“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
― C.G. Jung
Authenticity is dead and has become replaced with superficiality based on outward appearances alone. I feel as if it has become evident that people have forgotten what exactly it means to be human. With the fake eyelashes, hair extensions, tans. Exercising and eating healthy not for health reasons but for vanity. Playing "cool" in terms of our feelings towards others--yes we are all guilty of it. I know I am. But why do we do this?
A human, is by nature--authentic.
In our pure, raw state, makeup-free and naked, which for many of us is only immediately after we step out of the shower (for some, not even then), we are just humans. Humans with thoughts, emotions, intentions, hearts, brains, and blood pumping through our bodies.
But for some reason, we are constantly trying to fight this--not only superficially, but emotionally, too. We live our lives with our guards up, always refusing to become intimate with those close to us--hiding our feelings for others when they arise, choosing to leave relationships before we get "tied down" or "whipped," ignoring texts, leaving people on "read" to act like we don't care, purposely avoiding eye contact with those around us, creating problems which don't exist when things seem to be "too good to be true." This isn't just the case for our romantic relationships, but our friendships, too.
This time last year, I fought my feelings tooth-and-nail. I planned to be Pre-med, and told everyone I was dead-set on becoming a doctor. Doctors make a lot of money, I thought to myself, and I knew I wanted to make a lot of money. I had been surrounded by those with financial issues during my youth and prioritized making money over happiness. While I struggled to obtain a C+ in Physics and Chemistry, I flourished in my English courses--my professor raising an eyebrow at me when I told her I was a Biology/Pre-med major.
Let me tell you something: the day I changed my major to what I had always wanted to do since high school--journalism, was one of the best days of my entire life. I remember walking into Blodgett Hall, the home of the communications department at Adelphi, and feeling instantly at home. My adviser was the chairman of the department and greeted me with a warm welcome. As my class schedule changed from Physics and Chemistry, to Introduction to News-writing and Spanish, I felt the elephant that had been sitting on my chest lift.
That same semester, I worked my actual ass off--and loved every single second of it. I was published on the front page of my local paper, The Times Union (which resulted in being offered an internship there), became Editor in Chief of The Odyssey Online at Adelphi University, was offered my own blog for the Times Union, became an intern at Emerging Market Views (which is a project of one of my previous professors who offered me the position), started a job as a student reporter for Adelphi's Office of Public Affairs, and was recently offered the position of a writer/video producer at Two-Buttons-Deep.
I know, I kind of sound cocky. However, I reassure you I'm not. Of course I'm not the best writer in the world. I probably won't win a Pulitzer any time soon. I commute 45 minutes because I love my school so much. I am constantly stressed--my days are always booked at least 12-hours in advanced, sometimes people comment awful things on my articles and blog posts like "you're a terrible writer," and what not, and I literally have $0.53 in my bank account.
But what I can also tell you, is that I have never been this happy in my entire life. Because for the first time in a long time, I am being 100% myself.
Why are we so scared to reveal ourselves, to let ourselves fall in love, to go to school for what we actually WANT to do, or to let our connections to those around us deepen? Why are we so terrified of being intimate, raw, and HUMAN?
Maybe it's because becoming vulnerable makes us authentic. And being authentic makes us vulnerable. And being vulnerable makes us susceptible to pain, to being hurt.
We don't want to wear our hearts on our sleeves, live paycheck to paycheck, go makeup-free or just say 100% what is on our minds all the time, because if we do that we can be hurt.
But, when we do this, when we live unauthentic lives, we miss out on the the beauty which is the human race. When we dehumanize ourselves, we are denying the amazing things life has to offer like falling in love with someone, getting butterflies in your stomach when you see them, wanting to scream at the top of our lungs because we finally got that stupid article we wrote a month ago published--things like the sensation felt from sitting outside and just letting the sun graze your skin, and allowing the sounds of the wind consume you as it passes by you.
C.G. Jung once said, "the privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are," which leads me to ask you this: Are you truly being yourself, or are you conforming to the societal norms which constrict you?
And finally, are you happy?
(This post was originally shared on the Odyssey Online)
Popular smartphone apps like MyFitnessPal, Lose it, and the like are slowly infiltrating our daily lives. These applications set calorie limits for us depending on our weight-loss goals. (i.e. gain weight, lose weight, or maintain). By forcing us to track our calories we consume and the calories we burn via exercise, these applications can produce and invoke eating disorders quite easily, as they remove the focus from health and well-being to calories-in-calories-out. I began using these applications, Lose it specifically, when I was just 13 years old. I had just gotten my first I-phone and I was tired of being called fat, so I just simply downloaded the app and began tracking my calories. My body retaliated to the 1,200 calorie a day goal by giving me a few broken bones, fainting spells, and what ultimately lead to a pattern of disordered eating which I still grapple with today.This is dangerous, and can ruin your basal metabolism . When you restrict your caloric intake, your metabolism slows because your body thinks it's starving to death (even if you are technically overweight), so whenever you decide you don't want to eat 1,200 calories a day and go back to 1,500-2,000 you will ultimately gain weight- which is exactly what happened to me.
After a long battle- six years- with calorie counting apps, I have decided to delete them from my smart phone. Here are five things I'd honestly much rather do than sit around tracking my caloric intake all day:
1. Eat When I'm Actually Hungry
And eat healthy. Calorie counting apps place a stress on the caloric composition of a food, not the health benefits associated with it. For someone who is restricting calories, they may think it's O.K. to eat 1,200 calories of muffins, french fries, and fried-chicken- as long as they eat less than 1,200 calories then they'll lose weight, right? Well the problem with this, is that there is much more to nutrition and food choice than calories alone. A 1,500 calorie diet filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and lean protein is much more beneficial for your overall health and longevity. When you're counting calories chances are you will have an issue balancing when to eat what amount of calories and will end up relying on a food schedule, eating when you are full and ignoring your hunger pains when you're starving because you already hit your calorie goal. This causes issues with appetite and messes up your natural hunger signals. Just eat healthy foods when you're hungry and stop when you're full.
2. Listen to Music
Throughout my life, music has always been my "rock". No matter what was happening in my life, during the ugly and the beautiful, I always plugged in my earphones and played Mumford and Sons or Dave Matthews Band as a way to cope. Hey, you know when music sounds the best? When you're not deprived of your basic caloric needs as a human, and you can actually pay attention to the lyrics, chords, and melodies instead of the sound your stomach is making.
3. Paint my nails
Or just take care of myself. I'm going to go ahead, paint my toe nails, dye my hair that color I've been wanting to forever, take a bubble bath, heck drink a glass of wine- my body is my temple and it deserves to be taken care of. My body has never done me wrong, all it does is keep me alive and able to do my favorite things... I ask you to do the same and STOP PUNISHING YOUR BODY FOR TAKING UP SPACE!
4. Do my favorite things.
Do you like running? Hiking? Fishing? Reading? Golfing? I'm going to run more because the sensation of my feet on the pavement makes me freaking happy and I miss it so much. Whatever your favorite pastime may be- go ahead and do it. You'd be surprised how much time you spend logging your calories on MyFitnessPal or Lose It. Probably at least three hours a day. Three hours a day is the equivalent of running almost an entire marathon, hiking about 13 miles, and reading at least one awesome John Green novel.
5. Spend time with my family and friends
At the peak of my eating disorder and obsession with calorie counting, I would actually decline invitations to parties, social gatherings, and dinners because I was nervous I wouldn't have enough calories to eat at the event, and if I didn't eat everyone would raise an eyebrow at me. This is terrible. Eating disorders thrive on isolation, and tracking calories promotes isolation because if you isolate yourself you will be more likely to stay within your calorie goal. Honestly, I'd rather go out with my friends and run an extra mile in the morning, than spend my night alone pretending I'm too busy to hangout.
These are just five things I'd rather do than count calories, but I'm sure as the time I spend away from these awful apps increases, so will this list.
Are you struggling with disordered eating/ distorted body image? Call these hotlines:
NEDA Helpline:(800) 931-2237
(This post was originally shared on the Odyssey Online)