Tag Archives: FEMINISM

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.