Hungry by Tara Hardy
Do you know how many compliments I’ve gotten on my collarbones since I started dying?
This strikes a nerve.
I’m tagging this how I have because it should reach the viewers looking at that content. It’s raw, and real. Not glamorous.
Holy shit this is beautiful. <3
My flatmate is a ‘fit model’, so she’s in hospital on a drip a lot of the time." A fit model is one who is used in the top designer ateliers, or workrooms, and is the body around which the clothes are designed. That the ideal body shape used as a starting point for a collection should be a female on the brink of hospitalisation from starvation is frightening.
So I know I’m doing about 1000x better, but I wish I no longer cared AT ALL what the number on the scale says. =/ Rationally, I know it’s just a number and I am defined by a million other things before the size of my pants or the number I weigh. And yet, I still can’t shake the feeling that the number is important Unfortunately, that’s partially because it’s all society will fucking talk about with women most of the time. Stupid society.
That number does not matter. It doesn’t. I am important and beautiful and significant in the universe.
I’ll just keep repeating that mantra to myself now… =(
These past few weeks have been…amazing, honestly. I’ve slowly been making little changes in my life to increase my happiness and sense of peace this semester, after being lonely and sad and confused last semester. I got lost, I think, in the midst of moving off-campus and being away from home for basically 18 months. I’m finding myself again.
For example, even though it bugs me still that no one ever really asks me to do anything, and I have to plan activities first, I’ve been doing it. I ask friends to go to the mall with me or just go get frozen yogurt on Friday nights. I spent only probably 1 or 2 days of Spring Break alone. The rest of the 9 days I was off on adventures around the island, hiking and snorkeling or at least hanging out with friends, laughing and drinking wine and watching Doctor Who. I gathered a group of friends together to go get grilled cheese this past Friday on National Grilled Cheese Day. I try to seek out friends in the library in between classes and just generally talk to people more. If my one roommate who’s actually my friend is in the dining room when I’m cooking, I talk to her instead of being quiet.
These may all sound like trivial things, but they have been huge for me. I really do suffer from social anxiety, and anxiety in general. Social interactions don’t always come easily for me. I’m an introvert, so I can easily get overstimulated by crowds. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like people. On the contrary, I love people. Spending time with friends fills my heart and reminds me of just how loved and special I am.
I also found out on April 1st that I was one of only 100 or so recipients of the Class of 2013 Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from NOAA, which…well, really is a huge deal. It takes a lot of financial worries off of my shoulders, for one thing. But it also is going to offer me numerous wonderful opportunities, working with NOAA, and an internship next summer working on a project at one of the facilities. I honestly was not expecting to get the scholarship, and I am still in humbled awe two weeks later. I’m still not sure it’s real, even though I just sent them my official signed acceptance. Maybe by the time the orientation week comes around in May I’ll finally believe it’s real?
Okay, and i generally don’t like to brag, but my parents keep telling me it’s okay. And my friends as well. I guess I get embarrassed sometimes worrying that people will think that I think I’m better than them. Which, as a longtime sufferer of anorexia and anxiety and self-doubt, is the opposite of how I think. But anyway. After I got the acceptance, they e-mailed me with some of the comments the reviewers made on my scholarship application, and I’d just like to share a few of those:
Reviewer 1: Your essay cogently describes your career goals and how they relate to NOAA’s mission. Your academic coursework is outstanding. This application is one of the strongest this reviewer has seen in her years of reviewing Hollings Scholarship applicants. As you prepare for your career in Marine Sciences, this reviewer hopes you will consider employment with NOAA.
Reviewer 2: It is refreshing to see such focus at an early stage. I encourage you to continue along this track to help the shark situation. Continue to make good impressions such as those you clearly made upon your recommendations and you will do well in career, which I hope includes NOAA!
Pretty amazing, no? Talk about a much needed confidence booster. Talk about words I can keep in my arsenal as tools against Ana when she tries to whisper harmful and mean words in my ear.
Also, recently, I’m about 85% sure I’ll be studying abroad in Australia next semester, so long as I get accepted o the university housing there and I obtain a visa okay. Yet another amazing opportunity.
All in all, life is good. I have a future. I’m excited. I’m happy. I have friends and family and professors who support me, helping me to continue to overcome my eating disorder and sometimes debilitating anxiety every single day. I will admit sometimes I’m still too much afraid of my future and everything that’s out there. Three years ago, I was dying—I didn’t think I had a future. And now I do. So many doors are open for me. I am thriving and I am living. And I am so grateful.
Now, to counter that, one of my roommates this past year has been continuously mean and bitchy (though I hate that word, there’s nothing better to use) to me this whole year for no real reason. Over winter break, I experienced my first real form of cyberbullying, when she sent me a series of very angry and irrational messages on Facebook while I was at home. At the time, I was really hurt. I was sad and confused and worried about what other people thought of me. Did everyone think the same things she did? Was there something really wrong with me? I was terrified to return to my apartment, with her and two other virtual strangers, though I did still have my one friendly roommate there. I was homesick and sad for the first month I was back in Hawaii.
Until I remembered I can decide how happy I am with myself. And, as I detailed above, I really have done so. Situations with said mean roommate never improved, and actually got worse if that’s possible.
On Friday, after a stupid spat over trash, she sent me yet another text message, with phrases calling me a bitch, how she never should have lived with me, etc. I vaguely read this over before heading out to dinner with friends, not really caring anymore. Later that night, I had a huge revelation: It doesn’t matter what she thinks of me. At this point, I am happy with myself and my friends and where my life is. I have countless friends, all across the country, from all walks of life, friends who have known and loved me for over 10 years. My family loves me. I am strong and free and wanted and unique. Truly, by constantly feeling the need to put me down to make her feel better about herself, she’s hurting herself more than she’s hurting me.
I don’t CARE what she thinks of me anymore. I don’t need her approval. I have my own approval, and the love and support of countless people all across the world.
This was huge for me. I try to not care what other people think of me, but sometimes I can’t help it. I seek out the approval of others, wanting to appear perfect and kind and such. This desire to please everyone certainly was a significant cause of my eating disorder and constant anxiety. I still do want love and friendship, but I know now I have that. I have friends who remind me every day every time I talk to them, how much they value me as a friend. And how much I value their kindness and friendship.
Bullying sucks. I dealt with it last year from roommate sand this year as well. But I don’t have to react to it. The universe is a wonderful place full of wonderful people. Humanity is good, by and large. And I just need to remember how much I am loved and how much I have. I am blessed with starlight and love and a future. That’s all that matters to me, really.
Ultimately, life is good. I love being alive, with friends and opportunities and love. I don’t think I will ever completely break free of my eating disorder or anxiety, but I am 1000x better and happier now than I was 2 and a half years ago. I never would’ve guessed this is where I’d be today.
But I am.
Have faith. Trust yourself. Trust the universe. Trust your family and friends. The world is beautiful, despite the sadness and losses. You are beautiful, and you can overcome. You are strong and filled with powerful light. Let that shine out the negativity from everywhere else.
I promise it’ll be worth it every step of the way.
Just some late night thoughts when I should be going to bed but am instead working on a lab due in 3 weeks.
I realized that almost no one I currently spend a lot of time with knows that just 2 and a half years ago, I was on my deathbed. That 3 years ago, I was slowly dying. And the few who do know my story weren’t there to see it, so they can’t really know how far I’ve come.
I’m not complaining, really. I’m glad I haven’t let my anorexia or my recovery define who I am today. But I do feel sometimes likely my eating disorder history puts a thin wall between me and other people, because it forever sits, cold and dark, in my heart. I’ve been places, thought things, that many people around me never have.
I miss my girls who walked through the chaos with me toward the light. I miss them and love them always, even from 3,000 miles away.
I love my life, for the most part. I’m not happy all the time, but I’m proud of the woman I have grown into. I love being alive, despite its miseries and loneliness. I am so glad I chose to walk away from the comfort of death in 2010. Even if this world contains pain and grief and loss, it also contains immeasurable beauty and love and hope. And I want to see as much of it as I can in my time. Dancing, singing, loving, laughing, free of the monster who caged me for so many long years.
You’re reaching out
And no one hears you cry
You’re freaking out again
‘Cause all your fears
Remind you another dream has come undone
You feel so small and lost like you’re the only one
You wanna scream ‘cause you’re
You want somebody, just anybody
To lay their hands on your soul tonight
You want a reason to keep believin’
That someday you’re gonna see the light
You’re in the dark
There’s no one left to call
And sleep’s your only friend
Well even sleep
Can’t hide you from all those tears
And all the pain and all the days
You wasted pushin’ them away
It’s your life, it’s time you face it
Many of us are looking for a beat, something solid and rooted where we can take refuge and begin to explore the fluidity of being alive, to investigate why we often feel stuck, numb, spaced-out, tense, inert, and unable to stand up or sit down or unscramble the screens that reflect our collective insanity.
The question I ask myself and everyone else is, “Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit?” Can we be free of all that binds and bends us into a shape of consciousness that has nothing to do with who we are from moment to moment, from breath to breath?
Dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth — not some big truth that belongs to everybody, but the get down and personal kind, the what’s-happening-in-me-right-now kind of truth. We dance to reclaim our brilliant ability to disappear in something bigger, something safe, a space without a critic or a judge or an analyst.
We dance to fall in love with the spirit in all things, to wipe out memory or transform it into moves that nobody else can make because they didn’t live it. We dance to hook up to the true genius lurking behind all the bullshit — to seek refuge in our originality and our power to reinvent ourselves; to shed the past, forget the future and fall into the moment feet first. Remember being fifteen, possessed by the beat, by the thrill of music pumping loud enough to drown out everything you’d ever known?
The beat is a lover that never disappoints and, like all lovers, it demands 100% surrender. It has the power to seduce moves we couldn’t dream. It grabs us by the belly, turns us inside out and leaves us abruptly begging for more. We love beats that move faster than we can think, beats that drive us ever deeper inside, that rock our worlds, break down walls and make us sweat our prayers. Prayer is moving. Prayer is offering our bones back to the dance. Prayer is letting go of everything that impedes our inner silence. God is the dance and the dance is the way to freedom and freedom is our holy work.
We dance to survive, and the beat offers a yellow brick road to make it through the chaos that is the tempo of our times. We dance to shed skins, tear off masks, crack molds, and experience the breakdown — the shattering of borders between body, heart and mind, between genders and generations, between nations and nomads. We are the transitional generation.
This is our dance.
Ever since I was young, I never was someone who was at ease with happiness. Too often I embrace introspection and self-doubt. I wish I could embrace the good things.
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