NEDAwareness Week: My Story

A little off the topic of fashion (but not really), I have been inspired by many bloggers in the online community who have come together and shared their stories, in order to help those with eating disorders. If you are out of the loop, this week (February 23-March 1) is National Eating Disorders Awareness week, which is trying to raise awareness about eating disorders, educate those who have previous had misconceptions about eating disorders, and provide help for those currently suffering. As such, I have decided to share my story, and get it out there.

Where do I begin? It was the middle of grade 11. Spring break, to be exact, and my best friends had both left for China on a two week exchange. To top it off, my dad had just moved away from my home town, quite suspiciously, to God knows where for God knows how long. Needless to say, I was feeling a little (if not really) down. So I conjured up this amazing idea that I, all 115 lbs of me, was going to lose weight. Not a lot of weight, but I wanted to be fit. To be smaller. That was my goal.

So that’s how it started out. I started following fitness blogs on Tumblr, started eating healthier, started running on our treadmill. It was all good in the beginning. My mum, who is a huge fitness guru herself, was ecstatic. She would come home from work to find me making myself a salad with chicken breast, or just finishing up a run. In the beginning, I lacked the capability to run more than 15 minutes. But I continued to go a little further everyday, run a little faster every time. After 5 days, I found myself running 3 km in 20 minutes, and intaking 1200-1000 calories a day. All seemed fine, in the beginning.

But that’s when it got worse. You see, those fitness blogs that I followed quickly started to turn into “thinspiration” blogs. The calories began to decrease. The exercise increased. Soon, it turned into a fixation. All I could see on myself was mounds of weight that made me horrendously atrocious. I literally could not stand the look of myself.

So I started to work harder.

By this point, it had been at least a week and a half, maybe less, and I had already dropped down to 107 lbs. I was cold all the time, and I had given up all the foods that I had once loved. Nothing tasted as good as skinny felt, right? Each time I would rub my now protuding hipbones, I would remind myself of that. I had a goal, and that goal was to be as skinny as I could possibly be.

Food, of all things, was now my enemy. I kept a folder (which, until recently, was still on my computer) that I titled “cravings”, where I would save photos of all the food I found on Tumblr that I a) would never allow myself to eat, and b) looked beyond delicious. That folder tormented me and comforted me at the same time. It read: I may exist, but you are so much better than me. You want this. The picture, I convinced myself, satisfied all my cravings.

By this point, I was running 4 km in 20 minutes, going to the gym every weekend, and my clothes were drastically shrinking. I did not realize afterwards what a toll the weightloss had taken on my appearance. My mum didn’t either. No one noticed until I was at my best friend Nina’s house, the day she got back from China, and her mother offered me a glass of my favourite beverage: cranberry juice. The first notion to enter my mind was 60 calories. I cannot afford to waste 60 calories on one drink. That’s when my best friend knew that there was something significantly wrong with me, both mentally and physically.

So school started up, and everything seemed to be normal. That is, except for the fact that I was only eating grapes for lunch, and I never wanted to hang out with my friends, or even my boyfriend. I was literally a walking zombie. I was crying all the time, never had any energy to contribute to conversation, I was hitting the gym every Saturday for 3 hours, and worst of all, I was shrinking as the days went my.

One of the most vivid memories I have of between the start and when I decided to get help was when my mum and I were in the car, on our way back from shopping, I believe. I remember telling her how much I wanted Subway, how much I wished I could just eat Subway. We were almost near home and she offered to take me there for dinner, because that way she knew I would eat. I told her no. Then yes. Then no. Then yes. Then I started to cry. She pulled the car over and started to tear up, too. I was crying because inside of me, I wanted that food so badly. I wanted to just be normal, to be able to eat something that I absolutely loved and not regret it during the process. But I was crying because I also knew that I could not. I physically and mentally could not allow myself to fall into the trap and consume the calories. Everything in my life was measured in calories. My mum was crying because she had no way to help me, could not calm the internal struggle I was facing, and, worst of all, she could not cure me. It was in that moment that I knew my eating disorder had consumed me. I believe it was also that day that I decided to not only get counselling, but to also see a dietitian. By this point, I was surviving on 5 apples and 4 diet Cokes a day. By this point, I was weighing myself 3 times a day, my collarbones were jutting out, and my cheeks were sunken in. By this point, I was 96 lbs and I began to have suicidal thoughts. By this point, I was fainting after exercising for more than 1 hour. By this point, the eating disorder had practically destroyed my relationship with my best friend, M, to the point where to this day, we don’t really talk about what happened to me. It pushed me away from the ones that I loved the most. My mum, my dad, my boyfriend, my best friends. My thoughts were so consumed with self-hating that no one, not even those closest to me, could penetrate through. I was left to loath myself for not only my appearance, but also my mental state.

Though counselling and seeing a dietitian inevitably did not help me to recover (if anything, I think they made the entire situation worse), when the end grade 12 came along, I started to see a shift in my behaviour. Yes, I was still counting calories and exercising excessively, but my mental state began to improve. It was not until a year later, a year after it all began, that I actually had to stop and look at what I was doing. I was eating. I was eating and not regretting it right away. I was gaining weight, and I was not hating myself for it. I was exercising, but only every other day. I was happy. I was warm. I was getting better. By the beginning of my first year of university, through the love and the support of those around me, I had almost come full circle. Yes, the occasional negative thought would pop into my head, but overall I was looking healthier than I had in months, and I was feeling better than before. Though I can’t say what the exact turning point was for me, or what it was that made me overcome my illness, I can honestly say that I would have never gotten better if it weren’t for Nina, sitting me down one day and telling me “Hey, I’m worried about you and I know you might think that you’re fooling everyone, but you’re not fooling me. I know you’re sick. And I want you to know that I’m here for you.” Those words meant the world to me.

Eating disorders are one of those things that I for the life of me will never be able to explain to someone who has never had one. I cannot convey the feelings one has while suffering, the internal monologue one has with themselves over their next meal. This testimony cannot relay the complexity that encompassed my eating disorder, nor can it describe to you the sheer fear that engulfs one who is resisting the food on the plate in front of them. But I hope it gave you a glimpse into something that has made me not only stronger as a person, but also understanding of all mental disorders that plague society today. Before, I could never comprehend my father’s depression, could never understand girls who did not want to eat. But coming out of it, after finding myself submersed under a sea of self-doubt and self-loathing, unable to break the surface for over a year, my eyes were opened. This is virtually one of the hardest things to talk about, as I believe you can understand, but I feel it is necessary to share my story because it, along with all the bright, positive things that have happened to me, is a part of my life, and a part of what makes me who I am today. As well, I want to show to those suffering that they are not alone in it. As cliche as it sounds, it will get better. It does get better.

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The Future

Hello, beautiful world

It’s been ages since I’ve updated and you know what? That makes me a little sad. 

I’ve missed writing fashion, scanning blogs for inspiration, and forming an opinion on the latest trends. But I’ve been so attached to my school work and my grads that blogging, for the most part, has taken the back burner. I know, it’s sad. But my future is what’s most important.

With that in mind, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I want to do with my life. The goal is still to be the editor-in-chief of Vogue–I’m never letting that go–but how I’m getting there has changed. I want to start writing for SFU’s newspaper in a fashion section, but I just don’t know if I’m a fit for it. Maybe I’m just over-thinking this. The point of the matter is that I want to write fashion: it’s in my blood. I just don’t know how to get there. Do I continue running my blog? Should I start doing YouTube? Do I write for the newspaper? Do I do all of the above? It’s so difficult to know. The future is so uncertain, and I wish it wasn’t so. I don’t want to be left in the dark; knowing is what keeps my sane. I just wish I had a magic book that would show me what to do and where to go in order to make my dream a reality. That, or a chance encounter with the editor of some fashion magazine who falls in love with my style and insists I work for her (Carrie Diaries, anyone?). But somehow, I don’t see that happening any time in the near future.

It’s now 12:00 am and I’m still sitting here, in my residence common room, having a quarter life crisis. Well, crisis might be too theatrical a word for it, but you get the picture. Fashion is in my blood and I want to spend the rest of my life studying it, analyzing it, and reveling in it. I cannot see myself continuing on any other way. Journalism in fashion is my calling, I believe, and I just want to push it to its full potential.

 I apologize for making this post a semi-rant/frustrated ramble. I’m glad I could get that off my chest, finally. 

Until next time,

Jasmine.

 

Update: Packing for School

Well hey there!

I just wanted to fill everyone in on what is currently going on in my life, as boring as it may be. Well… it’s not necessarily boring, per say, just… I don’t know.

Basically, right now, I’m packing all my stuff away to head back to school. Dorm life. Yay. I am genuinely excited, though, to be in the city. It’s just the preparation that’s wearing me down.

Saturday is also my last day at Chateau, and I’m a little upset about it. I’ve grown very fond of the girls I work with, and I will miss them all. I am, however, happy to be done working in general. Time to focus on my studies! I will, though, be doing work-study this year, but that is only around 8-10 hours per week. Easy-peasy.

The big thing right now is making sure I have everything I need for my dorm, my classes, and my life. It’s stressful, to say the least. I barely have time to think about things like Outfit of the Days, trends, and fall fashion. But I promise that once moved in, I will come back with full force. Every Tuesday and Thursday. That is a promise I am making not only to this blog and you readers, but also to myself. I need to stay committed to this because a) I love it, and b) It is a place where I can have full free creative expression. I like that. Unedited (for the most part), candid, and personal work only touched by me. You can’t get that writing for a newspaper, as much as I love it. There’s something about blogging that’s just so… candid. Now don’t get me wrong, I love seeing a piece polished and perfected by my sectional editor at the newspaper. But it’s a different kind of feeling.

Anyway, this has been a short and sweet update (kind of) on what is going on. I move in fairly soon, so the next time I post will be (hopefully if the wifi works) after I move in. Wish me luck and see you soon!!

Until next time,

Jasmine.

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The Start Of Something New

(No, this is not about the High School Musical song. That was simply a coincidence)

Why is it that every Canada day seems to mark the beginning of something… well, new?

There’s something about the flashing lights, the mystery that is the fireworks, building up that final peak, the huge finale. There’s something about all the wonder that they pose, like they’re marking something significant (well, other than the birth of our home and native land–that I already know) and everything after will never be the same. Every year, I mark the start of my summer, the start of all these collections of adventures, by the light of the sparkles in the sky on the first of July.

But this year, it seems like something is different.

Nina and I sat on the hood of her car, blocks away from the actual event site, watching as they set off one after the other. But as I sat there, dazzled by the display in front of me (which was semi-blocked by a few fir trees), I felt different. I felt like this was it: nothing will be the same again. And, frankly, it won’t be.

With school coming yet again in the fall, and my best friend finally coming to Vancouver for school… I feel like I can finally escape from this town. I won’t be alone; I have Nina, Maria, and Kyujin to be there with me now. I finally feel like my life is… starting. Like this is a new chapter. No, like a whole new book about my life. And oddly, I don’t feel scared. I feel excited, almost anxious for it to happen.

Who knew a national holiday could turn into something so sentimental? I would have never guessed.

I hope all my fellow Canadians on here had an amazing Canada Day today, and for all you non-Canadians… well, I hope you still got something out of today nonetheless.

Until next time,

Jasmine.

Instagram: @harubelief
Twitter: harubelief
Tumblr: harubelief
YouTube: pureaffectionfashion

p.s

I will be doing a Summer Essentials post next Monday! As well, next Wednesday I will be a how-to dress for the heat! Stay tuned!

Finding Style

My mum often tells me she doesn’t have style. This, I feel, is wrong. Style is not about being fashionable. It’s about having your own personal way you dress, act, and feel in an outfit.

I think more people out there need to realize this. Everyone has style. It’s uniquely your own and you should embrace that. 

Being a Full Time Student

Mixing fashion, school, and work is overwhelming. Writing for the newspaper, taking on a full course load, plus working at Le Chateau has got me exhausted. Sigh.

I apologize in advance for being so slow on my posts, but as you can see from my first sentence, I have a ton on my plate at this moment. I will try and do a post every Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday. Thursday will more than likely be OOTD, due to the fact that I have my photographer that day (yay Sonia!). The weekend posts might be more trend or written posts. We’ll see. I write the fashion columns for my university’s newspaper, so doing one of those every week and plus a news column occasionally kind of makes me not want to write a full-fledged fashion article on here (and, alas, I cannot re-post what I send in to my editor because that, ladies and gents, is copyright infringement. I think.). But again, we shall see. Maybe I will feel up to it.

Also, I run a Tumblr, though that does not take much effort. But it is a vital part of my life that I am completely and utterly unwilling to give up. Sorry I’m not sorry. 

If you all didn’t know, I have started this blog as a way to get going on my fashion journalism career that I am currently pursuing. Yes, it’s a bit far-fetched, thinking I could run a successful fashion blog, but I am one to dream big. I am still learning so much about fashion, and I find this is the best place to express my growing knowledge and, again, learn more. So, bare with me. 

Until next time,

Jasmine.