Tag Archives: facebook

“Anger is bad.” No.

8 Apr

Life is short, live it. …okay.

Love is rare, grab it. …eh, sure.

Anger is bad, dump it. No.

Absolutely, definitively no.

Anger is an emotion. A typically unpleasant emotion, but that does not make it a bad one. Pain is also unpleasant. Pain telling me that my hand is on something hot and will burn beyond repair unless I move it is pretty damn useful. I wouldn’t call that bad.

I also wouldn’t call the roaring, screaming indignation that rises to your throat in anger because you are being raped or mugged bad, either. That anger makes you fight back. That anger tells you that something is wrong, and you should fight for your life in response. I would not call the sick, hot refusal that makes people jump into a fray and push back the monster attacking a child or kicking a dog or berating their wife in public or tearing your friend to verbal shreds a bad thing, either. Dump the anger, and you dump the potential for action.

I would know. I too was taught that anger was bad. So when I was molested, my anger turned to shame. Stuck in a shitty, degrading home life, my anger turned inwards and I defended my sanity with sharp knives on my skin instead of sharp words at my parents about maybe finally fucking owning up and dealing with themselves. Because hey, anger was bad, right? But these slashes here, they weren’t anger. They were despair. Guilt. Repentance. Better to be sad than to be angry, right?

Better silent martyr than screaming monster. Forget that there might ever be a middle ground. There could be no middle ground. Speaking up meant talking about my anger and anger was bad. I needed to dump it. So I did. Straight into some scars.

Perhaps it would have been better if I’d just kept on being mad and went ahead and yelled. It’s usually easier for people to hear you that way.

Anger is what leads to court cases and criminal convictions. Anger is what makes people go on in the face of someone telling them they can’t. Anger knocks down, and anger gets back up.

Anger is an emotion. It is neither good nor bad. What you do with the anger, that’s where the value judgment lies. Action can be good. Action can be bad.

When there is nothing to change or salvage or address or fix, letting go of anger can be the correct call. Siphon it out as energy for something productive. Breathe and let it fade. But don’t just dump it into a rubbish bin and pretend that you’ve actually dealt with it at all. Anger exists for a reason. And dumping anger isn’t the same as getting rid of that reason.

Don’t put your anger in a dumpster if you still need it for something else.

Anger is not a bad thing. It what’s you do with it – or don’t do – that’s the issue.

Just ask my scars.

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Ain’t Nobody Got TIME For That

18 Dec

TIME logo

Lovely readers, I have a confession. I kind of hate news. I am a writer, a creative writer, not a journalist. It’s not so much that I hate knowing what’s actually going on in the world that’s of any importance – that I highly value – but honestly, the majority of news sites are either really just celebrity gossip columns or the articles could all sport one headline, “Terrible Thing Happens in This Place.” Bombing. Another bombing. Car crash. Oh hey, that war in that place is still going on. Yup. Not much has changed. For the most part, my newspaper from today looks the same as my newspaper from yesterday, and from last week, and from last year. Go back five years and maybe the country and politician names will have changed, but it’s all just the same crap of people blundering around the world and being idiots to each other.

However. There are a few news sites that’ll make me perk up my mental ears and listen to what they’re saying. Buy their newspaper from a stack at Starbucks, click on that link that showed up in my facebook feed, spend a boring lecture browsing their articles on my cell phone…

You know. The big names. New York Times. Scientific American. National Geographic. Smithsonian. TIME Magazine.

Ahem, about TIME Magazine… for years, it’s been a interestingly written purveyor of impactful news across culture, technology, and current events. If an article came from TIME, it was legit. Probably. Often enough for name “TIME” to carry some weight.

But today, today I had to unfollow TIME on facebook. Because for the past few months, 99% of the TIME posts promoted to my newsfeed have been utter crap.

Okay, sure, maybe some of them were worthy of a giggle or a two-second “aawww.” Something about a puppy. A family rapping their Christmas card. I dunno. I assume those would have been if I’d actually clicked on them.

But I don’t follow TIME for giggles and aaww’s. I follow TIME for news. You know, the important stuff. I don’t give a crap about what Miley Cyrus has to say about her break up, whenever the hell that was, and I’d appreciate it if my supposed news page didn’t keep sticking shit like that on my feed.

Based on the comments I’ve seen on promoted TIME facebook posts over the past few months, it’s not just my feed that’s been infested. There are dozens – possibly hundreds, if I actually cared to look through all the contentless fluff that much – of other disgruntled commenters telling TIME that they’re unfollowing, unsubscribing, un-fuck-why-did-we-ever-think-that-TIME-was-legit-ing.

And I understand why. Please, I hear enough about sad puppies or happy puppies or neurotic puppies from all the animal rescue pages I follow. I can probably keep up with Miley Cyrus just as well by unthinkingly glancing at tabloid headlines while I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store.

But… I’m not content to just flip TIME off and call it a day. Because TIME has produced quality content for so long, and I don’t want to just give that up. I mean, if you actually pay to get their magazine, or browse their website, or even actually visit their facebook wall, there is still real content. The time we readers actually do have time for. Or, you know, make time for during boring lectures. But for whatever reason, TIME’s social media person has decided that apparently it’s more important to promote “trending” fluff than information of actual consequence. So all the crap flows onto people’s facebook feeds, and none of the hard stuff gets featured, resulting in a massive distortion of TIME’s image and content procurement.

Uh, yeah. I’d really like that to stop.

So, I emailed TIME’s editor. Did some search engine hustling and managed to find one generic email address to write my concerns to. And then, I decided that perhaps said editor hearing even more well-spoken complaints (instead of just angry “fuck you’s” left as facebook comments) might be useful. Might actually change something. It might not, but hey, at least then I’ll still know that I wasn’t just sitting back on my ass wishing TIME would get their shit together without actually giving them any impetus to do so.

If you honestly don’t care about TIME, that’s fine. I mean hey, throw a Wall Street Journal at me and I’m just gonna wrinkle my nose and chuck it back at your head. But if you do care about TIME and want to voice your opinion, I’ve tried to remove some of the energy barrier to doing so for you. I’m not calling for some massive movement, I’m just offering help to those who would like to at least get their own opinionated fingers wagging.

Ooookay. So, I’ve posted the message that I sent below. Feel free to copy-paste it into your own shiny new “compose email” box and send it as is. Warning, it is written in me-speak. I mean, one of the more professional dialects of me-speak, but it’s still my own voice. So. You could also change the wording a bit – or entirely – if ya want to. Yup yup.

Damn this is getting long. Okay, I’ll just plot the rest of the info below. Go ahead and check it out if you, too, are displeased with TIME’s recent content shift and want to tell the magazine – ain’t nobody got TIME for that.

 

Email: letters@time.com

Message:

Dear Editor,
Up till just recently I’ve been an unabashed fan of TIME. But since approximately two months ago, on TIME’s Facebook at least, it seems that TIME is diverging from its old reputation of “source of legitimate newsworthy, culturally poignant information” and has started to become just another tabloid magazine, full of trivial GIF’s or cutesy posts, like the “Christmas card family rap.” My feed has been flooded with uninteresting fluff and “entertainment” (a.k.a. celebrity gossip) pieces, like the “article” about Miley Cyrus’s break up statements. There are still noteworthy pieces linked to from the TIME Facebook wall, but few to none of those actually get promoted to followers’ news feeds. I’ve noticed from the comments on posts that other readers are feeling the same way, and that most of us eschew this change from news to nonsense. A quality, impact-based distillation of content would be much appreciation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
(Your Name Here)

What Happens When You Have Facebook Friends from Treatment

12 Nov

There’s something about having facebook friends from treatment. It’s an odd sort of dynamic, because I don’t think other people have it, those people that haven’t sat in a room full of twelve other girls and shared their deepest secrets and cried their eyes out in front of all of them, and then moved on and discharged and never talked to a single one of those twelve other girls ever again.

Sure, maybe we’ll do the occasional photo “like” when it randomly shows up in our feed. But if that photo contains any portion of the body of that girl from treatment, that’s when the scrutiny begins.

Are they fatter? Do they look like they’ve lost weight? Can you still see the little pudge of skin between their breasts and their arms? Are their cheek bones showing more than when you last saw them? How about the collar bones? And the color in their face? Are their arms still carrying the appropriate amount of flab, or do they look like they’ve gotten a little bloated from purging again? Were they brave enough to instagram a pic of their meal? Are they still calling attention the fact that oh man, they ordered fries? Or have they gone a little food-crazy on their wall, posting pictures of ever-increasing portion sizes you worry they haven’t even noticed?

Where are they in this love affair with starvation and stuffing?

You haven’t seen or talked to them in six months. But because their new profile picture popped up as you scrolled through the detritus of other people’s lives, you stop and wonder all that, in a matter of mere microseconds.

Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you hurriedly flick your mouse pad or your down arrow key, because for all that work you did learning to deal with feelings, this picture of someone you cried your eyes out to and then never talked to again – and who, identically, never talked to you – this picture makes you just a little too uncomfortable.

But still, even if you ignore it, there is something to being facebook friends with girls from treatment. Because even if you ignore it, even if you shove that image that flashed across your retina and branded you once again with feelings you thought you could choose to ignore, the question will still be there. It will still nag, day in and day out, at that part of your brain that remembers sitting that room crying your eyes out in front of those twelve other girls.

How are they doing?

Rejection

27 Jul

Choices-fork-in-the-road

Good evening, dear readers. It’s been a very thought-filled week for me. Not to say they were particularly inspired or novel thoughts… mostly just a lot of filling in my allotted blank space on 750words.com. You know, a lot of find a space for my thoughts to live. Or, to put it less elegantly, smushing my brain all over a keyboard. Yup. That’s probably the best description for it.

But in the endless circling of worries and wonderings and whatnots that have found their way out of my brain and into my consciousness, there have been a few topics that have settled into the back of my brain, asking to be written about. A lot of them are very personal topics for me – ED stuff, recovery, rants about body image commercialization – but they all mix fairly nicely into an amalgamated post. So here it is.

And the first topic, interestingly enough, is rejection.

I’ve heard a lot about rejection over my years of therapy of treatment. Usually, it’s about how I’m not supposed to do it. I’m not supposed to “feel my feelings” instead of rejecting them. I’m supposed to learn to come to terms with my body as it is and can be instead of rejecting it as unacceptable. I’m supposed to embrace life with all its laughter and all its shittiness, instead of rejecting an integration of the things that happen to me.

But, all that being said, I think sometimes rejection is okay. In fact, I think that sometimes, rejection can even be a sign of a solidifying recovery.

You see, my facebook feed is pretty much a never-ending wall of cute animals, inspiring quotes, whatever the heck my friends happened to have posted, and science. But sometimes, those “inspiring quotes” and “science” posts have gotten me into trouble.

Or rather, I have gotten myself into trouble and merely used those posts as fodder. At the height of my ED, the various times those maxima have happened, I would grapple for whatever eating disorder-related material I could find. Scientific reports on anorexia symptoms, “fitspiration” images, even recovery blogs. Even if something wasn’t explicitly triggering, even if it was ANTI-eating disorder, I’d still latch onto it. Because at those points, my brain was basically all eating disorder, all the time. I would eat, breathe, sleep, and – yes, read eating disorder. It was how I attempted to cope with the world, after all. It only made sense that I would try to make that world less scary by plastering it with eating disorder too.

But not today. For a while now, while scrolling through my facebook feed, I’ve come across some interesting-looking articles, whether science or pop journalism, that have been eating disorder-related. Today’s scroll-stopping article was about “the science of the anorexic brain.” In the past, I would have dove right in. I would have scoured that article for validation, for excuses for my eating disorder, for patterns I could emulate further. But not today. No, today I only stopped scrolling long enough to glance at the title, wrinkle my nose, and decide that I didn’t really want to read the article. I had other things to do with my night. Other things to do with my consciousness. I didn’t want to spend those five minutes of my life thinking about my eating disorder, plugging myself back into that mentality. No, no thank you. I’ll just keep scrolling. After all, gotta find that next cat picture.

There was a sense of relief from that, scrolling past an ED-related article. ED didn’t have to be my entire life anymore. I didn’t WANT it to be my life anymore. And having one more instance logged away of rejecting ED made me feel just a bit better. Just a bit more secure.

I mean, it’s not as if I’m taking this instance as proof that all my struggles are over now. Hell no. Some days are better than others, but it is still so often a daily battle. An hourly battle. All the little quips my brain makes, seeing which hook will get me to bite… the accidentally insensitive comments my friends make about my meal choice… a particularly unflattering window reflection… the dangers are endless, and I am not invulnerable. Make no mistake, I am watching myself. But this time, it’s myself that I am watching, not my eating disorder. I am trying to keep myself safe, rather than my anorexia. And that is a major step for me.

Which brings me to my next topic. Done with rejection, on to choices. Because when it comes to recovery, choices are so deadly vital. And yes, I do mean the oxymoron. I have come to realize that in the end, recovery – or relapse – comes down to choices. I am not going to get better because I feel better. I am not going to get better because I had some big epiphany. I am not going to get better because somebody else is forcing me to. I am going to get better because of the choices that I make, day in and day out. And if I want to recover, I have to take full responsibility for my choices. I cannot entrust them to my emotions, or my energy level, or my certainty about my future, or my friends’ availability. I have to entrust them to what I know, in the end, is what I need to do.

I will get better because I chose not to purge, rather than because I felt beautiful. I will get better because I chose to go buy groceries (and by “groceries” I mean REAL food, not a stock of gatorade and caffeine), rather than because I suddenly have absolutely no issues or fears when it comes to food. I will get better because I chose to eat breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and some amount of snacks in between, not because I felt deserving or pretty or accomplished.

Yes, I hope that with time, I will feel all those things too. I feel them every now and then. And my life is no longer ruled by an overwhelming despondency stemming from the utter certainty that at any given moment, I am never good enough. Now, when I am sad, it’s not so much because I have believed the inner critic in my head that used to tell me I am nothing more than a splotch, it’s because – well, life was just shitty. It gets that way sometimes. And then people get sad. And then usually, life gets at least slightly less shitty and people get slightly less sad. I will not pretend that everything always ends up okay. I have come up against too much of reality to assert that. But that’s a topic for another day.

But as for my own life, as for things getting less shitty and me getting less sad, I have hope. Something about SNRI’s and neural plasticity. Also one particularly wonderful boy who somehow manages to make me feel better just by looking at me. Yup. I’m incredibly lucky, and I know it.

Anyhoo. My point is that I realized that in the end, recovery is up to what I do. The choices I make. It is in making the choice to go on with my day instead of forcing my finger down my throat, it is in choosing to make sure that I have consumed an relatively adequate number of calories each day (by listening to hunger cues, by the way, not by obsessing over grams and percentages and calories. that’s just… ew. ain’t nobody got time for that.), it is in choosing to go hang out with my friends or give myself that extra time instead of going to the gym for a second or third hour that day that I am going to get better. It is in the nitty-gritty, unexciting, excruciatingly mundane choices that I make that I am going to get better. And in some ways, that’s annoying. But in in many more others, it’s a relief. Imagine, if recovery were dependent upon having some glamorous revelation. Imagine, if recovery were dependent upon how the sound of your alarm clock and the humidity of the atmosphere and the arbitrary wash of chemicals and hormones your body produced in response to your inbox that day determined how you feel. That would be terrifying.

But recovery doesn’t work that way. It just works entirely on the fact that no matter what some anxious voice in your head may be telling you, at any moment, you have the ability to make a choice. To start, or to stop. To eat, or to not eat. To do what in the end you know you really should do, or to decide that you are going to listen to your eating disorder, even if for just “one last time.” At any moment, you have the ability to choose the way your life is  going to go. ED patterns, or not. Simple as that.

Of course, simple in no way means “easy.” Sure, it may feel like you’re going to turn into the second Mt. Helen because of not walking into the bathroom. Sure, it may feel like nobody’s going to love you again, least of all yourself, if you eat that peanut butter sandwich. It may feel like if you make the decision not listen to your ED, you are worthless, wrong, weak, or whatever other adjectives ED has chained you with.

But the beautiful thing? Feelings aren’t facts. And how you feel doesn’t decide what choices you make.

You do.

Well, I haven’t gotten to turning my wrath towards body image commercialization yet, but I think that’s a rant for a different day. For now, I’m choosing to crawl into bed with a book I’m reading and get some sleep before traipsing around mountains with some wild canines tomorrow.

Right now, my choice is to do some self-care. What will you choose?