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YOU ARE LOVE l Holly Gabarek: No Food, Fast Food and Food Coma


Pacing up and down the canned food aisle at the overly crowded supermarket this evening, right hand following my feet scrolling right, then left, then right, then left again trying to find something that would wrench my 6 o’clock heart. My left just dangled giving my forearm the task of a shopping basket hanger


I have this addiction, this obsession. This craving for feeling; for emotion. That feeling, that emotion, and that pain. That pain. The one that hurts. That hurt being my drug of choice. And having realized for quite a while now, that I, Holly, captain of this amazing mind, can create circumstances that in turn would feed that addiction.


Emotionally and physically; I can sustain that high.


It would help if I were a bit more attached though. If I were to use the capacity I know I have in me and start to care more about other people. I try to, but sometimes I do wrong things. I mean, I’ve pushed 6 year old Cambodian kids running through the candy aisle at that supermarket. Blame it on my beautiful temper. It was a bitchy thing to do. For some of those kids, it could very well have been their first time in a real life supermarket with real life Reese peanut butter cups and shiny golden-brown boxes of caramel corn.


I mean, the candy section is pretty seductive. I have friends who candy shop regularly and still feel a sugar high going down the aisle. Did I do that on purpose? Did I secretly enjoy the post-pain of knowing I did a horrible thing?


I’ll build better relationships if I had a boyfriend who I was in actually love with. I think about my sister Chloe a lot. The space hurts. They say love hurts. The pain is proof that it’s love. I use my heart for the right reasons. But then again I am Broken Social Scene’s “F–ked Up Kid”, the only Broken Social Scene song I’ve ever heard. So who am I to say I know what’s right? Contradict me, I still say I have no vice. I forgot why I just wrote this post. Might. Delete. It. I’ll see.”


I wrote the above a few years ago when I was living in Cambodia; also at the peak of my battle with anorexia and bulimia.


I lived in constant fear of gaining even the tiniest amount of weight, and spent hours calculating calories, grams, and how much more it would be before I reached my goal weight. I wondered what was wrong with me. What would it take to make me happy?


I never reached my goal weight. The goal just kept decreasing, and it got smaller and smaller to the point I could not see myself anymore. I was so tiny, and undeveloped; even emotionally. I asked myself what was wrong -maybe if I had better friends? No, I couldn’t have those better friends, because I wouldn’t be able to do activities with them, like celebrate birthdays which included cake, and everyone knows joyful activities equates to lack of control and potential weight gain! I was not going to let that happen.


Rather I worked even harder, spending even my own birthday at the gym, followed by Christmas throwing up the food my mother had made. It was horrible now that I think about it. While everyone was having fun enjoying the other person’s company, I was worrying about how much I weighed. I must have weighed myself every 15 minutes! I even broke the entire kitchen set once, because I blamed it for containing food which I ate and took me further away from my goal weight.

You might wonder how I have since then, got so healthy and am able to talk about it so comfortably.


Well firstly, I surrounded myself with the right kind of people. I submerged myself in the presence of those who I knew were not bothered by their weight, and who were comfortable with themselves. My sister and her friends were those people. I watched and noticed that they all enjoyed just living! I told myself, that if I was going to be alive, I might as well have fun.


I banned myself from looking at any pro-anorexia webpages, and I also stopped reading fashion magazines that contributed to the desire to want to be stick thin. At first I gained weight so drastically; it was painful. None of my tiny clothes fit me anymore, and every time I looked at the mirror, I’d cry and think about starving myself for a week and do crazy exercise to lose all the weight.


But I was more determined to get well. I still thought about calories constantly, and I admit that I still do more than the average person, but I have pushed it aside so that it is no longer blocking my view. I threw aside that “control” I thought I had over my life, the one I got from trying to be perfect through my body. Rather, I decided to live recklessly (in the most responsible way). I made new friends, went dancing, ate a triple chocolate cheesecake, exercised, wrote about how I was feeling, and cried when I needed to.


I really just let it all out. I experienced every emotion and enjoyed every one. When I smiled, I smiled so much that my cheeks hurt. And when I shouted at the weighing scale, I’m pretty sure something in the house broke.


Letting it all out liberated me, and slowly but surely I could feel myself connecting with the rest of the world. I was sick of living in my own tiny shell of calories and fat burning. I decided I wanted to make an impact. I wanted to tell people around me that they are so much more than just an image or a body, because it is the inside that illuminates the outside. I wasn’t immediately comfortable.  I was hiding behind my weight problem for the longest time, and it was the very reason why I was nervous when it came to interacting with people I was unfamiliar with.


It’s been about 4 years since the disorder, and I do admit that my weight is still on my mind at least 70% of the time.


But I have now since built great relations with people who’ve helped me, and steal my attention towards things that benefits me, such as the company of a close friend. I’ve also taken up hobbies such as singing in a band as well as song-writing where I feel I can express myself through a different medium.


I know many people around me who are struggling, and how I feel I can never be measured against someone else’s emotions, but as hard as it is, and as obsessed as I used to be, I am so much happier right now and am excited for everyone else who is working towards something good.


It’s not about being perfect; it’s about wanting to try to get a smile on your face

– Holly Grabarek




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