Category Archives: mental health

a battle with body image

There is something that almost no one knows about me; something that I have kept to myself for years and struggled with internally.

I have such a love/hate relationship with food that it borderlines on being an eating disorder. 

I have always fought with myself when it comes to food, but I didn’t realize the extent of my problem until we talked about eating disorders in my psychology classes.

skinny barbie

For as long as I can remember, I have obsessed over what I eat– and not in a way that urges me to eat healthy.

I love food, abso-fuckin-lutely love it. I love to cook, try new foods, indulge in desserts, pin recipes that look amazing but i never get around to making. But it is what happens in my mind afterwards that is unhealthy.

I berate myself for eating too much or for eating something that is not 100% healthy. I obsess over it, send myself into a downward spiral of depression just because of my food choices. Eventually, the thoughts subside because of other things going on in my life, but the cycle repeats itself at the next meal. Even as I eat something and know that I will punish myself later, I continue to indulge. It is a harsh, unrelenting, and punishing ritual that I put myself through each and every time.

The thing of it is, I am not overweight in any way. I have been between 140 and 150 since high school, and a large part of that is in my big boobs.

be nice

I cannot remember the exact moment that I decided to do this to myself, but it had to have been somewhere after being told that I needed to eat all of the adult-portioned-sized food on my plate and before being told that I was getting a little ‘pudgy’. Looking back, I don’t think that the remarks were meant to break something in me; they were said to me by people who loved me. They were concerned adults, and I hold no blame over them.

No, this was my own issue, and it has gone hand in hand with the depression and manic behavior that I am finally getting under control.

I remember at one time in my life that I would get a stomachache after every meal. I began to eat less and less, relying on the excuse that I just didn’t feel well. I’ve since learn that this was most likely psychosomatic, meaning that my mind created the symptom because of anxiety over eating.

This is my new mantra. I have to stop being at war with myself, not only for my own health, but for the little ones who watch my every move. I refuse to raise a daughter or son who feels as absolutely empty about their self image as I do.

So the question is, how do we break the cycle of negative body image in such a critical and mean world? How do I teach my kids to love themselves when I don’t love myself, and when the outside world only focuses on their flaws?

These questions are constantly on my mind. Growing up in a household with 3 other women, I was never really taught positive body image. We didn’t tear each other down (at least, not that I remember), but I don’t think we ever built each other up either.

I have to correct this. I have to end the cycle of self-hate and work toward loving myself. This also means that I need to stop trying to find validation in the things other people say about me. The other day, my husband mentioned that I am bony. Although I am a size 10 with a ‘mommy pooch’ and absolutely no thigh gap, my rib cage and hip bones are prominent. I actually felt joy in the fact that he said I was bony. It was close to that elation of being told that you look to have lost weight.

So, what is my first step?

I absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence, and I love her mission for a better body image. Robyn Lawley, the Australian model, inspires me in this too. So maybe that is where the inspiration lies– finding people who set a great example for myself and my kids. Although I hate diets, I am considering this whole Paleo thing. And I’ll be honest, people have heard me talk about exercising and getting healthier before, only to see when I fail miserably. The difference between all those times and now is that my mind is in a healthier state. I think that I am more likely to fight for myself, rather than fight with myself if I am mentally capable of sticking to it.

So, perhaps, finally getting treatment for my bipolar depression is the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

The lesson here is that self love may be a struggle, but it is something that needs to be taught to our children. Love of others can be just as important, which means that women really need to stop bashing on each other’s bodies!

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our masks

masquerade

there is something that i have always found very provocative about masquerades. a group of people gather, all elegantly dressed, all seductively masked. it is sensual and beautiful in such a dark way that it appeals to our humanity in those secret ways that no one talks about.

the masks as delicately crafted, an effort to hide the truth behind them.

it is almost erotic.

eye_mask

it is beautiful, is it not?

as i was earning my psychology degree, i began to view the social world as a large masquerade. we wear our masks, present our best selves, and dance those rehearsed moves until it is all over.

the masks that we put on for the world hide our shame, our guilt, our deep dark secrets that we want no one else to be aware of.

what are the secrets that you are hiding behind your mask?

are you the guy that seems so cocky but is terribly insecure? are you the charismatic beauty who feels so absolutely alone? the smart woman who constantly feels stupid?

wouldn’t it be nice to lay it all out in the open? no more hiding behind the front you show others, but to show who you are completely and wholly.

wordsn on skin

i realize my own hypocrisy in this post. as much as i’d love to say that i am 100% upfront with everyone, i cannot. there are people in my life that really do not know me at all.

i hide my memories. i hide my experiences. i hide my opinions. i hide my aspirations.

and despite how much i hide, there is so much that i share, even when i shouldn’t.

venetian mask

i really wish that my mask was as beautiful as this, though.

all the parts of me

the plural inference of the title for this blog was not just because i think the word ‘elixir’ sounds cool.

i mean, that is part of the reason, but not the whole shebang.

i wanted to imply that there is more than one mind at work here, in the way that my personality is multi-faceted.

i tend to keep myself subdued in front of most people in my life, so my children and husband are the only ones who get anywhere near the full spectrum of personalities that i have going on.

storm with skin

lately, it seems like the free-spirited side of me has been the most present. she likes fleetwood mac and steve miller band. she wears lots of dresses and writes whenever and however she can. she craves to move and travel, for change to be a constant in life. gaudy rings, lace, and braids are an everyday thing.

this is the me that hits the gas when she drives down the curves of the mountain, holding to the wheel tight and refusing to brake. she holds her hand out the window, running her fingers through the wind just to feel connected. she is wild, and loving, and deep.

she is my gypsy soul.

boho

the girl who resembles a 16 year old me, pieced together with tape, chipped at the edges, and dipped in shadow- she worries me. she listens to korn, deftones, and slipknot as loud as it will go. she looks at the floor as she walks, hides from the world and hates it as a whole. she needs change as much as the gypsy, but in a desperate way that shouldn’t be indulged.

she grasps at whatever will pull her from the wreckage of her mind, but is willing to pull everyone else down on her way up.

this is the me that is gone now, at least for now. hidden deep in the recesses of my mind, she waits to come out again, to pull me back again.

black

there is another side of me. the one that tries to fit in. the one that goes to play dates with moms she has nothing in common with to try to find a clique. she wears nice, subdued, preppy clothes, she holds her head high, she flaunts her education. she is the know-it-all, a therapist for others, but she will let everyone walk all over her just to keep them happy. she wants to be trendy, she wants to be the connected parent, she wants to have the beautiful home with white picket fence.

this side of me can be so suffocating, so monotonous.

there is the book worm, the science geek, the hateful wench, the judgmental prude, the health nut, the day dreamer, the entrepreneur.

these aren’t just characteristics of my personality. they each have their own space in my mind. they appear when they see fit, they crowd the space in my head.

strangeness

for now, i’ll enjoy where the gypsy soul takes me. the winds can take me where they please, and the rains can wash me clean. the other parts can peak out, make small appearances, but the gypsy can have this life as long as she wants.