Calorie Aspergers, Starvation Addiction, and Getting to the Bone

 

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Given that I’m usually not up to date with the new and upcoming shows, movies, and Netflix addictions, I had never idea what people were talking about when they started talking about “To the Bone.” I soon realized that it was a Netflix movie about a girl who suffered with Anorexia and the trials and tribulations of getting help and getting into treatment.

Some people said that it kind of sucked and that there was  “love story” in it. Others said that it was just a trigger. Some said it was the best one they had ever seen that portrayed anorexia. Upon watching it on Sunday, I can conclude that I am one of the latter people.

Don’t get me wrong, I did bawl my eyes out at some parts and laughed my ass off at others. And did y’all get a look at her therapist? Not to mention how cool he was. Like, can I be him? lol

There were some things within the movie that just hit so close to home for me.

I spent too many years of my  life battling Anorexia (which would later become exercise Bulimia) and To the Bone just hit so many key points involved in eating disorders.

(If you haven’t watched it yet, there may be some spoiler alerts!)

One of things I picked up on was “calorie aspergers.” They would use the term when talking about how the main character, Ellen, was obsessing over calories. I, too, obsessed over them. I can still tell you the serving size and amount of calories in a Hershey kiss (23), a cup of Walmart brand toasted oats (110), a small red apple (80), and the list goes on. I knew the calorie count of every little piece of food that went in my mouth. Calorie aspergers was a living Hell. I no longer count calories. The only thing I’m measuring is if the piece is too big to fit into my mouth. Calories, Smalories. Who cares? I don’t. I literally eat anything I want and give no cares in the world about it.

One thing that the “counselor” said was “Starving yourself can make you feel euphoric. Like a drug addict or alcoholic. It’s not about thin enough. It doesn’t exist. What you crave is the numbing of what you don’t want to feel.” My god, that statement was truer than true. Every time I refused to eat and sat there literally dying of hunger, I would feel a sense of pride and satisfaction. It made me feel good. Even though I suffered from tremendous migraines, dizziness, fatigue, and the like, I still felt “good.”

Looking back, I honestly have no idea how I could go without food for so long. These days, if I go without food for too long I get a headache and I know I have to find food soon. It’s no longer a “I’ve haven’t eaten in three hours, what’s another 3” mindset for me. It’s more like I haven’t eaten in four hours, where is the FOOD?!

During the movie, one of the women is pregnant while suffering with Anorexia(Megan). I’d also like to point out that the actress playing the role, Leslie Bibb, is from VA. WOOP. Anywho, she makes it to 12 weeks and thinks that she will actually carry to full term. Those dreams are crushed when they find her in the bathroom after having a miscarriage. I’ve known several people who have miscarried while suffering from Anorexia. I don’t even want to imagine how it feels when you feel like you’ve killed your own child because you weren’t even taking care of yourself, much less nourishing them.  Even at the age of 17/18, the thought of having children and having an eating disorder just were terrifying. Even after recovering, it’s still a part of why I don’t really want to have children.

Another thing that truly struck home was that she was obsessed with doing crunches in bed. I also did crunches. Sometimes I would do upwards of 2,000 crunches a day. TWO THOUSAND CRUNCHES PEOPLE. I still did not get a toned stomach or even abs. I did get a bruised and sore back though. Not to mention, I had my waist belt on as I did them because I thought that putting it around my waist would help me to lose the “fat.”  Now? I hardly ever work abs and I’m more “toned” than I have ever been in my life. I say “toned” because ya girl got some jiggle and she’s not afraid to say it.

The MAIN thing that stood out to me was the fact that she would wrap her hand around her arms to see if they were getting any smaller. It became her thing. She’d constantly measure her arm. I kept thinking back to when I would do that. Except for me, it wasn’t just my arms. I not only need one hand to perfectly cup my arm, but I also needed my two hands to easily cup around my thigh. I did this act every day, multiple times a day. And trust me, just like Ellen, my arms and thighs became small enough for me to accomplish my “goal.” It’s a sick goal to have, isn’t it? I just couldn’t stop though.

These days I have found my love of fitness and weight lifting and the bigger, the better for me. I used to want to be so small because it was like being perfect while simultaneously barely existing. Now I want muscles. I want my body to be just as strong as my mind. After all, it takes all the strength you have in order to choose recovery, and work your ass off every day to get there, but I finally did it. I’m can honestly say that I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how strong I’ve became over the years. Never ever tell me that eating disorders are a “choice” or that it’s for “attention,” because I might just right hook ya.

This movie was absolutely amazing in my opinion and Lily Collins did a fantastic job. It made me so much more passionate about wanting to become a therapist and help those that need to be helped.

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I Woke Up in Knoxville

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If you’re into country music, you may already see the resemblance of the title of this blog to a song by Seth Ennis. “Woke up in Nashville”

Let me just fan girl for a minute because when I first heard him on YouTube a while back I was hooked. Then his song/s became popular on Pandora and my local radio stations and I’m still not tired of it yet….even with constantly playing them all lol. Not to mention, I got to see him in concert July 8th

(Picture from the concert – P.S. release your new songs you sang because ya girl has poor quality videos and can’t remember the lyrics lol)

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His song “Woke up in Nashville” is about leaving behind his ex flame/life to pursue his music career in Nashville. It was once he got there and started living his life and pursing music that he realized what he left behind had been the “real dream.” So it’s not about physically waking up there, it’s more like an epiphany type of waking up. (According to online sources anyway lol)

I realized that I “woke up” in Knoxville. Ironically, it’s not that far away from Nashville and ends in “ville,” so it worked out in my favor lol

If you’re one of my close friends you will understand exactly why I have titled this as such and why I say I woke up in Knoxville. But I digress since I don’t plan to go into details.

I realized quite a few things when I woke up in Knoxville. It mostly all had to do with guys that had been in my life or still were at the time. You could say that I don’t have a good rap sheet when it comes to finding the right guy who treats me how I deserve to be treated. I think it may be easier if I just put them in bullet points and then briefly explain.

SO, I woke up to the fact that…..

I deserve the love I give to others

This should be a given. I realized that I had been giving all of my love away that I didn’t have much love left for myself. I was loving people who didn’t really seem to want it nor appreciate it. Looking back, I’m honestly not sure if they ever did. Yes, you can say “I love you” to someone, but it means nothing unless you truly mean it. I honestly felt so much love for a person, but I’m not sure that I even felt half of it in return. I deserve someone who’s going to love me as much as I do them……and they’re going to not just say it to me, but SHOW ME. I deserve to hear “I love you” followed by giving me your time and showing that you really do love me.

I deserve to be someone’s FIRST choice.

Alright. I’ll say it. I’m tired of little bitch boys who are afraid of being with the person they “claim to love” or “care for”,  let others around them influence them (as if their opinions even matter), and those who can’t seem to get their shit together.

Okay, okay. Maybe saying little bitch is kind of rude, but it’s better than the other words that I was thinking as I wrote this… I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard “you’re the best friend I imagined marrying” or “I want you to meet my family” or “I’m coming to see you” or the “I’m always going to be there for you no matter what” or “I love you always. Remember that” and I’m tired of hearing it all and then not having a word of it be true. I got to hear it from multiple people who would then sleep with anything while “loving” me. That’s called being a fuckboy honestly…..

If you can say those things to someone you love/care about you, you don’t just go sleep with Tom, Dick, and Harry and act like it’s no big deal. I know their parents had to have taught them better than that, right?….

I deserve to be the only choice and not just the girl someone runs back to when they can’t find a fuck buddy or get cheated on and dumped by the girl they chose over me. Love and relationships are hard and sex is easy. I deserve someone willing to go through hard and happy times and still continue to choose me again and again, because I know I’d do the exact same for them. Shit. I DID that. Sleeping or being with someone else was NEVER on my mind, but it seems like I wasn’t even on theirs.  I deserve to be the one and not one of many. I’m not even conceded in saying that. It should be common sense, especially if you love someone and talk/envision the future with them. Imagine your dad doing that to your mom or a guy doing that to you daughter and having to see them hurt because the guy couldn’t be a man and just kept hurting her. Would you think that it was okay? If you have a heart, the answer is no.

 

I deserve honesty.

It’s sad that after the fact, I learned about even more lies that I had been unknowingly told throughout the years. Hello, I’m not stupid, I can and always have put two and two together, and I know when someone is lying to my face. I deserve the truth. I don’t deserve lies about what you’re doing, how you feel about me, who else you’re talking to, or the like. I don’t need to how you’ve lied to your parents/family about me or about where you’re going. I deserve someone who will be honest with me from the get go.

 

I don’t deserve to be used and led on.

This should be self-explanatory. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had guys lead me on, just to say “Oh. We were never a thing/never dated, so you’re just ‘being crazy’ over nothing.” Of course, this was after several months or years of acting like I was something to them and they envisioned marrying/dating me.

**Sits here and tells myself not to post screenshots saying otherwise**

 

I deserve good…

I deserve someone who actually knows how to treat a lady. You know what I mean…

 

Lastly, I deserved better.

I deserve so much better than the BS I’ve dealt with in my life. I didn’t deserve to cry myself to sleep over an insecure boy. I didn’t deserve the lies, being just an option, or used. I don’t need someone who knows about my past, yet just adds to the hurt. I definitely didn’t deserve to be the “friend” that just got fucked over. I deserve amazing things and people in my life.

I used to think “Oh, well, they were really good on the inside and they did care about me” and I’ve said everything in the book to try to make excuses as to why I always left with MY heart in pieces. I could never figure out why I was left with a broken heart again and again until I realized that I didn’t deserve it at all.

I know I’m not perfect and I’ve never claimed to be. But when you give someone the best of you and love them so hard and they say they love you/care about you, you’d expect to at least get that in return. Hell, or for them to at least be a man and date you. Sometimes I think maybe it was “right person, wrong time” or “just wrong person, worse timing.” Who knows. I’ve had guys try coming back into my life after they had been cheated on and dumped (my girl Karma got my back) and I just feel so emotionally dead to them to be honest. Like yeah, Some I can handle being acquaintances with, but my feelings hit the shitter and left. Some I have royally cussed out and told them to go fuck themselves. Some haven’t come back recently and I honestly don’t know how I’d react if they did. Like should I let the psychologist in me handle it and see what they have to say or cuss them out too? Who knows. The biggest thing that I’ve learned is what I DON’T want in a guy.

I definitely woke up and now I can honestly say that I’m living my life in a way that makes me happy and I could care less what people think. I have my friends, family, coworkers, and of course….my fur babies.

Several years ago, I was so self conscious, intimidated, insecure, needing someone to love me and show me affection, and I felt so lost. Why? All because I focused my attention on everyone, except myself, and how they thought/felt about me. Now? I’ve fallen in love again, but this time it’s with myself. I’ve worked my ass off to get where I am and there’s no where to go but forward. I no longer feel like I have to have a guy in my life that “loves” me to know that I am worthy of so much. I know my worth and I’ll never settle for anything less. My friends, remember this. You are worthy. You deserve all the love you give and then some. You are worthy of loving yourself and receiving love from others. You are you and you’re the only you there is. And that’s pretty dang great. Never put your self worth in the hands of someone else. You might find that their hands are not so gentle towards themselves, let alone you. I thought my dreams had been crushed and I’d never be happy again. Little did I know, it just meant new dreams were in the make and now I’m living them.

Life isn’t so bad after all once you realize exactly what you’re worth, love yourself for who you are, and then some.

It took me long enough,

But I woke up.

 

 

Just a hypocrite trying to make others happy

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I found this amazing organization called “To Love Ourselves” last year and it is such an amazing cause. Whitney created it for women to empower other women and girls. Ya see, there are these things called letter requests. A girl can request a letter for herself or a friend, family member, etc….they give a brief description of what they may be struggling with and a little bit about themselves. These letter requests are then sent out to the volunteer letter writers (hey. That’s me!) and they then write their letters and send them back to Whitney. She then collects them and ships them to the lucky lady they were written for.

http://www.toloveourselves.com

I’ve sent over 10+ letters since I started and it’s made my heart so happy. Each letter I write has their name in cursive at the top followed by a picture and a quote drawn on one side of the page and the letter written in four different colors. I’ve had so much joy writing them.

However, I had to take a step back after a while. I was writing to girls who struggle with depression, eating disorders, anxiety, the fear of unknown, family issues, self esteem and body image issues, and the infamous boy issues. Now, I’m beyond passionate about mental illness and I share my struggles with body image, self esteem, etc very openly. The one thing I don’t openly talk about much is the boy issues.

I’d write to girls going through heartbreaks and similar situations that I had experienced and after a while I just felt like a hypocrite to be honest. I’d tell these girls snippets of my experience and that they’d find an amazing guy one day and pretty much say “there were plenty of other fish in the sea” and that their day would come. Some girls were struggling to move on even months/years after the fact and there I sat.

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I sat there writing that they were amazing, they’d some day find their special someone who would love them unconditionally, and to try their best to move on because better things awaited them.

Yet, I couldn’t believe all of that for myself. Each time I read a story that sounded so similar to mine and I’d sit down to start writing them, all the memories would come flooding back in and I’d feel like shit. I realized my heart was still hurting right along with theirs and I was just trying to cover it up by making others feel better instead of myself. I was still trying to deal with guys trying to pop back up into my life after hurting me, how to deal with the new re opened wounds they had caused, and wondering if the hurt would ever just end. It’s a whole different story to say you’re over it and actually being over it. It’s hard to forget things when you’re constantly reminded of them.

I honestly HATE when people tell me that I’ll find that special someone who won’t hurt me some day and I’ll be “head over heels” for him, have children, and blah blah blah. I don’t believe in imagining what life could be like many years from now because that sets expectations that can just be unrealistic in some aspects. (I also don’t like when people have expectations of how MY life should be). Yet, there I was saying it to other ladies who may not have wanted to hear it either to be honest.

My “love life” hasn’t been a great one if we’re being honest here. I’ve never “officially” dated anyone, but man have I gotten my heart broken into pieces more times than I’d like to remember. Multiple guys. All seemed great and fantastic at first, but the masks usually fell off after a while. I would then later be hit with the “let me show you how I’m not a fuckboy and that you really do mean something to me” or the “I’m really sorry for what I’ve done to you *but let me continue to do the shit I’m sorry for.*” Some really weren’t with a second of my time, others well……who knows, maybe I’ll find someone within the next few years, maybe I’ll let someone I actually loved show me they’re now a changed person, or maybe I’ll be single for the next decade. No one knows.

However, I’ve literally just reached the point where I avoid any and all things related to romantic relationships. I’m not ready to let someone in my life like that again nor do I want to deal with everything that comes with it to be honest. Ya girl got shit to get done for herself and life is so drama free right now, ya know?! Yeah, I’ve gone on dates and talked to quite a few guys here and there but none have caught my eye enough for me to keep them around. It’s usually a talk for a while, and then I just get tired of them and lose interest type of thing. But being unapologetically single (as I like to call it) right now is what’s best for me. I’ve spent the past few years just focusing on me, what I love to do, and figuring out my passions in life. It’s okay to need to work on yourself a little more and it’s okay to admit that. I study psychology, and I sometimes forget to relate my knowledge to myself…..it’s okay to take as much time as you need to mentally heal from things, especially heart break. Do you, boo.

It’s okay to want to make others feel better, but it’s not okay to have that come at the cost of your own feelings. So I took a short hiatus from writing some wonderful women. I decided to work on myself and spend some more self care time on myself and making myself happy.

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Finally signed up to write another wonderful woman who’s in the same boat as me. I decided to steer away from the boy issues for a while and focus on the ones where I could actually give real encouragement for life’s experiences and worries.

It’s time we go and love ourselves for everything that we are and everything that we will be.

Body Positivity is for every BODY

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Body positivity is for every BODY and this new exclusion shenanigan has gone too far. There, I said it.

I first joined the eating disorder community several years ago with the username “Workdatash”. (it’s now private and I rarely use it).  I created it after I was weight restored, but I was definitely still not in the right mindset of recovery. I wanted to finally kick all of my ED habits and work my way into the fitness world. Thus, I created the account. I wanted to find a sense of support and community of like minded people who had been through similar things and were encouraging. Plus it helped that many threw positivity around like confetti while also being real.

When I first joined I followed accounts that…you know, I can’t even describe them. They were all around amazing. I could always count on them to be uplifting and encouraging and they were always so real. I kept seeing thin and thick women posting their rolls and telling everyone that it was normal and to love yourself no matter what. Eventually, after seeing women all of shapes and sizes love their bodies and support others and myself, I began to love myself too. I even started posting my “tummy rolls” photos and sharing them with the world. It was an uplifting adventure and I’m so thankful for all of the people I got the chance to meet and impact while on that account.

However, I wish I still felt that way about all of the body positivity community.

If you know my story, I was an obese child. I was told to lose weight or that I would die slowly, in so many words. I was tormented for my weight even though bingeing was the only way for me to feel happy. Bullying lead to more eating and the cycle just continued.

I eventually decided that I would actively lose some weight and get healthy. I did, don’t get me wrong. I lost about 20 pounds and everyone noticed and commended me for a job well done. I really only cut out soda, started walking and slowly running, and chose healthier food.

That diet I started with the intention of getting healthy, ended up almost taking my  life. I had family circumstances arise that were far from ideal, I still hated myself, and I loved the comments from people. I developed Anorexia and lived off of 400 calories for quite some time. I thought being obese was bad enough, but this was far worse. I literally wanted to die during this stage of my life. But I didn’t and I’m here to today to write this.

The body positive community was amazing a few years ago, but now it’s more of an exclusion thing.

Some of the big “supposedly” body positive advocates have been not so body positive lately. I figure it will be an easier read if I list them and then discuss them.

Transformation Photos won’t kill you. Your ED will. 


A lot of the community got behind the “Boycott the Before” photos. I understand the point that some people were trying to make with the “trend”, but I saw it doing more harm than good.

I saw girls in the midst of their EDs that saw the boycott the before and negative talk towards transformation photos, feel bad about themselves. Why? Because they had shared their transformation photos during their ED and then felt bad for “triggering everyone else” and having to “validate themselves” and some even deleted their photos. Bashing transformation photos seemed to have a more negative impact than I would have liked for there to have been.

These big BoPo people were saying that transformation photos were harmful to those recovering from eating disorders and thus we should not post them because it’s like trying to validate ourselves and the fact that we had EDs and made EDs all about weight. *Insert my face palm here*

I love these photos…with a fiery passion. I LOVE transformation photos actually. They helped me so much in my recovery. Now, I know everyone’s recovery is different, but after talking to people still suffering from eating disorders they too have said they are encouraged by these photos.

I love seeing others celebrate things they are proud of or are honest and talk about how they may have taken a step backwards. This goes for ED and weight loss transformations, I might add. Like, I am cheering for you and giving you encouragement when you need it.

They said that it makes “EDs all about weight.” Well, if you’re trying to educate people on EDs, you should have already mentioned that it is hardly about weight for many and usually more about control, stressers, and internal conflicts. ED transformation photos are my favorite though because I can see the smile on their face and see that it is actually genuine again. I can see that they’re full of life and they are healthy again. It makes my heart so happy. Every time I see someone post these, there are usually long captions detailing their journeys and if people can’t take time to read them, that’s on them. But I’m going to celebrate their happiness with them either way.

These photos will not cause you to die from an eating disorder or even necessarily make it worse. However, your eating disorder will, if you let it. Transformation photos have been around for quite a while, but people are just now starting to not like them because they were not “deathly thin” or had weight change. THAT’S NOT WHAT EATING DISORDERS ARE ALL ABOUT. They are MENTAL illnesses. Everyone can post a transformation photo about their ED and STILL make an impact whether there was weight change or body differences. The point is to post about them and bring awareness to eating disorders aka the mental illness with the highest mortality rate. I’ve posted my far share of comparison photos where outsiders couldn’t tell the weight difference at all, but I knew that one was healthy and one was not and I let them know that. Many were shocked honestly and it was eye opening to them.

Being into fitness doesn’t mean you don’t need BoPo


I’ve also had to endure seeing some of the BoPo community talk down about those that are into fitness and use the #BodyPositive and #EDWarrior hashtags. Why? Because it’s “triggering to everyone who sees it while scrolling through hashtags” if they have an eating disorder. Their argument was to just stop using the hashtags together while also using fitness hashtags.

Give me a second here because I just can’t…..

Seriously though?

It’s like saying “Oh you went into fitness? You’re now no longer able to show body positivity nor let people know you conquered an ED through hashtags.”

Everyone needs body positivity. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from someone with an ED, someone who’s obese, someone into fitness, someone that fits societal standards….it does not matter. We ALL NEED IT.

I’m into fitness, improving myself, and seeing how much I can do with my body. That doesn’t, for ONE second, mean I hate it just because I want to make gains. That doesn’t even make sense to me. I can want to grow my booty and make gains while still loving the body I have, especially after anorexia.

The entire argument they presented towards hashtag usage was uncalled for. Yet again, it was helping with exclusion because why would a fit person/person into fitness really need body positivity when bigger girls need it more..

IT. DOES. NOT. MATTER. WHAT. YOU. ARE. INTO. OR. WHO. YOU. ARE. IT’S. FOR. EVERYONE.

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Body Positivity does NOT need exclusions


Recently I’ve noticed aforementioned “BOPO advocates” pretty much skinny shaming and saying that skinny is a privilege and big girls need the body positive movement.

Hold up. Reverse. What? Excuse me?

Body postivity is for ALL BODY TYPES OF ALL SHAPES, SIZES, AND COLORS.

I’ve really seen a negativity from the larger women of the community and it is geared towards thinner women. I’ve seen one account (which I will not name) say that thinner women who bend over and show their rolls are not really as body positive.

Yet again. Excuse me?

Their reasoning behind this was because larger women lived with rolls 24/7 while thinner women did not and they had the privilege of not having that issue. (Note: I’m still trying to wrap my head around how showing rolls at any weight is not really body positive).

I do get what they’re trying to do, I understand. Larger women actually make less money compared to their thinner counterparts based upon research. Larger people, especially women, are also seen as lazier, unhealthy, and less intelligent when compared with thinner women (according to research). It sucks. I know. I was obese. I dealt with bullying from children and adults, and I have family ridiculed because they are larger women. It really F*cking blows. But trying to uplift one while bringing down another is not how you fix that and it goes against what BoPo is.

I’m not naive. I have skinny privilege. I range usually between a 4-6, but in reality between a 0-10 because sizes are stupid. However, I have rolls. I have loose skin. I have stretch marks. Saying body positivity is more for those that are larger is an insult. I HAVE been the larger one and I’ve been the smaller one and I’ve been the anorexic one and I’ve been the healthier one. Just because I’m thin now, does not mean that I don’t need body positivity.

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Body positivity is for EVERY SINGLE BODY. It’s not just for if you’re thick or thin, purple or green, happy or sad, fits societal standards or not. It’s about coming together to uplift every single body type and shape no matter what you may look like. Saying one needs it more than the other is not body positive and I will not stand for it. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and not once was I less deserving of being body positive or having those support me in loving my body.

Girls, WE. ARE. FABULOUS.


 

Why weight restored does not equal recovered

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Thanks to the “On this day”  reminders on Facebook, I was reminded that 4 years ago today I was “released” from my doctor for my eating disorder. What I mean is that my pediatrician saw that my weight was staying constant and had for quite some time and that my mental health had improved since I first saw her.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED my pediatrician (Gail). I still take my siblings to the doctor when I can, so that I can say hi to her. I remember when I first started seeing Gail in the early months of 2012. At first, she wanted me to look into going away to a rehab facility quite some distance from home. I was reluctant to do that and my family didn’t want to do that either. So we turned to the next option. We decided that I would continue to stay in school (I tried to go home bound), go to her for weekly weight checks, seeing my counselor (Jessica-AMAZING), and start seeing a nutritionist.

Do keep in mind that I was still in high school at the time, but my weekly schedule would be weight check with Gail Monday or Wednesday, session with Jessica Tuesday or Thursday, and my nutritionist once a month (but I only went twice). After a little while, my visits to see them started to become more spaced out though.

When I first started seeing Gail and Jessica, I was in the worst place I’ve ever been. I was majorly depressed, anorexia had me in its tight grips, my OCD was taking over, my anxiety crippled me, and I had far from great family dilemmas.

I started off by talking about what was going on in my life: the triggers for my eating disorder steamed from low self-esteem and my family issues.  Gail immediately began by having my family take away the scale in our house and she even put a note on my file telling her nurses to not let me know my weight, thus I had to turn around on the scale at the office. She had me write down everything I ate in a day. An example? “A pinch of trail mix”….like really, Ash? A pinch? I look back and can’t even believe that I survived on that little to be honest.

I had the pressure from all sides telling me I needed to gain weight to not only save my life, but also get my period back. When you first start to eat after only consuming about 400 calories every day, it. freaking. hurts. I lived off of Carnation milk drinks, so much so that strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla started to taste the same… eww, right? I started to increase what I was eating and tried to be more social about it and stopped writing it down. I could tell I had gained some weight and it seemed to stay pretty constant for quite a while. I remember that I used to message friends telling them how much I weighed and they’d tell me that it was good that I weighed that much compared to what I used to. I was doing better than I had been, but it wasn’t enough.

Four years ago I got the clear from Gail that I no longer needed to see her unless I was sick or needed something. My weight was 112 pounds. I had reached 112 pounds after reaching my low of around 85 (my lowest known weight). I left feeling on top of the world. I thought “I did it!! I beat it!” I texted my best friends to tell them all first and we all rejoiced. Little did we all know that it wasn’t really over.

How do I know that it wasn’t over? Later that year I went on a trip to see a friend and I can remember everything I ate during that weekend and it’s not because I wrote it down. It was because I hardly ate anything. Don’t get me wrong, I ate….but it wasn’t close to what I should’ve been eating. I ate some trail mix, pretzels, peanut butter, a lamb gyros with some fries, a fried wonton (with cream cheese) since I gave the other away because fried food still scared the shit out of me, a pumpkin spice donut, a slice of meat lovers pizza, a garlic bread stick, and a cookie slice. It wasn’t just that weekend trip, that made me realize this, but it was every time I went out to eat, had a family dinner, or wanted to exercise.

I wasn’t recovered. I was weight restored.

My exercise bulimia came into play as well. People wanted me to eat, so I did. Sometimes I ate 4 whole pizzas and everyone would be so shocked by the fact I was eating again. But I would be running it off.

It was until 2016, that I was TRULY RECOVERED. I found a love for working out and taught myself how to lift weights. I ate to workout, not workout in order to eat. I decided to help others with their health and wellness as a coach. I can walk into a restaurant and have no anxiety about what to order or what has the lowest calories. I can stay up until the wee morning hours and eat dinner. I can take spontaneous trips to get Cookout milkshakes. I can wear a bathing suit and feel amazing without being stick thin. I am happy. I know my worth. I have the greatest support system of friends and family.

Becoming weight restored was only half of the equation. It took 3 years to fully recover after becoming  weight restored. Those three years were the absolute hardest though. Eating was the easy part. Changing my mindset was the toughest for me.

I can now happily say that I’m recovered, but that does not mean that I will not have bad days. I will still have some bad body image days, but I do not act on them. I do not take it out on my body when I cannot control an external factor.

Recovering takes time, dedication, and perseverance, but if I can do it…..anyone can do it. Do it for yourself, for your future, for your happiness.

Recovery is worth it.  ❤

Make Yourself Proud

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First and foremost, I’m a completely and utmost loving and caring person. Even the people who have done me wrong, I still care about their well being. I won’t necessarily do things for them, but I do care and always will.
Second, I’ve overcome an eating disorder. Some may say that I brag about it, but that is far from true. I’m proud of the fact that I didn’t let it take my life and I told my eating disorder to fuck off.
2011. I was diagnosed with anorexia and exercise bulimia as well as severe anxiety and depression.
With the EDs came starving myself. I measured out everything. From a cup of cereal to counting raisins. I’d eat high fiber foods because tbh it’d make you shit. I memorized the calories of nearly everything. I’d drink a liter of water before every meal to fill me up. I made sure each “meal” took no less than 20 minutes to eat. Id thrive& get a high off of eating less than 500 cals. After “dinner” I’d always throw on my exercise belts and start working out or running til I thought what I’d ate was burned off. I’d skip going out with friends because food was involved. If I knew I was eating out I’d “save” my cals til then. I’d put on 6 layers to run in 10degree temps because being cold burned more cals. I’d only eat healthy foods but then eating a whole banana became too scary for me. Food became my enemy. Then it later turned into exercise bulimia. I could down 2 whole pizzas or over 4,000 calories and then run for 10+ miles & stayed at a size 1-2. I’d gotten so small that my hair fell out, I froze in 70 degree weather, I’d get bruises from just sitting in a hard chair, I’d hide under big clothes. It was a living hell.
With the depression came sadness. I hurt inside day in & day out. I’d cry myself to sleep every night. I never wanted to go out because I wanted to just lay in bed all day. I was alone yet surrounded by people. I wanted people to feel just how bad i felt inside every day. Depression is depression.
My anxiety was the worst for me. I’d tell myself I had to eat, but it’d tell me that I couldn’t because I’d get fat. It made me want to always have someone’s attention because if I didn’t it meant I didn’t mean anything. It made me ask questions about everything because I needed to know what was going on & had to know everything. Going out in public was horrible bc there were so many people. It made me feel like even those who loved me, hated me. It made me feel victimized & like everyone was out to get me. If I made one mistake I’d feel bad abt it for a long time. Perfectionism was my life. Arriving on time was arriving 15 min late for me, so Id have to arrive anywhere 20+ min early. I had to have reassure that what I was doing was right.
But once you add all of those together…it’s a complete and giant mess. I’d want to make others feel bad bc I hurt so bad that I wanted them to feel my pain. But I also never wanted to intentionally hurt someone especially if I loved them. Id make up lies to make people feel bad for me. I’d make things seem worse than they were. I’d panic about the least little thing and have the worst panic attacks. Id planned out to kill myself 3 times with pills. I researched how many it’d take to make me stop breathing in my sleep.
Eating disorders aren’t about weight. It’s about control. I wanted control over my life. And since I couldn’t control how things were going, I could however, control what I did or didn’t eat.
I just wanted someone to prove to me and show me that I was worth it. I wanted someone to fight to be in my life because they really loved me. I wanted someone to love me in the way I couldn’t love myself. I wanted someone to stay forever and keep their promises to me.
I decided to chose recovery because I hated seeing it hurt my friends and family and knowing they couldn’t do anything about It. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. “Ana” had become my best friend. She was the reason I got up every day and moved. She told me I had to move bc that meant burning cals. She was the one I turned to when I felt like there was no one else. Ana was my entire world and I loved her. We were one. But I knew I needed to let her go because she wasn’t good for me. I tried. It was SO hard. It was a constant battle to not listen to her. But I slowly did it. But I found that I was fooling myself. Everyone kept saying I “recovered” from an ED, but I knew I wasn’t because it was only getting worse in my head. Everything was changing, things were happening, and I felt like I was losing everyone I loved dearly…I didn’t know what to do. I was just sick in the head and pushing people away was my defense mechanism because Ana was the one I really needed to thrive. And thats when I needed someone to be there for me the most. Ana was slowly taking over again and no one realized it bc I didn’t look like it from the outside.
Looking back, I have no idea who I was during that time. It’s a time I don’t like to dwell on because the past is the past and I cannot change a thing that happened.
However, in having and eating disorder, it taught me so much about life. It made me appreciate everything even more than I already did. I learned to love and appreciate every day I’m given to live on this Earth. I had a purpose

With my eating disorder, also came the loss of friends who said they’d be there for me forever. I never thought recovering, would come with a cost like that, but it made me even stronger in the end. Not to mention, so much happier. It’s never easy making your mind comes to terms with what your heart feels, but you have to do it for yourself and to better your own life.
As odd as it may sound, my eating disorder was a blessing in disguise. It almost killed me, but I came out alive. The only thing I count these days are reps. I eat whatever I want  I’m confident in my body, I love myself, and I have a desire to live life to the fullest

The saying the strongest warriors come from the hardest battles can come into play here. My ED lead me to realize I have so much potential and will go on to do great things and that I don’t need anyone to make me happy as long as I make myself happy. I’m studying to become a psychologist and eventually  an ED specialist. I have forgiven myself and others and life is amazing and I’ve never been happier.

My Before Is Here To Stay

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Here’s why I won’t boycott the before.

I’ve seen the hashtags floating around Instagram and I looked it up to see just what it was about. I started to understand the point they were trying to make, but it just didn’t click well with me.

Some of the reasons why people were boycotting the before was because “it’s triggering to others,” “it makes it seem like it’s all about weight,” “it makes people think they aren’t sick enough,” etc.

Valid reasons, I suppose. But are people not triggered when they see the ungodly amount of weightloss products when shown across their TV screens. Are they not triggered when there’s thin models on the cover of nearly every magazine? Are they not triggered when restaurants have calories listed beside every item? Are they not triggered when they look online at pro Ana/Mia websites that the interweb won’t shut down? They are SOO many more triggers than just a transformation photo of someone proud as fuck that they are recovering or recovered from their eating disorder. If you want to know why society is not changing and why recovery is hard, look at the society you live in. It’s extremely hard to recover from an eating disorder in a society promoting thinness literally everywhere. So when I see someone rejoicing that they’re happy again and kicked their ED to the curb because they didn’t let weight, etc affect them anymore, it’s all smiles from me.

If anyone has ever had an eating disorder or picked up a psychology book, they KNOW it’s not just about weight. Never really is. It’s usually a combination of wanting control, poor body image, and let’s not forget to mention the risk factors that are also involved. If you take the time to read most of the captions on these photos, or learn about the person posting them, you learn that it’s not just weight gain or loss. It’s a mental transformation more than anything. In the photos I see, I sometimes see a 2 lb weight gain for some who’s underweight and could use it or a 2lb weight loss from one who’s suffering from BED and is working to better themselves. But they talk about how they’ve changed mentally and I’m rooting for them all the way for feeling better about themselves and not letting their weight difference affect them. They are even some who’s weight has not changed at all and they post about their mental transformation and kudos to them too.

In regards to the “sick enough to having an ED/seek help” part….I have this to say. If you have/had an eating disorder, you should know that you seem to never think that you’re sick enough. It’s usually not until you’re faced with the hard facts or the idea of dying that you finally realize that you are sick enough. You don’t even have to look at someone else to think that, you just think it of yourself usually. I used to look in the mirror and see myself as fat and think I needed to lose weight if I was really going to fit the diagnosis of Anorexic. Mind you that I didn’t have any social media during that time in my life because it wasn’t healthy for me (unless you count Pinterest crafts). My doctors even suggested limited social media time since there’s a deep and dark ugly side to it.

Some people will actually hate before and after photos because they are still so unhappy within themselves and desire to be that level of happy and content again. That is not a problem for the rest of the world and social media to fix, it is theirs. And when their time comes, it will be amazing. I used to be that person until I found the light and I understand how great they felt in sharing it and their positivity about recovery.

People also argue that you’re promoting such and such when you post ED transformation photos. Yeah, I’m promoting recovery and in each photo I talk about my story and journey and for them to not compare themselves to me. But I note that recovery is possible and worth it. Try encouraging people to not compare themselves to others, that’s a major part of the problem as well. Relaying messages is important. I always say that recovery is not linear, that you are sick enough to get help and to begin recovery(a certain weight or size won’t determine that for you), and to work hard every day at loving themselves little by little.

I will never boycott my before. Never. If it wasn’t for the me on the left, the me on the right would have never made it this far.
The me on the left hated myself. I constantly just wanted to die and even contemplated suicide several times. My depression kept me in bed wanting to sleep my life away. My anorexia was what got me up to exercise and decide what I wasn’t going to eat. My anxiety was what made me get up and do things so that people wouldn’t think something was wrong with me (when there clearly was). I went from being content and carefree to miserable, starving, freezing in 80° weather, having my bones ache and clearly visible in some places, losing my period, and having my hair fall out.

It was Hell on Earth.

But if I hadn’t become that eating disorder ridden girl who hated life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It is due to my eating disorder that I am finishing up a degree in psychology at one of the best colleges around. It’s why I’ve decided to go into counseling to help others and work towards being an eating disorder specialist. It’s why I have such a different outlook on life. I wake up each day knowing I have found my purpose and I work towards my goals. I’m so incredibly happy. If it hadn’t been for my ED, I’d probably always have had a problem with food. Since my eating disorder, I found my love of fitness and wanting to help others and eat whatever I like. I can go out and enjoy myself with my friends and not think twice about it.

In having eating disorders, I found who I was and I’ll be damned if I’m going to boycott my before. The ED ridden girl is just as amazing as the after photo, always has been.

I actually LOVE seeing ED transformations because I’m so unbelievably happy and proud to see them working towards a better them. I really wish I saw MORE of them to be honest. It makes my heart so happy to see them getting better and being happy again. Heck. I love seeing people post photos of their weight loss because they’re so proud of it/themselves and they’re doing it for no one but themselves.

It just baffles me that when I first came into the ED community years ago, people were so encouraging of seeing others overcome their EDs and share their stories and photos and now people just want to say it’s triggering and whatnot. Anything can be a trigger, but it is up to the person being triggered to step away from it.

I can see how it might affect some people, but it’s so empowering and encouraging to others at the same time. If it affects you negatively, take a step back and find your support system. Recovery is different for everyone and if something on social media bothers you, such as someone being proud of their recovery and sharing it, maybe it’s not them.

So many people get caught up on social media . Like I get that people want more body positivity and self love in this world. But boycotting before photos? Come on….. Especially when people want to talk about it/their journey (NEDAs theme this year, ya know). It makes me wonder how many of those people are actually and actively doing something about it and aren’t just ranting on their social media platforms about everything that bothers them? How many are doing research on the subject matter or finding out what improves body satisfaction. The answer is probably not very many. (People should really look into cognitive dissonance).

For crying out loud, if someone is sharing their photo and story and it’s a happy moment for them, celebrate it with them. Don’t tell them that they’re trying to “validate” themselves with likes and support and triggering to others. It really irks me to know that people can’t just be happy for someone sharing their journey through recovery because they didn’t seem to get the same support, say it’s doing more harm than good, or even haven’t reached the same level of happiness yet.

But as for me, I’ll continue to share my story and transformation photos to show others that there is happiness and light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery is cool and we should embrace it, even if it means posting transformation photos. And that goes for anyone recovering from anything. Eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, accidents, etc.

#RecoveryIsCool

Why I’m Thankful for my Eating Disorder

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Shocking, right?

I’m sure most people will ask me if I hit my head by saying I’m thankful for my eating disorder. I mean, who would be thankful for hating their body, starving themselves, exercising for hours, and obsessing over numbers. Well, I am

I’m thankful for having Anorexia and Exercise Bulimia because it taught me life lessons and things about myself and the people around me more than anything in this world possibly could.

  1. Actions. Not words. I learned that just because someone says they’re your friend and they “love you” doesn’t mean they really are or that they even care about you. Saying something and doing something are two completely different things. You can tell me you love me and will always be there, but if you leave, you’re a liar.
  2. Boys are no help. I’ve had several guys in my life. They all told me the same thing. “I love you” “I’ll always be here for you” “You can always trust me” It all turned out to be total bullshit. My eating disorder made me believe I needed them to feel accepted and worthy of life. After recovering I realized that was far from true. I could depend on myself and love my own damn self.
  3. Real Friends & Family are everything. I honestly don’t think I could have even survived without them. To this day, they are there and still support me in everything that I do.
  4. Fall madly in love with yourself. This is the most important reason why I’m thankful for my eating disorder. Why? If I hadn’t gone through all of my ED, would I accept my body and not shame it. Probably not. Now I sit down and have rolls. I bend over and have rolls. My stomach giggles and you know what? I accept every damn part of me. I never thought it would take an eating disorder to make me love myself and want to live for the future, but it did. We only have one body to live in. So love it, accept it, and fall in love with yourself. Once you do, it’s amazing what type of people you can attract.🙂

Thanksgiving Isn’t Easy For Everyone

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It’s Thanksgiving Day. I used to dread this day the most out of every day and holiday of the entire year.

I used to hope that I wouldn’t wake and didn’t have to endure this day at all. Because when you want to avoid food, dying in your sleep is totally the answer, right? At least that’s how I felt. From the moment my feet hit the floor, I was ridden with anxiety and a fear of the meal that was to be consumed later that day.

I would purposely not eat dinner the night before and would literally starve all day until it was time for THE “dinner.” I use the word dinner in quotations since we usually eat between lunch and dinner time. I would ask about each dish that was to be served so that I could look up a rough estimate as to how many calories I’d be consuming. I would even go as far as cooking a few dishes because I would know for sure what was in it. Those dishes were also under 100 calories per serving and that sounded amazing considering I would only eat half a serving anyway.

I won’t even bother going into full detail about the behaviors I exhibited during that time, but just know that eating that plate would take me about 30-45 minutes and it was pretty much only a spoonful of each thing. Not to mention that my exercise belts, a workout DVD, and about 1,000-2,000 crunches would happen not too long after consuming my meal.

If was the definition of Hell on Earth. I wanted so badly to enjoy it and just live, but I just couldn’t…

Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. I’ve been counting down the days until I could come home and stuff my face full of food. I’m actually helping to make the food again, but trust me….this time it’s definitely not a low calorie dish.

I’m so thankful that I leave my eating disorder at the front door these days. I like to use this phrase because I leave it behind and completely enjoy myself. I used to let it sneak in behind me and completely ruin my dinners. Not anymore though! She has to set on the porch in the cold while I stuff my face with food and slowly slip into a food induced coma.

Every holiday season, I remember what it used to be like to have to endure the anxieties and fear of the ample amounts of food and treats. My heart is with all of those who will pull up a chair to the table, slap on a fake smile, and force themselves to eat just enough to make everyone else at the table happy….except themselves. I want you to listen to me closely when I say this. That turkey, or sweet potato casserole, or mashed potatoes, or that stuffing is NOT going to kill you. I know you feel like it will and that it will make you fat, but love….it won’t. However, your eating disorder can kill you. It can take away everything you love and desire and it can take away your life. Don’t let your control over food or the scale or even calories take away your life. I know there was once a time in your life where you never feared food. I want that time to be now and forever more too. Eat because you love yourself.

I know it’s extremely hard to do, especially in a time where everyone is bitching to “watch what you eat this time of year” or “you know the average person gains 8-10lbs during the holidays” but screw them. How are you supposed to recover in a society that idealizes thinness and values LOSING weight when you need to gain it in order to live. Our society makes it extremely difficult to recover from an eating disorder given that its focus is on thinness and any new gimmick to help you “lose that fat.” Loves, just fuck society. Eat your meals, look in the mirror, and love yourself. You got this❤️
But speaking of those gimmicks…..screw all of that. Every holiday season it’s cleanse this or detox that or skinny tea this or fat burning pills that..or whatever other bullshit they’re marketing these days. Here’s a secret. It’s literally just several days of nothing but drinking liquids that will make you either piss or shit your brains out. Because….get this. Most of them contain diuretics or laxatives. It’s just helping you to lose maybe just water weight but nothing more. It’s not going to burn fat for you just by drinking it, you actually have to move in order to burn off fat. I mean, if people want diuretics, just drink a few pots of coffee a day and that will do the trick. I know that from personal experience. It does a whirlwind to people psychologically though. You tell them that it’ll help them lose weight and after their 3-7 days are over they automatically “feel great” even though there’s barely any change at all, if any in many cases. I will never condone drinking just liquids for days at a time just to “debloat.”

Do you know what else you can drink to debloat and you can find it anywhere? It’s also less than a DOLLAR. It’s called water. You drink your daily recommended amount and get in a nice cardio sesh and BAM, the bloat is gone or almost gone. People just want to sell you their bull shit in a box or bag and give the impression that it’s a bad thing to be bloated or have gained a few pounds. For fucks sake take a chill pill, people. People bloat every damn day. It’s not the end of the world and it’s not a reason to buy that BS. I become so bloated by the end of the day whether I eat 1,000 calories or 3,000. It’s life, my friends. It’s life. People start preying on others around the holidays because they know people are worried about gaining those pounds that are said to happen to the “average” person. (Also, what is average anymore these days-get real).

Then you have those people fasting several days before Thanksgiving to allow them to eat more and not worry about gaining weight and they sometimes fast afterwards too because people online tell them it “works.” Well, hate to break it to you, but that’s a good way to gain weight and screw up your metabolism.

I’m all for being active and eating plenty to nourish your body, but I’m not for instilling insecurities or shame upon people just because it’s the holidays and they want to enjoy it and might gain a few pounds. Gaining a few pounds isn’t the end of the world. I work out, I eat(I’m about to eat a lot today with no regrets), and I love myself enough to do so. I eat to workout, not workout to eat. Enjoy your meals today my friends and tell everyone that’s saying to watch what you eat or to control your portions or whatever BS they throw at you to just shut up. You don’t have to “earn” that piece of pie, you can just eat it because you want to. Enjoy yourself.💛

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

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Dear 15 year old Ash,

Happy (belated) Birthday! You just conquered your first high school Homecoming dance with your best friend  a week ago and had an interesting night meeting the new guy said friend found. I know how much of a struggle high school already is for you. You feel out of place, like no guy knows you exist, and already completely overwhelmed about your future. You feel like your body is nowhere close to good enough.  I know you hope these next four years of high school “will be the best of your life” like people claim, but you just doubt it all. I know you want to find that love you’ve always wanted and you want to excel at everything you do and just be “perfect.”

I’m here to tell you that you’re not perfect. You’ll never be perfect and that’s perfectly okay. You are you and no one else in this world can ever be you. That’s an amazing thing, you know.

I know you have no idea what the future will hold for you, but I’m here to tell you that you’re strong and good enough and you’ll see it one day.  You may think I’m crazy right now, but you’ll come to understand.

You don’t realize this, but that best friend I mentioned above, will only be in your life for about another 6 months before you realize she’s a different person. That new guy she found will end up being her boyfriend for a few months and….then become your best friend. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy as hell for saying you’ll have a male best friend, but trust me baby girl, you will. It’ll only be for a limited time though.

You’ll make other friends that you never would’ve imagined being friends with. One will become like a twin to you and you’ll spend nearly all the time at her house. You’ll practically do everything together. Hello, taking her photos because you love taking photos, being an extra in a movie, forever having sleep overs, and exploring the woods together.

Her along with several others will be your close friends til about senior year. The masks of your other friends will fall off and you’ll see just what they’re really like. They are not worth mentioning anymore. Don’t worry though,  a select few will be there with you til the end. I won’t say which ones, but I’m sure you can guess. Don’t get your hopes up on some of them though.

That body of yours that you don’t think is good enough? You will start to finally do something about it and lose some weight and start exercising. You won’t believe me, but you’ll eventually start starving yourself and become a runner even though you  used to hate running. You’ll walk out of the Pediatrician from seeing Gail and will feel defeated by seeing “Diagnosis: Anorexia” written on your check out receipt. You’ll spend a year going to a counselor named Jessica once to twice a week…nearly every week. Don’t worry, she’ll be one of the best things that happens to you during this time. You’ll be diagnosed, not only with an eating disorder, but with anxiety and depression. It will feel like your world is ending and the only option let is to die. I’m here to tell you that it’s not and you can get through it. You’re strong and forever beautiful and good enough.

You know how you used to always brag about never having broken anything on your body? That will change come 2012. You’ll be running and tear your hip. You’ll walk around in pain every day for almost a year until the doctors can figure out the cause of said pain. (Hello, spending nearly your entire senior year on crutches or carrying a butt pillow). You’ll learn that you have to have hip surgery to fix a labral tear and shave some of your bone due to your hip dysplasia. Yes, you took after your grandma. Unfortunately, you’ll lose her that same year. Her Alzheimer’s proved to be too much for her, but it was for the best. You’ll get through it. You’re tough even though you don’t think you are.

Don’t lose hope. Come 2013, you’ll be released from your diagnosis of an eating disorder and able to run again. You’ll be “weight restored” but the real recovery from that ED will come later. I know you’re excited about achieving your goal and getting that tattoo you planned with someone special, but patience young grasshopper. You’ll get there mentally. I promise you.

You’ll graduate from high school with having missed over a month of school and having had people just tell you that you were going to fail. You’ll have over a 4.0 GPA at graduation, I might add. There will be one less person there for you though. Your grandpa. He’ll fall out in your bathroom from an aneurysm and pass away the morning of your senior prom. You’ll run your butt off that day, but you’ll go to after prom because he wanted you to. People will say they’ll be at your graduation in honor of your grandpa, but don’t be fooled. He’s already there with the best seat in the house.

Did I mention that you’ll fall in love? You will. With that aforementioned male best friend from above. You’ll give him your all and love him with everything you have, but he’ll call you crazy, weird, and stupid and want nothing to do with you after 6 years of “loving” you. Be prepared to throw away $1,200 and 52, 560 hours of your life.  I know you’ll feel like you aren’t good enough and feel like there’s only one to get rid of the pain, but you are strong my dear. Years of this may seem like it will be the death of you, but it won’t.  Don’t think this will be the only guy either. There will be several others too. They’ll “care” about you or even say they “love” you, but they all make promises they have no intention of keeping. I’m just sorry you’ll go through that bullshit from each of them and have your heart broken so many times, especially by the one you loved most.

But here comes the great part of this letter:

Not only will you have your hip surgery in 2012, but you’ll also get a little sister. You can thank your mom for that one, lol. You’ll also meet what will become your actual male best friend that summer. You’ll write him and several others during their time in BCT. Oh yeah, you’ll be on the school newspaper and it’ll be the front page article!

You’ll end high school with your two best friends. (You have a thing for Asians 😉 and a few other near and dear friends. ❤

You’ll apply to Longwood and get accepted right out of high school. Yet, you won’t take it and stay at home and commute to Richard Bland for two years.  You will not have a clue what you want to major in until the last semester there and then you will  graduate with honors along side one of your best friends you met there. She’ll be Indian with a British accent. I know it seems kinda sketch at first, but trust me, she’s a good one, lol. Psychology will soon become your life.

Oh yeah. You’ll follow your heart to Kentucky several times. But you’ll also end up going to college there. Hello, Berea College. Don’t drop out from shock. I’m not lying to you. You will. Those times of worrying about how you’ll pay for college are over since you’re aid covered the community college and Berea is tuition free. You’ll meet some of your newest best friends there. You’ll come to live with one of them and eventually just morph into the same person.

So, the moral of the story is….You will face hardship, pain, repeated heart break, and loss….but you will succeed and end up exactly where you need to be. You’ll follow your heart and it will lead you in the right direction. Trust me, young grasshopper. You’ll make it and you’re beyond strong. ❤

Love,

22 year old Ash (sitting in her dorm having almost completed her second college degree)