Balance is something that I’ve always struggled with.
I’ve made a lot of promises to myself this year. Many of them I’ve failed miserably at keeping, okay probably most of them, but there’s one in particular I really feel the need to fulfill and it all comes down to a simple photo. Thank you Google photos for the little reminders (let’s be honest they’re kinda creepy) of “one year ago” because yesterday a photo popped up on my screen and reminded me that an entire year had passed and this date I’d mentally filed away for later was already here. You see, I promised myself at the beginning of this year that a year from this photo I’d be ready to share this post and so, I know I’m a day late, and despite my inner reservation I’m just doing it because sometimes that’s just what you have to do.
Okay, I know how cliché it is to say this but a picture really is worth a thousand words. That’s not to be confused with a picture being able to say everything though, don’t get me wrong. We as humans are very visual and with the modern age of technology making it easier and easier to find mediums of sharing photos and videos it’s very simple to forget the difference and take an image for only its face value. This photo above is a great example, it’s nothing too extreme or striking and maybe on first inspection you just see a girl. Maybe if you’re more appraising you can pick up a strong vibe of insecurity and not much more.
What that photo doesn’t say is how far gone this girl is from herself. It doesn’t tell you that her outside facade is taking every ounce of effort she can give it to hide this fact from the world and eventually even from herself because that’s become more important than anything else. It doesn’t tell you that she’s fallen into a pattern of self-destruction so deep she can’t see any hope of crawling out of it but she’s too ashamed to ask for help. It can’t say that she’s forgotten how to enjoy a simple moment, or how to relax and just live life. That’s what an eating disorder does, it strips away your sense of self.
Quick pause here, I’m the type of person to take the silliest things so serious and then start laughing at the most solemn moment just to try to break the tension. Because of that I’ll start writing a post like this and decide I’m being way too extreme so then I’ll just play it down or scratch the whole thing. It’s funny though because the more I’ve come to know myself this past year the more I’ve realized this tendency is because I don’t trust myself and I don’t stand up for my own beliefs. The flip side of this is that I’m learning to laugh at myself and know that that’s okay too. It’s in finding this balance that I’m seeing new ways to look at things.
I know, another cliche, typical white girl with food problems. However, that being said, I’ve never been able to openly admit it or even talk about it with my own family much. The thing is an eating disorder comes with so much denial and shame because you start to identify yourself a certain way and it tears at your self-worth like nothing else when you measure yourself in such materialistic ways. For so long I didn’t even think I had a problem. In fact, it took a close family friend asking my parents if I had anorexia to really shake me and force me to face it. I think something I was always afraid of most was that admitting to it would define me in some way. It wasn’t until recently that I started to realize that I was the only one who was letting it define me by continuing to let it control my life.
You’re probably wondering by now is how one becomes a food blogger when they have such a crap relationship with food? Well, it’s actually not that complicated. Since my earliest teenage years my relationship with food was unbalanced but I think I can say it worsened as I got older. Back in 2014 my family had just moved to a very remote town in South America and I had a ample amount of time on my hands. I was 17, the oldest kid in the house, and the only one with cooking experience. Plus, despite my lack of balance, I genuinely love the kitchen so I started playing in there to recreate some of the foods we couldn’t get there. That’s when I decided to start this blog because I’d always loved food blogs and I was spending like 90% of my time making new recipes so it made sense to make it a creative outlet.
I fell in love with food photography and at first being around food so much really was helping me find that balance. After a few years of working on it though, the line between food as nutrition and food as art got really blurred and somehow it was as if food became only my medium of art and my blog became a convenient way to hide the fact that I was eating less and less. I’d often get asked things like “You cook so much, how are you so thin?” and “How do you eat such delicious things and not get fat?” to which I’d respond with some bs response like “I just like to workout a lot” (which was somewhat true but left out the part where none of said food ever passed my lips.)
So at the beginning of this year I made the decision to change no matter what it took and it’s not easy, let me tell you. Trying to learn what I actually like to eat as opposed to what I eat because it’s “safe”. Tasting some pretty weird combinations. Trying to unlearn rules and routines around food. Facing the ever growing health-culture’s list of labels and beliefs around food and considering everything from veganism to fitness competitions as a possible answer. I’m honestly such a robot when it comes to food most days. Flexibility in food choices is so hard for me so being creative in what I eat doesn’t come naturally. After literally years of the same cycles of restricting, obsessing, and avoiding, you’re view of food and fitness is wack, not even kidding.
Then there’s the blog. After you go through an eating disorder all you can think is how much you never want someone else to have to experience the same thing and sadly there are so SO many that do and from the moment I started this journey to food freedom I realized what I wanted to do more than anything was help others find their balance. So yeah, moving forward with blogging is uncharted waters for me but I needed to be honest with you.
(Omg, here comes yet another cliche! I never thought I’d do one of these photos.) but here it it ->
My hope in writing any of this is that you can take something of encouragement or inspiration from it because life really is a journey and it’s far too short to not live it to the fullest. If I can make it this far I know you can too. Happy October, my friends!