My Goals / Soapbox

Mandy and I had this discussion last night regarding mental health..  here’s my side of the conversation – which became my soapbox/ goals for our trip in Europe:

“i remember hitting this point a month or two ago where i finally realized that i would be ok if something absolutely amazing didn’t happen every single day. it was like i needed each day to be incredible, memorable or interesting. and coming to realization that life – and everyone living it – wasn’t like that… was incredible. some days might suck… but most importantly, most days are unequivocally uneventful. and that is ok. the calm, boring days are the good ones, and it’s ok to have those.  we live in this society that makes us feel uncomfortable when we look at our phone after an hour or two and there aren’t any notifications.  my ultimate goal is to show everyone – especially young girls – that it’s ok for all of the above.

i mean… who fucking cares whether you ate a mounds bar?? who gives a shit if you haven’t left your house today? why does it matter that you haven’t gotten a text in about 24 hours?! You’re human! Even when we get texts/ snapchats/ messages/ phone calls/ etc… we screen them! half the time we don’t respond… but why do we like getting them? them external validation… i just keep waiting for the growing trend of low-self-esteem and eating disorders. it’s awful.

i hate that all this marketing shit in america promotes losing weight and eating less calories and shit… fuck…!! if someone just stepped up and promoted mental health, like, hey – go for a 20 minute walk every day.. yeah, don’t run… walk as fucking slow as you want, but at least get out there.. then maybe stretch a bit… and eat a couple veggies… you’ll mentally feel a lot better.  you’ll be happier… what would society be like?? instead of pushing weight-loss, we pushed happiness…

there would be a lot more healthy people i think.

i just… it’s just… if i could somehow prevent people from ever having to go through what i’ve been through… to never have to go through what i’m continuing to go through…. i would be so happy.

and what sort of fascinates me about our upcoming adventure is that in europe, though it’s a westernized culture, eating disorders aren’t prevailing. external beauty is not nearly as “treasured”… so what do they value?

Meditation & Yoga

Yesterday I attended my first Yoga class in over 6 months – since I began treatment.  It was beautiful, wonderful and everything I didn’t really realize yoga was all about.

Through my recovery, it has only been in the last few weeks (and especially over the holidays) that I have discovered how much more to life there is than physical appearance and health.  I’ve been going for meditative walks over the past few months as much as I can, and it’s wonderful.  I feel better, more confident and at peace when I do so.  I do not run, because I don’t need to.  I don’t do this to lose weight, to get “in shape”, to “look better”, I go for walks to feel better, to stay happy – for my mental happiness.  And that is all that it should ever be about.

I went to yoga yesterday with a friend, and for the first time, that’s all the yoga class was about.  I didn’t care how I looked in my yoga gear, or what others thought of me in the specific poses.  I didn’t compare my body, my poses, my stamina to others – only to myself. I was thankful, truly thankful that I made it to the mat, and so truly loving towards my body.  I couldn’t always hold the positions, and I’m definitely a little sore today from the workout yesterday, but I’m happy.  I’m thankful at how amazing my body is to get through the poses, to still be able to balance so well, and to be so strong in the face of all that I’ve been through.  I continued to love and thank my mind for getting through the last 6 months.  And I was truly able to listen to the teacher’s message of unconditional love towards ourselves.  It was so beautiful, and such wonderful timing that the universe brought me to that yoga class, to listen to that message and to be so thankful for everything thing and everyone that has brought me to this moment, right now.

Being present and being thankful continues to be one of the most exhilarating and fabulous ways to keeping me happy and healthy.  I continue to try to remove the word “should” from my vocabulary (and from Ed’s vocabulary).  It’s a challenge, but I think it’s working.  I think I’m healing.

Tired Rantings

(so sorry – there is a bit of swearing in this post) I’m so tired of this job – I’m just exhausted from feeling guilty about not working 80 hour weeks, from not working on the weekends.  I’m tired of feeling guilty and like I’m disappointing people when I can’t finish something within a day or two.  I’m tired of trying not to fail.  I’m tired of walking alone to lunch or eating lunch at my desk.  I’m tired of browsing the web and pretending to work while here at the office because I can’t concentrate and because if I’m not in the office, “I’m not working”.  I’m tired of having to get every single, fucking thing approved before sending it out.  I’m tired of being told one thing and then something else happens.  I’m tired of getting a budget and then having to explain every fucking thing on it.

I’m tired of being treated like a child, of not being trusted that some of my decisions might actually be good.  I’m tired of making suggestions and coming up with ideas and then only being able to follow through on those ideas 6 months later when someone else says it.  I’m tired of never being able to complain about work with colleagues.  I’m the boss’ daughter – no one wants to tell me anything. I’m tired of having 2 bosses.  I’m burned out.   I get angry because it’s the same fucking fight every time.  I try to keep up with the fucking status report that is usually 2 pages long by the end of the week.  But it doesn’t convey how long some shit takes…. Or how long it even takes to do the fucking status report.  I’m tired of micro-management.  I just wish I could make a decision, and if it sucks, well I learned and I won’t do it again.  But nope.  I’m tired of being told that marketing needs to do more, so that sales increase.  Yet production can’t keep up.  And I’m not allowed to try any of those new things I want to try – or they’re critiqued heavily if we do try them.  I’m tired of trying to explain the importance of adwords.  I’m tired of having to use old-school marketing tactics in a new-school world.

I’m tired of having that same argument – the one talking about how it’s actually better to NOT work hundreds of hours a week.  That one gets more done if they take a little time off.  I’m tired of trying to explain why it might be ok to offer the ability to work from home.  Or to leave early once in awhile.  I’m tired of being in crisis mode every day.  We keep putting band-aids over problems and wondering why the same problems keep coming back.  I’m tired of so many new people in the office all the time.   I’m tired of making shit money, being in crazy debt and listening to my parents talk about their spending habits, and how the company is spending too much.  I’m tired of hearing about what everyone else is doing wrong, and what they should have done.  It just makes me more afraid to fail or make even tiny mistakes.  I’m overwhelmed with working here – no wonder food seems overwhelming.  It was the only thing I could control for awhile there.  And the less I ate, the less emotions would pop up, the harder I would work and the more shit I would get done – thus the vicious cycle started.  I’m tired of feeling like I’ve disappointed the team because I’m not doing as much as I used to.  I’m tired of being the “boss’ daughter” and everything that comes with that.  I just want to be normal – struggling to pay rent in an apartment with friends, working in the real world.  I don’t want to depend on  my parents anymore.  I don’t want to depend on their approval.

 

I’m tired of never being good enough. I’m exhausted that we never take time to celebrate the victories, and be proud of each other.  I’m sick of watching my dad work 100 hours a week. It’s not good for his health, for his marriage, for the business.  I don’t ever want to be like that.  I want to work, and be successful, but I don’t want it to sacrifice my health, or my family life.  My brother and I grew up while our parents worked their asses off.  And we were criticized for not doing the same.  Now my little bro has gotten away (Japan actually!) and he’s happy.  I need to get away too.  And hopefully the biggest step will be to get out of the family business.  I can’t do this anymore.  When I tell people how much stuff I do at work and what is expected of me, they’re always shocked.  The list of tasks and the timelines to complete them in is ridiculous.  It’s maybe what a normal person’s busy day or week could look like.  But not every fucking day… of the entire fucking year.  People are shocked by what I’m responsible for, and don’t believe I can do that much.  But I do, and I did.  And look where I ended up.  Intensive treatment.  Fuck, I’m exhausted.  I think things are getting better – my need for perfectionism is dying down a bit.  And I’m becoming ok with coming into work a little later, and not staying as late – though my parents still stay pretty late.  I still work around 60 hours a week or so, but I can only hope to get a different job and slow down a little.  It was nice to hear from several people this week that where I’m working, what I’m working in, isn’t normal.  It’s just so hard to continue to watch my parents work this much and think it’s ok.  I worry about them.  But I guess at this point I only have enough worry in my system to worry about my mental health and my job hunt.  At least I’ve gotten a bit better at eating…

Marketing Has Ruined the World

old ads2Let me start this post by saying that I’m a Marketing Manager.  I actually love my job and thoroughly enjoy trying to figure out the best ways to promote the products and services that I work with to the right target market of people that will want to buy them.  However, at the risk of making a sweeping comparison… I’m going to do it anyway.

In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, cigarette advertising was extremely prominent.  It proved to work, and hooked thousands – no millions – of Americans on them.  Years later, we would learn about their dangerous affects and how awful they were to our health.  To this day, states are still enacting rules to ban them as they continue to take thousands – no millions – of lives. My grandma and grandpa passed away because of them.

 

I will stretch a bit and venture to say that the next big challenge to our health is the “look” of being skinnier that we have been sold to for years now by marketers.  It’s the sunliminal belief that has been pounded into our minds for years that to be successful, one must be skinny.  To be sexy, beautiful, seen as smart, important, high profile… anythjng… one must be skinny. When was the last time someone ‘normal’ has been featured in an ad.  Someone whose thighs touched when they walk?  How about a girl who has hips?  Cuz fuck, we all have hips!  I’m not asking for ads with women who are pounds overweight, but one who is normal.   One with 20%-ish of body fat and is portrayed as strong, and beautiful.  Isn’t that what everyone wants to see anyway?

old adsI feel like eating disorders are on the rise.  The amount of girls who feel low self-esteem, feel inadequate, and don’t practice self-love continues to drop every year.  And while I won’t blame it all on marketing and the media, (some can be blamed on the social media, constantly online culture – but that’s a topic for another time), it’s not helping.  I hope that someday we can teach girls to love themselves without needing new clothes, or to be Uber skinny – their flaws, imperfections and all.  Is all of this wishing and believing for a better life and a better image leading to increased depression?  Maybe we just need to have a more open discussion about mental health.  Maybe the US should be just as open and understanding about mental health as they have been in the last year or two with gay marriage.  When someone breaks their leg, we can see it, and are able to watch it heal… but why, when someone’s mind is broken, do we not talk about it?  We allow them to continue going about life, like nothing is wrong.  Can you imagine walking around with a bone sticking out of your leg and pretending everything is fine for years?  WTF?!  Let’s make it talk to talk about these things so that those that need help can get it and so that everyone can talk about how fucker up it is to have a sticks and bones model promote how amazing cigarettes are for you.

What is a “Normal” Day, Anyway?

Could it be possible that I’ve been seeing life as so darned black and white that I can’t even stand to have a “normal” day?

But what is a normal day?  I feel like I’ve lived life for so long trying to make each day awesome, trying to make sure I do *something* every day, just so it doesn’t feel “wasted”.  For so long I’ve tried to live life to the fullest all the time, and thought of each day as either “good” or “bad”.  But what about those days that are just, “meh.”  Are those normal?

I feel as though this online culture has forced us to become so familiar and demanding that something is either “good” or “bad”.  We either get a ton of text messages and facebook messages and snapchats (“good” day because things are happening) or we have a day where we don’t get a lot of messages (“bad” day).  Isn’t that ok to have days like that though?  I feel like we are becoming conditioned to reach out somehow on those “bad” days.  But is that really a “bad” day?  No!  It’s just a “meh” day.  Why can’t we just be ok with the fact that most days are “meh” days?

I’m trying to figure out a “new normal” for myself – and am definitely struggling.  For so long (my entire life) I was in school, then after-school activities, then sports, then would come home, crash, and do it all over again.  On the weekends I would always have to be doing something, all day every day, and would need to report it to my parents at the end of the weekend.  This followed all the way through college, and into work after college.  I didn’t know what to do with myself if I got home earlier than when it was time to go to bed.  What would have happened if I had just laid there?  If I had just relaxed for a weekend? I would have gotten a disappointed pause, and a lecture on all the things I could have/ should have done.  Yes, my family was (and still is) very driven.  But only until my body and my mind hit a breaking point.  Now, going through recovery it’s so hard to judge whether I’m having a “normal” day, or a “meh” day.  I definitely know which days are the “good” and “bad” days – but the days in between? I feel guilty and ashamed that nothing much happens in them.  But I would venture to guess that that is normal.  That is what happens when you slow down in life, and attempt to notice yourself.  It’s darn terrifying, and confusing, and difficult.

Some days I feel so boring.  But maybe that’s a good thing?  Maybe “boring” and “meh” are exactly what’s needed right now to help me recover.  I just don’t want “boring” to be my new normal.  Perhaps I experienced so much in my life already that nothings left but to feel a little jaded and tired.  That may sound awful to say, but could it be true?

Skyscraper

Did you know that quite a few songs are actually about recovering from Eating Disorders?  Or even a few about celebrating being a confident woman.  Need a little inspiration to remember just how awesome you are, and how much you’ve overcome?  I’ll try to start adding a music video once in awhile.  First up?  Demi Lovato and the song she wrote while in treatment.

Demi Lovato – Skyscraper

I Like Me

First, The Betrayal:

colourful-girl-nature-photography-rainbow-umbrella-favim-com-140201Over the weekend I found out/ confirmed that a guy I was into was actually a huge liar and a cheat.  Pretty much everything he said to me was a lie, and was superficial.  It was a very sick moment, to find out that I had been betrayed and lied to so easily, that I had allowed it to happen to myself, that I had given quite a bit to this guy – who in turn, didn’t care in the same way that I did.  I felt guilt and shame because there was a part of me that never had really trusted him, and I didn’t listen.  There was part of me that wasn’t surprised at all by his lies and by his two-timing.  I didn’t heed the ‘red flags’ (in things he said, did, and even advice from friends) that popped up during the time we were together – I just blew past them all and hoped and dreamed that maybe, just maybe, I could be the one to “fix” him.  But after spending awhile feeling sad, and angry and of course, brainstorming all sorts of creative ways to get back at him in my head (because “he should have to feel the hurt I feel!  He should know what it’s like!  He needs to get a taste of his own medicine!”), I finally came to a moment of acceptance.  I finally calmed down, and realized that I’m not one to seek revenge.  I don’t have time for it.  I realized that the more time I spend in my own mind thinking about how he hurt me and hosinkw deserves to hurt too, the more I give him the power that he wants – and the more I just keep hurting myself.

Then, Wondering Why:

The truth is – I know that he is already hurting more.  He’s already gotten to such a sad place in his life that in order to feel good about himself, he needs to have several girls wanting him, and going after him.  He needs that attention to feel good about himself and to forget or ignore his problems in life.  I put myself in his shoes for a moment, and realized how truly sad his life is.  The truth is that he has and will continue to put up with the company of just about any girl – as long as he doesn’t have to be by himself around them.  He knew the right words to say, how to be funny and to joke about all the right things… but he never told his own secrets or concerns.  Instead, he was extremely well-versed in movies  – perhaps because it’s easier (and safer) to “relate” to others through movies than it is to use actual stories from your life.  And to a certain extent, I know what that’s like.  When I first entered treatment, I never told stories during lunch about myself.  I would always relate to others’ stories by using examples from TV shows I watched, or something I saw in the news.  It worked to deflect attention away from myself – so that no one could have the opportunity to get to know me well enough.  I was so afraid that if someone did get to know me, they might find out how fucked up things were in my head.  They might find out how much of my life and shit I didn’t have together – despite my outward appearance of seemingly happiness and perfection.

Knowing and Understanding the Why:

I know all too well what it’s like to keep yourself so busy, to try to distract yourself day in and day out with work, athletics, shopping, social meetups, food rules, anything – just so that you never have a moment to yourself.  So you will never have time to have to think about all the problems and the issues in your life – the hurts, the regrets, the shame.  And heaven forbid, if you start to think about them, then you might have to figure out how to deal or cope with them – and that is terrifying.  It’s a vicious cycle – no matter what someone’s “vice” may be.  Mine just happened to be food related.  I can’t even begin to guess what this guy’s might be, but at this point, whatever.  I know how painful it is – how scary and uncomfortable it is to face your issues, and to attempt to cope.  I’m still working through mine, and there’s still a long way to go, but I’m trying.  I’m getting the help I need.  And I’m finally (fucking finally!) realizing that I don’t need people in my life like him to make me feel bad about myself, just because he feels bad about himself.  I deserve to be surrounded by supportive and loving people, ones who know the real me.  It is scary though, when you’ve been hiding ‘you’ from yourself for so long – you have to dig through quite a bit of crap before you can start learning who the real you is, and learning to love it.

And Finally, Finding Acceptance:

booSO with all that being said, it finally hit me – and yes, unfortunately it took 26 years, some bad breakups and quite a bit of therapy – that I don’t need anyone else to make me happy.  I’m not searching for someone to “complete” me – like I’m only half of a person right now or something, just because I’m single – I’m searching for someone to compliment me.  I have to love me and everything I stand for.  Once I do that, I can find someone who will make me even better.  And if they don’t make me better, then I don’t need them.  I’m perfectly happy spending time on my own, so if a relationship doesn’t work out, I know I’ll be ok.  I feel as though I’ve found the right balance of keeping my heart open, but guarded… someday I’ll find someone to compliment me, and life will be great.  But I’m not going to sacrifice myself and my life for them anymore.  I’m done with being treated like a victim, with putting up with things I know that I shouldn’t, with always losing myself when I start falling for someone.  I used to dive in head first and somehow fall into only doing everything they enjoyed – maybe thinking they’d like me more or something?  When in reality it was just my extremely low self-esteem and me not knowing who I was, what I truly liked to do, or even thinking that I was worthy of more than the way they were treating me.  After a lot of introspection, I know that I’m a catch!  I’m the ‘prize’ and the right guy will treat me like the prize I am.  And if he doesn’t, then someone else will.  I’m not in a hurry.  Time and love will unfold as it may.  I just have to always remember who I am and that no matter what happens, I will be ok.