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?

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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.

Promise Me

A friend recently gave me a book of poems by Tyler Knott Gregson. They are short, and beautiful, and here are two of my favorites so far:

Gregson Poem

And this one spoke to me so truly – with everything I have been wondering and thinking about… I miss him.  I wrote to him last week and told him I hope that he is happy, that I’d love to meet up with him and catch up.  He responded that I caused him to think, and that he would respond back to me after awhile.  Anyway, this poem is perfect for our situation:

Gregson Poem2

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.

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.

Think Beautiful

I dream of a world where little girls (and grown up girls) believe in their internal beauty, their strengths and their potential – and they believe in themselves enough to stand up for themselves, to follow-through with their dreams… regardless of their appearance.  Could you imagine the sheer potential of a world like that?  This recent TED talk by Meaghan Ramsey explains some possible ways to get there: