oh man.

so as i am re-tracing my (mis)steps of this last year, I am retraining myself to be a rocking and rolling, radical human.

it’s quite a transition to go from a caged up, pound puppy that is deathly scared of breakfast to the confident, fearless lion girl that lies inside. so I have been utilizing a lot of different sources for inspiration and methodology.

seriously guys, i have to retrain myself in every aspect of life. socially, spiritually, physically and emotionally. as i’m breaking free from the self-inflicted cage that mental illness is, i get to design a new identity. it’s scary, fantastic and thrilling. so far I have switched from listening to sad, depressing music to listening to techno and house. I have started surrounding myself with people that align with the person I want to become. I listen to self-help tapes like a maniac, found salvation in Neurolinguistic Programming and go around repeating positive affirmations like it ain’t no thing. Every time a disordered thought or action tries to sneak its way back into my reality (which happens often) I take a step back, recognize it and ask myself if this is something my perfect soul or damaged ego would think or do. Usually, if it is destructive, then it is the latter and I can begin to hug and smother is with love and light.

sometimes I am successful, sometimes I’m not.

the other day my brain seriously felt like it was burning. but i’m convinced it’s just from the rewiring of my neurological pathways from negative to positive. i’m sure smoke will be emitting from my ears pretty soon.

progress is being made though. i managed to get through the anxiety of getting ready, styling whats left of my hair and having a really lovely, mostly behavior and negative inner dialogue free evening with a really inspirational human.

oh! and the coolest technique I have discovered (and am rocking extremely hard right at this very moment) is to FAKE IT. Ok, that sounds weird since part of this journey has been rediscovering how to be myself and who “myself” even is. But seriously, when I get anxious or scared I just start pretending that I am the person I would want to be. The best characters I have discovered to slip into so far is the Air Force Pilot Woman (the aviators might be to blame for this one) and the Incredibly Fancy French Lady. I absolutely love this form of visualization because it’s impossible to not glow with confidence when I am these dream versions of myself. It’s also extremely fun to gaze out a window, with my baguette, cigarette and small hat. Just kidding I didn’t get a small hat or start smoking… yet.

It is also helping me get an idea of what the very best version of me looks and feels like.

I want to be that version of me today. And then an even better version tomorrow.

ciao mes amours.

 

p.s. note to self: if all else fails, just walk around with this always playing:

illusion.

the beauty of obsession is that it takes you away from being in the now.

“in obsession your life becomes a movie where you are the star, the director, the producer and everyone else is just a stand in. cardboard props.”

this is what happened to my mind. it became to more difficult to cope with my reality then to be at war with my body so I cheerfully donated 90 – 100% of my thoughts and energy to that.

needless to say, it got exhausting. and boring. and sad.

i was so used to being the happy, life loving girl of my past and knew something had to change.

i couldn’t bare the mental cage i had built and fled. there were a couple people that had come into my life in L.A. that i had let into the hallway of my life rather then immediately shutting the door. one of them was actually pretty perfect – smart, cute, talented, into swords. I probably could have been quite happy with him if I wasn’t already in a deep committed relationship with my sadness and eating disorder.

the other one wasn’t right for me at all but provided interesting enough distraction to push me into making a big change. as i struggled daily, i started to plan my escape. on one of my “better weekends”, i was introduced to an immigration consultant by a lovely friend from overseas. i became desperate to change my hellish reality and get back to “where i was happy” so i was incredibly intrigued with the proposal to marry for a european passport.

i was already down there with the goal of saving up for my student resident permit (requiring 8k in the bank) but was going through such trauma and depression that I started being unable to comprehend sticking it out to save that up.

in my diseased state of mind i thought: yaay! the answer to my prayers! an italian gucci model that i can marry for citizenship so i can get back to happyhealthy land! he would get to live in LA, become a star and i would get my ticket to freedom. it was perfect!

fortunately (/unfortunately), i found out after already getting the paperwork and looking up local chapels that it wouldn’t really work since we would both be required to live in the same country. shit.

so instead, i started dating Fabio. maybe because he was different from the LA types, had the fire and passion for life that I used to have or maybe it was because he barely spoke English. anyway, it was brief relief and made it seem like LA was a bit more bearable. however when you start off a new relationship confused, then date someone so incredibly different from yourself – you are bound to look in the mirror one day to the realization that you have a spray tan, fake nails and hair extensions and are everything you ever hated… so that fell apart.

i had finally had enough. i knew that i was capable of happiness, just not there. with the inspiration of the italian star-to-be who came over without a plan, i packed up for somewhere more me. i had loved living in europe, minus the whole being an immigrant thing, and thought that perhaps there was somewhere in the US that I could try to be happy in before jetting back across the pacific. i was so desperate for a “sign” of where to go that when i encountered an amazing band with rad, real girls and they told me that Portland was “much more my style” I decided to go try there.

i convinced my landlord to let me out of my lease a month early. i stopped going to work. i went to the doctor to try to get some sort of medical leave so i would have some sort of income but just ended up bawling the entire time and leaving with no help. the end of my days in L.A. were incredibly dark.

it seemed so strange at the time because even though i was excited about my departure and the happiness that awaited me up north, my anxiety (and correlating disorder) was worsening. my brain felt like molasses. i could barely gather the energy to pack and clean my studio/hell. this just reassured me that i need to get out of there – faster!

thankfully my ex of 7 years/eternal savior/former roommate/life partner helped me hold it together enough to manage to dump all my furniture on the curb and fill my car with all i owned.

needless to say, my parents were concerned. my mom had been along for the ride with my struggles, listened to me cry, called the police when she thought i was dead, tried to help by telling me to be an actress and had finally given in to my idea that moving would make me happy. i gave my dad just enough information to justify my erratic behavior  “well i don’t know dad, i’m just going to move to portland because i hate L.A.” “well, ok i’ve been depressed.” “well, ok i’ve been REALLY depressed and been having eating issues.” “it’s fine, i’m excited. i’ll find a job” “no i don’t really know anybody there but i don’t have any friends here anyway.”

they of course persuaded me to take a break on my way up, be home for a bit. but honestly i was so embarrassed of my mental state that i didn’t want to burden anyone with the unbearability of my presence. even more though i thought they would judge my body and not believe me because i wasn’t even very skinny. the nature of the disorder i had been plagued with by is periods of restriction followed by anxiety induced exces so most people affected with it either normal or 5 – 10 lbs overweight. interesting stuff, huh?

so i passed right by any comfort or support from my family and friends in northern california, headed directly for my “temporary salvation” determined to make myself well. or in retrospect: fall deeper into my black hole.

out of order.

yes, it fantastic to retrace my steps and figure out how i got here today.

but sometimes you just need to forget the trail and be in the now.

when you don’t let life get you down and you reach out for what you need – you receive.

I was in a low state of mind this morning. Showering and brushing my hair always gets me down. You see I was bulimic for a year and half, almost daily, and right before I came over seas I switched over my birth control from the Nuva Ring to the IUD Mirena. One of those two things made it so that I am losing an incredible amount of hair  – daily. This last month has been one of healing and one of immense pain, sorrow and loss.

I am shedding the old and embracing the new. Both mentally and physically.

My self esteem is increasing. I just had the most rocking wine, dinner AND dessert. Felt no guilt or shame \m/. Progress.

carpe

But losing almost half my hair over the last month with no ability to fight back or be in control has literally brought me to my knees with the universe.

I have thought multiple times about giving up. Going home. Recuperating.

Honestly, the best sounding thing right now is to go into a cave and sit. For about a year.

But seriously, we don’t know if the sun is going to rise tomorrow.

Bald or not, I don’t want to wait to find out.

Who cares if it all falls out? It’s fucking hair. I’m the rockstar that is inside anyway.

Yes, I am going to struggle. I am going to weep, feel insecure and attempt to shut people out.

BUT – I am also going to have to dig deep, embrace my inner fighter and stop letting outside influences control my life.

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Carpe Vitun Diem, motha fuckas!

falling.

eating disorders are interesting things. the details are pretty depressing but if you want to learn more just go ask grandma google.

essentially – they affect an enormous part of the population, are all too common of young women and run especially rampent in the bowels of the aesthetically driven los angeles. yet when one sneaks into your own shiny, perfect world it catches you off guard and makes you feel completely broken, alone and incredibly scared.

i couldn’t control my thoughts or behaviors. too many times I would wake up with some motivation to try to assimilate to my temporary living situation only to find myself beaten and exhausted by myself by the end of the day. alcohol became even safer and less stressful to be around than food. it helped to ease the imprisoning, self destructive thoughts I was poisoning myself with. then there was the music. who needs to be social when you can spend the evening with alone, battling negative behaviors and listening to this bit of sunshine:

 

Seeing how I had never been confronted with anyone I knew that battled with eating disorders I had to do a ton of research to get to know it, learn how to begin to overcome it and so on.

Here are some quotes I came across that resonated:

“We turn skeletons into goddesses and look to them as if they might teach us how not to need.”

“Nothing in the world scares me as much as bulimia. It was true then and it is true now. But at some point, the body will essentially eat of its own accord in order to save itself. Mine began to do that. The passivity with which I speak here is intentional. It feels very much as if you are possessed, as if you have no will of your own but are in constant battle with your body, and you are losing. It wants to live. You want to die. You cannot both have your way. And so bulimia creeps into the rift between you and your body and you go out of your mind with fear. You say: Wait, not this. And then it sucks you under and you drown.”
― Marya HornbacherWasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia

“. . . hell is wanting to be somewhere different from where you are. Being one place and wanting to be somewhere else . . . . Wanting life to be different from what it is. That’s also called leaving without leaving. Dying before you die. It’s as if there is a part of you that so rails against being shattered by love that you shatter yourself first. (p. 44)”
― Geneen RothWomen Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

seuraava.

ive been in such a good mood, enjoying life and finnish spring too much to be able to connect to this story.

not to mention that it feels so incredibly far away and like a different person lived it.

until things get rough. then the familiarity returns and the story starts rerunning through my head at night.

so here we are back at it again:

the wounds from my beverly hill spill heal but im left with this funky second knee cap type thing under my actual knee.

i look like a bit of a dinosaur and decide when I go up to northern california to see family to stop by the doctor to see figure out why i now have camel humps in the place of my old knee.

camel-humpshe informs me that it probably just swollen (its not) and asks me if there is anything else going on.

i decide to mention that ive been back from europe for about 4 months now and have (even despite being a bicycle tour guide extraordinaire) put on about 10 dreaded american pounds. His response is that I am a healthy, 110 lb girl and that if I have concerns about weight I should be careful of developing an eating disorder.

CLICK CLICK BOOM.

For whatever reason this took my neurotic behavior, self-induced isolation and losing-everything-I-worked-for depression to new heights. He gave me an idea instead of a warning and it turned on some excellently, horrible behaviors.

I had lost control of my life. I needed something to hold on to, something I COULD control.

I returned to L.A./sinking aloneness and decided I could no longer be a bicycle tour guide because, well, foreign people don’t tip that well. If I was ever to escape the land of plastic materialism I would need some funds. 8k to get my international student visa to study Music and Media Management back in Suomi, to be exact. So my mom lovingly tried to convince me I was there to sell my soul to Hollywood and began signing me up for acting gigs and extra work. Sell Out:

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Then I got one of those real jobs. You know, with a desk. It was in a big shiny building on the Sunset Strip. Everyone that worked there was the color orange, we had a basketball hoop, corporate spirit and the Whiskey A Go Go was right across the street. Score! I dressed up, played along and got paid a stupidly high salary to call small business owners and rip them off selling fake advertising.

Both my worlds had crumbled. I spent my days surrounded by superficial robots doing something I felt bad about. Instead of forests and lakes, I had the Rainbow Room and depression. I’ve always been an exceptionally happy girl but I got disoriented and incredibly lost. I didn’t know how to act around people. I didn’t want to be around people. I didn’t want to be there.

Things worsened. I developed a debilitating, time and thought consuming eating disorder. My self hatred and disorientation took over. I needed something I could focus on and control. My desire for isolation grew stronger.  Over the process of the big shift I had hurt the people I loved, destroyed a lot in the process resulting in losing my identity and direction in life.

Hating yourself is a great first step onto the path of self annihilation.

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so anyway.

dear red wine,

if i could marry you for a residence permit i totally would.

i know starting these posts with alcohol references doesn’t really give them all that much credibility or me all that much street cred for being a reborn enlightened soul ect. but seriously this stuff is extremely hard to write about. and even harder to start writing about! but i really need to before i have more wolf dreams.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing

so anyway,

by whatever series of events i find myself landed back in the los angeles after working so hard to escape the year before. i had the keys back to my old apartment, rent due on the first and not a clue what the hell i was going to do.

i had left an entire world behind. it was dry and hot. my big jacket and boots looked stupid.

something else. side note that will probably become the entire topic of this entire blog if i can manage the courage:

when i left america i was a happy, medium-sized vegan. my ex and i didn’t share that much except our passion for puppies and veg-ing out on the latest veggie grub in L.A.. we went to the gym a bit but mostly we enjoyed life, wine and vegan dark chocolate almond bars from trader joes. vegan cookies are the bomb! so i get over to finlandia a curvy, confident, happy 120 lbs ish girl. (girl being the key noun here)  Image

before i got there my life wasn’t all that full. i had my best friend/boyfriend, a job i didnt really like and pretty much just focused on leaving rather than building a life. so i when i found myself back in that place without the job and ex – it was pretty empty.

in finland i had met some amazing people, met my amazing finnish sister, made a best friend, fallen in love with an extremely intense, intelligent person. i engrossed myself in studying finnish and had a full life. probably more than i ever had back home. i was for the most part, extremely happy. over the period i had been more focused on partying, fun and friends and less focused on being vegan, on the latest episode of my favorite show and so on. forest walks, long icy late night treks from majava and having cheap access to run out my hangover at the university gym became my new life. also i kinda stopped eating around the guy i was dating for whatever reason. maybe i didn’t want it to become the food centered relationship i had had in the states? anyway, long story short – the 9 month long kossuvissy diet had done the trick and i was about 20 lbs lighter when I returned to the states. (something like 45 kilos for you metric maniacs.)

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and damn was i pale! thats actually an O.K. weight for a 5’3 girl. tiny but alive and well.

i never really noticed that i had lost weight. sure i bought new pants but i was too busy running around and yelling to really care.

SO ANYWAY.

i got back and other people noticed. my family especially. ” um hello, little skeleton girl.”

after living in the land of open faced, cold, shrimp, butter sandwiches i was super stoked to back in the world of whole foods salad bars and vegan german chocolate cookies but having everyone notice i lost weight made me incredibly self conscious. it became a “thing”.

then i left from seeing my family in nor cal and headed to my old apartment in hollywood where my ex was holding down the fort. we thought there was a chance we would reconcile but the extreme stupidity of that idea become apparent incredibly fast. he so lovingly moved out of the apartment and gave me back the keys to the place i had fought so hard to leave.

i don’t really plan stuff, and this is this is the kind of shit that happens when you mess with people and live life like you are invincible.

rent was coming up. i moved my northern californian heavy metal sister in arms into the my crappy sunset strip studio. she was going through some shit too so we mostly just drank tequila for breakfast.

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after getting there, realizing my major fuck up and that my old life was dead. i immediately went into leaving mode. i became entirely focused on getting back to the dark land up north and became extremely anti-social. i was excited to be able to work but didn’t want to get back into the old lifestyle because then i might gain weight or whatever and if that happened then when/if i returned to finland, no one would love me. obviously.

so i became a bicycle tour guide. HA.

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that was rad. i took chinese people around L.A. in the sweltering heat and made up lies: “ya sure, celebrities go here”. i was really good at it. they wanted to turn it into a reality show. because it was in L.A. and in L.A. everything is a reality show. including reality.

i was like shit! i gotta get in better shape! there are video cameras involved so i got a personal trainer and started feeding into the L.A. look-focused bullshit that i had always hated so much.

then one day i fell on my bike. i was riding incredibly fast and angrily through beverly hills listening to rammstein, wishing to be anywhere else in the world and crashed and slid right in front of this stupid, fucking sign: Image

bloody and pissed off, i peddled home.

then things REALLY changed.