“She looks old and wrinkled.”
“She was hotter sick”
“Someone should’ve told her she looked bad sick.”
“She’s so pretty.”
“SHE’S AN ALCOHOLIC NOT A DRUNKOREXIC.”
“This girl be FUCKED up.”
“I’d fuck her.”
“She got an ass.”
“So tired of hearing about sorority girls with eating disorders. NEXT.”
“Someone should give that bitch a real problem to cry about.”
“I think she’s beautiful.”
“She has a nice smile.”
Oh, the internet.
A place I liken to “seeing someone else puking so you start puking and then everyone else starts puking” 2016.
Thanks for the line, John Oliver.
In response to the election, I’ve gone dark for the past couple weeks – writing and all. Frankly, I’m angry. I’m disenchanted and I’m sad – a reactive personal grief every day I read another news article speculating the upcoming leadership. I speak for millions of us in saying that this result has been its own form of emotional torture for all of us battling taboo issues and especially, of course, for the minorities in our country. For the climate – the list goes on.
“Wait and see,” we are told. “Give him a chance.”
Quoting John O. again in saying that we cannot normalize abnormal behavior. We don’t just throw up our arms and think “Eh. Least we tried. We voted,” when the rights of millions are at stake.
That’s just not good enough.
I donated money this week. Patted myself on the back – a big ole’ self-validating move.
Signed up to be part of a San Diego research project on the brain and eating disorders.
… And then I thought to myself. “Well, that’s a one-time deal. So now what? What more can I do? What can I contribute?”
It dawned on me. Maybe it’s not much ultimately, but this blog is mine. This blog is under my control to do as I wish for it.
And what I want is to give others a voice.
My story is only as good as it is corroborated. So my post today – my plea, right now, is for YOU to tell your story. If you have an eating disorder and you want to share (anonymously or not) write me. Send to me. I’ll edit it. We’ll talk. I’ll publish it. I’ll send it to editors. I’ll do what I can.
Already, I’ve received so many of your stories from every walk of life. Keep them coming to me. Please. Let’s humanize this stuff because we have a scary 4 years ahead and I don’t know where mental health will lie in the shitstorm of all of it.
We have to keep talking and sharing – unabashed. Without constraint.
I’ll admit right now – however – it’s not easy. People write me “I have a story to share, how were you able to start getting yours out there?”
I stare at that question, ponder my response, and think about all the hurtful things I’ve had aimed at me in the past 2 years.
“DON’T. RUN,” a part of me wants to say. “YOUR STORY WILL BE MANIPULATED AND VIOLATED. YOU WILL BEGIN TO FEEL LIKE CLICK BAIT. PEOPLE WILL POINT OUT ALL YOUR FLAWS AND THERE WILL BE TIMES YOU DOUBT THE LEGITIMACY OF YOUR OWN STORY WHEN IT’S WRITTEN BY SOMEONE ELSE.”
Another portion of me wants to be like “Yo – my story wasn’t special. I work in public relations and know the media game better than the average person and was just lucky to get noticed a couple times when I submitted a piece to the right editor.”
And the other part of me, the larger side now, will tell you this:
“Just do it – girl/boy. Write your shit. Fuck the commentary. Write it. Write it because Trump is President-elect and now more than ever, we need voices. If you’re real – if you’re raw – if you’re transparent and show the good and the bad of your life, people will connect. Keep the transparency, keep yourself grounded to what you know is the truth of that kernel story in your life – people will listen. They may not agree – but they’ll listen. Everyone deserves to have a story – yours matters. Just understand why you’re doing it – know the intent behind the story.”
In moments of fragility, I ask myself “Why did I author this blog?” Why did I start posting on the internet about rehab and eating disorders? Was it for validation? Was it to legitimatize my story? Was it attention? Was it a defense mechanism?
Likely, all of the above.
I don’t know that anybody writing their own story can claim it started out of anything other than attention or validation for having experienced what they did.
This blog wasn’t in the plans. I got out of rehab the day I was offered my job as an Associate Publicist at one of the world’s largest mid-size Public Relation firms.
In fact, real-time moment: I’d done the interviews FROM REHAB. ((The company didn’t know that then.)) But, I’d schedule cell phone times with my counselor in rehab and complete writing samples, emails, and phone interviews from a dinky, rundown abandoned office in the back of the rehab grounds.
Needless to say, I was surprised when they offered me the job, but I accepted vigorously.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to me at times that I ever made the choice to write a very public Facebook status about being in rehab. No one knew up until that point other than my family and a few close friends – and I hadn’t even started my job yet.
But, there’s something to be said about being in rehab. You get to a point where you’ve stopped putting your eating disorder on a pedestal because – hell – you’re surrounded by like 40 other people with the same thing so you’re just kinda at the point where you’re like “Oh fuck it. Everyone is dealing with something. I’m tired of this.”
I think it was just that: I was tired and I was uncomfortable with the continuous lies. How was I to know I’d changed if I didn’t start addressing the actuality of the world I was now in?
I wrote it – with no intent. Just a feeling of cleanse.
What came out of it has been amazing, life-altering, in-congruent, and painful.
As seen in the beginning of this post, I experience the gambit of opinions on my story. Mind you – I don’t read it anymore – but there was a time that of course I did. I’m human and I read the comments when my life first started becoming a public forum of recovery bias.
A high when you read a “she’s hot” comment. A low when you read “MY MOM HAS CANCER AND SHE’S DYING AND ALL YOU CAN TALK ABOUT IS EATING DISORDERS YOU VAIN TWAT.” (I improvised here but I did have someone basically tell me that.)
These are unexpected side effects, but nonetheless they should be mentioned if you want to share your story.
I’m no inspiration – I admit that regularly. Found myself head in the toilet a few weeks ago – it’d been over a year – and there I was going right back to what I knew.
Who knows what causes it – you can pinpoint a million triggers but at the end of the day – it’s just that. The academic guess of “what broke the camels back.”
But again, I remind myself – with any progress comes setbacks – right? Come backlash.
So keep on telling my story – I will. It’s saving me. It’s saved me. It continues to save me to have a voice – and I want to offer that gift to you.
You are the inspiration of your own story. You are the creator of your life. If you’re scared to write something – not sure if you want it to be read – all I can tell you is that I still feel that way with every post. And on I keep doing it because it is a freedom.
And here we stand today.
Ultimately, I’m ending this with a plea attached. Send me your words. Let’s work together. Let me work for you. If you want a topic to write about, let me know. If you need a direction, I’ll give it to you.
I don’t have much to give – this world is hard to make a dent in – but while I can’t necessarily make a direct impact on the myriad of issues I worry about in the upcoming years, I can give your voice a platform. I can give you the liberation of having your voice heard somewhere in the chaos of the internet.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org