This blog began in November of 2013. It’s taken on different names and different platforms. I’ve published 448 posts, with 57 more that never quite made it to fruition. 8,948 comments have passed between you and me. Countless hours have poured into this space.
It’s no secret that my interest in this blog has steadily declined over the past year. In the 21 years of my life, this past one was inarguably the most transformative.
Part of me doesn’t even want to write out this post, but that would be the easy way out. You, my readers, have followed me since November of 2013. 4 years ago I embarked on a journey, questioning the destination, wondering if there was an end.
Now, I sit here, cuddling my kitten, living in a brand new city with my boyfriend, working full time, going to school full time, barely having a moment to myself, and I know more answers than I thought I would.
It’s truly time to move on.
Without this blog, I wonder if I would even be alive today. My Instagram account was initially my saving grace. I found a community, a sense of support and strength. Around the world, I had people encouraging me to push forward, to continue on. I had people join me in eating pints of ice cream. At one point, there were over 10,000 posts on a hashtag I made up celebrating the challenge of fear foods. We demolished our fears together.
We grew resilient together.
Then, I noticed the Instagram account becoming a crutch. I had more friends online than I did in real life. Those virtual friends were true and genuine friends, but I learned I couldn’t live my life purely through screens. That’s not a life. Just as an eating disorder is a warped facade of a life, so too is living out a scripted outline of a life via a blog or social media account.
Gradually, I found myself pulling away from my online ties. It was by no means easy, but slowly, I filled my life with friends. I started to talk to people in class rather than scroll through my Instagram feed. I let people into my life.
When I met Ian, everything changed. While I’d like to credit my recovery to internal motivation- there is no denying he is the one that set me over the edge into a more intuitive lifestyle. I did the first 85% of recovery. He’s now helping with that last 15%.
We met because we were coworkers- both RAs, on the same floor. He was my Co. He was the one I was to collaborate with most. Out of that relationship, I wanted to work together only. I didn’t even really want to be friends. The year before, I had a strenuous relationship with my Co. But he wasn’t going to stand for that. He wanted to connect. He just knew there was something more to the two of us.
I fought against it, but I could not deny that he was right. Even then though, I continued to fight against it. I didn’t want to let anyone in. I knew I wasn’t ready. Sure, I had made leaps and bounds of progress, but there was still a thin veil of disordered skin layered over me. By that point, I’d assumed it would always be there, so I saw no reason in establishing a relationship with someone.
I was wrong.
Ian, without even realizing, has shown me countless times just how much stronger I am. I never gave myself enough credit, but he sees it in me. And as much as we all like to say our strength comes from within us, he really and truly is such a strong motivating factor for me to turn those final battles into my victories. He’s the reason why I want to continue forward and make it to 100%. Without him, I easily could have lived a relatively normal life at 85% recovered.
Now, I don’t want that. I want it all. I can taste it. It’s within reach. I will settle for nothing less.
Going full force into these last parts of recovery has meant sacrificing time on my computer for time with friends and time for eating out at restaurants and time for sleeping in. The strangest and most beautiful part of this time in my life though, is that is doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. Not in the slightest.
I’m still emotionally out of place, but that’s nothing new for me. I’ve never been one who is good at coping with change (is anyone really?), but putting myself in these uncomfortable changes is the only way I will learn to grow in this aspect of life.
What is new for me is how genuinely happy I feel. Life is falling into place right now. Just a few days ago, Ian and I were talking about how much life is moving forward. We really are growing up. It’s fast-paced and chaotic, and yet, it feels really right for us.
With the numerous changes in my life and the full schedule I have, I took these past few weeks to evaluate what I allot my time to and what I don’t. What can I leave behind and what should I prioritize.
This blog just isn’t going to make the cut anymore. If I’m being really honest, it hasn’t for awhile. I think you all can see that too.
The more removed I have gotten from the blogging world, the more apparent the toxicity is. When catching up on healthy living/recovery blogs is part of the daily grind, what I read becomes the normal lifestyle. It leads to comparison traps. I think about what I read and how I don’t live up to that. However, when I take a week away from reading the blogs, I realize that the people who write these blogs are NOT the norm. Most people do not give so much thought to their diet and fitness, even if they are in recovery.
I had to fill my time with other things before I could fully realize that. It’s something I still need to work on. For so long, one type of mentality was my habit. It’s easy for me to revert back to what I always thought was the right way to live life. But that is not what recovery is… at least for me.
Recovery will never be IIFYM.
Recovery will never be working out 6-7 days a week.
Recovery will never be counting calories.
Recovery will never be black coffee for breakfast.
Recovery will never be secretly exercising.
Recovery will never be two-a-days at the gym.
Recovery will never be researching menus before going to a restaurant to find the lowest calorie item.
Recovery will never be weighing myself.
Recovery will never be denying myself another piece of pizza even though I’m still hungry.
Recovery will never be staying in to read blogs when all of my friends are hanging out.
Recovery will never be Diet Coke after Diet Coke after Diet Coke.
Recovery will never be constantly hating my body.
Recovery will never be food shaming other people.
Some days, I still really dislike my body. Like today… not happy. But I’ve learned if I tell someone what’s upsetting me, someone with a healthy mindset, they can very easily help me rationalize the disordered thoughts. Rather than writing it out here on the blog so I can receive some sort of validation, I’m able to work through the problems.
Verbalize what’s going on in your head. I swear it helps.
Currently, there are over eight million people suffering from eating disorders. Have you ever thought that maybe blogs might contribute in some minor way to this staggering number?
The internet is riddled full with obscene, shameful material that preys on the vulnerability we are all soaked in as members of society. It’s practically already a losing battle before we are given any opportunity to fight back. None of us are immune to the pulling in every which way. Regardless of where you look, there is something there telling you that you are insufficient, not good enough, and never will be – but if you did X amount of exercise or ate X amount of calories, at least you’d be closer.
That’s all crap.
When I got to a better place in my recovery, I wanted my blog to be a source of advocacy. I wanted it to fight against diet-culture. As I look back on my posts- I truly believe I have done an adequate job of spreading love for the cause. A few years ago, no one talked about eating disorders. In the past few years, that has changed dramatically. While I don’t claim the fame for that, I do believe I have played a small role in the shift in society.
I’m thankful for that.
I’m proud of that.
Diet culture is insanely pervasive. I want to combat that. I feel I have combat that in these past 4 years. We still have a long way to go, but I can shut my computer at the end of this blog post knowing that I have made some change. At least for someone out there. At least for me too.
I am more than my struggle with anorexia. All of you are too. But if you consume so much social media and spend a significant portion of each week reading blogs or scrolling through social media, you need to reconsider this time. Check how it truly makes you feel. Does it help? Or perhaps, does it hinder?
Throughout my life, undoubtedly I will continue to advocate for more education and research for eating disorders. I know I will continue to volunteer at NEDA walks and do my part in advocacy, regardless of the format that takes on. But for now, my time in the blogging world needs to come to an end, partly because I have no time, and partly because I know it’s in my own personal interest.
Blogging gave me the freedom to tap into my creative side. It also gave me the space to reflect without boring people to tears. If someone wanted to read, they could. If they didn’t want to, they didn’t have to. This blog was a life-saver; it served an immaculate purpose in my life. But this phase of life I’m currently in, this season, needs other pursuits and other outlets.
Turning away from the blogging world has done so much for me. I’m a better student, employee, girlfriend, friend, and person when I’m away from this centralized world of the internet.
I think what it really comes down to is that I’m plain tired. I’m tired of playing with the recovery identity. What I originally thought was forever tied to me suddenly lost its reign. When I realized I could literally just give it up and forget about it, I instantly felt free. I was unable to do that before, but now, here, in this time of life, I feel remarkably confident in this decision.
Keeping this blog around and forcing myself to constantly write on it would sacrifice my recovery. I care for myself enough now to end this blog, remaining fully aware of how much it has done for me.
I am so grateful. I am so blessed.
While I’d love to journal out my transition into even more intuitive eating, I don’t feel this blog is the place for it. Honestly, I don’t want to make it a thing. Because I feel so strongly about this part of my life, it could easily be misinterpreted as food shaming others. That’s not my intent. My only goal is to find what works for me. This is about what I need. It feels good to place such importance on myself. It’s what we ALL need to do.
Our world is so quick to categorize. Set everything in stone. Black or white thinking. There are no gray areas allowed. We like to feel set apart. We like labels. We like the idea of an “other.”
If I’ve learned anything over these past four years, it’s that I hate labels. I don’t want to be Julia the vegetarian, Julia the recovered anorexic, Julia the runner. Heck, I don’t even want to be Julia the writer.
I just want to be Julia.
I’m learning that being just Julia is more than enough. It’s me. That’s what is right. That is who I need to be.
That is who I am.
I no longer choose to live in extremes. I want to find my own intuitive, mindful way in this world.
Now, I will not swear off the blogging world forever. I’m sure you’ll see my pop in to comment on some of my favorites. I’m still reachable through my Instagram. Please know you can always send me a message there. I will do my best to respond in due time.
There are a few people out there who I have to honor. Their blogs are the ones that have fully inspired me to live out a more fulfilling life. I will continue to support and read their blogs, and though I’m sure you are already aware of some of them, I have to reiterate my admiration for them.
Brittany – A Healthy Slice of Life — She has always promoted a balanced, intuitive life among all fronts. Brittany has a beautiful family and works hard as a mother to create a loving, healthy environment.
Georgie – In it 4 the Long Run — Georgie, to me, is the queen of discovering her own intuition. Recently, I’ve taken to putting on one of her podcasts and going for a walk first thing in the morning. It soothes me.
Robyn – The Real Life RD — I think we all have overwhelming admiration for Robyn already, but I’d be remiss if I did not include her. If you are unfamiliar with Robyn’s blog and are struggling with an eating disorder, she may very well change your life.
Emily – My Healthyish Life — Emily and I are in very similar phases of life right now as we sort through this season of change.
Alison – Daily Moves and Grooves — Beautiful woman with a beautiful soul. I watched her learn to thrive in life.
Thank you for the beautiful support. I could never begin to fully express how much your comments and messages have served me in this darker time of life. Please know there is so much light in this world. We live in a tumultuous time in history, but there is truth and beauty and glory out there waiting for you.
Goodbyes never live up to our expectations, but I also believe that goodbyes are only permanent if we wish them to be. There is something more for you and me. There is always a potential connection. We grow up. We progress. We get better. We move on. Together.
This blog, this recovery, this journey, was an experience of a lifetime. Thank you for joining me and helping me navigate. I could not have done it without you.
Live out your best life. Discover what it means to feel alive. Eat new foods. Rediscover old foods you used love. Forgive yourself. Prioritize all aspects of your health. Read books (oh my god read books. They have magic to them if you fully immerse yourself). Accept the background from which you came and how you arrived to this very moment in time. Never doubt your personal significance.
Know you are capable of so much more than you ever imagined.