Posted on Dec 6, 2015 ; related to Updates, Real life, School, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
So I have two more weeks of school term until I get to go to Thailand for break.
I’ve come so far I think! One year ago I was still kind of fucked up and very lonely because I was living alone and isolated in Milwaukee. I didn’t have anyone I could really call a friend until the last 2 months of my time in Milwaukee which was April. I was still not technically “clean” since I didn’t want to be. I was dissociating regularly and still reeling from being harassed during my first quarter. I was also living without my regular hearing aids since they were lost in the mail, but I did not know that then.
But the main thing was the loneliness. It was horrible. Even while I lived in the dorms, my social anxiety combined with my hearing loss and culture shock resulted in my not making many friends in freshman year. While other first year kids were already grouping up, I isolated myself in my room. I rarely kept my door open, and I felt like I had to be vigilant all the time.
Although after I moved out from the dorms and got my apartment which was very nice, I was even more isolated. I went for days not talking to anyone. I remember one night where I just completely dissociated and spent the whole night just thinking about how lonely it was.
Even though I already was past the point of wanting to kill myself, I remember relapsing several times that first year. I had good grades and even pulled a 4.00 my second term and got a 3.93 GPA the end of my first year, but I was suffering.
But now to the good stuff.
After only 8 weeks at my new uni, I have what I could even call a friend group. People whom I study with, who I eat with, and who I laugh with. They might make me annoyed sometimes, but these people care about me, and I for them. Being with these people made me wonder how I ever made it without friends.
I’m 9 months clean today. I just finished my final project for computer science class. I might be pulling a 4.00 this term. I’m going to Thailand in two weeks.
I’m going through my first term again, but this time with friends there with me.
Posted on Jul 2, 2015 ; related to Real life, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
Last month, after coming back from college, I had my yearly checkup. I had prepared myself to tell my doctor about my being transgender, about vaccines and about my weight. Before stepping on that scale in the doctor’s office, I didn’t weight myself for several months, since before I left for college.
Because I spent most of my childhood and teen years agonizing about my weight and going on countless diets and exercise routines, my weight is a touchy topic. Growing up as a Thai American girl, and especially as the oldest kid, I was under pressure to look and act a certain way. The acting, I nailed down quickly, but the looking part remained a disappointment.
I learned to get used to my parents making comments about my body and how I should lose weight. I joined sports teams to play sports, but also to lose weight. Scrutinizing myself in front of a mirror, grabbing bunches of fat, and picturing myself as a beautiful, skinny person was something I did every day without fail.
While infrequent, trips to Thailand were marked with dread as relatives with good (and less than good) intentions stared me down, looking at how much I gained or lost weight since they last saw me. I simply learned to accept the comments about my eating habits and advice on how to lose weight, but that didn’t make their remarks hurt less.
Fortunately, at sixteen, I decided to stop all this diet and weight loss nonsense and decided to pursue Health at Every Size instead. I rejected dieting and calorie counting. Instead, I tried eating until my body told me it was full. I exercised with a different mindset, because it was good for my body and it gave me energy, instead of because it could help be lose weight. All this helped a lot with my body image issues, and I was able to keep my body hating thoughts to a minimum.
And now, here I was again, in the doctor’s office, facing my judgement in the form of a scale. Most people gained weight after their first year of college, I tried to reassure myself. Besides, why should you care about your weight anyway? I thought you were past that. Still, I hesitated to step on the scale.
When the numbers appeared, I looked at them, at first not registering them in my mind. 192 pounds? I lost over 10 pounds at school? I didn’t know how to feel. As I stepped off the scale, I was reminded of the time I lost 25 pounds at 11 years old only to gain them back a year later. I was reminded of the time I tried to starve myself at 12 years old because nothing else would help me lose weight. And at 15, when I gained 20 pounds in less than a year due to depression.
After all these years of trying to lose weight and failing then giving up, here I was, 10 pounds lighter. My old self would have felt elated, but I tried to blame it on a fluke. It might have been an error on the scale’s part, or just weight fluctuation. It could have been the stress at school. Strangely enough for me, I did not want to lose that weight.
When the doctor congratulated me, I smiled outwardly, but internally, I was conflicted.
I was afraid that if I accepted that I lost that weight, then that old feeling of hating myself and feeling that losing weight for the sake of doing it was a good thing would come back. I was afraid of falling back into old habits, and, really, of wanting to lose weight again. While I tried to convince myself that this was all past me, and that I was fully body positive now, I still had that old part of me that thought if I lost weight, my life would be much better.
While I would like to say that I am free from my baggage, I can’t make that statement. I still feel jealous of conventionally attractive people, I still sometimes think that I would be so much better looking if I were skinnier, and maybe I could even find a romantic partner if I would lose weight. It’s hard to escape feeling inadequate about my size, and even though I do acknowledge that I still hold some privilege over people who are bigger than I am, I don’t like my body a lot much of the time.
Still, even if I cannot shout, “I love and accept myself and my body all the time” from the rooftops, I can say that I’m constantly trying to accept my body for what it is, with or without fat, with or without illness, and with or without scars.
Posted on Mar 21, 2015 ; related to Updates, Identity, Looking Back. Leave a comment?
This post is really on a whim. I saw this post on Tumblr and went on a little in the tags. I felt compelled to post more about this on an impulse about my experience.
I may have mentioned this before, but I had lots of mental health issues growing up. I grew up with anger issues, anxiety, and some OCD. When I hit puberty I started questioning my gender identity (this was way before I even know being transgender was a thing) and I started having depression and self harmed a bit at the age of 12. Things went up and down from there, and things got really bad in 2012. The depression got worse, the dysphoria came, I had suicidal thoughts all the time, and I started self harming regularly. 2013 was the worst year of my life.
But the point isn’t to have a pity party. This post is about recovery. It took time. It really did. At first I didn’t even make a decision to recover initially. It was more like a “no promises” kind of thing. I’ve been addicted enough times to know that resolving to quit something (in my case, self harm) was setting the bar too high.
So I started with low expectations of myself. But it was gradual. Each day didn’t seem much different from the last. Little things happened, and I didn’t notice it during the way, but when I look back it seemed so much more obvious. Me telling my mother about my self harm, me getting a therapist, me not wanting to die for the first time in 2 years, me being 6 months clean.
So now am I perfectly normal and happy? Far from it. I still think I’m pretty fucked up and I want to go back to old habits. When that happens I remind myself I used to be even more fucked up and that wasn’t fun at all.
To any of you who are struggling with this right now, life isn’t a spiral of downs and more downs, though it really fucking feels like it sometimes. If there are downs, there are ups, and if you’re down now, you’re just saving the ups for the future so you can appreciate it more.
Alright, I think I’m done rambling. This is all I wanted to say for now.