The Food and I

Howdy, pals! I am not quite sure why I went with howdy, but here we are. It’s been an interesting week to say the least. Most importantly, the weather has changed and you KNOW I cleaned out my closet and brought out all my snuggly sweaters. I am basic and proud. Even bought a pair of ugg boots from Goodwill. Really embracing who I am deep down.

Something else has been brewing deep, down inside of me. It’s gas. I’m gassy and sick and it’s more commonly known as gastritis. Basically, there is too much acid in my stomach and it’s caused some inflammation of the stomach lining. I’ll be honest… it’s not very fun. I’m sure you probably assumed that, but it’s not fun for more than just the stomach pains.

This is not the first time I’ve dealt with acid in my stomach. I was diagnosed with GERD last summer and they were also worried I had cysts. (Luckily, no cysts, just acid.) Whenever there is a stomach issue I get the same advice from medical professionals- lose weight. I know they are saying it because it honestly does help things like that. Usually I would say let’s explore other things that could help the issue, but after being diagnosed with GERD I lost some weight and I didn’t have any heartburn again, until I started gaining the weight back. Yet, when I hear someone say I should lose weight I roll my eyes so hard that they could probably knock over a building.

It’s because of the fat phobia that permeates our everyday lives. I can’t look on the internet without someone selling a get thin fast diet. It’s near impossible to shop in a store, I must shop online to avoid people seeing a fatty actually shopping in a store. You know, they don’t want to ruin their brand or anything. If they do happen to carry plus size clothes take note that it’s conveniently tucked into the back of the store to still hide fat people. I roll my eyes because it cuts through me like a knife cuts through butter- it’s a swift, clean cut that happens again and again.

I have carried the weight (pun intended) of binge eating disorder for most of my life. Food and I haven’t had the best relationship, but in the last few months I have felt myself getting more comfortable. The idea of eating before I feel like I am going to burst at the seems has been easier. I no longer feel the need to hide snacks throughout my living space, or sneak food behind my roommates backs. I’m open about my love of food. We are in a good place, food and I.

Yet, when I heard the doctor say “losing weight will help this go away”. All that work and progress disappeared for a moment and I wanted to stop eating forever. I wanted to breakup with food while simultaneously wanting to go binge eat McDonalds behind closed doors. All the pain and anguish from the last 20 years came flooding back in me and I wanted to cry. It felt as though time had stopped for a moment when he said it and a loop of all the self-hate I had ever experienced jumped to the front of my mind. In that brief moment I felt more than just the pain that was in my stomach.

Time stopped it’s because those feelings all happened in slow motion but when time resumed it went away fast. I sat for a minute in my office before returning to work and I thought about how far I have come and all the ways I can help my stomach without using a scale to figure it out. I googled good foods to eat for gastritis and did some deep breathing exercises. Of course, a visit from baby Sarah was also warranted.

Closing my eyes, she came to me crying, putting her hand on her stomach she called herself ugly. We held hands and we put our hands on our stomachs and together we talked about being gentle with ourselves, with our words, and with our bodies, and particularly with our stomachs. Wiping her tears, I told her the real meaning of beauty; that no matter our appearance on the outside, true beauty comes from within. Fat doesn’t make you less than, it doesn’t make you unworthy, and it definitely doesn’t make you ugly.

All of this happened last week Friday and since that day, I’ve had to visit with baby Sarah a few times. I’ve found myself more hesitant with food, brief moments of wanting to restrict and binge. I am being gentle with myself because I know that day I was triggered and it brought up a lot of feelings I haven’t seen in awhile. This doesn’t mean I haven’t healed or done the work, in fact without that work I wouldn’t have been able to work through all of those feelings so quickly. And quite frankly, that is what life is made up of- unpredictable moments that catch you off guard; sometimes those moments are happy ones and sometimes they are heartbreaking ones. Both make us stronger.

If you are having a hard time because you just so happened to have a heartbreaking moment catch you off guard, please try to be gentle with yourself. If you are grieving, if you are triggered, if you are just hurting the most important thing you can do is let yourself feel it and work with it, not around it. You are stronger today than you were yesterday. And as always, if you are not in a place to work with it, that’s okay. What you need is what you need and there is no shame in any of that.

A[wo]men

in the dips

of your rolling fields

find home

Earlier this week on the island I call my second home, Prince of Wales, Alaska, a tragedy occurred. Copied text from the GoFundMe page: “Herbie Nix Jr. was born to Marvell and Herb Sr. (Big Herb) on September 23, 2002. Lil Herb passed on October 5, 2020.  We are asking for support for the Nix/Edenshaw family during this very difficult time. Thank you in advance for your emotional and financial support. We will update you on the service times. Any cash donations may be given directly to the Nix family. Monetary donations can be made through GoFundMe, Facebook Pay, Cashapp and PayPal.” Please donate by clicking this link if you have the means and send love and healing to the island ❤

Attachment Style Renovations

c/w self-harm, anxiety, violence

Hello, my loves! What a week it has been. Apparently, COVID-19 is over because everyone decided it is and the rules no longer matter and fires are dominating our land and TikTok is where I get the most news. Oh, and people are getting sterilized WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT because that’s a thing we do here in the great ol’ U.S. of A. It is a lot. I hope as you are reading this you are doing something to take care of yourselves in these unprecidented *rolls eyes* times.

I legitimately had a moment yesterday where I was convinced the world was ending. I started to get sweaty palms as I looked up into the not quite clear skies in the east coast that have been penetrated by the smoke from the west coast. Isn’t this how all those movies start? The ones where the world is ending? 2020 is like 4 of those end of the world movies all smashed together in one. I hope it gets nominated for some sort of an award because this year has really outdone itself.

My anxiety has been all over the place in the last week. As my depression has essentially been non-existent my mind is like, “well we need some sort of mental health predicament, don’t we?” Kind of rude, but whatever. Hence that whole ‘the world is ending’ thing. My anxiety, unlike my depression, is a ball of energy that needs to escape in some way, and it needs to escape as soon as it decides. Some may say it is too fast, too furious. Not to be confused with the 2003 film, starring Paul Walker, R.I.P. Most often it escapes through picking aka excoriation. If you had seen me this week, perhaps you noticed the welts or scars on my shoulders, chest, and face. This is my anxiety escaping. I don’t tap, I don’t click pens, I don’t bounce my knee. Instead, I turn my energy against myself, which, really, is a form of self harm.

It is sometimes unconscious and subtle and I have to ask people to hit me to get me to stop, while other times it is fully intentional and painful. There are a lot of reasons to be anxious right now re: the world ending. However, the thing that has me most anxious currently is a new relationship. It sounds so ridiculous typing it out. I know, rationally, that there are much bigger things to focus on, but distractions are a great way to get through some of the difficulties in life and I am welcoming this distraction with open arms. Plus, this blog is about my life and this is a big thing in my life.

New relationships often make me anxious, but this time it is in a different way. See, there has been a lot of bad people in the past; harmful, painful, brutal, made-me-suicidal relationships. This person feels different. He makes me feel safe and not in a way that is overbearing, but in the way that I can say I’m upset about x, y, z and he will say “okay, let’s work through it.” Hold up, you’re telling me I can just talk about my feelings and I won’t be made to feel like an insane person? What is this magic?

All of this sounds wonderful and grand. Except for the fact that because I am not used to it my anxious brain is like there is a catch and you need to protect yourself and he is going to destroy your life and we should probably eat everything in the fridge and make your skin bleed… for protection, of course. That part of my brain really is something. She can create the wildest scenarios anytime, anywhere. It is really impressive. The other day she was like “what if he actually is a murderer and is just waiting for the right moment to get you alone.” Like damn, dude… calm down. Next level kind of shit. I know this is all to protect me, so I let the thoughts in and digest them. I just need to work on not letting them take over.

Because the other message that it is sending is an old favorite- I don’t deserve good love. My attachment style- fearful avoidant- isn’t a very healthy one and tends to perpetuate that message. I operate a lot out of attachment theory when it comes to my work with clients, and like to practice what I preach. Attachment theory explores how we relate to others through the way we learned to relate to people as children. It poses that we carry those styles into adulthood and often replicate/perpetuate them. When we know our attachment style, we can better understand how we act in relationships (both platonic and not) and, hopefully, avoid recreating unhealthy attachments. #breakthecycle As someone who is fearful avoidant I typically want to be close to people, but am also terrified of being hurt and therefor try to avoid it. This can result in some really wonderful self-sabotage.

Earlier this month I talked about listening to my gut when it came to ending a relationship and I want to do the same in wanting to grow a relationship. Despite my anxious brain, my gut is telling me that this person is a good person. So, whether he is in my life for a month or for a long time, I want to accept that I deserve to have good people in my life. So, how am I working through all these feelings and desires of running away? Mostly by talking about it.

Every time I feel myself pushing him away, I vocalize it. If it is out there, there is no hiding from it. I can’t just melt into the feeling and let it take over. There is no rationalizing with it and justifying it. There is only reality testing it. This is the way we work through the hard things. We release them into the world and let them be heard. My anxiety has taught me this lesson. The feelings that live in our bodies will come out, and if we don’t let them out they will break out in ways we didn’t agree to.

The best part about working on this, is that he is so open to it! *Spoiler alert* he is also a therapist. My gut is telling me that it’s a great (healthy) sign that he is good at communication. My anxious brain probably won’t trust him for a little bit, but we’ll keep talking it out like mature adults do until she feels safe.

So, for this week, maybe we could try voicing how we feel. When you’re sitting with your significant other try letting them know if you are upset or even if you are happy. If you’re roommate just did something that didn’t feel good, let ’em know. If your dog is the goodest baby in the whole world, please, for the love of Beyoncé, tell them that. I think you might find that it will feel good to say how you are feeling and you’re body won’t be holding all of these things that it needs to release.

And as always, if you’re like ‘nah, I like my emotions right where I keep them buried’ you do you, booboo.

A[wo]men

falling in love

is easy,

like lazy afternoons.

being in love

takes work,

like building

your dream home,

from the ground up.

-attachment style renovations

Body image, trauma responses, and a pandemic, OH MY!

c/w trauma, binge eating disorder

Hello all! I hope this post finds you in a space that is ready to read. If not, perhaps put down the device and take a moment for yourself to create a more suitable space. I take no offense, please take care of yourself. For those of you that do find yourself in such a space to read, I welcome you!

I’m currently sitting at my dining room table as my skylight windows are drenched in what can only be described as a bleak, gray, uninviting day. I would also describe this as the perfect writing weather- nowhere to be, no rush to get outside, just a strong desire to process. So buckle up friends because today we are driving full force into it: Body image, trauma responses, and a pandemic, OH MY! So, let’s get into gear, shall we?

This last week or so has been rough. I had a shift in mindset and I can pinpoint the exact moment it happened. I was sitting on my phone, for longer than I had intended, scrolling through social media, and this old voice comes into my head. ‘You’ll never be like them. They are popular and beautiful and you will never be them, so stop trying. And they certainly don’t want to be like you.’ I couldn’t seem to turn the voice off. Running, which has been my solace throughout this pandemic, couldn’t even shut it down. It just played over and over. This voice has been a dear friend of mine for some time even though I used to be really harsh with her. “SHUT UP!” I would usually yell, which only made it louder. I now use a different approach. I respond gently and inquire what is coming up, what memory or pain is there?

There were plenty of memories and pain. I knew I was having a trauma response (hence the skipped blog post last week). I had stomach aches and I recognized them from a mile away; I got them all the time as a kid. This is known as the mind-body connection, wherein your body hears what your mind is saying and responds to it (i.e. sadness leading to stomach aches). I have gone through different types of trauma in my life and there are a few warning signs that let me know a trauma response has been triggered. First, my inner critic starts up. Second, are the stomach aches. Third, is this overwhelming desire to eat until I can’t feel, which then masks the stomach aches. No longer do I have to think about the feeling I am having, but rather I can focus on the self-induced pain I have caused by eating too much.

This is also known as Binge Eating Disorder, something I have suffered from for most of my life. Actually, I would like to instead say, something I used for coping with most of my life. Albeit, not a healthy way of coping, but a coping skill nonetheless. The thing about binge eating though, is that it all connects back to that initial thought, right? Because when I eat too much, I feel like a failure, which then makes me sad, which then makes me have stomach aches, which then makes me want to binge eat. It’s a cycle.

So, this brings me back to that harsh vs. gentle voice. Since I now know and recognize all the signs, I am able to process a little differently. In this last week, I had a lot of reflection time. What is coming up, what memory or pain is there? This pandemic has brought up a lot of hard memories and pain. Memories of feeling alone. Memories of being a teenager and feeling like being here was just a little too hard. A lack of direction and needing guidance. Pain from broken relationships. Thoughts about loss of love. It was baby Sarah again, just wanting someone to hold her.

I would like to note that as I am writing this, tears are splashing onto my table, flowing from my cheeks like a waterfall. Not because I am sad, no; I am crying because there is a release happening. It’s like being under water for a long time and then getting to come up to the surface for air. There is that mind-body connection again, my brain processing and my body responding to it. In this connection, I’ve learned that the best way to heal from past experiences is actually embracing how my body is responding, not shaming it.

I’m also crying because my younger self only knew shame. Now, knowing that there are other ways to understand oneself is equivalent to taking in that first big breath of air. Shame was something I learned young and specifically from how I presented my body. I remember being a young girl and “developing early” as they say. My boobs grew in fast and my butt was always bigger than the rest. Something I now embrace, but as a kid I could only feel shame about. I remember wearing outfits that would hide and distract from the fact that my body didn’t look like the girls in my class. My friends were all thin and blonde and kids. I was thicc, had boobs in fifth grade, brunette, and had to grow up too fast.

I guess this is all to say that quarantine is bringing up these feelings in me again. I can feel baby Sarah isolated and alone, but instead of feeling shame I go to the source and I examine it deeply.  So the source came from when I was scrolling. What was I seeing as I was scrolling? This thicc body of mine has been a source of jokes for many people lately. Memes draped in images that look like my body, with words that express fear of being like me. Posts about eating too much because there is nothing to do, when my stomach knows what overeating really feels like. These images have hit the core of baby Sarah and that inner critic. However, after exploring it more I found that these things have not made me feel shame, what they have made me feel is lucky that I now know my worth. That I have had time to examine my body outside of what others think it should be and I have found pride in the creases and lumps and dips and highs and lows. I remind baby Sarah of all the things this beautiful body has brought us. This life I have is all thanks to the body that got me here.

I say to her now:

“Baby, we don’t feel shame for this body anymore. We still feel a lot of things all the time, but we do not have the space for shame. Brené Brown once said ’empathy is the antidote to shame’ and we hold that antidote inside. We are superheroes, healing ourself. We still feel a lot of things all the time, but baby shame is no longer one of them. There is a pandemic and people are sick. We are healthy and surviving. I know it feels easier to focus on our body because it is a space we can understand, but if we are going to do that we are going to use our antidote. Baby, we don’t need shame, we need understanding and self-compassion. It’s okay that we felt triggered, we experienced some tough things, but guess what? We made it through and we will keep making it through. Baby, we do not have the space for shame.”

In this quarantine if you are finding yourself responding in ways that you don’t like, try not to yell “shut up!” Maybe try a gentler approach. Gather your empathy that you so often share with others and turn it inward. You deserve love and understanding as much as anyone around you does. Perhaps, you’re having trouble knowing how to be gentler and that’s okay too. Just try starting small, like saying ‘shh’ instead of ‘shut up’ and maybe those words eventually turn into ‘I love you’.

But for now, just remember, you are a superhero with the antidote for shame right inside of you.

A[wo]men

**Side note: with this blog post I am doing a giveaway! To enter:

  1. Follow my instagram account- sarahlorrainerobinson
  2. Follow my friends instagram account- sopowart
  3. Tag a friend that you think would enjoy reading this weeks blog and use the hashtag #awomengiveaway on a photo on my instagram page.

You will then be entered to win $50 via Venmo and a painting made by sopowart (see featured image for painting). Winner will be chosen Friday 5/1.

SHUT UP!

SHUT UP!

SHUT UP!

“I can’t.”

they whisper.

“but maybe,

if you held my hand,

i could change my tune.”

-how to approach yourself

 

 

I’m Full!

Oh my what a week it has been. My parents were visiting for a few days and just left today and I am exhausted. I really am an ambivert. I like some time with others, but gosh I really need that alone time too. Too much of one makes me go all wonky. It’s a balance really.

I think one of my favorite things about having visitors in the city is having them see what life is really like. I pretty much forbid tourist attractions. If you want to see the statue of liberty, mom and dad, go see it on your own. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Harsh words, I know, but like you’ve seen it once that’s good enough. They did, btw. They went to the statue of liberty while I was at work, bless their hearts.

“You really walk this much? Does the noise ever bother you? How do people drive in this city? (*hint, we don’t.) Do you ever miss Alaska and the quietness? (*Hint, I do.) Are people nice? Do you go to Manhattan? Is that weed I smell? Is that lady always on your stoop?” -All excellent questions from out-of-towners I’ve had.

The thing is, just like I am an ambivert, I am also a middle-of-the-road dweller. I need some of both when it comes to my living place. Alaska, was just a bit too quiet for me. Thoughts of bears eating my face off would take over and well, in the quiet it’s hard to turn those thoughts off. Living in Manahattan was like being sucker punched every morning when you walked out the door. Sometimes I would dream of a volume button I could put on the 1st ave to quiet all the busy workers down. Brooklyn, to me, is just right. *Dying my hair blonde and becoming Goldilocks now- except that whole fear of bears may deter this drastic change* My street is quiet and my apartment is even quieter- and cozy, if I do say so myself. It’s got beautiful town homes that line the street, and, as my mom kept insisting to joke about the entire trip, “a tree really does grow in Brooklyn.” (Good one, mom.) People, and by people I mean the dudes I talk to while online dating, ask me if I plan to stay in New York forever. I don’t plan on anything forever [learned that one a long time ago, okur], but I will be here indefinitely.

All this talk of Brooklyn makes me wonder where I will be in 5/10 years. In my last blog post I talked about all the things I was so sure of and how those things changed. This time two years ago, I was getting ready to move to Alaska. I thought Alaska just might be my forever home. I wonder what state I will be in, both physically and mentally, in another two years. I try not to wonder too much because then my imagination takes over and before I know it, I am living on a yacht with my sugar daddy in the Caribbean, where he has his off shore accounts. See, told ya this brain of mine can really get creative.

While it is super fun to have these imaginative moments, I also know it is wasted energy because I have no freakin’ clue where my life is going or how it will end up. Which interestingly enough is how I also write my blog posts, who knows how this baby is going to end! It is interesting though because in the past it was hard for me to ever think of the future. When I would think of the future I was most certainly alone and most certainly depressed. There was no fun creativity. I was Debbie Downer all the way *wah wah*. I think I am still just processing this whole ‘I can live a life without suicidal ideation’ thing. It has opened up my brain space in so many ways, I almost don’t know what to do with it all.

Actually, my brain space has opened up in a lot of different ways recently. Most notable, is that I stopped talking about weightloss, dreaming about weightloss, and really any sort of diet talk at all. When I hear things like “Ugh, I shouldn’t have eaten that” or “I’ll definitely need to earn my next meal” I just shut off my brain and zone out. And the coolest thing has happened since I have made this transition. For the first time in my life, *drum roll please* I felt full. Louder for those in the back- I FELT FULL. Let me tell you, two of the weirdest feelings in the world have occurred to me in the last month. I stopped hoping to die and I stopped feeling the need to binge eat. Last week I wrote a poem about what it feels like to not have suicidal ideations. I wish I could also write a poem about feeling full but it is honestly indescribable. Trust me, I have tried to explain this to people that don’t have an eating disorder and it just doesn’t work. Unless you know the feeling, I don’t know any other way to tell you.

The first time I felt it, I was confused AF. I remember just like closing my eyes and thinking aliens have invaded my body. What was happening in my body.. This weird sensation. I was fully present while I was eating and I was listening to my body. It told me it was full and I just listened. Ever since that day, when I feel full I can’t help but smile. Like hey, look at me listening to my body signals and being aware and shit. This is not to say that I don’t ever overeat anymore. Sometimes the chocolate is just too good to put down, but when that happens I no longer feel guilt or shame.

In fact, I am over feeling guilt or shame for anything I choose to do to my body. I am over people convincing me that I should feel guilt or shame. Part of the reason I developed an eating disorder was due to guilt and shame about what I looked like. Want to know why I wanted to die? Guilt and shame about who I am as a person. And, heck, I am living in a privileged body. I’ve actually moved away from writing about the body positive movement for this reason. I do not want to diminish any body that has felt discrimination, that has experienced this message of guilt and shame particularly due to intersectionality, and I do not wish to center my voice in this movement. I mostly just want to say that it is a wild ride to decide to not care how people see you. I would actually like to give credit to those that are centered in this movement because they are part of my healing journey, that led to me being able to be a diet culture drop out. Some notable people you should be following on IG is @lizzobeeating, @bopolena, @sassy_latte, @libbyshappyproject, @theeverymanproject,  and @recoverybrainfood. I could keep going but I will limit myself. Part of my journey to this space of fullness was unfollowing all the accounts that made me feel bad about who I was and follow accounts that are about standing in their truth and feeling good about it. How could I feel full when the people I was following before made me feel so empty? It was one of the best small changes I made for myself. And of course shout out to my therapist, who is the real MVP. In these changes and commitments to myself and my wellbeing, I was able to drop the guilt and shame and realize it was the only weight I actually needed to lose.

Before I moved to Brooklyn, I was at a low point in my life. Now, here in my safe space, I am growing into something I never thought would be possible. I’ve told many clients that I’ve worked with before that just because you move somewhere new, does not mean that it will change the things you are struggling with. And while this is true, it is important to note that it can be positive to get a new perspective; to try new places until you find the place that feels ‘just right’. This can mean changing places physically, mentally, or even virtually. Finding a place that lets me feel full and alive and in love with myself is the place I want to be.

I want to really encourage you to stop following the accounts that make you feel bad. Even just try it for a day, you can always go back to them- they aren’t going anywhere. It changed a lot for me and it just might have the same impact for you.

A[wo]men

click. scroll. like. like. scroll.

it’s not fair, they’re better-

IG tragedy.

-How to feel empty

So, that’s how this one decided to end. Fascinating.

My Body is a Monument

Hi all, I think I am still riding the high from last weeks post. If you didn’t get a chance to read Kitty’s story I highly encourage that you do so. It was awesome to be able to write about someone else for a change. And I am beyond excited for my September story that will be coming at the end of this month, so keep an eye out!

As for this week, I have something important I would like to write about. This is something that used to dominate my blog, but I have steered away from for quite some time.

I am ready to talk about it again: My Body.

**Trigger warnings of self-harm and eating disorders**

In therapy, I talk a lot about my relationship with my body. I do a lot of inner child work  which you can read more about with this link. For one of my sessions we talked about my first memory of hating my body.  She told me to close my eyes and just think of a memory that comes up. I could picture it so clearly:

My hair was a mess that day because we had just gotten back from recess. I was wearing cat ears made of felt and so the felt kept rubbing against my hair and creating the little ones to stand up with my pony slicked back as tight as it could go. I was wearing a navy blue nike shirt and some jeans. There was so much joy because it was the last day with our 1st grade reading buddies.  My co-reading buddy and I crouched down next to our first grade friend and the adult snapped the shot. A few days later the pictures were developed and hung in the hallway. I remember feeling complete shame every time I had to walk past that photograph. My co-reading buddy was flawless. Her long blonde hair flowing in the photograph, no sign of rolls on her skin. I remember thinking how she was pretty and thin and I was fat and ugly.

I was 10 years old. 

I remember having to go to JCPenny for back to school shopping because it was the only store that had clothes for bigger kids. I  recalled the hatred I felt for being the fat cheerleader, squeezing into the largest skirt they had.  I remember developing breasts much earlier than I wanted and being teased about it constantly. I wanted to hide in a baggy sweatshirt and never let anyone see my body, including myself.

My body has been was a battleground for as long as I can remember. In high school, as my depression peaked, I began cutting my thighs. Why my thighs, you might ask? Well for starters it was much easier to hide. Also, I hated my thighs more than I hated any other part of my body. I thought maybe scars would make me love them more and if that didn’t work at least they would be punished for being the bane of my existence. I hate to admit that it worked. I liked the scars. I like telling people that my cat scratched me when the wounds would make a brief appearance at a sleepover. I liked having this secret ritual that helped me cope with the hatred I was feeling for my body.

And with all that I ate.

I ate to cope. I ate to stay the way I was. I ate to feel. Food was my life raft.

It got dark… like really dark. For a long time I think I was just drifting along in a sea of darkness, not really knowing or wanting to know how to get out. Then, little by little, it started to get light.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately to understand how I got from point A to point B. How did I go from despising my body more than anything to people telling me I inspire them to love their own body? It certainly wasn’t over night.

So, I did what always helps me process, I sat down and I started writing. I wrote about the teasing, the cheerleading, the comparisons, the dieting, the misunderstandings of my own worth. I thought about my need for love and how I put value to my body by peoples desire to have it. I doodled about the body positive movement, Ashley Graham, and Lizzo. I wrote about writing and the power I found from telling my truth about my body. I journaled about my binge eating disorder diagnosis and what it felt like to hear that for the first time. Then I thought about therapy and all the help it has given me.

Earlier I wrote that my body has been a battleground and crossed it out, because it feels as though the war is finally over. My body is now a monument where a battle used to take place. This is not to say that I am all loving, never have a down day, totally happy all the time. Ew. This is to say that I can now go to these parts of myself without a sword in my hand trying to cut them all down. I can sit with the feeling and let it just be there. Like most monuments, I pay tribute to all the ways the war shaped me and what it taught me. Basically, I got from point A to point B by learning how to be gentle… And Lizzo.

When it comes to all the work I have done, and keep doing, it is all with the hope that the next generation, my own future kids, can feel happy in their skin. I don’t want to pass down an ideal of what size, gender, height, body box they have to fit into. I just want them to be kids.

And so lately, when I start to feel really down about my body, I think of what I would do as a kid if I didn’t have this ideal in my head. Then, I stand in front of my mirror, usually in my bra and underwear and I just dance. I put on a song that I can’t help but move too, I wiggle my thighs with the scar still there, moving with me. I look at my body with a bit of naivety, just allowing it to be. 10/10 would recommend.

A[wo]men

If you are struggling with your body image, please know that you are not alone. Also know, that it doesn’t have to feel this way forever. Little by little it can get lighter for you. And if you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder reach out to the  National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) or me and I can assist you in finding the help you want.

The weapons are drawn.

And as the mirror shatters,

Your own worst enemy has been defeated.

-How to build a monument

*Featured image drawn during my exploration doodles of the body-positive movement. Done with my eyes-closed, as encouraged by a dear friend, to take away judgement*

Stories are Awareness

I would like to start this post with a follow-up from last week, as promised. I went to yoga AND I went snowshoeing with a friend. Unfortunately, I did not meet someone new in the community and talk to them about anything other than the weather. I’m sorry, y’all, but it was sunny ALL weekend on Prince of Wales and that is rare and therefore that is what you talk about. I’ll keep working on that one. This weather may also be why I have a pep in my step, or it could be from all the oxygen I consumed on my hike yesterday. Jury is still out. No matter where it came from I am welcoming it with open arms.

**Trigger warning: Discussion of bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating**

As I welcome the renewed sense of self, there is something I think I need to talk about today. Something that I promised I wouldn’t talk about, but seeing as it’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I only find it appropriate. I think part of the reason I didn’t want to write about binge eating was because I felt like I was relapsing, the other part was as I said; I am obsessive even when I am eating right and the more I blog about it the more it becomes my world. That’s why I am allowing myself to write about it today; stories are awareness. As Jordan Peele best stated “I think it builds empathy… story is the most powerful weapon for change… I think of story as a weapon against violence, against the bigotry, against hatred, against the policies.” Now, here is my story:

The first time I can remember really feeling fat was in the fifth grade. I was 10 years old and I took a picture with my best friend. I remember looking at the picture and thinking about how terrible I looked. It was one of those Polaroid pictures that printed out right away… I wanted to tear it up and never see it again. Unfortunately, the picture got to hang in the hallway of our school, so every day I would walk past it and think about how ugly I was. I saw my friend who was thin and blonde and perfect, standing next to an ogre. Reminder, I was 10. 10 years old. I just have to keep repeating it because sometimes I can barely believe it. I shouldn’t have been holding beauty standards like this against myself. Honestly, this is my first memory of it, but it doesn’t mean it was the first time I felt fat or ugly.

Then there was cheerleading. I started cheerleading in the 5th grade and I loved it. I loved that I could yell at the top of my lungs and no one thought it was strange. I was as quiet as a mouse and this was my time to shine. When I was out on the track I really did feel like a star. I didn’t think about my size or my hair or what problem I had that day. I just got to yell and look strong as I held other girls up in the air. I got to be a base for someone and that helped contrast the fact that I always felt like I was floating away. However, the day we got outfits assigned to us was also a day I can’t seem to forget. “This one doesn’t fit either… I need the next size up” I said, after trying on my third skirt and holding back my tears. I was mortified. I loved every other part of cheerleading, except for the day we got our outfits assigned. I did cheerleading for seven more years and every year I dreaded that day.

Then middle school happens and everyone’s body is a hot mess and everyone is a bully. Middle school is a war zone for self-esteem. This is my first memory of binge eating. If I was going to wear the XL cheerleading uniform, I might as well own it. Always seconds on lunch. Bags of chips at sleepovers that disappear mysteriously. Telling my friends I didn’t eat dinner, when I ate dinner at home, but their parents would make us a second dinner. I one time made a bet to date a boy for 3 months for free cookies. That was a low. They were really good cookies though.

Onto high school where my eating really gets disordered. I am 15 and still haven’t had a boyfriend and this seems problematic. “Is it because I eat too much? Maybe I shouldn’t eat at all?” Of course that didn’t last long because I loved food and food loved me. I know that in my lifetime I have said “I am so jealous of people that can be anorexic” more than I care to admit. That sentence makes me shudder. Anorexia is deadly and I was jealous of those killing themselves. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health states that anorexia is the most fatal mental health diagnosis. I am so sorry to anyone I have said this to. After I realized that I couldn’t starve myself, I moved onto binging and purging, also known as bulimia. I figured this way I could have my McDonald’s and eat it too and then forget that I had McDonald’s. This went on for quite some time, but not consistently. Luckily, my friends were too observant for me to be able to excuse myself after every meal. It would be more like once or twice a week. This was not effective for weight loss, as I so desperately wanted, but definitely upped my cavity count.

This all leads to my binge eating disorder which became most problematic when I moved out on my own for the first time. Since I was alone more than I had ever been before, I could hoard food and go to multiple restaurants and nobody wondered about it. I could lie and say I was at class and it they believed me.  Forget the Freshman 15, hello Freshman 50. I wasn’t in cheerleading anymore and I had free range of a dining hall and groups that pulled people in with “Free Pizza” signs. College is also known for it’s copious amounts of alcohol and since I was sober until I was 18, this was a world of binging I never knew. Of course all of this was coinciding with depression. Talk about the hot mess express. Binging become my constant, my comfort. I would go a very long time binging and then realize I should be healthier and I would work out for a couple months maybe eat some more fruits and veggies, then I would relapse again. This cycle continued over and over and over again. Once I got to my mid-20’s I realized something had to change. Drastically.

Now for the good part, because even I am like woah.. when does this get better? It got better when I started telling people about my story.  I started going to therapy. I told my friends the struggles I’ve had with food. I started a blog about it. I read articles upon articles about girls and boys who have had the same experiences. Even the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual) recognized binge eating disorder and added it to the most recent update. I now know how and where to reach out for help. When I do feel like I am relapsing I tell people. I yell it from the rooftops “I HAVE A PROBLEM!” Because there is no shame in having a problem. That was the best lesson I ever learned. Problems are natural and when we keep them a secret they will continue to be a problem. Knowing that I can reach out makes my relapses smaller and my comebacks bigger. I am hoping eventually eating will just be something I do when I am hungry instead of having to keep track. For now, I talk about it. I am only strengthened by those who I allow to lift me up. My family, my friends, and my readers lift me up. You all become my base when I feel like I am floating away.

So, as early as age 10 I remember hating my body and this turned into several years of disordered eating. This is not natural. This is a social construct of beauty that we put on people at a very young age. We talk about our negative self-image in front of our daughters and sons and they hear it. We blast weight loss products and chip commercials in the same breath. We write “fat bitch” in the comments. Children begin to internalize that self-hate is the norm… when that should be so far from the truth. The more we talk about the pieces of ourselves we love, the better off the generation after us will be. And honestly, when we start to realize as a society that food is a means to live rather than a money-making business we will all benefit from it. Mind you, I use the term “we” because we are all part of this society whether we want to be or not and it is up to all of us to change it. Oh, and to the media, I see you trying to represent more bodies, and I applaud that, but we can do better. I know we can. Looking at you, The Bachelor.

If you feel like you or someone you know is experiencing disordered eating, please reach out to me, someone you feel comfortable with, or the National Eating Disorder Hotline 800.931.2237 You are not alone.

 

PS I feel like my posts have been a little heavy the past few weeks, so I would like to write something a little more upbeat next week. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

A Fresh Start

Guess who’s back with a brand new blog, she got everybody on the internet going mad? It’s me, you guessed right. For those of you familiar with my writing, I enjoy being dorky and it’s not going away #sorrynotsorry. Oh, I also enjoy all things pop culture and that will be here to stay too. However, I have switched blogging venues and content for two very important reasons:

  1. Tumblr reminds me of high school and I hated high school.
  2. I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT MY WEIGHT/FOOD ANYMORE.

See, here is the thing… while talking about my weight loss journey was helpful at times, it also became obsessive. Go figure, when your diagnosed with an eating disorder obsessive is your middle name. “Hi, I’m Sarah Obsessive Robinson. I constantly talk about, think about, dream about, and cry about food. Will you marry me?” Sounds like a great Tinder bio, don’t you think? (This may be the reason I am single…) I digress. I’ve decided that part of my recovery from binge eating disorder MUST involve making time for things that do not involve what I am eating this week. Instead, I would like to take time each week to focus on other important things to me like my new move to Alaska, why Kesha is my hero, the #Metoo campaign, and what color nail polish I’m really into this week. Okay, maybe not a whole blog on what color nail polish I’m into, but I will say matte top coat is my new favorite thing.

I am currently writing this post on the ferry to Alaska where I will begin my journey as a real life social worker. I FEEL LIKE SUCH AN ADULT. 4 days ago I packed up my car, appropriately named Amelia Rodham Robinson, and hit the road for Washington, where I caught the ferry to Alaska. Let me tell you, I’ve met some pretty cool people along the way. Including, but not limited to, a woman named Sarah Lee, who swears she is a terrible baker, a little boy that hopes he see’s the pigeon he was feeding again because he is going to bring him a dessert, and a guy that moved from California to Washington, quit his job of 10 years on a whim and went fishing in Alaska and now hopes to open a gym. This trip has reminded me that people are spectacular and resilient. Hell, it reminded me that I am also those things. Since I have had so much alone time, I’ve gotten the chance to really get to know myself. Things I like about me, things I don’t, things I regret, things I miss, and things I can’t wait for.

Aside from pondering my life, I also had the chance to scream music at the top of my lungs for an extended period of time. Most played: Hamilton Soundtrack.

‘Look at where you are,

Look at where you started from,

The fact that you’re alive is a miracle.’

These lines swirl inside my head over & over again.

If I can stay alive, that would be enough.

And to me staying alive doesn’t mean my pulse is beating and my lungs are breathing. To me, staying alive is feeling alive. As someone who lives with an ebb and flow of depression, sometimes feeling alive is watching 12 hours of “Are you the one?” on MTV and drinking a bottle of red wine. Sometimes, it means that I travel halfway across the country to follow of my dreams of being a social worker. And of course, there is everything in between. The most glorious part is that I know what I need to be alive.

So, this blog is about me, a 27-year-old single (get at me), white girl, recovering binge-eater, social worker, intersectional feminist, pescatarian, Sagittarian, ocean lover just trying to make it in the world as best as I know how. I know, just what the world needed, right? Probably not, but that doesn’t really matter to me. This blog is my place of worship… this & goodwill. Therefore, I would like to end this first post with a prayer:

Dear Female Yeezy,

Thank you for this life.

Awomen.

PS. I hope to keep this blog much more mixed with content, so any suggestions, requests, or tips are greatly appreciated.

PPS. You can be critical, but also be nice, because I’m super sensitive. As my dad would say (well actually Wayne Dyer because he is #obsessed) “if you have the option of being right or being kind, choose kind.”