An important read on the development of an eating disorder.
Read about Scruffy Hospitality, and you will see why I loved this article!
We are having a spate of heatwaves in Australia. It’s the kind of oppressive weather that sees you seal yourself in your home with the aircon. It is too hot to even consider going to the local swimming pool. The thought of walking at all is enough to drain your energy. I did go out Monday, into the city for a class my daughter attends. It was hot, though not yet a heat wave. The view more than made up for it.
Afterward, we went to see a friend in hospital. Strangely enough, it was the hospital where I nearly lost my life five years ago. It happened to be around the corner from the building where I nearly lost my life two decades ago. I went past the old orthopaedic ward, where I lay flat on a rotor-bed for months. I greeted the vision that appeared in my mind’s eye. If everything is happening at once, as per quantum physics, then she may have been aware of my presence. She wouldn’t have thought in her wildest imaginings that she would still be here in 2015. She could hardly take in the year 2000 and its impending approach! I looked at my daughter as we got to the lift. She was unaware of the memories contained in this place. She didn’t know that she had cuddled me, touching my face, as I was taken down to have surgery to save my life. My pregnant friend was hospitalized a week ago. She has been through hell, since a car crash. Her spine was broken, and she has had much pain. She went into labour just before we arrived, and we stayed until her husband could be with her. She ended up having a beautiful baby boy. Life comes full-circle. I had only bad memories of this particular area of Sydney, of threatening men and general menace. Here I was, talking my friend through the pain. My daughter was the visible sign to her that a lady with spinal injuries could cope, and that her child would be fine. We both delivered by caesarean, and it was a blessing to be able to provide her with hope when all seemed uncertain. Meaning coming out of nonsense.
I am in the process of moving house. We were given notice at our old place five years ago, just before Christmas. It was shortly after I had been discharged from this very hospital after having two surgeries. I was weak and exhausted, and our run-down cottage was the first place I saw. “It will do,” I said at the time. You know when it is time to move on, and we have found a gorgeous house. I am packing a little bit at a time. Between working, home schooling, and the many, many things I am doing that are necessary and time-consuming, there is little time for anything else. I would love for time to be fluid, but it is a harsh taskmaster on this planet of ours. I can only do what I can do. I am well aware that this spine is rather unstable, and that ironically, at a time I need to be more active than ever, I shall need to rest it more so that it isn’t taxed to the point of breaking. Pacing myself and making lists on scraps of paper (which I then either misplace or pack). I have so many lovely friends who have kindly offered to help. I appreciate both their offers and their love. I am telling this body that I have twelve more days to get it all done. As an eccentric, I long ago set myself a set of rules that not only make me feel safe but make sense. I have a rule that any house I move into shall be set up within four days, not a box in sight. I tell my body that it only has to keep going for four days after the move, and then rest shall come. Sweet, wondrous rest. After one week, I shall be ready to rejoin the world, in time for Christmas. Sounds like a plan to me!
I have just read Anastasia Amour’s 14 Day Guide. I well remember how it felt to torture my body as a teenager. My eating disorder was created by a combination of insensitive words, feeling out of control of my young life and a desperate need to be perfect. Alternating between bingeing and throwing up, and not eating at all. Exercising to the point of fainting. Feeling that death was less intimidating than shedding the demons destroying me. It’s time for us to loosen the shackles, to stop destroying ourselves in the name of some ideal that we can’t really define. Self-love has to start here and now! For our kid’s sake as well as our own. My weight has fluctuated throughout the following years, due to surgery, recovery, IVF and endometriosis treatments. I have had my weight commented on when I have gained pounds, and again when I have lost those pounds. When my face became rounder after several months in a spinal bed, it was remarked on. There was little I could do about my situation and it left me feeling awful. I look back at those pictures and guess what? I see a girl who is a healthy weight! How about we stop the commentary? Let’s put it into the basket of subjects one doesn’t bring up, alongside enquiring about someone’s fertility. Inside Out is a divine little book, consisting of a 14-day guide, which aims to change how you see yourself and your body. It contains many practical tools and exercises. Let’s redefine what it is to be you, and shake off the shackles of the dieting industry. You can’t improve on perfection! Anastasia’s book contains 14 exercises that will offer practical support whilst you kick-start your body-confidence.
Questions for Anastasia.
What concerns you the most about the media? Is it the images they use, the words, or a combination of both that is so harmful?
The current state of the media is so problematic, and you’ve nailed it. We’re a visual culture and there’s no questioning our saturation of digitally-altered images and ‘flawlessness,’ and when you combine these with language that’s absolutely littered with ideas of fear, guilt and shame- appropriated as marketing tactics…well, you’ve got a very dangerous cocktail. In many ways, I strongly doubt that we’ll move away from the current media format anytime soon-but that’s not what concerns me. What concerns me most is the wide reach that the media has now, particularly to young people. Somewhere along the way, we’ve started to blur the lines between advertising and soft porn and we’ve widely accepted the notion that “sex sells,” to the extent where ad exececutives feel it compulsory to use female sexuality as a commondity to sell everything from cars to boxes of cereal. This is concerning on multiple levels but the biggest issue I have is the age at which the exposure starts. If grown women struggle to not internalize these toxic media messages about worth, sexuality and body image, what hope do young girls have? Girls and teenagers blossoming into women are confronted with more than ever before, and the implications of this are truly terrifying.
The diet industry is more powerful now than ever before. Why do you think this is?
Its simple-because the diet industry have so craftily set themselves up to grow bigger, better and stronger with age. When you set up your consumers to not only feel a perceived demand of their own accord but to experience that demand from your actions, you’ll always have the benefit of being a supplier. That’s well and good, except its not-not at all. This isn’t just selling pens or printer toner…this is screwing with people’s mental health. This is creating insecurities, blaming and punishing people for experiencing those insecurities and then offering them a magic solution to fix the very insecurities that the diet industry itself contributed to. It’s immoral, it’s unethical and it’s damaging so many lives. What the diet industry doesn’t want us to know is that those who are overweight and need to lose weight to keep their bodies healthy don’t actually need the diet industry at all to do this. Diets and fads don’t work. They might help you shed a few kilos initially, but they do nothing to keep you healthy in the long term. Ultimately, we’re building a culture that searches for shortcuts and hacks. When we take a quick-fix approach to our mental and physical health, we’re treating the symptoms of our conditions and not the root cause. This is a huge part of why diets fail to create sustainable, positive lifestyle change-they help you to minimize the symptoms of your condition (excess fatty tissue), but do nothing psychologically to tap into the emotional issues around your relationship with food and your body. That works out just fine for the diet industry because they get the illusion of helping you whilst simultaneously ensuring that you remain a lifetime customer.
Why did you write Inside Out?
Having experienced anorexia and bulimia, I know what it’s like to loathe yourself in every way. Whilst counselling can be helpful, I also know that therapy isn’t for everyone and that many individuals prefer to educate and empower themselves on their own terms-I’m one of those people. Through my personal experiences, studies in psychology and mental health and via my own research, it’s my goal to provide sound and practical advice to women who prefer to do their own introspective work, or who don’t have access to a counsellor. ‘Inside Out’ is a resource that I wish I’d had access to at the lowest points of my self-esteem and body image. There are a lot of self-help books out there that fill your mind with “fluffy” advice on one end of the spectrum, and then highly scientific, psychological textbooks that are delivered in an inaccessible manner on the other end of the spectrum. Inside Out isn’t just for those diagnosed with eating disorders and body image issues. The techniques that it breaks down are applicable to all women who’ve ever had moments of body-loathing. Inside Out is my love letter to the reader. It preaches empowerment, validation from within and fearless body confidence-things all women deserve to experience!
Finally, how can we affirm young girls and help them to seek self-love, rather than praise from outside themselves?
The way that we affirm young girls is symptomatic of our cultural values and often, we end up forcing these ideals onto children through conditioning and selectively complimenting only the “acceptable” traits. How often do we see little girls encouraged to pursue maths, science or sports? How often do we see little boys encouraged to explore the full spectrum of their emotions? Instead, we encourage notions of femininity and masculinity as mutually-exclusive concepts-we compliment little girls for being pretty and packing up their tea sets, and we compliment little boys for being smart and rough and strong. We can make a great start by complimenting young people based on all sorts of positive traits, regardless of their gender. I believe we can go further by encouraging young people to set their own compliments and praise themselves, rather than relying on those around them to tell them that they’re pretty, smart and capable. This starts with setting an open and encouraging dialogue within the family where each member is celebrated for discussing their positive attributes. We’re all happier and more productive when we’re enabled to choose we want to be, rather than being pigeonholed into someone else’s idea of what we should like about ourselves.
Anastasia is offering my readers a very special deal! When the book launches on November 14th, this link will go live. On that date, go to the shop and enter the code below to get 15% off! This is a book that will help redefine what it is to be you, far away from societal pressures.
For more info, go to Anastasia’s website.
I am honoured to be featured in Anastasia Amour’s Blogger Spotlight for February. If you haven’t checked out her blog as yet, you are missing something special. This young woman is highlighting what it means to have self-esteem, and encourages her readers to stop listening to the negative voices in their heads. She has become a dear friend, and I love her dearly.
I am honoured that my friend Jodie from Lupey Loops has nominated me for the Harmony and Peace Award.
The Harmony and Peace Award was created by the owner of the Idealistic Rebel blog, Barbara Mattio to “celebrate all those who promote Harmony & Peace, and who add Love and Beauty to the world through their Blogs and through their lives.Their Positivity makes the world a better place for all of us.”
The Harmony and Peace Award Rules are:
1. Give this award to seven bloggers who have added Harmony and Peace, Love, Beauty and Positivity to the world you live in.
2. Let them know that you nominated them.
3. Acknowledge the blogger from whom you received this award.
4. Display your award on your blog, because you have earned it!
5. Continue to live in Harmony and Peace.
Here are my seven bloggers, who add love, harmony and peace to the world. I wish I could include you all!
1. Girl Eats Greens
Her blog is a delicious homage to healthy eating, peace and wonder. Resplendent with recipes!
2. Eva PoeteX
Her blog is a wondrous landscape of poetry and images.
3. Cutie Cameras She is adorable!
4. Healing your Grief
A profoundly beautiful blog about love, healing and peace.
5. Anastasia Amour This lady is all about empowering women, and encouraging them to see themselves in a different light.
6. She Kept a Parrot Thoughtful, kind, soulful and harmonious.
7. Inside the Life of Moi
Truthful, loving and simply beautiful.
I love all the blogs I follow, and wish I could include them all!
Chasing my Halo has gifted me the honour of a nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thankyou so much, my beautiful friend! The Rules: -Display the award logo at the top of your post. -You must thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog in your post. – You must add these set of rules to your post so that your nominees will know what to do. -You must add 7 facts about yourself into the post. -You must nominate 7 other blogs and leave links to each of them in your post. -You must let the people you have nominated know that they have been nominated. Seven Fun Facts About Me! 1. I am a vegetarian. I decided not to eat meat as a toddler, and nobody could dissuade me! 2. I love birds and guinea pigs. 3. I love Ripley’s Odditoreum and find it moving. I visit whenever I am on the Gold Coast. 4. I can’t stand mean people and want to (gently) whack them with a fairy wand. 5. I believe in fairies and magic and kindness. 6. I am an insomniac, who reads most of the night. 7. I have learnt that dreams come true! I dreamed of a book being published, and having a little girl, and both came to life! My Nominees. This was incredibly hard, as I admire all the blogs I follow, and wanted to include them all! Anastasia Amour Her blog is centred around empowering women, and encouraging us to re-evaluate what we believe. She is a dear friend. Cauldrons and Cupcakes Her blog is sublime. Touched by fairies, and beautifully photographed and written. Princess Burlap Her writing is honest and raw. She is a talented writer. (A Day in the Life) UN GIORNO NELLA VITA She can lift my spirits with her posts and quotes. Beautifully presented. A Day in the Life A cornucopia of beauty, with an array of topics. My Midlife Mayhem Funny and accurate! Healing Grief Profound on so many levels. This lady is wise, and lucky us, she shares her wisdom and encouragement! Love to you all. I hope to pass on more love to all the blogs soon!
Anastasia Amour (pseudonym Stardust), sent me a little package of affirmative stickers. My daughter was very excited when I said Stardust had sent us a gift. Her little face fell when she searched the empty envelope. “Where is the stardust?” she pouted. I told her it was invisible, imbued on the stickers.
Words have such power. You know, these days its cool to be disaffected and sarcastic, caustic and negative. Its easy to cut the groove in the rotating vinyl record inside your head. Doing Anastasia’s ProjectPositive changed my world. I felt connected to a vibrant group of people doing life, endeavouring to work out the snags. I learnt that I am worthy of love just as I am. I examined what beauty and self-love actually is, and what it isn’t. I was humbled and my self-talk was certainly transformed. Not only are her sticker’s embedded with Stardust, but Anastasia is as well. www.anastasiaamour.com
My beautiful friend Anastasia, over at http://anastasiaamour.com/projectpositive/ has a wondrous venture, called #Project Positive! Each day during September, there will be a prompt, Today it is the face. I love my face because it is capable of smiling and the skin around my eyes is capable of creasing when I break into a wide grin. That is remarkable. My face has been bruised and punched; my lips have been split open, as has my head. My face has healed and restored, and is capable of fronting up, and facing this world. A few years ago, this face had extensive plastic surgery for removal of tumours.
There was a chance that the nerves may be partially paralysed. I was not concerned. My little girl was unafraid, for she saw her mother’s spirit peeking out of those swollen eyes. I was under twilight sedation during surgery, and had extraordinary epiphanies, which I needed to bang on about. I was warned that unless I shut up, I would have to be knocked out cold, as the surgeon was trying to do a flap repair near my mouth. I didn’t stop talking, so was indeed knocked out cold! I love this cheeky, impudent face. Splashing it with cold water each morning, feeling winter’s frost and a Sydney summer upon it’s skin. I love that when my face was battered and bruised, my child looked into my eyes, and said “oh, there you are.”