Let’s talk about eating disorders as the plague destroying the self-image and self-worth of Americans (and just people in general). A vast majority of my friends and acquaintances (including myself) have suffered or are suffering from ragging eating disorders that continue to contribute to a culture of helplessness in the US.
For me it all began when I was in the 6th grade and I realised that my calves were twice the size of my best friend at the time, Peri, who’s basically a straight board with an ass and was the most popular and liked girl in our class. I had self worth issues prior to this self-conscious realisation, but this memory seems to mark the beginning of the depreciation of my body image that has continued to haunt me for the past 10 years.
The part that sucks is that its not all my fault. Because if it were all my fault then it would be a lot fucking easier to take responsibility for it. If my eating disorder had manifested from my own imagination then it would be a lot fucking easier for me to get my self worth back and, you know, have a healthy relationship with myself. But no, this problem didn’t materialise for me (and you) within the self, but in the relationship of the people closest to us. And, sadly the media just so happens to live in our living rooms, bedrooms, and workplaces making them one of our most intimate and inescapable relatives.
For me it was my dad’s relationship to my mother. My parents got divorced when I was 9 years old because my mom cheated on my dad and therefore my dad hated (hates) my mom who I am a spitting image of. She, so generously, bequeathed unto me her body type, her eyes, her smile, her laugh, her sweet disposition, which serve as a constant reminder to my father of the hurt she incited in him. Especially at the age of 11, when puberty beckons and you start to look like a woman and you go from 118 to 135 lbs in three months because you’re using food to self comfort, shit gets real. I remember my dad telling me I had big calves (i.e. you’re too much like your lying, cheating mother) and then inviting me to go on runs with him because, apparently, I needed to change my body from its natural composition to fit his image of woman should be. And now your dads baggage is your baggage. It was enough to incite the vicious cycle of the ‘I’m fat’ mantra that has plagued my thoughts (and probably yours) for the last 10 years.
No matter what, you can’t help but think that you need to change your body and it doesn’t help when all your friends think the same thing. And then you’re all repeatedly telling yourselves ‘I’m fat’, reenforcing this image in your mind. And then on top of that you live in the States, which has the fattest people in the world second to Mexico. So now its not just you and your friends telling themselves ‘I’m fat’, but the entire United States, and in combination with our downtrodden economy, overall societal hopelessness. And to deal with the fact that you think of yourself as this walking gourd that the Fairy Godmother turned into Cinderella’s carriage in which her skinny ass went to a fucking ball where she met a prince who saved her from her evil stepmother and changed her life forever, further violating your self worth (because you need prince charming to fix your problems) just makes you feel even shittier.
And you hate yourself and your depressed all the time so nobody wants to be your friend. And on top of that, you’re now in high school and who you are is defined by who you hang out with. But you go to a preppy parochial school in which all the students come from hyper normal, white, upper middle class families. And of course you can’t help but hate every single one of these people. Because you’re secretly jealous of their uncanny white picket fenced lives, where their thin, athletic, good looking, 4.0 students who are all ivy league candidates and you imagine yourself as a fat, poor kid, who’s got no chance of going to college. And then you have no hope because you think you’re going no where in life and then suddenly this issue grows into an un-sizeable abyss that’s way bigger than you or I could ever deal with at 15.
So, you either self comfort with food (like muah) making yourself sick to the point where you excuse yourself to the bathroom, stuff a towel in the cracks to muffle the sound, and stick your finger down your throat; or refuse to eat, developing anorexia, as an attempt to take control over what is so out of your control.
All of a sudden, you’re 21, a year away from a college degree, with a very promising, profitable, adventure filled life ahead of you; and you’re laying in bed crying, watching every episode of Pretty Little Liars, which you’re strangely addicted to, drinking a litter of coffee because coffee is only 5 calories per serving so it can’t make me fat, thinking ‘I’m fat’ and having no self worth. But, eventually you write it out and realise that this is bullshit and so not worth you’re energy. So, you struggle to remind yourself that you are beautiful, you’re family loves you (despite their emotional baggage), and that this doesn’t have to be your consciousness. So, you move on, force yourself to eat something because your blood sugar is really low (which can’t possibly help), laugh, remind yourself that you’re really fucking strong and that you have the balls and bravery to overcome this disease, and accept this as your past, but promise yourself that this isn’t going to be your present or future. Let’s get real, you have better shit to do than fuel an eating disorder.
If everyone suffering from an eating disorder finds the courage to overcome this disease then maybe the world can change just a little bit. We can focus on the shit we care about most and insight even more change. Let’s recycle this energy into something productive, rather than self deprecating. May the force be with you. Peace.
On April 6, 1993 my mom, Rae, squeezed me out. They spanked me to ensure that I was alive or whatever andirons started crying. My dad, Mike, tells me I didn’t stop crying for the first two years of my life.
20 years and 5 months later I was sitting at a coffee shop in San Rafael, California where I met my ‘Modern and Contemporary Political Philosophy’ professor, Dean. I really didn’t understand how to write a philosophy paper- It seemed very foreign to me. He asked what my opinion was and I told him and he asked why and I couldn’t give him an answer. He then asked me who my favorite musician was and I told him I really don’t know and then I started crying. He asked me if I had always been so weepy and I, with the biggest ‘fuck you’ eyes I could muster, said yes.
But, I really couldn’t figure out how to argue why I thought Hobbes’ Leviathan was completely fucked up and a product (most likely) of Hobbes’ fucked up relationship to his wealthy aristocratic parents. And I really couldn’t figure out who my favorite musician was. I never thought anyone really wanted to know or understand my opinion anyway so what was the point of forming one?
I still don’t think many people want to know or understand my opinion or anyone else’s for that matter. It’s like when someone says, “Hello. How are you?” And you say, “I’m fine,” but really you’re not just fine. You’re actually really fucking depressed because you just moved back to a country comprised of fat people, over consumption and hipsters who smoke shitty American Spirit cigarettes, who’ve just asked, “how are you? How was your trip?” And you say it was fine, but really it wasn’t just fine. It was totally awesome and I met some totally amazing and different and cool people who, out of the kindness of their hearts, gave a complete stranger a warm place to sleep and a hot meal with green leafy things, which have become a total commodity because you’re completely broke and have been eating mostly processed foods for a month. But the person who just asked “How was your trip?” will never understand how awesome it all was and doesn’t want to. And then you become more depressed because these people just so happen to be your best friends and family and suddenly you’re all alone, converging in on yourself because you don’t know anyone like you anymore and because the people you do know don’t want to know the real you. And that blows so you’re just like “Well, fuck me. I’m just going to eat a dozen donut holes from Marie’s at 3 am because I don’t give a fuck about anything. So, fuck you metabolism!” And then I gain a bunch of weight and feel like a cow and hate myself for it, continuing the viscous cycle of depression caused by self hatred caused by loneliness.
And then I start crying because I don’t understand this blitzkrieg of feelings, just like the first two years of my life or the time I didn’t understand how to write a philosophy paper. And it also pisses me off to know that your reading this and the next time you ask someone “How are you?” you probably won’t want an honest or if you get one one you’ll realize e that you really don’t care and will continue being an apathetic asshole because that’s the person American culture has taught you to be. And you’re going to bitch to your friends about how fake she is or what an asshole he is, but the only fake asshole in this room is you.
But the world doesn’t have to be this way. I don’t think it should be this way. And I think it’s important to start by honestly asking ourselves how we are and giving ourselves an honest answer. Or else the hipsters are going to take over the world as they smoke their shitty American spirit cigarettes.
Giving Captain Jack a run for his money #Iamtherealjacksparrow ⚓️@johnnydepp
"I love the ocean and have shared that passion with kids in my community. The potential for tourism and economic development exists here, but a focus on coastal conservation is needed to realize that potential."
Peace Corps Education Volunteer Patrick McGettigan, who recently organized a three-day Ocean Fair in Mozambique to promote coastal conservation