Thursday, 13 October 2016

When Fasting Isn't Holy

The holiest day of the year for the Jewish people is Yom Kippur. A day of atonement. A day to confess our sins to the almighty. A day to really think about where you hope to be next year. A day that is supposed to be a 25 hour fast. 
That's right. No food or water from sunset to sunset. Which for most people is pretty hard. But not for me. Not for a lot of people with eating disorders. Fasting for me is not a holy act of refusing physicality. Fasting is an act of betrayal to my body and love for my brain. My stomach might hurt and I might feel faint but by the end, my mind is euphoric. It's like an internal high. 
For me, fasting isn't holy. It's practically sacrilegious. 
Every year I've had the same conversation with my therapist. She asks if I'm going to fast, I say yes, she tries to tell me not to, I do it anyway. And then somewhere down the line I realize that I never really stop fasting. 
This year, I decided to get rabbis involved and see what they think. After all, most rabbis say if you can fast then you should. And believe me, I CAN FAST. I can fast and run a marathon. So, after much online research, I called Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser. A prominent Rabbi that deals with a lot of people with eating disorders. 
News flash: he told not to fast. 
This totally threw off my plan. Because I figured that he would tell me to fast and then my treatment team would have to leave me alone. 
But no. 
And because he told me I'm not allowed to fast... it was as good as Jewish law that I couldn't fast. 
Yom Kippur was today. And only the second time since I can remember, I didn't fast. The other time I was in treatment. So, it was weird. And felt like something was wrong. 
I didn't fast. But I also didn't eat what I should have. So I'm not sure exactly where that leaves me. 
But it leaves me somewhere pretty great mentally. And I didn't fast so I can't keep fasting. 
Maybe that was what needed to happen to make this year different. 

A bad day doesn't mean a bad life. 
Stay Strong
xo Aria

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sorry- A High Holiday Adventure

In a little less a week we are going to start seeing the inevitable Yom Kippur Facebook statuses. They ones that say something along the lines of "if I've hurt you in anyway this year then I am truly...etc". I've been struggling a lot of the concept of the high holidays this year and the underlying feeling of these statements is part of my confusion. I keep trying to figure out why saying that you're sorry is enough to change how your upcoming year will be. Like you didn't DO anything. And with those statuses or tweets or Instagram posts, well, you aren't really saying anything either. You're kind of just lumping all of the pain you might have caused together and saying that every action is equal and all the hurt is equal. Basically, saying sorry should clear you of all wrongdoing. As someone who once actually messaged someone after reading one of these posts to tell the person that I'm glad that you're sorry but I'm still hurt and got the response of "well now it's on your conscience"... I just really didn't  get it. So, I've spent a week asking questions, reading books, and driving people crazy. But I think I finally am beginning to understand my problem with those blanket statements and Yom Kippur. Shocker, the problem isn't Yom Kippur. This started becoming clear when I mentioned to someone that I'm really scared that any sorry i say, either to a human or to G-d Himself, won't be good enough to bring me a good year. And the person's response was that I have spent a good portion of this year working on myself and learning and finding Judaism. And that is what true teshuva or "repentance" is. Which kinda threw me off. Because that means that i started the process of trying to be inscribed for a good year before I even said sorry or made a general post about it. I started when I realized that I was doing could be hurtful and made the effort to fix it. True teshuva isn't about saying a word and feeling good because you made an amend, true teshuva is saying the word and following the word with actions that show that you are truly trying to never do that again. And I think that's what bothers me about blanket apologies. I don't have any proof that you're going to try and not do it again. You don't even really know you've done anything wrong. Because it's all an "if" statement. Yom Kippur isn't a time to be scared. It's a time to stand there and say I am like an angel. I know what is right. But I am also human so sometimes I do what is wrong. But given the chance and the means, I will do my best to do the least harmful option possible. So, G-d please give me that chance. 

Sorry isn't just a word, it's an action.

Stay Strong
xo Aria 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

I was sharing things with my therapist during a session tonight and she gave me some really decent insight into myself. And possibly why it's hurting me so much to be struggling right now. Part of the problem is that I'm focusing so much on the fact that some of my behaviors are back that I'm not seeing the internal growth. The progress that I've worked hard to make. I'm not giving myself credit. I'm just getting more upset at myself. I've been seeing my therapist for almost 4.5 years now. So, she's seen me through almost all of my treatment stays and a lot of ups and downs. And one thing she said that hit me was " it's not good that you're using behaviors but I much prefer this version than what you used to be like". She was saying how before I didn't feel anything. I didn't want to. The goal was to self destruct. And if you happened to be in my way... Well that sucked for you. But now I have feelings and I'm just trying to figure out how to live with them. And that means sometimes turning back to old actions when I can't seem to grab anything. But those are two very different places to be. I'm not running away anymore, I'm just trying to figure myself out. And there can be hiccups along that road. That doesn't mean I'm not growing. She also pointed out that what I'm doing now, being in israel, learning about myself and growing, was never what I would have chosen to do before. I was too busy fighting for my right to have control. To starve and cut and run. I guess she's right... I don't really give myself credit for growing. Because the eating disorder world is so focused on being RECOVERED and not struggling anymore. So, when I struggle it's like while fuck. I suck. But that's not true. I just need to see that behaviors are not the end all be all. It's about the mindset change. 

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Monday, 8 August 2016

Note To Self

Note to Self: last night you made a crazy mistake because you were hurting. It's okay that you were hurting. But there are definitely better coping mechanisms. But you live and you learn and you grow. Don't beat yourself up. Stand up and start over. Currently you are texting Shannon and you are planning your relapse with her. And the email from Adina is only pushing you further. Don't be stupid. You walked away once. You might not be able to walk away again. You only get so many chances. Right now you think this is a load of bull shit. So, read it later. And again later. And again. You can communicate with your words. Spoken or written. Your body doesn't have to take the brunt of your anger and sadness. Just breathe. Read a book. And for fucks sake stop reading books where the lead has an eating disorder. You can't win against a fictional character. 

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Dear God... It's Me

Don't judge me. Fair warning for the cheesiness that may ensue. 

Dear God,

Hey it's me. But i guess you knew that. I try to talk to you once a day. Sorta. I guess managing to say the Shema in under 30 seconds every night might not totally count. I don't know. Okay. Anyway. I'm kinda new to this whole thing so sorry if I don't do awesome. Im still figuring out your place in my life but so far.. I don't mind noticing it and I actually really enjoy learning about what you've given me down here. It's pretty cool. I started thinking about writing this letter yesterday when Ayelet and Mr. Ayelet told us the story about their house. They're really awesome people. And I'm really blessed to have them in my life. I wonder if they feel the same way about me. Oh well. Anyway. The more I think about things that have happened lately the more I see how nothing is a coincidence. And I'm even starting to feel comfortable recognizing the fact that it's coming from
You and not just "the universe". Like Auelet reading the story last night, and then Mrs. Gersht reading it again. Or my school processing my paperwork. Or the lease form just happening to be due when it needed to be. Even Monica texting me back today. It's so crazy. Maybe life really is like an escalator. I don't know. Im kinda worried that I'm making a mistake still but I guess that's only human. Haha the Christina Perri song called human just popped in my head. Well I guess you knew that. Oh well. Life is just good right now. Stressful but good. I'm pretty sure I should end this with like something about how awesome you are. Oh no wait... That might be the first part of prayer. Is this a prayer ? I don't know. You seem pretty cool. We should do this again sometime. Thanks for showing me that people care about me for more than just drugs or starvation secrets. It's appreciated. 

Peace out

Sunday, 31 July 2016

I Apparently Have Seminary Homework Part 2

For this part of the assignment... I'm supposed to reflect on these past 2 months. Where I started and where I am now and everything in between. It's funny because I can't even really see any difference. Last night, I was sitting with the person who assigned these lovely things and she commented on the fact that my roots currently look like a hot mess. And she basically phrased it as "since you've gotten here, your face has changed, your eyes have changed, your posture has changed and your demeanor has changed. Now we just have to get your hair to look less like you've been doing some hard stuff". Ive been going in circles with what she said all day. Because I don't understand what she meant. I don't see how those things have changed. Maybe I'll ask her. But I'm not sure because I don't know if they changed in good ways or not. Anyway. Let's start this. 

This was Rho Class initiation. I remember feeling so uncomfortable when I got there. Like who was I to deserve to have a little. But I also remember hugging her so hard when she gave me my paddle. She drew sugar skulls and wrote that I'm a free spirit. And it just made me really happy. But I was also going to an NA every day and debating not coming to israel. 

This was the Jason Derulo concert that my school had. I remember being so conflicted on what to wear. I was so uncomfortable wearing such little clothing but that's what you wear to concerts. I just look miserable here. Which is weird because it was actually a lot of fun. And I love Lindsey. Hm interesting. 
This was move out day. My three favorite people in the entire world. I never would have made it through freshman year without them. I remember constantly fixing that tank top. Stupid chest. Whatever. We all cried so hard that day. 

This was the day after I landed in israel. I love Miki so much. We practically tackled each other. It felt so nice to be home. It was a weird relief to be in a skirt. And I interact with the Akiva people on a shomer negiah level so it was just really nice. I remember talking to Miki that night because at first she really didn't think I should go to Shearim and I didn't know what to do. But apparently she thought about it and realized that it would be the right place. She wasn't wrong. 

This is hands down my favorite picture thus far. I just felt so happy. It was amazing. Like Yom Yerushalyim is the most beautiful day. Everyone was happy and dancing and singing. It was awe inspiring. 
My apartment has its issues. But at the end of the day... They're all great people to learn from. It was just a good group at that moment. We took so many selfies because we couldn't stop laughing long enough. And then we did Kabbalat Shabbat together. There's nothing more moving than a group of people signing prayers together. USY taught me that power. 
This might have been the first time that I was more comfortable wearing a dress in Tznius fashion than not. It's the same dress from the first picture. Weird. 
This girl continues to inspire me on the daily. And I still don't understand how I inspire her. Because she says I do. But to each their own. It was the first time in over a month that I entered the old city. It was strange. I actually almost wanted to go to the kotel. But I didn't. It's Still freaky. 
Minus my really terrible roots... I love this a lot. And I wasn't even worried about posting it. And a lot of people messaged me saying how it's nice to see my healthy and happy. 

I don't see a lot of difference like other people apparently do. But maybe I'll see it one day. For now, all I know is that I'm Jewish, I'm proud to be Jewish, there is a G-D out there, He cares about me, and Torah is important.

Stay Strong
xo Aria 

I May Actually Be The Most Conceited Person Ever

A friend of mine is currently struggling with the fact that she likes a guy but can't date him. While at the same time, she liked a different guy that didn't like her back. She wrote to me trying to tell me how much it hurts. But me, being the conceited bitch that I am, couldn't wrap my head around it. I've had a lot of boyfriends. A lot. Like its just a fact. And to be honest, it's really hard for me to have guy friends because they all end up liking me in some manner. And then I either turn them down and they get hurt or I say yes and then it ends and we both get hurt. If we don't end up in a relationship, we at least make out at some point. So, I just don't get where she's coming from. And yes I'm aware that I sound like a terrible human being. All woe is me because guys want to get in my pants. For the record, my position can suck too. Because every guy I've had as a friend in the past few years just wants something more than me. So, I end up with basically no guy friends. After feeling really terrible about this conversation and my not knowing how to respond... I decided to ask someone who 1. Knows the friend better than I do and 2. Has some actual emotional depth. Nicely enough, she helped and told me how stuck up and terrible I sounded. Which is fine. Because I'm aware. I'm aware that the way my relationships work with guys is an anomaly. To make sure I wasn't going crazy however, I called my best friend. And we chatted about how it's always been that way for both of us. We went through drastic make overs in middle school and then pretty much spent high school attempting to do the same to others that wanted to hang with us. And we serial dated. Or in her her case serial screwed around. We ended not being able to have mutual guy friends because my ex wanted to fuck her and I was dating someone that she had fucked and didn't tell me. And then she actually ducked one of my exes. Basically... We aren't great with male/female relationships. At the end of the day.. I'm trying really hard to understand what it feels like from the other side. And if realizing that I don't know is conceited well then I'm fucked. 

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Friday, 29 July 2016

I Apparently Have Seminary Homework (Part One)

So, this two part series of posts is because I was told by my mentor at seminary to basically write two essays. And I decided that blogging was the best way to do that. Here we go. 

The first one is actually eating disorder related. I was talking about sometimes you just want to relapse and go backwards. But you know you shouldn't. So, you tell everyone, including yourself, that you're "trying" not to relapse. To which she said that trying doesn't really mean anything in this situation. Like I know what to do. So, I'm either fighting through and doing it or I'm not. This brought back a really interesting memory from two treatment stays ago. I was at dinner and really just didn't feel like eating. And one of my favorite BHTs was like "I know it's hard but just try" and of course my snarky response while crying over a sandwich was that I WAS trying. Looking back, I wasn't really. Like I knew I should eat it and that if I didn't I would get supplements anyway. But there's an odd strength found in the struggle. Because he longer you sit there, the lore in control you feel. It was interesting to look back on that. Because now I know what I need to do. Which is not to try but to do. I weighed myself the other day for the first time in practically a year. And I freaked out. I've never been so close to my pre eating disorder weight. Because I've never lasted this long without relapsing. This same mentor found out and handed me a piece of pizza. That act of defiance  of what my brain wanted felt so liberating. Which doesn't make sense to those without an ED. But we all know that sometimes the hardest and most painful things free us the most. I was asked to write about what I walked away from by deciding to get better and what I've gained along this road. I walked away from staying up until 5 am working out until I cried. I walked away from making suicide pacts. I walked away from having starvation pacts. I walked away from fainting in bathrooms. I walked away from people hugging me and feeling for my spine. I walked away from sitting in locked wards. I walked away from daily weigh-ins determining if I had the right to shower. I walked away from the terrible high of starvation. I walked away from people asking me for diet tips. I walked away from comparing calories with friends. I walked away not being able to sit on the floor And not being able to lay down because there were just bones everywhere. I walked away from hiding. I've gained a lot along the way. I've gained the ability to make my own decisions. And I've gained the ability to laugh a gain. And I've gained the ability to go out with friends. I've gained having people as friends that don't just want an "Ana buddy". I've gained the chance to travel. I've gained going to school. I've gained freedom. And I only gained those things by picking myself up off the ground and putting one foot in front of the other. One meal at a time. One tear at a time. One smile at a time. 

Stay Strong 
xo Aria

Monday, 25 July 2016

What is Missing (Part 3)

So, I just realized that I never actually took the time to sit down and finish this series of blog posts. And this topic happens to still be playing a main role in my life. For the past two months I've been in seminary is Israel...again. And once again I'm so confused. Like I know I should go back to school for this year. And I know that I promised my friends and my frat. And I know I was happy there. But it was a different kind of happy. A surface level, constantly needing a high of some sort, feeling awkward kind of happiness. Even around NA people because I know my low wasn't nearly as low as most of theirs. Like I'm just so socially awkward and I don't know if it that's all the time or just there. Because it's never really been an issue of mine before. And here I'm not searching for a vice. Like there it was either running myself into the ground, going out super late, smoking, drinking... Anything really. Meanwhile, the other night I had these super random urges to purge (like seriously. I don't need a new ED symptom). And instead of acting on it or running or being stupid, I texted a friend and kept telling myself " vomiting is not a healthy coping mechanism. You can do this". Which might be the cheesiest sounding thing ever. But it got me through. 

I don't know. For some reason... Nothing feels like it's missing here. But maybe it should? 

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Thursday, 17 March 2016

I Am Proud To Be Jewish

I'm writing this on a bus leaving Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin, Poland. For the first time in quite awhile I can officially say that I am proud to be Jewish. Never thought I'd say that, especially after the last three and a half hours. But there is much power in seeing that we are still here and the Nazis are not. We sang Acheinu in the building that housed the gas chambers, Am Yisrael Chai as we walked out, and Hatikvah in the crematorium. I've never sang those words with such conviction before. 

When you enter into Majdanek, you can see the expanse of the entire camp, building, watchtowers, barbed wire fences and of course the chimney from the crematorium. It's an incredible contrast to the town right next to it. I've always looked at the holocaust very objectively. With numbers and facts. And I came to Poland hoping to add feelings to it. But what hearing about what happened at this camp did was far more valuable. It reminded me that you can't look at a person as a number. That's the Germans did to us. Each person who perished in this camp and others had a life and dreams and a soul. And that is how you find the emotion. It is in realizing that it could have been me. There were girls just like me with a very different fate. All because they were Jewish. Most of them proudly Jewish. 

So, for me, the question becomes how can I not be proud to be Jewish after all we have persevered through. After all they did and went through because of people part of this incredible nation. 

I am so incredibly proud to be Jewish right now. 

Am Yisrael Chai
xo Aria

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

What is Missing Part 2

Okay so this is part of two of what I think will actually be a four part blog. 

I brought my dietitian's question up to one my friends today. And her response was "it's amazing what happens when you're happy and when you're focused on something that fills your soul". Which is so interesting because I truly think that I'm happy at school. But perhaps it's the not the same type of happiness. It's not the soul on fire type of happy. And my soul definitely isn't fulfilled. I think the most interesting part of what she said was "exercise isn't your first priority because there are more important things in your heart than changing your outward self. You're working on your inner self". 

There is so much truth to the things she had to say. And after speaking to another person about trying to find my way and having her say how its about coming into yourself and growing... I wonder if at school I just feel stagnant. I'm not sure

I'm going to keep exploring these ideas while I'm here in Poland and see where it takes me. 

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Sunday, 13 March 2016

What Is Missing?

This post will be part one in a,probably, two part blog post. 

The other day I met with my dietitian and she posed an interesting question to me that is still making me think. To start off, I'm leaving for Poland tomorrow for a week. And while I'm home I exercise four to five days a week. But obviously that won't happen this week. When she asked how I felt about it, I told the truth. I'm not worried about it. I just want to experience the trip. She then said " maybe this is something to look into. Why is it that when you're in Israel or Poland, places where you feel at one with yourself and connected, that exercise and food are so important to you? Why is it only when you come back that it becomes a big deal? And what is it that's missing here or that needs to be taken away from here to create that same feeling?"

I'm not going to lie, I thought this comment was crazy. Like of course it's different. I'm not the same person in both scenarios. Different things are expected of me. But that's okay. Yes, one feels more real and authentic and helps me be more introspective. Which honestly is what I think helps so much is that I'm truly able to work things out within myself and I'm allowed to grow how I want. Plus, there are people are want to listen and help you along the way. Judaism makes me feel so whole and amazing. It actually makes my soul on fire. Don't get me wrong. I love school and my friends and all of that. But it's not the same. It's more superficial. And I act more impulsively. Not to mention I'm so much more stressed out. 

I'm just not sure how that plays out with food and exercise. Or what to put in or take out. 

Any ideas?

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Thursday, 21 January 2016

עמ ישראל חי

Since December 15th, I have been in the magical place on Earth. No. Not Disney World. I've been in Israel. There is no other place that I feel so at peace and so welcome. I'm truly happy. This Shabbat will be my sixth and final one here, for now anyway. And I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. It feels like I just landed here. Yet at the same time it feels like I've been here my entire life. If home is truly where the heart is...then Israel is my home. And I'm proud to say that. More shocking to me though is how much sense Judaism has been making to me. The more I learn and the more I talk to people, the more my soul yearns for more. I turn 20 in a couple weeks. That's almost more insane than actually being in this country. I lived to see 20. And I'm happy. And I'm not harming myself. And I'm not starving. I'm alive. Truly and completely. I'm not saying that I have everything figured out but wow. Happiness is more incredible than I could have imagined. I want to end this post with some of the most important things I have learned this time around. And even though I learned them in a Jewish context.. They are universal truths. The first being that having self-respect is important. It is okay to value yourself. It is okay not to be perfect. Number two is that anything can be made special again. Just because something means nothing to you now doesn't mean it can't be the precious thing later. I.e. Shomer negiah. And lastly, trust yourself. If you don't think something is going to be good for you, then don't do it. 

To everyone I have met in Israel, thank you for making me feel like I belong. And to everyone who helped me become who I am, it's because of you that I'm here. So thank you. 

Life should be one grand adventure. 

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Finding Myself

The overall title of this blog is "Winning Balance" which I think ties perfectly in with the ideas of this post. I first want to say that this post was definitely inspired by someone. Like always she will remain nameless. But you know who you are. 

Life is like putting on a grand show. Everyday you put on a costume, maybe a mask, and you go out and put on a dance for the world. You show what you hope will garner at least some applause. If you watch my show, most of the players are guys. Shocker. I know. They make me do my dance. They move me. The problem is what happens when they no longer show up? Do I simply stand on the stage alone? Or do I become my own director and choreographer? Most would hope for the latter, but I've learned time and again that it  is usually the former. End of metaphor. The point is after so much time of not knowing myself, I don't have respect for what I can do without guys. Self respect is something I so badly want for other people. But I don't have it. Today, I had an opportunity to talk to someone who sees behind the act I put on. One that some of you have seen. I've gotten really good at being stupid. Multiple times during this meeting, she pointed out that she saw right through it. Which was such a relief. It's a hard act to stop but it doesn't change that it feels nice to know that someone knows I'm not an idiot. So that's cool. Granted she also apparently thinks I'm going to end up religious. And living in Israel. The second part is definitely happening. For sure. There's something so incredible about this place and the people I don't see myself ending up anywhere else. Perhaps the best thing that happened though was when I told her why I want to be a teacher and she said she thinks id be good at it. All I want is to show kids that learning can be so fun and that some teachers actually love their subject. I can't ask for anything else but being able to do that. Basically, it's shocking where you can find someone that you would love to have as a mentor. Who knew it'd at seminary. 

To quote a friend: "did you ever think about just being yourself?"

Stay Strong
xo Aria

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Woah. I'm Back

Wow...hey. So, I feel like I haven't blogged in forever. Which is so funny because I constantly have moments in my head where I think about things to write on here about. Oh well. Anyway, I'm alive. Actually better than alive. I'm like living. Crazy. Stuff. I wish I could say that this post was just catch up but that'll be next time when I have legitimate Internet. This post is going to be a homework assignment from one of the teachers at the Seminary I am at in Israel. Emme, since I know you're reading this... Yes you can message me later and ask all the questions you want about everything. 

Here we go:

Do two ideals never not conflict with each other? In middle school, all I wanted was for boys to want me. Now they do. And wow, it was such a self esteem boost. Like having every guy at my disposal, such a power trip. But now? It sucks. I don't have guys that just want to be my friend. I can't fall asleep in a friend's bed without waking up to his hands in my pants. It's like what I always wanted, I would now give anything to get rid of. That's not to say that I don't gain things through hook ups or boys, because I do. Like it reminds me why I matter. And why I do what I do. It shows me how to act. And sometimes it is just the break from thinking that I need. Every so often, it's even enjoyable. The only problem is that it causes me to sacrifice a lot of things too. Like any respect I have for my body. It doesn't belong to me, it belongs to them. Granted, that's not much different than in gymnastics. My body is simply a thing to be contorted. But I also sacrifice having any sense of who I am without a guy or what I like to do. Guys are who I base my self worth on. Like I'm pretty sure that if a boy wouldn't hook up with me that I would fall apart. Who am I if I'm not pretty enough for them? Plus hook ups can give you social standing. If you go out and no guy even looks at you, then you obviously either suck or you aren't pretty enough. Like to know you're wanted is really nice. Until it drives you nuts because you want space. Basically my gains are also my sacrifices. 

Thanks for reading!!!

Stay Strong
xo Aria