What I Hope For Us All in 2015

Happy Monday! I hope that everyone had a happy, as well as healthy, New Years and that you all are enjoying 2015 thus far. Since I have SO much excitement for 2015 I thought that I’d share with you guys, what I hope for us all in 2015. There’s no better time than now for us to learn, grow, and be the best versions of ourselves! So here is what I hope for all of you, as well as myself:

  1. Never let “the fears” stand in your way. 10671300_755666997820573_4491241005701606868_nLet’s take chances this year. We can no longer allow “the fears” to stop us dead in our tracks. 2015 is the year when we conquer “the fears” and see that we are stronger, and braver than we ever knew. Whether “the fears” turn up unexpectedly or they have existed for most of our lives we must stand up to them. We must never be afraid to share our fears or talk them out because often we will find we are not alone and we will thus have an ally to fight against “the fears” 😉
  2. Make intentions, not resolutions.d129467c2ff9ae4c359e85d46ceeea7eA resolution is defined as the action of solving a problem, so when we set a resolution every New Year we are in a sense seeing ourselves and our past actions as problems that we believe need to be solved. An intention, however, is defined as a the determination to act in a certain way. When we set an intention we don’t see ourselves as problems, but are instead focusing our energies on leading our life differently by making more effective choices. I encourage all of us to make intentions, not resolutions because intentions are more powerful and positive. For 2015 I intend to love my mind, body and spirit for its beauty, as well as imperfections.
  3. Be your own best friend.b8c50eafd861385a81ae508dba368087We have got to learn to love ourselves and stop comparing ourselves to others. We are all unique individuals who should only have to look to ourselves for beauty and inspiration. Only after we alone are able to see how truly amazing we are, inside and out, will happiness become second nature. What matters most is our relationship with ourselves, once that is strong everything else will fall into place.
  4. Learn from the past, but don’t hold on to it, look forward to what is next to come.b4d67e54d8758312d5b1a7839550419cI’m sure we can all refer back to events in our past that we wish with every fiber of our being never occurred, but we also know that there is no way we change them or take them back. So, instead of wallowing over mishaps, or endings, we can think about them in a new way by focusing on what those unfortunate incidents have taught us about ourselves. For example, when a relationship ends we can become consumed by all the negative and hurtful parts of it, but instead of thinking in that respect we must try and focus on the good, and figure out what we learned about ourselves from it. Whether it be that we deserve more or that perhaps we should have treated someone else better, we must not hone in on the hurt. I’m a true believer that everything happens for a reason and every scenario, good or bad, is supposed to teach us something so we can become the best versions of ourselves. So, lets try and learn from the past and not be held back by it.
  5. Remember that everyone has a struggle and a story. a43bb1c8dd3268c37f93990c9f0f56bfMany of us, myself included, become absorbed by our own personal struggle and thus have a difficult time seeing that we are not the only one suffering out there. I know that when I am in my absolute worse ED mindset I don’t think of anyone else, but myself, and am convinced that no one understands me. Some of this comes from the fact that I would never want anyone else to feel the pain I have, but another reason is that I believe everyone else has it all together. However, one of the greatest lessons I learned in 2014 was the power of empathy and I can only hope to continue to cultivate this emotion throughout 2015. In doing so I know I will strengthen all of my relationships because I am recognizing that we all have some sort of struggle and respecting one another’s struggle is crucial in becoming the best version of ourselves, as well as nurturing our relationships with others. Empathy creates strong bonds so I encourage us all to give it a try and make it a part of our lives.
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Let’s Stop “Shaming” Once & For All.

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Being overwhelmed, and even debilitated, by guilt is how I often describe what it feels like to have an eating disorder. I’m my own harshest critic and when I was fully engrossed by my ED guilt consumed my every thought. From disappointing my loved ones, to not exercising enough, to eating too much or even the “wrong thing”… I always blamed myself and felt, what I thought was, outright guilty. I never really understood why this emotion was such a dominant part of my life, but I came across a very interesting article the other day that is helping me to comprehend where this emotion emerged from and… more specifically that I wasn’t actually an individual filled with guilt all of these years, but one consumed by shame 😦

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“Shame In Today’s Society: What It Means, And Why It Absolutely Needs To Stop” by Stephanie Castillo for Medical Daily highlights how our culture has become one that is obsessed with “shaming.” Castillo argues that we must put an end to this behavior immediately. One of the most eye opening parts of this article, for me based on my own personal emotions, is when Castillo distinguishes the difference between guilt and shame. After reading her piece I finally understood that I wasn’t simply engrossed by guilt while in my ED, but I was consumed by a feeling significantly more powerful and damaging : shame. In order to clarify the difference between shame and guilt Castillo references June Tangney, author of Shame in the Therapy Hour, who has found that when a person feels guilty they, they say, “I did a bad thing.” When they feel shame, they say, “I am a bad person for having done that.”

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Holy shit was that eye opening for me. From now on I will never define my emotions as guilty ones because they are in fact those of shame. My ED thoughts correlate directly with our society’s need to shame one another based on being “too thin,” “too fat,” “too slutty,” “too prude” etc. and as a result of this I have been relentlessly “fat shaming” myself for the past couple of years. From “fat shaming” to “thin shaming” NO ONE deserves to feel defective, impaired, or wounded, which shame will always cause…and which I can truly testify to…we all just need to

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The antidote, according to Brene Brown, a renowned shame researcher is empathy. “If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment,” she said. “If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re [struggling]: me too.”

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at California State in Los Angeles added: “The changes we need to see are more realistic media images, [starting to] value women for their minds and accomplishments, and raise public awareness of these eating disorders, and their depth and impact. Change can begin one woman at a time. And instead of shaming each other, we can support ourselves instead.”

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So, ladies and gentleman as someone who has felt shameful because of their eating disorder, body dysmorphia and anxiety for FAR TOO LONG I too am calling for an end to “shaming.” We all have enough to deal with emotionally, socially, mentally and physically so why should we make others feel badly about themselves? The answer is simple…we shouldn’t. Just because our society has become a mean one where it is ok, and even normal, to comment on women’s bodies doesn’t mean that we should continue practicing this behavior.

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From this day forward I encourage all of you to join me in pledging to stop spreading shame by looking inward and attempting to find empathy for others. We must remember that we are not alone even at our lowest points. I truly hope that since I am honest and open about my own struggles than others may relate to my story and realize that no one deserves to feel shame. This will be a challenge and change won’t happen in a day, but I believe in you all and I know that together we can make a difference, so let’s do it 😉

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Me Sarcastic? Never ;)




639748c1d9fc1e3c065bf748d6bde153Sarcasm can be difficult to read, but there is something about individuals who embody this characteristic that just makes me smile. It’s probably because I grew up with a dad who exhibits this trait on a regular basis and I too find myself to lean more towards the sarcastic side, but honestly I don’t know exactly why this kind of humor gets me more than any other. So in honor of my “more sarcastic self” (I do find myself saying you know I was teasing/being sarcastic a far amount hahaha) I thought I would share with you all some images that really drive this point home and make me laugh out loud!

Sarcasm+%26+Sass

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Practicing Mindfulness in My Everyday Life

Learning to lead a more mindful life has been crucial in my recovery process. I now know that I have to focus on being present, as well as aware, of what’s going on with me in the moment in regard to my thoughts and feelings. It’s not easy, but by being conscious of the triggers, both physical and mental, that contribute to my eating disorder I can thus try to stop them and address them instead of letting them linger.

Here are some mindful exercises I participate in and find extraordinarily helpful:

 

  • Taking a leisurely walk with my love Brewster. When walking with Brewster I try to avoid stressing the exercise piece and focus purely on the scenery and our time together.

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  • Meditation/Taking a short nap. For me just putting myself in a dark room, lying down and taking some deep breathes is very soothing and calming. It helps me to recharge and clear my head.

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  • Everyday come up with 3 compliments for yourself. On rough days this can be hard, but there’s very little that’s more important than being kind and loving towards yourself. Once you are happy with yourself everything else will fall into place.

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Why Be Stuck in the Past When You Can Live in the Present?

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Throughout this year I’ve discovered that it’s vital not to harp on why things ended. Instead, I must focus all of my energy on living in the present and becoming a better and stronger versions of myself. Yes, the past is part of who I am today, but I am choosing to use it as a place of reference from which I’ve learned from my mistakes, as well as successes. It’s time for me, therefore, and I encourage you all as well, to take these prior experiences and implement them positively into your present life. I truly believe that everything from this point forward will aid me in my journey of becoming a happier and healthier friend, sister, daughter, etc.

 So, there is no need to stress about why things played out the way in which they did because we can’t go back and change them. We can only learn from our prior experiences as well as our mistakes and make our current life situations the best they can be by taking what we’ve learned from our slip ups, backslides, poor choices, etc and not letting them get the best of us.

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So, What’s Next?

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I’m sure many, if not all, of my fellow recent college grads out there have had to face, especially within the last few weeks, the ever-looming inquiry of: so you’ve finished college…what are you going to do with your life next? This question is so broad as well as pressure filled. It’s as if we are expected to have the next 10 years all figured out when we’ve only just completed doing the one thing we know how to…be students. Some of you out there have plans whether that’s graduate school, a career path, or traveling the world whereas others, myself included, are kind of in limbo. Personally, I’m really at odds over what the next big step in my life will be… In all honesty all I truly know is that I want to be happy and healthy, two things I have not been prior to this year. So, my goal for this summer is to simply work on maintaing the health and true happiness I was without for so long and hopefully through that discover what I am passionate about. Who knows maybe I can take this little blog to the next level and really make something out of myself 🙂 I just need to remind myself that the opportunities out there are endless and the only person standing in my way is myself. Through hard work and perseverance I (and you) can conquer anything!

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14 Things That I Am Grateful For Today

As I mentally prepare myself for my graduation from Bowdoin College this Saturday I thought that it would be nice, as well as uplifting, to reflect on 14 lessons/things/people/sayings from this year that I am so grateful for and that have truly changed me. I feel like 14 is an appropriate number because I am a part of the Class of 2014 now and I couldn’t be happier 🙂

1. Recovery de8cfa9a509c0cc2480fd1f0b8e08dd5     2. Family 1480676_10202104144061803_882566437_n   3. Friends (new & old) f8444f31571af6188e6911eeac65817e-1   4. This blog 523ee613c38b6106f6f540a82f40c33e   5. My team of mental health professionals photo-19

6. Learning how to recognize what matters most versus something that deserves a “so what” 52dd6260acc2b3381c09910461f3746a   7. Appreciating the little things cd7163c7bc5208c851570a994793e83e     8. Learning to trust myself again cbc28f0257697a2e63e5ddd2bcd21390     9. Sunny days 796b5e54d65b7a8db49b2f9c1607100f 10.Embracing and appreciating imperfection 7438b1a1df9824438e414aa941009d34 11. The ability to inspire others 0cee4324b6210e26ad010b41b73d0967 12. Sleep…everyone functions better if they get their 8 hours! bf505df64c6cd99af68366aff6b30008   13. The warm and loving welcome I received upon returning to college e4d3f7602c0ab0449a2224cb8c06cdc9 14. My amazing education 819db58ebc52fd66ea0fe7fb0164c3f0

Thank you to everyone who has aided me in my recovery and in my return to college. I don’t know what I would do without all of you….I definitely wouldn’t be here today! So, I think that it’s time to cheers to the Class of 2014, one of the best ones yet, and let’s look forward to all the amazing things in our future!

What Do You Think of Dove’s Latest Beauty Campaign?

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A few weeks ago Dove launched its latest campaign with a goal to highlight and promote the beauty within each and every one of us. I love the efforts that Dove is going to to empower women and emphasize that we are all truly more beautiful than we believe. If it was up to me there would be WAY more of this kind of work going on! In regard to this particular social experiment, created by Dove, they gave a group of women a “Beauty-Patch,” which they claimed would enhance their beauty if they kept it on for two weeks. Most of you probably guessed, but the patch was in fact a placebo. However, just by wearing it and thinking that it was working the women in this experiment reported that their confidence grew and they felt more beautiful. Case in point: when a women feels beautiful her self-esteem grows and she is more comfortable in her own skin. Unfortunately far too many of us struggle with seeing our true beauty and often feel anxious and consumed by our appearance. It is thus detrimental that experiments like this continue, no matter how simplistic they are, because they truly help women see that they are beautiful and it’s most important that they, and not anyone else, believe it.

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I found that this article “Dove Patches: Beauty Within” did an excellent job summing up the experiment and its results if anyone wants to read more about the campaign!

Besides the fact that I personally enjoyed this campaign and feel that it has a very powerful message I wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention because there has actually been a lot of backlash about the simplicity of the experiment. Many have criticized Dove for thinking that women are “dumb” if they believe that a patch can make them more beautiful. However, I think that if women can find any sort of measure, whether it be a patch, a hat, or whatever the hell they want that makes them feel more beautiful and therefore enables them to lead a more confident life than why not do it? People need to stop being so critical and recognize the big picture that this is about empowering women and reassuring them that they are beautiful and they just need to believe it for themselves. One way I plan on doing this, and I welcome all of you to try this out if you want, is whenever I notice that I am starting to go to a negative place I’m going to take a deep breath and tell myself:

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Both on the inside and outside 😉

 

SurvIvies 2014

Sorry for my lack of posting, but I’ve been crazy busy this week trying to get all my work done before my college’s spring weekend goes into full swing! As most of you may know pretty much every college under the sun participates in some sort of “spring weekend” and it’s that time of the year for Bowdoin. Here we celebrate “Ivies” during the last weekend in April and it’s a pretty sweet time haha. Usually it’s the first weekend of the semester when it’s actually semi-appropriate to be outside and we take full advantage of the above freezing temps and sunshine! In honor of my last Ivies ever I thought I would share with all of you 5 clutch tips for SurvIving this weekend, and for all of you at other schools this advice totally pertains to your spring weekends as well!

 

1. Go out even if you aren’t drinking.

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For us seniors it is especially important to take advantage of every last minute we have left here. So my advice is to go out even if you aren’t drinking. I’ve been around the block and have gone out quite a lot without drinking and in all honesty I usually have a pretty great time. Most people won’t be able to tell whether or not you are indulging in a beverage so don’t let your desire to stay sober deter you from being social. Some of my favorite and most fun people don’t drink and they are always a friggen blast.

2. Hydrate…For reals.

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Ladies and gentleman this is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you all: drink LOTS AND LOTS of water. We are going to be outside in the sun and participating in some other activities that are def going to dehydrate us… So, be conscious of this and bring a water bottle with you. This is also a great way to pace yourself during the festivities.

3. Take pictures.

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The memories tied to pictures last a lifetime so don’t hesitate to document this weekend. You don’t have to put the pictures on any form of social media, but it’s so important to have them for yourself.

 

4. Remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. 

f103a0e723030ddfbead953fa857f8a3Never rush a good thing. Pace yourself and recognize that the festivities last all weekend long so if you want to go take a nap to recharge in between (or during) any of the events do it. You’ll thank yourself later I bet!

 

5. Enjoy your company.

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Plain and simple just don’t surround yourself with people who bring you down or who you don’t like…they truly aren’t worth your time or energy. For all of us seniors this is one of our last big college events before graduation so don’t waist your time with those who aren’t contributing to your happiness. It’s the quality of your friendships that matter, not the number of friends you have.

 

Happy Ivies everyone and enjoy the weekend by living in the moment 🙂