This is Important

This is everything.

From not being able to control my weight loss to gaining it all back in recovery mode, this is everything you didn’t know about eating disorders. Guess what? They’re not a one size fits all. Not every person with an ED looks the same, acts the same, struggles the same. You can’t put people into boxes like that. Just because the pants I wore when I wasn’t eating don’t fit now, that doesn’t define your worth. That doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of all good things. That doesn’t mean you’re “fat”.

Do I believe everything I just told you? Nope. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t severely struggling with making myself eat as of lately due to being insecure about the weight I’ve gained since depriving myself of, well, mostly all nutrition besides lettuce and coffee (yes I’m serious). But I’m trying to come to terms with things. I’m trying to eat foods that nourish me instead of going back into deprivation mode. I’m trying, everyday, and that’s all anyone can do.

Anyway, I hope you find something of worth in this post and the linked one above. Happy Thursday!

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Goodbye, Sweet Dragon

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated this ole blog, so I figured it was about time to check in. A lot has happened, much has changed; yet there’s plenty that has remained the same. I’ve been battling demons, old and new, and just trying to get by like the rest of us. The thing about growing up; growing into yourself — you’re constantly evolving, constantly changing your disposition on certain matters, constantly battling old and new demons. When it comes to this war, it’s never simple; it’s never easy. It’s always the less painful route to avoid, to not reflect and to ignore all of the noise. It’s what I’ve been doing the last 8 months, and I’ve been walking around wondering why I’m an anxious mess on the inside 22/7 (yes, I know that’s not a phrase, but I’m making it one now, OK?!).

The thing about self reflection is it’s a painful process; it brings up demons that didn’t exist before, or that you’ve maybe forgotten about. It brings up the parts of your past you’ve been running from, the parts you’ve chosen to ignore. It’s not a simple thing, but it’s a necessary one. There’s a reason I’ve been walking around with mass amounts of anxiety that’s been built up for months closing in on a year. Yeah, it’d be easier to sit here behind a computer and say everything’s been wonderful; a dream, if you will. But that’s just not the case, as I’m sure it’s not for anyone in this life. So, as I’ve been battling with the decision to write this post over the last week and a half, I have chosen to do so with a quiver in my speech and a tremble up my spine for the sake of honesty and resolving  the anxiety that’s been hovering over me. To whomever reads this: I hope this helps you in some way, shape or form. It doesn’t matter how it helps, just that it brings some light to common issues we all face; some more intensely than others. But it’s crucial to remember we’re all humans; we all make mistakes. Accept that aspect, and get to reflectin’.

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For me, it’s been a whirlwind of a year. From an ex-fling moving back to town “for me”, to dissolving my relationship I had been in for the ex-fling, to moving too fast with the ex-fling-turned-boyfriend, to it blowing up in flames a month later and begging for forgiveness from the prior relationship I then knew was meant for me; it’s been one for the books emotionally. Not to mention throughout the whole experience I was battling one of my longtime demons; an eating disorder. Sure: you probably think everyone has had some type of disorder in their life in this day in age, so who cares? Well, no girl at any age should develop this mentality, and it’s something we as a society need to shape into something more accepting.

Either way, battling with relationships is always hard. When you have someone you love, then someone you could love come into your life; someone who moved you so much in the short time you spent together. To then try it out and have it burn like a forest fire of passion and toxicity . . . it hurts. It sucks to think you had something so right, to then have it just blow up in your face. To have it not work out. To realize the mistake you made. To plea on hands and knees for forgiveness and another chance; it really breaks a person down. And these are the moments I haven’t looked back on. But with the bad, there’s the good. Did I hate every second with this ex-fling turned boyfriend? Absolutely not. We created a podcast together (RIP), and were ultimately in one of the most creative mental places I’d been in in awhile. It was passion. It was intellect. It was creativity and it was all happening at once and so fast. But I needed that to happen. I needed that passion (that was probably toxic passion the whole time, but I’m not ready to write it off as that yet).

That relationship led me back to my previous one that I had cut the cords off of solely for this ex-fling, and grateful is the understatement of the year for what I felt towards my newly rekindled love interest and current boyfriend. Yeah, the road’s had some ups and downs, some areas where I needed space to do my own thing and escape the relationship a bit, but now, looking back; I needed all of those things to happen to get me to the place I’m at now: in love with gratitude and a deep connection to the one I can now see is my truest love. Sure, we don’t agree about everything (don’t even get me started on politics), but we respect each others opinions in the long run, and value each other tremendously.

4703d239dbd1323a5afed22ac9d586d7Then there’s the even more personal demon of an eating disorder mixed with severe body dysmorphia. Yes, the two commonly go together, but I’ve rarely spoken to anyone about this portion of my life, and how I’ve struggled with it since middle school, when I began binging and purging. Though that was more of a fad than anything, the concept stuck around with me throughout high school and into my post-college-grad life. This year, that took a turn towards severe calorie counting and deprivation, where I lost 30 pounds and was the smallest I had ever been at a size 2. My family was concerned, and I played it off as if it was nothing. I wanted to be that small, I wanted people to be worried, I wanted the attention. Since March, I have gained back the 30 I lost by selectively eating under 700 calories a day, and I’d be lying if I said I love how far I’ve come. Every day I struggle with the trips down memory lane filled with pictures of myself at my smallest weight, wishing I could be that way again. Then I have to actually tell myself that I wasn’t healthy then, and that I am now. That my body can be that small, but it should be done the healthy, non-depriving way. It’s a daily struggle to love myself, and I’ll be honest it’s not going well right now, but I’m trying. I’m admitting it’s a problem, and I’m trying to not let my head get the best of me.

I also have a new job which I love, that challenges me while letting me do what I’m good at—writing and killing the social media game. Everything on the job front is perfection, and I’ve come so far over the last year and half with struggling as a freelance writer to this opportunity I currently find myself in, and I am truly grateful for this opportunity and the having the ability to not struggle or worry about how many articles I’ve written and for who, etc. There are days where I doubt myself and my abilities, but that’s a part of the human condition: we all have self-doubt, and it’s a strong force.

I don’t have the answers on any of the above, but I know if you keep plugging away at things, they’ll eventually work out in your favor, or something better will come around. Are you going through something similar, or far from relative but want to chat? Leave a comment below or feel free to email me. We’re a community, here; so it’s time we start acting like it.

 

The Sound of Music

The sound of music will never get old.
The battling between drums and vocals, the cohesion between guitar chords and the banging of a tambourine in between; these are the things that I’ll never take for granted.
Because of music, we’ve all been in love, had our hearts broken to then be pieced back together bit by bit.
Because of music, we’re able to share the feelings we can’t put into words.
We’re able to communicate in ways which the english, and all other languages, fail us.
Because of music, there’s no such thing as borders and boundaries.
There’s no such thing as the inability to communicate.
Because of music, we have human connection, and if that’s something you take for granted or fail to see, then you need more music in your life.
You need to open yourself up to the journey it can take you on.
You need to let go of all dispositions, tape on some headphones and put your Spotify/Pandora/Itunes/Soundcloud on shuffle.
Be one with the music, forget where you are, and go where it takes you.

Right now, let it take—and meditate—you.

 

Millennial State of Mind

Welcome to the millennial state of mind. What’s that mean? Well, it’s the mindset we —the millennials—give ourselves in order to get the job done. To grind it out. To work tirelessly towards what we want, no matter who says we can’t make it, or who says we don’t fit the mold.

It’s getting to the third round of interviews for a dream job and hearing you’re not right for the part, and then you keep trying anyway. You keep grinding at it. You keep going. You don’t stop for anyone, not even yourself, and you refuse to let a negative remark or response deter you from your goals. Sure, maybe you didn’t accomplish something you set out to, but it doesn’t mean you failed.

Why should you listen to me or anything I have to say? Because I’m like you. I’m one of you. I live within a millennial state of mind, and I have had my dreams (or what I thought were my dreams) crushed before my eyes after putting it all on the table. I wanted to quit. I wanted to give up, throw in the towel, and just stop trying. Stop grinding. Stop going after what I want, whatever that may be today. It’s tough when you put everything into something and feel that passion; that fire for what you’ve been striving to achieve only to be told no, you’re too good; you’re not good enough. You have too little experience; you have too much experience. It’s a double-edged sword and it feels like you can’t win, that you’re forever on the losing side of the spectrum.

From one millennial to another, you’ve got this. I doubted myself, but didn’t let it fully take over my reality. The second you say you can’t, you start to believe it. Little by little, it takes over your mentality and all you’ll hear yourself talk about is all of the things you can’t do. See—your brain; your mind. . . they’re powerful. You have everything you need. You have all the confidence and ability in the world. ‘Can’t’ is powerful. But guess what? so is can, and you can do anything you say you can. Why? Because you should. Because you can. Because you will. Because you’re a millennial and if nothing else, regardless of what everyone may think, we know what it takes to be crafty and get what we strive for.

 

Our Brains are sick, but that’s OK

People—it’s time to get real.
Life is hard, and no one can deny that; no one would dare to try.
But having a hard time and struggling with mental health are not one in the same.One is not valid while the other is a made up, imaginary cry for attention.

It’s time to talk mental health. It’s time to talk mental health diseases and diagnoses, and it’s time to do it in a way that’s not . . . Taboo. Controversial. Fake.

I have no issue owning up to my own struggles with mental health. I’ve talked about it on here more times than I care to count, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s me sorting out and explaining to myself that this is OK. This isn’t a thing to be ashamed of, and it’s definitely not a thing to run from. I am not the only one who struggles with and suffers from a mental health disorder. I am not the only one who’s ever had crippling anxiety and the inability to see the world without a haze similar to the after effects of a bomb explosion. I know that, and that’s what’s helped me accept that I needed help. That there wasn’t anything I could do anymore. I was out of resources. I had misused everything I possibly could as a solution, and I needed to get a real one. I needed to figure out why I couldn’t go to my best friend’s party that was for me because I couldn’t get out of bed. I was aware that this wasn’t OK. That I wasn’t OK, and I felt comfortable asking my parents for their support as I sought out the professional help of a psychologist. I have supportive parents who accept me and understand that this isn’t a flaw, this isn’t something that defines me. Not everyone is in the same situation with the same resources. Not everyone can speak so openly about their mental woes due to the fear of being too taboo; of making people feel uncomfortable and awkward. However, that’s not the direction of this piece.

This might be heavy on my mind because it’s been exactly one year since my first therapy session. The therapy session that I initiated by my own will. One that I realized needed to happen through the power of music. Twenty One Pilots got me through from the high to the lowest of low, then straight to the therapist to unravel the mess I had made in my head. If you’re not familiar with Twenty One Pilots and how they could possibly relate to mental health, here’s this:

“Fear might be the death of me, fear leads to anxiety—don’t know what’s inside me.” 

Alright, now that we’re all on the same page here . . . let’s get onto the intended direction of my train of thought.

Here I am, one year after making the first step to a necessary change and road to acceptance, sitting on the floor in my bedroom with Twenty One Pilots on shuffle via Spotify. I can’t help but reflect on the past year, where I was, and where I am now. The line quoted above showcasing Tyler Joseph’s struggle with his own mental health (anxiety), is now less of my journey than it was a year ago. Then, ‘The Judge’ started playing, and I wasn’t really listening fully (in part because I was thinking out what I wanted to start this series with) until I heard:

“I’m a pro at imperfections, and I’m best friends with my doubt.”

Instantaneously I realized this is the part of my journey and road to acceptance that I’m at. I’ve accepted that yes, this is my reality, this is real, and I’m ok with myself looking internally. However, I feel lesser of a person to those closest in my life. I feel either overprotected and microscopically watched, or misunderstood, therefore excessively apologetic. Why is it that I, the defender of un-taboo-ifying (there’s a word for this, but you get what I mean) mental health, feel the need to apologize to those I spend my time with for having moments of suffering out of nowhere?

Mental illnesses, disorders, diseases, whatever you choose to call them—they’re nothing to be afraid of. They’re something a large amount of the population deal with daily. So what’s with the stigma around it? Why do we, or maybe just myself, feel the need to apologize to others when an attack comes on, or panic and anxiety take over and restlessness with a side of severe sass? I don’t know, but I know that it shouldn’t, and I know that we need to talk about it more. We need to talk about it now.

 

Real Recognize Real

There’s a type of obsession associated with fans and their favorite musicians but that’s not the type of obsession I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about the fanaticism that comes with the likes of Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. Do I jam those two without hesitation? Of course. I’m not too proud (in this sphere, at least) to admit that.
What I’m referring to is more  of a connection. Not an obsession, but a fusion of souls with humans you’ve never encountered, yet everything inside of you gravitates towards them. The words they speak, you feel. Everything relates to what you feel. Relates to the hooks they’ve crafted, the melodies in the bridge, the lyrics within each and every verse of each and every song. Every chord progression. Every spoken word. Everything. That’s what I’m talking about.

Let’s bring it back down.
Music is my life. I can’t play any instrument per se(though that’s on the to-do list for a redo, as many attempts have equated in less-than-admirable results), but it’s something I cannot live without. Something needed in my day-to-day. It’s my air. It’s my water. It’s my pulse. Somehow, it adds into my purpose.

See, life is hard. There are mountains that exist solely just to keep you barricaded and stumped. There are people who have ill intentions and end up crushing what feels like every fiber of your being. Things will happen, friendships will crumble, rip and entirely combust at the seams. There will be times when you battle with yourself—a battle between your heart and/or your mind—and you’ll feel completely isolated, alone, and abandoned.Bet you felt like the only thing that didn’t leave your side was music.

For me specifically, my battle with heart and mind is one of severe anxiety with a (hearty) side of panic disorder. This is something I’ve unknowingly battled my entire life, and thanks to a certain former non-ex ex (dating is fun), I was able to realize I had gone too far crossed too many lines, and didn’t have my mind and soul understood or under control. My life was consumed with anxiety and panic attacks. I felt alone. Then…there was Twenty One Pilots. If you don’t know anything about these guys, here’s a brief related overview: The lead singer, Tyler Joseph, openly battles with anxiety and hyper self-awareness. When I was at this low point (once again, shout out to the non-ex ex), they fell into my lap; right into the palm of my hand and the center of my soul, as if to throw a life-saver to keep me from drowning. Did they know this? No. And from listening to their album breakdowns on Spotify, I realized there were many who felt the same. Many who related to the struggle of simply existing on the world, let alone the stresses and anxiety that come with it. To Tyler and Josh, drummer and sole other member of the band, it’s not about making music for people to blast on the radio and dance to, or even music for people to request and like on Top 40. It’s not about telling a bullshit story about the silver lining behind every breakdown.

It’s raw.
It’s mid-anxiety attack.
It’s the battles within our minds that we, as imperfect humans, face.
It’s real.

“…we realized that once you’re honest and you say some of the things that you’re going through, you realize there’s a lot of people thinking the same thing.”-Tyler Joseph

He hit the nail on the head with sheer perfection and precision. When you’re in that place, that dark place, it’s reassuring to know there are others at different ages, different stages in their careers and lives and etc., who also struggle. Who also feel the loneliness take over.

The lyrics within Twenty One Pilots’ songs quite literally and metaphorically save your life in those moments. Why? Because they’re about the human condition. They take away the glitz and BS that’s ever-present in the music industry, and are using music as an outlet. As a mental sanctuary. As a therapy session. As a reminder that life can be hard, but when you’re honest and look around, you’re not the only one who’s felt that way.

Disclaimer: “the human condition” was in no way my genius creation. I wish I could take credit for it because it’s just that—genius. If you’re a follower of his music, you’ll know the reference. If not, “The Human Condition” is Jon Bellion’s 4th (yet first commercial) album, where he covers topics from self-doubt, fear of failing, and paranoia to relationships, sex, and…God.

Who in their right mind enters an industry micro-monitored and managed by C-Suiters, and creates album after album where these themes are consistently showcased on a grand scale?

Jon Bellion, that’s who.

Bellion has (clearly) done things differently within the industry, but that’s not entirely what I’m getting at. Simply naming an album, “The Human Condition” kind of says it all: this record is going to ride through the triumphs, confusion, fear, anger and temptation that comes with simply existing in this world; simply existing as a human being.
He, like Twenty One Pilots, is raw.
He is genuine.
He is everything music has needed.
And his music? His music is everything we, as humans, need to revel in.

Face it: being a human is hard. Life is beautiful, don’t get me wrong; but it’s a beautiful cluster fuck at that. The industry candy coats the bad and praises a glamorized reality. But you know what? It’s no service to anyone when that reality is doused in chocolate with a cherry on top.

My struggle is simply managing my existence. Of accepting that everything can’t and never will be presented with a cherry on top. The OCD control freak in me that screams for structure that battles with my inability to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. What helps—truly, genuinely, and wholeheartedly helps—is getting lost in the lyrical world of Tyler, Josh, and Jon. Getting entranced by their authenticity, allowing myself to feel the negative emotions I’d been suppressing in attempt to keep it at 100 24/7. Because one of the hardest things to accept is that we are never going to always be OK. We’re never going to always make it out alive and unharmed alone. We can’t be the silver lining’s of the world all the time. Twenty One Pilots and Jon Bellion showed me that. They not only showed me that you can’t be, but also that it’s OK that you can’t. They’re the perfect reminder of this. The prime example that this life stuff—it’s rough. Lust is real, but so is love. Substance abuse is real, but so is mental illness. Negativity is a ever-present part of life, and as much it sucks—it’s essential. It’s a part of being human. It’s the struggle we all go through. These are the realities we all face,and the world needs to be reminded of this. You need to be reminded of this. Hell, I need to remember  this. In the golden words of Kehlani, “It’s OK to not think you’re fine or that you should feel any better.”

Fight it all you want, but you probably won’t get very far in that battle. That’s reality. Shit sucks sometimes, and you don’t always have to snap out of it. You don’t have to ignore it. You don’t have to suppress it. It’s all just a part of the human condition; a constant reminder from _____ to forget your pride and feel. Confide in a friend. Confide in a pen and paper. Confide in the music. I’ll be the first to admit that the whole owning up to your feelings, weaknesses, and breakdowns is hard. It’s uncomfortable. But with the likes of Twenty One Pilots, Jon Bellion and others who see what you see and feel what you feel speaking organically on the human experience as it truly is…we can swallow the pride that says it’s not OK to have a bad day, week, or month. That it’s not OK to suffer from mental illness.

That’s life.

Though it may seem ugly, it’s these imperfections; these self-proclaimed flaws that make life (and you) so beautiful. It’s what makes us relatable. It’s what unifies us. It’s what grounds us. When the real in musicians recognizes the real in the world; there’s unity and understanding. There’s acceptance. There’s connection. And that…that is beauty.

 

 

 

“Technically Single, Emotionally Unavailable”

*scroll past the video for the entry. Listen to the video for the full experience of said entry*
But first:

Dating is fun as a twenty-something in 2016, isn’t it?

All you hear about is either A.)someone else just got engaged or B.) how impossible it is to date in 2016 because “technology/social media/tinder/blah blah blah” ruined it for everyone.

And…usually I can empathize with the part B-ers of the world. Yeah, social media and the rapid advances in technology aka smartphones aka iPhones (oh, you still have an android…? jokes) have changed things up a little bit, but can you fully blame all of the dating woes on that?

In short: no. There are so many things that go into “officially” dating someone. Things that you just can’t solely blame on the wonderful world of tinder. Also, here’s a thought: why do you care if someone’s your boyfriend/girlfriend? Why does that even remotely matter? Are you having fun? Great. Do they make you laugh? Fantastic! Respect you and your differences of opinions? Per.Fec.Tion.

So what’s the problem?

Society’s the problem. Your friend who lives in the stone age of “you’re either together or you’re wasting your time and the feelings aren’t reciprocated and you look dumb” is the problem.

It’s come to my attention that dating in your twenties should be fun. It shouldn’t be a “let’s get tied down from the get-go” sort of thing. It’s not something that needs to be rushed into, because lets face it: as much fun as you should be having in the dating scene (and all scenes, for that matter), you should also be taking it a little more seriously than your high school or college self did. People are getting engaged/married/ having kids/etc. because we’re at that age where yeah, people do mature. People do settle down. The guy who was doing 15 keg stands a night and pouring tequila into that girls belly button is now a corporate hot shot with a wife and 2 kids. Things change as you get older, and that’s OK.

Just…have fun, but realize people aren’t taking things to next levels because as fun as casual dating is, it’s also terrifying, too. You know you’ve thought about where you’re going to be 2 years from now. You know that your bigger picture includes (at some point) settling down with one singular human for the rest of your forever, and that’s not something to take lightly. That’s not something to waste 6 months of your life tied down to that guy you met at the bar that you *swore* you knew like the back of your hand, yet he’s actually a total narcissistic douche that deserves none of your energy.

Why sweat the little details when there’s so much to live for outside of dating? Why waste your twenties on the what haves and could have beens, because that’s a great way to stay salty, in denial, and off the market. Yeah, off the market. Why? Because vibes don’t lie, that’s why.

But, for the sake of a well-rounded discussion on the topic…let’s explore a little further. As we’ve covered, casual dating is a major part of the twenty-something era in your life. It’s a crazy, bittersweet, sometimes frustrating and confusing, but ultimately carefree and charming time in your life. You’re having fun, and you may even have someone you share a mutual bond and affinity for one another with. All is well. But when is the breaking point? When is casual too casual? How do you differentiate the real from the bullshit? The long-term vs. the momentary lust? When you’re on the inside, it’s hard to see what others see. It’s hard to take yourself out of that headspace and get into a serious one. But when you do—and you will—take what you’re asking yourself seriously.

Why isn’t this legit yet?

How come there’s no real commitment here?

Am I single and free to date?

What are we?

What the hell am I doing?

What the hell are we doing?

Why the hell are we doing this?

This is terrifying and I want to tap out.

Whether you’re in your twenties now or were 20 years ago, I’m sure this struggle is the same. Technology doesn’t create or solve any of these thoughts. We’re human, and curious by nature. We have questions and opinions and feelings that we’re entitled to. One’s that should be taken seriously. One’s that should be respected.

But how’s the other person supposed to know where your heads at if you’re both too scared to talk about it? Why is the real shit so terrifying?

It feels like walking through the fire, but honestly…it’s just a conversation. Or maybe it’s several conversations that lead up to a pivotal moment in your mind, in your non-relationship relationship, and in your life. Checking in when your head’s weighing you down isn’t a bad thing. If they want more and you’re not ready; say it. If you want more and they’re not ready; say it. You can say one thing and feel differently in 3 days. That’s allowed. You’re allowed to be in denial of what you want, but only for so long. Every relationship—even friendships—can hit a fork in the road where you either jump ship or tread it out.

If it’s worth it to you; then tread. Absolutely tread. Patience isn’t having the ability to wait, it’s your attitude while waiting. Sometimes things need to feel themselves out without us interfering. Sometimes we need to get our heads out of our hearts and just let it flow. But if you’re in a position where something or someone is no longer serving a positive purpose and place in your life; that’s when you need to re-evaluate. That’s when you should start being concerned. Not because your friend thinks you have to be in a legitimate full-blown relationship for it to be of value in your life.

That’s crap and you should know that.
Ultimately, do whatever makes your soul happy. If your soul is happy, your energy will be positive and the vibes will follow. Get your head right so everything else can align. But if you’re holding back from taking the plunge in any way, shape or form due to fear of the unknown…it’s time to jump. The time will never be perfect. But if your life is better off with that human in it, you need to let them know. You need to make some moves. You need to share your intention, every detail and terrifyingly vulnerable aspect of it because beautiful things happen when you let go of fear and jump anyway.

Be happy. Live free. Chase the light. Take. The. Plunge.