leaving behind fear, and trusting the wisdom of mind, body, and soul.

for the past seven years, i could have counted on one hand the number of instances i have relinquished even the smallest pieces of trust to my body.

i could have counted on one hand the number of times i had willingly fed my physical being more than what i was “allowed” as per my meal plan, more than my treatment teams in various eating disorder centers had “forced” me to consume, more than i, this chronic and hopeless and broken disease of a girl, “deserved”.

i went from a shell of a human devoid of anything except the desire to end my own life, to a girl inhabiting a body that takes up more space than she could have ever chosen for herself, all while taking precise care to never willingly let go of my comforting sickness completely and listen to the very thing that has kept me held together for every moment i have ever survived.

in truth, listening to the physical hunger of this body, this body that at some points creates such vast loathing within me that i am compelled to cut my own escape from my skin, is still foreign.

listening to the physical hunger of this body, this body that at some points creates such immense hatred within me that i yearn once again for the apathy of my anorexia, is still foreign.

and yet, tonight, for a reason beyond my ability to fully comprehend in this moment, i listened.

and i may have only listened with a four pieces of dried mango, three dried apricots, three fresh cherries, and a handful of dry cheerios, but i listened. i listened more intently than i have ever allowed myself to listen since i was barely thirteen years old.

my god, i cannot believe that i listened.

terror and pride, shame and hope, flooding through me in one single crashing wave.

i listened because i have spent so many years living in a world of relentless fear that holds my very lungs pinned to the cold, cold earth, and my soul aches to rise.

i listened because though today i may not be able to fathom feeling love towards this body that i call my own, i yearn to cultivate gratitude for it as it carries me through the beauty and the pain of this world.

i listened because continuing to allow my self-disgust to be the loudest voice in my world leaves room for no truth, for wholeness, for becoming, or for love.

i listened because if i am to ever reach this indescribable place of freedom and recovery, i know wholeheartedly that this is the next small and true step.

and i am nowhere near cured and i am a long way from the end of this journey, but my god i may simply be just a little less excruciatingly broken as i once believed my whole self to be.

and the truth of anorexia is the fact that i still may look into the mirror mere seconds after writing this and wish to shred this body to pieces, letting the darkness cloud my mind once again as the fist of shame clenches my breath and i wish to run away from this body and this prison and this life, but i know in my truth that if i am ever going to get anywhere else besides where i have been, if i am to live any life besides the one where i continue to be held hostage to the shadows, it is small acts of listening like these that will bring me ever closer.

i do not need to know the whole path, for in fact all i ever need to know is the very next best step.

and that step, however unsure of it we may be, however petrified by fear we may seemingly become, is always the inherent trusting of our minds, bodies, and souls that will bring us to where we are meant to be.

so, here is where we cast off our old cloaks of dust and fear.

here is where we realize that it is our minds who have betrayed our bodies for much much too long, and never the other way around.

here is where we trust our bodies as they hesitantly shake off their own terror, and allow us the chance to prove that we will not live out the rest of our days forcing starvation on their fragile hearts.

here is where we extend grace to our bodies exactly as they are, especially when we believed for so long that they could in no way be trusted.

here is where we trust.

trust it all.

the mind. even the darkest of corners.

the body. even the pieces you wish did not have to exist.

the soul. the soul that could not exist without mind and body both.

the soul always knows best, so trust all that holds it so gracefully.

so, nurture your wholeness.

feed yourself all the dried mango and cherries and apricots and cheerios you desire.

and the ice cream. and the laughter. and the friendship. and the waffles. and the dance classes. and the language classes. and the noodle soup. and the sunrises. and the smoothies. and the coffee shops. and the polaroids. and the cookie dough. and the love and hope and freedom and life.

feed yourself the life.

our minds yearn for it, our bodies yearn for it, our souls yearn for it.

trust.

we know the way.

ocean home

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when the universe knocks you down, listen to its message.

yesterday, the universe shook me and knocked my body to the ground.

over this past week, i am ashamed to say that i had been numbing myself to the subtle truths i authentically held dear in my heart, and had chosen to persevere farther and farther into the unending darkness of anorexia and the desolation of old sickness, until i could not deny the raw reality of my existence any longer.

and this is when my stumble into familiar darkness halted.

let me start from the beginning.

yesterday, at 10:09am, i wrote with shaking hands:

i wrote that i believed myself to be just as lost as i ever was, only presently more capable of feeling it in excruciating fullness.

i wrote that my life was void of anything worth fighting for, that i had run out of hope.

i wrote that i wished to never feed my body again, until i ended up in the hospital with a feeding tube forced down my throat, as i used to time and time again when my life became too unbearable.

i wrote that i missed being on the brink of death, weak in a hospital bed, my anorexia so near that the final end was always imminent if i was desperate enough for a way out of this mess of a life.

and i wrote over and over again: i wish that i had died. i wish that i had died when i was actually sick. i wish that i had died, died, died. seized and died. passed out and never woke up. died. i wish so much that i had died.

12:02pm, less than two hours later. standing in my backyard. the winter air is cold, cold, cold:

i do not remember falling. fainting. i am unconscious for over ten seconds, until i fade barely into consciousness as my mum holds my body in the dirt, screaming for her partner to carry me inside. as i am lifted up, i fade out once again. my head has missed the cement by inches, the dirt is so so rough beneath me. i fade in fleetingly, as i am carried up the stairs and into the house. once more, i am gone. i remember nothing. i lay on the living room floor now, weak and shaking. i do not know how long it has been, but six emergency medical technicians have joined my terrified mother in our house. my eyes flutter. i tell them all that i am okay, i ask where i am going. the emergency room, they tell me. my heart sinks. the emergency room. i am transferred onto a gurney, strapped into place. the doors of the ambulance open like a metallic mouth, ushering me in. a nasal cannula is secured to flow oxygen into my shaking, pale body, my arm is constricted with a rubber band to insert the iv. my chest is plastered with stickers, lines of all colors connecting from my skin surrounding my heart into the monitor. i watch my heartbeat skip and race, as if it is running the loneliest race there is.

upon arrival to the hospital, i am relocated into a room. the bag of iv fluids hangs above me, as the monitors’ alarms echo to no end. my oxygen level refuses to rise above eighty. i am so tired, i try to sleep.

four hours in, as i near stabilization, the doctor assigned to my case makes her entrance with a subtle and unacknowledged understanding. our interaction was brief, but she said all that she needed to say. it was the universe, i am hesitantly close to sure, that manifested the rest.

“i can let you go home today,” she spoke, purposefully. “but you know the path you are following, and you know where you are headed. this road will lead you right back here, and  i sense you know this too.”

and i did know this path. i knew it well.

i also knew that never before had i entered the emergency room and been given the gift of going home that same day, with no feeding tubes or unit transfers or inpatient admissions.

i knew that i was being given a new chance, a chance to change the direction of my life, a chance to do what i had never done before. to listen to the communications of the universe, and climb out of my darkness on my own.

i knew, as the night air washed over me as i stepped out of the sliding glass doors separating me from the hospital, that the sickening familiarity of this quick journey into darkness reaffirmed my knowing that a life and death of sterile walls and starvation was not all that i wanted to ever know.

i knew that i had to stay committed to this fight, to this life, no matter the pain nor ache, and no matter the obscurity and inconceivability of a future of freedom.

and that is what i have chosen to do, commit to this life.

5:14pm, as i dust myself off, for i am still covered in dirt from where i had fallen, before taking a seat in our car:

i chose to, in that moment, leave this path of self-deprecation and invisibilization behind. i did not know where my life would take me, but i could not deny that i knew the next right step.

we drove in the rain to the vietnamese pho restaurant that has always been the favorite of mine and my mums, and we order steaming bowls of noodle soup. tofu, vegetables, vermicelli, and hot broth. i breathe in this soup, this life, and exhale my fear.

i was shown, by something larger than myself, in the moment i so so much needed it, that i am capable and deserving of a life of luminosity.

i was shown, by stepping back into the shadows of who i used to be, just how much i no longer wholeheartedly want this life to end.

i am so grateful to have been capable of listening when i so much needed to, capable of learning when i was guided to, and capable of living when i was challenged to.

so here’s to life, and here’s to the freedom that the universe knows we are all worthy of.

i am grateful to have had the strength to pick myself back up.

three hundred and sixty five days of keeping my word.

wholeness.

defined here as the state of forming a complete and harmonious unity. the deep relief of feeling sincerely whole. to be one.

for this new year of 2018, i was given the task of choosing one single word to live out and embody with all that i am in the next three hundred and sixty five days. and more quickly and than my mind could verbalize my answer, my heart chose wholeness.

these single words, if you so decide to choose your own as i hope you will take the time to do, will be our guides. when our hope is replaced by hands shaking from uncertainty in this world of chaos, let our words be our foundations.

let our words be the ground upon which we begin to rebuild our brokenness.

let our words be the shore upon which our horizons fall upon.

when our bodies seem too wrong to keep alive, let us breathe our words in deep.

when our skin is screaming to be cut apart, let us breathe our words in deep.

when our minds and all their menacing entanglements of thought become prisons we do not think we can survive, let us breathe our words in deep.

so now is the time.

three.

two.

one.

what is the word calling to you quietly from the depths of your authenticity? or shouting at you with the last piece of hope you have left?

what word will you preserve in your mind, your soul, your heart, and your bones this year?

and what will it take for you to keep your word?

as i attempt to breathe in my own wholeness and keep my word sacred, i will hold it close in many forms.

i will spend more nights on long phone calls with the friends i hold so dear, the ones scattered across the globe. i will close my eyes and speak my truths and listen attentively and sink into the relief of being known, even with hundreds of miles between us.

i will spend more sundays taking trips with my younger brother, just me and him and my dusty car on our way to make up for so so many lost years. i will be who i am and exist as i can and know that my intentions for connection are the most beautiful first steps.

i will start over with “let me try to find my words again” as many times as it takes for me to feel truly heard and known. i will remind myself that the journey to being understood wholly is a long one, and know that with each time i try again to verbalize my vulnerability, i am doing the very best that i can.

i will allow myself more afternoons sitting with the dappled light of my living room on the couch with my mum, and know that our connection is more fulfilling than any compulsion to compensate or mutilate my body will ever be. i will hug more, and say more “i love you”s.

i will eat more homemade cookies, bake crusty loaves bread with my nana, and eat them warm with sprinkled salt and sweet jam.

i will keep showing up with my yoga mat and my determination to reconnect my physical body with my soul. i will close my eyes when seeing myself becomes too unbearable, and remember that i am true enough to at least move my body and real enough feel these somethings at all.

i will make french toast out of the challah my rabbi gives to me on shabbat, and i will spend my saturday mornings in gratitude of this life.

i will journal until my pens run out of ink, and fill my pages with the words i have found inside of me.

i will sing along to taylor swift in the car with my dad, my old radio turned up just a little too loud, our windows rolled down and the sun roof letting in the brisk california winter air.

i will laugh and love and sing.

i will eat and care and forgive.

i will rest and mend and speak.

i will root down, unfurl my branches, and grow into this being that i have always been.

i will grow into wholeness with everything that i am.

i would be more than honored to hear the words you have chosen. if you find the courage within you….comment them below.

keep on keeping on.

lands end

when there is no magic to midnight.

a midnight is upon us tonight, one with more preconceived meanings and pressures than most. the midnight to set our course, to change, and to forge our new paths, as if this single bridge from one day to the next holds more magic than the rest.

i am here to tell you that our midnight tonight means nothing.

do not become afraid, because i long for freedom and yearn for a life of more truth than the life i am currently living, too. and do not become afraid, because i still so believe in the inherent power of resolutions for change. this drive to become more whole is one of the most powerful things on this earth; all i am saying is that there is no magic in tonight and tonight only.

this past week, i struggled immensely. i was overcome with the unshakable feeling that my body was not my own, that i was cloaked in a foreign shell of a human i did not know. i believed there to be some excruciating mistake in my existence, where i had truly lost my own body. my mind and physical vessel were no longer one, and all i wished to do was either cut my body open in order to free myself so that i could run away from this wrong embodiment and be able to breathe, or starve this physical being that was not mine into the ground and let it scream in deprivation until it could no longer hold me hostage.

as the days have followed, my mind has slowed and with careful breaths and oversized clothes, i have been able to keep the panic at bay if only by allowing my thoughts waiver back towards self-harm and self-diminishment. my fears have become vast, the my patience and care i’ve attempted cultivating to listen to this body surrounding me has been crushed.

i’ve thought a lot about this coming midnight, and what path i hope this year to take me on. and then it hit me.

this world gets so caught up waiting and preparing for change, whether it be waiting until tomorrow to finally begin to save ourselves or waiting for the new year to change our lives and fight for our freedom, we waste the moments and the potentials for unlimited amounts of metaphorical midnights that are happening all around us, all the time.

though my heart was still clutched in the panic of dissociation, i was able to form one single thought in my head. and it was this.

this life is nothing but one continuous chance to take the risk we are too afraid to grab hold of, to become the person we wish to be next year, to take the next step towards the life we can only hope to wake up into one day.

and it you are reading this now, that means that you have oxygen screaming in your lungs and blood coursing through your terrified veins and most of all, the capability to create your own midnight in this very moment.

and this was when i decided in one single split second, a second more magical than any midnight could ever be, that i was going to continue fighting for my life before the darkness even welcomes the midnight in.

so i took this body, oversized sweater and all, into the middle of the yoga studio in my city. i rolled out my mat, and i closed my eyes. with my eyes closed, my mind could breathe. and here, my authentic soul inside of me, deep deep down, could breathe too. i moved through class like this for sixty minutes, i came home and drank a cup of tea and i ate what i knew i was meant to eat in order to foster this life, and i made my own midnight.

i started right here, with all that i am and with all that i had, and made my own beginning. and as hard as words are for me to string together, this is what i am trying to reach into your hearts; that you, too, can create your own beginnings, your own midnights, in any split second of magic that you choose.

and the secret of all this: once you choose this beginning for yourself, once you choose this metaphorical midnight as right here and right now, the magic is created simply through your beautiful and triumphant intention for change.

so, friends, let your midnights be as frequent as they need to be. let your yearnings for freedom and wholeness and authenticity be a string of the most beautifully chosen midnights you wish, because it is only then that we can one day become and live all that we so much hope we are on the right path towards.

hold the midnight of tonight sacred in your heart if you wish, if that feels right and true, but know that you are always always strong enough to make more.

live your change, breathe in your capability, and let us never cease creating our own midnights, because let us never stop journeying towards the people we hope with all of our souls to one day be.

i know now that i am going to continue making my own midnight beginnings every time the choices for life become too much to bear, take the path of just one small right step at a time, and eventually be grateful that i found the deep courage to fight and begin again over and over and over until the midnights gave way to the rising sun.

what is the midnight your soul knows you have been waiting too too long to create?

well….if you so choose, your midnight is now.

the gifts that are more important than any present this holiday season.

the gift of inherent worthiness.

the knowing that you are worthy in this life exactly where you are, as you are, and who you are. in your sadness or in your joy, eating your latkes or your christmas dinner, in your pain or in your triumph. there is nothing wrong inside of you…and the truth is that there never was.

the gift of joy.

the knowing that you are not deserving of your own self-inflicted punishment. you really truly are allowed to laugh, to smile, to hug, and to love. you are allowed to eat peppermint bark, warm up a late night mug of eggnog with ground cinnamon and nutmeg, watch christmas movies until three in the morning with those you hold so dear. there is nothing so deeply dark inside of you that leaves you undeserving of light and warmth.

the gift of self-acceptance.

the knowing that there is nothing about you as a human being in your body that needs to be changed, besides the way you speak to yourself. you were not born raging a war against your body, nor do you have to continue. there does exist a freedom that you (nor i) can yet fully imagine, where one is fully at peace with the body that holds our soul. let us breathe in that possibility. that is the first step.

the gift of serenity.

the knowing that you are allowed to rest. you are allowed to let time slow, to nestle your way into the cushions of your couch with a good book, and let go. there is nothing you need to compensate for, there are no miles that need to be ran. there is only your mind that needs to be soothed, and your breath is yet another gift to guide you.

the gift of connection.

the knowing that being seen, understood, loved, and known is as crucial for survival as anything else, and allowing yourself to ask for it. to reach out to those close to you, letting your words emanate into the lonely and forgotten places in your heart, and ask for the connection that you yearn for. this, and only this, will make you whole.

the gift of gratitude.

the knowing that you made it thus far because of the subtle strength that swells within you, and the gratitude that you hold for this life. breathe in this moment, hold the colors and songs of the world like there is no tomorrow, and be thankful for all that has taken you to this place right here, right now, as you are.

 

what other gifts are you attempting to hold dear this holiday season, my friends?

if you could embody anything, anything at all, what would it be?

and can you not gift that to yourself right here, right now, too?

sweaters

 

when it hurts to no longer hurt, and the new hurt that this creates.

today i found myself hurting, hurting, hurting.

the hurt began as an ache, the moment my therapist said that she no longer feared for my physical health.

the hurt then spread through my bones, as my fourth therapy session in a row that i had not spoke of my truth in any way, came to a close.

the hurt finally traveled into my veins, as the belief that i would be better off frail, weak, starved, and dead washed over me.

the hurt clutched at my heart, when i realized just how empty i felt now that i was without my old hurt to fill me up.

sometimes i do not know who i am without my old hurt.

this is one of those days.

sometimes i do not know who i am without the darkness of anorexia looming ever-near.

sometimes i do not know who i am without the cold limbs and empty chest.

sometimes i do not know who i am without the purpose that endless self-destruction brings.

sometimes i do not know who i am in the world of all the other beings of the earth, going about their days and their lives knowing so easily just how to simply act human.

sometimes i do not know who i am at all.

i have so much silence inside of me, i feel like my silence is expanding faster than there is room for. soon enough there will be a vacant universe inside of my chest, alone.

i have lost my old hurt and i emerge healthy and present into the world, and this lack of old hurt is replaced by such a deep, deep, and deeply different hurt.

as i move through this new hurt, my mind is screaming unearthly emptiness, and i am attempting to soothe this pain now.

i am telling my new hurt that vocalizing my existence and my emotions will become easier with time.

i am telling my new hurt that as much as i believe that the old hurt would be more comforting, the truth of the matter is that i chose to leave that old hurt behind because my eating disorder nearly ended my life and brought me more darkness than is imaginable.

i am telling my new hurt that i spent so many years out of this world, it is not easy to reenter it. i am learning. i am just a beginner in this world of the vibrantly living.

i am telling my new hurt that no matter how much shame it fills me with, no matter how many therapy sessions more will be filled with incongruent silence, i will eventually make my way. i will one day feel real, alive, and whole.

i am telling my new hurt that i am not giving up yet.

i have traded hurt for hurt, but at least this hurt offers the potential for hope. this new hurt is a hole in which i can create myself. 

this hole has only the potential for growth. and even if i have to grit my teeth and scream into the silence, grow i will.

grow i will.

i am not giving up yet.

when you don’t know where your words hide, have patience.

i have struggled an unfathomable amount recently with finding my words. i have begun countless blog posts, only to delete them, because i have this seemingly gaping hole where my words should be. this vacantness within my chest, this deep gnawing, without even the ability to describe it to my own self.

sometimes, i wonder if there is anyone else in the world like me. the ones who understand the world backwards. the ones who feel, and then think, rather than the other way around. i cannot even comprehend the idea of “racing thoughts”, because my mind feels like a void. so much of the time i simply feel, i feel so so very deeply indeed, but searching for my thoughts that are creating these feelings is so very much like blindly groping my way through a thick darkness.

a couple of days ago i sat in therapy, and as it happens more frequently than not i sat without being able to speak, shaking legs and a feeing within me so huge it felt ready to erupt from my physical body. all i wanted was to speak, to be heard, to be understood, to feel connected, to feel real. after an hour of silence, my therapist said something to me as i was finally putting my shoes on and getting ready to emerge back into the world. she said: “you have experienced more feelings within yourself in this hour alone than i can even comprehend. dear, it must be exhausting.” 

and let me tell you, it is. to feel everything so deeply it hurts, from sadness to gratitude to loneliness to disgust to self-hatred to motivation and back again. i get so caught in this turmoil of emotion, i feel this sensation of not knowing who i truly am and what i truly feel. it is as though every emotion that i feel, every action that i take, is just another blind step bringing me farther and farther from my true self. who am i? what do i truly want? why does everything feel so, so wrong?

after years and years of not only existing without feeling, due to the severity of the starvation i believed myself deserving of, but also existing without truly living, it is true that i am in the process of relearning how to be a human of this world. and if this is the case for you too, then this is for you. we are all in the process of relearning how to be humans of this world, and it is a difficult, difficult, difficult task indeed. 

i have not really lived in a long, long time. and here, as i am fulfilling this terribly daunting intention of mine to finally publish new words onto my site, i am making a promise to myself and to all you others out there who feel as i do. here is that promise. if you are in need of this promise too, hold it in your heart. there is more than enough of it for us all.

when i do not know where my words hide, i will have patience. 

when i do not know how to weave my way through this chaotic world of thought and feeling, i will have patience. 

when i choke on impending doom, choke on the sensation that i will never be fully real and will never be fully understood, i will have patience. 

when i feel as though my whole existence is one impulsive trial and error after another, and when i believe that i will never feel at peace just living inside my mind and body, i will have patience. 

when i do not know how to speak, i will have patience. 

when i do not know who to be, i will have patience. 

when i do not know how to be, i will have patience. 

patience, friends. even if i am only learning to believe in me, i believe in you.