recovery

Golden Hour.

I feel like I have lived a thousand lives. Ones more tragic than the next. Then the sun hits every inch of my skin and I feel born again.

Different.
Brand new.

It’s the shadows from the golden rays that peek through the blinds. Straight from the outside, for I am always inside. It’s neither cold nor warm, just this glittery feeling of gold etched in your face and every parts of your skin. It’s what photographers try to photograph and emulate. With artificial lights and colors. Holding still until the light is just right.

It’s through the shining of this magic hour I think of everything. Every sun drenched memory. Every crazy golden moment. My breathing gets slower and my eyes start to well with tears. Each tear sparkling with the effervescent sun.

If I loved you last, I would love you best, I kept telling myself. I say this to the shadows that wave with each motion of the words. I don’t know what love is anymore. We are all rose gold and amber in this light. We are all love in this glittery way of speaking. We are all warmth in this sunset of light that we see before us. Yet, I don’t even know who the “you” is anymore. At this moment is could be anyone. I could have loved you more. I could have believed every single word you said. Instead, I find myself talking to shadows to keep away all these ghosts.

We were once all silver and now we’re gold. In this golden hour, one of the loneliest moments. As the gold sprinkles across its flecks on ever inch of the white room. When you’ve let everything go, it’s when you start all over again.

If I loved you last, I would love you best.
The sun sets and the darkness overcomes us.

Advertisements

Self portrait with Chopped hair.

IMG_4079

We grow our hair like weeds for people that will never love us. To later chop off all the dead weight, once they leave us. This time, I wanted to do the leaving. I wanted to cut the man at the source, and resort to every dramatic episode I could think of. Because it was never his choice. It was my choice, my decision, and it was my turn to leave this time.

If you cut your hair, I will leave you.

How I watched every strand of hair grow to the middle of my back. How happy he seemed as he ran his fingers through it, paid no mind to the person before him. It’s when I think I have him, that he leaves without notice. His ghost that trails behind then lingers once he leaves. It’s when I think I have won, that I have lost everything before me.

When you believe you love someone, you’ll fall for anything. Even something simple as leaving every strand of hair on your head, just as they like it. I loved him, from the deep parts of my soul, to every long strand of hair that fell across my back. I watched as my hair became my shield, my armor from the world. My way of hiding these feelings of doubts and worries. My hair continued to grow into a tangled, tousled, mess. I continued to listen to his threats, as empty as the love he gave me. No matter how long my hair grew, he never came back.

Frida Kahlo - Self Portrait with Cropped Hair - 1943

I wanted him back for all the superficial reasons I hated. I wanted to stop this numbing suffocated feeling of being alone that drugs nor alcohol could fill. My hair continued to grow and I continued to wait. He said I was perfect and to never change. If I cut my hair, he would only leave me. He would never come back. And I continued to wait. Until the weight of my hair became the weight of my worries. Until my hair became heavy, that I could no longer hold my head up to the sky. We do these foolish things for love but at what cost does it love us back? At what cost do people understand that we are people underneath all that hair? That our hair doesn’t make you love us any less. There were days I wanted to rip every strand from my head. Tear apart the existence of what I believed he wanted. Because for a brief moment I was perfect to you, don’t I ever think of changing.

I watch as the strands of hair fall to the ground. Inch by inch. The memories of you and the ghosts before you. If you cut your hair, I will leave you.  I try to keep myself composed. Hold the tears back. Love was never what held us together. The strands of dead hair that laid before my feet; bear witness to this change that comes over me. I am more exposed to the world without my shield. I am showing the world who I really am, beneath the hair.

 

When the final strand of hair falls, I will forget you. Someone will come in and sweep away the memories scattered on the floor. It won’t be me this time. For the first time, I have stopped listening to ghosts.

 

9/10/2015 – Day Twenty – Four

10502223_10205384402062962_8708198483965789626_n

The weather has been changing. Before you know it, it’ll go from sunny days to overcasts skies. From summer skin to winter coats and layers. I hate the summer and it’s over exposure of skin, that I never feel comfortable showing. I am in no way a prude but my insecurities seem to make me more conservative. It’s a piece of myself I never like to show. Its this never ending process of learning to love your body, when you’re still in the process of accepting this skin.

I could lose all the weight and still feel self conscious of my skin, and the abnormalities of my body. I’ve watched my body go from big to medium to large again. I’ve watched my skin stretch and rest on different parts of my body. And all I’ve wanted is to cover up never show the world. Hide under layers of clothes to distract myself from what’s underneath. I wonder if I will ever get over this feeling. If being so body conscious changes over the years. They say it changes when you get older, but what if it doesn’t. I have to pretend to be comfortable and accepting, when I just want to rip my skin off. Take this image I see of myself that I know no one else can see, and pretend it doesn’t exist. I want to hide behind trees and behind overcast skies. Where shadows can mask my body and its abnormalities. We are praised for our bones and our skin that stretches over our skeletons. Sometimes when the weather changes you can’t help but remember this is a process. Bodies have this ability to change but I don’t feel like that.

I have become so comfortable with hiding at home and avoiding the outside world. Avoiding a million different emotions, in favor of hiding in this misery and self pity. It’s the heat that drives me crazy. That makes me believe I can’t be myself.  I can’t hide from the heat, I only expose myself more to keep from being hot. But in the cold, I hide behind layers of fabric to hide what I don’t love about myself.  I’ll never be perfect and I’ll never be pretty. I’ll be stuck under this skin that stretches for as long as I can see. One day I’ll be more accepting, but in this unforgiving heat, I can’t see myself pretending.

8/29/2015 – Day Fifteen.

I have had a problem with food for as long as I can remember. Longer than I would like to admit. These days I wonder if those fears are my karma for my current situations. I haven’t been the kindest to myself and in this new era of body image, owning who you are, it’s easier said than done. I’ll be completely honest, its hard to transform 28 years thinking in a matter of a short months or years. For every 10 good days, there are 20 not so good days. For everything and in-between, food has been my scapegoat for every way of thinking. Food has a way of bringing the good with the bad. Triggering memories and forgotten expectations. You think about how much you didn’t care in your younger years, and now as an adult this need to be socially conscious about everything you put in front of you. Now a days, I fear food more than I enjoy it. I hold it at an arms length against me. Separating myself from my past and my expectations of my future, not realizing the repercussions of my present. It makes me think about everything I’ve done to distance myself from food, when all I’ve ever wanted to do was enjoy it.

FullSizeRender (2)

Recovery is a pain in the ass. Its hard to tell someone that hasn’t been through what you have, how you feel. I have felt really alone in my recovery. Its easy to put up a positive front, to post a photo of myself eating or enjoying food but reality settles in. I will always see myself as 70 lbs over weight. I will always think twice about what I eat. I will always feel guilty about over eating and feel this need to punish myself. It’s hard to tell someone that what I see in the mirror paralyzes my way of thinking. It has been a long time since I have truly enjoyed a meal. A good fucking meal. Something someone put heart and soul into. I am not going to be an asshole, I’ve had great meals but so many of these meals build up on my fears.  Its genuinely hard to enjoy them without feeling squeamish or guilt. Most of the time, I feel guilty about the things I eat. It’s something I have to live with that makes me so indescieve about where or what to eat. How do you tell someone I can’t eat what I love out of fear of the outcome? You can’t. Being in another country helps. I don’t feel guarded. I don’t feel the pressure to be anything. While the fear still plagues me, it doesn’t hurt as much as it does at home. Its weird to be in places with different customs then your own. To adapt yourself into things you have stopped doing at home. Sometimes I forget to eat in the rush of getting to and from places. Often times I overindulge in the things I love but mostly I don’t. Then I feel guilty of eating and I psych myself out. I don’t know. Being far from home I don’t feel as self conscious as I am used too.

11924534_10206055305555130_3928844389318700767_n

It’s easy to say I am on vacation, I can do what I want. To get in this gluttonous stage and have no self control, but I can’t do that. It’s lonely to eat alone but it’s lonely to have to come to realization that you can’t eat the way you are used too. We settled into a restaurant inside the town square. After looking over at the menu, we decided to take our chances on a little restaurant with it’s rustic pirate vibes. I wasn’t expecting much. Just enough to fill my belly and provide the energy I needed for the rest of the day. I get really anxious when I eat. A part of me still believes I am 70 lbs overweight and another part of me still believes I will make myself sick after eating. For the longest time my meals where based on what was easier to come out at will or what would get me full the fastest. If I ate exactly how I wanted to eat, I would open up the wounds that have been trying to heal. If I don’t eat, its another series of triggers, I can’t contain. I usually order to avoid suspicion and times I don’t like what I order. When you are comfortable you forget the silly instances that make up your anxieties. Sitting on the bench in the resturant, I didn’t look for an easy way out. I wanted to try everything. I wanted to eat everything and for once I didn’t want to feel guilty about what I ate. It felt like we were eating for hours when really it had been minutes, since we had ordered. Mere minutes as the plates started arriving. Each plate sizzling, oozing, and exhuming delicious flavors and tastes. It didn’t end at the first or second plate. It didn’t stop with the drinks, the momentum continued, as we talked about family stories, family traditions, and inner jokes between us all. As each plate reached our table, another plate would disappear.

FullSizeRender

It didn’t hurt. This layer of anxiousness shed off my skin and I felt something I hadn’t felt in all the meals, I have consumed over the past years. I felt love. I felt hunger to try everything. Even if I felt guilty, it wasn’t going to hurt me. I had been feeling self-conscious about my outcomes that I never focused on my journey. How alone I felt in my battles and lonely I felt in my war. No matter how many times I heard positivity, I was focused on the negative outcome. Focusing on the mirror that was haunted with two faces. As the plates started dwindling down, as my belly felt full but content, I looked around at the faces I saw before me. This is my journey, my battle but I don’t feel alone. This is love I feel in front of me and after every course, I am going to be okay. Maybe I’ll never get better but at least today, the journey doesn’t seem as bad anymore.

FullSizeRender (1)

#Recovery

re·cov·er·y  :

1. The act, process, duration, or an instance of recovering.
2. A return to a normal condition.
3. Something gained or restored in recovering.
4. The act of obtaining usable substances from unusable sources

 

Recovery.

One word.

4 syllables.

8 letters.

Recovery is one of those tricky words. Where no matter how many times I see the word, I can’t feel it. It doesn’t matter how many times I say the word out loud, or write it down, it just seems unreal to me. It’s just a word. Just a word made up of 4 syllables and 8 letters. Just one word that has so many meanings and I am still trying to grasp it.

Ten years ago if you would have told me I’d be in recovery for an eating disorder, I would have told you, you were crazy. Even just writing that down, is absolutely weird. Ten years ago I couldn’t have even imagined how my life would just fall apart. That who I am today is a fraction of the person I was in the past. I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I’m not the same person I was since I started this bullshit mess. That’s what it is to me. It’s bullshit. A waste of my time. My time that I could have spent enjoying life instead of obsessing over every calorie and wondering how much longer it would take to purge everything out. I know parts of me still harbor a monster inside, I’ve just learned how to tame it. Some days I wish I could just start over. New person, new body, just someone different from who I am.

Recovery isn’t easy. Even at my 2 year mark of being eating disorder free, it hasn’t come easily. I still have a hard time with food. I still obsess about the outcome of everything I put into my body. While I am healthy it’s still hard for me to come to terms with the body I see before me. I look back at photographs of when I was sick and couldn’t understand why I was so hard on myself. Why I treated myself so poorly and hurt myself so many times. Its hard to look at the scale and see the numbers increase instead of decrease. It’s hard to see people work toward their fitness goals and I’m just slowly coming to terms with my body. A part of me tries to look on the bright side but reality is it’s hard. It’s hard to hold back the urge to be my expectation of perfection. It’s hard to see my body change and be okay with it. This is reality and most of the time I am not okay with what I see.

Recovery is a process. Its this work in progress motion that brings us to where we need to be. Every day I struggle with the balance of feeling okay and feeling miserable. Just as with emotions some days are good and some days are complete nightmares. Even at two years, I still have so much to work on. I need to find that balance of letting go and being okay. To find that realization that being healthy is better than being perfect. It still gives me severe anxiety to hear people talk about their bodies. Somewhere in my twisted mind, I start to think that about myself. I snap out of it but the struggle starts all over again. This never ending struggle of being okay and being perfect.  I wish that with recovery you can just erase the past years and be completely healed. Maybe then it wouldn’t hurt so much to hide this pain. The reality is you have to let that notion go. Let all those negative feelings leave and look at the positive things. I am healthy now. I am getting better. With each year, I find strength through the struggle. I will never be my expectation of perfect. I will always struggle with how I look. I have to be able to come to terms with being healthy is better then dying.

Recovery is my salvation. Recovery is what will eventually set me free from this bullshit feeling. Getting rid of a lifetime of negativity won’t happen in a day. As much as I wish for this feeling to disappear instantly, I know that every day is a process. I am always going to be a work in progress, I just have to finally be okay with the imperfections. I am not and nor will I ever be perfect, I just have to accept that. Only then will I truly be free.

Here’s to healing and all it’s glory.

 

Magic’s in the Makeup.

Can you tell I’m faking it?

Photographs have of a way of telling half a story. Just a tiny glimpse of what we want the world to see through perfectly strategic settings and beautifully flattering filters. Telling everyone what you want them to believe. It’s amazing to see life through other peoples perceptions of you. Yet you can’t help but wonder how many people really see the real you. How many people can tell the façade from the reality. A picture is worth a thousand words but how many of those words are the real thing?

Not at my best time but don't I look great. 2007 / 2008.

Not at my best time but don’t I look great. 2007 / 2008.

The past couple of months and in doing this blog, I have found myself faced with reality on numerous occasions. The countless lies I’ve told, the stories, and even going through the photographs of my past. What makes a photograph from when I was 23, different from the photograph of myself at 31? My reality and what I wanted you to believe.  I controlled the story I wanted to tell. I orchestrated the image of myself I wanted you to see. I did it. Because telling the lie was easier than telling the truth about my problems. Nobody asks any questions when you put your life out there for the world to see. It’s only what you don’t put forth in the world that gets people asking the questions. It’s easy to pretend to be someone else in a photograph. Someone better than who you really are. Finding the perfect angles, cropping your best features, and believing that you’re going to be okay. I believed that for years. This perfect image I put forth in the world was who I really was. I wasn’t okay.

Make-up’s all off. Who am I?

For six years I suffered with an eating disorder to the point of obsession. You don’t realize how much of a problem you have until it consumes you and controls every part of your life. I hid that from everyone. 6 years of photographs standing by countless people who didn’t have a clue about my life. Who didn’t know that every countless excuse I made to go home early was so I could throw up my food in the dark confides of my home. Counting the consumption of calories and calculating what I could throw up later in the time I had left. It became a sick twisted sport and I was fucking good at it. My gums bled and my teeth hurt and I didn’t care because an acceptance to be perfect was better than being ignored. I believed it.  I became obsessed with my abilities to hide my problem that it over powered my past problems. This became bigger than my depression, bigger than my cutting, it was a problem I could hide through the photographs. Nobody knew.

You want to believe that you have control of your problem. I wanted to believe that. For the days I threw up my food, I counted the days I didn’t. When my weight wasn’t matching up or the healthy alternative ways weren’t working, I went back to vomiting. I turned this problem on, I could very easily turn it off. For every bad day I had, I just binge ate then hid in the bathroom. I blamed food poisoning, cramps, the flu, everything except the problem at hand. I refused to believe I had a problem. I could control this problem, I could stop everything as soon as I was ready. I believed it. It started because of this need for acceptance, this belief that every photograph was closer to my true self. I knew it was wrong, I knew of the consequences and still I believed I could control this. The reality of it was I couldn’t control my problem. Every time I hid this problem the worse it got.

I believed I was okay. In some twisted fucked up way I had everything under control. I would go months without vomiting and then something would trigger it to happen again. I grew this fear of food, this obsession that everything I ate was a consequence for my mistakes. The love I once had for food became this hatred toward it. It was so easy to pretend this wasn’t a problem. I just couldn’t stop. Then comes a point in your life where you can’t do it anymore. Where the pure exhaustion of life just has you at your wits end. I reached my breaking point and after six years of hurting myself physically and emotionally, I couldn’t do it. It was bigger than anything I could ever imagine. I wish I could say that everything disappeared and I healed myself but every day is a struggle. I had to learn to love imperfections within myself. Watching my body change isn’t easy and as much as I want to resort to old ways, I couldn’t. It became my quest to get better. Another struggle that I told nobody about. While people poked fun at my weight gain, for the first time I didn’t cry. I started writing down everything I ate and with the miracle wonders of social media I started documenting every meal I ate. For every picture I took of my food, it was my silent trophy that I ate that and was okay with it.

photo (10)

There’s always going to be a part of me that’s broken. A part of me that’s messy with imperfections but I have to be okay to live with that. I am always going to be my hardest critic but at the end of the day I have to be okay with not being perfect. No one’s perfect. It’s been two years since I have vomited my food. Two years since I let this sickness consume my life. I wish I could say that it has been an easy recovery, but it hasn’t been. Some days are easier and some days are harder. I am better than all this bullshit and you know what? I am doing the best I can.

My true essence. Photo Credit: Jazelle Prado.

My true essence. Photo Credit: Jazelle Prado.