Monthly Archives: November 2016

Just a quick side note before Election Day…

Guys, I’m gonna talk about politics real quick.

I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing about politics. You’re tired of election coverage. And originally, the post I was going to write tonight did not involve politics at all, except perhaps a line at the end remind everyone to vote. That post will go up later this week. But right now, I just gotta do this real quick.

I know this isn’t a blog about politics. But guess what? This is my blog and it can be about whatever I want! If you want don’t want to read it, you can find someone else’s blog to read! I am a person who is wildly passionate about lefty politics, so I just can’t let this election go by without doing everything in my power to make sure a racist, misogynistic lunatic does not become the most powerful figure in the world.

You don’t have to read. But I have to write.

Let it be known, before I start that I am still feeling the Bern and will forever be feeling the Bern until death parts us. I still have Bernie sticker on my car. I still have a Bernie sign in my window. Bernie is my homeboy.

Anyway.

Like everyone else, I have been disgusted by this election. It makes my stomach hurt. At times, I have felt physically ill watching Hillary’s opponent spew verbal garbage all over the news and then watching other white old men defend him. It’s sickening.

I can’t say that I love Hillary either. But Hillary is the most qualified candidate in US history. Most people agree on that. She has been the First Lady, she has been a senator, she has been the Secretary of State. Basically, she’s a badass lady boss.

At its worst, the President of the United States is nothing more than a figurehead. We all know that Presidents don’t have as much power as we grew up thinking. Congress and the SCOTUS are there to keep checks and balances, to make sure that we remain a democracy. Hillary’s opponent cannot even manage to be a figurehead for the United States. We would be a joke to every other country in the world (moreso than we already are just with him running). He could not even fulfill the most basic role as President.

Then there’s the Supreme Court. Whoever the next President is will likely appoint the next three Supreme Court justices (although if you’re like me, you wish Ruth would just stay there forever #Ruthisthetruth). If you at all lean left or right, that is reason enough to vote. Naturally, whoever Hillary nominates will lean more to the left and whoever her opponent nominates will lean to the right. He’s pledged to select justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. That would reverse all the progress and rights women have gained over the last 43 years. It would allow the state to have control of our bodies. Just writing that makes my stomach drop.

ALSO CAN YOU SAY SHATTERED GLASS CEILING?!

I feel myself babbling. And I apologize. But this election has turned us all into babbling, crazed nuts who will hopefully all be able to collect ourselves on Wednesday morning and get back to normal. At least, I hope so. Otherwise, you will find me crying in a heap on my floor, never to emerge from my apartment again until I’m ready to commit to the move to Canada (I’m half kidding).

So I’m just going to post my Facebook post from last week here because I have to go make some calls for Hillz and because I want people to VOTE. It is literally the most important thing you can do. You have a voice! And you should use it.

 

Guys, the election is tomorrow. I’ve posted a lot of political stuff and I’m not sorry because I’m passionate AF but this one is for everyone. I saw this a few weeks ago, when Lewis Black when on the Daily Show and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I know a lot of people aren’t voting- I get it. The two candidates are both some level of horrible. The political system is not set up for third party candidates so it’s just not possible to get Bernie Sanders into the White House. Trust me, if it was, I would be the first one in line. But it’s not. I’m not saying I agree with that- I don’t- but that’s just what we’re dealing with right now. Hopefully some day it will change. But it’s not going to change by tomorrow (Worth noting that Sanders will be in charge of the Senate Budget Committee if Hillary wins which is a pretty big deal and a huge step in the right direction for the progressive agenda).

We’re either going to have a Trump or Clinton presidency. Fact. I don’t necessarily love Clinton but I won’t worry about my safety as a woman with her as president. I won’t have to worry about not having the right to my own body. I won’t have to worry that the cost of my medication is going to be hiked up astronomically. I won’t have to worry that my access to mental (and physical) health care will be cut.

I, along with many of you who are about my age, could very well bring another human into this world in the next 4 or 8 years. I’ll be damned if I bring my son or daughter into a world where it’s okay to hate, where it’s okay to discriminate against entire genders, races, ethnicities religions. Where it’s okay to criticize people on the size and the shape of their bodies, where it’s possible to be a fucking presidential candidate despite saying that you can grab women by the pussies. None of this is okay. And I don’t want my kid to grow up in a world where it is.

Also I want to get paid the same as my male counterparts, thank you very much.

Hillary is bad but Trump is worse.

VOTE. It’s fucking important.

P.S. Besides voting for President, there’s also senators, state reps, governors, town council, etc plus issues specific to your town to vote on, all of which have a direct impact on you. Vote. Votevotevotevote.

P.P.S. If you live in New Hampshire like me, you can register at your polling place! Also if you live in NH, PA, NV, IA, AZ, NC, CA, IL or WA- you have the chance to flip the Senate! What a world! Vote for your democratic candidate!

P.P.P.S. I’m really sorry about this whole post guys, really I am.

One last thing- I love you for making for making it this far. Take care, ya animals.

Refuse to shrink (and other recovery thoughts)

Hello world! How ya doin’?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be. It’s shapeshifted multiple times over the past year and a half- from just a general personal blog to eating disorder recovery to body positivity and now is at a place that is kind of a combination of the three. But after last week’s election, I am more inspired than ever to talk about feminism and oppression and social justice. It’s clear by the election results that there is still so much work to do and I want to help do it. It’s possible that those topics might leak more into my blog every week- this is your warning. You don’t have to read it. But like I said last week, I have to say it.

Today though, I want to talk about my recovery and my eating disorder response to the election.

My recovery has been going really, really well. I hardly count calories ever, except to make sure that I get enough. I order what I really want when I go into a coffee shop. I eat chocolate at 9am like it ain’t no thang. I am coming to a place where I really do love and appreciate and honor my body. It feels really, really good.

As I’ve forged my way into recovery, I have learned to stand up and speak out. I have never been one for confrontation (in fact, I am still not if I can avoid it). I also lived solely to please others. I lived in a world where isolation was easier, so that there would be no one else to please- but that self-isolation mostly just brought depression and anxiety. I felt trapped and like I wasn’t smart enough/important enough to speak out and say what I believed in. I felt like it was never my place. Now I can see that I have to make my place in this world. I can see that I am valuable and that I do have important things to say.

The election results were really, really hard for marginalized people of all sorts, including people who suffer from mental illness. The mental illness support pages I follow on social media were posting links to suicide prevention hotlines and other similar resources. Their messages were all the same. You matter. This is not the end. Do not give up here. We will make it through this. 

That is really scary. Scary that the election made marginalized people feel so hopeless, so worthless, so unimportant that advocates and sufferers alike were worried about taking their own lives. Scary that death seemed easier than dealing with the hardships that are, undoubtedly, ahead. I heard from friends and acquaintances who suffer from the whole spectrum of mental illness- no one took this news easily.

As a person who has suffered anorexia, my response was the urge to restrict (surprise, surprise). This election made me absolutely sick to my stomach (no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, this election was pretty sickening). I felt nauseas and sad and not even the teensiest, tinsiest bit hungry. It made me want to push away from the world, back into that little hole of isolation where I only had to worry about myself. It made food seem unimportant. In the days after the election, I wasn’t necessarily restricting but I certainly wasn’t taking good care of myself. And I was doing that for reasons that are obvious to me- I wanted control of something, at a time when everything seemed so wildly out of my control. I wanted to shrink my world back down to that little safe, sad hole where heartbreak like that didn’t exist because I didn’t let myself feel that hard.

Thank God that didn’t last long, amIright?

I let myself wallow for a few days and be sad. I am still sad. I don’t think this particular brand of sadness will go away for awhile. I did not, however, let myself skip meals or go for a 7-mile run to numb myself. I wasn’t my best recovery self, but I certainly wasn’t my worst eating disorder self either. Not even close. Not even a little bit.

After a few days of processing, I can see clearly that this is not the time to shrink. This is not the time to back away. This is not the time to hide.

Now is the time to stand up. To engage. To fight. To refuse to back down, regardless of what challenges lie ahead. And this goes for anyone who feels anything about this election. We need to stand up for what we believe in. Our beliefs are valid and worthy of being shared. The only way we will move forward is by sharing and seeing that we are all part of each other. We belong to each other. And we have to love each other really hard.

When I restrict, my brain gets foggy and I can’t think clearly. Anxiety and depression come more naturally. I don’t have energy and I start to lose that piece of myself that has forged her way into this world and found her place. I start to get a little lost.

We cannot let ourselves get lost.

To anyone suffering from mental illness or any other marginalized person: this is not the end. There is light and love and goodness in this world- we have to engage and be part of it. Let yourself be sad but then invite courage and strength into your world so that we can stand up and unite. I believe in you. I believe in all of us.

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Love Will Win

Earlier this week, as I was planning my posts for the week, I was excited to write one in particular about the power of a “me too”. How that’s what we’re all looking for in this life. How we’re all just searching for people who feel the same things, fear the same things, believe in the same things.

But like many of us, I find myself unable to think about anything but this election.

I am heartbroken in a way that I have never been heartbroken before. Tuesday night, I collapsed into tears multiple times but the one at 3am, when I awoke after drifting off to sleep for a mere 16 minutes to Trump making his acceptance speech, was by far the worst.

I sobbed uncontrollably in bed. I worried about waking the neighbors. I heard myself make noises that I haven’t made since childhood, when my mom or my dad would rub my back and tell me everything would be okay. I turned on Friends for a brief minute before realizing that nothing could make me feel better. I shut my TV off, laid in my dark apartment and cried. I woke up this for work two hours later and both my pillow and my t-shirt were soaked. I’ve hardly stopped crying since.

Throughout the election, I kept repeating to myself and others that love will prevail. Love will win, I said.

Love trumps hate. With everything in me, I believed that.

Today, I feel like hate won. It’s hard not to. Trump spewed blatant hate for the LGTBQ+ community, the Muslim community, females, Mexicans, blacks. I don’t have the capacity to understand it. I cannot understand it.

I made hundreds, if not thousands, of calls this election season. I have been at my local campaign office every week since August. I spent at least one night a week surrounded by like-minded people who cared about women and Muslims and every other oppressed group. People who felt, like me, that the world would end of Trump won. It made me feel better to be in that space every week. Plugging away at our phone calls, getting voters excited about Hillary, making sure they knew where and when they were voting. I ache to be in that space now. I think of my fellow volunteers and my heart breaks a little more.

We cared so much. We put so much into this election. We believed, with our whole hearts, that Hillary would win, that love would prevail.

When I joined the body positive community almost a year ago, I entered a world that honored and respected and encouraged inclusivity of all kinds. Not just body size and shape- gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicities. I surrounded myself with people like myself, who truly believe that diversity makes this country a better place. People who do not fear what’s unknown to them. People who unconditionally love and respect. People who embrace diversity and individuality.

I’m in a snow globe. The world has been shaken up and I don’t know which way is up or down, my feet can’t seem to find the ground. None of the pieces have fallen into place yet. It’s taken the most painful event to realize that the inclusive world I’ve nested myself in is the minority. Accepting, loving, compassionate people- they might win the popular vote but they will never get backed in our warped system, where compassion is seen as weak and the electoral college an do whatever the fuck it wants .

You see, it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump continues his hateful rhetoric. The damage is already done (although I fear it could be much, much worse). He has just confirmed that white, cisgender, straight men can say basically whatever they want and not see consequences. His win was all the white supremacists in this country needed to feel like they are getting their country back. This is a man backed by the KKK. A man who is on trial for raping a 15-year- old next month. And he is our President-elect.

If you are reading this and you’re thinking “well, not all people who voted for Trump are white supremacists”, then you are right. But a vote for Trump was a blatant disregard for every single marginalized person in our nation.

I am shattered thinking about my LGBTQ+ friends, my minority friends, my friends who are not natural-born citizens. I have heard from a few of them today and I can’t say anything to make it better, I can’t say anything to explain it. I can only promise them that I will not leave their side and that I will not stop fighting for them.

In the end, I do hope, as we all do, that love will prevail. The love I see emerging from broken communities everywhere is overwhelming. People sharing their stories, people comforting others, people sparing whatever love they can to give it to someone who needs it more. It’s amazing to me that a community that was so shattered 12 hours ago is already trying to rebuild, to pick up and keep moving forward.

My original post was going to be about the “me too”s . All the ways in which the power of that simple connection can ease worries and comfort the suffering. Slowly, all over the country today, people are sharing their stories of grief, of sadness, of anger, of anguish and sorrow. And people are standing up to say

me too. me too. me too.

Yesterday, prejudice and discrimination and hate won. People are hurting. But love will win. It has to win. And in the days to come, when the pieces begin to fall and confusion turns into clarity, we will wipe ourselves off and keep going. We will stand up.

The (un)happy days: eating disorders in college

Happy November! How is it this late in the year? How is it already 4 weeks from Thanksgiving? This is madness!

Anyways, I hope this post finds you well, wherever you may be as you read it. As much as I love October, I am excited about November and the opportunity to have a more peaceful and less hectic month- I don’t know about you but my October was a little busier than I would have preferred. I had a lot going on at work, in my after-work hours, in my personal life in general. I love this time of year- I love fall, I love Thanksgiving, I love chilly weather that requires cozy sweaters and LL Bean slippers. I love cuddling into my bed under all my blankets at night. I love the crispness in the air. I love it.

I’m going to be honest with you, friends. I have started and stopped approximately eight blog posts over the last few weeks and every time, they come to a crashing halt. It’s not that I’m uninspired. It’s that I’m so inspired I can’t pull down all my thoughts into one coherent sentence, let alone one post.

I’m going to tell a story because I like storytelling and this one popped into my head this afternoon. It made me pause and be grateful for this place that I’m in. And I wanted to share it.

During my 4 years of college, I went to a lot of doctor/therapist/psychiatrist appointments, especially during my last two years when things were really bad. My senior year, I was going to all three in three separate appointments every week. I was always running off to “meetings” or mysterious “appointments” when I was with my classmates (my good friends knew, but most probably didn’t know I was even suffering until this blog) and I was always finding excuses to leave work for an hour so I could go have a near nervous breakdown in my therapist’s office.

These were terrible times.

I went to my therapist every week, although all we did at the time was talk in circles because I wasn’t willing to make any changes to help myself. More accurately, my eating disorder wouldn’t let me make any changes that would possibly hinder his ability to function and control my body. I think about all the suggestions she made during those years and how unwilling I was to listen. I would leave her office and walk straight to the gym, where I would spend 75 minutes in sheer agony. I just wasn’t ready yet. I forgive myself for that.

I went to my psychiatrist every week because after years of refusing, I finally started on an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant. And I went to a doctor to monitor my weight, my heart and so he could beg me to stop exercising so much. He would tell me I was at risk of a stress fracture, of permanent damage of my joints. I would just ignore it and pretend it wasn’t as bad as it was.

The first time I saw him and he did a full intake and evaluation, he told me that I needed to cut back my running and fast. I so distinctly remember him saying “I’m not going to take running away from you but…” and my usual calm, peaceful, non-confrontational self snapped and told him he wasn’t because he couldn’t because it was mine. I went to my therapist the next day in a rage because she was the one who had referred me to him. (Break in the story here to say that I was so lucky to be on a campus where I had these services available to me free of charge. I may not have liked all this appointments or wanted to go. I may have cried all the way through and hated what they had to say but things would have been a HELLA lot worse without them. Shoutout to the Counseling Center and Health Services at University of Rhode Island. If you are in college and are having similar or different issues, please please look into the resources available to you. It’s pretty rad, man.)

Eventually, things got so bad that I was referred to an eating disorder clinic. Well technically, I was referred months and months before but towards the end of my senior year, I finally agreed to go to an intake appointment. In preparation for that, my doctor had to gather all sorts of information about me. He was blind weighing me every week (even though I was consistently weighing myself at home so it didn’t matter) but he had to get another weight for the clinic paperwork. Per usual, he weighed me without me knowing and I sat back down in my hard plastic seat. And then, being the curious and self-sabotaging person that I am, I leaned over and tried to read my weight off his computer.

I saw my weight.

And I freaked the fuck out.

Because it was more than I had weighed in months, probably years. Like I said before, I was still weighing myself every day at this point (when I creeped upstairs before my roommates woke up so I could use their scale, then ran back down to my room). The weight I saw was at least 10 pounds over what I expected, maybe more. I started spinning out of control.

It couldn’t possibly be true.

It couldn’t be right.

…it wasn’t. I read the computer wrong.

You know how I know? Because after 24 hours of sheer panic, shame and anxiety, I emailed the doctor in a frenzy. I said that I saw my weight, it can’t possibly be true, I’ve weighed myself on multiple scales, that can’t be right, it can’t be right! And he responded gently and told me that I had seen it wrong, that my weight was actually X pounds and that he would make sure it was accurate in the paperwork.

It was humiliating- to care that much, to send that email, to admit how much my weight actually mattered to me, how terrified I was at the idea of weight gain. Against my better judgement, I went back and read those emails tonight and I cried a little bit for that girl and I shed a few tears of gratitude that I am not her anymore.

That girl who panicked when she read her weight wrong? She is now at least twenty five pounds over that weight she mistakenly saw. She is now at least a few sizes bigger. She has rolls, she hasn’t run in 10 months, every single part of her body has gotten bigger including her feet. Her old jeans from college wouldn’t fit over her knees  and her old bras are so small they would be deemed societally inappropriate had I not finally sprung for new ones. She has cellulite. She gets bloated sometimes. She is wonderfully squishy.

And you know what?

She is really fucking happy.

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