The Interview: A Voice to be Heard

Series: “Accepting Our Appearance”

The Interview: A Voice to be Heard

 

When our self‑concept is distorted, it can be fixed.

If we assess our level of functioning, regarding our quality of life and happiness, we can modify behavior by realizing a need for change.

For some, this “fixing” and “change” are taken to an extreme.

To provide an authentic account of those who struggle to accept their appearance, the following interview is between me and a young girl from a ProAna forum, where anorexia is promoted as a lifestyle. Within the Eating Disorder Community, there’s a special lingo members use to communicate.

I didn’t want her to feel threatened or judged, I simply wanted to hear her experience; throughout the interview, I use the lingo to help her feel more comfortable.

I hope, through this genuine perspective, we learn more about ourselves.

Be aware, empathize, learn, and grow.

We can either acknowledge our issues or remain in denial.

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I transcribed the information included in her profile, translating some of her ProAna abbreviations, for clarity’s sake.

Ethnicity: Native American

Highest Weight (HW): 150lbs.

Current Weight (CW): 131.8lbs.

Goal Weight 1 (GW1): 130lbs.

Goal Weight 2 (GW2): 110lbs.

Ultimate Goal Weight 1 (UGW1): 100lbs.

Ultimate Goal Weight 2 (UGW2): 95lbs.

The interview took place over the phone on Tuesday March 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm.

            START INTERVIEW

  • Me: When did you start to embrace ProAna?
  • A: Nine years old.
  • Me: What triggered your interest?
  • A: Well, it was really my own curiosity. I started to check out some of the information online and it kind of sucked me in. There was also this one time my dad called me fat. I will never forget that! I guess, in that way, it was kind of my parents too.
  • Me: Do your parents know you’re ProAna?
  • A: Oh no…no one does.
  • Me: You’ve never told anyone?
  • A: I have one friend who knows, but she’s not ProAna. I talk to this other girl who’s ProAna; it’s only texting though…we’ve never met in real life.
  • Me: In all these years, no one’s been able to detect you’re ProAna?
  • A: Nope…no one. Everyone’s clueless! I guess I’m pretty good at hiding it…after all these years…
  • Me: Do you engage in regular exercise?
  • A: Of course!
  • Me: Are you only ProAna or are you ProMia too?
  • A: I’m both.
  • Me: Do you identify with one more than the other?
  • A: No, they’re both pretty equal.
  • Me: So you practice ED rituals, like fasting, along with binging and purging?
  • A: Yep. I fast about one to two days a week.
  • Me: How do your habits affect your body?
  • A: I actually have a lot of health issues…my stomach is torn apart from the vomiting…and laxatives. I get sick a lot. I guess I’m just kind of weak.
  • Me: Do you practice self‑harm?
  • A: No, not anymore.
  • Me: What did you do?
  • A: I use to burn myself.
  • Me: Did you do it as a way to release emotional tension or as a punishment for eating?
  • A: I would say it was a mixture of the two.
  • Me: Would you say you’re suicidal?
  • A: Oh no! Not at all!
  • Me: Have you experienced any kind of trauma? Or were you ever bullied or taunted about your weight?
  • A: No…it was more of an internal thing. You hear this voice in your head that tells you, “you can’t do it…you will always be fat!” I guess you just do what you can to keep it quiet.
  • Me: So, would you say you hate yourself or you hate the food? In all this, who’s the true enemy?
  • A: Ummm, I would say the food. The food is the enemy. If it wasn’t for the food, there wouldn’t be a problem.
  • Me: How do you see yourself, from one to ten?
  • A: A two.
  • Me: What do you like about yourself? Really, it can be anything…at least one…?
  • A: If I had to say, it would be my eyes.
  • Me: Okay. What do you dislike?
  • A: Everything else!
  • Me: Where do you receive the most pressure to be thin?
  • A: Society…definitely! I will never fit in…I’ll never meet up to the standards of what it takes to fit in.
  • Me: Who is your ideal thinspiration?
  • A: Miley Cyrus.
  • Me: Are you proud you’re ProAna?
  • A: No…no, no, no. Really. Over the years, it’s been like an on‑again off‑again kind of thing. I’ll see what I’m doing and just think it’s so stupid! Then I have those moments where I’m called back. Once you’re in, you’re in for good…unless you really get help…like real help.
  • Me: Have you ever been to treatment?
  • A: No, but I probably will. Eventually…
  • Me: So, you don’t see being ProAna as a lifestyle, you see it as a sickness?
  • A: I mean, I know it’s bad! Obviously! But really, it’s like this battle between good and evil. You want to be happy with yourself, but Ana says you won’t be, unless you lose more weight. Every time you do, it’s just never good enough. You always have to keep going…
  • Me: How do you feel Ana has affected your life?
  • A: Ehhh, it’s alright. I’m okay with it; it doesn’t take too much from me.
  • Me: Overall, are you happy with life?
  • A: Sometimes. Most of the time, I’m just depressed.
  • Me: Could you imagine living this way, for the rest of your life?
  • A: Yeah…it wouldn’t be that hard.
  • Me: Would you rather live a long, healthy life or die young, but skinny?
  • A: Young and skinny! Definitely…
  • Me: If you knew someone who wanted to be ProAna, what would you tell them?
  • A: I would tell them it’s a bad idea. You won’t be happy because you’ll never be pleased with yourself. You will feel scared, alone, sad, and will always have bad feelings that will never, ever, go away. You will always have a low self‑esteem. Always…
  • Me: Do you want help, so you can stop living ProAna?
  • A: I do and I don’t. I’m sick of feeling like this and I’m sick of living in secrecy. At the same time, this is all I know. To think of living any other way is just scary…it seems impossible. The way I live, is what I know…it’s familiar. Ana is the only way.

 

END INTERVIEW

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How to Appreciate Ourselves

Series: “Accepting Our Appearance”

How to Appreciate Ourselves

What is the truth of life?

Every moment is an opportunity to see the truth of who we are.

QUESTIONS FOR THE MIND

QUESTIONS FOR THE BODY

 

What creates happiness? How do you define wellness? Are your thoughts in harmony with the existence you crave?

 

 

Does life exhaust you or does life excite you? Do you feel good in your body? What boosts your energy?

Treat yourself!

Life is about finding fulfillment.

Everything is a system of binaries—be aware of the continuum of choice and action.

Discover what works for you!

SEARCH. DEFINE. REFINE. DEVELOP.

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HOW TO BEGIN:

Make a list of…

  1. Places you want to go.
  2. The little things you want in life (internal goals, not external things).
  3. The big things you want in life (what you see yourself doing and having in the future—the BIG picture).

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LEARN TO…

  1. Center yourself by acknowledging your present state of being. Channel energy into being positive and in balance. Create your own reality. Let the world see how life is to be respected and appreciated by developing the strength and awareness to know what’s best.
  2. Silence the yearnings of the ego. Make the time and effort to care by paying attention to the details. Aspire for a solid identity and a solid life. Be your own best friend—don’t depend on others for comfort.
  3. Indulge in paradoxical thinking; instead of seeing opposites compete, see how everything must be balanced by something else. Find what balances you and what you do!
  4. Put yourself to good use. Love the vessel you’ve been gifted with by doing what benefits you! Go with the flow. Your body survives on water, so drink up! Speaking of water, go for an invigorating swim! Use your body to get your blood pumping! Go to the local ice arena—float across the ice and spin around a bit. Do indoor rock‑climbing or play any sport that challenges you (perhaps basketball, golf, or boxing). Push your body by exploring the land (maybe a hike, boat trip, or soothing bike ride).
  5. Leave your stress behind and take a walk. Become one with nature. Be attuned with your environment. Spark up the sensitivity of your nerves and their susceptibility to stimuli. Realize that you are one of the many—a piece of the whole. Listen to the harmony of life and how it manifests through nature, animals, and people. Observe the scenery. Taste the air.
  6. Accept opportunities by inviting new, fun things into your life. Laugh as much possible. Read something—appreciate your ability to think and learn. Cater to your talents and skills. Find a hobby and stick with it. See what peaks your interest within the world of arts, music, and education. Go see a performance show, like a play or an opera. Visit museums. See fantastic movies. Blast some music and rock out! Find your favorite tune and belt out your finest vocals. Dance around. Get jiggy.
  7. Use subconscious suggestion. Be convinced of a better existence. Take control. Your life is yours to live! Honor that power. Live by positive affirmations because the suggestive power of the mind is unlimited.
  8. Master Mantras. Mantras are positive declarations; they create a meditative peace, develop awareness, and heighten self‑worth. Repeat your best mantras and see how they alleviate stress and build confidence. Personalize ones for yourself.

PRODUCE THE POSSIBILITIES!

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APPLY YOURSELF

List five things you want in life (nothing with your looks).

Everyday, in the morning and at night, say the list, out loud, word for word.

INSIDE THE SELF: Initially, your mind will resist.  Keep with it.  Unconditional reinforcement will manifest change. Start to believe these things. Let growth come your way.

OUTSIDE THE SELF: When you feel the need to do something to better yourself, keep it to yourself. Don’t share your desires—there’s no need for approval or attention. Don’t give anyone the chance to hinder your hopes and dreams.

try

 Image Credit

SHARING IS CARING: IF YOU HAVE ANY TIPS TO ADD, PLEASE DO!

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Be Powerful

Series: “Accepting Our Appearance”

Be Powerful

Everyone has freewill of the mind, body, and spirit; this freewill is the authority to govern our identity as we wish. Power is a choice. Power is the peace of strength. Power is attainable if you choose to be powerful.

How we appear to others is determined by how we see ourselves.We must take ownership of who we are!

Rather than obsess over what your appearance can for you, see what can be done for your appearance. We have the power and right to tend to our lives. If there’s room for improvement, make a change.

Circumstances and conditions can make us feel like the victim, but we have the power to define how far our foundation can be manipulated.

If we find a flaw we’re unhappy with, we must ask, “Why is this aspect of my appearance so important to me?” If the answer is something or someone outside of our control, we have to challenge our perception.

We are the architects of our lives. We construct our own reality. When we exist to please others, we take our blueprint for peaceful acceptance and hand it over, affirming, “Please, go ahead, destroy everything. Do whatever you want. Mold me as you wish. I have no say in the matter.”

Why do this?

The power is yours!

Don’t let any external power threaten your inherent right to discover and love who you are.

Our lives are ours to shape, enjoy, and develop.

self esteem wordss

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Degrading the Details

Series: “Accepting Our Appearance”

Degrading the Details

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LET’S THINK…

 WHAT PART OF YOUR APPEARANCE ARE YOU THE MOST CONCERNED WITH? WHY DO YOU FEEL INSECURE ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT? DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A HEALTHY WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGING AND ACCEPTING THIS SUPPOSED FLAW?

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THE ASPECTS OF OUR APPEARANCE WE CRITICIZE:

WHERE OUR INSECURITIES STEM FROM:

  • Skin
  • Hair
  • Teeth
  • Body Structure
  • Facial Features
  • Ourselves
  • A Romantic Interest or Lover
  • An Authority Figure
  • Our Family Members
  • Our Friends
  • Society
  • Past Experience

mirror warning

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We don’t realize how much our confidence and self-worth are determined by appearance.

When we feel ashamed about our appearance, we berate ourselves. More often, we seek ways to “fix” what’s wrong. We exaggerate the need for makeup, cosmetic surgery procedures, overly‑restrictive dieting, supplements, diet pills, excessive exercising…to the point of no‑return! Some go as far as mutilating their features to rid themselves of their imperfections.

We program our mind—unless we appreciate what we have, we will never know relief.

You’re imperfections are what make you unique, so learn to embrace them! Submit to the truth of how you look in your natural form. Discover your inherent beauty. Become self-assured by peacefully admitting to whatever’s lacking. With time and effort, you will grow to be comfortable in your own skin.

Everyone is beautiful in their own way. No matter who you are, there’s no one else like you. How amazing is that?

Be proud! Own your identity!

im not perfect..im me and that's perfect

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Series: “Accepting Our Appearance”

Series: “Accepting Our Appearance”

Series Introduction

I will be issuing a series of posts, with the focus on “Accepting Our Appearance”.

Everyday, we must do our best to combat our insecurities and doubts. I want us to gain awareness as to how we see ourselves, along with identifying the roots of our uncertainties.

Learning to accept ourselves is essential to being content with life. In order to progress, we must be satisfied with our present state of being.

If the importance of appearance exceeds our ability to enjoy life, extreme consequences can surface. Unfortunately, frustration with one’s appearance risk acquiring an obsession with “fixing” their perceived flaws; this is how body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and mood disorders can develop. I will use an interview, the book Wasted, in addition to the documentaries Baby Faced Body Builders and Thin, to assist in exhibiting some precarious cases, related to our discussion.

All in all, I want us to create a balance within ourselves, attain healthy perspectives regarding self‑improvement, and come to accept and love who we are.

Let the enlightenment begin!

Table of Link Contents

1.Degrading the Details

2.Be Powerful

3.How to Appreciate Ourselves

4.The Interview: A Voice to be Heard

5.Book Review: Wasted

6.A Comparison to See: Watching the Documentaries Thin and Baby Faced Body Builders

7.Challenge Yourself!

Poem: The Daze of the Bad Days

The Daze of the Bad Days

The bad days will banish,

My feelings of fire.

They kill my dreams,

They hinder my desires.

The pain of an impasse,

Is impossibly strong.

How can I break you,

When I,

Am in the wrong?

Stuck in myself,

I know not what to do…

How does one break free,

To seek all that is true?

How can I face,

The fears of the many?

How can I learn,

The hopes of the few?

My my, little one…

You must learn to see!

The sickness of life,

Is not the sickness of me.

Yes yes,

I say,

The bad days will pass!

Never forget,

All things are temporal…

Lives must be lived,

To be progressive and plentiful.

-Tatiana Noelle Oquendo

Challenge Yourself!

Series: “The Self and Suicide”

Challenge Yourself!

To conclude this series, here are some links to help further our insight….enjoy!

  1. Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support
  2. A Guide to Moving Forward, After a Suicide Attempt
  3. 14 Timeless Ways to Live a Happy Life
  4. Reprogram Your Thinking: A Happy Brain, for a Happy Life
  5. 10 Easy Ways to Make Personal Connections
  6. 8 Simple Tips to Feel Better About Yourself

fffeac1ea8349aeb3d6a76bd4fda841d

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