when i was in the thick of starving myself, id write down everything i ate in my notes app. it was my biggest secret. i hid it from everyone — even vic. i would often almost pass out and be so sick i couldnt run, but i continued to run. i continued to self sabotage myself bc i hated myself to my core. i didnt care about anything. i didnt care if i lived or died. i just wanted to feel something — and starvation was something i felt after long enough. it seems absolutely bonkers now, and im with you now in seeing it. i always knew how fucked up i was being, but i didnt care. i think i liked it to be honest. i was drudging through the desolate ruts of despair. life was bleak, and i still never looked the way i wanted to look.
and then i just decided to change. thats it. i woke up, depressed and angry, drew a bath, and smoked a bowl or two to wait out the day until work like i did so frequently when i was unhealthy.
i was not at all concerned with my wellbeing — it was abysmal. i was stuck, and i didnt have the energy to care. i didnt fucking care. i didnt care to care. and then i was sitting in the bath scrolling through nonsense, and i was like, “why the fuck am i in LA? i dont like it here. i hate the sun. i miss my family. i have no money ever. i belong in Colorado or Maine or Oregon or idk where but fuck this city where everyone thinks theyre better than everyone else. fuck this dumb ass city. fuck my dumb self — why arent i applying to real jobs? why cant i fucking apply to real jobs? why dont i care about my future? why dont i care about anything? i guess ill live here for a year or whatever and enjoy my time w vic (even when i was miserable in my own head, i loved living w vic quite literally more than life itself) and then maybe move home or maybe shan or leah will move to colorado w me or portland and ill start my life there and i’ll just tell people i lived in LA for a bit and whatever. fucking whatever.” and then i hit my pen again and i got really fucking high, and i couldnt remember the last time i was happy. i thought and thought, and i couldnt remember the last time i did something that brought me unbridled joy — i was always in my head. i was always pissed off in some capacity (sometimes literally at the thought of being forced to exist, which, i hope youve never been suicidal but god dammit looking back at those thoughts now hurt my heart with a burning, visceral intensity), and i didnt understand why. i didnt fucking understand anything even though all i’d ever done was look inward and try to figure myself and other people out.
and then, sitting there in the then-cold water, high and feeling dejected somehow by my own self, i thought about everything id ever written and how easy it had come to me (it took me a long time to realize that this isnt the case w everyone). writing flows from my fingers pretty much as quickly as im able to read — even though professor after professor and mentor after mentor and boss after boss and friend after friend told my that i have a gift for writing, i was too insecure or maybe intent on being upset??? somehow??? idk???? to ever believe them.
i wrote every single paper the night before it was due. id have anxiety about it from when it was assigned until the night before and then id sit down that night and write the entire thing in one swift swing. i rarely re-read my papers after writing them and scarcely edited anything bc id studied grammar outside of class for so many years — i love words. i love intricate grammar rules. i love communication and language, and ive always taught myself better than listening to anyone tell me what to do (which, for me, applies to every facet of life — dont fucking tell me what to do. i’ll resent you and continue doing whatever it was i wanted to do. i promise you. hahahaaa my parents had a fucking rough go at it let me tell you. im sorry, mom!!! im sorry, dad!!! i love you!!!)
and so bc i always had something to say about whatever topic i was assigned — i know. me??? having something to say about something??? a phenomenon. — i always pulled an A or something extremely close to it. and im not bragging here — i can talk about my strengths and what im proud of without bragging. and fuck your pea brain if you cant grasp that concept.
literally regardless of how long the paper was, and i took every high level english class i could get into, i sat down on my computer the night before it was due, and i never once missed a deadline. and i remember this one time i was assigned a legitimate novel that we were supposed to take the semester to write (okay??? i had so much time??) and we had all these peer evaluation check-ins throughout the semester and everyone had, like, so many pages written and i would just be like “yo i havent started yet so you can chill” and then id peer edit the shit out of his or her paper bc truly nothing excites me quite like taking a G-2 to a piece. im a fiend. and i guarantee people got better grades in that class bc i ripped apart their pathetic papers — uhhh sorry not sorry. send me something to edit — i get off on it. do i have a grammar fetish?? yes. bite me.
anyway so i legitimately had this NOVEL to write and people had PAGES of work and i didnt fucking care about anything except it was for my favorite english teacher and she held me at such a high standard to challenge me and i didnt want to let her down so i woke up the day before it was due (so i’d have the day, too — not just the night. im not completely insane, mind you.) (but i did wake up at like, 1PM, so.) and skipped all my classes that day (which was not at all out of the ordinary) and was like “okay, rae, lets hammer this the fuck out. we can do this,” and i started typing and i didnt stop typing until, like 10PM when shannon called me and asked if i wanted to work at tim hortons and i was like fuck yeah i want a sammie lets go so we went to tim hortons and between bites of sammich i was typing furiously and then shannon wanted to leave so i was like okay and went back home and kept typing and smoking and worked through the entire night — i didnt pull many all-nighters in college bc i may have hated myself, but i knew i needed sleep to function. plus i dont drink coffee or energy drinks so caffeine was never an option for me and falling asleep in class gave me more anxiety than, like, most things bc what if i started snoring???? or worse, slobbering?? ??? oh my god???? — but i typed away and had, like, 4 meetings that morning (again, all after 11AM. everyone i worked with knew better than to schedule me for something before 11) so i went to my meetings and sat there and typed away, which, wasnt a great look, but i was writing a NOVEL, PEOPLE, GET OUT OF MY FACE — SPRINGFEST WILL BE FINE. HANDLE YOUR SHIT FOR, LIKE, 14 SECONDS — and after my meetings i went to my desk on campus (yes, i had a desk. it was awesome. i never used it bc i didnt stay on campus unless 100% necessary — my house was one of the only ones off-campus bc leah, katie, kevin, and i were all over college in one way or another — and bc i was at my desk my student leaders thought that was a green light to run things past me and i was like “im not here” and kept working until 4:50 when i hit print and ran to my one-on-one w my professor. all that to say basically that im awesome and never doubt me and im perfect. everyone i talked to in that class, also, didnt get an A, and, to be fair, it was a pretty challenging course on rhetoric, but that A came fairly easy to me. ive always been smart, but i never studied or paid attention or took notes or cared. college was so dumb to me. but anyway, so yeah like writing is not only my outlet but its a passion of mine and a talent that i had always on some level — even through the thick weeds of depression — wanted to pursue.
and so as i sat there in the tub — so fucking high, mind you — lost in my tormented mind thinking about how much i disliked LA and my life in that moment and myself and how even though ive ALWAYS focused on mindfulness and living in the moment (both preached pillars to my values through and through), i realized i wasnt living at all. i wasnt living. i was saying i was living just like i was saying i was loving, but i wasnt doing either. i wasnt capable of either, and i knew my depression was to blame. what i didnt realize, though — because im a dumb fucking bitch — is that i was to blame, too.
“what the fuck?”
“what. the. fuck?”
and then i just snapped myself out of it. i snapped myself the fuck out of it. i broke my cycle of disordered thinking, and im pretty sure i entered hypomania for a bit (easier to do when high), bc i felt my brain splitting and i understood, finally, that i. fucking. own. my. life. and my body. and my mind. i own my life, and im the only one who genuinely cares how i live it bc, at the end of the day, im the only one who has to live w myself. im the only one who’s stuck w me. sure, other people can absolutely care about you, but, my dude, no one can change your life for you. no one knows whats best for you. no one truly knows your fears or anxieties or motives or self-sabatoging tendencies or values or intentions or feelings or morals or thoughts or life like you do. no one knows exactly what youre going through, so no one can re-write the — perhaps innate, deeply-rooted, and undetected — lies youre telling yourself that are holding you back. people can care about you and care for you, but they can’t care for you, do you know what i mean? like, people can’t care for you IN PLACE OF or INSTEAD OF you. just like you can’t pee for someone else (and also that “aww can you pee for me blehhh bleeeh blaaeee” shut the fuck up. shut up. youre annoying and you should think of more interesting things to say rather than regurgitating and recycling the same cliché bullshit. again, break out of it. force yourseld out of the mold. get creative. be creative. shut the fuck up).
you’re in control, bitch. this is your life.
and that fucking blew my mind. i realized that i was the one actively standing in the way of the body i want and the job i want and the life i want.
people say theyre their own worst enemy and, yeah. maybe.
in that tub — my safest space (i joke about how i take baths in the dark bc it reminds me of my mother’s womb and thats bc im super fucking funny and think of my own material unlike 90% of the fucking planet) (sorry but, like, “mehhh im my own worst enemy.” okay. maybe you are. i think there’s a fair chance you are. but dont just say it bc youve heard it 1000 times. think about what youre saying. be interesting. everyone is interesting in some way or another — i believe that so firmly.) — i thought about why i moved to LA and how creative i am and how funny i am and how many people like me even when i fucking hate myself and i thought about an Uber driver i had weeks prior who was like “yeah, my sister moved in w me bc she wanted to get a job in the industry and then she never did anything for herself and now she feels like shes too old to start an entry level job… and she might be, i dont know. she might be”
and i was high and i started panicking bc i didnt want to end up like that???? i didnt want to waste away??? im important and i have so much to offer the world and those close to me??? what the fuck??? im 22 and living in the most giant city ever and im fucking high and wallowing in self pity???? i want the life ive always dreamt of???? i owe this to myself??? what the fuck am i doing???????
and in that split second — that brain splitting second — i decided i didnt want to be unhappy.
i decided i didnt want to hate my life anymore.
i decided i didnt want to hate myself anymore.
i decided i didnt want to hate my body anymore.
i had loved my body in high school and early in college — why the fuck wasnt i choosing my body over this fucked up mindset? disordered eating, man. disordered thinking, man. we all do it in some capacity — and if you think you dont, then lets have a chat. im really fucking good at psychoanalyzing people, and i’d simply love to see what perfection looks like — hmu. lets talk.
anyway, i had a fucking breakthrough, and i wrote this poem below. and it was huge for me!!! after writing this poem and jumping this hurdle inside my brain and personality and whatever, i set goals for myself. you can see those on my blog bc i felt comfortable posting those (even though at that time my blog and my notes app were essentially synonymous in anonymity). i wanted to achieve a slew of things before i turned 23. i wanted to change the course of my life — which, so fucking amazingly, i had perfectly set myself up to do so. even though i didnt have the motivation or energy or care to actually apply to jobs or spur my life forward, i’d already done so much heavy lifting for myself — i got a degree. i bought a car. i moved ACROSS THE COUNTRY to EXACTLY WHERE MY FIELD IS MOST SUCCESSFUL with my BEST FRIEND WHO SUPPORTS ME THROUGH ANYTHING. like???? i swear, im amazing even when i didnt know what i was doing or how i was actually struggling with, which, apparently, was just myself.
i didnt know how to be happy, and i wanted to be happy.
so i altered the course of my life by changing my attitude and being honest w myself.
here’s what i wrote which, actually, now that i read it isn’t really a poem at all.
its more of a chant. its a promise to myself:
i vow — right here in this bath tub — at 3:26PM on a Sunday, that I’m going to hurl myself into everything i want.
im going to get in shape — actually in shape.
im going to end bad habits.
im going to look like the girl i want to be, because i am the girl i want to be.
of course, appearance isn’t everything, but looking the part helps.
this is my brand. this is me. i am pretty, sexy, and i care about what i look like.
because in order for me to be the person i aspire to be, i have to do this. im strong enough — i know i am.
i dont look like the person i feel like in my head, and i keep lyingto myself and saying that i do. why am i lying to myself?
i want to be the person i want to be. desperately.
i want to be beautiful and successful.
there. i said it. i fucking said it.
thats it — im pulling all the stoppers.
im forgetting those who dont matter. im moving the fuck forward.
im surrounded by people who say they will and never do (thats most everyone — including me, up until now), and i want to be different. i am different.
ive always craved to be different.
22 is so young — start believing it. start living it.
believe in yourself. take this leap.
cut ties with the bad — all the bad. seriously. you can do it. you can do this.
change now. start living now. break ties. you can do this. you are this.
this is the moment that separates you from every other fucking person on this planet.
youre going to work hard for what you want.
you look for the easy way to do everything, and guess what, bitch!! all its gotten you is the same story written a little bit differently every time.
youre going to support your friends. youre going to bring them with you because you love them, and you need them.
youre going to make this jump. you can do this. rae, trust me, you can do this.
youre strong enough to do this.
show the fuck off, and don’t apologize for it.
be proud of what you work for. make your 20s matter. forget high school. forget college. keep those that matter, and forget the rest. start your life now. start. now.
be rae. actually BE her. youve been calling yourself her for five years, and you have a façade to show for it.
stop painting the picture — BE the picture. be the fucking picture, rae.
your meticulous detailing, labored failures, and self-protecting lies have brought you here, but they’ve also held you the back — they have you bound to the past.
break free. break out.
this is the moment. you are the moment.
this is what youve been waiting for — the kick in the fucking shins.
you cant get what you want without working for it — everyone knows that. everyone says that. but a lot of people out there are all talk —
youre not. youre better than this version of yourself.
SHOW THE FUCK OFF, YOU DUMB BITCH.
GO OFF. RUN W IT. RUN W YOURSELF.
you want so, so much. you want it all. and here’s where you start getting it. because here’s where you actually start working for it.
here’s where you change your life.
im going to throw up.
start. rae. start.
im going to throw up.
i didnt throw up.
i didnt throw up, and i slit my disordered eating bullshit through the throat, and i laughed as i watched it bleed out in front of me.
i slashed who i was down to the bone, and i didn’t blink an eye.
it was mid december 2018, and i changed my life forever.
and i never. looked. back.
and now im really fucking proud not only of my body (which, im really proud of bc ive spent the last 6 months focusing on it and being good to it and no, my looks don’t mean everything to me — my GOD, dont think that for a second — but it’s mind, BODY, soul, you nitwits. its a triangle. fuck yeah.
and yeah so now im, like, proud to be naked, and my sex life is great bc of it (and bc of other really great things butuhhh thats my business, my dudes) and my life is better bc of it.
for whatever reason, i think i had to overcome my body image issues before i could seriously dive into my deeply-seated mental health issues.
i didnt know i had bipolar one.
i had never been in mania.
and ive thought a lot about the factors that sent me into mania, and i really think its bc i had lived in depression for so long and then realized i could change my life by making actually good choices for myself and i started making all of those choices and then i found myself in a place where i loved the way i looked, loved my job and those i worked with (i love the joint and steampunk soOOoo much), loved my friends (expecially my roommate), loved LA (once i started going to shows in LA i was like what the fuck theres so much to do here!!!), stopped being so hard on myself, and started actually living in the moment, and then vic and i threw a super fun housewarming party that was perfect and i for once didnt drink too much and embarrass myself bc i was finally in control of drinking socially too and then i met a great guy who i was like what the fuck how can someone so perfect exist and Shannon came to visit and we went to the beach every day and i realized i fucking love the beach and then
i blacked out.
for the better part of a week.
and i thought i’d have “hanxiety” like after drinking except way worse, but i really didnt. i really dont. i know im a lot. i know i love huge. i know im comfortable w myself. moving on.
and now im really living. i feel like myself as i always have, but im healthy. my brain is functioning properly bc im choosing to take the steps for it to do so.
of course, i’m still ramping up meds, so a lot of the time its hard for me to be around people bc my head is almost always searing and splitting and i can jump from hypomania to depressive in a matter of minutes and light really hurts my eyes and i have a dull pain thats resting in my frontal cortex that makes it incredibly hard to think and my thoughts arent flowing naturally and i dont have a lot of energy bc im focusing all of it on remaining stable and okay and ive had to sleep more than usual which has been seriously cutting into my living/productivity/friend time which frustrates me and did i mention my head is splitting and it feels like my brain is on fire and my body aches bc everything is hypersensitive and
bipolar disorder is so hard.
living is so hard.
but im happy to be alive — actually happy — and thats my choice.
i did that. i was strong enough to do that.
and you can do it, too. you can choose happiness. you can un-dig yourself from whatever fucking rut youve let yourself tumble into. youre in control, and youre the only one who can make the change in your life.
you can do this. you’re okay. even when you slip up, bc you inevitably will.
and i slip up a lot. i put other people first a lot bc i love my people so much and thats not always the healthiest thing for me, and i might have to get better at stating my needs, but for now im doing my best. and im so happy to have those in my life that are here, and i seriously would do anything for them. i dont really see that as a weakness even when it takes from my wellbeing sometimes, and i think thats just bc i love huge.
my love is huge.
my heart is huge.
anyway, i dont eat in a disordered way anymore. and im proud of the steps ive taken to be where i am now, even when its tough. even when its dark/its cold/its unforgiving.
even when i feel alone, i have myself.
even when im weak, i am strong.