realization and liberation.

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Today I did something I never thought I’d do. This morning I sent a ruthless message to a all but one guy who had ghosted me. Be it after dates or talking, poof there they go without an explanation of why leaving me wondering what the hell went wrong. The one I left out is one who I’ve invested too much emotional energy in the past and I’ve finally accepted that this is a person who probably has never given a single thought about me nor cared for me to begin with. My message would only create more lies and manipulation and I have no more care for that.

Anyway, long story short, I wrote how I would have appreciated a simple “yes” or “no” or just even a departing goodbye sentence as to why they were choosing to leave instead of pulling a ball-less disappearing act on me. Some exact words I used were insensitive, dickless and spineless and I wished them a nice life.

I realize this sounds quite bratty and vengeful, 2016 hasn’t been well for me in terms of dating. I’ve put up with less than ideal behavior from guys and I never really stood up for myself and put my foot down to maintain my respect and dignity. I stoically accept it and walk away like a dog with its tail between its legs and walk away wondering what went wrong for days. But somehow this time was different. It was like something just suddenly rose in me and pushed for me to do this. And so I did.

I wasn’t expecting a response from any of them but to my amusement, they responded within the hour with an apology. I burst into laughter, both by the fact that they actually responded and by the reasons they gave. What did I get out of it, you may ask. Somehow, I got a renewed sense of self confidence, increased recognition of my self-worth and a boost in my self esteem. I also felt a sense of relief, that finally what I had always been fretting about was finally resolved.

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 the act of releasing and providing relief from strong or repressed emotions

I’ve never been one to hold my ground in the dating world. I bend over backwards sometimes too much and forget that I’m worth something too, and that I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Today I fought for myself and reminded myself that I shouldn’t have to put up with such behavior from men ever again. Yes I’ve been ghosted by other men before when I was younger and it never bothered me, but I let that nonchalance carry over and in the process, I lost sight of how I deserve to be treated.

Self-love isn’t just about loving and treating your physical body right – its also about treating your mind right and knowing kind of behavior from others to reject and accept.

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end of 2016

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3 days before the end of 2016 my phone died on me. Well not really, but that’s how I’m choosing to describe it. What happened was the circuit board malfunctioned and now I’m using an old backup phone The woman at the Apple store said there’s no way to determine the cause of the malfunction and could be due to a number of things: a bug from an insecure website or repeatedly using my phone while charging. Apparently we’re not supposed to use our phones when its charging. Ironically I’m still using my replacement phone and charging it at the same time, but that’s because the battery depletes like 10 times faster given how old it is! It goes from 20% to 2% in 2 hours, what the hell is going on =_=

I wasn’t able to receive or make calls, not receive or send texts. I was devastated more by the loss of all the photos and videos. About 80% of it is backed up but not the rest because when I updated my phone months ago it wasn’t connecting to my laptop and I still haven’t found a way to fix it without buying a new one. All the memories in there, with friends, family, events, dance and selfies (yes selfies yes the damn selfies as well my best looking moments are in selfies). Anyway, I see the loss of my phone as the start of something new. There are a few things in that phone that I shouldn’t be holding on to anyway. Screenshots of messages from people who’ve left my life, for one. I don’t know why I still keep them but maybe on Wednesday God decided that enough was enough and swooped in for the kill. I feel almost relieved actually to know that those screenshots are gone for good. I was having a hard time letting go.

Anyway, 2016 is ending and all that new year new me shenanigans has been sprouting up left and right since Christmas ended. Instead of doing New Year resolutions for this post, I’ll make a list of things I learned in 2016 and end it with a list of advice I intend to take for myself in 2017.

Things I Learned in 2016

  1. You win when you choose not to play with a toxic person. Sometimes the best way is to walk away and leave them be.
  2. Pay attention to their actions and not their words.
  3. How you feel about yourself is more important than what others feel about you.
  4. There will be some people in your life who are temporary, but by God they are the ones that teach you some of the greatest lessons than you can ever have.
  5. When people walk away from your life despite whatever efforts you put in, let them: they’re not meant to be in your life.
  6. Heartbreak isn’t always caused by someone else. Sometimes heartbreak is self-inflicted.
  7. Closure doesn’t come from another person. Closure comes from within.
  8. Beauty IS indeed in the eye of the beholder.
  9. Don’t expect anything from anyone.
  10. Nothing serious = sex only. No matter what he says. That’s it end of story
  11. Stop running back to things and people that you know will leave you hurt, no matter how familiar or comforting it is.
  12. Don’t live for the praise or applause of others. Be and do things for yourself. Others will be there for you forever.
  13. Love comes when it will, not when you ask it.

 

To Remember in 2017

  1. Put myself first
  2. Take charge of my own life and goals
  3. Stay away from fuckboys and toxic lovers.
  4. Take more charge and courage in my decisions
  5. Work on my relationship with my food and body.
  6. When it comes to relationships, pay attention to their actions and not their words
  7. Spend more time with my true friends
  8. Live the life that makes ME happy, not the one that others think I should.
  9. Give myself the freedom to start being human and show people my more vulnerable side. I don’t always have to hold it together.
  10. Work more on accepting the physical aspects of myself that I lack confidence in. Remember we live only once and we should live not for the applause and praise of others.

stop trying so hard

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Why are we trying so hard to fit in? Why do all want to lose weight and get thin? Why do restrict our food (only to binge after) and constantly work out in the gym to get a good body? Why do we care about what other people think about us? Why do we care so much about how many likes we get on Facebook and Instagram? Why do we care whether or not other people see as beautiful and thin? Why do we care about wanting to look a certain way and be a certain way?

Through my years of struggling with my eating disorder and body image issues, I’ve come to realize that much of my problems stem from a desire to look a certain way and gain social approval from others. Blame social media and the current body and beauty trends if you will, but it seems the type of body gaining lots of positive comments are “slim and lean” and “small waist, big booty”. I ask you to take a look at Instagram and look to popular social media influencers such as fashion bloggers and fitness models, and let me know what the most common body type is. I ask you to take a look at beauty pageants, at Hollywood and television and I ask you to tell me what the body type that gains the most positive attention. I ask you to look at magazines and tell me whether you see more titles telling you to embrace your body instead of dieting and losing 10 pounds and how to disguise your flabby belly.

The glamorization of certain female body types are harmful, to say the least. It triggers unrealistic expectations and undeserved body comparisons. It makes many of dislike our bodies and think negative thoughts. We start living the get a body because we want the same validation. After all, who doesn’t want to be complimented and admired and revered? Humans have an innate need for social approval and validation. We want to be accepted, to be liked and to fit in. But at what cost?

It doesn’t matter whether or not we have a curvy figure or not. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have long toned slim legs. It doesn’t matter if have a belly that jiggles and folds that we sit. If I do, does  it mean I’m less of a woman? How am I being judged based on how flat my belly is or not?

We need to stop thinking that being thinner, being curvier, being taller or having certain body types or certain appearances will make us happier. As someone who’s spent years trying to look a certain way, I can honestly tell you that you will be wasting your time. You can never be thin enough or curvy enough or sexy enough for some people. We’re not put on Earth to physically please others with our looks. The only thing that makes us happy, is to live our lives doing what we love without the validation of others.

You are allowed to live and be here and be present in your whole authentic self. You are allowed to post those “unflattering” photos of yourself on Instagram. You are allowed to leave the house without makeup (but with sunblock!) because you don’t need to wear makeup to be yourself! You are allowed to wear a bikini and cropped tops even if you aren’t skinny. You are allowed to be wholly you because you deserve to be here. You are allowed to love what you see in the mirror. 

Stop trying to please others and live for others. Live for ourselves instead. The more we keep trying to live up to the expectations of others in order to gain approval and validation, we slowly begin to lose ourselves. We begin to live for other people’s approval. Our self-worth becomes dependent on them; without it, we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Let’s just and stop sacrificing our happiness and sanity to live up to a certain beauty ideal. Live for ourselves, and live to be the best version that we can be without conforming to the pressures of beauty ideals. Because, fuck its exhausting.

The ones who accept us only if we look a certain way, aren’t the ones who should be in our lives The ones who accept us no matter what shape and size we are, are the ones who truly care for us.

turning 25: learning about love

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If there’s something that has been a strong defining (albeit ongoing)  experience that has really challenged my character – and still doing so actually – in the past year, it would be dating. Man, that stuff can become so complicated especially when you’re a hopeless romantic with a sassy mouth but a helluva sensitive heart. I used to be envious of those girls who meet a guy and they instantly connect and spend the next few years together. However in the past year having gone out to various events, meeting various men and going on dates, I’m glad I’m not one of those girls because every single man I meet has put me to the test and taught me an important lesson about self-worth.

I’ve met guys who want nothing serious from me, guys who just want some fun and guys who like me but sadly I couldn’t reciprocate their feelings. And I’ve learned some important things that I hope to carry with me into the future without forgetting it.

I’ve made the mistake of trying to change myself, going back on my own promises of self-love and battling that inner rage in me. I’ve let my moments of inadequacy and loneliness let me get emotionally played over and over again and fuck yes I get angry when I think of how weak I can be, but then I realize that this just makes me human, and only makes me stronger one annoyingly slow degree at a time. Maybe this is just a lesson I still need to be learning. Maybe this is helping me become stronger because I’m not as strong as I should be yet.

I’ve ignored red flags and went against my better judgement hoping that something will change yet ended up feeling more confused than ever. I’ve gone back to the same bad boy over and over again when something doesn’t work out because hey, we all need some attention right?

Yeah scoff at it I don’t care because I know you’ve done it before. Sure it a mixture of loneliness, low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, boredom, strong desire for love and emotional connection that made/makes me crazy, but when I take a step back, I think maybe I let myself get emotionally led because at the end of the day no matter how hurt and how tired I am, I hold on to hope. Hope that love will come to me.

I learned that I deserve the love that I give to others, and the right guy won’t make me question my worth or question my status in his life. I am not an option or a backup plan. I deserve someone who makes a place for me in his life, who will move mountains to come see me at the end of a long day even if he’s tired because he’s excited about wanting to share the day with and hear about mine. Someone who feels lucky in his life to have me because while I annoy him with my fickle-mindedness and need him to just friggin talk to me about his feelings, he still wants to share his life with me. Someone who challenges and motivates me to become a better woman. Someone who accepts my past and is willing to carry my struggles and help see them through with me. I deserve someone who wants me not because of my looks, but because I bring a smile to his face when he thinks of my quirks. Someone who chooses me every day and night and who fights for me.

That’s right. I want a man to fight for me because I’ve settled for men who wouldn’t fight for me even though they want me.

I don’t deserved to be half-loved. I don’t deserve someone who leaves than comes back one too many times because he’s run out of options.

I have a heart so pure that sometimes I cant help but fall deeply. I know what I can give, but I’ve settled for less than what I deserve because let’s be honest, I struggle with feelings of self-woth at times. When loneliness takes over, feelings cloud my judgment and my strong desire for emotional connection fucks me over. To let go is a big feat. I’m still letting go but I know that there is someone out there who will one day feel lucky that I’ve given them my heart, that I am willing to shoulder their burdens with them even though he’s not perfect because it takes two to tango.

My ability to love with my heart isn’t a weakness. Its a strength not all men can endure. We women shouldn’t have to shoulder the full responsibility of turning boys into men. I’ve fallen for men afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves but I wear mine proud like a lion because that is my honest-to-God true self. A man who wants me will accept me for who I am rather than leave me for it. I hold on to hope that after all the messiness I put myself through, love will find me unexpectedly in all its glory and it will come without me knowing, without me seeking and without me questioning whether or not I will ever truly be able to find love again.

World Eating Disorders Action Day – 9 facts I want you to know about EDs.

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Its said that if you want to change the world, all it takes is one small act to initiate much more major differences.

Today (June 2) marks the World Eating Disorders Action Day. a day that encourages us all to promote knowledge about eating disorders and encourage those struggling with it to seek treatment. When I think of what I want to tell others about eating disorders, the first thing I think of is that eating disorders can be deadly. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since the age of 17 and its been a tumultuous journey filled with days where I angrily starve myself, gorge on food with tears running down my face at times, obsessively logging calories in a log book, forcing myself to exercise every single day and cutting my forearm, all of which eventually led to suicidal thoughts.

While anorexia is what comes to our mind when we think of eating disorders, it doesn’t mean all women have them. In fact, anorexia isn’t even the most commonly diagnosed form of eating disorder.And because eating disorder are so heavily misrepresented and misunderstood, such as being a “rich white girl’s problem” it’s important for others to know more about this illness in order to gain a better understanding of what other people are going through.

I started my journey blogging about my journey recovering from an eating disorder in 2014.  I look at what others have done to advocate eating disorder awareness and recovery and I sometimes think that I pale in comparison. These amazing men and women have and/or  raise funds, initiate campaigns, maintain active blogs and social media accounts and write book and poems all to inspire and help those suffering from this illness, yet I’ve done nothing amazing that sparks a major change and when I think about that, I feel a sense of dissonance.

Here I am, preaching about body positivity and wanting to raise awareness about eating disorder recovery but I’m barely doing any amazing feats and barely inspiring people. So what exactly have I done?

  1. Started a blog about my journey recovering from an eating disorder and promoting body positivity
    • 2 posts of which are interviews done with women who I follow on Instagram
  2. Run an Instagram and Twitter account dedicated to supplement my blog
  3. Volunteered once at a women’s organization and provided suggestions on revamping their body image program.

But now that I think about it, all these little things are something. I’ve taken action to raise awareness in my own ways within the limits of the available time and resources I have. I may not have gather thousands of followers on my social media platforms, but I know that somewhere out there, there is one person reading something I’ve blogged about  and decided that he/she will choose to continue fighting another day instead of giving up.

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There are so many ways you can take up to show your support for people struggling with this illness. Help a friend, talk or listen, write an essay, donate some funds, take part in campaigns. We may not be able to change the world in a day, but all it takes is one small action which can make a big difference in someone else’s life.

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Do your part in raising awareness about eating disorders and helping to reduce and eventually end the stigma associated with it by taking the pledge here and sharing nine truths about eating disorders. Here’s my list of facts I want you to know:

  1. Eating disorders do not come in one size. They come in all shapes and sizes. I’m not skinny, but I have one.
  2. Eating disorders sometimes isn’t just about weight loss. Some people develop eating disorders in order to establish control over something negative in their life.
  3. The most common type of eating disorder affecting many people right now is called Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. 
  4. Anorexia typically begins at or just after puberty. Bulimia occurs in slightly older females, typically around 18. I developed bulimia-like behaviors at the age of 20.
  5. People in certain professions, such as dancers and models are more likely to develop eating disorders as compared to others. 
  6. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. In other words, you are more likely to die if you suffer from an eating disorder than if you suffer from depression.
  7. Pregnant women with eating disorders have a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes. Their babies are also at increased risk of developing neurological impairments and neuropsychiatric diseases.
  8. A “wait-and-see” approach to helping someone with an eating disorder does not help. It only delays recovery.
  9. Everyone fighting an eating disorder is brave. 

 

NEDA Week 2016

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As Eating Disorders Awareness Week comes to an end, I am taking the last few hours of this day to think about how my life has changed ever since I entered recovery.

At age 17, I started dieting to lose weight. When the weight refused to come off I went to more extreme and unstable methods to drop the pounds. I would skip meals, cut out for groups, count calories and run for hours on end. I was scared to eat out, refused to eat sweets and choose salads for meals, only to return home later and binge.

At 20, I began purging and I started getting depressed. I did my best to maintain my grades – which I did – but I was slowly drowning. I’d wake promising myself I wouldn’t binge, but I’d fail. I hated the way my body looked and refused to dress in anything other than black. I hated taking pictures. I wanted to lose weight. I was scared of food.

At 21, I became suicidal. I knew I needed help, but I was afraid of telling my mother. At 21, you’re supposed to be young and free, living your life with adventures and milkshakes, laughing at your mistakes and falling in love and traveling with friends. You’re not supposed to be suicidal at 21.

At 22, I started going for therapy, saw a dietician and trying to turn my life around. My psychologist stayed with me for 1 year to help me work on my issues but unfortunately, my eating did not get any better.

At 23, I doubled up my efforts in recovering. I was going through heartbreak and in an effort to reinvent myself, I focused on becoming a better person. Instead of focusing on eating, I focused on mindfulness and discovered the meaning & importance of self-love.

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Every since then my eating has slowly improved. I immersed myself in the eating disorder recovery and body positive community for support and am slowly emerging from my self-created prison. I’m learning to reject the standards of beauty society has, surrounding myself with people who encourage and support me throughout my journey & working on embracing my body for what it is. I’m learning to define myself in more than just physical looks. I’m slowly finding my confidence, becoming the woman I want to be, becoming more experimental with my clothing and style to express myself because my low self-esteem and self-hatred prevented me from embracing my identity.

I’ve been recovering for 3 years now, and I am still recovering. I don’t know whether I will fully recover in the future and I’m scared to think that one day I will relapse, but I tell myself that no matter how hard it is I will keep going. I will try to embrace every bit of my body and imperfections because I do not ever wish to return to the girl I was 5 years ago. I’ve tasted freedom and I want it. Sure there are days when I choose to eat less because I felt bloated and disgusting, and yes there are days when I hate my body and want to curl under my blankets, and yes I have moments when I compare myself to other girls wishing I had her body and okay there are times when I choose to exercise because I wanted to lose weight to be skinnier. But that’s ok because no one said recovery was going to be easy.

I’m not perfect and all that matters at the end of the day is that I choose recovery over quitting. 

I’m not fully recovered, but everyday I do my best to be the best version I can be and do my best to stick to the habits that promote recovery instead of those that support my disorder because I am worth, and deserve to live a life free from an eating disorder. I am not meant to be dieting and starving and crying. Life is not meant try fitting into a small size, gain approval and validation from others, & comparing yourself to other people wishing you were taller, skinnier, leaner and/or prettier.

I don’t want to be spending the rest of my life worrying about whether or not I ate too much, whether I’m skinny enough and pretty enough, how much exercise I should do to burn off all those calories. Instead I am meant to spread my wings and fly to live my life, gain experiences, make the  mistakes I’m supposed to make in my 20s so I can look back and laugh til I cry, go on whirlwind adventures, fall in love, dance to my heart’s content, wear my favorite outfits without shame or embarrassment, watch sunsets, dance in the rain (yes I love doing that), watch cupcake tutorials without feeling guilt and eat exotic food.

I am not meant to be defined by my weight, my size or my physical appearance. I am more than that. Ever since embarking on recovery I have started defining myself by my strength, my loyalty, my determination, my sass, my passion and the love in my heart.

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To all those out there on the path of recovery – you are worth recovery. You deserve to live a fulfilled life and you deserve happiness. It will be challenging, it will be difficult, it will be effortful and it will be painful, but you will find strength from your struggles and you will realize that the person that emerges from the ashes is one who is awesome and who is powerful, and you will begin to wonder why you haven’t met him/her sooner, and you will want to continue seeing how much this person will grow and see who this person will finally become. 

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Choose recovery. Choose happiness. Choose acceptance. Choose self-love. Choose life. 

Valentine’s Day: celebrating self-love

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For as long as I can remember I hated Valentine’s Day. Seeing all these happy couples doing cheesy things like holding hands and cuddling and girls carrying stuffed animals and giant bags full of gifts made me want to projectile-vomit and cut my eyes out because it felt like too much cheesy romantic things. Also, I didn’t need a reminder that I was single.

This year however I’m experiencing a different sort of emotion about Valentine’s Day. Yeah sure there’ll be the usual barrage of annoying couples doing annoying stuff(ugh), but somehow this month I’ve been reflecting on the many events I’ve been pt through that have tested and helped develop my character, and I’ve come to marvel at how much I’m learning what it really means to love yourself.

Loving yourself isn’t just about talking positive about yourself and having a healthy amount of confidence. Loving yourself also involves doing things that remind you of your self-worth & doing things that contribute to your own happiness.

So many young girls and women these days struggle to love themselves because they experience low self-esteem and low confidence, thereby making them feel unworthy of love. They judge themselves too much, compare themselves to unrealistic standards of physical attractiveness and engage in unhealthy behaviors (e.g. excessive exercising or disordered eating patterns) in order to fit into a mold set forth by society, all because they can’t accept and love themselves for the way they are right now.

This Valentine’s Day I’m taking a different approach. Instead of celebrating love for a guy I intend to celebrate love for myself. The many years I’ve spent struggling with an eating disorder and poor body image has made me realize that many of the things I’ve done were done out of self-hatred. Starving myself, binging, cutting, criticizing my looks, obsessively counting calories, rejecting compliments, hiding under ugly baggy clothes, were all things that were done out of self-hatred. When you love yourself, you nourish your body right rather than starve yourself. When you love yourself, you don’t punish your body for eating because of the unnecessary excessive guilt it inflicts upon you. When you love yourself, you dress to express your personality instead of hiding your body out of shame.

Also, this Valentine’s Day I’m celebrating my capacity for self-love by recognizing my worth and value as a woman. I’ve abandoned toxic relationship because my worth as a person, be it as a friend or romantic partner, wasn’t being sufficiently recognized and was making me unhappy. Through various situations I’ve faced & that has tested me, I’ve learned to recognize my self-worth, remind myself of the value that I am, be kind to myself & not disrespect myself in any way by compromising my beliefs to please others. When you love yourself, you are kind to yourself & make choices that you’re comfortable with. When you love yourself, you don’t change to please others; you be yourself and the right people will come to you. When you love yourself, you come to realize that self-criticism is a dangerous method of self-destruction & you mindfully engage in less of it.  

This Valentine’s Day, learn to fall in love with and embrace your imperfections, your flaws, the physical parts of your body that you want to change, your fears, your insecurities, your quirks because they are what make you uniquely you.

This Valentine’s Day, appreciate the love and passion that rests in your soul. Appreciate how sensitive you are, how kind you are, how loyal you are, how loving you are, and how giving you are. Don’t let heartbreak and loneliness douse the fire in your heart. Appreciate that you make mistakes & learn from them because you’re human. Appreciate that you can never be as strong as you want to be all the time, and allow yourself to be vulnerable and learn from being outside your comfort zone.

Finally, this Valentine’s Day, this photoshoot is to celebrate my love for myself because after years of hating my body, I want to live in the moment and enjoy exactly how fabulous and great I felt in that smashing bodysuit and tights.

“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”

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