Meet Me

How going on a detox brought back my borderline eating disorder

I was never a raging anorexic, nor was I a raging bulimic. I would eat… sometimes and I would starve myself… sometimes. Binge eating became a way to enjoy the magical wonders of food, but only because there was the option to throw up afterwards, or the more common go-to, starve myself afterwards.

I started tailoring my eating habits in middle school, putting myself through periods of starvation diets for days at a time. Thinking about it now makes me shudder, but at the delicate age of 13 when hormones are raging and emotions are exploding, most rationale goes out the window. All I wanted was to be sexy enough for the hot jock to look at me. JUST LOOK AT ME GOD DAMNIT.

Growing up female is hard. Your body is under scrutiny from an extremely young age, constantly being told, whether explicitly or not, that you are not perfect enough. For some girls, it’s their family members who put an unseemly amount of pressure on them to be skinny. For others, like me, it was television and the media. And before anyone rolls their eyes, let me explain.

Even before my middle school “diets”, before the hormone-induced pressure of wanting to be skinnier, I started sucking in my tummy. I’ve been doing it ever since I can remember. It wasn’t for anyone else. It wasn’t out of competition with other girls. It was of and for my own self image. What I saw in the outside world, on TV and in magazines, told me I needed a flat stomach. My mother told me I was beautiful. My father loved me to pieces. But even so, I tried my hardest to do to be skinnier.

And so, at age 6 I began sucking it in and 20 years later, I still do it, involuntarily. To relax my stomach muscles takes extreme, diligent focus. Who knows what kind of developmental damage I’ve done to my diaphragm over the years.

After the tummy tucking came the above mentioned binge-eating/starving fiasco that would follow me into college. I had a few years of healthier eating in high school, but it was as long-lived as my high school relationship. To say there’s a correlation between my eating habits and my love life would be an understatement. NOTE: eating habits should not be confused with body image, my body image was always, “I’m fat.”

It wasn’t until post college, living as a pauper in the real world and surviving off of $1 slices that I realized I needed a diet change. But why then? What was the giant motivating factor that would force me to realize the detriment I was doing to my body? A fissure in my anus. That’s right, one day, I started gushing blood from my butthole and if that doesn’t wake you up, then you’ve got way more problems than bad eating habits.

After that horror, I took steps to cut out the daily pizza slice and switch to healthier, greener meals. I added breakfast into my routine. I had giant lunches with lots of protein and tiny snacks for dinner.

Some of you may be thinking, well why not add dinner to the mix. Two things, I am of the strong opinion the 3 meals a day thing is not an accurate way to healthy living. AND let’s not get crazy, I still have body issues and I was trying to be healthier while maintaining a body weight that made me comfortable. My biggest feat, was learning how to eat when I was hungry. Neglecting my stomach needs became a thing of the past and I was so proud of myself for finally listening to my own body.

But then that mother fucker decided to change. At age 24, I developed a serious sensitivity to wheat and dairy. After putting so much effort into finally getting on a solid eating regimen, I now had to face the fact I was poisoning my body every day because of my love for carbs and cheese. I just couldn’t cut out my morning egg-avocado-bialy sandwich on my own. I needed a drastic lifestyle change, so I decided to go on a detox.

And detox I did.

Through an amazing vegan-based health, wellness & beauty company, I did a 30-day detox with friends to get our systems cleansed and rebooted. This meant NO gluten, dairy, added sugar, pork, fruit (only berries & green apples)… basically your plate should be 75% veggies, 25% protein. I was stoked. The more people I told, the more I found out they would NEVER do something like this, which only made me want to do it more. I was ready to get “cut.”

Turns out, I don’t do great with food restrictions.

I turned to living off of protein shakes since it was the easiest thing to make. One protein shake in the morning. A limited lunch of unfulfilling salad. And then nothing for dinner. I would be full of hunger, but instead of eating I would lay there and bury it until I didn’t feel it anymore.

Over the next two weeks, I dropped 7 pounds. I watched myself shrink. I watched myself fall back into habits I worked so hard to overcome. I felt like I was nearing the edge of a pit that would suck me back into my anorexia, back into a place of shame and body disappointment.

Prior to my detox, during my transition into healthier eating habits, I learned to love my body. I learned to appreciate it in all of it’s glory. I wasn’t fat. I WAS NEVER FAT. To fall back into my poor eating habits wasn’t only unhealthy, it was a psychological strain that made me feel like I wasn’t proud of my body. That was the cut that hurt the most.

So I stopped the detox halfway into my third week. I got what I needed from it — I figured out how to eliminate wheat and dairy. My digestive issues lessened; I got rid of that nasty bloat that made me sick day after day. I felt great. Or at least I thought I did…

Shortly after going off the detox, I realized I was binge eating the hell out of everything. Two servings? No thank you, I’ll have three. French fries for lunch and dinner? OKAY. I stuffed myself until I could stuff no more. The scene was not a good look. I was back to who I had always been, the skinny girl trying to catch up after days of not eating. It made me sick, physically and mentally.

So now I’m here, working to not overeat, nor undereat. It’s a constant process to maintain a healthy weight and diet, but I’m getting there. Every morning I have my egg-avocado sans bread, along with a hearty protein-filled lunch and a light fare for dinner. Most of all, I have a realistic perception of my body. I am not skinny. I am not fat. I am me and I am beautiful.

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Meet Me

My mother’s disease and what you don’t know about it.

October marks breast cancer awareness month. October 13th marks metastatic breast cancer awareness day. The colors for this disease are green, teal and pink.

October 13th may have passed, but the need to raise awareness and funds for this disease remains dire.

My mother has stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She has the second most common type of breast cancer, invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).

10% of all breast cancer diagnoses are ILC

After 9 years of remission, my mother found out her breast cancer spread to her stomach. That was over a year ago.

About .3% of breast cancer metastases to the stomach

Yes, my mother’s ILC stomach mets are a rarity, but metastatic breast cancer is not.

1 in 8 U.S. women develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. That’s about 12% of the female population, at 36 million women. Of these 36 million, 30-40% of them will eventually be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Only 25% of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer survive for 5 years or more.

There are roughly 40,000 deaths per year attributed to breast cancer. Nearly all of these deaths are caused by metastatic breast cancer. That means, 109 women die each day from metastatic breast cancer. 1,200 of these deaths will be women under the age of 40.

And yet, with numbers as they are, only 7% of breast cancer funding goes towards the late-stage disease. With only 2-5% going towards treatment research.

Only 7% of breast cancer funds are allocated to metastatic breast cancer.

We’ve done massive due diligence to curtail the breast cancer death rate (down 40% in the U.S. between 1989 and 2015), but we have lost focus and showed little determination in helping those who are now at the highest risk of mortality from the disease.

This year alone, an estimated 250,000 women will be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and will learn a startling statistic: the median survival rate is 3 years post diagnosis.

Metastatic breast cancer is a never-ending battle. The disease, at this moment and for the foreseeable future, is considered incurable. With that, women find themselves with a heavy-heart, searching for strength where there is no support; overburdened with a hopelessness from the idleness in waiting for a better treatment.

Pretty in Pink has worked. It’s time to spread some love to the green and teal ladies.

To donate much needed funds for this disease, please visit:
http://www.metavivor.org/take-action/donate/

To sign petitions urging the government to learn more about this disease, please visit:
https://www.change.org/p/seer-start-counting-all-people-living-with-metastatic-breast-cancer

metavivor-ribbon-pin

For more reading on metastatic breast cancer, please visit:
https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/metastatic-breast-cancer-survival-rates
http://www.refinery29.com/2017/10/176379/metastatic-breast-cancer-awareness-2017-die-in
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-schattner/metastatic-breast-cancer-awareness_b_760347.html

For breast cancer statistics, please visit:
https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/index.htm
https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html

FAQ:
http://www.mbcn.org/october-13-national-metastatic-breast-cancer-awareness-day/

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Meet Me, Poetry

Open Letter to a 25 Year Old

Steadfast and surefooted it’s time to run through life.

They say you are fully developed. That the effectiveness of your brain’s plasticity has slowed, making it more difficult to bend and transform, to create boisterous blends of being: a constantly evolving blob of this and that. Rigidity replaces wonder and amazement; the beauty of living the tall and taled reduced to rationale.

But shame on them.
Malleability be damned.

Lines are drawn to be crossed
Mere suggestions. Make a statement.
COLOR EVERYWHERE,
loudly and wildly.

Extraction
With age, comes wisdom.
A stinging pain of clarity
flows and ebbs
from the spout—

Fall asleep and silently tug.
It shouldn’t be this hard.
Cracked, chiseled, cratered
Dig deeper, below the surface.

It gets bloody in the abyss;
jump anyway.

A Bad Idea
A bad idea is evaporated into the ether as quickly as it entered.
Full of risk, it leads to things.
Failing.
Living.
An integral part of the big picture,
A bad idea’s badness is only as bad as the good is good.

___________________
Go out and find people who expand your mind, who discover secret doors and uncover hidden passages. Who help you to grow in ways you never thought. Who push you to be a better human.

The winds of autumn blow hard and strong.
They’ll leave before winter’s end.

Lovingly & Excitedly,
A 26 Year Old

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Meet Me

Wax on, wax off.

I suck at being a girl. Of course there’s always a healthy dose of estrogen and progesterone raging through my body, but that makes me female. And female I am. But a girl? Not so much.

Don’t mistake my words; I claim an idea of femininity but it’s not that stereotypical “pink girl”. My femininity lives in the realm of existing as a human being who likes to talk about her periods, newfound digestive problems, and the omnipresent-patriarchal-restriction society makes women perform under.

So definitely a lady. But a lady who leaves the apartment with the same face with which she woke up with. A lady who never needs to have special girl time because she can talk about her periods to both men and women. And definitely a lady who doesn’t have beauty appointments permanently etched into her calendar as if missing one would be the equivalent of reliving the end of the world on repeat.

Like I said, I suck at being a girl.

Which brings me to the real discussion of this post: WAXING.

I got my first wax today…and surprise, I have thoughts.

My position on waxing has always been the following: barbaric. The idea of pulling hair out of your skin for the sake of beauty was absolutely unfathomable. Why wax when shaving works just as well? Sure, waxing is an easier way to maintain smoothness – the results last way longer than shaving and all you have to do is show up, lay on the table, and wait for pain to come. It’s actually pretty simple. Much simpler than almost slipping in the shower every time you try to hoist one leg up against a wet, tiled wall to reach all those glorious nook and crannies of your cracks. But even so, I could never get on board with the idea of “pain is beauty, beauty is pain.”

Fast forward 12 years from when I first started shaving to now, a working lady in NYC who just got put on an account for the next hot thing in waxing – I had to finally bite the bullet and get waxed.

So it’s 9:30 AM and I’m at the waxing salon waiting for my full Brazilian because, ya know, go big or go home. At this point, I realized I was spotting and had instinctually drank a cup of coffee that morning – two things seasoned waxees specifically told me to beware and avoid before waxing. Wupz. But I was already there, so what could I do? I’m definitely not going to not get this done and waste my time. I popped two advil and waited.

My technician walked me through a windy hallway that was disorienting just enough for me to not freak-the-fuck-out over the fact that I was about to experience something I have vehemently opposed and actively went out of my way to avoid for all of my pubescent life.

I got in the room, pulled down my bottoms, and boom… there I was, a bundle of nerves in an unfamiliar place with my lady parts hanging out en plein air. I felt my poor pubes start to shiver in fear.

When she reentered the room, she was carrying a NASA certified time capsule that could also double as a prop in a low-budget sci-fi comedy. Turns out it was just what they prepare the wax in.

She positioned my legs so they were open like a frog and plopped the green goo onto my crotch. I have to admit, the spreading of the warm, thick wax over my intimates felt pretttttty fucking good. My shivering hair follicles relaxed and took delight in the gooey warmth. I dare say, I was even turned on.

Unfortunately, this feeling didn’t last long.

“Take a deep breath,” she said.

::RIP::

My eyes widened. Even-toned I said, “Wow. That hurt.”

And so we continued, laughing together between each rip; my hair follicles in a constant cycle of confusion going from cozy to distressed in a matter of seconds, until I was as bare as a newborn baby.

I’m not sure if I completely get the attraction of waxing. Sure, the pain is manageable because it’s over in an instant, but it still fucking hurts a lot. And no beauty is worth that type of pain. Not to mention the many biological reasons as to why we have body hair – I think we’ve forgotten it actual protects our bodies against harmful irritants that cause illness and plain o’ dirty shit you don’t want in your body. But hey, to each his own.

I can now say I’ve been waxed, which is much more of a feat in NYC when you’re constantly being judged by other women for never having experienced such a common beauty practice. Honestly, how could I be a hot-single-NYC-working lady without being waxed? Thank you Carrie Bradshaw & friends.

Strip by strip, I uncovered the beauty in the bare. And I’ll probably never do it again.

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MeetMe

A Trajectory of Anxiety

Day 1
Begins physical manifestation of anxiety (post 8 days of emotional trauma). Symptoms include repeatedly dropping from 90ft in the air, along with shortness of breath. Pops klonopin and bra to deal.

Day 6
I would say there’s a 200-pound weight on my chest but that would be lying.
It’s more like a 50-pounder that’s permanently attached to my hip. That makes it easy to smoke my last cigarette 10 times over. And lay in bed all day, waiting for clean sheets to arrive.

Day 7
Woke up feeling not so heavy, but slowly vanished through the course of the day. A weed, snaking it’s body around my lungs, closing my windpipe. It’s getting harder to breath. Dress starts feeling too tight, pops klonopin.

Day 9
Reverts to college sophomore-self during class tonight. Articulation of thoughts are thwarted from a fear of failing and judgement. Pops klonopin so mouth can form words.

Day 9, later
Walks in an empty city. Zig-zagging the grid, meditation is found.

Day 13
Four days without the little yellow pill of courage.

Anxiety is an exhausting and beautiful thing. Spending two weeks between breakdowns and a klonopic haze really gets you asking “What the fuck?”.

It forces you into continual obsessive thought, resituating the same experience from different perspectives to understand its depth. It’s a painful, yet insightful process:

  • waking up alone is hard to do, but it wasn’t before you got used to waking up next to someone. the scale will balance in time.
  • you will get in trouble for being too quiet. you will get in trouble for being too loud. keep your head down and play the game better. then, the scale will be weighed in your favor.
  • she celebrated life as genuinely as a soul could on this earth. we all must say goodbye at some point. remember her innocence and how her love warmed you. there is no scale when it comes to death. only the end.

When life hits, it hits hard. Once, twice, and thrice for good measure. Luckily, three is all you get. If it goes for round four, there’s something seriously fucked up in the cosmic universe.

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MeetMe, Poetry

Open Letter to a 24 Year Old.

You are crazy.
You are batshit-bananas, over the moon crazy.
And I love you for it.

You laugh and cry like you’re going to die tomorrow.
You feel. Strongly;
you are loud and ferocious, but oh so fragile.
You don’t let the crazy get in the way;
you let it seep out here and there just to make sure it doesn’t overcome you,
just to keep things interesting,
to make sure you’re still grounded.
You move on.

You’re a hard person.
Life has made you independent,
for good reason.
You’ve learned how to survive;
how to fight wars and rebuild torn down walls.

Now, you leave the bridge down.

It’s taken a long time.
It was scary; treacherous,
but you did it.
You showed someone else, open for all to see;
a tulip in spring.
It’s been a long time. And I’m so proud of you.

This is just the beginning.
Most things won’t work in your favor.
But learn from tears. And heal from laughs.

It’s a big world. One step closer, one step older.

Lovingly,
A 25 year old

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