Sundays

It’s May. The spring flowers are in full bloom, and the air is filled with a scent of freshly brewed coffee. The sun is shining brightly over the city. Spring has finally settled in nicely, and people are out enjoying their Sunday. Talking, laughing, planning, just being in the moment. How fascinating this is to me.

I tousle my hair for the hundredth time since I took a shower this morning and straighten my maxi skirt. Breathe, Elena, breathe. It’s just a coffee shop I tell myself. I patter up the stone stairs and pull open the door. I am immediately wafted with delicious smells of coffee, breakfast food, and baked goods.

It’s a cute little shop, retro, and hip. The patterned walls with artwork displayed on them throughout the place and cushioned couches with small tables give a homey feel to the ambiance. Not to mention the tunes playing on the speakers. Not too out of date but old enough to give it a vintage feel as well.

I enjoy coming here just to sit and relax and enjoy a hot beverage or some food and read or write. It is comforting and spacious, busy and empty, loud and quiet, happy and playful; but most of all it is calming. The people that surround me seem at ease with the place and with each other. Chatting lightly about anything and everything, enjoying the company around them. Delightful.

I order my food and my favorite tea at the front and then sit down in the far corner near the window. I open up my laptop and begin to write this chapter. With breakfast in my belly and a tea close by I type what comes to mind.

This for me is happiness. This is what Sundays should be like all the time.

What makes this experience so great is the fact that I didn’t need someone to be there to validate me or my decisions. I am hanging out with myself. Cool. I can handle being in a public place alone without much anxiety. This is a huge accomplishment, and I could not be prouder. Good job, me. You’re killing it!

Overcome your fears and they will not control you. Be fierce, my darlings, be unstoppable.

-E

Book 2

Here is a small exerpt from the first chapter of book 2! I have already started writing it, yes, and I am so excited to share this with you all! Book 2 will be out later this year.

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After a while the words just fall; fall out of my hand onto the paper like a thick, molasses-like substance. Fall out of my mouth like hot lava. The words singe the fraying curtains and send sparks flying when they hit the hardwood floor.

My quiet, Toronto-based one bedroom apartment is simple really. Hardwood floors, patterned throw pillows on a velveteen couch, patterned quilts on a queen sized bed, books, and papers stacked high all around and placed somewhat neatly on shelves, a rustic kitchen that does the trick, a bathroom complete with glass doors to enclose the water from the shower, and finally, a balcony that looks out onto the loud and busy streets of Toronto. My little sanctuary, my home.

I moved here after finishing my bachelor of honors degree in journalism at Humber Lakeshore. I am currently working as a columnist for Vice Canada. I occasionally write features and do audio pieces such as podcasts, but for the most part, I write columns. I’m hoping to do more work with audio journalism soon, but for now print is where I am going to stay.

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Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for more updates on when my first book will be published (hopefully soon!) as well as for when my second book will debut. Thank you to all my readers for the support and love you show. It is an honour to have you in my life and I hold a special place for you in my heart. Thank you, thank you, thanl you!

xoxo

-E

First Book Update

So, to update you all on the progress of my book, I am working diligently to make it available for you to purchase in stores, online, and on Kindle VERY SOON. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you dire enthusiasm to read my words in a page-turning fashion.

The main text of the book is completed, so just the editing and the cover design are needed to be put together with the manuscript and sent off to the publisher. Hopefully this week I will have the first proof of the book so that I can see what my masterpiece will look like when it is done and published.

I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS.

I am beyond proud that I was able to pull myself together enough to write a book; or rather, to put together my posts into a book for more than my general audience to read. It is a huge accomplishment for me, and I am so grateful for this gift of writing that I have been given.

Anyways, sorry I’ll get back to the book.

This book isn’t meant to hurt anyone, or to show someone’s struggle up, or to make myself sound better than anyone else who lives in this universe. It is to put my words out there for you to read and understand the heartache and the struggle I have gone through. It is a little window into my life that I wish to share with you all. This book is my pride and joy, and I will treasure it forever.

Ps. Stay tuned for book 2!

-E

And on we go…​

Well, here I am. Back again at the writing board. I took a week’s break to collect myself and work eight hours for five consecutive days wishing I was at home writing or reading with a coffee in my hand. I know, stressful right?

I recently got this job, and yes, it is sort of stressful in a way, even though I’m sitting and flattening my bum the entire time. But a job is a job, and I’m a student who needs to make money to pay her dues, so this job is where I’m spending exceedingly large amounts of my time. Ew. Too much sitting.

In other news, I have made up my mind that I will be writing another book. Book 2. Wow, that’s going to be awesome. My first one hasn’t even been published yet, and I am already looking ahead to the future book that will be published in due time. Just awesome.

If you had told me this is what I was going to be doing with my summer break a few months ago, I would have laughed at you and told you to stop lying. I would never have believed you. The fact that I am writing a book for me is a huge accomplishment, especially after all that these past months have thrown at me. I am beyond astounded that I am where I am today after what has happened.

My life has and is still a constant battle with my mental illnesses. But through it all, I still manage to find a way through it all. Whether it be through reading a book or writing, listening to a podcast or some music, going for a run or a walk, having a tea or just simply sitting and being in the moment. My coping strategies have developed from ways of harming myself to ways of improving the situation and helping myself feel better again. Yes! This is a little victory for me.

If you know me, you’ll know that nowadays the small victories mean everything to me. They make me stronger with each passing day. I think it’s important to recognize your own victories over your struggles because it makes you who you are as a person; makes you unique and beautiful. Our struggles shape us into the human beings we all are so we should embrace those struggles, no matter how bad they are (I’ve had awful ones trust me).

And so, on we go. On to better days and bigger things that make us happy and give us joy. On we go to meet new faces and see great places. On to new experiences and adventures, we’ll look back on years from now and enjoy the sweet memories. On to new challenges to fight through and overcome. Onto brighter sunshine and less cloudy days.

To continue on after being knocked down so low has been quite the struggle for me. But I have done it. Survived it. Held on for dear life to the promise of a better life. I know for certain it would have been better for me to not go through my struggles but that’s not how life works. It throws curveballs at you to see if you’re paying attention (better watch out). My struggles were for a good reason and I have come to accept that. Thankfully, I am on a better path to healing.

-E

My First Book

So, I’m putting together my very first book. Exciting right? I thought so too. Apparently so did a few other people I know that have not failed to put their two cents into the creation of this book and its process. Oh well, they’re helpful, so I’ll take it.

I am beyond hopeful that this book helps people understand what it is like to live with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Binge-Eating Disorder (BED), and Depression. It’s a lot I know. Tell me about it; I have to live with all of it. It sucks most of the time.

On a lighter note, I think this book is also going to give hope to those who suffer from mental illness because I try to end on positive notes at the end of my pieces. I also don’t like having my readers feeling sad as they read what I write, but sometimes I have to be dark and twisty with my words. It’s the only way I can honestly express myself for some things.

Below is the table of contents with the titles of all the pieces I plan on putting in the book. I am still working on the title, but I suspect that will be the last feat I will have to overcome with this masterpiece I am trying to create and publish.

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*Pictures I’ve taken will go between all mini-essays and poems.*

A Gallery of Thoughts and Feelings / Thoughts and Words: A Memoir / My Personal Gallery / Finding my Way / Finding Elena / 

  1. Introduction
  2. That Feeling of Icy Emptiness
  3. That Feeling
  4. A Nightmare Dressed as a Daydream
  5. Road to Recovery: My Mental Health Journey
  6. Rock Bottom
  7. Blank Pages
  8. Anxiety
  9. The Silent Killer
  10. 16 Days
  11. 16 Days of Lessons
  12. The Media and Mental Health
  13. Scars
  14. Ripped to Shreds
  15. How I got BPD and tried to cover it up with food and smiling
  16. Tattoos
  17. My Biggest Trigger
  18. Labels
  19. Shame
  20. Self-love and Acceptance
  21. I’m Sorry
  22. Undone
  23. Because I am Continuing

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This has been a sneak preview of what my book is going to be about. If you haven’t followed through, reading my blog from the beginning, I suggest you do. This book is essentially a selection of blog posts that I have written, along with photos I have taken, put together into one little book that hopefully will capture your interest.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m scared as hell to do this; especially since I’m still in university and I’m only 20 (going on 21 soon!). Many writers are older than I am. But I won’t let that stop me. I am publishing this book for me, my fellow sufferers, and those who do not understand mental illness. This is for us, my friends, for us.

-E

Self-love and Acceptance

To love your body for what it is and what it does for you is something that many people struggle with. In fact, I have only met one person who is okay and happy with themselves in my entire life. This is something that pains me because as a beautiful and talented human species, we should love ourselves for what our bodies are able to do.

Self-love. The act of loving your own person without question or judgment. Acceptance. The act of knowing what your body is capable of, and understanding what it is not able to do, and being okay with that; whatever that is.

For me, self-love and acceptance of myself have been a major struggle throughout my entire life. I never liked how I looked or what I wore or how I was. I still don’t. I look in the mirror and cringe at the fat that hangs from my stomach because I can’t control my binge-eating disorder.

My relationship with food has never been a good one. Ever since I was little, it has been a constant battle between eating the right foods and having control of the portions on my plate. It has also been a humiliating experience. Family members telling you to stop eating because you’re getting fat, family members taking food away from you because they know you’ll eat it. Family members saying you got bigger and need to lose weight. Family members always saying something about your weight or the food your eating or telling you to exercise or looking at you funny and lying to you about how you look. Yes, I have had it all.

I’m crying as I’m writing this because it is so painful. I have so much self-hatred for my impulsivity and lack of control with food. I have such a hard time admitting to myself and others that I need help with this. Although, just because I need help with it, Does NOT give people the right or the ability to say something to me about it. Those words that those family members said stung like acid in my eyes.

I know I have to accept myself the way I am at some point but I don’t know when that will be or how it will happen. I guess I’m just going to have to play the waiting game on that one. For now, I think I’m going to focus on self-love. I have a book about it, so I’m going to make an effort to read it and try to follow some of the suggestions that might be written in this book. I have yet to even crack it open and look at the inside cover. Not a good start but I’ll get there at some point… At least I hope I will.

To love yourself is a beautiful thing. I wish I could love all of me, but so far, I have only just started accepting minor imperfections of myself. I won’t go into details but accepting these imperfections is a HUGE step for me. I am so proud that I am able to be okay with these little perfect mistakes that are part of me and make me who I am.

Below are some photos that I believe are a fantastic start to spreading awareness about body positivity and self-worth.

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” – Wear Your Label

I have shared these images previously on social media to convey a message that it’s okay to not be a size zero. It’s also okay to have cellulite and stretch marks. It’s all okay. And if you are a size zero and everywhere in between, I want you to know that it’s okay too. You are beautiful at any size. I am not a size zero, and I will probably never be a size zero, and that’s okay! I have friends that are a size zero, and I love them with all my heart. I also have friends that are not a size zero, and I also love them with all my heart.

For me, self-image is a large part of my insecurity, depression and social anxiety (thanks for that, BPD). But even though I don’t like what I see in the mirror, that does NOT negate the fact that I have beautiful qualities. The same goes for you. You are beautiful even though your eyes and your brain are trying to tell you that you’re not.

SO DON’T LISTEN TO THEM. THEY’RE BOTH LIARS.

Listen to me right now, at this very moment, you are the oldest you have ever been. You are also the most beautiful and developed that you have ever been. Do NOT let your mind wander to negative self-talk. Control your mind to think good thoughts about yourself and do NOT relapse. This is where the real work comes in. Loving yourself is hard work! Put in the time and do whatever you need to do to feel okay with yourself. You will not regret it, I promise.

Xoxo

-E

Because I am Continuing

To all of you who have diligently followed my everlasting journey with me, thank you. You give me the courage and the strength to write in an expressive way so others may understand the daily struggles of someone with a mental illness.

To those of you suffering, I am with you. I understand, and I am here. I am fighting for freedom and sanity along side you and I will not give up. I will support you with all of my beings; from the tips of my toes to the top of my head.

To my loving family, thank you for every sacrifice you make for me. I am forever in debt to your kindness and gentility towards me.

And finally, to my own self, keep going. The light at the end of your dark tunnel is just around the corner.

-E