Tag Archives: recovery

An American in Poland

About two weeks ago I arrived in Warsaw to begin my semester abroad. The first night, I was all ready to pack my bags back up and go home. I was not prepared for the culture shock, but as the week went on I found myself once again becoming more emotionally stable. 

Before I even left home, I knew being here was going to be a challenge but I didn’t realize to what extent it would be. 

My entire recovery is being challenged. Those eating disorder voices in my head are becoming louder, and I really don’t understand why. Maybe it’s because of the food here & not knowing what it is I ate. There’s a lot of carbs and meat here and I’m struggling to find things that I will actually eat without the anxiety rising in me. I am not counting the challenges over the past two weeks as a failure, but I’ve noticed others here find my eating habits odd.

The family I’m staying with have been pressing me to eat every meal ever since I got here and I felt awkward denying their offers of food at first. I didn’t know if not accepting food when it’s offered was a sign of disrespect in Poland, but I learned that a simple “not right now, maybe in a little bit” satisfies them. 

Then there’s the fact that I feel like an outsider here. I am the only student from America here and it’s a little isolating. The language barrier is not only frustrating but disappointing to me because I struggle to express simple things to a majority of those around me. 

The things I’ve been feeling aren’t being expressed, because how can i? I’m supposed to be having the time of my life here, but so far it’s been more challenging than exciting. 

My hopes for the coming weeks is that it’ll get easier & more relaxing. Hopefully I will become more comfortable with the culture and the food situation. I just miss home and the familiarity, but inside I’m so happy I took this opportunity to live in Warsaw for 3 months. 

IM GOING TO POLAND! 

I’m so excited for the next month. I’m going to Warsaw, Poland to study abroad for a few months… Oh and the cool thing? I’m going for free! 

I applied for a grant that was given to my schools psychology department by the university I’ll be studying at. I didn’t have anything to lose so I filled out the application, submitted it, and a few days after it was due I found out I was the student who was selected for it. I may or may not have jumped up and down & screamed when I received the email from the department chair saying I won it. 

So come October I will be living in Warsaw, studying psychology and having opportunities to travel Europe! 

I do have to admit I’m terrified. I have never been out of the country, and the fact I will be over there all by myself is giving me anxiety. That, and the food part.

I’m scared that I won’t find any foods over there that I can eat comfortably. It’s going to be a huge test of my recovery and I’m absolutely terrified. But I can’t let that get in the way. Life is too good to fuck up. 

I haven’t updated this in a bit so I just wanted to give my followers an update on my life! 

3 Years

Today is kind of a weird anniversary for me. I was scrolling through TimeHop this morning (people still use this app right?) when I came across a post from 3 years ago today. I left for treatment for an eating disorder/self-injury that day. I remember (vaguely, however) being terrified to go out there and have all my vices of coping and not feeling stripped away from me. I was incapable of feeling anything besides numb. There were no plans for a future in my mind, no hope of things ever not feeling as if though they weren’t going to get better. All I remember is being exhausted 24/7; emotionally and physically.

I was vulnerable to the voices in my head telling me that if I only lost a little more weight I’d be happy, I’d achieve that goal of wanting to disappear, to live a life unnoticed. Only the thing is, the more I tried to disappear the more I stood out. That’s where the lies came in. I lived a life of lying, skirting around the truth that I was slowly killing myself. My closest friends would ask what I was doing to lose the weight I had, or if I was eating. I didn’t exactly lie to them, but I wasn’t telling the whole story. I was simply working out daily and watching what I did eat (although a piece of toast with a very miniscule amount of peanut butter isn’t exactly eating). I hid my eating disorder so well and didn’t disclose information about it that my therapist I was seeing at the time didn’t even catch on to what was going on with me (which led to a lot of misdiagnoses, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder) until a month or so before I was sent to treatment.

All these memories came back when I saw those posts from TimeHop this morning. It’s still kind of mind blowing to me that it was 3 years ago, because it honestly feels like it was yesterday. I have come such a long way in my life since going to treatment.

I feel content with my life and where it’s going. I’m now a senior in undergrad with a pretty killer GPA. I’m graduating with research honors next May and hopefully will be going off to grad school after that. Yes I still struggle with my weight, appearance and eating disorder thoughts sometimes but I don’t let them consume me anymore. I have so much to offer the world (that didn’t sound conceded did it?) and after years of struggling, have a pretty good sense as to who I am. The areas of my life which I lost to my eating disorder and mental health struggles, I have either gained back or am working on gaining back. There’s relationships I’m hoping to still amend and the friends I still do have I appreciate them and no longer take them for granted.

There is so much that I have gained over the past 3 years, that it’s incredible to think about how my life has changed for the better. The road here absolutely sucked and was painful. One psychiatric hospital stay, a month in inpatient treatment and a year in outpatient treatment (which sucked more than the hospital or treatment center) are now on my track record. I hated the things that beginning recovery entailed, but if I got my life back in a better way than I could have imagined, I guess I’ll take it.

So today is the anniversary of the day I began the long journey of getting my life back. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve last self-injured which is huge after engaging in it for 10 years. Being in recovery from an eating disorder is something I feel like I’ll always have to deal with. Every day I have to make choices and check in with myself some days to make sure I’m going down the right path because it is so easy for my emotions to take over and run the course of my life. But I genuinely love my life right now, and I’m so glad I am still alive to have these experiences.

Life After

With it being National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I wanted to take the time out of my night to sit down and write something meaningful about this week. Reading post after post of individuals’ stories about life in the grips of an eating disorder and how they’re now on the other side, I decided I wanted whatever I wrote to be a little different. But how do you make your writing different from the thousands out there that are writing about the same issues?

I have noticed a theme over the week within those posts, however. There’s always that silver lining moment at the end where the writer describes how much life has gotten better since they entered recovery, and I have to agree that it’s a fucking incredible thing being in recovery and not having the obsessions about food and weight on your mind 24/7. But the posts always end there, leaving a sort of cliff hanger, especially for those of us who know what going through the recovery process is like. But what I want to touch on is something I haven’t read much of in the posts:

            The bad days of recovery.

Because guess what guys, it’s not always an easy task and some days those thoughts and desires to once again self-destruct come running back to you. People expect you to struggle while you’re getting back on your feet while in treatment, whether that be inpatient or outpatient. But what I’ve noticed in my own life is that nobody really talks about the struggle so many of us face after we’re discharged from a treatment program and are fully integrated back into our lives. That’s when, at least in my opinion, real recovery starts and is tested on almost a daily basis.

I’ve gone a couple of weeks without the intrusive thoughts about my weight and calories, but something I’ve noticed is that it always comes back. We learn skills to fight those thoughts out, as well as behavioral components to engage in to not fall back into the very thing we were once so comfortable in. My own therapist has told me countless times that yes it may be so much easier to just say ‘fuck it’ and go back into living a life of an eating disorder, but there’s so much more to lose at this point in your life now that you have experienced what living is supposed to be like.

Let’s be real here for a moment though guys, sometimes the idea of living this new life, for the rest of our life mind you, seems overwhelming. Some days I wake up and don’t want to continue living this life of recovery. Some days I want to jump right back into the arms of an eating disorder, because coping with the emotions that come from every day life experiences can really fucking suck. They talk about the ebbing and flowing of motivation for recovery in treatment all the time, but just because you’ve been discharged from a program doesn’t mean that ever really stops. It becomes less frequent of an issue, but an issue still nonetheless.

You can go weeks feeling on top of the world and loving the life you worked so hard to get, but some days those thoughts and physical feelings can come back and come back with a vengeance. It’s in those moments though, that you really have to put all of those skills that were drilled into your head into use. It’s a struggle, because now you have insight. You know you can kick those thoughts’ ass, you know you can hold off on engaging in whatever behavior it is your head is telling you to do, and you know all of the things that you could lose by letting yourself get engulfed in those thoughts and actions for even just a day. Because I think we all know that a lot of the time, that one day is all it takes to flip that switch and you’re plummeting backwards.

But unlike the days you were in treatment, there’s not that team of people right there to catch you before you smash into the ground. So it’s all you, and you know you can do it if you choose to. It’s those choices that can either make or break you. It all comes down to choice. There’s this internal battle you enter into with your old self and the new, more insightful self. So what are you going to do? The guilt of fucking up and having to explain to either your doctor or your therapist as to why the scale says you lost weight when you go in for your next appointment or session can be overwhelming enough. To be honest, that has been something that has kept me on my toes a lot over the past year. Having to come up with some lie that seems like a legit excuse isn’t really worth it, because if your therapist is good at their job, they’ll dissect the shit out of what you just told them until they reveal the truth behind the fact you lost weight again.

But I guess I should probably end this post on a positive note, eh? I mean shit if I stopped right there we’d all be fucking depressed and not want to continue trying our best to live a life of recovery. So here it goes, that silver lining moment we all love:

Some days of recovery suck. I mean really fucking suck. But it’s only a day, or a moment or a thought. It doesn’t have to become the catalyst that slides you backwards. If you’ve made it this far to where you can say you’re in recovery, well dammit you can make it past the shitty days too. Without trying to sound like one of those cheesy motivational posters that are scattered all over the place, you’ve already proven to yourself that you can do this. So when you really feel like recovery is a joke and you can no longer keep it up, remember the way you fucking rallied to get to where you are now, even if in that moment it feels like you didn’t make as much progress as everyone around you is telling you’ve made. It’s always hard to see the progress you made for yourself, but you did it yourself. So keep calm and stay strong.

Up to MY Standards

I’ve always been a perfectionist, I mean just go ask anyone who is close to me and they’ll tell you just that. Maybe it’s because of my childhood (all the Freud lovers will give a fist pump at that) and living with that nagging voice placed in my head by those who bullied me and the teachers who never really believed in my abilities (High school guidance counselor, I’m lookin at you!).

So as I got older and became a young adult, I saw a shift in my mindset. I found things I was good at and considered it my pride to excel at these things. Some were healthy, such as my ability to play guitar and make music, and some not so healthy. Those who were seemingly better at whatever it was I too was good at, were seen as a threat to me. I know, it’s absolutely ridiculous to say out loud but it was the truth. But that truth has dangerous consequences.

Musicians around me became the enemy, a source of jealousy and viewed as yet another individual rubbing it in my face that I was in fact not as good at music as I thought I once was. I no longer wanted to learn from them, because when they tried teaching me new things, in my head all I could hear was them saying “look what I can do and you can’t”. Relationships that could have been so enriching never had the chance to grow because I pushed them away. I felt insignificant in who I was as a musician when I compared myself to them, even though a majority of these individuals had been playing music longer than I had even been alive.

Then there were the not so good things, body image being the main thing. I got sick in my early twenties with an eating disorder, after I decided I was going to go on a diet to lose some weight. Needless to say, that car soon spun out of control and took over my life. But there was something about it that made me feel so in control and on top of my world. Finally, I remember thinking to myself, I had found the one thing in my life that nobody else could be better at than me. I would listen to people all around me telling me that they found it so hard to stay in a commitment to the gym and stick with their diets. That losing weight was not as easy as I was making it look. That was all I needed to hear to give me that little extra push to keep going. Not to mention the fact that my perfectionist attitude always made me feel like crap about myself when I would finally reach that goal weight, because anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having an eating disorder knows that the original goal weight never stays the same. Once you get there you know you can go lower, and suddenly that number on the scale that you once would have killed someone to see, is no longer the number you feel happy with. There’s always more you can do to get lower. That perfect number just barely out of reach.

But where I really want to go in this is the recovery aspect of an eating disorder. Those perfectionist attitudes never really left, and I’m not sure they ever really will if I’m being honest. It’s a long road ahead of me, probably something I will struggle with for the rest of my life. Because I live in such a small town (we joke and call it ‘Smallbany’) I have run into people I went to outpatient treatment with at school, some of them in my classes. I remember the beginning of the semester someone who was in treatment with me, who I never really cared for, walked into my class. One look at them and I saw what I wasn’t any longer. They, in my mind at least, looked good. They had the features I so badly wished I could have because to me in the most fucked up way were what I consider attractive. Suddenly my body image was out of whack and I once again felt inadequate. Sure I have come a long way in recovery, but seeing others look the way that I never had the chance to look, really kind of triggered me. To me, they looked perfect. I, with some weight restored, did not look perfect.

Sure I had my schooling and the fact that I am really freakin’ good at it, but all of that was negated by the fact that I was no longer the best at the one thing I spent so many years being proud of. Someone else could lose weight and be thinner than I am. Suddenly, I was no longer up to my standards of perfect.

But what is perfect? I honestly don’t know if perfect even exists. I remember last week after taking tests I received the grade for one and it was below my expectations. I knew I could have done better, and kicked myself all day for the fact that I didn’t get that grade I knew I could have. My mind took over and I began hearing that voice in my head that told me I wasn’t ever going to measure up to the standards I once believed I could. But this voice carried over into every area of my life. I was no longer good enough at anything, whether it be school, the way I looked, or good enough for relationships (not romantic but friendships and the like).

I know this is all negative, but I think I finally found the silver lining. My standards for my whole life have been set at a place that is almost unreachable but not totally out of sight that I can’t see the end game. I can see it, and that only fuels the need to live up to my own standards. So I’ve been working really hard on giving myself a break, and it’s not as easy as you would think it was. It’s a daily internal struggle, and at times it’s absolutely exhausting. But maybe, just maybe, my standards can change, or I can at least give myself a break and some grace for not reaching that bar that is set so high. So I didn’t get a mark on a test or paper I knew I could have gotten, in the long run will it really matter? So I don’t feel like I’m the best at things I once did, who really cares? I’m not the best musician? At least I’m not the same as I was a few years ago. I’m not the best student? At least I’m not the same student I was when I was told I wasn’t good enough for college. I’m not the best looking? First of all, what does that even mean, and second of all, looks are the least of everyone’s concern at the end of the day. I realize that sounded shallow, and being the best looking wasn’t what fueled my illness. It was the need to disappear and not be noticed. But as I entered recovery, looking good, meaning healthy, became important for some reason.

I may not be perfect or up to my standards, but I realize now that nobody on this earth is perfect. We all have something that someone else wants, but at the same time we are all so completely different, and now in my life I’m trying to accept that and believe it. So maybe now I will try to set a new standard, a standard of giving myself grace.

 

The Sick Card

As someone who is working their ass off to live a better life, a life of recovery and happiness and self-love, it angers me to my core seeing people who play “the sick card” to their advantage. But that’s the thing about mental illness, no matter what label it has attached to it by psychologists and professionals, it’s a manipulative son of a bitch.

When we’re sick we become monsters, shells of the person we one were. We become liars and co-dependent on things we never saw value in before.

Then, there’s treatment.

We finally find a team or a psychologist who doesn’t make us feel like hopeless cases, who genuinely believes in us and wants nothing more for us than an improved quality of life. There’s actual tools we can use to better ourselves. Things in our life begin to turn around; we see goals we never thought we could achieve being met, new life aspirations and motivation and self-confidence. For the first time in years that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t just some cheesy ass metaphor used on motivational posters or in the abstract way. That darkness that only we can feel and see soon turns into a light, and dammit it feels so good to finally find that exit door out of all this shit we’ve been hiding in for years.

But it’s not like that for everyone.

Some find peace and comfort in the constant worrying of those around them, the phone calls or text messages of friends and family checking up on them to make sure they’re ok. They thrive on the sympathy of suffering from their mental illness, they cloak themselves as the patient and find that having this illness is the perfect scape goat for real life. Treatment, whether it be outpatient or inpatient or hospitalizations, isn’t meant to be fun or ClubMed. That shit is painful, even more painful than life tends to be, but that is their safety net.
Life gets too stressful or something happens that they don’t like, there they go pulling out the sick card they have neatly tucked away just for moments like these. Soon the sympathy and support of others comes pouring in and they gain that control of others back. For some reason, they thrive on manipulating people to feel sorry for them and make them go out of their way to prove that they care about them. It’s almost as if they’re trapping others into a world of misery because hey as the saying goes, “misery loves company”.
Real life becomes their treatment (meaning it’s soon a place they no longer wish to be, even though it’s where they need to be) and treatment becomes their life. It’s no longer a name they see or want others to see, but it’s an illness of epic proportions that they use to greet the world with.
Others in their life are forced to learn how to walk all over again around them, as not to break the egg shells strategically placed all over the ground in their home. One false step can cause the yolk to ooze out of the once complete shell, the shrapnel of broken shell digs and cuts at the heel, causing pain for the person stepping on the broken shell and that perfect excuse for the mentally ill person to absolutely lose their shit and spiral back down into whatever hole they have dug for themselves.

Blasts From the Past

I keep having these dreams where those people who walked out of my life when things got tough were back in my life. We’re laughing and doing all of the things we used to do when we were close. It’s such a strange feeling when I wake up from said dreams, because all of these emotions come flooding back, but the strongest one of all is anger.

A good friend of mine reminded me of a quote this past week that said something to the effect of the people we once loved are the ones we hate the most. I never thought I would hate these people as much as I do, and the conflicting thing about this is that if they ever called me up or texted me when they were in trouble I wouldn’t hesitate to talk to them.

I’m a pretty forgiving person when it comes to friends. I try not to hold grudges because being alone isn’t something I’m good at handling. There have been countless times where I gave people chance after chance, even when they continued to let me down and hurt me.

It’s like my past friendships are coming back into my head, and I’m not all too sure what this means. Do I miss them? More than I would like to admit sometimes. Do I have a lot of resentment? You betcha. But I think what makes these dreams mess with my head is the fact that I would still give anything to have them be an important part of my life.

They say the past isn’t something we can change, which is hard because I feel almost like it’s coming back to bite me. I wish I could change; ever since these dreams have been happening (almost nightly), it’s brought up all of the things I did and said when these people were in my life. How I took their friendship for granted, how I pushed them just enough away that they didn’t have full access to what I was going through but were still in my life. How I felt/feel abandoned and betrayed by them and how they decided that I wasn’t worthy of their friendship any longer because what I was going through was too much for them to deal with.

Yet with these blasts from the past, I’ve learned just how far I’ve come. I went from being broken and feeling hopeless of ever changing, to confident and hopeful for my future. I’ve become more cautious about who I let in and who I need to set boundaries with. I’ve learned how to effectively deal with conflict and use those ever so lovely interpersonal effectiveness skills often. I’m more assertive and less of a doormat; and to top it all off: I’m more mature and have a sense of who I am for the first time in my life.

These dreams have seemed like a curse for the past few weeks. My mind has been working on overdrive to try and analyze what this means and what the emotions are that they bring up. Yet I’m realizing now, the more I work through these brought up issues, that they’re also a blessing. It made me realize that who I am now is not who I was back then.

Every person from your past lives as a shadow in your mind. Good or bad, they all helped you write the story of your life, and shaped the person you are today

– Doe Zantamata

Vacation

In a couple of weeks I’ll be going on my 1st vacation in about 4 or 5 years. The last time I was planning on going on vacation was in 2013, and I was going by myself to spend a week or so at my Uncles place in Florida. Nobody knew that the vacation was my last “hoorah”. I was really sick in my eating disorder (although I didn’t want to admit it), hated myself more than any other time in my life and with more intensity & this time I wasn’t about to pussy out of my plan. The plan was to party it up while I was down there and do whatever it was that came to mind (be carelessly compulsive), get home that Saturday and not wake up Sunday. I had it all narrowed down. I did the stereotypical move of giving my shit away and other things I’m sure but don’t remember.

Obviously none of that happened.

The day I was meant to be on a plane to Florida, I instead found myself on a plane heading to Chicago where I’d transfer on a plane out to Arizona for treatment. I remember a week passed and I was out in the smoking area talking to one of my housemates when I told her that I should have been dead in my room that day instead of sitting in a treatment center for anorexia. In that moment it felt like everything I spent the past few months working up to was stripped from me.

So now I’ll be going to Florida in a couple weeks, this time in recovery from my anorexia and for the first time in my whole life am living with knowing I have a future. But I’ll admit I’m scared shitless.

Normal people don’t panic over the food they’ll have on vacation; in fact it’s usually the time of their year where they can guiltlessly indulge without feeling like shit about themselves. I am so fucking terrified that because I’ll be staying at a hotel (which means I have no real option of cooking food every night) that I’ll get home and when I’m weighed at my individual therapy session the scale will show a much higher number.

My mom told me I don’t have to eat a lot of stuff on vacation. I know she meant well, but does that mean I can restrict a little bit? I’ll be at the hotels fitness center every morning before the day starts because if I have to eat out a lot I need some sort of “compensatory” thing so I don’t blow up. It’s only an 8 day vacation but I am so terrified about it.

I’m sure it won’t be as bad as the voice in my head is telling me it will be, but it doesn’t lower my anxiety any less.

Recovery is not a straight line

pss-recovery

A lot of people with or without eating disorders can fall into the trap that once you’re “in recovery” everything is so much easier when it comes to food. For the longest time I too thought that once I was out of treatment life involving food would be easy peasy, but I’ve come to realize and even accept that it’s more like a wave. Like every other normal person on the earth, we all have our good days and bad days. But over time you find that those bad days aren’t as bad as you once would have seen them as. Sure it may suck, you may be more vulnerable feeling in front of food but you realize it’s only 1 day out of your entire life. That bad day no longer dictates the rest of your week, and once you view it as just a bump in the road you’re better able to adjust, pick yourself back up and dust yourself off.

What I’ve learned over the past few months from being in my life without the guided hand of a team telling me what to do is that I am stronger than I once believed I was. Yes some food challenges I face cause me to stumble a little bit but when I wake up the next day I try and go about my day like the previous days challenge didn’t happen. It’s in the past and really it doesn’t have that big an impact as I thought it would when I was faced with the challenge.

For me recovery has also been (and still is) the process of learning how to love and accept myself for who I am. When I look back on how far I’ve come over the past year or so I see that I am not that same woman who entered into treatment (whether residential or outpatient). I see the future for the 1st time in my life, I have the drive and motivation to succeed and the further along in undergrad I get, the more I am able to realize I can do what it is I want to do .

There’s still so many things I need to work on when it comes to my recovery, there’s still so many challenges I have yet to meet and make myself do and some distorted beliefs I still have. I’ve still yet to figure out what’s an acceptable amount of time to spend at the gym which is why I have been sticking to home work outs and outdoor activities now that it’s nice outside to actually do them, but getting back into the gym is something I want to have happen for me this summer.

Everyday when I wake up I find myself motivated to do life and be healthy about it. That is a huge change from a couple of years ago. When I first began outpatient treatment I was under the impression I needed to do everything right, but over time that became exhausting. It took me a good year to finally release the ropes on doing recovery and learned to relax. I began giving up a little control here and there, tried trusting my treatment team a little more and found that recovery wasn’t perfect, but when I had those wins in my life that recovery was easier than staying sick and being controlled by food.

It’s not perfect. Trust the process and have a little grace towards yourself.

RecoveryRoad

The Barry Manilow Moments

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Is this title misleading? It’s probably misleading. Oh well, that’s just how I roll.

(be prepared for lots of psychology nerdiness in this post folks!)

Ok so there’s this study I learned about when I was in IOP last year. It’s called: The Spotlight Effect in Social Judgment: An Egocentric Bias in Estimates of the Salience of One’s Own Actions and Appearance. Pretty damn wordy right? It’s actually one of the most relevant research studies for those of us who struggle with social comparisons, poor body image & that ever so lovely feeling like whenever we go out in public that everyone is ultimately staring at us. Sounds like a blast right? No, no tis not!

So here’s the jist of the procedure. Researchers had participants put on a lovely t-shirt with a big ass picture of Barry Manilows face on it and walk into a room filled with people. Now before learning of this, I rocked my BM shirt like nobody’s business because listening to pop music from the 80’s coming from a middle aged man who sings the hits like Mandy & Copacabana really adds a big ray of sunshine into my life. But any ways. The whole goal was to see if people actually noticed this ridiculously absurd article of clothing, and guess what? Barely anyone noticed the picture of Barry Manilow gracing the front of said shirt.

When I first learned of this study I thought it was ridiculous. Honestly, I believed that clothing and body image were two completely different things, but guess what folks? It’s pretty relevant to body image! Shocking I know!

For a lot of us we tend to feel constantly judged. Example: I can’t leave my house without having my make up and hair looking as flawless as I can get it. Also the conflict of wanting to wear sweatpants out is something I just cannot get myself to do. What if someone looks at me? They’d obviously be judging my choice in looking comfortable as a bad thing.

But the truth is, nobody really gives a shit about what you look like! I’ve spent years terrified of being judged, and being judged by strangers none the less! I mean these people have no influence in my life yet there has always been something inside of me that needed them to like me and find me physically attractive which meant extra effort before leaving my house to make sure my outfit is on point (I struggled right there to not say “on fleek”, but I’m not that cool to use that phrase and I really don’t even know what it means). As I learn on a daily basis to love myself and accept the way I look I constantly struggle with having Barry Manilow t-shirt moments.

The truth is nobody is staring at me when I go out. Nobody is judging me when I walk into a room, even though it’s still something I think is happening sometimes. Sure some might look in my general direction, but really nobody is that interesting for others in a room to find fascinating to stare at. Even if they are looking at you, 9 times out of 10 it’s nothing negative. I mean it’s not like you’re Beyonce or Princess Kate. How many times do you glance at someone? Probably a lot is my guess. If you’re schema is focused on body image and how YOU look, there’s a really high chance that it comes into play when you’re out and about. Maybe you’re hair is on point or someone really loves that shirt you wore that day. Yet if you’re so self-aware of what you look like or how you feel about yourself (in a negative way) then those looks turn into something negative. The voices in you’re head tell you they’re judging you, yet like the Barry Manilow t-shirt study, I can bet no one is even noticing you.

What I’m trying to get at is this: people are so busy thinking about themselves that they don’t exactly take the time out of their lives to notice you and how you look. You’re body isn’t on the forefront of their mind when you’re sitting at a table in a restaurant or trying on clothes at the mall. They’re probably admiring how adorbs you look in that new skirt or thinking that they should have ordered what you did as the waiter brings out your dinner (their choice of that salad is looking pretty poor as you get handed that scrumptious sizzling fajita… ok now I’m hungry just thinking about this). So try and relax when you go out and you’re not feeling confident about yourself! You rock that confidence like you’re Kanye, just don’t be a douchebag (but feel free to interrupt T.Swift because that’d be more entertaining than having to look/listen to her).