Tag Archives: creativity

Rhythm

27 Oct

Every morning

I watch the dark

recede,

gracefully

moving into light.

I’ll be soaking in the sunrise

for the rest

of my

life.

Every evening

I look up at the

dark night sky,

and watch

ever so gratefully

it sparkle for all of us.

I’ll be counting the stars

for the rest

of my

life.

Every moment

I feel the rhythm,

the breath,

the pulse

seeping through my skin.

It is the heart

that keeps

the life. It is the life

that keeps the heart.

I’ll be dancing.

For the rest 

of my 

life.

The Women I Waited For

29 Oct

Alone in a city of millions… what a paradox.

Yet, just over a year ago, it’s exactly how I lived. Fresh out of inpatient treatment, I went to live with my aunt in New York City. Physically, I looked better, and everyone exclaimed behind hopeful smiles at how restored I seemed. But I knew the truth. The ED spat,

“Look how you’ve let them stuff you. How dare you actually ENJOY eating when they fed you at Oliver Pyatt? I am not done with you yet… You’re mine again.”

After two days in the metropolis, my insurance terminated my intensive outpatient care and I was left with little treatment support. And my ED went wild in jubilation. It was perfect… no one to monitor, no one to force feed, just me and him… all day long.

In the sea of people, I was stranded on a desert island. The ED made me feel ashamed of my newer, higher weight, so I drew inward, clamming up, losing all evidence that I ever had a social life. It was as though I could not emerge back into the world until the ED had deemed me thin enough again. Unfortunately( or perhaps fortunately), I never reached what my ED considered “acceptable.”

No one understood what I was going through. No one could possibly comprehend the pain, the loneliness, the anxiety, and the bleakness that pervaded the summer. No one else was being eaten up from the inside out, being sucked inwardly into a vacuum, where hope did not exist.

Oh, but they did. They do.

This past weekend was a milestone in my recovery as I ventured once again to New York City. But this time I wasn’t alone. And this time, it was on my terms.

Of course, my ED protested, “You shouldn’t… you’ll have to deal with all those messy memories and not knowing every nutritional fact of every bite you eat there. Think of the apple juice on the plane, how much do those flight attendants really pour? Half a can, 3/4? Oh, and those pretzels and peanuts. You’ll have to decline those. Don’t make me remind you of the restaurants all over New York. What land mines! Really, let’s just stay here in nice, safe, cozy Austin and continue to avoid those pesky things called feelings. Doesn’t that sound just peachy?”

Shut. The. Hell. Up.

While the ED pitched its, fit, I stood unwavering, like a parent riding out the terrible-two tantrums. It was not going to keep me alone. Not this time.

So I got on that airplane. And enjoyed the peanuts and the pretzels, plus NYC’s best pierogis, sushi, and muffins. I had coffee with a new friend, wishing the whole time… if only we had met a year ago. Maybe…..    I stayed up ’til 3 in the morning gossiping and reminiscing with my aunt until my eyelids collapsed, yet my heart wanted more. I saw more in four days than I did the entire summer I lived in NYC- art museums, fashion exhibits, improv shows- or at least savored it more. And I attended a bodyPeace by Piece workshop held by Susan Weiss Berry and Margaux Laskey, where I learned new creative tools to help cultivate a deeper acceptance of what my body looks like and how I feel towards this new weight I exist at.

But perhaps, most importantly, the women I interacted with this weekend made me realize that all along, I’ve never truly been on my own. While there are times where I have felt no one could possibly “get it,” they were there, I just didn’t know it then. Their companionship, their empathy, their compassion made me appreciate how “real” these women were. How rare it was to find them. yet here was a whole group of them assembled. Finally, those unafraid to admit, “Yes, we are struggling, too. We are vulnerable and yearning for understanding. We will not turn you away because we know what it’s like to hurt, but also what it’s like to lean on one another and find strength together.”

I could feel it in their smiles, in their warm, enveloping hugs, in their joyful dance, their quiet moments of reflection, their beauty. I knew I wasn’t alone any longer in the struggle. Yes, I silently whispered…

“Thank you. You are the ones I was waiting for…”

Limitless Pinterests

28 Aug

As I wrote about in my Creating as a Cure post, I am a deeply creative individual, but repressed my imagination, feelings, and desires for years with my eating disorder. I could almost say I became ashamed of being creative because those around me(aka. high schoolers) scorned the creative types, labeling them as childish, art nerds, and “gay.” On top of that, I excelled at math and science and was very clearly expected to be the rational, logical, even infallible student at those subjects, instead of being encouraged to keep a right-left brain balance. Oh, the woes of the public education system…

But now, in recovery, I’ve rediscovered my love for art and yes, “wasting time” looking for abstract things like peace, love, and beauty. I believe everyone has an artistic mind, whether or not they believe it, and each mind is unique. You can ask scornfully, “Oh, I am no good at drawing, so how the heck can I be artistic?” but really, that just means you aren’t a sketcher. It’s not your passion.

But maybe your a painter, maybe your a play-dough sculptor, maybe you do really fantastic doodles during chemistry class. Maybe you think up magical tales for your child when you tuck them under the warm covers at night, or know how to make the meanest, gooiest chocolate chip cookie of all the moms at pre-school. Maybe you can lip-sing on the subway better than the old man sitting next to you or write your wife the sappiest anniversary cards in the world. Maybe your camera has 10,000 photos on the full memory card, even if half have thumbs in the frames. Maybe you organize the most relaxing girls night, giving pedicures so professional, your girlfriends swear you’re part Asian.(And in case someone comments on this, I think Asian women give THE best mani-pedis. Take it as a compliment- I wouldn’t trust my toes with anyone else.) Maybe you make people laugh more than Seinfeld, or broadcast your life on Youtube.

Even if you don’t know it yet, you have an artist deep down, waiting to burst forth. Find her.

In the world of math and science, answers are always defined. It’s either correct or incorrect, there is no room for variation and there is always the possibility of “error.” Error doesn’t exist in art- there are no wrong answers. For once, everything you do is right. Art is limitless, and through art, I have discovered that I am limitless, too.

So I don’t define myself in artistic terms. There are no bounds on what I can do. I don’t say, “I can’t sculpt because I’m a photographer.” I’m so much more than that. Words are a false parameter on how I see the world through artistic eyes- I just can’t narrate the beauty I see because rediscovering art has allowed me a deeper, more profound view that can’t be described with words. That’s a very abstract thought, so let me give you an example:

When it comes to clothes, I don’t prescribe to one “style.” My outfits don’t say, “bohemian,” or “shabby chic,” or “punk.” Rather, I just have “my style” and I know when I see something that I like it. The design, color, and details all resonate with me on a deeper level than its style “label.” So the total of my closet cannot be described in words. The clothes represent something much deeper in me- what I find beautiful and appealing.

Because I can’t describe the way I see the world in words, I’ll just have to show you. A few weeks back, I discovered a fantastic site called Pinterest, where you can compile photographs of just about anything and arrange them on “boards” similar to how people would make vision boards before the internet. I have several boards and I highly suggest anyone struggling with an eating disorder, or who needs to discover their inner artist, check out Pinterest and consider starting an account. Check out my boards, especially if you need inspiration, are having a bad day, or just want to discover what beauty I see since I’ve escaped the darkness of my ED:

Inspiration: Browse this board when you are feeling shaky in recovery, want to be inspired throughout your entire day, or simply looking to uplift your spirit. I often look through this board when I am feeling ambivalent about recovery and need a boost. It helps to read inspiring quotes and be reminded of how beautiful life is.

Need a Cheering Up?: This board is for those terrible, no good, very bad days. I often turn to this board when nothing seems to be going my way, I’ve spent more time that day holding back tears than breathing, or I’m struggling in recovery. See for yourself, but I guarantee you can’t look through the entire board without smiling.

My Style: Fashion is a part of art that I’m just discovering because with the ED, it was all about numbers. I’d rather wear something ugly and ill-fitting in a size 0 than put on a cute, flattering size four in another brand. Well no more. My style is undefined but these are the inspiration for outfits I’d love to wear.

Art to Do: This is a collection of art I find appealing and makes me want to sit down to create- whether it be painting, drawing, cooking, writing, etc. Everything here is very varied in terms of art “style,” but I’m limitless and these examples of art just drew me in on a deeper level than “oh, that’s pretty.” They really held meaning for me in some way and are things I don’t want to copy, but that inspire me.

Photography Ideas: I love this board because it is the most undefined out of them all. I can’t pinpoint why I like a photo, but there’s just something that makes it beautiful. See for yourself and find your passions, your pinterests.

I will be adding more to my pinterest boards as time goes on, so always check back for more inspiration and of course, smiles, when your rough day needs a little smoothing along the edges.

Life is Beautiful. Pin it.

Creating as a Cure

30 Jul

 Forgetting. We all do it, and more often than not, it has such a negative connotation:

“Grandma forgot to put sugar in these cookies again. I think she’s going senile…” or

“Damn it… I set my coffee on the roof of the car before I left, but forgot to transfer it to the cup holder before reversing out. Bet someone got a jolt of java driving behind me.” or

“Aww… MOMMMM!!! TELL HIM HE CAN’T FORGET TO PUT THE SEAT BACK DOWN! THIS IS DISGUSTING! OH, AND HE NEEDS TO LEARN HOW TO AIM, TOO!”

See what I mean? Forgetfulness gets such a bad rap usually. But when it comes to ED recovery, or just living happier, I say a little dose of temporary amnesia is beneficial. It’s nice to be able to zone out from all the stressful thoughts that usually run through my head concerning weight, food, body image, insecurities, fears. That list normally occupies 90% of my thinking everyday, which I’m trying to change because really, it’s such a waste of intelligence. I think my gray matter needs a detox from all the detrimental thoughts the ED bombards it with, and that’s where art comes in.

For the longest time, I thought since I did so well in school, excelled in math and science, loved puzzles and nonfiction, I couldn’t be “creative” or “artsy.” When I was little, I loved drawing, painting, dancing, baking, and most of all, daydreaming. But as I matured, I picked up the message from society that I was supposed to be successful, bright, and driven, and any of those activities were distractors. Hippies, children, professional artists, and people with a dominant right brain could do art, but not me. No, if I wanted to study science or math, I had no time to “waste” on being creative.

Art, however, is an expression of emotion. In retrospect, I see a correlation between the development of my ED as a coping tool for my feelings quickly after I pushed the creative activities I loved out of my life. To survive the difficulty I was going through and no creative outlet, I turned to my eating disorder. Perhaps it’s the only thing my ED was good for- it helped me through an extremely heart-wrenching emotional time by giving me a sense of order and stability when everything was chaos. No, it was not the best coping tool, but it kept alive and functioning. I felt, and still do sometimes, that the mental struggle will overwhelm me; a riptide of anxiety, depression, or grief that will never let go.

 So, I starved away the sadness, binged back the tears, fasted of fear, heaved up the humiliation.

But I am a different person now. Through art, I don’t need an ED to forget about my troubles and numb myself from feeling. Today, I turn to photography, scrapbooking, knitting, pinterest collaging, cooking, writing(this blog!) and simply forget about everything but the art I am creating. The ED was successful in helping me cope because, through it, I lost myself. Literally. Art has helped me lose the eating disorder, and find myself again.

If you’d like to see some of the photography I’ve been snapping up, take a look at my new “Photography” Page at the top of the page.

Don’t FORGET to create something today!!!

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