april 20th

There are always things that cause us as individuals to feel, for lack of a more empowering term, happy. Whether it be the sound of someone you love laughing, or the crisp smell of mid-morning; cookies baking in the oven, or the warmth of the sun on your face; there is always a list we create throughout our lives consisting of these very pleasures.

I, alike you, do enjoy summertime, laughter and cookies, but unlike you I have become aware of a handful that make – to the outside observer – little sense:

  1. The sound of someone – wait for it – eating chips.
    First of all, I do not even eat chips. Yet, for some reason, the crunch makes me feel… at ease. I attribute this to my childhood. Every Friday and/or Saturday evening, my father, mother and I would curl up and watch a scary movie with each other. We all had our favorite brand of chip flavor, which were ingested almost as if in-sync. Now, whenever I hear the sound of some one crunching on chips, I think of that. My childhood and my youth.
  2. The moment when you are doing a interval jog and just as you reach an active period, the song you are listening to picks up
    Okay, this is just the best feeling ever. Think of a song by, say, Mumford and Sons. Now think about the moment in that song where the instruments really pick up. Now, to do an interval jog, you run quickly for X amount of time, then follow that up with a period of active rest for X amount of time. Whenever a high-energy interval hits at the exact moment when the music picks up, I get way too happy for words.
  3. When the public transportation buses of the same route pass each other.
    Again, weird. I just find it sweet. Firstly, I love that all bus drivers have this norm of waving to each other every single time they pass. It is really nice. Like, ‘oh, hello there, colleague’. As rude as it could sound, I often pass my colleagues without any true acknowledgement. Perhaps I am busy, or something. Secondly, I just like the thought: ‘yep, we’re both on route… we’re good’. Maybe it is my ridiculous OCD, but I just like to see the buses pass. I always have.
  4. Holding my stomach.
    If you ever look at me when I do not realize I’m being watch, the odds of my hand being somewhere on my stomach is likely. Why? I find holding my stomach comforting. Rubbing it, no. I hate being rubbed. It sends shivers down my spine. Honestly, even massages are not extremely enjoyable for me, unless they’re really getting into the muscle. But, holding it. I also – judge me, not – like to imagine I have a baby. Again, if you know me at all, you know I am baby-crazy. So sometimes I put my hand there pretending I’m six weeks pregnant and hoping for the sensation of a kick, or movement.
  5. Stretching in unusual places – like work.
    I am almost always stretching. I mostly love to do it in places that – to most people – seem unusual. I kind of like the reaction of, ‘what the heck are you doing?’. Sometimes I will just merely hold my leg,
  6. Finding ways to say things the rest of the world wouldn’t, or speaking like I’m 5 years old… or 50 years old.
    I love being creative with language and the moments I string together a sentence that sounds absolutely… child-like pleases me. Sure, I have the ability to speak like a third-year Undergrad student, and do it often. I love that just as much. But, I will often come out with phrases that you’d expect a young child to say. Some examples:
    “Will you write my exam for me, please. I’ll bake you a cake. I’ll decorate it. With flowers… and sea critters!”
    “I think I need to tinkle. I do not want to have an uh-oh”
    “See you later, Alligator!”
    …truly the list goes on. Being that I am generally a very serious individuals, who absolutely sucks as making jokes, this is my only way to really… be ‘light’. So, I embrace it.
  7. The sound of silence.
    No, I am not trying to step on the toes of Simon or Grafunkel. I absolutely love silence. I – quite unfortunately – have pulsatile tinnitus, which is a form of tinnitus (internally based sounds in ones ear) that sounds like a heartbeat. It is very annoying. Many years ago, it was absolutely horrible. Everything is was even slightly silent, all I could hear was an ultrasound-like pulsation in my ears. During that time, sleep was seldom and happiness was scarce. I lived with a earphone in my ear at almost all times. While I still do have traces of tinnitus, it is not nearly to the extent it was then. So, when I am able to fully submerge myself in silence, I feel amazing. Silence is truly an under-appreciated gift. Similar to stillness. In a lot of my current exercises, I focus on strength through stillness, which is far more beneficial than many give credit for. So often as human beings we are always rushing – especially me. Sometimes you just need to stop everything to truly enjoy.

Truthfully, this list could go on and on, but I feel like seven is a reasonable number to round up at. Sometimes, in life, I find it very important to make note of that which makes your different, or better yet, human. I constantly struggle (as I’ve mentioned in the past) that since the dawn of my eating disorder, the feeling of inclusion is one that has not come easy to me. One of the main aspects of an eating disorder for some is separation. You prefer to do everything alone, mostly due to the irrational fear that you are being both watched and judged. I was no exception.

During my recovery, I have become obsessed with the exact opposite: the feeling of belonging. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have been practicing the concept of segregation of my self for so long, it will often feel like no matter what I do, I am always a bit alienated. As a result, I usually look at the parts of me which deviate from the norm as shameful and treat any negative reaction to the way I lead my life (no matter how intense or intended) as further support for my personal shame.

So, sometimes, I will sit alone (usually whilst on the bus) and think of all the weird things about me that I feel little-to-no shame regard, or think about the reasons why the ones which do bring me shame, shouldn’t. For every shadow, there must be light; for every bit of sadness, there must be happiness on which to compare. There will always be a balance and nothing is ever one-sided. So, look at your ‘deviations’ not as things to be shameful of, but treat them as things which make your more unique and beautiful.



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