JK Rowling’s speech at harvard
By the end of the day, you choose which seeds to water.
So do things that will generate better thoughts and, thus, transform the environment you’re at.
So have a little bit of rush. Notice what habits you’re cultivating that may not be doing you any good. Time is something you don’t have, but make. Use it wisely and effectively.
Before starting therapy, one should set a deadline and specific goals for progress. You can’t do therapy your whole life. And as therapy goes, you should grown enough to be your own therapist and analyse your thoughts, habits, words, and actions. Therapy is for learning, not venting. Pay attention to what you want, but even more attention to how you want them. Quick and easy? Probably you’re not making yourself mature or strong enough for problem-solving.
During the past two years, I had no idea of how much space I physically, spiritually and personally take. I ended up hurting people, including myself. But I came to learn I’m probably important as any other magical creature we call “human being”.
I had thought of so many things while tidying my bedroom, but since I turned my computer on, 80% vanished away.
I hate technology.
What’s mainly encouraging me to write this post is not to spread awareness, or to story tell my “battle” against eating disorders and stand as an “ED soldier”, or give tips on how to avoid/get out of an eating disorder or to encourage you to love yourself unconditionally. I’m writing this post to clear the haziness in my brain and see what can I bring out of my chest that is making me unproductive and anti-social during this Halloween weekend (those familiar with EDs know that the word “Halloween” already explains a lot here). If it consequently helps anyone in some way, awesome - feedback is welcome. I don’t even know how to begin talking about what I’m about to talk about. I don’t know if I should begin by telling about my story, myself, my interpretations or my experience with this mess.
But what I know is that the media is not to be fully blamed like it’s been. This is like blaming violent video games/movies/songs for terrorist attacks on campuses and business towers. The media doesn’t help, of course, but we all should drift the attention from what is portrayed as physically ideal to why it is portrayed as such, as well as why we buy it. Perhaps we will come to notice that eating disorders and other mental illnesses stem from human needs not discussed or promoted, not to say simply disregarded.
I really wish all disordered eaters reached their UGW9, greedy workaholics became millionaires, and whatever kind of person who stupidly believes the tangible to heal to get what they believe to heal them, so that they finally realize it is not enough. Sure, setting goals is what nourishes wellness, if not humanity and the Universe overall, but I’ve been coming to realize that the older we become, the better we used to be, and we don’t know why. In fact, if we force ourselves a thread of “why” questions over things we want, it doesn’t take long to reach speechlessness - that is, in technical language, to experience cognitive dissonance. Then you begin noticing how needing differs from wanting.
In the awesome documentary “I Am”, one of the psychologists (which I owe golden credit to and will as soon as I make the effort to check on his name) who developed the film shared a perfect example of need versus greed: if you’re at a dark, cold, wet forest, and see a house lit at the top of a hill, knock on its door and is welcomed in to a warm bath, blankets and tea, you will shift from sad to happy. Thanks to things, you accomplished your goal to feel better and survive. In a graphic, it’d be from low to high. Duh. Yay. But as humans, we made a tiny little enormous dumb stupid retarded secular distorting mistake about this logic. We mistakenly preach that the more things you have, the higher that graphic happiness high (? - you get me) will be. So we became hoarders of things and needs.
Among so many distractions on what you can want, become, need, die for, work for, make your family a lower priority for, we treat wants and needs as synonyms and forget to think about the patterns of what we wish for. In the end - be you a disordered eater, a prospective megalomaniac CEO, a superstar - the reason why we look up to people who have what we want is not because of what they carry or possess, but because of their glow, their weightless attitude, their laid-backness, their comfort. Hence car advertisements portraying a smiling and stress free businessman, and skeletal models posing happily and romantically.
Some argue that curvier models should prevail in the industry, some say awareness about how “real women” look should be spread, but, in my view, it’s still discriminating people - from the naturally hyper metabolic ones to those with a bold physical blueprint. And the idea of discrimination is where eating disorders stem from.
Nowadays the hardest thing is to be grateful. The reason why we religiously believe that something dead holds our happiness is because we are addicted to comparison, and as we grow up and are expected to become “more responsible and serious and hardworking”, we disregard human connection, affection, and spiritual needs, and are left with an emotional gap we don’t even know how to feel about or fill. What few people know is that eating disorders are an addiction, and only addicts know is that they’ve gone through some traumatic shit.
And I’m not here to define trauma or my traumas. I firmly believe no one is anyone to talk about one’s pain. But as we go through pain, we are told that we have to grow through it by realizing we have everything - money, shelter, education. That really has been working, sure, it’s an instant cure. Take a rich anoretic to Africa, wow, magic. From my experience and witnessing, I hold as a fact that forcing people to look for others doing worse is to simply believe misery must exist so that we are grateful. What the fuck. What kind of world have we come to, where we think that we have to look for shittier situations so as to appreciate ours. No question mark here. I don’t know how longer it should take for society to realize that while it attempts to heal itself this way, we will not get anywhere. I’m not saying that this logic is what creates misery in the world, but it is not what will make the richer ill ones able to prioritize their own needs so that they come clear about the world’s and realize that the reason all that misery exists is because the world population is mistakenly influenced and driven towards wrong needs.
I know I’ve come a long way since I started this post, but that’s only because mental illnesses follow a thread just as long. So people can just shut up about shit they’ve never gone through. And I’m not saying that eating disorders depression or addiction or whatever are delicate or anything like that because there’s nothing to be romanticized about them, and I can’t stress enough about how mad I get when I see posts about how cute sadness. There’s nothing to be romanticized about the ability to destroy and isolate yourself, to lose track of time and priorities, to forget things, to compulsively obsess, to have your happiness be controlled by dead things instead of nourished by others, to have wrecked coping skills, to be terrified to think that you have such weakness, to be unproductive, misunderstood and empty. The least and worst thing you can do to an addict is tell them they are stupid and drift away when all they need is caring to make them relearn love heals. Because they know their addiction is stupid, they know there are no logical reasons to use self-destruction as an outlet to problems and negative feelings. And, I’ll tell you, I wish I knew this back when one of my best friends was dealing with addiction and before I trapped myself into one.
Eating disorders are not just a size or a desire to be daintily thin. They are represented by the sick belief that extreme thinness is a personal statement, irrefutable proof of willpower, self-control, the only source of confidence. They are the entrenched idea that if something tastes nostalgically good, it is bad for you, so you eat no cake on your birthday - and if you end up eating it just not to seem like a freak, good luck during days of guilt. It is having your happiness defined by a number on the scale or the fit of a jeans. It is having rules for when, how, how much and what to eat. It is consciously and unconsciously training your mind to associate hunger with happiness. It is to have an increasing list of fear foods. It is to exercise intensely because of a ruthless voice in your head. And this mess no advertisement with a skinny model holds responsibility for - that’s why there are even blind people with eating disorders. Someone who seeks happiness and fulfillment through thinness has an emotional void that an eating disorder makes them numb to. It’s like bleeding but not knowing where the cut is. Therefore, like any other addiction, it’s shaming as hell. Yet we try - for fuck’s sake, we try. Every. Single. Freaking. Day. And the reason why it is so challenging to recover is because you don’t just choose to recover - you have to keep choosing it. And if you want to know why eating disorders are scientifically considered the worst addiction is because food is what we need to survive, as opposed to drugs, who have worlds of their own (contacts, sellers, scenarios, whatever).
It petrifies me how numb I had to grow through this disorder, because it had to take about three hours here, working on a post I’ve never thought I’d be brave enough to share, in order to realize what was stopping me from work on projects pending for a month and due in two days and from being a freer person. For the record, I shifted from the most intuitive and sedentary chocoholic and salad hater to a health and fitness expert and thinness craver radically enough to lose my period for 21 months. I once almost thought I had lost myself, but I realized I lost my old self. I’m still going through this war, but I’m much more informed about what works for me, psychologically and physically. With so much information collected, I hope to help others who face the same demons and orient those who can’t understand why loved ones obsess over eating, thinness and such, and maybe the world comes to understand that if a person is able to invest so much energy in destroying herself, then emotional and spiritual satiation is all she needs to convert this potential into something good for themselves and the community. I don’t know you, but I’ve met four people who faced hardcore drug addiction that happen have faced traumatic events, yet are truly fantastic, capable of loving and caring very purely, and I don’t think it is all a coincidence.
Mentally ill people should not be treated as frivolous, ungrateful, dumb or such. We all need to agree that we don’t really choose what to give a fuck to. For instance, you can soak a heartbreak in alcohol and clubbing, but you know what hits you when you have nothing to numb that pain with because you know how much that person means to you. People can tell you otherwise, list all the reasons why you are to move on - which you may even know more than the back of your hand -, but there’s a chemistry about emotions that can’t be denied. It’s the same for an addiction and an eating disorder. And now you know why studies show that love is addictive, and so are eating disorders. Realize this, creature: you don’t choose what to give a fuck to. That’s also why you will excel at a career you’re really passionate about, not the one you don’t want that people claim to be profitable and in demand. I’ve had the privilege to know cab drivers happier and wiser than many self-enslaved executives out there (what right now seems off topic to you is just a proof of how everything overlaps and is interconnected).
Mother dearest left a bunch of Halloween candy on the kitchen counter, where I walk by nervously not because I crave it, but because I hate how I trained myself to believe I don’t deserve it at all. Thankfully, I learned that what angers me controls me, and everyday I try to grow out of this illness. Some days suck, some others are fantastic, but through insightfulness I was able to identify my triggers. This weekend I barely talked to anyone. Actually, what even was September and October. My hormones have been wrecked as I relapsed, but I know anything that leads me to put this pain out of my chest into words or art or sweat will get me one step closer to mastery of this illness.
These two years have been hell with regard to my mental wellness, but I’m already thankful for it. I don’t know what else would have opened my eyes to so many things that I urgently needed to learn about myself and others.
Moreover, if someone ever needs to vent about anything, any fucking thing ever, I’m here at your reach. I genuinely ask for you to ask for help, because it’s absolutely fine, human and perfect to need someone to talk to, because there’s nothing more destructive than trapping negative feelings inside you, and because if I don’t feel like I can affect someone positively, I feel useless. I firmly believe that all good is to be shared, and I wouldn’t wish my pain on my worst enemy. All I’ve learned from this was by my very elfin’ self, and it would have taken much less time and energy if I wasn’t an instinctive loner and over thinker and convinced I’m better off dealing with problems on my own. However, I only came to realize the dimension of this problem once I talked about it to a close friend, who happens to share it. It’s ok not to be ok, so believe that other’s perspective can help you understand yourself at levels you can’t imagine, and speak up. If you are just able to consider asking for advice, I swear you’re halfway towards self-mastery.
Stay safe and sane, everyone. I love you.
At times I find myself stuck. It’s a mental haziness and sensitivity to everything that have always been with me, yet never discussed by a society that preaches the intangible to be unreal. But throughout those 19 years of misfitting, I’ve been finding comfort in realising that humans have way more than five senses, psychological-behavioral patterns and the such. I’ve also been having a holy load of epiphanies.
It’s been the longest I don’t write academically, which of course impairs my ability to write linearly. I’m hoping this blog will allow me not only to condition writing skills, which I believe to be lifelong handy, but also to put in words what I notice on a daily basis.
Moreover, as a multidisciplinary, analytical, philosophical and somewhat experienced person, I think it’d be awesome to share things I believe/like/do/think about/obsess over. Expect posts on personal matter, design, architecture, fashion, conspiracy, the blend of science and spirituality, nutrition, eating disorders, cultures, human behaviour, etc.
Ana d’Utra Vaz