Saturday, June 30, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #30: COMMUNITY

I hope you have all enjoyed this blogger challenge. I can't tell you how delighted I have been to receive the daily emails telling me how fun/thought-provoking/healing this has been for people. I may have created the framework, but YOU did the work.

You did it.

We are a community. I love to build on community. I love to see our strengths in all their glory. I love to boost people up, help them share, cheer with them as they rise above what holds them down. I have very much enjoyed reading all the posts of those who have participated in this month's Word of the Day challenge. It's been rewarding to see  how different we all are. I love that. I love that a single word can bring out such a rainbow of experiences, emotions, stories, art, self-discovery.

This blogger challenge has been a rich one. I feel rich to have witnessed the insight you have all shown and encountered. It's BEAUTIFUL.

Thank you for meeting the challenge. You exceed all expectations. Don't forget that you are amazing.

I want to give a HUGE thank you to my dear friend Tracey who helped facilitate this fantastic little blogger challenge. She propelled Hungry for Change and Actively Arielle into a work of art.

The Words of the Day may have ended, but your encouragement of each other doesn't have to end...nor does your self-reflection. Choose your own words of the day... choose your own paths... and look to your community for strength, renewal, and positive emotion. You are appreciated.


PS. There may be future blogger challenges. :-) We'll give you some breathing time. The lovely Tracey and I have more in store for you.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #29: MYSTERY

Life is a mystery. That's what makes it scary. That's what makes it wonderful. The beauty of it all is that we get to live the mystery one day at a time, together. We can do anything. Life is ours for the making. Mysteries abound.

We are all a mystery. To each other and to ourselves. That's what makes us scary. That's what makes us wonderful. The beauty of it all is that we get to live the mystery one day at a time, with ourselves, with each other. We can do anything. You can do anything. Life is ours for the making. Life is yours for the making.


Living the Mystery: Everyone is Looking

I am sharp, a polished statue
With eyeliner that speaks volumes
And hair that shines and falls
With perfect poise
Against the lapels of my suit jacket.
My smirk is confident,
My nods are important.
My nails are sleek,
My eyes are quick to discern.
I walk in brisk steps, heels click-clacking
On the hard floor.
Everyone is looking.

I am free, a hippie chick
With long, messed hair
That travels with me
And a singular smile
That proves I’m dancing
To the music in my head.
My swishing skirts
Follow my moves
As I walk in circles,
A book of poetry clutched in my hand,
Oblivious to the world around me.
Everyone is looking.

I am buzzed, a dance floor queen
With drink in hand
And hips that sway
To the beat of excitement and
The hum of the rhythm.
The darkness is loud
And the bright lights are
Calling to me
As I move each part of my body
With a passion.
My eyes are closed as I feel the song.
Everyone is looking.

I am rosy, a child in a meadow,
The green grass around me
And the blue sky above me.
My sunburned cheeks can
Feel my smile
As I twirl with abandon
And skip with delight.
My hair is wild,
My heart is light.
I wear a wreath of flowers
And my bare feet are brown.
Everyone is looking.

I am mystery, a mermaid in the water,
Sleek and supple,
Carefree and mischievous.
My eyes are wide with want,
My hair is like a garment.
The water moves with me
Like a friend I’ve known since birth.
If I splash, I laugh.
If I laugh, I’m beautiful.
I live for nothing
But the simplest joys.
Everyone is looking.

And I am looking back.

I am innocence, a dreamer on a porch swing
With lowered lashes and a book in hand.
Feet curled under, I breathe the summer
And smell my skin
While my eyes rove the pages
That hold stories of lovers
And sweep me up like a girl on a cloud.
I am everywhere at once,
With no experience
But a heart full of hopes.
When I sigh my softness shows.
Everyone is looking.

I am adventure, a spunky explorer
With crazy ideas
And confident independence,
The world at my fingertips
And my fingertips reaching.
The sun is my guide
And the wind is my song.
I am ready to go.
With knees rough from climbing,
I reach the top of a mountain
With respect and admiration.
Everyone is looking.
I am me.
I am looking
At everyone.
And everyone
Is looking
At me.

© ALB 2008

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #28: TRAVEL

I totally didn't plan this - but I just traveled. I'm actually in a different state right now, halfway across the country. I drove close to 14 hours to be in a dear friend's wedding. Traveling anywhere always has a sense of excitement associated with it, but this time, I'm really excited! There is nothing better than spending days with the best kind of friend, someone who warms the heart and fuels the soul. I'm so honored to be part of her wedding.

Travel has so many forms. I have been on many trips like this one - to see people who I consider to be of my sisterhood...people have become part of my foundation.

I have made many journeys. The journey into marriage with my husband. The journey into the life of a social worker and therapist. The journeys of various writing projects. But before all those life journeys, I made the journey into recovery.

I traveled to dark places and back out of them into the light.

And because of that tumultuous journey, I began yet another journey: I travel every day - figuratively, emotionally, and through words - to bring that hope to all of you. I take this role as seriously as any job, and in many ways it is one. It is rewarding in ways I cannot describe...because in doing so, I get to watch all of you travel too. I get to witness your recovery journeys and it is absolutely beautiful watching you run into the light.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #27: BLISS

A life without an eating disorder is bliss.

At Last

I position myself in the billowing breeze,
Just to see if I’ll waver,
And I say what I please.

The triumph I feel when I stand on my own
Lifts me up to the sky
Unlike all else I’ve known.

© 2007 Arielle Lee Bair

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #26: PURPOSE

Almost 5 years ago, this was the first post on Actively Arielle:

I have started this blog to support eating disorder recovery and to help others along their way. I'm dedicated to contributing something, however small, to those who are in a position I know too well. It's really a blog for others.

I have a lot of writings from over the years--writings from when I was dealing with anorexia--that I'd like to display because they are a voice that can speak to others. I have poetry, dialogues, rants, entries, etc. These will be slowly posted here. I think sharing is important and extremely beneficial. I know that when I was struggling I would have loved to read writings about eating disorders (and all the respective emotions) on someone's blog--someone who I knew recovered. It's about hope. It's about strength. It's about turning tears to words so we all have something to work with, something to go to, and something to feel besides the pain and confusion.

Writing and sharing is a way to showcase the struggles, the battles, and the pain so that we end up coming out on top. I've learned to be actively ME--a me with whom I am happy. I've learned to live a life with which I am content. But to make a new beginning, one must first realize many things about the self, about the goal, and about the tendency to relapse, revisit, and revert to old habits.

Basically, what I'm saying is: I'd like to help.

So, read, comment, and feel free to email. We can help each other.

The blog took off and became an activist and motivational speaker and support group leader and a professional. But before all that, it started just as simply as stated above. That has always been my purpose, here and in life - to turn tears to words, to give hope, to help. I don't plan on stopping any time soon. Actually, ever.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #25: FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is so important in recovery from anything. Often, we have to forgive people who have had a negative impact on our lives. Most of the time, we have to learn to forgive ourselves.

Learning to forgive things from our past happens in time, as we come to terms with ourselves and heal our skewed perceptions. Our sense of self improves, we feel love for the person inside. But the MAIN thing I see people with eating disorders struggle to forgive is RELAPSE. Individuals get down on themselves and they get down on themselves HARD when it comes to their own relapse.

"I'm so stupid."
"I screwed up AGAIN."
"I can't do anything right."
"I'm not worth it."
"I can't believe I can't stick with this."

These are just some of things I have heard people say when they slip up and relapse while in recovery.

STOP. Just stop right now. And FORGIVE. Forgive yourself. Without forgiveness, you can't move forward.
Watch this. It's old, but it may just help you to let go and forgive that person inside of you who is still trying.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #24: FACE

Today, I'm not going to talk about my face or your face. I'm not going to discuss physicality or beauty.

I'm going to talk about the face of eating disorders.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. They affect the young, the old, the in-between. They affect women and men. They affect individuals of all different sexual orientations. They affect people who have been abused, people who have addictions, people who are disabled.

Eating disorders affect people with children and people without children. Eating disorders affect those who have been bullied and those who have bullied others. They affect people of different heights, weights, and sizes. They affect people who are social and people who isolate.

Eating disorders affect models, world travelers, computer programers, dancers, nurses, lawyers, mothers, fathers, teachers, writers, etc.

The face of eating disorders is the face of the world. By stereotyping or pigeonholing we succeed only in separating people. An eating disorder can affect anyone. ANYONE. And the less narrow-minded we can all be about what that really means, the better we can help all the people who are behind the face of eating disorders.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #23: SOUL

I've liked this quote ever since I read it several years ago. I'll leave you to ponder it today.

“You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
C.S. Lewis

Friday, June 22, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #22: HOME

Home can be many things. The feeling of "home" is unparalleled. Beautiful. Strong. Remember that no matter where you go, you can always take a little piece of home with you. The following poem is several years old and short. It's a sonnet (I call it "Sonnet for the Self"), for those of you who are into poetry. I've done a Shakespearean sonnet, which means it is written in iambic pentameter abab rhyme scheme...until the last 2 lines, which is an iambic pentameter couplet. That's a lot of English talk for those of you who could care less, but regardless, the poem has an important message.

Sonnet for the Self

Inside the mind, there is a little room.
It has a tiny lock and just one key.
Around it, doubt and shadows tend to loom,
But when the door is opened, truth goes free.
This little room—it houses all self-love.
Tear down the curtains; let the sunlight in.
No need to worry what you’re worthy of—
To love yourself can never be a sin.
Just bask beneath the rays of love and pride,
And never keep this bright room locked away.
Do not be meek or feel you have to hide—
Without self-love, true joy will never stay.
So give this room all that you have to give,
And you will always have a place to live.

© Arielle Lee Becker 2006

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #21: FIGHT

Another short piece of poetry from me, for today's word. It's meant to be slam poetry - spoken word - but just imagine I'm performing it for you. :-)

My heart leaps, and reaps…it gently seeps the lessons I’ve been taught. No longer caught, I live my life without the strife of painstrain, or fear of gain—I’m free. The world has opened up to me. I see.Struggles past have hurt their last and I have cast a new light—and in my sight is everything. I sing. I bring with me the story. There is no glory—only fact. Exact truth. No age or youth. Just life and understandingthe helping-handing, the demanding…of solutionRevolutionRetribution. I’m here, I’m here—for restitution! I’ve found at length I have the strength to now survive…really thrive…to jump and laugh and come alive. I’ve stood my ground, I’ve looked and found, I’ve died and tried to live again. I can. I can! There is no wallno battle callno way to know when you might fall. You must stand tall. You must recall the way you do not want to live—then give, and give and give some more, ‘til you are spent and on the floor. And then, yes then, and only then—it’s time for your ascent. You’ll start out bent…but slowly you’ll stand tall againYou can.

(c) Arielle Lee Becker 2008

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Self-Nurturing and Self-Empowerment

Two important things in today's Wednesday Warrior video. Just as a supplement to the Word of the Day posts this week. :-)

Arielle's Word of the Day #20: COMPLIMENT

I have a compliment for you. A few, actually. You're beautiful. You're real. You're YOU. And you can DO THIS. (Because the most important compliment I have for you is: You're capable.)

Here it is. One big compliment. You maybe have seen this short, little video from me before. If you haven't give it a listen. If you have, maybe it's time to watch it again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Arielle's Word of the Day #19: TEARS

Well, I suppose it's only natural that today's word is tears, when yesterday's word was laughter. I did create this challenge after all. :-)

With laughter comes tears. With good comes bad. With happiness comes sadness. All are part of life.

Today I choose to write about shame...because for me, it was very much related to tears.

Shame. It's a word that trembles with negative feeling. It's a word that has a lot of power. It's a word that I used to associate with my eating disorder.

I felt shame when I restricted, when I counted calories or felt crazy, when I threw away food that I couldn't bring myself to eat, when I worried my friends and family. But most of all, I felt shame when I cried.

When I cried, I felt so weak and so helpless and so out of control that I was absolutely disgusted with myself. I couldn't fathom someone being as stupid as I was. I couldn't understand how a girl with a brain could hurt her entire family and all her dear friends by continuing on a path of self destruction. It wasn't rational. It was shameful. At least in the eyes of a girl struggling with anorexia.

My shame when I cried overpowered me. I took to crying in private, waiting until doors were locked and my dorm room/apartment/bathroom where empty and I was the sole occupant. I cried in the shower. I cried in bed at night, in the dark, silently, when my room mate was but feet away in her own bed. But sometimes--when my life and my emotions and my pain became too much--I cried in front of someone. And that was when the shame flooded my face with heat and made me wish I were dead. If I cried in front of a friend, I would instantly apologize over and over again. I would shake my head and cover my face as though to say, "Don't look at me!" If I cried in front of my parents, it was worse still. I had to walk--no, run--away; the shame was just too great.

Once, I cried in front of an eating disorder therapy group of which I was a member. All eyes were on me. I was explaining something or telling some weekly tale, and out came the tears in a torrential cascade. I was mortified. And the therapists and participants alike were stunned--because they'd never seen me cry before. I couldn't SPEAK for the rest of the group session; I was so overcome with shame. Shame had in me in a fierce and unyielding grasp.

I'll never forget the time I cried in front of my former therapist. I had been going to her for about 2 years at that point. One particular day, she was prodding me about something that was a tender point. I was getting angry. I was getting upset. I was getting... overwrought. I was becoming a mess. I let go. I cried. I bawled. I couldn't stop and I couldn't speak for a moment or two. I played my old game of covering my tear-sodden face with my hands and apologizing. When I looked at my therapist again, she was smiling. No, grinning. I was dumbstruck. But I'll never forget what she said to me: "I can finally see YOU. The real you." I questioned her with my disbelieving eyes and she said, "Finally you are giving me something. You're not closing off or holding it in. You're crying. Sometimes you need to cry." It had a real effect on me.

I've since transformed her words to mean: "Sometimes you need to cry in order to get better." I've learned that being ashamed of something real serves no purpose and will only keep you from gaining ground. I've also learned that by crying, you can get out some of the bad that's inside and make room for the good. I applied this whole concept and attitude to my eating disorder in general. So much shame enveloped me that I couldn't get past what was going on inside me. I had to come to terms with the shameful behaviors and feelings in order to move forward.

Shame is a dirty word. An anagram for shame is: has me. And have me it did. I think of that when I feel shame about something. I don't want to be had by anything. I want to turn it around. If eating disorder = shame, then it stands to reason that if you get rid of the shame, you are that much closer to getting rid of the eating disorder. It certainly was an important step for me.