Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year

I've never been one to make resolutions for the new year. When it comes to running goals, it's easier for me to take things one day at a time than to plan too far ahead, especially lately with my body being so unpredictable. There are a few goals I have, but they are somewhat vague. I'd like to get to the point where I'm in a lot less pain and have more range of motion running. I want to write more, including blog posts, and I am hoping to start a project or two this year. Mostly, though, I want to continue working on being responsible by working hard, keeping up on my volunteer duties and being a mentor to those who are struggling with eating disorders and addiction. In general, it's good to have plan A and several backup plans in place in case A, for whatever reason, suddenly becomes a pipe dream or, worse, something completely unattainable.

I recently updated my Instagram account. I started it back when I was in a writing group, but I never really used it until now. I'm not exactly active on the website and don't get notifications when people leave comments, but I do upload pictures of animals I encounter, mostly at the Humane Society. The link is here: Instagram 

Part of the reason I was so reluctant to become active on Instagram is because there are so many profiles that promote thinness and seem to be run by narcissists. I addressed this before here in regard to one individual who has continued her unhealthy spiral into addiction and vanity. I'm amazed at the number of women who can't seem to resist pulling up their shirts to snap a quick picture of their abs (or ribs) no matter where they are, at the gym, at Target, or outside in a park. Wherever they are, this sudden need they seem to have for everyone to stop and "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!!" is unhealthy. What's worse are people who cheer on this kind of self-involved behavior.

Encouraging those promoting "thinspiration" is criminal. I will never understand it. I won't even link to pages that are of concern to me because I would never want to call attention to anything so damaging. And just a note that I'm not bitching about people who are bodybuilders who compete or those who take pictures that inadvertently show their abs while engaging in other activities, like running. I'm talking about true egoists whose only goal is to show the world how thin they are. They take a picture or film a video, post it, and then publicly complain about how fat their thighs are, even though it's clear these people are rail thin. That, my friends, is not art or sport or anything other than people feeding addictions and inflicting them onto others. Narcissists usually crave acceptance and are often insecure, and it's easy to tell the difference between someone who is engaged in life and sharing it on social media and someone who is lost in an eating disorder or illness.

Why am I so angry about others when I could just look the other way, free speech and all? Because these people promote an unhealthy trend. Instead of thinking, "How can potentially influence others in a positive way or make changes to better my own life?" these types are perpetuating unhealthy and potentially deadly trends in society. These posts are extremely triggering and have the potential to negatively affect someone who might be in a vulnerable position. When an individual has been confronted by family members, friends, and even strangers, and the response is along the lines of, "I can do what I want!" you know that this person is in denial and has no interest in true self-improvement. I will go a step further and say that these kinds of people don't give a crap about others, or they are so sick and self-absorbed that they're unable to care about anything other than how thin they are, how their abs look in a certain light, and how free from cellulite the back of their thighs are.

I learned a hard but extremely valuable lesson early in my own recovery. I shared the experience in my book, "Training on Empty". There were times I struggled with feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. Adjusting to gaining weight was difficult, and I complained a lot about feeling fat. It wasn't until two of my friends called me out and said, "When you say you feel fat, how do you think that makes us feel?" Until that point, I was still lost in the illness and self-centered enough that I hadn't given much thought about how my words and actions were affecting others. That was an eye-opener, and I knew I needed to change. I needed to be more considerate of others. I needed to understand that I didn't have to burden others with my illness and make them feel bad or question themselves because of my own insecurities.

When I stumble upon IG accounts or other social media accounts that contain images or other triggering content, I always wonder what message these people are trying to send to the world. Chances are, they don't think that far ahead. I get that free speech is a way for people to believe that anything goes and whatever goes is just fine, but I support and respect responsible speech far more. Think before you post.