder what I will look like with less fat.” STOP. “What if I lose the weight and I still feel unworthy?”

STOP.

Then it happens. Tuesday. I wake up with the same thoughts, but end the day with a completely different head. “Why?” you might ask. That’s right, more television. I have cable now, okay? This show, unlike the bachelor, reminded me that I am more than that damn number. In fact, I am a human being. SURPRISE! Not a robot. So, if you aren’t watching This Is Us, I urge you to catch up. They just ended the second season, so you have plenty of time until season 3. You’re welcome. *Minimal spoiler alerts ahead* This last episode was about Kate (played by the ever-so-lovely Chrissy Metz) and her wedding day. Honestly crying just thinking about it. That’s how you know it is some damn good writing. For those of you that don’t know, Kate is plus-size. Here I am ruminating about how I need to lose weight to find love and then I see this beautiful women in this beautiful wedding dress and I started to cry. Representation matters. I know it’s a fictional show and Kate is an actress and she wasn’t really getting married, but it made me hit the breaks. It stopped my toxic bachelor thoughts dead in their tracks. It turned my “I need to lose weight to be on the Bachelor” to “LET FAT WOMEN GET A CHANCE AT LOVE.” Maybe we could start it trending? They had #bachlorsowhite last time, so I’m thinking #bachelorsothin? Open to others though.

On the most recent season of the bachelor, Seinne Fleming, a black woman, shared that as a kid she didn’t see women like her find love and that impacted the way she saw herself. It made me think about the plus-size women I have seen find love on TV. I could only think of one, Sookie St. James, played by Melissa McCarthy, on Gilmore Girls. She wasn’t the leading role, so I tried to think really hard of a main character. Fat women, when I was a kid, weren’t the leading roles. I am happy that we are seeing a change in this category, but it is still nowhere near where it could be. The lead roles need a diversity makeover, IMHO. However, as I was watching Kate get married I thought to myself, some young girl is watching this and is being told that she can find love. That her size does not determine what she deserves in life. What we ingest, not just through food, but through everything we see and/or feel,  shapes how we see ourselves. Our reality is subjective. We are influenced every day, in a million different, little ways. Honestly, I am glad I had those negative thoughts because it is so easy to fall into those patterns of hate and self-loathing. What is not easy is turning on those thoughts. The more I have those thoughts and the more I can interrupt those thoughts, the stronger my brain becomes.

I often remind my clients that we are apt to think of the negative before the positive because back when we were cave women and cave men it saved us. Every day we were on the lookout for danger. Now, these thoughts are the danger. It takes a lot of effort to say STOP to those negative thoughts. It takes even more effort to challenge them. Just like running a marathon, the training is slow and steady. Each time you challenge them your brain muscle does a little “the beach is that way” flex. When TV and books and friends challenge us, it only makes it easier for us to do the same. (Oh, and please note that when I say challenge it is the literal opposite of trolling.)

I also get the pleasure of working with youth, so I can encourage these brain exercises at a younger age. I feel lucky to do that. I also feel lucky because in a time and place where the news creates these negative thoughts, (i.e. will there be a nuclear war?) I get to go into work. I am reminded that the future is sitting in front of me and they make me feel so safe. No matter the terrible political climate we have now, I am so hopeful for a better future.

I encourage all of you to go find those things that challenge your negative thoughts. Find evidence to the contrary. And if you’re anything like me, the best way to suck the venom out is to breath first, think later.

 

Stories are Awareness

I would like to start this post with a follow-up from last week, as promised. I went to yoga AND I went snowshoeing with a friend. Unfortunately, I did not meet someone new in the community and talk to them about anything other than the weather. I’m sorry, y’all, but it was sunny ALL weekend on Prince of Wales and that is rare and therefore that is what you talk about. I’ll keep working on that one. This weather may also be why I have a pep in my step, or it could be from all the oxygen I consumed on my hike yesterday. Jury is still out. No matter where it came from I am welcoming it with open arms.

**Trigger warning: Discussion of bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating**

As I welcome the renewed sense of self, there is something I think I need to talk about today. Something that I promised I wouldn’t talk about, but seeing as it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I only find it appropriate. I think part of the reason I didn’t want to write about binge eating was because I felt like I was relapsing, the other part was as I said; I am obsessive even when I am eating right and the more I blog about it the more it becomes my world. That’s why I am allowing myself to write about it today; stories are awareness. As Jordan Peele best stated “I think it builds empathy… story is the most powerful weapon for change… I think of story as a weapon against violence, against the bigotry, against hatred, against the policies.” Now, here is my story:

The first time I can remember really feeling fat was in the fifth grade. I was 10 years old and I took a picture with my best friend. I remember looking at the picture and thinking about how terrible I looked. It was one of those Polaroid pictures that printed out right away… I wanted to tear it up and never see it again. Unfortunately, the picture got to hang in the hallway of our school, so every day I would walk past it and think about how ugly I was. I saw my friend who was thin and blonde and perfect, standing next to an ogre. Reminder, I was 10. 10 years old. I just have to keep repeating it because sometimes I can barely believe it. I shouldn’t have been holding beauty standards like this against myself. Honestly, this is my first memory of it, but it doesn’t mean it was the first time I felt fat or ugly.

Then there was cheerleading. I started cheerleading in the 5th grade and I loved it. I loved that I could yell at the top of my lungs and no one thought it was strange. I was as quiet as a mouse and this was my time to shine. When I was out on the track I really did feel like a star. I didn’t think about my size or my hair or what problem I had that day. I just got to yell and look strong as I held other girls up in the air. I got to be a base for someone and that helped contrast the fact that I always felt like I was floating away. However, the day we got outfits assigned to us was also a day I can’t seem to forget. “This one doesn’t fit either… I need the next size up” I said, after trying on my third skirt and holding back my tears. I was mortified. I loved every other part of cheerleading, except for the day we got our outfits assigned. I did cheerleading for seven more years and every year I dreaded that day.

Then middle school happens and everyone’s body is a hot mess and everyone is a bully. Middle school is a war zone for self-esteem. This is my first memory of binge eating. If I was going to wear the XL cheerleading uniform, I might as well own it. Always seconds on lunch. Bags of chips at sleepovers that disappear mysteriously. Telling my friends I didn’t eat dinner, when I ate dinner at home, but their parents would make us a second dinner. I one time made a bet to date a boy for 3 months for free cookies. That was a low. They were really good cookies though.

Onto high school where my eating really gets disordered. I am 15 and still haven’t had a boyfriend and this seems problematic. “Is it because I eat too much? Maybe I shouldn’t eat at all?” Of course that didn’t last long because I loved food and food loved me. I know that in my lifetime I have said “I am so jealous of people that can be anorexic” more than I care to admit. That sentence makes me shudder. Anorexia is deadly and I was jealous of those killing themselves. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health states that anorexia is the most fatal mental health diagnosis. I am so sorry to anyone I have said this to. After I realized that I couldn’t starve myself, I moved onto binging and purging, also known as bulimia. I figured this way I could have my McDonald’s and eat it too and then forget that I had McDonald’s. This went on for quite some time, but not consistently. Luckily, my friends were too observant for me to be able to excuse myself after every meal. It would be more like once or twice a week. This was not effective for weight loss, as I so desperately wanted, but definitely upped my cavity count.

This all leads to my binge eating disorder which became most problematic when I moved out on my own for the first time. Since I was alone more than I had ever been before, I could hoard food and go to multiple restaurants and nobody wondered about it. I could lie and say I was at class and it they believed me.  Forget the Freshman 15, hello Freshman 50. I wasn’t in cheerleading anymore and I had free range of a dining hall and groups that pulled people in with “Free Pizza” signs. College is also known for it’s copious amounts of alcohol and since I was sober until I was 18, this was a world of binging I never knew. Of course all of this was coinciding with depression. Talk about the hot mess express. Binging become my constant, my comfort. I would go a very long time binging and then realize I should be healthier and I would work out for a couple months maybe eat some more fruits and veggies, then I would relapse again. This cycle continued over and over and over again. Once I got to my mid-20’s I realized something had to change. Drastically.

Now for the good part, because even I am like woah.. when does this get better? It got better when I started telling people about my story.  I started going to therapy. I told my friends the struggles I’ve had with food. I started a blog about it. I read articles upon articles about girls and boys who have had the same experiences. Even the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual) recognized binge eating disorder and added it to the most recent update. I now know how and where to reach out for help. When I do feel like I am relapsing I tell people. I yell it from the rooftops “I HAVE A PROBLEM!” Because there is no shame in having a problem. That was the best lesson I ever learned. Problems are natural and when we keep them a secret they will continue to be a problem. Knowing that I can reach out makes my relapses smaller and my comebacks bigger. I am hoping eventually eating will just be something I do when I am hungry instead of having to keep track. For now, I talk about it. I am only strengthened by those who I allow to lift me up. My family, my friends, and my readers lift me up. You all become my base when I feel like I am floating away.

So, as early as age 10 I remember hating my body and this turned into several years of disordered eating. This is not natural. This is a social construct of beauty that we put on people at a very young age. We talk about our negative self-image in front of our daughters and sons and they hear it. We blast weight loss products and chip commercials in the same breath. We write “fat bitch” in the comments. Children begin to internalize that self-hate is the norm… when that should be so far from the truth. The more we talk about the pieces of ourselves we love, the better off the generation after us will be. And honestly, when we start to realize as a society that food is a means to live rather than a money-making business we will all benefit from it. Mind you, I use the term “we” because we are all part of this society whether we want to be or not and it is up to all of us to change it. Oh, and to the media, I see you trying to represent more bodies, and I applaud that, but we can do better. I know we can. Looking at you, The Bachelor.

If you feel like you or someone you know is experiencing disordered eating, please reach out to me, someone you feel comfortable with, or the National Eating Disorder Hotline 800.931.2237 You are not alone.

 

PS I feel like my posts have been a little heavy the past few weeks, so I would like to write something a little more upbeat next week. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

My Longest Relationship

As one of my favorite days approaches, I would like to breach the topic of love with y’all. Now, I hope I haven’t lost half my audience already because sometimes just the notion of love makes people want to vomit. I get it, trust me, I do. Fun fact though, love isn’t only made for people in romantic relationships. I have been single for most of my life and I have found head over heels love in a lot of different ways. I have friendships that make me want to scream from a mountain top. I have the love of my family… and that love is so unconditional I could steal all their clothes and they would still love me. I could literally go on and on about the love I have outside of a romantic relationship, but the one I really want to discuss today is the love I have for myself.

TBH, Valentine’s Day was not always one of my favorite days. In fact, in high school I used to make sure I wore black. I had to mourn the fact that I was, yet again, all alone. No one was buying me flowers. It was that ‘none for Gretchen Wieners’ rage I would feel. “Why don’t boys like me?” I would cry, as Dashboard Confessional sang ballads of heart break into my ear. Did I mention I was an emo kid in high school? Maybe boys did like me in high school. I would never know though, because I was too busy hating myself to ever notice. And of course, I was pining for the boy I would never actually want to love me. The cool kid, on the football team, who was a bully. This became a cycle in my life. Falling for the wrong boys. Wishing that they would love me back, when they were monsters and I should have wanted nothing to do with them.

My early 20’s became a mad hunt for boys. I was running out of time. Not sure where I was getting my time table, but I felt far behind. I would search for the wrong love, mostly because it was the most convenient love. Any boys that would listen. Usually it was boys at the bar and usually they weren’t really listening. They would listen just enough to make me think that maybe it could go somewhere. Surprise! It never went very far. I would literally take a puzzle piece that was the complete wrong shape and try to make it fit. “Well, they hate the type of music I am into and they mock my Poli. Sci. major… but he seems like a good guy.” How low I had the bar back then. ‘He seems like a good guy’ now sounds like the title to a horror movie I should produce.

Then BAM! I turn 25 and something happens. I don’t know if it was my move to NYC, the fact that I was halfway to 30, or knowing that Hillary Clinton was running for president, but something in me changed. For the first time in my life, I looked in the mirror and I thought about how excited I was to see where my life goes. MY life. I wasn’t thinking about my life as it related to finding a boyfriend. I was picturing me as a social worker, me as a representative of the United States, me as a mother, me as someone who has paid off their credit card. Everything before that moment was me getting by until the moment I found a boyfriend. I hated myself. HATED. I thought that if I found someone to tell me I was beautiful, then it would be true. Of course, I had my friends telling me every day that I was beautiful, but it didn’t count because they weren’t men. It didn’t look like the love I saw in movies.

However, the biggest thing that was missing prior to my 25th birthday light bulb was me loving myself. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. The only person that I am truly in a relationship with for the rest of my life is me. I am with me until the day I day. It sounds corny and stupid. I get it. I’ve talked to many people that believe self-love is bullshit. Maybe I am wrong. I did spend 25 years believing my happiness was hidden in some guy, so it’s fair. But coming to the realization that I was not going anywhere really made me want to try to love myself. Sure, some days are harder than others. I won’t sit here and pretend that I never think about finding a partner or that I never call myself ugly. I have those days more than I would care to admit. The difference now is that it’s not all I know.

I know that I want a partner. Someone who fits the puzzle piece without destroying my shape. And I know that for every day I feel ugly, I make myself look in the mirror and say one nice thing about myself. These shifts alone have made a world of difference for me. And of course, the use of self-care. I know self-care sounds like a fad currently, but to me self-care is telling yourself you love you in even the smallest ways possible. Therefore, Valentine’s Day has become one of my favorite days. I am essentially dating myself. Since the age of 25, I have taken myself out on a date every Valentines Day.  At 25, I got myself a massage. At 26, I treated myself to some float therapy. At 27, I am starting a self-esteem group at the local high school. This is my favorite gift yet.

This Valentines Day, I dare you to date yourself and see how it feels. You may just fall in love with that person.

Sitting with it all

It’s another week, another eve, another day, another dollar. Wait, what? Sorry, sometimes I get on a roll and things just come out. You know, as we come to the end of 2017 I hear a lot of people cursing this shitty year, and I get it. People, do I get it.  However, with all the cursing going on, I have to say “pardon your language, my friends.” 2017 sucked, sure, but it also rocked.

I often tell my clients that the human mind is a peculiar thing. We can hold many feelings at the same time and we often believe we have to choose one over the other because that seems logical; however, we can sit with them all at the same time and in fact, we often do. I recognize this when I think about 2017.  Like how we have a scary president, but I have also seen more activism out of my (self-proclaimed) ‘non-political’ friends. Or how my dream died, and then I just created another.  When I think of 2017, I feel anger, joy, disgust, sadness, and fear. (Yes, I did just name the characters from Inside Out.) And I am sitting with all of those right now as I await 2018. (Which it already is in some places and that blows my mind.)

That reminds me! 2018 is just a number on a calendar. Tomorrow (or right now depending on where you are) the world won’t drastically change. We won’t wake up with racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and every other ism magically wiped out. Our president will still be our president. I won’t be an internet sensation… yet. And I’ll probably still be watching Harry Potter. That is okay. If no one has told you that, I need you to repeat it with me “It is okay.” Melissa, I can’t hear you, SAY IT LOUDER “IT IS OKAY.” I felt like a drill sergeant there for a minute. Madame, yes madame.  Really though, it is okay. Change is slow and we live in a world where slow means we flip the people off who are slowing us down. We want the magic pill, the high speed internet. Ya can’t though. Sorry, not sorry. That’s actually not how we are meant to live. I’ve seen a lot of people re-sharing that image of the new years resolutions for 2017 and they just do a little of this… 2017 2018. I love that! I know people think it is just a funny meme, but I think it is realistic. Even if you don’t do one thing on your list, you made the list. That means you thought about yourself for even a second and that is important to recognize. If for the the next five years you have the same list, it doesn’t matter. Hell, I had the same list for about 10 years.

This past year though, I finally crushed it! I wanted to run three miles. Check. I wanted to get my masters degree. Check. I wanted to join the Peace Corps and even though I didn’t officially go, I still got in and I count that. Check. I wanted to travel. In 2017, I went to Canada, Florida, the Bahamas, Washington, North Dakota, Minnesota, Washington and a ton more I am forgetting to mention. Check. I moved out, got a job in my field, and can pay my own bills. Check. I realize that a lot of these I got with privilege and a credit card. I also realized that the list doesn’t matter. I could have put the most ridiculous things on that list and weather I accomplished them or not life would go on. The point of the list isn’t to write a cute check mark next to my goals. The point of the list is to remember that there are always things to work towards. That is why I do it every year. *Side note: I really like to point out that I hate the saying “new year, new me” because fuuuckkkk that. I’m still me. I am not going anywhere. The quicker I realized that, the easier my life became. Life is both long and short (try sitting with that) and the only person with you through it all, my dudettes & dudes & non-binary friends, is you.

With that being said, here is my 2018 resolutions list:

  • Stop saying sorry so much… unless it is followed by not sorry.
  • Jump out of a plane
  • Run a marathon
  • Climb a mountain
  • Go to a new country I’ve never been to
  • Read more
  • Reach out to people I’ve lost touch with
  • Make more friends
  • Become internet famous
  • But also disconnect more
  • Fall in love
  • Study for the LSAT
  • Have money in my savings account
  • Pay off my credit card
  • Become an expert at something
  • Slow down

Alright that’s enough resolutions for me. I guarantee a lot of these will end up on my 2019 list and I’m cool with that. Like I said, it is okay.  Be more gentle with myself. Check.

P.S.(A.) I hope you all ring in the New Year with much excitement and please for the love of Yeezy, be safe. Don’t drink and drive. I want you all to get a chance to make your lists.

An apology to my younger self

So, I have officially been in Alaska for two weeks and I don’t think it has even hit me yet that this is my home now. When I say the word “home” it brings up many mixed emotions, for a lot of different reasons. My childhood had its ups and downs, as I’m sure most of ours did. (And by childhood, I mean 0-21… I was a late bloomer.)

When I was pondering what I was going to write about this week, I started thinking about that world that I lived in. For those of you that didn’t know me from 0-21, I have many people in my life that will fill you in on my less-than-understanding personality. Now, I know I am the person I am today because of the person I was and I can’t have one without the other. Fine, whatever universe. I get it. Namaste.

Actually though, I hate the word regret because I know that it’s not helpful to dwell on our past mistakes and forget to live in the present. Totally ripped that off from Dumbledore, but my yeezy what an inspiring wizard.

Though, if I had to pick a fav Dumbledore quote it would be: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” This is why I blog [and also because I’m super basic & proud of it]. Writing is my journey to healing. I am harder on myself than anyone ever has been or will be. But I want to move on from the pain I have had.

Therefore, this week I will be writing an apology letter to my younger self, so I can write it down, let it go, and move forward:

Dear little Rah,

I use the word little because I know it would mean something to you… because you spend your free time feeling big. I want to apologize for this. I’m sorry I used you’re brain and energy on something that shouldn’t have gotten in your way. I’m currently writing a blog about me and I promised not to talk about the eating disorder, but I needed to briefly mention it to you because you took the brunt of the struggle. I will leave it at that. I am sorry.

I am sorry that you spent your time angry at your family. You wanted so badly to be the families you knew at school. The ones that appeared to have lots of money and pretty things and not as many people. The homes with brand new furniture, a stay at home parent, and the perfect little life. FYI, Hannah Montana was right: “nobody’s perfect, you live and you learn it.” I’m sorry that I didn’t see the energy your family put into making you feel like those kids. All the money they spent on trying to make you feel like you fit in, with dance and cheerleading and trips with school. If I knew how bad they worked, I would have known how loved you were. You would be nowhere without them. Also, you have no idea how much you learned about being thrifty. It is a great life skill.

That includes your sisters, who you continuously pushed away. All they did was love you, and all I did was dream of a life away from everyone. Let me tell you, I caught the travel bug and I did leave, but I also call them all the time because I spend a lot of days missing them. I realized how great everyone in the family is, and luckily not too late. Would you believe it, they are your best friends. #blessed I’m sorry I didn’t let you see that sooner.

I’m sorry that you didn’t understand that boys actually suck and you were better off alone. EVEN MORE SORRY that you didn’t grasp just how amazing being single can be. If only I knew then what I knew now about being a woman, with her own brain and her own destination. You might be disappointed to hear that I am still single, but please don’t be. It’s actually great. I move around a lot and have met some really wonderful people. I know one day I will cross paths with someone who will fit right into my adventures. I really got into poetry and I repeat this poem from Rupi Kaur often:

i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me
i want to be full on my own
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
and then i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire

I’m no longer looking for my other half because I am already full, I’m looking for someone else who is also full of life. I want to set the world on fire. Which reminds me… I am so sorry that I ever let you like that boy. So, so sorry about that. My bad. He ended up being a real POS, so no worries that he didn’t love you back in the way I wanted him to.

I’m sorry that you spent your nights laying awake with the lights on and the music loud. This was, biologically, stupid. You’re body needs, like, legitimate rest and your mom was so right when she said you shouldn’t sleep like that. She also told you not to sleep in jeans and a bra, but you had to because were ready to run at any moment.

And when I say you were ready to run, it’s not a reference to the Dixie Chicks or hating your life, but rather our extreme anxiety of murderers and ghosts. Yeah, super sorry about that. Not murdered in 27 years, so I was totally wrong.

Speaking of being wrong, I’m sorry that I encouraged you to constantly judge your friends. They were going through shit too and I wouldn’t let you be there for them like you wanted to be. The good news though is that they all still loved you. And yes, they are all still in my life. I’m pretty freaking lucky.

I’m mostly sorry that I can’t meet you now and show you everything I’ve become regardless of the pessimism from 0-21.

Also important to note that I’m not sorry at all that I wanted you to see the world. I’ve seen a lot and will see more. The travel bug never left.

Finally, I’m really not sorry that your heart was always big, no matter what I was telling you in your head.

Love always,

Big rah

A Fresh Start

Guess who’s back with a brand new blog, she got everybody on the internet going mad? It’s me, you guessed right. For those of you familiar with my writing, I enjoy being dorky and it’s not going away #sorrynotsorry. Oh, I also enjoy all things pop culture and that will be here to stay too. However, I have switched blogging venues and content for two very important reasons:

  1. Tumblr reminds me of high school and I hated high school.
  2. I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY WEIGHT/FOOD ANYMORE.

See, here is the thing… while talking about my weight loss journey was helpful at times, it also became obsessive. Go figure, when your diagnosed with an eating disorder obsessive is your middle name. “Hi, I’m Sarah Obsessive Robinson. I constantly talk about, think about, dream about, and cry about food. Will you marry me?” Sounds like a great Tinder bio, don’t you think? (This may be the reason I am single…) I digress. I’ve decided that part of my recovery from binge eating disorder MUST involve making time for things that do not involve what I am eating this week. Instead, I would like to take time each week to focus on other important things to me like my new move to Alaska, why Kesha is my hero, the #Metoo campaign, and what color nail polish I’m really into this week. Okay, maybe not a whole blog on what color nail polish I’m into, but I will say matte top coat is my new favorite thing.

I am currently writing this post on the ferry to Alaska where I will begin my journey as a real life social worker. I FEEL LIKE SUCH AN ADULT. 4 days ago I packed up my car, appropriately named Amelia Rodham Robinson, and hit the road for Washington, where I caught the ferry to Alaska. Let me tell you, I’ve met some pretty cool people along the way. Including, but not limited to, a woman named Sarah Lee, who swears she is a terrible baker, a little boy that hopes he see’s the pigeon he was feeding again because he is going to bring him a dessert, and a guy that moved from California to Washington, quit his job of 10 years on a whim and went fishing in Alaska and now hopes to open a gym. This trip has reminded me that people are spectacular and resilient. Hell, it reminded me that I am also those things. Since I have had so much alone time, I’ve gotten the chance to really get to know myself. Things I like about me, things I don’t, things I regret, things I miss, and things I can’t wait for.

Aside from pondering my life, I also had the chance to scream music at the top of my lungs for an extended period of time. Most played: Hamilton Soundtrack.

‘Look at where you are,

Look at where you started from,

The fact that you’re alive is a miracle.’

These lines swirl inside my head over & over again.

If I can stay alive, that would be enough.

And to me staying alive doesn’t mean my pulse is beating and my lungs are breathing. To me, staying alive is feeling alive. As someone who lives with an ebb and flow of depression, sometimes feeling alive is watching 12 hours of “Are you the one?” on MTV and drinking a bottle of red wine. Sometimes, it means that I travel halfway across the country to follow of my dreams of being a social worker. And of course, there is everything in between. The most glorious part is that I know what I need to be alive.

So, this blog is about me, a 27-year-old single (get at me), white girl, recovering binge-eater, social worker, intersectional feminist, pescatarian, Sagittarian, ocean lover just trying to make it in the world as best as I know how. I know, just what the world needed, right? Probably not, but that doesn’t really matter to me. This blog is my place of worship… this & goodwill. Therefore, I would like to end this first post with a prayer:

Dear Female Yeezy,

Thank you for this life.

Awomen.

PS. I hope to keep this blog much more mixed with content, so any suggestions, requests, or tips are greatly appreciated.

PPS. You can be critical, but also be nice, because I’m super sensitive. As my dad would say (well actually Wayne Dyer because he is #obsessed) “if you have the option of being right or being kind, choose kind.”