Let's Make 2016 the Year of Self-Love!

TRIGGER WARNING: EATING DISORDERS, TRIGGERING PHOTOS

I love the city of Los Angeles.

It’s home.

It felt like home the moment I set foot in Hollywood, in a way I’d never experienced before.

This city has been so good to me; it has opened up so many of its doors and welcomed me creatively.

I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without Los Angeles.

But, there’s no question, LA can be a tough city.  It can be a hard place to exist in.

Los Angeles has a reputation for being superficial and beauty driven for a reason.  And while it’s not as bad as some people may think, this town is definitely focused on looks.  Add in the crazy pressure and beauty standards set by social media and all the toned, perfectly proportioned starlets walking around everywhere, it’s hard not to feel inadequate sometimes.

But, in all honesty, sometimes it’s just hard to exist anywhere.  We live in a society where we are constantly judged on how we look, a society where nearly every magazine cover, almost every actress, and pretty much every advertisement insists that we – as women – look a certain way.  And if we don’t resemble the ideal, we’re made to feel less than.  Less sexy, less desirable, less worthy, less of a person.

I try really, really hard to practice self-love and body positivity.  It’s been a long 26 year journey, just getting to the point that I can even say I love my body, much less believe it.  And I do believe it – I truly love my body.

And yet, more often than I’d like to admit, I find myself wishing it looked different, or comparing it to other womens,’ or talking badly about my stomach or boobs or butt.

Let’s back track.  I had an eating disorder though much of high school – what doctors diagnosed at first as “athletically induced anorexia,” but what mutated into full blown anorexia by the time it had reached its peak.  I would work out for hours at a time (I was already running cross country and track every morning, but I’d also go to the gym after school), and I cut my calories so severely that I was barely eating anything.  I was already so skinny that no one noticed I was getting skinnier.  Of course, when I looked in the mirror, in my mind I looked gigantic.  I had full on body dysmorphia and, thanks to society, I’d become convinced that big was bad, and that skinny was sexy. 

My emaciated body was far from sexy.  It was frail and fragile – not the strong, athletic body I needed to run 50 miles a week.  But skinny was the only thing I knew how to do – it was the only thing I could control about my looks.  I wasn’t particularly pretty.  I mean, I wasn’t bad looking, but I was awkward and curveless and no boys ever asked me to the homecoming dance or out on a date.  But I was skinny – and when, at some point, my mind convinced me I wasn’t skinny enough, I started starving myself.

If you’ve read past posts on my blog, you know this story.  Thankfully, I got help and made it through a treatment program.  I gained 25 pounds, going from 99lbs (and I’m 5’8” btw) to 124.  I vowed never to let my weight drop that low again.

But in college by insecurities remained, and were perhaps even heightened by my desire to be wanted – to be found sexually desirable by frat boys (eesh my priorities needed some work).  And again, in so many ways, my thin frame seemed like the only real thing I had to offer (sad, I know).  All the drinking and pizza eating I’d been doing freshman year had caused me to gain some weight, and I immediately went into freak out mode.  Freak out mode became bulimia.  I didn’t want to stop drinking, so I just started making myself throw up.  I’d stick my finger down my throat anytime I drank alcohol, or anytime I ate something that felt unhealthy.

Me in college, in the midst of my eating disorder.  I managed to keep my weight around 109 to 112.  Low enough to be super skinny, but not so low that I started having heart palpitations/chest pain/etc. (p.s. this was my outfit for a Kesha concert, not my going to class ensemble)

Me in college, in the midst of my eating disorder.  I managed to keep my weight around 109 to 112.  Low enough to be super skinny, but not so low that I started having heart palpitations/chest pain/etc. (p.s. this was my outfit for a Kesha concert, not my going to class ensemble)

I remember one night in particular, maybe a Wednesday or Thursday evening, when I was staying in my apartment doing homework (this was senior year and I wasn’t drinking nearly as much, and only on weekends).  I was totally sober, had done a crossfit class that morning and had eaten a salad for dinner, but had also eaten a handful of animal cookies for dessert.  I was racked with guilt and disgust after eating the cookies.  I was literally shaking I was so stressed out about it.  I went in the bathroom and threw up for five minutes, until I was crying over the toilet and feeling absolutely helpless.  A different sort of disgust settled in my gut – why am I doing this to myself?  But I couldn’t stop.  I managed to only let my weight drop about ten pounds, and figured out how to hover right there – at about 112 lbs.  It was enough that no one noticed I’d lost weight, and it wasn’t enough to be dangerous to my health.  But it was absolutely damning for my emotional and mental health.

After college I moved to AZ to live with my then boyfriend.  The bulimia, while not as severe, was still intermittent.  If I had more than two or three drinks (which was very often – we drank a lot) I had to throw up.  If we ate out somewhere and I splurged on something fried, then I had to throw up when we got home.  I managed to live with him for almost two years, and he never figured it out.  One night, toward the end of our relationship, I told him the truth – that I was vomiting at least once a week on purpose.  I don't think he knew what to do or how to be supportive.  We were already a mess, and I think this news was just too much for him.  A month or so later we broke up, and I moved back to TX for a few months before moving out to LA.

Since moving to Los Angeles, my weight has stayed consistent at a healthy number.  Building a supportive network of friends out here has really helped me to stay strong in the face of my eating disorder and insecurities.  Discovering feminism and the idea of self-love has given me a reason to fight – to fight back against the nasty voices in my head telling me I’m not pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough. 

I still struggle.  Every single day I have to remind myself that I’m beautiful, that I am enough. There are times when I eat something unhealthy and my instinct is to break down – my instinct is to fall back into the dangerous habits I developed over the last ten years of my life.  It’s hard.  It’s really, really hard sometimes. 

Me now, healthy and feeling more like myself than ever before <3

Me now, healthy and feeling more like myself than ever before <3

Everyday I see pictures of girls and women who are skinnier than me, “prettier” than me, more successful (by whatever standards) than me.  All of those terms are subjective and meaningless, I know that.  But in some ways my mind is wired to think along those terms.  That’s the way the world has conditioned me to think.  And it fucking sucks.  So I shove and push and dig myself out of those feelings.  I claw and bite and snarl at the notion that there’s only one kind of beauty, one ideal body, one model of success.

I long for the day when I no longer have to claw and shove and fight.  I hope, one day, I will feel completely at ease with who I am and how I look.  But I know that takes time.  All I can do is try my best to love myself.  So I work fiercely to embrace self-love and to practice positive self-talk.  I work fiercely to remember that another woman’s beauty does not negate my own.  I work adamantly to remember that, at the end of this life, it isn’t how I looked that matters.  It isn’t how flat my stomach was or how big my boobs were. 

Me, a few months ago, about to get 2nd place in the Malibu Half Marathon :) &nbsp;I'm so proud of this body - a strong, healthy body that allows me to run and move through the world with energy and passion! &nbsp;Note: no thigh gap. &nbsp;Note x2: who gives a fuck?!

Me, a few months ago, about to get 2nd place in the Malibu Half Marathon :)  I'm so proud of this body - a strong, healthy body that allows me to run and move through the world with energy and passion!  Note: no thigh gap.  Note x2: who gives a fuck?!

Life is too short not to love yourself.  It’s an ongoing process for me, but it’s a journey I’m so glad to be on, and one that has been incredibly fulfilling.  It’s made me vulnerable but strong; it’s left me scared, but showed me just how brave I am.  The journey toward self-love isn’t easy, but it’s so, so worth it.

Thank you for supporting me on mine, and know that I support you wholeheartedly on yours.

xoxo

2015!! Happy New Year!!

It’s New Years Eve, and I’m sitting on the couch surrounded by tissues sniffling and achy and totally sick.  Thankfully I didn’t have any crazy New Year’s Eve party plans, but still, it’s kind of a bummer to be sick on the last night of 2014.

I may not be popping champagne or singing karaoke tonight, but I do want to take a moment to reminisce about the past year and lay out some resolutions for the new year.

2014.

It really was an incredible year.

In January I went to Costa Rica with my entire extended family and had the incredible opportunity of staying in a massive mansion with monkeys running along the balconies and an endless supply of fruit smoothies and margaritas.

I celebrated a year with my incredible boyfriend at our favorite restaurant, overlooking the ocean in Big Sur.

I ran another half-marathon and set a new PR.

We moved to Pasadena, into our own little house, and it’s been so much fun!

I’ve been published in several writing publications, my blog has taken off, and I’ve been part of a lot of awesome creative projects.

I’ve spent more time with my girlfriends, which has been such an amazing blessing.

I’ve fully embraced feminism and feel stronger, happier, and more like myself because of it.

On December 9th I got engaged to the love of my life underneath the Hollywood night sky.

For Christmas we went to Montana to celebrate the holidays with my family.  What a wonderful way to start and finish the year – with the people I love most.

That’s a really brief look at the highlights of 2014, and believe me, every day was a highlight.  Yes, the year had it’s difficulties, some of which I’m still dealing with and learning to cope with.  But I’m so incredibly blessed, and at the end of this year, I can undoubtedly say I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.  And I know 2015 is only going to get better!  Here are a few of my resolutions:

Write more and more often!  I want to finish my first novel this year, and the goal is to write at least 3 pages every day.  I also really want to keep working on and promoting my blog, as well as submitting writing to all sorts of publications.  Writing writing writing!

Get more involved in feminism, through volunteering, a career, a podcast, creative projects…hopefully all of these things!  I want to share the positivity and joy and strength that I’ve found through feminism.  I want to help other girls and women who have been through the things I’ve dealt with.  I want to be a positive role model.  I want to change the world.

Run my first full marathon!  I’ve been super fit and healthy throughout 2014, but I really want to train for a full marathon and qualify for Boston.  I’m also determined to get the ever elusive 6 pack this year (and no, the kind you keep in the fridge).

In relation to health, I also want to keep working on self-love and self-acceptance.  I definitely think I’ve done a better job of that this past year, but I know I have lots of room to grow.  We should all embrace and cherish the body we have, and I’m determined to really work on body positivity in 2015.

The fiancé (eep!  I love using that word!) and I want to make sure we make time for ourselves and our relationship.  We want to plan at least one fun getaway/event a week, and one big trip every few months.  We’re going to try new things, go on new adventures, and continue to grow and learn together.

Spend more time with ladies!  I want to hang out more with the awesome girlfriends I have, and make more friends!  I really want to put myself out there this year, meet new people, and get involved in all sorts of fun, feminist, artsy projects!  Let’s be friends!

Be more thoughtful.  I think I’m a pretty thoughtful, kindhearted person, but I also think I could make a greater effort to think about others.  This year I want to do more nice things for more people.  Whether it’s a letter in the mail, a surprise dinner date, a phone call, etc. I’m going to be a better friend, fiancé, daughter, sister, human being.

Start planning my WEDDING!

 

Those are my more serious resolutions.  But here are a few other fun ones:

Learn to cook more meals.

Learn to play the guitar.

Get another pet friend for Louie.

Get more tattoos!

Get better at cleaning things lol.

Try out new makeup looks.

Budget money better.

And that’s just a few!  You’ll have to excuse me if this post isn’t all that eloquent.  I literally have to blow my nose every 30 seconds, and I’m not exactly functioning at full capacity right now.  But I thought it was important to write this post, and I wanted to wish everyone a very happy New Year!  I love you all and I can’t wait for all the fun, joy, and excitement that 2015 is going to bring! 

XOXO!

Currently Crushing On...

There are a couple things I'm currently obsessed with, and I figured I'd share them here!  My new favorite color, music I'm crushing on, and more!

1. The Tiffany blue/turquoise - I am LOVING this color.  And not just because it's the color associated with beautiful jewelry.  I've found myself buying all sorts of things in this romantic, tropical hue (it probably has something to do with it feeling like summer in Cali).  This color looks rad with my blonde hair, pale skin, and makes my eyes all glowy :)  I've recently bought a tee, a scarf, and gotten my nails done in the color.  Yeah, I'm kind of obsessed.

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2. Iggy Azalea - Maybe I'm a little late to the love fest regarding Iggy Azalea, but her song "Work" has got me hooked.  This girl is suuuper talented - her badass vibe mixed with an amazing fashion sense make her one of my favorite grrls.  Check out the video for "Work" below and visit her website here!

3. Big Headbands - Another spring trend I'm digging is ginormous headbands embellished with fun stuff.  I've always liked headbands/bows/semi-obnoxious headwear - it's sassy and kawaii and full of personality.  These are a few that I've been wearing lately:

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4. Lena Dunham - I've loved this girl since the first episode of Girls aired.  She's been bucking feminine stereotypes left and right since she stepped on to the scene, and Girls is fu**ing AMAZING.  I'll have a separate article about Girls sometime soon, but for now I just wanted to share my obsession with Lena Dunham and her quirky fashion sense, unapologetic personality, and her ability to capture the chaos and craziness of today's young adults.

5. My Film Cameras - In college I minored in Photography, and several nights a week I could be found in my school's dark room developing photos until 4 am (this was after my party phase, when I decided I could be way more productive at 4 AM and way less drunk).  After I graduated, I no longer had access to a dark room, so I started using my digital camera (and my iPhone) more and my film cameras less.  But when I was back in Texas earlier this month, I dug through my closet, found my old cameras, and brought them back with me to LA.  I'm so excited to start shooting with them again - and if anyone in LA knows of a darkroom I can use, we can have an art party till 4 AM!

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