My fascination with eating disorders was sparked when one of my closest friends developed severe anorexia several years ago. She almost died before getting the right treatment. Thankfully, she has recovered now, but her illness really got me thinking. I’ve come up with this theory, and someone is yet to prove me wrong. It’s this – everyone is a victim to disordered eating.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “No, not me, I don’t starve myself.” But it’s not just anorexia I’m talking about. I don’t just mean any eating disorder that you’ve heard of or that has a label for. In fact, maybe it’s not a full-blown eating disorder at all, but some level of disordered eating. There are these little quirks people have with their diets, which may not reach the extent of malnutrition, but nonetheless prevent an entirely healthy relationship with food.
I’ll give you some examples because you can’t have a theory without evidence. My grandmother weighs out her muesli each morning to the recommended serving, a friend of mine feels guilty to be eating if she hasn’t exercised that day, and my dad forces himself to polish off every morsel left on his plate. I’ve noticed parents who never stray from their healthy foods, a boy at my school who loads his plate with hamburger patties in order to “bulk up”, and a long list of girls my age who skip breakfast because they apparently don’t feel hungry in the mornings. The list goes on and on.
Every once in a while I experience these jolting moments. They go something along the lines of this: I’m living my day-to-day, sitting in a classroom, eating a meal, hugging a loved one, scrolling through my phone – and suddenly it hits me: this is my day-to-day life. Like how crazy is it that here I am living this beautiful, fulfilling existence on a floating rock in the universe? How crazy is it that this has become so normal to me that I don’t even stop to look around and simply appreciate the sheer brilliance of it all?
Aside from the fact that life and humans exist (which is mind-boggling in and of itself), it strikes me that amidst it all, here I am. And I really am so lucky. I’m privileged enough to go to an incredible private school and receive a top-tier education when so many girls my age never even have the opportunity. I can afford to have enough to eat, and more so, nourishing and healthy food, where others don’t. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life who hug, love, and support me (and vice-versa) when many are alone in the world. I’m able to own a phone and access a wide range of technology when this is a luxury for millions.
I take all this for granted. But then, there are these shocks to my system. It’s the same feeling as vertigo at the top of a mountain or a skyscraper: everything zooms out, the fresh perspective leaving me elated and dizzy.
I’m sorry if this sounds like hippy bullshit but it is all sincere. I’m truly so grateful.
I love old technology. The analog feel of buttons and dials under my finger, the lights of a stereo amp, the crackle of vinyl, and the warped sound of an overplayed cassette tape––all create beauty we so often lose in the digital world. The beauty of chaos, the unorganized, and the functionless. These devices hold value in their aesthetics but also through the stories that define them.
Such objects fill my room with stories from my own life and the countless others they’ve encountered. Next to my bed sits a CRT TV I found abandoned on the road. It works surprisingly well for a piece of technology made before Facebook, though, like the person who left it behind, not many would think much of it. It’s been replaced by two decades of 4K ultra-HD developments, which produce bigger, brighter images. Why would anyone watch a special effects masterpiece on something with the quality of a cave painting and a screen smaller than a shoebox?
I see its beauty though, the way it needs to warm up before turning on, the way it cracks and clicks when you try to push its archaic buttons, and the decaying colors of the few remaining VHS tapes, long-forgotten.
I imagine this TV didn’t change hands many times. It was probably bought new at Radio Shack in Ventura, six years before I was born. It probably sat in someone’s living room playing movies for their kids on family game night, and then their grandkids, and then it probably sat in the garage taking up space until they finally decided the black hunk of metal, glass, and plastic was an eyesore whose good days were as long gone as its remote. Now it sits as an exhibit in my room, a reflection of others’ memories and a piece of art for me to admire.
Like this old TV, I, too, can easily be overshadowed by things bigger and brighter. I surf with more passion than I’ve ever felt before, but by most standards, I’d be considered unremarkable.
Surfing’s the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered: walls of water like moving mountains, foam like a powerful avalanche, a board that goes from being your greatest ally to greatest enemy the moment it’s freed from your grip. Is the feeling of a wave worth the pain of falling? Often, it is. Small waves, no biggie, a couple seconds of being under frigid water, and then you paddle back out and try again. But when the waves become giants and the board a brute-force weapon, that fall begins to exceed your limits.
I remember going out on a day with waves far beyond my skill set—Goliath and Polyphemus in watery form. Before I even paddled for a wave, a set came in. The first wave blocked the sun as it groaned past me, the second feathered as I crested its peak, the third, I wasn’t so lucky. The avalanche hit me, immediately tearing the board from my hands. The wave was now groaning on top of me, thrashing my body like a ragdoll in a washing machine. Then, it was over. The wave passed, and I was okay. So what pushes me to surf in these conditions? I think it’s because putting myself in places beyond my skill set and comfort, where I’m deeply flawed, has shaped me. I find love and beauty in the places where I know I’ll fall, for it’s there that I find who I am.
I climb, hike, surf, and run, but most athletic is an unlikely yearbook superlative.
Like the TV, I, too, crack and click when I’m pushed too hard. If all that made me was performance, I, too, would be left on the street without a second thought, but I am my story not my statistics. I too, have beauty, which lies not in my achievements but in my imperfections.
Life is a beautiful mess. It is full of pain, suffering, joy, and happiness. There is destruction and there is creation. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s beautiful though. It’s knowing that although it is terrible, there is good. It’s knowing that people come together in the hardest times to create something new, to bring hope. It’s sloppy and dirty but is also clean and tidy. Life’s mess inspires inspiration and innovation. It paves a path for the next generations to do more, to be better than their ancestors. To restore the beautiful mess that was given to them, and make something out of it. Life is a mess- a chaotic mess of the good, the bad, and the ughh. A mess that needs to clean up, but also left alone. It’s nothing but a beguiling, convoluted, destructive, amusing thing. It’s beautiful, that’s what life is, a beautiful mess.
I don’t like to be a car kid but man cars are awesome. Here are some I love:
e30, e36, e46 bmw 3 series
These three cars are just so pretty (the last one is my car, although admittedly I’d prefer a different one) the e30 is iconic and overdone these days but just such a nice boxy design with that little grill and the two lights. e36: cool and has a really nice interior plus a little more modern still with that retro boxy thing. e46: I love my car
1955-60 Mercedes Benz 300sl gullwing
I mean this is probably the best-looking car ever made.
Honda nsx 1991
Just look at those tail lights
Porsche safari 911
It’s an off-road 911. What’s not to love.
Iconic in rally racing, similar to MKI gti but just super unique widebody on this car.
911 but like PHAT
My dad had this car in 1986, it is so cool looking and has pop-up headlights and with the stock wing just is a very cool mid-engine Toyota
Detomaso Pantera GTS
He made a new one recently but those old ones are just so nice, really stunning from every angle.
Lowered Toyota hilux (1969) or Datsun
These trucks are so cute my old ceramics teacher had a Datsun in baby blue, awesome car
300sl, pc: i dont know ive had this photo on my computer a while
When I was the age of 9, or maybe 10, I lived in a little bungalow on Montgomery St. It had wooden floors, no AC, and a backyard littered with spiky oak leaves. I would sweep these leaves off my trampoline before jumping to the sky. Bounce, squeak, bounce, squeak. Flinging my limbs into various shapes, I would flip and glide through the air.
One day, one bounce, I spotted a face. Over the fence, in the window of the old people’s home next door, a woman sat watching. She was old with a face creased like tissue paper and a fierce black mane of hair. We held eye contact for the second I hung suspended in the air. Bounce, I smiled. Squeak. Bounce, I waved. Squeak. Bounce, she smiled back. Squeak.
Her eyes remained sad though, and even as I lay in my bed that night with trampoline-skinned knees, I couldn’t stop thinking about the woman in the window.
The following morning, I got out a thick black sharpie and several sheets of blank paper. I headed outside and, with resolve, started tracing out big letters. “Hello,” I wrote. “My name is…” I climbed up the ledge of the fence, and sure enough, the woman in the window spotted my paper messages.
I felt as if I had made a friend.
I don’t remember when it was that I first noticed the blind in the next-door window had been drawn. I was used to regular ambulance sirens outside the old people’s homes, but when my friend’s room was left empty, it affected me personally. Wherever she was now, I hoped her sad eyes had regained a spark of joy.
What if I slip? I watch the suds slide down my ankles and disperse across the brown acrylic that coats the shower. My head hangs and water pools in my tired eyes. Sitting on the floor of the shower is so lame. I think about it all of the time. Instead of slipping, you chose to sit down. I picture myself sitting down in the shower as the blistering streaks of hard and unfiltered water strip away every ounce of faith I’ve ever had in anything. I have an old speaker that sits coated in particles of dust that were once something and are now nothing. Music drips out of that speaker and down the side of the wall off of the shelf. Sextape seeps into my ear canals and swims throughout my brain. It gives me all the more reason to stay on the floor of the shower. It takes away my ability to speak or move. It wraps its resentful hands around my neck and attempts to push me through the floor of the bath and into the dirt that separates me and those who relate all too closely to the particles of dust that muffle the sounds of Chino Moreno.
The world is constantly changing. When I’m older it will be a lot different than it is now. No matter what though, I will always cherish these.
1.) The rain. I already wrote a whole blog post about it but I love the way the sky looks when it’s cloudy. I love the smell outside. The music sounds better and the mountains look better.
2.) Sitting on the beach and looking out at the ocean at night. Watching the boats or lack of. And of course watching the night sky, if I can see it. (Far from light pollution).
3.) What is really special to me, uniquely me, are the numerous points in Southern China where I can see these beautiful vistas every Summer. My special spots in Hunan where the flora is incredible. And there’s this unforgettable temple too- it’s high in the mountains with very few people. It’s enormous- it has a whole lake, completely flat and silver as the sky. Long, winding stairs carve across the entire temple surrounded by fog. So you’re just walking around from breathtaking building to building, it’s incredible. I can’t believe somewhere like that actually exists.
I love love. I love the little things like the post-its I use in stats or how I can recognize moon phases thanks to astronomy. I love how drawers close after one push and it’s silent. I love how big my new water bottle is. I also love the big stuff like how my dad texts me every morning or how my grandparents drive up to Ojai on the weekend to pick me up. I love how the earth smells after it rains or when the sun peaks through the clouds. I love when my earbuds are at the perfect volume- not too loud but not too quiet. I love how my family prays to my grandpa every time we eat together because we know he is watching over us. I love how my friends who are miles away send me photos of their days. I love how my family plays hand and foot for hours and we just laugh and shuffle decks of cards. I love my collection of cards from my loved ones that I’ve hoarded since I was younger. I love my summer memories of driving through Ojai with my favorite person. I love listening to a new song and adding it immediately to a playlist. I love my mom, even though we have our troubles, she is there for me even when she cannot be there physically. I love my sister, she is my best friend and greatest rival. I love cats, and how they are so particular about people. I love the feeling of a nice hot shower after a cold day. there is so much to love. I love dancing in the mirror to 2000s pop music. I love flowers and how beautiful they smell. I love my friends. I love reading and crying about the characters. I love talking about love and all there is to love.