Mental Health

Ana and Mia

This is probably the hardest post to write. Not only because it’s super personal and kinda heavy, but also because it’s much easier to write about stuff that’s in the past and that doesn’t still affect me. And yet, I wanted to write about this for such a long time, now. Partly because I think that it’ll create a new incentive for me to get better, partly because I think there’s still a stigma around eating disorders and mental health which prevents people to talk about it. In case you didn’t guess it from the title, this post is about my struggle with anorexia and bulimia.

I don’t really know where to begin and this will probably be the most unstructured post you’ve ever seen. I also don’t have any special advice, since I’m still trying to figure things out for myself. (And also, have you ever met someone who actually follows their own advice?)

So why am I posting this now?
To be completely honest, I’m writing this today because I just had an episode. And after 14 years of having eating disorders, it’s just annoying to be some tragic figure who doesn’t find a way out of her dilemma. It’s pathetic. And I feel weak and disgustung.

(If you’re reading this because you’re affected, please don’t take this or anything I’m going to say as a judgement on your condition. I’m just talking about my personal feelings, I’m not judging anyone.)

A psychologist once told me I should consider my eating disorder a disease. Well, I have difficulties doing that, since I feel like it’s in my control to give in or not and that I should be better than that. Except that I’m not. So I have no idea what to do with that information. Besides, it’s been such a long time that I’m dealing with that issue, it’s been more than 14 years.

I remember that when I was 7yo, I already wasn’t happy the way I looked. When I compared myself to my classmates, I found them much prettier. They weren’t as freakishly tall as I was. They also seemed to be more athletic and have nicer features in general. (Btw, this all was way before social media.) I never was the athletic type and since I scrutinized my body in the mirror every night, I noticed that I had ceelulite at a very early age. Sounds unreal, right? However, the dimples I discovered in my butt cheeks back then are still there. After that, my New Year’s Resolution would be to loose weight. However, I never succeeded. I mean, I was a kid and didn’t know shit about nutrition or dieting. And even though I’ve always been physically active, I never got ripped. Instead, I got some very unpleasant memories from when I tried out athletic sports and failed tremendously.

But then, right before my 15th birthday, my family and I made a trip to Italy. I remember flipping through a magazine and reading about this new trend called ‘Homeless Chic’. And apparently Mary-Kate Olsen incorporated it the best way possible. On the drive to Italy, I was reading a fashion magazine and still remember the exact picture, it was Gemma Ward wearing a ripped pullover from Dior. Next to her, Mariacarla Boscono in a similar outift. That day, I decided (!) that after the trip to Italy and all the pasta and pizza, I’d be anorexic.

Now people who say it was the magazine fault, stfu. In fact, do you remember that scene in SATC where Charlotte says that she can’t look at a magazine cover without thinking about her thighs? I absolutely hated it. Of course, the way how we see beauty is influenced by fashion mags and now, social media, but if a photo has that much power over you, there are probably some deeper issues.

In my case, it was the fact that I never felt beautiful or even appreciated. My father told me that he disliked the way I looked and also never took any interest in me, at least not as his child. He also let me know that he thought of me as lazy when I didn’t wanna do my homework or when I came home with a grade that was not brilliant. As for my mom, I could feel her disappointment when it became clear that I’d never be an athlete, nor good at science, especially maths. (She used to excel in both.) And her trying make me become better actually felt more like harrassment than encouragement. In addition to that, my family never had a normal way around eating and I can’t think of a single meal that wasn’t stressful in a way or another. According to what my mom has told me, I had a phase where I refused to eat when I was 3yo and since then, everyone in my family made sure that I ate enough, to the point that I was forced to empty my plate. And if all that wasn’t enough, let’s throw in the snide remarks my parents would make about my friend’s looks, some bullying at school, and a predisposition for depression that seems to run in my family.

I kept the promise I’d made to myself. When I turned 15, I weighed around 53kg (117lbs) for 1,79m (5’11”). A few months later, I went down to 46kg (101lbs), then 43kg (95lbs). One day, at a doctor’s appointment, my doctor pointed out that my state of health was pretty critical. That was when I was 16. The word she used was pathological. Yet, I never went to see a professional. I only had to go to a clinic where they did a couple of blood tests and then told me that my liver values were shit. But that was pretty much it. I never had anyone help me with a recovery plan or anything.

However, after this, I put on weight pretty quickly. I kinda happened automatically after I heard that my father was worried. This detail really annoys me up to this day. Daddy issues defining my life. Classic. And again, pathetic.

When I turned 17, my weight was up to 63kg (139lbs). Side note, the highest my weight had been before was 59kg (130lbs). And that was at a time when my mom let me know that my ass was getting huge and that a classmate said about me that he’d only consider dating me if I’d loose like 20kg (44lbs). In other words, I hated how I looked in that year. My face was puffy, everything felt huge, I didn’t feel like myself at all. So I slowly started loosing weight again, but still wasn’t happy with how I looked. Besides, shopping for jeans was a nightmare that time, my waist size being 30.

And then, I moved to Paris.

Didn’t know anyone there and later went through two rather difficult relationships. It didn’t take long until I was down to 46kg again. My mom came to see me and started to cry, which I found pretty annoying. I don’t know what made me gain weight after that, but slowly, I did and have maintained a weight of 57kg (125lbs), even though not always in a healthy way.

I still haven’t established a normal attitude towards eating yet, and probably never will, at least not completely. I’ve been in therapy a couple of times, not sure if it really helped. However, the number of bulimic episodes has decreased from 5 times a day to around twice a month. That’s at least something. My major motivation right now are my teeth. I know, it sounds sad, but I kinda stopped caring about other people’s feelings and opinions on what I should and shouldn’t do. (Probably because my parents did a great job at ignoring what was going on and especially after I had a friend tell me that the way I looked made her feel uncomfortable.) So yes, it’s about my teeth. Because even though they’re already paperthin, I would like to keep them until after I turn 50.

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Society

Dear men…

…this is a post especially for you. Maybe it’ll even help you to step up your dating game.

So I was asked to write about how men should behave. A funny request, because in my opinion, men do know how to behave. It’s the boy who doesn’t know shit. Regardless, while I was thinking about stuff that I could mention in this article, I realized on how many bad dates I’ve been. Seriously every single thing in this list is about something that I’ve experienced, sometimes multiple times. Not only does it makes me question the way those boys were raised, but it’s also very frustrating that in 2018, so many people lack of common sense. So in hopes to make the world a better place, here’s a list of things I wish guys would or would not do. (Btw, if you’re a guy reading this, feel free to write a similar article about girls. I’d be interested in your opinion.)

 

  1. Appearance & hygiene

Call me superficial, but the first thing people will notice about you are your looks. And with that, they will notice if you’re maintaining a proper hygiene. It sounds stupid to even mention it, but since I did have a couple of dates with guys who didn’t give a rat’s ass about hygiene, let me remind you: showering (once a day) and brushing your teeth (at least twice a day) is always in style. Taking care of you is important, not only because it makes you look more attractive and keeps away the nasty bacteria. But it also shows that you’re not neglecting yourself – which means that you know your worth, which means good self-esteem. And guess what’s the sexiest traits of all? Confidence.

And don’t be afraid to come across as too feminine. I know a few guys who are actually really worried about not being manly and therefore, they refuse to use lotion or any kind of self-pampering. But let me tell you this: No girl want to be touched by hands that feel like sandpaper. Keep it smooth! With that being said, also pay attention to how your fingers and nails look. Edward Scissorhands may give some sort of sexy vibe in the movie, but imagining having hands like these inside of me? Ouch. And do you remember the scene on GoT, where Theon gets his hands into Yara’s pants? Have you seen his fingers? That’s an infection going to happen right there. Needless to say that nothing kills the mood like thinking about scheduling an urgent gyno appointment the next morning. Therefore guys, please keep things nice and fresh, not only your hands.

I’m a big fan of lotion and smooth skin. Hence my advice: Invest in good skincare products – especially (!) if you’re struggling with acne or sensitive skin. Unaccordingly to what some men seem to believe, those things won’t disappear overnight (or ever) if you’re not treating your skin correctly. Also maybe rethink your diet. Food allergies or an unbalanced diet can have some pretty rough consequences on your skin, maybe it’s time for some culinary variation.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of the right scent. Personally, I strongly believe that the perfume you’re wearing is part of your outfit and also part of you. Scents can leave such a strong impression and emotional response, it’s no wonder that stores use vanilla to make their customers spend more time inside. So, find the right scent for you. Ideally, it underlines your character and leaves a strong and positive impression. I’m speaking of an actual fragrance here, not just that AXE deo that billions of other people use as well. I’m speaking of Armani, Burberry, Dior, Tom Ford. And yes, they are a little pricier than the stuff you find at your regular drug store, but once you get to know a thing or two about a good fragrance, you’ll see it’s definitely worth it.

Find a haircut that compliments your face and a hair color that goes well with your complexion. As an online dater, you can’t even imagine how many times I’ve swiped left on someone because of their haircut, even though without considering the hair,  the guy was cute. So why did I swipe left? Well, simply because someone who doesn’t care for their hair/ hasn’t changed their haircut since fifth grade doesn’t exactly give the impression of a worldly, confident man. In contrast to that, a guy with a dope haircut will immediately look sharp and modern. People will probably also think of him as more confident and therefore find him sexier. To put it in a nutshell: Find a great hairdresser and get a haircut that  looks amazing on you! (If you don’t know how to find a good hairdresser or if your mom has cut your hair for the last 20 years, I suggest you go with the salons that are also present at Fashion Week.)

Since I was talking about confidence: Working out is a great way to boost your confidence. And it makes you look good, too! So keep exercising!

 

  1. Personality

Read! More! Than! Fiction!

Especially if everything you’ve read so far has been nothing but SciFi. Not to judge SciFi, but someone who’s able to talk about philosophy, literature, art and culture is hot AF. Imo, non-fictional texts or podcasts should be part of everyone’s daily routine. Also, why doesn’t every guy read GQ? There’s so much good advice in there and it’s not even chauvi anymore. Also, with that being said, don’t be afraid of the words feminism and feminist. Instead, go and do some research and learn why it’s important to women and why it should be important to men as well.

Also, try to surround yourself with people whose opinions are totally different from yours. Not only will that make you grow as a person, create more understanding and eventually have some greater impact that you could have ever imagined, but it’ll also broaden your mind and make you a better conversationalist.

 

  1. Manners

(Everything here is stuff I shouldn’t have to say. However, I’ve experienced every single one of them, some multiple times.)

Develop a feeling for what’s appropriate and what’s not. (Especially, again, ESPECIALLY, if you’re online dating.) Don’t even think of asking your date extremely intimate questions on the first time you meet up. Don’t show up late, drunk or drugged. Also, if you had a change of heart and don’t wanna meet up anymore, let the other person know, even if it’s last minute. It’s called respect. And talking about respect, nothing is as uncool as insulting your date. I’ve had guys saying pretty messed up shit to me or giving me the finger, just because they thought it made them look particularily manly. Well, spoiler alert, it didn’t. Just made them look like total idiots. Besides, why would anyone ever meet up again with some dumb douche who disrespected them? Also remember the key rule: treat everyone the way you want them to treat you. So if you’re nice to your date but an asshole to the waiter/ waitress, you still won’t get laid. Just. Be. Kind.

And last but not least in this section: if you’re the one choosing the place, especially if it’s fancy, be prepared to pay for both, you and your date. (You don’t know anything about the other’s financial situation yet, so you can’t know what would be ok with their budget.) Also, if you’re living in different cities, don’t take it for granted that someone will meet you in your city. No one is too special to meet halfway. Don’t expect your date to do all the traveling.

 

  1. Online dating

Never send unsolicited dick pics. NEVER. Don’t send any sort of unsolicited sexual pics or texts at all. Don’t greet someone by describing what sexual act you’d like to do to them. Shortly, don’t be a perv.

If you don’t know the difference between pervy and sexy, go back to point two and read stuff. Read about sexual harassment and Harvey Weinstein.

And if you have a doubt about whether you should send that text or not, think of how your mom would react.

 

  1. On the date

Apply all of the previous points.

Don’t get wasted, don’t start crying about personal stuff or stuff that’s related to your ex. (Nothing against men who cry, but try to keep the heavy stuff for some other time, like when you know the other person.) Don’t expect your date to come home with you. Also, don’t try to lure your date into coming to your place. That’d make you a perv, you’re better than that. Don’t try to get your date drunk. If they wanna drink, sure, why not. However, keep in mind that drunk people can’t give consent. Also, if your date is drunk af, I’m pretty sure you did not follow all the previous points and they needed the alcohol to make the entire night seem less terrible. Go check again. Oh wait you did check all the boxes and were on your best behavior? Well then your date is probably an alcoholic. Go see someone else.

 

  1. After the date

Send a nice message where you thank the other person for the good time you had. (If the date was terrible, don’t send any text at all, why would you want to continue seeing that person? You can’t and should never be that desperate.) Again, DO NOT SEND UNSOLICITED DICK PICS. Also, don’t invite them to a swinger’s club if they haven’t expressed that desire. And last but not least, if your date decides to ghost you, don’t send hundreds of messages. Don’t stalk them, either. Face the defeat and move on.

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