One year later

A year ago I was in a dark place, everything was slipping through my hands and I was spiraling out of control. From age ten to age nineteen I battled with my binge eating, a disorder in which I would eat two days worth of food in a sitting and cry myself to sleep afterwards to only starve myself the days to follow to make up for my discretion. I hated who I was, I hated the reflection I saw in the mirror, I told myself that I was fat, unloveable, and plain, I believed that who I was as a human being was worthless.

Fast forward to the present day, I am happy, healthy, and binge free. I never imagined my life to be the way it is now. I wake up each day seeing the beauty in my life and how grateful I am that I am here to say that I am twelve months sober from my food addiction. I wonder if people question an addiction to food, I know that it probably doesn’t make much sense because there is no “drug” in food so to speak. The high you get during a binge episode though is overwhelming, you are on this upscaling high that keeps rising and the comfort you feel is untouchable. Sitting there in my bed with these mounds of food surrounding me I felt at home. During the first few years of my disorder I didn’t have many friends and I would spent days on end in my room binge eating while watching my favorite movies because I felt empty and alone. As my disorder progressed I found myself restricting my calories the days following my episodes and doing hundreds of crunches in my room before bed so I could give my mind some sort of ease, only to repeat the process over and over again. My metabolism has taken a hard punch due to my disorder, the constant up and down has rattled it to the point where it is hard to distinguish how it even functions. I get angry at myself for doing this to my body, putting it through that abuse for almost ten years is mind blowing to me. However, I do see the good in the bad. For instance, I see that now I am stronger since my recovery started, my body functions and feels better than it did. I’m not as tired and lethargic anymore because I properly take care of my body with good food and healthy exercise. I am mentally stronger as well, I take time out each day to tell myself how beautiful I am, that I am strong and that I have a lot to offer to this world. I know that this probably sounds conceded but coming from someone who lived in a perpetual cycle of self hate, this is a healthy step for me and I am proud of myself for getting to this point in my recovery.

I know that I am not cured, that I will forever face my eating disorder because addictions just don’t disappear. They resurface from time to time and how you deal with it is what counts and I’ve learned to realize that I do not need food to make my life happy, to make me love myself, or to get where I want in life. I have a supportive family, great friends, and I am happy with who I am as a person and that is the only comfort I need, I DO NOT need food to comfort me. I find that when I used to binge eat I would reflect on the years I was bullied for my weight often. Remembering the hurtful things these kids would say to me still rattles my bones from time to time but then I realize that if I give into their torment even after all of these years they are still winning. What is astonishing though is that a few years ago one of the kids who used to torment me the worst tried to ask me out on a date, I was shocked, literally. How can you break someone down for years on end to then ask them out on a date, even to this day I still don’t understand it but I have made peace with it and spending anymore time on the past won’t better my present or future.

It is crazy how twelve months can truly change a person. I think of that depressed, angry, and lonely young woman who spent hours on end sitting in a dark room and loathing everything about her life, and I feel bad for her. I feel bad that she didn’t take the opportunities that were given to her, If I could go back in time and talk to her I would tell her that things will get better, that she is so very beautiful, and to not give up. I’m grateful that I never did give up, there were plenty of times where I wanted to do just that because I couldn’t see any other way. But through self determination and help from some incredible people, I found my way and I couldn’t be more thankful to myself and to those who helped me along the way. Even on this blog if you go to my earlier posts you can see how I struggled with my eating disorder and how it truly broke me down as a person, literally eating me at my core. I use these posts to further my recovery and to be a better person, a healthier person from the inside out and I thank all of those followers that sent me words of encouragement during that dark time, you also helped me get to where I am today and I thank you for that.

Thank you to those who have also been supportive on my Facebook today when I posted a picture and a brief story of my addiction, you all have been so kind and no amount of words can express my gratitude towards you. For those of you who have taken the time to read this novel, thank you, your precious time is valuable and to have spent it on reading my post means the world to me. I hope that my story gives comfort to those who are dealing with any struggle whether it be depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder. I am always here to lend a helping hand to anyone who needs it, whether I know you personally or not I do not care. I want to help those who need it because that in itself can be the first step in someone’s recovery, knowing that someone out there has their back and I do.

Good People

I’ve always been social, even when I was bullied or dealing with my social anxiety. People have told me that I am outgoing, personable, and can make friends with a rock but I’ve always dealt with the struggle of getting out of my comfort zone, especially when it comes to making new friends and establishing new relationships. About a year ago I was feeling alone in the sense that I didn’t have a group of friends, I spent a lot of time by myself which isn’t a bad thing whatsoever, but I was missing the fun of getting together with a good group of people and just hanging out, stress free.

Growing up I had my group of friends but lets face it, at twelve years old you are not really going out much, driving anywhere, or doing what grown ups do if that makes any sense. You’re probably having a sleepover, eating together at the lunch table, or talking over AIM. Anyways, I haven’t really had a solid group of friends in a long time, nor have I tried to push myself beyond my limits to meet new people until I left for Italy. I met some incredible people on that trip and made some lifelong friends, people that I would tell my darkest secrets to or make time for even if I don’t have any to spare because these people have become my family. When we returned from Italy however, I lost touch with some of those great people. But when I look at the relationships that were made in that beautiful city, I know that when we reunite again It’ll be just as it was in Firenze. Coming home after my trip I spent a lot of time by myself, doing some soul searching and taking part in the things I’ve discovered to be a passion of mine such as photography, writing, and painting. I am grateful that I took this summer to focus on bettering myself. I developed a bond with my soul, I deepened my appreciation for my mind and body, which is something that has been long overdue and it has led me to this road of happiness that I am now traveling on.

With the end of the summer and beginning of fall, I met some incredible people and reconnected with old friends that have truly touched my heart. Each day I am swarmed with loving texts, phone calls, and snapchats, all by these remarkable people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. Today in particular we were planning a day in which I could do a photoshoot with them, I want to capture how beautiful these people are because their kindness, drive, and love they show not only to me, but everyone they touch is what truly makes them beautiful and I think they deserve to have it captured and showed to the world. Genuine people do not get the recognition they deserve these days and I feel that it is my duty not only as a photographer, but as the friend of these individuals to show them the beauty they possess.

In the midst of planning the photoshoot we also decided to have a party to welcome one of our friends from out of state and for my birthday! I’m pretty excited honestly because no one has ever thrown me a party before. I mean, my mom plans them for my family which are always fun, but I’ve never had friends that really cared enough to actually go out of their way and make my night special and it means a lot. To be surrounded by good people that are laughing and having fun is something that brings great joy to me, even if we weren’t celebrating my birthday I would still be just as happy because I would be spending this time with great people.

I believe that the time in which I’ve spent alone and figuring out who I am, has led me to meet and reconnect with these people. Before I felt alone and now I feel as though I belong to a close knit family with very diverse and loving people. It is days like today where I take a step back and see how far I’ve come and how much my life has changed for the better. For the first time in my life I know who I am, I know that I am truly myself and doing things that I love that make ME happy, I don’t live to please anyone anymore and that is beautiful in itself. Growing up I always tried to fit in with whatever crowd I could because I wanted to feel like I belonged, like I was MEANT to be friends with these people but I always felt like the black sheep, almost as if I was imposing on these groups of people, but I continued to be friends with them anyway. At the time I didn’t know my own strength or who I was as a person. Looking at where I am now, I know that I have true friends and that I am not pretending to be someone else to please them. They appreciate me for the pain in the ass I am, for the lame jokes I make, the kind gestures I try to show them, and for the playful threats I deliver when I try to be tough because that is who I am and they ACCEPT that. I can honestly say that I have never been this happy in my life, I truly love and embrace who I am on the inside and out, and I look at life with new eyes, as if I see every inch of beauty that covers the Earth and I am so very thankful for that.

Happiness

I’m happy, not fake happy, but really happy. I’ve taken on a lot the last few months such as my job, going to school full time, and trying to balance it all has been tough but I am thankful. Sure, Monday-Friday I am spending half my day driving, in class, or at work, but at the end of the day I am thankful. I know that there are many people out there who do not have a job, can’t afford to go to school, or have no one to support them and I remind myself everyday how lucky I am to have all of those things. The people in my life are incredible, my family for instance are always so supportive, last night I was working on a painting for my class and I was in the middle of mentally beating myself up about the fact that my cup looked more like a cylinder or candle, when my Dad came in and said, “Wow, would you look at that!” it warmed my heart to know that my Dad was proud of me. After he left I continued my painting, having my door open I heard my mom shutting the lights off downstairs, tidying up whatever mess I or my brother left in the kitchen, and was heading up the stairs when she popped her head in too, shocked she said, “You didn’t paint this! This is beautiful Jessica Margaret!”, in that moment, knowing that both of my parents were so proud of this painting that I was really beating myself up about made me realize that I do have talent. Sure, there are plenty of other artists in my class, or in this world that have much more experience and skill than I do but that is it, I am still learning, and gaining that experience, “You can’t judge your beginning by somebody else’s middle” and that saying speaks volumes to me as I tend to write off my paintings as inadequate, when in reality they are, they are more than adequate because everyone does things differently whether it is painting, photography, writing, or what have you, no two people and their skills are exactly the same.

I think my anxiety greatly contributes to the fact that I belittle my achievements and talents, and almost tell myself that I’m not worthy of being gifted. Through some self searching though, I’ve realized that I am in fact worthy, that I am talented and can offer a lot to this world whether it is through my artistic flare, communication skills, or something that I have yet to discover about myself, but all in all, I am proud to say that I am Jessica Palmer, that I have two incredible parents, a loving brother, amazing friends, and great co workers, what else could I ask for? This world has given me so many things to be grateful for and I vow to myself and to the followers of my blog that I am going to remind myself everyday just how beautiful life is and that through my ups and downs I will continue to remind myself that what I have to offer is great, and that I am worth it.

Law of Attraction

A good friend of mine introduced me to the Law of Attraction through this documentary called The Secret. At first I was skeptical, thinking that there is no way you can just think something over and over again and have it happen, life isn’t THAT magical. However, what I’ve gathered from the Law of Attraction is that it is a way of viewing the world, or your life rather, promoting positivity and confidence in your life which I think is something we should all practice. So, starting the other day I’ve implemented periods of time throughout my day where I sit, close my eyes, and envision what I want from life, telling myself that it WILL happen, and that my life WILL fall where I want it to fall, and that is something I believe to be very beneficial to my mentality. Even if something I want or think doesn’t happen EXACTLY the way I want it too, I am happy that I am telling myself each day that today will be a good day, I will be productive, I will smile and as a result of that, I will be successful, and things in my life will happen because I want them too.  

It is definitely a cool documentary to watch and it gets your mind going, it ties this idea back to religion and how praying to God is just this secret masked with a “face” to the name so to speak, and it is mind blowing when you link the two together and think how this could actually happen, our thoughts CAN turn into things that can happen in real life. Dreams, aspirations, anything that you desire can happen if you just think about it often, think of yourself with that thing in your life or achieving that goal, and you are almost subconsciously giving yourself the drive to achieve it whether you realize it or not and that is incredible in itself. I think that this idea is something that promotes healthy and happy thoughts and I believe that it is something that can greatly benefit people, you may not even want to tell yourself that you’ll have the newest iPhone, or that the guy who is in your history class will be your boyfriend, but rather just waking up each day and telling yourself that you are happy, that you WILL be happy and successful because that is what YOU choose to do is a great way to take advantage of the Law of Attraction. I deeply recommend that you watch the documentary on Netflix or even YouTube and see what it is all about, it will enlighten you.

Helping those in need – Hike For Hope – Lazarus House

Dear Followers,

On  October 5, 2014, I will be doing a “Hike For Hope” in Andover, Massachusetts that helps support families living in poverty regain stability in their life. The money from this walk/hike will be going to the Lazarus House in Lawrence, Massachusetts, a place that supports these families by offering emergency shelter, food, clothing, work preparation, education, and counseling to help them rebuild their lives, it is a great cause to support. I know many of you do not live close enough to take part in the walk, but I do ask that if you have the spare money that you donate whatever you can to help this cause and these families, there must have been a time in your life where you could barely rub two pennies together, or you’ve known, or still know a family in a similar situation, any donation can be beneficial and I would greatly appreciate any help. If you are in the area and would like to join our team “Team Superheroes” please sign up! It is only $15 to join and you get a free t-shirt, if you have any questions please email me at jessicapalmer2493@gmail.com, and this is the link to where you can donate: http://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1117160&supId=412872101&extSiteType=4  

I appreciate you all taking the time to read this post!

Best Wishes,

Jess

Emotionally confused

Lately I’ve been happy, driven, staying positive, but also sort of lonely and sad. It is weird to feel that way believe me, it probably sounds just as weird because how can someone be happy and sad? Well, I’m not really sure, I guess I’ve been feeling more let down, I’ve let some people into my life recently, people I thought cared and had big hearts, only to be ignored and let down, what a bummer. During this time though, I’m making new friends, taking on new responsibilities, and really figuring out who I am, and although I am stressed, tired, and emotionally drained, It will all be worth it in the end I keep telling myself. It is discouraging though that someone who seems so genuine and sweet, is content with brushing someone who seems important to them off their shoulder and forgetting that they even exist.

It is aggravating, especially because I pride myself on being a good person, someone who would take the shirt off of their own back to give to a stranger if they needed it and the fact that I go out of my way to make someone feel special, loved, and admired to only get sadness in return really brings me down. Makes me wonder, am I too nice? Do I care too much? the answers to those questions are probably yes, but I can’t change who I am, I can’t just turn off my humanity like vampires can in The Vampire Diaries, this is real life, this is who I am but I hate it, I absolutely hate that I am this way. It’s as if by wearing my heart on my sleeve I am subconsciously allowing people to just come in, take what they want, and bury me alive in my own self doubt and hate, it gets old, real old. I want to make a stand for myself, change the way in which I approach situations such as this one, but I am always afraid of confrontation and rejection because that is human nature, who likes to be rejected, no one obviously. Then again, I always preach to myself and others that if something is meant to be, it will be and if not, it won’t, but it is hard to grasp that especially when you’ve emotionally been involved and opened yourself up because that isn’t easy either, telling someone your secrets and letting them inside your head, past the checkpoint that most people reach and down to the nitty gritty is frightening, and when you finally trust someone and they shut the door in your face, it hurts, a lot and I guess I’m just at this point where I feel unlovable, maybe even crazy, maybe I am the highest on the crazy scale and I don’t even realize it, who knows, all I know is that I tried my best and although it wasn’t good enough I shouldn’t be sad or beat myself up, but that is only human nature too.

I try to remind myself of everything that is positive in my life, I have great friends, family, work, school, my dogs, all of the above but sometimes, it is hard to realize that the good truly outweighs the bad, but I always rise above shit like this, I just know I’m going to have to shake myself out of this funk.

Lets talk sexism

Yes, I am a feminist, but I believe in equal rights for both men AND women, because one should not be looked at as better than the other or more important because although women have faced discrimination since the dawn of time, there are still those rare instances where men can face sexism as well.

Anyways, a good friend of mine in high school was in a male dominant shop, as was I. Being in an environment where men are “dominant” and testosterone fills the air of the garage or shop area, it can be intimidating. It wasn’t easy for either for us to work alongside men who knew what they were doing and being new to the trade, we obviously were still learning and growing but were looked at as weak and stupid. Talk about a low blow to self esteem right? Sure, I don’t know everything there is to know about cars and trucks, but I know more than most, my friend can rewire a house, how cool is that? Not most women can and to have gone through the ordeal of being looked down upon and underestimated, but then coming out on top is a stellar victory.

However, there will always be that person, usually a man, who belittles accomplishments such as those because they still believe that we live in the middle ages and that women should take care of the home and not make anything of themselves, well, that is some horse shit because back in the forties, women were working as machinists, mechanics, hell they were even pilots, look at Amelia Earhart for godsake. For some time now, women have been slowly moving into male dominant roles, we’ve made great strides and are making a change, and for a man to view that as uncomfortable to accept is just…sickening. I would NEVER let anyone, especially a man, tell me what I can or can’t do, especially when it comes to my passions or profession, who are you to say that what I do isn’t good enough or intelligent enough. Knowing that this man said to her, that her dreams and aspirations to be an electrician or mechanic are untouchable and unrealistic, is something that someone with a closed mind and insecurities would say.

I hope that if any women who work in a male dominant workplace, knows that they are beautiful, talented, smart, and strong, and that no man or even woman who doubt the power of determination can take away the accomplishments that have been made.

I am proud to say that I spent two and a half years in a shop where I learned more than I thought I ever could and although I don’t heavily practice what I learned, I still have that knowledge, I still know how to change my oil, replace my brakes, and know what is wrong with my car when I hear a mysterious ticking or grinding in the front end and no one can take that away from me. 

Shame on him for putting down someone so strong and courageous, I like to believe that karma will be coming for him, that one day when he can’t wire his own damn house that she shows up and puts that ignorant snake in his damn place and then he will realize that gender does not matter when it comes to drive and intelligence.

Sexism is something that we will always have to face, no matter how much time has passed, men will always look at women as inadequate or incapable of being independent and I know that not EVERY man feels that way, but these are the facts of life, but I urge women to take a stand for yourself when you are faced with sexism, stand your ground because you are worth it.